Dear Beekeeping Friends,
I hope you and your bees are enjoying a wonderful summer! It has certainly been a wonderful and very busy summer for me and my bees. Our family recently extracted our honey at the home of CCHBA member Doug Buchanan, and we are pleased to have our largest yield yet!
On March 22, I traveled with Shirley Acevedo and Rachael Seida to the Austin area, where we first enjoyed a delightful evening and good night’s sleep at the home of Mary Bost of the Williamson County Area Beekeepers Association before the busy day which would follow.
The next day began with a visit to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, in the company of Williamson County Honey Queen, Rebekah Jones, Rebekah’s mother Cindy and brother Caleb, Rachael Seida, Shirley Acevedo, Christy Oakley Chartier and Jimmie Oakley. Deryn Davidson, gardener and gardens volunteer coordinator at the Center, led us all on a tour of the beautiful wildflower gardens and introduced us to Executive Director, Susan Rieff and other wildflower center employees. Deryn is also a member of the WCABA and maintains beehives on the wildflower center grounds.
Our next stop was at the Texas State Capitol, with the intent of paying a visit to our district representatives. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet them in person, as they were conducting business elsewhere at the time, but Rebekah and I each left them a bear of honey to enjoy, courtesy of Bost Bee Farm.
Before the WCABA general meeting that evening, I had the privilege of assisting Rachael Seida as she conducted a media training session for Rebekah Jones. Having served as Honey Queen at the county, state and national levels, Rachael is indeed a valuable asset to the Honey Queen Program. I am so thankful for the guidance that Rachael, former Honey Queens and Shirley Acevedo – have given me!
I had the pleasure of visiting the WCABA March meeting that evening, where I had lots of fun fellowshipping, giving a brief speech, helping to recognize the new youth scholarship recipients and hammering nails right along with them as they built their scholarship hives on the meeting-room floor. Thank you, WCABA, for a delightful visit, and special thanks to my wonderful hostess, Mary Bost!
On April 3, I attended the Spring Festival at Heritage Farmstead in Plano, TX, with Collin County Honey Princess, Caroline Adams (who also happens to be my sister!) and our mother Caryl Adams. We shared the good word about beekeeping to many families that day, some coming back to our table again and again to observe the bees in the observation hive. One of the things I enjoy about being Honey Queen is having the opportunity to watch many people experience the allure of honey bees and beekeeping – as beekeepers, we can certainly relate!
On April 9, I visited Marion Elementary in Allen, TX, with Collin County Honey Princess, Caroline Adams. Together we gave a presentation to the after-school environment class and answered many questions.
Earth Day is an excellent time to promote the importance of honey bees and beekeeping, and I had an opportunity to do so on April 22, when I was one of the presenters at a special Earth Day Program at the Greenhill School in Addison, TX. Throughout the day, the students moved in groups from one place to the next, learning about many Earth Day-appropriate topics, one of those being honey bees and pollination. I gave a total of seven bee talks, with a 15-minute interval in between each one. I had never given that many presentations in one day, so my throat didn’t seem all too happy with me by the time I was finished. When I arrived home, I took my own advice and had some honey!
The city of Sherman, TX, also hosted an Earth Day celebration at the Sherman Earth Day Festival on April 24. I attended the festival with Shirley Acevedo, and we set up our beekeeping display table and observation hive beside that of Guy and Liz Money of CCHBA, who were selling hive products to the many other festival attendees. I also gave a presentation entitled “Honey and Health.” We spoke with many interested people (potential beekeepers?) about beekeeping that day!
Nash Farm is a historical farmstead in Grapevine, TX, which hosts many educational events throughout the year. On May 8, I participated in the program “Urban Homesteading at Nash Farm”, where I gave a presentation on urban beekeeping. A.P. Warne (A.P.’s Apiaries) and Steve and Sheila Warne (Warne Bee Farm) were also there selling honey, pollen and honey sticks from their attractive display table.
The CCHBA held their annual picnic on May 15, and we enjoyed an afternoon of fellowship, fun and games, barbecue and honey dessert contests, a live auction, a cooking demonstration by Collin County Honey Princess, Caroline Adams, and a delicious buffet lunch, but the most exciting part for me was my first bee beard! Let me share the story with you:
During the picnic, some of our club members left to capture a swarm in a nearby town, which they brought back to the picnic for this grand purpose. At the end of the picnic, the CCHBA members formed a large crowd around a fantastic screened booth that Rachael Seida had designed and had built with her father Steven especially for bee beard demonstrations and having changed into more appropriate clothes, I entered the booth. With a sheet fastened around my neck, I seated myself on a little stool in the booth, and Kaylynn Mansker, Collin County Honey Queen, began to narrate outside the booth. The cage containing the queen was taped to the sheet at my neck, and CCHBA President, Blake Shook, with the assistance of Rachael Seida, introduced the bees to the sheet. The bees were extremely gentle, and neither I nor my handlers were stung during the demonstration. However, although the bees should have then tickled upward to their queen and my face, they had their own ideas. It seemed at first as if we had come across yet another colony of bees that “hadn’t read the book”, but after observing their strange disinterest in the queen and trying in various ways to make the bees go up (even taping the queen cage to my chin), my handlers arrived at a logical explanation for their unusual behavior. Based on the evidence, it seemed that the queen was still a virgin, and consequently was not producing a level of queen pheromone sufficient to attract the bees to her. In the end, although only a few bees found my face, I had a lovely “bee bib”!
