I grew up on a small family farm. Pledging never to be a farmer, but knowing I wanted an education beyond high school. The military had a program called The GI Bill. So I joined the US Army. Once my tour was over I took my GI Bill and ran. I ran straight to MSU.
I started in the horticulture industry with a shovel, I worked my way up into positions in retail, management, and finally my favorite, research. Through those years I received my Bachelors in Horticulture. Marie a horticulturalist, uses her knowledge of plants to help bring bee friendly food plants to their farm. She has taken the “Certified Pollinator Champion” course through Michigan State University, completing the course with a 98%.
In that same time period I had 2 wonderful kids and a divorce. Then I met Tom. After a few years of learning and finding a wonder program, Heroes to Hives, we are beekeepers. That’s right I am a farmer and loving it.
I was born in Chicago on the northwest side into a large family (6th of 7 children) both my parent instilled the value of hard work and selflessness. They bought land in Wisconsin and we kids helped build over the years a small barn, garage, small greenhouse, and eventually a home. I enlisted in the US Marine Corps right after high school and served 5years.
Shortly after I was discharged I lost my father to cancer. I began taking interest in gardening and small scale farming. I meet Marie who had a passion for plants in general and began a dream of a small garden store. Then we lost my mother and the land my parents bought since Marie had some roots in Michigan we decided to move there ad start planning our future and farm there.
I may seem a little standoffish but am waiting for you to come to your senses. As I stare at you I am willing you to invite me into your lap. Once in your lap I head but your hand and arm to remind you, pet me.
I am the biggest Mommas boy. If you see her I am very close by, usually touching her.
When someone comes to the door I will react in one of two ways. First if a man is there I will glare at you asking, Who are you, Why are you here, this is my house, you can leave now. Second way, if you are a woman I will meow at you, flop down in front of, and roll over asking you to PLEASEEEEE rub my belly.
We unfortunately lost Frank in March 2020. He greatly missed.
We are struggling for our own farm. Our bees are housed on other’s farms. We are keeping our eye on the goal
We currently have 16 (2019) hives. We have taken advance beekeeping courses to learn overwintering nucs, rearing queens and several methods of making splits from their hives. Our goal is to have 150-200 hives within the next three years. Increasing our income by selling extra nucs, extra queens and adding value add product such as varietal honeys, pollinator services, and so much more.
Tom and Marie enjoy passing along what they have learned. Talking to any one that is interested in honeybees and other pollinators. We have mentored fellow veterans in their beekeeping endeavors, to limit the new beekeepers failures and encourage them to continue to the next step. We are giung through the process of becoming Master Beekeepers. This is a long process, takes several years to accomplish, our goal by 2024.