Hanlon Hill Honey Farm

A couple opens Hanlon Hill Honey Farm to raise bees for profit after deciding to trade in their lucrative computer jobs for a life in the country.

| November/December 1977

  • Raising honey bees on a honey farm.
    Raising honey bees on a honey farm.
    Photo by Fotolia/Lightpoet

  • Raising honey bees on a honey farm.

Life changes for a city couple when they move to the country and run a honey farm.

Report From Them That's Doin'

Three years ago, my back was covered with red rashes. Valium tranquilizers helped me through the day. My hands periodically erupted with psoriasis-like blotches for no reason (except "nerves"). Jeanne — my wife — and I brought booze home by the carload. And every morning I had to have my glass of prune juice, or else my hemorrhoids killed me.

All this, of course, was just my body telling me — in no uncertain terms — that I'd had enough of the federal bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. Jeanne and I both had "respectable" computer jobs and were pulling down "the long green" (as we used to say in the Defense Department), but our bodies were self-destructing. Our jobs had degenerated into episodes of mad paper-shuffling interspersed with periods in which killing time was the hardest part of the day. (Once, Jeanne spent an afternoon cleaning out halt her desk . . . purposely leaving the other half so she'd have something to do the next day!)

We wanted out. We desperately wanted to find the light at the end of the tunnel . . . but not the one marked "retirement". (A fellow employee once confided to me that he was "just killing time till retirement". I asked him how long that would be. "Five years," he replied. Imagine: He was killing the next five years of his life!) No, we just wanted to find a place in the country and settle down . . . never mind our pensions.

Neither of us was country-bred, but we realized then (and still do) that there are some things which — deep inside — you know are true about yourself. It's just a matter of listening to your conscience. We finally started to listen when we picked up a book called Working Loose (Random House, 1972). Near the beginning, it asked: "Forgetting about money, what would you like to do more than anything else?"

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