The Arkansas Beekeepers Association will hold its Annual Conference at the Ozark Folk Center, http://www.ozarkfolkcenter.com/, in October. The beautiful Ozark Mountains will be in full fall foliage color, and beekeepers will gather in the town of Mountain View. The beekeepers will hear the latest in honey bee health research. They will purchase bee hives and equipment and renew friendships with fellow beekeepers. They will also enjoy mountain folk music played on the town square during cool fall evenings. Rita and I have been travelling backroads through the Ozark Mountains exploring the countryside little changed since pioneer family members moved into the Territory of Arkansas in the early nineteenth century. We stopped for hamburgers at the Oark General Store, in continuous operation since 1890. From Oark we travelled to Boxley and Ponca, the elk range along the Buffalo River, http://www.agfc.com/education/Pages/EducationCenterPonca.aspx. Above the river we passed several small groups of bee hives. Bee pollination is important in providing food for wildlife like Arkansas’ elk. Pioneers often kept bees in hollow logs known as gums. They also hunted for feral colonies living in hollow trees, and robbing these trees for honey was an exciting cool-weather tradition. With honey being the only sweetener available, it was a prized commodity often collected in the winter when bee populations were at a minimum. Rita and I found our family cemetery hidden in the woods between Damascus and Center Ridge with its 32 family members’ graves. Only three headstones were engraved, each dated 1861. All other graves were marked by simple slabs of sandstone.
For program and information about the Arkansas Beekeepers Association’s meeting in Mountain View, see http://arbeekeepers.org/events.html and http://arbeekeepers.org/docs/2014/ABA%20Fall%202014%20Package.pdf. In today’s photo we see the Ozarks in late summer foliage. When the beekeepers gather in Mountain View, the mountains will be colored with red and purple gums; yellow maples, hickories, and sycamores; green pines; and oaks in many shades of brown. You are welcome to join the Arkansas Beekeepers Association in the Ozarks.