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What's in a name?

If you look closely at some of our photos, you will notice there are some hives with name tags on them. This was something to which I used to devote my evening hours. We would sit by the fire (because it was best to do during the slower winter season), he reading, I painting.

And I couldn't just use any old name from a baby book (though eventually I did find a cool one full of beautiful multi-cultural names), I had to use goddesses, amazing women of history, in science, in politics and religion, saints, singers, authors, and of course our family names. But honestly, I had to stop doing that last one. It was too spooky -- I mean, cross yourself, spit in the dirt, snap twice and howl to the moon spooky-- to say that the namesake of a family member's hive had died!! So I went back to books.

I managed to keep up for the first few hundred hives, but our growth became exponential and I was getting hand cramps! So instead of having every individual hive named, we tried to keep one per pallet so the whole group of six would have a name. I don't know how well this photo will transfer, so, for fun, I will tell you these ladies' names and wherefore they came to be.

Up front is Cordelia, because I love Anne of Green Gables (as a matter of fact, to the right of these, outside the photo, sit Anne and Diana themselves!). And Molina, which is actually the name of the main character in Kiss of the Spider Woman, a sentimental movie-obsessed gay man, played by the lovely William Hurt, who shares a cell with smokin' hot Raul Julia's political prisoner character. Such a beautiful movie!!! So, I guess I went for the romance rather than gender on that one. Behind them are Inana, the Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, desire, fertility, knowledge, wisdom..., and Queen Cristina, the intelligent, passionate, strong-willed, and well-spoken Swedish monarch of the 1600's. And in the far back are Demeter and Persephone, for a little Greek mythology very fitting to beekeeping, as we are constantly at the whim of Mother Nature, and the story of this mother daughter duo gives us the reason for the seasons.

I do wish I had been able to keep up as we climbed to 1,000 plus hives. Our farmers loved it! They would spend more time than usual walking the fields to read our name tags for a giggle. And often would have to ask where we got the crazy names. It really was a unique characteristic of our business. We cared so much we were literally on a first name basis with our bees! And everyone knows, a cow given a name lovingly, will produce more milk happily.

So I hope you all enjoyed that little glimpse into my brain. Happy keeping!

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