55 In Life

ALMOST the weekend again!

Hi blog readers. Can I just, for a quick second, let y’all know that you absolutely crack me up?! Should I add Cowboy Josh’s picture to my header for your viewing pleasure? Do you think people would search the blog and wonder who the mysterious cowboy was mixed in with our children?


I’m terrible, absolutely terrible, about coming back and answering the questions that you ask in the comments. But many of you asked about the bees and I thought, for once, I’d fill you in. We have had 2 hives for about a year now and keeping bees is not easy, doesn’t come natural, and is actually quite labor, time, and stress intensive… at least for amateurs like ourselves. And really, I can take little to no credit other than giving half-decent moral support to my husband {resident keeper of the bees} and on some days I’ve been known to bark out, “Would you leave those dang bees alone and just come home!” Bees are so very complex and in my opinion a very strong testament to a very creative, brilliant and divine Creator of the universe! I should have been blogging about this all along; you would probably find humor in our ignorance. For instance, we have had stronger hives run off and take over weaker hives because we put them too close together and have mournfully learned that even a small Shop Vac has too much horsepower for bees and will obliterate them into a million pieces. Justin’s pine straw business is called Honey Bee Farms so he naturally receives calls about BEE REMOVAL and of course, because he’s a man who has bees, he has to jump on every opportunity to remove bees from precarious locations and carefully attempt to relocate them to our hives. With all of this said, we have finally successfully harvested our second batch of honey. Our first harvest was not so successful as it was fully laced with larvae because the Queen Bee apparently eluded her excluder and laid her eggs in our precious honey. Do you like how I blamed it on her and not us? We might could have sold it as “Protein Enriched”.

But this week brought elation and celebration to our home because FINALLY we have beautiful clean honey! This is our spring harvest so it is naturally lighter in color. And we strain it to keep small pieces of wax out. Justin harvested nearly 2 gallons from one super {for you bee people}.Β  For the non bee people, if you look at the picture of the hive above, the brood chamber is on the bottom and there are 3 supers above it. One yielded 2 gallons! Which is very exciting. He said their new wax was BEAUTIFUL.



In the picture below, if you look closely, you can see their fresh white wax. This is where they store their honey.


I was a little reluctant to get too close. Neither of us had on a suit so I’d hang my camera over the hive and snap away with hopes of coming awayΒ  sting-free and with a picture that was clear!

We do not currently sell the honey but we’d like to in the future. For now we are sharing it with our family, still working out kinks and learning as we go! The hives are located on Justin’s family’s land south of town, which is also where we keep our garden. Our backyard isn’t quite conducive for either… although, if you are interested in bees, you can have them in your backyard and this book is a great resource for doing so: The Backyard Beekeeper!

We’ve had a wonderful week with the exception of one little shiner received by the Raiger. She’s not near as pathetic as she looks in this picture! In fact, it really hasn’t slowed her down at all! The only thing that she has complained about is her swimming goggles that press against it! Do you remember Morgan’s… oh heavens, hers was WAY worse!? And the Rover’s had a little one too!


It happened during a backyard round of wiffle ball and this is precisely why we only use plastic bats and not metal ones,Β  I already fear the day we bring a metal one home!


We’ve been poolside some this week and I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of all three of them picnicking. I hope they have fond memories of this when they are older. I remember Mom making lunches for us and bringing them out to us and it is so fun to do the same for them.


And last but not least, we had a wonderful visit with Eiler this week! She and her precious little ones came down to shoot pictures for her fall catalog, she felt confident she could take the purple out of Paige’s eye! We’ll just have to wait and see! If she can, I’m going to need some lessons from her! πŸ™‚


That’s all for now! I really do appreciate all your comments and kind emails… y’all are SUCH an encouragement to me and I am so grateful for you! And sometimes I laugh at myself and think how gracious y’all are to not point out all my spelling and grammatical errors. I posted the last post early in the morning and Justin didn’t “proof” it for me, which means when I went back and read it later I found many RUN ON sentences and grammatical errors! Oh well!

ps- Our zinnias, although nearly mauled by varmints and rovers, are miraculously blooming.


You Might Also Like

  • L
    May 27, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Haha, I had refrained from saying anything about that cowboy, but dying to know if he loves Jesus. πŸ™‚ I’m sure I’m not the only one asking.

