BY CLINT BISCHOFF
As a youngster growing up in South Louisiana, I listened to my dad, Julius Bischoff, tell stories of his robbing bee hives in trees, buildings, etc. and making his own hive boxes to contain bee swarms he captured. I especially remember him emphasizing how he would often obtain enough honey to fill wash basins full of dripping honey comb. Having a big sweet tooth, I hung on each word, wishing I were there.
As he built his business as a taxidermist and began a family, his focus changed to supporting a wife and ten children and he did not have time to continue maintaining bee hives. Instead, he would take me and my brother Ben into the woods to search for bee hives every so often to gather honey. Those memories instilled in me a love of nature and an appreciation for the many fruits God has provided to all of us.
As I grew up and began my career as an attorney, and began supporting a wife and soon a family of four daughters and two sons, I too spent less and less time in the woods searching for wild honey until all I had left were distant memories of long past adventures.
A year or so ago, I decided to begin beekeeping as a hobby so that I could pass on to my sons, Luke, age 11, and John Paul, age 3, the tradition of my German heritage which began with my great grandfather, John Bischoff, who immigrated to Louisiana from Aachen, Germany 100 years ago as of the year of 2012 with his family. My grandfather, Joe Bischoff, instilled a love for farming and an appreciation for the many gifts from our Lord unto his family.
So I began with 7 bee hives this year, with plans to continue adding hives as Luke can handle the work load in between being home schooled with the rest of our children. Luke immediately took to beekeeping, unafraid of being stung on occasion and with a true passion for being a part of the process of producing honey for our family and friends.
As often happens in life, we come full circle to face our past experiences. Recently, my brother Ben and I, with Luke right alongside, robbed a large bee hive located in a tree in the woods along Bayou des Cannes. We filled up several tubs of honey comb and captured a large of bees which hopefully Luke and I can establish into one or more bee colonies to produce honey along side our other hives.
Since we home school our children, having a family based business is a great way to teach them about business and economics along with the importance of a strong work ethic in the tradition of our forefathers. Although my law practice keeps me very busy, I am thankful to have had the time to start this business before our children are all grown up and leave home.
It is my prayer that in time this humble start can produce a thriving business for my sons and daughters and, God willing, their sons and daughters, here in beautiful Mowata, a small rural community located in between Eunice and Crowley.
My wife, Jillane, is studying the art of candle making with plans to produce all natural beeswax candles, with the help of our daughters, Clare, Marianne, Meredith and Margaret Mary. And as for John Paul, well he loves to just eat honey. I have to give my daughter, Clare, age 18, a great deal of credit for handling the photography and marketing aspects, in our start up family business.
In closing, it is my wish that our family can help in a small way to keep the tradition of serving 100 percent pure honey to our friends and neighbors so that you too may share our love for the gift of honey, without which we could not survive.
Clint Bischoff and son are the guest speakers at the March 26, 2014 Eunice Rotary Club meeting in downtown Eunice, LA, as introduced by Rotarian David Reed. (Video by Rick Nesbitt)