My name is Melinda Jean Stafford and I am a beekeeper. I currently manage the Rooftop Bee Farm internship program at Boise State University. (Yes, there are bees on the roof of the SUB!). I am also in the process of getting my own personal hives.
The way I got into beekeeping is far from ordinary….
I grew up in the middle of Owyhee County, Idaho – Oreana to be specific. My parents are farmers and ranchers, but I was destined to become something far different.
I decided to travel to the great north, the University of Idaho, and work towards a degree in Clothing, Textiles, and Design (a.k.a fashion). I graduated in 2011. I loved college so much that I decided I never wanted to let go. So, I packed my bags and happily moved to yet another college town – Athens, Georgia where I got a master’s degree in College Administration at the University of Georgia. I continued to love college so much that I decided to get a job at one. I moved westward to Boise and found a job at Boise State University.
Regardless of my actual job title, I renamed myself the Director of Fun. I manage the Games Center (bowling/billiards facility in the SUB), I plan and host events for students on campus, and I manage the rooftop garden and bee farm internship programs. (All of those go together, right?).
The picture below we are on the Rooftop of the SUB, working with the bees.
On day one of my job I was given three hives, four interns, and some tools. I had zero beekeeping experience, but enough confidence to throw my shoulders back and say “Hey, I grew up on a farm. I can figure this out!” That’s when it hit me – I had spent the past 10 years of my life trying to move as far away from the farming lifestyle from which I had grown up. And, here I was ecstatic to drive right back in. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So there I was, and here I still am – keeping bees on the roof of a huge building in the middle of Boise. I love it! Nothing has taught me more about beekeeping than opening a hive, sticking my face inside, and figuring it out.
However, I am more than just a beekeeper.
I am also a wife. I have an stellar and extremely attractive husband, Sam, who is no doubt the world’s best husband. I have proof – he planned our entire wedding in Aruba, single handedly. Enough said.
I am also avid skier. I love shredding the gnar of Boise’s own Bogus Basin. You might see me on the mountain in my all-white ski outfit. Or maybe you won’t see me.
I make bow ties. Check out my website www.sweetsouthernspud.com I combined the pioneering spirit of the West with the charming nostalgia of the South.
Here is a picture of some of the cotton bow ties I create by hand.
That’s me! I love bees, and my goal is to put a bee in your bonnet and start a buzz about beekeeping.
You can see Melinda in action during D&B’s Beekeeping 101 class recorded in January 2015 on the D&B YouTube page.