    My favorite use for honey these days is drizzled over thinly sliced apples and peanut butter on top of a piece of toast. A delicious open-faced sandwich, mmm!

    I’m sure your kids will remember these days picnicking by the pool. Picnics are one of my favorite memories with mom growing up.

  • Joy
    May 27, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    LOVE your blog and reading about your precious little ones! My daughter had a shiner on Halloween, and it looked so pitiful to see a princess with a purple eye to match her purple dress. And while I love the idea of bee-keeping they kind of freak me out! You’re a brave one!

  • Talysa
    May 27, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Very interesting…and will be very educational for your kiddos to learn firsthand. Now all you need is some butter and biscuits! πŸ˜‰

    Ps…my feelings would sooo not be hurt if you decided to put the cowboy in your header. πŸ™‚

  • Ashley
    May 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    The whole honey thing is fascinating!!! Thanks for sharing!!!
    And your poor little gal with her black eye! Bless her heart!

    Love the pic of the kids by the pool… I agree with you on the fact that lunch by the pool is one of my fondest memories as well! Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with potato chips never tasted so good after a morning of swimming and sunshine πŸ™‚

  • Julie
    May 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Cograts on your first honey! My grandfather was a bee keeper; he had over 200 hives all over South Carolina for many years. He and my grandmother worked as a team gathering the honey, and they did sell their honey.

    Your children are precious! πŸ™‚

  • sherry
    May 28, 2010 at 12:20 am

    I read blogs everynight after all have gone to bed, I look forward to it everyday. I read mostly interior design blogs. Yours is the only one that is not about interior design and it is my favorite. Being a mom of five and working from my home running a small business my world is crazy hectic. Lately it has been so busy that I haven’t had time to read, but I will not go to bed until I read your post. So thank you for my nightly read! BTW your daughter Paige reminds my of my 3 yr old Lauren, bobbed blond hair and dark brown eyes…precious!

  • martha-caknitter
    May 28, 2010 at 2:48 am

    You are so brave to even come close to the beehive for a picture, but it looks like it’s worth it judging from the honey. Yum.
    I have to say, you have the most adorable kids I’ve seen in pictures.
    Sorry about the shiner on your baby girl…it’s just one of those things that happens.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures.
    Have a great weekend.

  • Ashley
    May 28, 2010 at 4:36 am

    MMMMMmmmm- that honey looks so good! Way to make your own superfood, supermom! πŸ™‚

  • Mandy
    May 28, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Thanks for the info…interesting…I LOVE honey! The pictures are too sweet and I know they will remember these sweet times. It is so nice to be home and content. Have a good LONG weekend!

  • Amanda Davison
    May 28, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Where did you find that cute kids outdoor table and chairs by the pool?

  • Cat Moore
    May 28, 2010 at 6:49 am

    First, Way to go on the bee keeping! Yall are great! I would have killed them all by now. Second, I love the way the girls have their bed pushed together (I’m guessing) in that second picture showing her shiner! That is exactly what my sis and I did when we were the same age πŸ™‚ Third, I love that little picnic table! I think I saw it a Lowe’s and it caught my eye for the kids. Thanks for sharing!

  • Cat Moore
    May 28, 2010 at 6:54 am

    PS…I love how you called us “blog readers” instead of stalkers! We’ve moving up, aren’t we! πŸ™‚

  • Bryn
    May 28, 2010 at 7:09 am

    In the first picture of Raiger’s eye, she looks JUST LIKE YOU! I had to comment because you always say none of the children look like you. Wow!

  • Katie
    May 28, 2010 at 7:23 am

    So happy you posted about the bees….I was so curious about it in your last post. And I totally agree with Bryn….in that first pic of The Eye, I thought she looks just like you in it!!

