A Nun, A Machinist, and a Dairy Maid

What do a nun, a machinist and a dairy maid all have in common?

Any guesses?

They are all in my  Beekeeping class.

Last night was week five.

One more week to go.

The atmosphere in the classroom  last night was  electric.  Thirty five people from all walks of life, ranging in age from twelve to seventy-five.  At least 50% of the class are women.

We talked about motivation for going into bee keeping again. Discovered motives were as varied as the people there.

Our instructor told us, this will be his 26th year managing bees… just about everything you can do wrong, he’s done.

When he started out, he didn’t have anyone to mentor him. He did know of one other guy, but that person refused to return his phone calls.

To sit under a master, who is willing to share his wisdom, now that is a gift.

I mentioned on Facebook last week, we were moving in the direction of getting honeybees, and  I had eight different people tell me they wanted to buy honey  when it was ready….

Eight sales, and I don’t even have any bees yet. 🙂

I think I’ve discovered an itch.

Did you know, that large-scale honey producers can cut their honey by as much as 30% and still call it “Pure”?

Something is wrong with that picture.

We also touched briefly on the topic of “organic honey.”   Well, that is also a murky topic.   A beekeeper has no control of where his honeybees will forage, (lawns sprayed with insecticides,  etc.  are all fair game.  A honey bee will travel three miles (or more) in search of pollen and nectar, so according to our instructor, there is just one honey producer in the Dakota’s who is legitimately  certified “organic” because of the several square miles of ground they own…everybody else is pulling your leg…no matter what they say. (Next time you’re in the store, study the labels on the honey jar and get back to me with what you find out)

I crave integrity.  It is such a precious commodity.  While I am far from perfect, I work really hard at being a man of my word.  Two weeks ago, I sold one of my harvest tables to a lady on the East coast.  After a few e-mails back and forth, we talked on the phone. She was amazed I didn’t want a deposit up front, said it was a delight to deal with someone she felt she could trust.  I told her I had not been burnt yet, and that’s how I prefer to run my business.

Yes, on the larger projects I do have written contracts, it’s better for both parties to get as much as possible clearly spelled out and in writing.


Now how in the world, did I get from talking about beekeeping to cultivating trust in relationships?

The common thread is trust, and integrity. 😉

(Which is still alive and well, here in the Hinterlands.)

Check out that post on the Hinterlands if you have a second…I wrote it a couple three years ago,  for my farm blog.

So, tell me, how about you,….are there still pockets of trust and integrity where you live?  Give me an example.  Tell me a story. I love stories.

Thanks in advance! DM







11 thoughts on “A Nun, A Machinist, and a Dairy Maid

  1. DM, did you tell that fellow not to come to Iowa because you wanted to keep the secret of rural life all to yourself? 🙂 I like that you were honest and didn’t sugar coat how hard it might be. With the truth in front of you, you can then go on and make a decision that works. In healthcare, we called it informed consent.

    I heard a story just the other day. My community is one of those places that has an old core downtown area and then urban sprawl along the southern outskirts…strip malls, fast food, chain stores, etc. The main street downtown is a wealth of little shops and restaurants. A fairly new restaurant had opened a while back (brother and sister team), and was actually doing pretty well, but apparently not well enough to sustain staying open. I guess the regulars loved it, but it just wasn’t drawing in new patrons. That has been a routine issue with this older area. People just don’t come into old town unless they live within a few blocks. Anyway, another restaurant owner heard about the issue and started a media campaign to promote this other business, because as he noted “we help each other in this community and this restaurant deserves your time, energy and patronage.” One notice grew into 10, then 50, and then it was all over social media. While the restaurant was promoted to have outstanding food, the real thread that moved this along was the fact that a ‘rival’ business owner was willing to stand up, speak out truthfully, and ask the community to stand behind these people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a great story! I suspect each of us in our own little way, can do similar things, in our own spheres of influence…makes me want to think about how I can start being even more intentional in blessing someone else, w/o any strings attached.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of our local beekeepers keeps jars of honey on his porch for people to buy during the day while he’s at work. You just take what you want and leave the money in a jar. The last time I bought honey there I had to make change. There was well over $100 cash in that jar. He lives on a quiet road and could be robbed very easily, but chooses to operate on trust.

