Monday, June 11, 2012

Marvelous Mama Meesh

For over a year now, I have been compiling a myriad of reasons why his crazy idea would never work.

Bears, moose, skunks, raccoons and a hundred other varmints live in them thar mountains!

And every one of them would love a tasty snack of honey and bees. Not to mention the cold summer evening mountain temperatures, strong winds, and lack of a beekeeper constantly watching over them. Gladly he ignored my misgivings and a few weeks ago placed Mama Meesh and her hive of honeybees high in the Cache Wasatch National Forest on property belonging to our very good friends.

Scott and Dean believe the wildflowers and the snowberry bush will make delicious honey. Seriously, if you were a bee wouldn't you want to live here?

After a two week settling in period, it was time to check on the bees to see whether they had even survived the move. Just the two of us made the drive into the mountain property that day...where a lovely light breeze scattered the scent of the forest around us. The afternoon was nothing short of a spiritual experience.

What we found was a busy thriving hive. The girls were actively flying in and out with bright yellow pollen filling the sacks on their tiny legs. Pollen is immediate sustenance for hard-working bees.

Mostly likely they were gathering it from this bright yellow mountain flower along with sweet sugary nectar. Using a straw-like proboscis, the worker bee drinks the liquid nectar, storing it in a special honey sack (almost like a honey tummy) within her body. The bee continues to forage, visiting hundreds of flowers until the honey sack is full when she brings it back to the hive.

Approaching the hive, we immediately noticed the absence of guard bees protecting the entrance. They usually zig and zag into your face. This hive was completely and inexplicably docile.

Even after opening the hive and moving frames around, Dean declared it to be the happiest beehive he's ever seen.

Signs of brood on this frame

and many others indicate the hive is expanding mightily

Sweet sugary nectar is already making the transition to delectable mountain honey.

I watched him methodically go about his work...

searching for the illusive Queen Mama Meesh

and placing the next honey super on.

Dreaming of harvesting the amber colored ambrosia next fall.

The face of a very happy beekeeper who should never listen to his wife!

The beekeeper and I sat on that mountain for quite some time and absorbed the magnificent vista. Casually he pointed out a grove of Quaken Aspen trees at the very tip top of the mountain overlooking the bees...Jocie's mountain. Her monument lies in that bright green grove. And her spirit wafts continually through these trees both winter and summer. It's no wonder that Mama Meesh is content and thriving with Jocie the beekeeper magnificently watching over her.

And then I couldn't help but giggle as I envisioned fifteen-year old Jocie and her girlfriend Lindsay frolicking among the trees that live here!


  1. I would be one happy bee living in them thar mountains too! Love Logan Canyon.

  2. Oh my goodness, what a glorious place. How nice that you and your husband had time to sit and soak it all in. Lisa I have to tell you I've found your last 2 posts so informative. One of the groups we teach in the sp Ed unit is a science life skills class - this particular group of students are so lovely and one of the girls is learning about bees, so if it's ok with you I was wanting to show the class, but especially this student, your photos and read through your explanations with her.

  3. Oh absolutely please share...they will probably think we are crazy and we name our queen bees! What a wonderful group of students you must have!

  4. I would be happy in that very same spot. It looks like they are being very well looked over.

  5. Lisa, your posts are aleays so inspiring. I love the thought of Jocie's beautiful spirit in that beautiful place - and I feel so honored that you shares those thoughts with us. The beekeeping is amazing - looking forward to more honey!!

  6. Oh I love Mama Meesh's hive (and I want an explanation on the name?)--- such glorious photos and a perfect day. You really are an amazing photographer, Lisa. Love you.

  7. Lovely post! The wooden bee hive is a work of art in it self. What a fresh and delightful spot to visit or live.