  • Emily
    May 28, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Love this post! What a great way to head into the long Memorial Day weekend! I just started beekeeping this year with my dad and we LOVE it! They are so fascinating! I can’t wait for the day I feel comfortable enough to go into the hives without my suit and veil. I sneak up close to take pictures without my gloves every time we go into the hives but even that is scary – it’s not the sting that is the worst part – it’s the itching for the next week that kills me! Your honey looks great! Congrats! What a sneaky little queen evading your excluder! It’s not easy extracting that honey- just to find larvae in it! As always, your children are beautiful and they make me want to have 10 or 12 right away so we can install a pool in my backyard and have yummy PB&Js with potato chips all summer. (Plus make homemade fruit roll ups, ice cream and fantastic hand sewn outfits!) Thank you for making motherhood so appealing and beautiful -not many women can do it and you do it VERY well! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Beth
    May 28, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Lunch by the pool ! How special. I’d love to have bees and our own honey but I’m not sure the backyard is big enough for 2 dogs and bees.

  • Flower Patch Farmgirl
    May 28, 2010 at 7:38 am

    I am a newish reader. I’ve been under a rock, I guess. It’s fun learning about you and your wily brood. And bees! I have a hankering for bees. Thanks for the book suggestion.

  • Jessica
    May 28, 2010 at 7:43 am

    the zinnias are beautiful! I tried planting some last summer and they didn’t even survive long enough to pick and put in a vase πŸ™ Paige’s poor eye! You’re right – she does look pretty pathetic…but I’m sure it’s not slowing her down at all. If you start selling honey please let me know because I want to buy some! πŸ™‚ hope you have a good weekend with no more black eyes!

  • Britney
    May 28, 2010 at 8:07 am

    My first job in high school was working at a company that keeps bees and sells honey; it’s really hard work! Though I mostly filled and labeled bottles, I spent one entire summer extracting…very sticky stuff.

    Where did you get those great striped beach towels? I’ve been searching for some just like that but have only been able to find $75 one’s on the Ralph Lauren website and Lord knows no normal person spends that much on a beach towel!

  • kristen
    May 28, 2010 at 8:18 am

    how fun! (about the bees) i bet y’all will be selling the honey in no time.. have a wonderful summer

  • Melissa
    May 28, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Yes put a photo of Cowboy Josh on your banner! ha ha. He is super cute though and the cowboy thing makes him even more so. Love that you have honey – how fun. Local honey is awesome to help combat allergies.

  • Meg
    May 28, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Poor Paige! I remember when my mom sat me down for a black eye photo shoot! πŸ™‚ I love hearing about your garden and bees – how fun!

  • Mary Elizabeth
    May 28, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Black eyes seem to be an unfortunate part of growing up!
    My mother has a picture of me with two shiners after a fall on the playground…
    this was 45 years ago and I remember the boy who purposely tripped me at recess.
    I can only hope he grew up to be a good man!
    As always, your pictures are beautiful…have a wonderful shiner-free summer!


  • Katie
    May 28, 2010 at 8:58 am

    You are so brave to even get that close to bees. I am alergic to bees and so having one bee in my back yard freaks me out. I can’t imagine going anywhere within a 100 feet of that beehive!

    Your children are beautiful! Have a lovely memorial day weekend.

  • Lindsey
    May 28, 2010 at 9:17 am

    YOU make us laugh and encourage us! love the bees, love your beautiful, though bruised, children. hope you had fun putting honey in the jars:).

  • CarrieBeth
    May 28, 2010 at 9:34 am

    i just adore your blog! so REFRESHING!

  • andi
    May 28, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Howdy! πŸ™‚ Laughing about Queen, must hear details in person Friday night about honey adventures as I feel it will evoke large amounts of laughter after the evening gets going!!!!!! πŸ™‚ I am so proud that you all are bee people and you got your gold this week….honey~ Your flowers are so happy!

  • Nelle
    May 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for these awesome bee photos Darby. Makes me think of Fried Green Tomatoes…we are bee people and you/Justin is a bee charmer. We have a 3rd of an acre in the middle of Baltimore City. Our land has two giant fig trees, three pear trees and one apple tree. The first year we were here we saw hide nor hair of said pear or apple. The next year a brilliant neighbor started a bee hive and WHAMO! we had pears and apples for weeks. So much so we couldn’t keep up with them. I made pear chutney that was to die for delish and fig preserves. I’m in awe of bees and agree that they are one of God’s greatest creations. Your honey looks amazing and you must have been beaming with joy. You MUST read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver if you haven’t already. Blessings to you and your family for this fun weekend.