    Another neighbor grinds and sells feed. I went over to pick some up once last year and there was no one around. I went ahead and loaded what I needed (as I’d often done) expecting someone would come over to take my money by the time I was done. After waiting a while, I called them on my cell phone, figuring they were probably in the house or out in a pasture somewhere. When they answered they said they were in Myrtle Beach SC on vacation! So I told them I’d just leave the money in the box next to the feed (where they alway put it when I pay–it’s also where they keep the receipts) and they said that would be fine. There was at least a couple hundred dollars cash in that box.

    It’s good to live in a place where people live like they assume integrity, rather than dishonesty. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that’s what I’m talking about. Both great examples. Good to hear from you Bill. Do you have your 2017 business plans 100% firmed up? (ie. how much and what you are going to plant/ how you are going to sell it this season, etc. I know last Fall you mentioned you were going to take a hard look @ everything again and may be cutting some things out. (At least I think that is what you said) 😉 DM


  3. Yes, DM. On my travels around USA and around Baltic republics, for a year now, I personally experienced nothing but trust in people. Which is really a soothing drink for my soul. After working in corporate world for many many years, where I sat in so many meetings with the inherent theme being: how can we trick them out of their money, I was a wreck. Emotionally, spiritually. This roadschooing we had done rekindled my own trust and hope for humanity. We’ve stayed in so many houses of strangers. People trusted us with their homes and their belongings. Our trip through Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania was just story after story of trusting each other. In Vermont, all the farms around us operated on honor system. You pull into the stand and pick out your veggies, look up prices, weigh the stuff, put dollars in the milk jar. One day I saw that har completely full with twenties and nobody there. As someone coming from Chicago, I just had hard time grasping it. I felt it would not last in Chicago for 2 seconds.. In the public library of small Vermont town where we stayed, I asked the librarian if we could somehow borrow books without living there permanently. She said of course!!! She just took my name- without even showing id or anything!!! And we could use the library as much as we wanted. I just could not believe how much of this is left in small communities and how much we actually lose when we lose these communities. The lack of trust that is so pervasive in urbanized areas is what suffocated me while living there…

    Liked by 1 person

    • yea! Double Yea! It is encouraging and refreshing to hear that you’ve experienced that level of trust (in so many settings). it also speaks volumes about your heart. (I too have worked in soul killing settings/ and had to leave). Makes me want to travel to rural Vermont and soak it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Life in eastern Canada, the Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick (Yay!), Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, is similarly trusting, warm, and welcoming (I might add also warm and welcoming to our lovely new Syrian refugee families). I consider it a blessing to have ended up living here for the past 47 years, which I certainly could not have anticipated. A sense of community, outreach, and inclusion reigns supreme, with enlightened local leadership. We build on our long history of aboriginal, Acadian, and then United Empire Loyalist (New Englanders who fled during the American Revolution!) roots. Another example of how we’re all immigrants. 😉

    Re bee-keeping, we kept bees for many years in our farming days. Lots of fun and some drama, especially when a bear would decide to have a taste! Honey was to die for and lasted LONG after we left the farm.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I may have some bee keeping questions once I get rolling for you 😉 No bears here, but plenty of other predators. It is good to hear about the trusting, gracious nature in your part of the world as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow. Reading this blog and the comments, too..makes me long for greener (more trusting and trustworthy pastures.) I have been in such trusting places, but New York City (or Brooklyn, where I live) is just not it. I remember leaving my car unlocked, house with just the screen door in place all day, when I lived in small town Ohio…but that’s not here! We were in Wyoming and my kids just couldn’t believe that everybody parked their bikes outside WITHOUT LOCKS. Makes me want to get out of here and back to someplace more trusting. I don’t know how else my kids will ever know that such things are possible…


  6. When we moved in to our old house, it was quite overgrown. The backyard of 2 acres or so were so tall it towered over me, and I’m 6-5. We were unloading the second load of the day from my half ton and utility trailer. It was the hottest weekend of the year and we had another load to go yet.
    My wife and I were surprised to hear the putter of a diesel coming our way across the field next door, and I leaned on the bed of the truck as our new neighbor pulled up with the bushhog on his tractor.
    I greeted him, “Hey, how’s it going?”
    “Aw, going alright.”
    Seeing his property was looking mown and well kept, I got straight to the point. “You’re not going to offer to bushhog for me, are you?”
    He replied with words I’ll never forget. “Well, I figure you gotta be a good neighbor if you want good neighbors.”

    That old house is next door now, and that neighbor, one of our best friends, is the main reason we chose the land we have now when we sold the old house, instead of a larger, cheaper parcel of land ten miles away.


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