(Wright, Wyo.) After 37 years mining at Black Thunder in Wright, Dennis Lawrence is looking to his future, and retirement.
Lawrence has always been interested in beekeeping as a hobby, getting his children involved with it for the past 35 years. But after putting honey making on hold for a few years, he's decided to get more serious about raising bees, planning to bottle his product as "Wyo Gold."
He has more than 40 hives spread out around Northeast Wyoming. Last week he moved fifteen of them closer to his home in Wright, so that he can keep them healthy and fed.
"In Wright I can travel out here pretty easily," he said. He has over 100 gallons of a sugar-syrup mixture ready to go, to keep the bees happy through the drought. He's attached special trays that sit on top of the hives that will keep the bees from drowning while they try and get a drink.
Lawrence has decades of bee knowledge that he's passed on to his children Christy Downey and Ryan Lawrence, who were out in Wright helping with the hives. It's all part of their plan to get a commercial honey business off the ground.
"I've seen people who don't do anything after they retire from the mines, and they're dead within 3-5 years," Lawrence said. "I'm hoping this will keep me active."
Unfortunately drought conditions means he's had to cancel the orders put in for this year's honey, so the business will have to wait another season to try and get off the ground. But with his children and grandchildren willing to help keep things buzzing, the Lawrences might strike Wyo Gold yet.
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