  • Laura
    May 28, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Thanks for the information on beekeeping & so glad you’re enjoying fresh honey. Please let us in on the information when you start selling it. Poor Paige – OUCH! Good thing kids are so resilient. And I must say she is looking more like you with every post! And I’m all for a picture of Cowboy Josh on your header!! Hope you have a nice Memorial Day Weekend!

  • natalie @ this old southern house
    May 28, 2010 at 10:06 am

    i love how morgan has her sunglasses around her neck with a croakie strap. precious!

  • Liz
    May 28, 2010 at 10:11 am

    A picture of Cowboy Josh is always welcome. I’ve seen him on his sister-n-law’s blog and was like Whoooooo is that??? I even told a girlfriend of mine to take a looky! I’m a sucker for dark haired men. Thank goodness I married one! πŸ™‚

    Love your blog and your little ones! They are adorable! Have a great long weekend!

  • Melissa Richie
    May 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

    I’m trying to convince my husband to let me raise bees. He quickly shut me down πŸ™‚ I guess he’s right, seeing how we live in the heart of Birmingham. The liability issues have made his lawyer brain go haywire, and I’m afraid I’d have an easier time convincing him to raise chickens in our back yard!

    Not a bad idea, actually.

    Thanks, also for the tip on the dress from Walmart (the long black one!) I bought it and it’s awesome! I’m 35 weeks pregnant and it looks great – so much space in it, but it’s going to be perfect for post baby, too.

    Last thing, I also bought a necklace from one of your sponsors – Kat at EngLady. She was wonderful to work with!


  • Devon
    May 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

    I saw Bee Movie and therefore applaud the non-commercial treatment of your bees. But I am concerned that Justin is going to bop you on the head when you take the jar of homegrown honey and toss it into your cinnamon-honey butter.

  • Rebecca
    May 28, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Leighton (my 22 mo old) saw the zinnias and said, “Leighton’s flowers!) They’re so pretty!

  • erika (mommasissy)
    May 28, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    i LOVE that Morgie still has her crokies.
    i LOVE your bees.
    i LOVE you.
    i LOVE Raiger’s beautiful face. Could those kids get any prettier, I think not.
    love you!

  • Bethany
    May 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    well, that’s one thing you don’t hear about too often. i’ve never known anyone that kept bees before. totally fun. but i’m glad it’s you and not me!

  • Mary Ellen
    May 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Paige makes being tough and adorable look so easy! Your blog and commenters crack me up! So very entertaining!

  • the domestic fringe
    May 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Wow! I’m so impressed that you keep bees and get your own honey. That’s really pretty interesting stuff. My son is deathly allergic to bees, so we generally spend all our time killing them. Not so fun. We do love honey though. πŸ˜‰

    Your children are just beautiful. Sorry about the black eyes. It’s definitely a good thing you all use plastic bats. Enjoy your holiday weekend!

  • Cath
    May 28, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    You are so right about the labor of love and bees. My husband has had an apiary for the past 30+ years inherited from his grandfather and then his father. It is always interesting to see the different colors of the honey each year as he has hives at several locations. It’s just a hobby for us but we do sell the honey. Not sure how it is in other states but in PA the Department of Agriculture inspects his colonies each year and then sends us a report. We are now up to 2 electric extractors and in the amateur bee world that’s BIG for us. We learn something new each year from our bees. Last year we learned bees do not like the fast, crazy nature of labrador retrievers and are easily stirred by their presence. Hmmm, those 4 legged furry crunchers have the same affect on grandchildren too. Speaking of which I think JM needs a big, furry, loving lab. I’m sending a photo from one of the nights we “put-up” honey.

  • Christy
    May 28, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Awesome memories for the kiddos! Loved reading about the honey too…we always buy local honey at the farmer’s market…I’d never be brave enough to try it on my own! Oh and, another vote here for putting Josh on the header…just label it ‘eye candy for the blog stalkers’.

  • Cami
    May 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Oh, I love the bees and the honey. My brother keeps bees and it’s so fascinating to me. Love your blog πŸ™‚

  • Dana
    May 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I just finished a a new blog post with my kids eating dinner outside on their picnic table and all of the gardening and flower planting that we’ve been doing. Love to read your blog.

