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February 2014 Country Kitchen

LindaKaye Carmack of Center Point fondly remembers her childhood days in Paris Island, S.C., where one of her favorite activities was catching bees in fields of fragrant clover.

“I was always interested in insects, but bees were my favorite,” she said.

Those memories captured a sense of wonder that stayed with her into adulthood and led to a life-changing hobby. 

Originally from Mobile, LindaKaye saw a flier for a one-night introduction class on beekeeping at a local college.

“I thought it would be fun. I’d meet some other people who liked bees, maybe learn enough to take up the hobby and make a little money, too,” explained LindaKaye.

“I got my first bees in the mid-’90s. I used to take a rocking chair out to the hives and sit and rock while I watched and listened to them,” she recalled.

Now, LindaKaye and her husband, Jimmy, whom she met at a beekeeping convention, have more than 100 honey bee hives.

“We’re called sideliners. We’re more than hobbyists, but we’re not professional beekeepers either,” she explained, adding that she and Jimmy provide all the care for their hives. 

“And I still find them as fascinating today as when I first started,” she said. “Bees really are my passion. A hive is a whole world in itself, and they are not at all a welfare society. They all have work to do, and they’re all busy in some task.”

LindaKaye said one of her main goals in sharing her love of bees is making people aware that bees are not as dangerous as reputed.

“Bees are not mean, and they are not really out to sting you,” she said. “I rarely wear anything more than a beekeepers veil when we work the hives. One or two guard bees may get their stripes in a wad, as I call it, but bees don’t even recognize someone is messing with them most of the time.”

While she loves her time with her bees, LindaKaye also enjoys cooking, though she admits honey was an acquired taste for her.

“It’s so much bolder and more flavorful than sugar,” LindaKaye said. “Anytime you add honey to a recipe, you’re adding flavor and sweetness. It won’t crisp the way sugar does when baked. I like it best in preparing sauces for meats. Honey can be drizzled over ham during the last half-hour of baking to add flavor and a golden glaze. I also drizzle honey on chicken and salmon before baking for a wonderful, rich flavor.”

Each recipe LindaKaye shares this month contains honey, from the breakfast staple of blueberry muffins to the dinner entrée of Honey Chicken and Rice. And for those longing for weather warm enough to fire up the grill, her recipe for spareribs can be made in the crock pot until spring temperatures return.