Posted in Bee Tracks

It’s just too darn hot

 

pexels-photo-356977

They call it the “lazy days of summer,” but the truth is it’s just too darn hot!

In Tennessee things begin to slow down in August — I mean REALLY …. s-l-o-w …. d-o-w-n. While I love living in the south, July and August (and even September) in Tennessee can make a person retreat indoors and barricade the house against the heat like soldiers guarding Fort Knox.

With temperatures dancing around the nineties and humidities high enough to ignite an explosion of perspiration walking from the house to the car, it’s no wonder southerners take refuge indoors. Like groundhogs sniffing outside their burrows, we tend to emerge late in the summer evenings for a brief look at the yard. Does the grass need mowing? Naw. It can wait another day. Then we retreat behind insulated walls like we’re scared of our own shadow.

The truth is it’s just too darn hot to be outside!

Interestingly, the bees don’t mind the heat. They like an inside-the-hive temperature of about 93 degrees. Of course, if it gets hotter, they go outside and turn on the air conditioner by fanning their wings at the entrance. Meanwhile, even in the heat I still have to check on the “girls” so I’m standing outside the hives with sweat dripping in my eyes covered from head to toe in a bee suit at 3:00 on a “balmy” 92 degree afternoon. And if the bees are fanning around my face, it’s not because they want to keep me cool. They’re warning me to stay away.

In this heat I have to remind myself, it’s only a season. It seems like only five months ago I was complaining about the cold and longing for the warm days of summer! Now I’m (once again) looking ahead to the cool days of October. We’re never satisfied with the weather — unless we live in Hawaii! As the days imperceptibly grow shorter, we’ll soon be looking at cooler nights and crisp mornings — and we’ll venture outside to work in the yard once again.

God gives us this promise: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22)  So If I can live with the confidence that there’s always tomorrow, I can also be assured that another season is right around the corner.

You may think your life is “too hot” right now. It may seem like it’s easier to shut the door against that heated situation. You may not see a solution beyond the reach of your arm, but what you’re going through today is not permanent.

Inviting God into the hot spots of your life will shift the atmosphere around you. That messy relationship will be sorted out — or will end (hopefully with forgiveness and healing hearts). Your job situation will be resolved — or you’ll move on (maybe to a more fulfilling position). Even the darkest night is forced to retreat by the rising sun.

There’s always the “But, God … ” in scripture that encourages me. When things seemed hopeless for the Israelites and they cried out to Him, God came to the rescue like the hero riding in on a white horse. He’s not sniffing around the edge of your problem trying to decide if He wants to step into your situation. He’s straining at the starting gate waiting. He’s yearning for you to invite Him to leap onto the track of your life.

Let’s begin to invite God into every area of our lives. He wants to help us make the most of each season we face.

So, while it’s just too darn hot today, take heart. Cooler days are ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bee Tracks, Conferences

Pass It On

Bees on book 3

Suki and I spent last week in St Louis at the Heartland Apicultural Society Annual Conference (HAS). In other words, we buzzed around with fellow beekeepers learning about and, naturally, talking about bees. HAS hosted many excellent speakers as well as wonderful hands-on workshops on the beautiful campus of Washington University. Imagine the fun of learning something new and getting to play with bees at the same time!

HAS booth

I heard the attendance for the conference was around 700 and I think I talked to over 500 attendees. I was there to promote my book, Life Lessons from the Hive, but we also had a few God-appointments too.

Suki and I prayed for healing for a man who was having back surgery, talked to a lady about forgiveness, and heard God stories and miracle stories from many wonderful folks. We also shared a few of our own stories with some new friends for the three-day conference. AND, we sold some books.

Actually, we hit a milestone. I’ve sold over 1000 books to date, so I’m celebrating! That means over 1000 people are learning how fascinating honey bees are and how critical they are to our survival. AND over 1000 people are reading the gospel. I think that’s cause for celebration.

But I won’t be celebrating for long. I’m working on another book and looking forward to the next milestone — 2000 copies of Life Lessons from the Hive. Won’t you join me in the fun? Share this post, invite a friend to buy the book or give your book to someone else. It’s an easy way to spread the gospel!

Posted in Bee Tracks

Do You Have Any Honey?

spoon-honey-jar

It’s the end of May and already folks are asking, “Do you have any honey?”

