Interview with Lizzy Miller- beekeeper, hobby farmer, mother, go-getter
One of our goals for our blog is to interview real women who are part of our Rosies community. We want to inspire you and connect you with other fantastic women out there. We truly have the most awe-inspiring clients, and we are constantly amazed by the multitude of adventurous and ambitious projects you are all involved in. It is very rewarding for us in the office to receive the pictures and stories that come in, and realize we were a small part of equipping you. But mostly what we are blown away by is your strength and “can-do” spirit.
MEET LIZZY AND HER DAUGHTER, WHO SAID “WE CAN DO IT” TO BEEKEEPING
Last year, Lizzy Miller sent us an adorable set of photos of her in her green floral coveralls and her daughter in the floral kiddos. They had modified them to be used for beekeeping. Something about the twinkle in their eyes always makes me stop and smile as I search through the photos on my computer. They look so happy, like they share some great adventures and a sense of humor as a mother and daughter. I had to know more about this duo, and their common, brave, hobby working with bees! Some moms only spend time watching TV, homework, or shopping with their children. I love that their bonding time is so exzzzzillarating(yes, that is a very official bee keeping word- ha!).
Rosies: Tell me a little bit about yourself. You said you use your coveralls to keep bees and spray poison oak on your property, where do you live?
Lizzy: My husband, daughter and I moved on to 10 acres in Santa Cruz County almost 2 years ago with the idea to sort-of homestead on the side. They call it hobby farming, but it’s much more than a hobby. We try to raise and grow much of what we eat, and preserve and sell what we have too much of. First on the list were chickens, then the huge garden, and luckily our place already has a 45-tree apple orchard. We now have two lambs and are thinking about dairy goats next year.
Rosies: How did you get interested in beekeeping?
Lizzy: Bees were on the wish list (for the hobby farm), but they were way down near the bottom of the list.
Then I saw an ad on craigslist.
Darn that craigslist! I’m addicted to the “farm and garden” section, and it has gotten me into trouble, including a failed attempt at keeping geese. But we’re glad we lurched into beekeeping – it has turned out very well. I saw an ad for a whole beekeeping setup with a wild swarm of bees inside it! We called, jumped in the truck, and got it all. Then we had to figure out what we were doing! I’ve taken three classes and read a couple of books, and belong to an online beekeeping forum.
Rosies: You said that you are just an amateur beekeeper, have you learned any important lessons as you got started this past year?
Lizzy: Last season we wound up with more than four GALLONS of honey from one hive. Which is not only unusual, but actually problematic. Turns out our bees were so good at making honey that they filled their “brood space” (where they would normally lay eggs and raise young) with honey, leaving no room for the brood. So, we got a fantastic windfall of honey at the expense of our colony, which died out. We’re starting with fresh bees this year and we’ll try to check on them more often. Who knew bees could make TOO much honey?!?
Rosies: How does your daughter like beekeeping?
Lizzy: She has never had anything but complete enthusiasm for all our “farming” adventures, bees included. Just this month she helped me install a new package of bees – they were swarming around us as I shook them out into the hive and she loved it!
Rosies: How did you muster up the courage to start working with bees?
Lizzy: I’ve never been asked why I’m not afraid of things, so I’m not sure of my answer. I guess I’ve been pretty much unafraid of anything at all since becoming an adult. I’ve performed a lot (singing, dancing, a little acting) and moved around a lot, tried new things often and am comfortable taking charge of situations (I’m a teacher). I’m a “Type A” take-charge kind of gal, I guess, and when I get an idea to do something I tend to just go for it. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always a learning experience in the end.
Rosies: How have your coveralls worked out for you? Do you have any tips for how you have modified them to help keep bees?
Lizzy: I’m too cheap to buy the fancy beekeeping clothes, so I made a beekeeping hood (actually, three) out of a straw hat and some mosquito netting, and then made long gloves out of regular leather gloves with half of the Rosie’s handkerchief sewn on to each one. The Rosie’s coveralls, although light green, are close enough for the bees to think of me as non-threatening. Turns out you don’t have to wear white, just something that’s neither dark nor fuzzy (like a bear). Sarah’s Rosie’s coveralls have been perfect too: she wears them with her homemade hood, gloves, and boots and she’s completely protected.
What I love most about my Rosie’s is that they’re women’s coveralls and they fit me, and the Velcro closure down the front is KEY for my applications. I need to be protected completely, and they really do the trick! And they’re pretty! Everywhere I went the coveralls were only for men and they were huge. I am so very grateful that you exist, Rosie’s!
Are you a hobby farmer or beekeeper as well? Let us know about your experience, or comment to encourage Lizzy and her daughter!
If you would like to be interviewed by Rosies Workwear, send us a photo and description of you and your project or passion. We would love to hear from you, if you are a novice, professional, or just a weekend do-it-yourselfer. Every woman’s story is unique and fun for us all to hear about. Email Kathleen at firstname.lastname@example.org