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


Montana III - Glacier

Jayne Barnes

-Posted by Isaac

I know. The vacationing is getting a bit ridiculous. Although I still haven't quite reached the one per month goal, I'm getting close. Tough gig, this beekeeping.

With every sneaky trip like this one, I feel just that much guiltier.... I really, very much really do owe my beautiful, loving, intelligent, patient, kind and generous wife. This time I brought her some huckleberry soap. Think that'll do it?

So this little business trip was for Seth. He's leaving us in two weeks. And we're going to miss him... the perfect beekeeper combination of smart thinking and dumb muscle.

Where is he going? Well, from what I understand, he's off to some kind of government job. Something about "Aiming High."   I really don't know.

This was his retirement-for-now party.

We left the bees in good standing. The day before flying out, I made it to a couple out yards. I wanted to check mite levels, but mainly I was curious about the summer nectar flow. After that fantastic spring crop, the frames had been bone dry for at least a month. Just popping lids and watching activity, I could see things had changed. Shaking a frame, this is what I found:

The summer flow begins!!

The summer flow begins!!

It's nice to leave in a good mood.

Those of you who have been to Glacier know the special beauty of the place. Seth is a hiker, hunter, outdoorsy type. A few days in the park would make a nice sending off, as he is about to embark on a six year stint of defusing bombs.

One last chance to be a hippie.

If you're a wildflower person, northern Montana this time of year is like walking through fireworks.

Funny thing though. We hiked through miles of flowers, but I didn't see a single honey bee. Lots of insects, a few bumblebees, but none of the honey making variety. All the while our bees back home were pulling in loads and loads of summer nectar from our Ohio countryside. Summer blooms, wild and monocrop both.

A couple posts back, I got badmouthing Yellowstone Park because of the crowds. Glacier, in July especially, has a little of that too. Seth, always advertising, thought he could drum up business on Logan Pass. 

Check out the vintage "wood paneled" minivan.

Check out the vintage "wood paneled" minivan.

But for the most part, on the back trails, over the mountain passes, we had the place to ourselves. I'll share some stories and a little of what we did on the next post.

For now, let's stick to the business side of the trip. We were able to see one big Montana operation. Here you can see hives placed on canola. 168 of them to be exact. In the background is the canola. Miles of rolling hills covered in yellow bloom. The bees had just been placed, supers were soon to follow.

It's a mutual love between canola farmers and beekeepers. In so many other cases the beekeeper is paid to bring bees in. The farmer needs the pollination, but the bees don't make much in the way of honey. Canola is different. The plant is a big nectar producer. I've seen bees on canola with supers stacked head high. Canola means honey!

And 168 hives, all with heavy honey laden supers stacked to the sky, for this big beekeeper means a:

A fistful of Benjamins for this Montana bee operation. It's big business.

Next up: animal encounters in Glacier National Park.