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honey jars

Early this summer I had my first honey harvest. Here in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, we had a very wet spring. While this may be better than a drought for many, when the rain comes during the peak nectar flow, honeybees lose their only major opportunity of the year to produce honey.

Last year my beekeeping mentor harvested 7 gallons of honey per hive. This year it was 2 gallons per hive. Since I had such a small batch, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort of selling any. I had so many friends and family members who’d been on a ‘honey wait list’ for a year that I just bottled and gave jars to people I knew.

As I had planned, I wrote poetry inspired by the bees and added a poem to the back of each jar:

poems on honey jars

Bee poetry.

I became a Certified Beekeeper last year and I’m working toward my Journeymen designation. While it’s been a busy summer writing-wise, it’s also been busy with beekeeping. I acquired my Certified Naturally Grown status this year, which recognizes natural beekeeping practices that keep honeybee health as the top priority for hive management.

Managing bees continues to parallel writing life. Just as with developing a manuscript, it’s an ongoing effort that you make weekly progress on. Last summer, I slayed Small Hive Beetles (SHB) every few days. I’ve only seen a handful of SHBs this summer. Over the winter, I slayed passive voice and tense issues in my manuscript, and this winter I hope my drafts of new stories will be active and in the proper tense. It will be another year before I can harvest honey again, and it’s taken about a year to get my stories written and ready for submission.

I find there’s a natural rhythm between beekeeping and writing, and the harvest is equally sweet.

Feel free to drop your name in the comments or send me an email if you’d like to add your name to the ‘honey wait list’ for 2019. I now have three hives. I’m hoping they will stay strong and make it through the winter. If the rain works in our favor next spring, I’ll have my first batch of honey that’s for public sale!