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I have 8 more hours of waiting until I find out if we received out beekeeping license.  I though a good diversion from the churning ball of nerves in my stomach would be another blog post.  :)

You know, when you meet people as they ask what you do, it never crossed my mind until recently to state that I am a beekeeper, probably because it was “just one hive” and that it was a hobby.  Someone who knits doesn’t respond to the questions by stating that they are a knitter.  I hate that question anyway.  Maybe it is because I do not have a 9-5 job in which I am compensated for the time I spend that is all added up at the end of the year and reported in your taxes.  Maybe it is because I typically state “whatever I want” when someone asks me what I do.  Or “Queen of the Universe,” “Master & Commander,” or if in a setting where none of these are appropriate, I answer “Full-time Volunteer.”  Recently the position that I used to be paid for is one that I do for free.  A lot of tasks that I did in past lives (fundraising, grant-writing, etc.) I still DO, just not for any monetary compensation.  My children are both in school all day (4th grade and 2nd grade), so I don’t think “stay-at-home Mom” applies any longer.  And I sure as heck do not “make my home”, so homemaker does not apply.

When we got our first hive (our “hobby hive”) I was expecting a lot, but I never realized how addicting, exhilarating, and enjoyable it would be.  We got it as a living teaching tool (not only for the kids but for everyone), for pollination and as a hobby.  I never realized that it would turn into a passion, something that I would stand up and fight for and educate people about for 5 and a half months.  I never realized that it would be something to get me out of my shell and over my fear of public speaking.  I never realized that it would make friends and allies out of the most unlikely people, and bind together people of a community, of sorts.  As hokey as it sounds, that ONE decision has changed our lives completely.

Well, we decided to turn our hobby into a bit of a side business.  We have purchased 4 Langstroth hives, 3 of which will be placed at an apple orchard and the 4th will be at my sister-in-law’s house.  

With this, we are creating “Bethel’s Seven Hills Honey,” Seven Hills being a nod to our area, as the City of Port Washington is widely known as having seven hills.  Thanks to two trips out to Lapp’s Bee Supply Store, we have just about everything we need to get started… minus the new tenants.  :)

Everywhere I go, I am asked if we have honey for sale.  Our BeePod is great as a “hobby hive” for observation and pollination.  It does produce a small amount of excess honey for us beekeepers, not nearly enough as my husband Mike would like to consume.  So, yes, it will be nice to have a little side money coming in to help support our new-found bee addiction.  Also, my children, myself and my husband suffer from horrible seasonal allergies.  I would much rather feed them honey than some prescription or over-the-counter drug to combat it.  With the increase of GMO crops (coming soon to your sugar beets!), I am going to get my family off of as much sugar as possible.  What better way to sweeten your coffee with than honey– much better than sugar with a side of pesticides.

So my question is this: have I now entered the realm of, when asked “What do you do?”, can I  finally add “beekeeper” to that list?  Given the time, resources and energy that I have put into my ability to keep bees, I would like to think so.

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