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


Montana Bees

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

Amen to that, Mr. Steinbeck. Well said.

We have just returned from another "business trip." Big Sky Country. The Last Best Place. And I for one am feeling very fulfilled.

For you dear reader, I have brought back gifts from the road.

Lots of images. Many many great pics. So many in fact, I'm going to fill two blog posts.

Like it or not. And quite possibly Jayne has a story for you also.

So this is the first. Because we've been on the subject of springtime bees and springtime forage, I'm going to stick with that for this post.

It didn't take long to find a Montana bee yard. They're everywhere. 

It also didn't take long to find a trail. Montana has some gorgeous country, and taking it in on foot is the method we choose most. Nice and slow.

Well, for me anyway. Most of my hiking involved trying to keep up with these two.

Jayne and Sister Becky set the pace while I troddled behind, snapping photos of rocks and flowers and trees. Soaking the view...

And that was just fine by me. Out here, we were no longer top dogs in the food chain. Should we come upon Mamma Bear, I figured those marching ladies would make a succulent distraction while I high-tailed it out of there.

And speaking of eating, lets get back to the subject at hand. Springtime forage.

There are a lot of bees in Montana for a reason. The state has an awesome supply of bee food. On a single hike, I collected the following images. One hike! No, I don't know the names of most of these. (But the bees don't either.) Sorry if you were looking for an education. 

Here you go. Montana springtime splendor:


Of course not all of these are nectar producers. But, like Ohio blooms, the honeybee has found a way to make good on most. Even the unwanted:

Knapweed is actually the king of Montana honey producing plants. It's noxious and invasive, hated by ranchers and farmers (much like our own bush honeysuckle), but does it ever make for a fantastic honey crop! Beautiful, light, translucent honey. And so tasty! 

The late great Wayne Morris, my old commercial bee boss in Montana would often shake his head at the state eradication efforts. We'd be driving along in a bee truck and come across state workers spraying the roadside ditches. He'd wink at me, "Better get the planes fired up. We've got to seed some more knapweed."