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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Minnesota Honey Producers

Bee yards are pin pointed on a map

The honey extraction begins in this room

Stainless steel tanks holding the extracted honey

I spent a lovely few days at the MHPA (Minnesota Honey Producers Association) yearly conference. It was the first of its type for me and I couldn't have asked for a group of more friendly and sincere people with which to spend some time. There were some excellent speakers that included an organic farmer/beekeeper from California named Randy Oliver who is heavily involved in honey bee education (educating people, that is) and is active in the political arena when it comes to saving our honey bees and other pollinators.

Did you know that some of the very best honey bee research is being done in Minnesota? Dr. Marla Spivak is heading this quest for honey bee knowledge and has been active in the MHPA for years.

This would be my first introduction to the association members as their new State Fair Booth Manager and I was warmly welcomed. I was asked to prepare a slide show presentation that told "my story" and of course, the sled dogs took up the majority of that talk. I mentioned how I am used to giving talks to this size a crowd but only with a sled dog by my side so if they happen to see me reach down to pet the air on occasion, they'll know what in the world I was doing. I don't have a very quick wit and often wonder how I will ever make it through long presentations but end up doing alright. It helps when you have a very forgiving audience, which I did! Writing is so much easier because you get to ponder.....

A visit to a commercial honey bee operation made the weekend complete. The Honls have nearly 5000 bee hives in too many locations to count. They are migratory beekeepers and move their bees out west to California for Almond pollination in the Minnesota winter months.

After a wonderful couple of days I was anxious to get back to the sled dogs and pick up the house dogs from the "resort" where they had been housed during my time away. Being very much an introvert, the fact that I had to be "on" for three days straight took a heavy toll on me and I couldn't wait to get home and take a nap but not after visiting with the dogs first.

After my nap, the skies appeared to be not as happy as they were earlier in the day. The weather radar and television broadcast indicated that there was a storm on the way. Little did I know what would soon come.

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