A special thank-you to all who participated in the demonstration – I am so happy to have had that experience!
Immediately after the picnic, my father, Ned Adams, drove me to the airport, where I caught my flight to Houston. I was picked up by Clyde and Sarah Hughes and their children – Wesley, Cassie, Walker and Jackson – of the Harris County Beekeepers Association, who would be my kind hosts for that night and the next. Thank you very much, Hughes family!
The following morning, Mrs. Hughes, the children and I went to the Pasadena Strawberry Festival, where I met with Don Angle and Harry Reichart of the HCBA, and spent the day at the booth the HCBA maintains at the Festival, selling honey and explaining to passers-by the workings of the bees inside the unique Texas-shaped observation hive at the booth. I also enjoyed a slice of the enormous strawberry shortcake served at the festival every year – and it was delicious!
Each year, Mr. Harry Reichart, who worked at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for many years and volunteers there still, arranges a Level-9 NASA tour for the Texas Honey Queen, and on the day following my visit to the Pasadena Strawberry Festival, I had the privilege of taking the tour with my father, who drove down from our home in Plano. We arrived early, and Mr. Reichart introduced me to some of the NASA employees and enjoyed a space-shuttle ride with my father and me before we boarded the tour van. One of the best parts of the tour was Building 32, where Mr. Reichart worked with the vacuum chambers. The door to the largest chamber weighed 40 tons, yet was so perfectly balanced that it could be closed with one hand! What an incredible experience that tour was for me! Thank you so much, Mr. Reichart, for the gift of this tour, and thank you to everyone for all the “extras” that have made being a Honey Queen so meaningful and memorable for me!
On May 29, I traveled to Burleson, TX, with A.P., Steve and Sheila Warne of CCHBA for the Burleson Honey Tour, where about 1,000 cyclists competed in races of various distances. I gave a brief welcome to the assembly before they began their races, and waved them off as they rode away. There were a number of vendors set up where the race had begun, and as the bikers returned, many came by the Warnes’ booth to purchase pollen, honey and the ever-popular honey straws. I had many good opportunities to promote honey as a healthful source of quick energy!
I had the privilege of visiting the Pineywoods Beekeepers Association monthly meeting on June 10, in Lufkin, TX. Mrs. Acevedo, Rachael and I drove down together that day and met PBA President, Marie Kocyan at the Wisteria Hideaway, a bed and breakfast in Lufkin, where we would spend the night. After checking in, the four of us left for Cheddars, where we enjoyed a tasty supper before the meeting. I gave a presentation for the meeting program and had a lovely time meeting and fellowshipping with the Pineywoods Beekeepers. Before returning home the following day, Marie gave us a personal guided tour of Lufkin and Nacogdoches, which included a visit to the Mast Arboretum where we saw the marvelous Win Day Observation Hive, built by the East Texas Beekeepers Association and maintained by the Pineywoods Beekeepers Association. Thank you, Marie, for your thoughtfulness!
I was so happy for the chance to see many of you at the TBA Summer Clinic in Webberville, TX, on June 19; to say hello to those of you I have met before, and to meet some of you for the first time! I traveled there with Caroline Adams, Rachael Seida and Michelle Bradley of CCHBA, and after the program, auction, and lunch, I participated in a media training, led by Rachael, with the other Honey Queens and Honey Princesses present in preparation for our cooking-with-honey demonstrations at the Texas State Fair in October. Thank you, Rachael, for the helpful instruction, thank you, Dr. and Mrs. Molnar, for hosting the event, and thank you all, dear beekeepers, for a wonderful day!
On July 1, I visited the East Texas Beekeepers Association monthly meeting in Tyler, TX, with Shirley Acevedo and Anne Siep (CCHBA Secretary) after joining several of the ETBA members for a delicious supper at Rudy’s Barbecue. I gave a presentation for the meeting program and thoroughly enjoyed meeting with the East Texas Beekeepers. After the meeting that evening, the three of us spent the night at the home of Mrs. Violet Bourns, who kindly invited us to stay with her. Thank you, Mrs. Vi Bourns.
The Pineywoods Beekeepers Association invited me to attend their July Family Picnic and Field Day in Lufkin, TX, on July 10. Rachael and I drove to the home of Claude and Patti Smithhart of the PBA, the generous hosts of the picnic. I had such a pleasant time meeting and learning with the PBA members – thank you all for a delightful day!
I met with Kim Williams, contributor to our local newspaper Plano Star Courier, at my apiary on July12. Kim was writing a story on beekeeping in Collin County, and she also interviewed several other beekeepers. I invite you to visit http://www.planostar.com/articles/2010/07/20/plano_star-courier/news/680.txt
to read the article!
I am so very thankful for all the beekeeping friends I have made so far during my year as Texas Honey Queen, and I look forward to meeting many more of you during the months to come!
Your Texas Honey Queen,