“Sorry, not yet.”

Working with bees is a lesson in patience. We can’t simply go out to the hive and turn on the honey faucet any time we feel like it. Plus, the production of honey and the amount we collect is never a guarantee for the beekeeper. There are too many variables.

For example, if the colony of bees is too small, there aren’t enough bees to bring in large quantities of nectar to make honey. If the weather in the spring is too wet, nectar from the flowers is washed away and there’s nothing to gather. If we have a late freeze, flower buds die before they open — so, again, no nectar. If it’s too hot in the early spring, nectar sources dry up. If the hive swarms in the spring, half the workers are gone — and again, no nectar.

However, IF a hive is strong (about 60-80,000 bees) in the spring, and IF the weather is dry enough, but not too dry, and IF the late freeze didn’t set them back, and IF the bees don’t swarm, we’ll probably get honey from those busy workers. —  Hooray!!!

But we still can’t take the honey now. Why? It’s not honey yet.

What transforms nectar in the flowers into the delicious honey we enjoy on a hot buttered biscuit? The bees. As the nectar gets passed from bee to bee over 180 enzymes, vitamins and minerals, including protein from pollen, are added to the nectar. The honey passes up the chain of bees until it’s deposited in one of the thousands of hexagonal wax storage bins called honeycomb. It looks and smells like honey, but it’s still not honey yet.

Once it’s in the comb the nectar must be dehydrated. By flapping their wings over the nectar the bees can reduce the water content from 70 % to 18 %. That’s a lot of flapping — and it takes time! Once the honey reaches the magic 18 % number, the bees cap it with wax so it won’t absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Once it’s capped, THEN it’s ready.

In Tennessee most flowers only produce nectar from about May 1 to June 15th. Then the bees begin curing the nectar and capping the honey, and by the time it’s ready, it’s July or August.

And that’s when we harvest.

Good things are worth the wait. Real quality takes time — and patience. The bees know it, but we seem to have forgotten that truth. We want what we want, the way we want it and we want it NOW.

We’ve lost the gift of patience. At least some of us have. I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a meal. so I look for something quick and easy. I drum my fingers on the counter top waiting for the microwave to cook my dinner in 90 seconds! I want “instant” everything — instant service, instant oatmeal, instant cash, instant faith.

In the United States we buy almost everything on credit because we don’t want to wait. We have almost 610 million credit cards in the United States and most families carry a balance on more than three cards burning a hole in their wallets. Currently credit card debt in America is 962 billion dollars. That’s billion — with a “B.” The average credit card debt per household is $14,750.

That’s a lot of debt.

We’re the same way with every other aspect of our lives as well, including our relationship with God. I’m guilty of “running up a debt” with Him, too. Often I jump out ahead of Him, because I think He’s not moving fast enough. I want His answer on my time, not His. After all, we know God can answer a prayer instantly, so why doesn’t He?

Could it be that the answer isn’t ripe yet? (Which could explain why my plans often taste sour).

God calls patience a Fruit of the Spirit. And, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen an “instant apple.” Fruit takes time and has to be cultivated.

Maybe, once again, God wants to teach me something through the bees — the art of patience.

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A Side Note:  Please don’t ask to buy our honey online. We only sell our honey locally because we want to look you in the eye and say “Thank you.” However, IF you’re willing to come to Middle Tennessee and IF our bees stay healthy and IF we have a good honey crop this year and IF we have some extra honey for sale, send me a reply and we’ll let you know when it’s ready.

Posted in Event Schedule

Schedule for May

 

 

Bees on comb

May is looking like it’s going to be a busy month for bees and for speaking engagements as well.  Here’s a list of where I’m scheduled to speak so far this month:

Saturday, May 5 — 2018 Spring Gathering of Presbyterian Women of Middle Tennessee, First Presbyterian Church, 204 E Grundy St., Tullahoma.

Saturday, May 5 — Battle of the Books, Tullahoma Library, Tullahoma.

Tuesday, May 8 — United Methodist Women, First United Methodist Church, Shelbyville.

Wednesday, May 16 — Town and Country Garden Club, River Bend Country Club, Shelbyville.

I do have some openings the rest of the year if you’re looking for a speaker for your group meeting or special event.  Please contact me by email: maryjanemiller@yahoo.com