  • Ashley Eiler
    May 29, 2010 at 8:13 am

    what a hoot!! thanks for sharing…i’m scared of bees!!

  • Kathleen Cox
    May 29, 2010 at 10:05 am

    as we drove through dothan the day before mothers day, we passed by a trailer rig with the name –honey bee farm pine straw and more parked off of the ring road of ross clark blvd–and some guy was there in a chair waiting, i suppose for customers. asked my husband to turn around because i wanted to snap a picture and ask the guy if he was Justin. well I thought virtual friends and actually meeting someone in real life was too well too alice in wonderland kind of thing or is this medium of blogging crossing over into real life a good thing ??? we didn’t turn around because i kind of thought it would be kind of creepy to him — out of towner floridians stopping and asking for a picture — why don’t these people get a life kind of thing — but then I thought we are passing thru to Auburn to scoop up our Tiger fan i could have said— i think justin would like to be known as the archeologist/household furniture hurdler not the mister slipper socks of Joni’s cote de texas find of fame

  • Anne
    May 29, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Oh my gosh…Paige suddenly looks a little more grown up!
    Love the flowers and the honey.

  • Melanie Gore
    May 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    The kids are so cute eating their lunches by the pool! Poor baby and her shiner. I just had my first shiner at 42 yrs. old and it wasn’t that bad at all. Just a little bruise in the corner. Hope she heals up quickly. Have a good Sunday.

  • Eiler & Company Blog» Blog Archive » outtakes. . .literally
    May 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    […] also…. read about the shiner here….. […]

  • Leelaa
    May 31, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    That’s so cool that you have your own bees! How inspiring. I wonder if my inlaws would let me keep bees at their house. πŸ™‚ And all that wax, you can make your own salves and lotions with beeswax, I do it all the time, it’s fun!

    I love the pic of the kids by the pool and I’m so jealous, we’re up in Ontario and just got into our pool last night FOR THE FIRST TIME! It’s definitly cooler up here. And I too love the kid’s patio set, I’ll have to keep my eyes open for something similar.

  • Konie
    May 31, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Had I know you all were “bee keepers” I would have called you to rescue the bees that took residence in the ceiling of my front porch! I had them for several years until last year when I finally got a bee keeper, to take care of them for me. I had a bee hive box sitting on my front porch at least 2 or 3 weeks. I was away when they got the honeycomb out of the ceiling but apparently it was HUGE ( then left the bee hive box) They left me some honey πŸ™‚ I thought it was very interesting and maybe WHEN I EVER move to Dothan I would love to listen to you and Justin on what DOES go on in the life of a bee, being raised by a bee keeper:)

  • mary katharine
    June 1, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Love the lunch by the pool shot! Perfect and I’m sure they’ll remember …

    What a full life you have! So fun to take a peak into your world from time to time:).
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • Becky
    June 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    WHAT???? No pictures of Cowboy Josh to start my work-week??? Guess I’ll just have to go back to the last post.

    Would you adopt me so I can sit by your pool and have sandwiches brought out to me? Seriously, I think your kids are the luckiest kids alive!

  • Emily L.
    June 7, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    That honey looks tasty πŸ™‚ I’d totally buy fresh honey if I knew where to look.

  • Emily M.
    April 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I love your bee posts. I’m a beekeeper in Boston and wish that our season was as early as yours!! We just started again. I remembered loving the pic of the jar of honey from this post and came looking for it again. If you happen to see this comment, did you buy those cute little stout jars wholesale or was that something you had and re-used? I would love to get some! Oh, and I found an amazing (fashionable, if possible) beekeeping supply catalog with cute’ish outfits for the kids and for me…check it out if you want a suit – they even come in colors! https://blueskybeesupply.com/BlueSky2011_LR.pdf
    Happy beekeeping!

  • Estella
    July 23, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Contractors Website Design ObjectivesThe contractors website design and most of his employer.
    Roofing is a consumer needs to be done. When you are still ways that Charlotte residents can rely on sewer pipe
    systems to the subcontractor and providing a quote on the relationship from the crews working”!

    Feel free to visit my web-site: web page (Estella)

  • richell wood touch
    October 19, 2014 at 12:24 am

    My brother recommended I might like this website.
    He was totally right. This publish truly made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information!