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9642 Randle Rd
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Honeyrun Farm produces pure raw, honey, handcrafted soap, and beeswax candles in Williamsport, Ohio

Blog

Grant us wisdom, grant us courage

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

Is it high time I posted a blog? I think so. Sorry to keep you waiting. We’ve been so busy! I’m full into playing with bees, while Jayne keeps it all rolling in the honey house.

Yesterday I spent the hot, sticky afternoon doing one of my least favorite jobs.

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Putting on pollen traps. It’s not one bit fun. The bees get mad, trying to figure out the trap, and I get tired/mad, lifting boxes, taping holes, sweating through my suit, fighting an unrelenting thirst. I was able to put about 40 on before saying, enough!

Let’s get back to the honey.

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Back to my favorite job. The summer honey harvest is in full swing and it’s been awesome this year. A lot of weight on those hives! I’ll share more about it next week.

Jayne made a cool video of of the extraction process, and if I can figure out how to put it on here, you’ll have more than just pictures and commentary.

But before we really dive into the honey, I’d like to tell you about my little pollination adventure last week. We take bees to three pumpkin farms. It used to be five, but I think some are starting to figure out that honeybee pollination isn’t vital for pumpkins. There are other insects that can do the job. Or maybe our bees are a bit pricey, I don’t know.

But Circle S Farms still think they need a few hives, and I’m perfectly willing to accommodate. Having worked with them for eight or nine years, I know the routine. The call is always going to come late (August) and they’ll always be frantic to get the bees asap. This year the call came while we were in Michigan. “We’re in bloom! Do you have bees? When can you be here!”

I have to bite my tongue, lest my sarcasm comes out. “Well, gee, of course! Let me snap my fingers and materialize your bees… let me whip up a truck to move them… a forklift, a trailer… let me teleport myself back to Ohio.”

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Thankfully I did have the bees, and thankfully we happened to be heading home. Jayne only had to put up with my grumbling for a day or so. “How stupid can they be?? Just assuming I’ve got everything together… never a heads-up… never a contract… always by the seat of their pants.”

While I was quick to point out the Circle S stupidity, I sort of skipped over my own.

We got home and I was totally unprepared to move bees. No fuel in the truck, just a quarter tank in the forklift, no smoker fuel, broken windshield wipers on the truck, a mysterious hydraulic problem with the forklift, making right hand turns difficult and jerky… all things that should’ve been mitigated previously.

But I found half a can of gas in the shop, fired the smoker using dry grass, and limped along with the loading by only making sweeping left turns. It worked. And those broken wipers? Not a problem. Just pray for dry weather.

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What a genius I am. But I’m not a witchdoctor. I got a few miles down the road and discovered that for some reason the running lights were not working on the trailer. I fiddled with the fuses and connections for a few minutes then gave up.

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Could I just gamble? Sure it was illegal, but what’s the worst that could happen? It was early Sunday morning. What hurdles could I possibly run into— A cop? A drunk? A deer? Teenage lovers late for curfew? Overzealous churchgoers?— All dangerous in their own way. Not good. I weighed the possibilities and consequences. Hesitated. Would I really have to go back? Unload the bees, call Circle S? Hmmm….

Nope. So far, to this point, everything had teetered on the edge of disaster. And disaster had been adverted. Who was I to break a streak? Time to roll another seven.

Like clockwork, like fate, Werewolves of London came across the radio. My favorite pollination song! Time for this fool to summon his courage and let Warren Zevon get those bees to the pumpkins.

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My luck held. No dangers, no hurdles, no rain. And sure enough, the bloom was on.

It took a bit longer than usual to unload. I could only turn left. My mysterious hydraulic problem hadn’t mysteriously fixed itself. But that’s ok. It gave me the chance to see a beautiful pumpkin patch sunrise.

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And I would get to limp back home in the daylight, thinking about booking a flight to Vegas. Sometimes we just get lucky. We get wiser the easy way.

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It’s time to find a mechanic.

Michigan-- The Yooper part

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

Yes, it’s true we’re from O-HI-O. And it’s true, we don’t give a damn about the state of Michigan. But I’m not so sure we don’t give a damn about the whole state, as the song goes.

I think we kinda like the upper part.

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Early August, 14 years ago, we made the Upper Peninsula our honeymoon.

And here we are, 14 years later standing in the same spot… looking slightly disheveled, slightly worse for the wear. Well, we’ve got a kid now.

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Wait. One kid??

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That’s right. Last week we took our big fat carbon footprint and planted it up north.

We planted it on the trails and in the forests.

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In the lakes and on the beaches.

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On the cliffs and up the dunes.

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The U.P. holds so much fun.

And there’s so much to see. Starting with big bridges,

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and big boats.

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In Sault Ste Marie you can watch the giant Great Lakes freighters go through the locks. It’s exciting. I’m not kidding. Even for our kids, who usually don’t appreciate stuff like this, there was a sense that this was something special. We spent a good hour and a half just watching and pointing. Pictured above is the 740 ft Algoma Equinox. I think they said it was hauling about 40,000 tons of iron ore.

Going westward along the southern coast of Lake Superior, you get into the old old rocks.

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No not that rock, Eden. I’m talking old. Close to 3 billion years old! The green striated metamorphic gneiss up there is the exposed part of the Canadian Craton. Basically the basement rock of North America.

The rock here in Ohio is young— layers of strata from the Paleozoic, wet behind the ears, full of fossils and sea sediment. It hides the basement. And it dates, if we’re lucky, to a measly half-billion years. You have to go north to commune with the good stuff. The old stuff.

In college I had the good fortune to visit the U.P. twice with a geology field studies group. We camped and hiked and scienced and played and romped all over the north woods.

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We went to awesome places nobody goes.

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And we ate every meal on the ground, or at best, on picnic tables.

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22 years later I have the good fortune to be here with my children, to repeat and remember.

And boy do I love to share the gospel. To tell the old old story, if you will— geology. The ancient of days, the scripture of stone, the good book of rock.

They were extremely interested.

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Above, Bridger captures the differential weathering of the beautiful Jacobsville Sandstone.

And below, Eden contemplates the bewildering unconformity of this half-billion year old sandstone lying directly on top of precambrian rock nearly four times its age!

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Where did all that time go??

Don’t ask the tourists. They’re just here to see the waterfalls.

Let’s talk it over at the Farmers Market, my brilliant young protege.

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Oh yes, they’ve got those in the U.P. also. This one in Munising had an outdoor concert to go right along with all that good local food.

The sun was out, Lake Superior was shining, the music was flowing and they had small patriotic beachballs scattered all over the place. Our little dancer decided that this was not the time or the place to talk geology.

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And I don’t blame her.

I couldn’t keep up with the dancing, so I walked around sampling.

Like Eden, I quickly discovered that there’s more to life than rocks.

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