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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Post State Fair

Creamed Honey and Honey with Comb in the Jar

Creamed and Liquid Honey

Many different colors and flavors of honey based upon the flowers the bees visit. They create honey from the nectar of flowers.

Honey is art.

Before the rush at the Honey Ice Cream and Honey Lemonade stand. Enjoy it while you can.

At the sampling counter.

Honey Booth

The view from my office perch, high atop the Honey Booth.

The Honey Candy booth buzzes with activity.

The smiling faces of the "Candy Ladies".

It's hard to believe that I haven't posted for an entire month. This shows how completely consumed I have been with everything having to do with the State Fair Honey Booth. I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Imagine being someone who feels most at peace in the serenity of the woods and in the company of dogs either alone or with one or a few good friends. Then imagine placing yourself in a huge mob of people at the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" for 15 hours a day and 12 days straight! Over stimulated is an understatement! I did manage to get myself in the "zone", focusing on the task at hand and individuals rather than the congested crowd. I do enjoy educating folks about honey and bee products and I had a wonderful, hardworking and knowledgeable group of people working at the booth that made my time there so much easier. When I had to go out into the crowd, my tunnel vision kicked in. The deep and slow breathing began.

The adrenaline was the only thing keeping me going most of the time as a full night's sleep was not possible. Neil got up before me and headed into the fair before it opened to restock the shelves. I followed within an hour and settled in for the day. Neil returned to feed the dogs and sleep then all dogs got out to play in groups while he restocked the truck for the next day. I returned home at 10:30PM, just in time for bed. My poor dogs. I was so exhausted upon my return home that I was only able to make my feet move those few more steps into the dog yard in the dark but three times during my 12 day event. The first night I visited, I recall the mournful howls upon my departure that continued on and off throughout the night. My heart strings got tugged a little too hard that night. I could imagine what my dogs were thinking, knowing that I am home but not coming out to visit them and when I do, only for a few moments.

As I write this, I am reflecting on the fact that the dynamic in the kennel always changes when there is change. Ilo and Ari recently came to live with us, McKenzie and Wahya went to their new home while I was away and Neil was the main caregiver during my absence. This is a A LOT of change and the dogs are acting out a bit, trying to find their place within all of the change. This will all take time to settle. Patience is a good thing.

So, the Fair! It was a great success and a lot of honey was sold when it needed to be sold. (My mantra payed off!) As is life, there is always something new to learn and I sure learned a lot and cultivated a routine and system that I can apply next year, making it so much easier. Yes, changes will be made and on the top of the list is more staff for the Honey Ice Cream Booth! My poor scoopers worked their wrists off this year and won't need to work quite as hard next year.

We also learned a valuable lesson from the State Patrol and are thankful that we were pulled over by the Vehicle Inspection officer the day after the fair as we went to retrieve our products. Upon inspection, the officer discovered broken leaf springs on either side of the axle. DANGEROUS. We has no idea and were told that if we loaded the truck with the amount of honey we had planned to load that day, we could potentially have had a fatal accident as the leaf springs and axle collapses. This was fixed as soon as it could be and in the meantime, Neil took several trips to and from the fair in the Tacoma to pick up product. I made a point to call the officer to thank him. He was caught off guard as he said he had never gotten a thank you for giving someone a citation. Well, he got one from me! We were in the right place at the right time. Things happen for a reason. Thank goodness.

Now here we are, stepping back into our "real" lives again. The fair experience was a wild ride I will look forward to again next season. But not any sooner. I need a break. When asked how I felt about the pace during the fair I responded - I have been out winter camping with the dogs on a windy lake with 40 degree below zero temps for a week. Been cold to the bone and cramped in a tiny tent as the winds attempted to uproot us. THAT was easier than what I had just been through! Don't me wrong. I loved it. Just not interested in doing it more than once a year, thank you very much.

Sincere thanks goes out to each and every one of those who helped make the MN Honey Producers Association State Fair Fundraiser the success it was! It could not have been done without all of you!

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