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This One's for "Old Wib"

Why did I decide that I want to start playing with Honey-Bees? I mean really, who wants to be stung? If you play with bees you will get stung! The answer for me is easy. Let me take you on a small step back in time and tell you of Scioto County's bee guy, Wilbert Stone.

Wilbert Stone, or as we knew him, "Old Wib", was my great-grandfather. Old Wib was born in 1917 and by 1934 he was working in the Steel Industry of the Ohio River Valley. By the early 1970's Old Wib had gained early retirement from the steel industry and went in to full time farming, in this case, honey production. At the peak of Old Wib's honey endeavors he was independently managing over 600 colonies. He had hives throughout most of Southeastern Ohio and some in Northern Kentucky.

In addition to his Ohio operations, he had a small farm in Orlando, Florida where he and my great-grandmother would stay over the winter.

In Florida, Old Wib had some hives in the orange groves. The delicious taste of the orange blossom honey was a real treat of my young childhood. My brother and I spent several weeks at the Florida residence over my childhood and how I do miss those times.

As a young boy, I would spend great amounts of time with my great-grandparents. During the summer I would help Old Wib in his honey house by building frames and assembling boxes. I remember my great-grandmother and I sitting out under the shade tree by the honey house nailing and repairing the frames. On very rare occasions, when a frame would blow out in the giant Kelley 72 frame extractor, I would get some fresh comb filled with the sweet summer honey of the bees to chew on while I worked on the frames! I never dreamed of life without fresh raw honey.

As Old Wib aged and time began to take its toll, they sold their Florida property and stayed back in Ohio full time. He downsized his honey production but always kept bees until his death in 2004 at 87 years old. In just a few years we would eat our last drop of Old Wib's honey and he would be gone to just memory. My only regret is that he didn't get to see me start my first hive.

In 2005 I graduated from High School and by 2014 I had completed my M.Ed. I was married with 2 children and decided that it was time for my family to get back in the honey business. So the journey began in 2017. In 2019 we sold several hundred frames and foundation along with several complete hives to local beekeepers who were in a pinch for equipment.

My interest was sparked to become a local source for beekeeping equipment as I slowly grew my Apiary. In January of 2020 we were approved to be a Kelley Beekeeping independent dealer. This was extremely exciting for us for several reasons, first because we can provide our local community and area with the highest quality beekeeping equipment and supplies, and Old Wib was an exclusive Walter T. Kelley customer. We hope to be around for many years as we slowly grow Precious Stone Honey & Supply. It is my hope that my boys carry on the tradition of beekeeping far after my time is through and I have passed on to share my journey with Old Wib on the other side. Please consider Precious Stone for all your beekeeping needs, we are just "buzzing" to serve you! Until next time, always remember, "Keep your veil strings tight!"

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