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I remember as a young kid, about 5 years old, visiting my Aunt Annette and Uncle Walt in the little town of Flicksville, Pennsylvania. Northampton County was the heart of an area nicknamed the "Slate Belt". To this day, mountains of broken slate still line the roads and the abandoned quarries now filled with water are the only reminders of an enterprise that dominated the area. Every chalkboard in every classroom east of the Mississippi River came from this area. Uncle Walt always had honey bees to help pollinate his large garden. I wish that I had an interest in beekeeping at that time, but unfortunately I didn't. Uncle Walt passed away and took all of his knowledge with him.

About 10 years or so ago, when I found myself traveling heavily with the U.S. military, there were times where I would have extensive down time. I started to toy with the idea of beekeeping. I'm not sure why that subject popped into my head. Possibly a subliminal message tucked away in my brain from my childhood days. I read every book, visited every website and watched every YouTube video that I could that was related to the subject. When I returned home in June 2011, I shared my idea with my father and said that we should try this starting in the Spring of 2012. We scouted out an area at my parents farm and found what we thought would be a perfect spot to place honey bee hives.

This "hobby" was meant to be therapy to relieve stress after returning home from several deployments to Iraq and the surrounding areas in the Middle East. But, as most do, I got addicted. Before beekeeping, I never paid attention to what plants and trees were in bloom. I never heard of plants like Japanese Knotweed or how many different varieties of clover there are. Who knew what a "dearth" was? Now, whenever I drive down a road, I say to myself "that would be a perfect spot for some hives". Every beekeeper eventually comes up with a name for their hives. I chose 1847 Stonehaus Hives after the resident German stone house at my parents farm. The house is the center of the farm and within it's shadow, the fields were bountiful and flourished with their crops long before the American Civil War.

I was fascinated with everything that was going on inside these hives when I would check on them. I'm still learning new things to this day. I wanted to share my experiences inside the hives with everyone so I started a Facebook page dedicated to the promotion of honey bee awareness. I do not try to sell my products there, but I do post pictures, videos, hive reports, newspaper articles, etc and anything else that I find interesting and appropriate for the page.

Our 4 hives grew to 11 hives by the next year and grew yet again to 18 hives in 2014. I just got a call back from the owner of a local winery. I'll be adding hives within his vineyard next Spring and that should take me to 25 hives. That's where I will draw the line. 25 hives is a lot of work for one person who works a full-time job.

How did you get into beekeeping?
 
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