Closing down

It’s been a hard autumn this year. A long, but not particularly difficult recovery from back surgery last fall kept me at mostly three quarters speed during spring and summer, which isn’t a bad thing…when you get tired nobody complains when you want to sit and have a cool one for a bit. They take pity and I took advantage of that more than I should have some days. But you don’t get paid by the hour for chores around the home so it was OK.

The chickens are pretty low maintenance, and with two of us the bees went OK, even though we made more honey from those colonies this year than we’ve ever made. There was a great locust flow, followed by some tulip poplar, then a bit of early clover, so we harvested a box from all but one hive, and then somebody turned off the faucet. July and August, when basswood should have shown up were wet and cool and nothing came in. Fortunately we’d left on a box or so (two boxes by early June is a miracle here, by the way), so they didn’t have to slow down, but they only made enough to keep things going…storing anything didn’t work.

I was lucky this year…friends seemed to be coming by every time I needed lifting or moving or carrying. Dan Purvis, a retired queen producer from GA, then TN and now CO was visiting the first time we harvested, and Buzz came over and Dan, being a commercial beekeeper for years, and Buzz nearly so, went through our hives like hot knives through butter and moved all the full boxes off, onto Buzz’s truck and out of here in nothing flat. It would have taken me a half day…they did it in a half hour.

Buzz both harvests and extracts for us most years when we do have honey…he has a honey house to die for and a big truck to haul it all on…keeps half for his work and this year bottled everything that was to come back. A nice, light spring honey mostly locust…easy to give or sell. He was pleased with the crop, and I was amazed at what came home. Many years he keeps most of what we do, and we take just enough to give to family and friends. That’s OK. No, that’s great because I don’t sell any honey…I use it for gifts, bribes and surprises. It works well for all three.

But that selling thing was different this year. What are we going to do with hundreds of pounds of honey I wondered? It’s more than I can give away, no matter how hard I try. So…the Medina County Fair. Our county group has a booth every year at the fair. We have a honey show contest, sell honey, have an observation hive, movies, make candles and generally educate the public on bees, beekeeping and honey and honey bees. The past few years have been very rewarding as you probably already know, and selling honey isn’t a problem. But to sell honey, you have to enter the honey show, and we came up with a couple of good frames…blue ribbon by the way…and sold some honey.

But once the faucet was turned back on in August, the wingstem and goldenrod took off like mad. I actually made goldenrod honey this year…what a wonderful honey that is. Since we had lots left from spring, and even the fair, Buzz took most of the harvest. That’s good because he can sell it for even more because goldenrod is a premium crop in this part of Ohio…and he did do all the work after all. I kept enough for us, and my boss, who loves the stuff too.

So all summer the back thing was coming along nicely, getting a bit stronger as time went along. More exercise in the garden with the rototiller, lifting boxes on the bees, planting the SWCD (soil and water conservation department) plants after getting them rooted and going (I planted sourwood trees this year so we’ll see how that works), and maintaining the 100 or so pots of herbs, exotics and whatever on the deck…collecting water from the rain barrels, pruning shrubs and trees that had been ignored for years, building a small berm in the front yard around the new driveway we put in last year when the water line came, and in the middle of all this fixing a new room in the basement. Life was good, if slow, but good.

And then one night this fall I rolled over and life as I knew it ended. Actually, it ended again because this is exactly what happened two years ago when I rolled over one night and everything in my life changed for the first time. Then, three of the openings in my vertebrae had grown closed enough to pinch nerves and render me barely mobile. They put me on PT for awhile, but it took months to get to the surgery place and have it fixed, but it got fixed.

When it happened again this fall…well, I wasn’t prepared to do that again. X-rays showed arthritis, fixable arthritis actually. So I again went the route of PT and such…but lo!! PT seems to be working. It’s amazing how much more willing one is to do the stretching and bending and hurting when it makes you feel better. And this arthritis thing seems to be yielding to the bending and stretching and lifting I’m doing. Before, it didn’t help a bit. But this time the torture actually worked…I felt better every day. Within a week I threw away the cane, and in three weeks I was cleaning the garage…

And though I’ll miss the cane when I travel through airports (they let you on first so you always have the best place to stash your luggage) I’ll not have to take one of the trams to catch the next plane.

It’s still slow but steady this fall. But I’m not 30 anymore, heck, I’m not even 60 anymore.  That’s a conclusion I reach every morning I try and get out of bed.

 – Kim


  • Mel Boyd says:

    Kim – always appreciate the effort you’ve put into ‘communicating’… that is one essential part of ‘community’, which is rapidly disappearing from our world today… lots of talk… not much communication! Thanks for the good work. MGB

  • Garry Wilaby says:

    Kim, good luck to you with your back pain. I have gone through the same thing. Sometimes I think it is mind over matter and other times I think that it doesn’t matter.ha. You take care over the winter and get back into shape. Leave that snow shovel in the shed.
    Garry Wilaby

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