• What time is PICNIC time?

    Date: 2012.08.22 | Category: Uncategorized | Tags:

    I hate to be late, and every year, I get confused on what time to show up.  Every year, I say, “Next year I will remember.”, and 365 days later, I have no idea what time is Picnic Time.  So, never fear!  The time-table is here!

    Picnic location is the Beegle Farmmore interesting facts on that later in this post.

    Tour of Extracting Room – 4:00 PM

    Teaching Demonstration – 5:00 PM

    Dinner, Fellowship, Honey Tasting Contest, Smoker Contest, and any Pertinent Business (roughly in that order) all take place after the demonstration.  I know that “after the demonstration” is a loose approximation in time, but hey, that’s how we roll.  It’s a fun time and going with the flow is quite natural for beekeepers.  Ha ha – we should put that on a tee-shirt… Beekeepers Go with the Flow!  So, bring your family, bring a veil for the demo, a small un-marked squeeze top container of your best honey for the tasting contest, your smoker for the smoker contest… don’t bring pine straw, everyone will pick from the same pile, and of course bring your favorite food to share.

    Picnic MapAnyway, I promised some interesting facts on the Beegle Farm.  First, here is a basic map on how to get there.  The big double road drawn North/South in the map on the right, is Interstate-185.  Take Exit 30, then go a very short distance toward 219.  Whether you turn right or left obviously depends on if you are travelling North or South on 185.  The off ramps are technically on the Hopewell Church Road, but Hopewell Church Road turns into 219, so you do not turn once you are on that road.  You are within walking distance… pass a church, and when you come to some trees on the left, you have arrived.   Look for the “If and When Honey” sign, and usually there is a smaller sign that says “Bee Club” pointing down the dirt road that leads to the picnic area, shown as the red circle with the star on the map.

    Honey SignThe Beegle Farm is a historic landmark with a rich history, which includes a grist mill, power plant, and general store.  Bet you didn’t know that!  I happened upon this website  http://www.angelfire.com/electronic2/ronrollins/page1.html describing several interesting, historic landmarks in the Whitesville, GA area.  The Beegle Farm is one of the featured places, and to me, the most interesting.  In 1932 Betty’s father, J.T. Cox, purchased the house, land, grist mill, and country store.  I will let you read the details from the link above, but interestingly he also owned a personal power plant that produced 32 Volt electric power – enough for their needs on the farm (back then).  The grist mill ran on it’s own separate gasoline engine until they converted it to run with electricity.   This personal power plant also provided electricity for a movie projector, which J.T. ran during the summer months.   Picture a drive-in, with wagons instead of cars.   This movie night attracted quite a number of people, who, in-turn, could all purchase snacks at intermission from the country store… how smart is that?

    There is a lot more to the story of the Beegle Farm.  The beekeeping, however, began with Betty’s father.  He passed down his knowledge and hives to Betty, who taught her son Freddy.  They operate under the label of “If and When Honey,” and sell in the same fashion as Betty’s father  – with the honor system.  Yep, the front porch is the store front and it runs itself.  I remember purchasing a quart or two myself years ago, by way of the honor system, long before I knew Betty and Freddy.  Take the honey and leave the money.  Simple.  Some things have changed though – there are a lot more hives, a lot more work, and you can now purchase a fancy squeeze-top bear shaped container of honey along with the usual quarts and pints.  I wonder if Betty has any honey from way back when her father first kept bees, and I wonder how different or similar it tastes to 2012 honey.  I think I’ll ask.