By Jodie Kielieswiski
Our family honey bee and beeswax product business finds us at farmers’ markets most Saturdays from spring through early fall, and at some amazing craft shows after that. This past September we were juried into Penn’s Colony, in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. The really unique aspect of this craft show is that all the vendors dressed in colonial period costumes (1750s–1770s) and most performed a demonstration of their craft. The attraction for us was both financial and educational.
Leading up to the craft show, I sewed each member of our family a colonial costume, complete with a jabot and tricorn hat. I revamped our canopy to resemble an 18th century tent. We did unit studies on the years leading up the Revolutionary War. This included creative writing assignments entailing life as an American spy, and reading about key political figures, such as George Washington. We also included historical fiction books such as Johnny Tremain. My husband even threatened taxation without representation within our “family government” to help them understand the anger and frustration the colonists felt. The boys came away with a real interest and hunger to learn more about this time period.
While at the craft show, the boys witnessed glass blowing, weaving, spinning, woodworking, colonial artifacts, period music, historic entertainment, and battle re-enactments. Because we spent a total of four days as a vendor, the boys had plenty of time to soak it all in. In between selling on the weekend, we were able to do a little touring and visited places that George Washington had traveled through. This included a visit to Murdering Town, where Washington was shot at in an altercation leading up to the French and Indian War. The trip also afforded us the opportunity to learn about geography as we traveled, visited a few other historical sites, and learned about the geology and biology of that area of Pennsylvania. We even had time for swimming, canoeing, hiking, and a few games of tag.
The boys also interacted with our customers, telling them about our products, and using our observation hive to teach them about honey bees. They also did quick mental arithmetic to add up orders and make change. Most of these interactions ended with our customers being thoroughly impressed with the boys’ knowledge, manners, and communication skills.
Working side by side next to our boys is profitable in so many ways. Our business did well, but I think the lessons the boys learned and the opportunity to work, play, and learn together was the real treasure we found.
Jodie Kieliszewski and her husband, Josh, live in Michigan, where they raise three boys, and bees. They were blessed with a swarm of bees, which flourished into their business, Bee Lovely Botanticals, LLC. They are grateful for God’s provision in such rewarding ways and look forward to sharing their passion for honeybees and the bounty of the hives at www.beelovelybotanicals.com.