It was spring break, and my brother, sister and I were staying at our grandparent’s farmhouse on and off during the school recess. During our stay, my grandmother kept all of us in good food and company as my grandfather toiled in his garden, preparing the thawed soil for his vegetable plants. It was late afternoon and my grandmother had just finished baking biscuits which she set on the window ledge to cool. Closing the kitchen door behind to make sure no one disturbed them, she walked onto the connecting porch and went outside to sit on the stoop. Seeing her outside, I walked over and joined her. While we sat, two bees landed upon a set of blue crocuses blooming next to the porch stairs. We watched the bees for some time until my grandmother turned to me and told me they were collecting pollen to make honey and then a story came to her mind that she began to tell.

It was spring break, and my brother, sister and I were staying at our grandparent’s farmhouse on and off during the school recess. During our stay, my grandmother kept all of us in good food and company as my grandfather toiled in his garden, preparing the thawed soil for his vegetable plants. It was late afternoon and my grandmother had just finished baking biscuits which she set on the window ledge to cool. Closing the kitchen door behind to make sure no one disturbed them, she walked onto the connecting porch and went outside to sit on the stoop. Seeing her outside, I walked over and joined her. While we sat, two bees landed upon a set of blue crocuses blooming next to the porch stairs. We watched the bees for some time until my grandmother turned to me and told me they were collecting pollen to make honey and then a story came to her mind that she began to tell.Many, many years ago in the town of Donbridge, New York, deep in the Hudson Highlands, a young inventor named John Woodlock lived on a small farm with his daughters, Lavinia and Sarah. He was a creative man, having found solutions to automating most of his farm chores by creating elaborate inventions which were the jealousy and marvel of the town. Woodlock was revered as a thinker and it was not a surprise that his talents were called upon during the town’s most dire crisis.

It was the beginning of June when a bit of news reached Donbridge by means of a written sign on the general store window: “Sugar gone! Out searching for some. Be back soon, Prissy Sharp, Owner.” Most Donbridgians did not know the south had become engulfed by sugar cane beetles and the entire crop was destroyed. As the news set in, most people were in a panic as berry season was soon arriving and all preserving methods required sugar. Surely no one wanted their harvest to go to waste.

Sitting at the sentry bell in the town square, Woodlock was whittling beech tree bark into a fishing bobber when he saw the commotion at the store. Overhearing the people discussing the sugar shortage, he began thinking of a solution and decided to walk through the great field of Donbridge. As he walked, he became fascinated with the bees which buzzed about the wildflowers. Woodlock watched in fascination and thought if someone could only find their hive, the town could use honey for preserving their harvest. But no one could ever find their nest. In fact, it was a legend as to its whereabouts.

When Woodlock arrived home, he went to the cupboard to get a mug and soon realized he was in the baking pantry and his hands were covered with flour. Wiping the flour upon his pants, he began staring at the white mark it left on his clothes. He soon grinned and gathered a small sack of flour and headed back to the field. When he arrived at the wildflowers, he scattered the flour into the air which landed on the bees’ small bodies, coating them in white. Then he waited as the bees took off back to their hive, only this time their tiny bodies glistened white against the sky.

Woodlock easily followed the bees for over a mile until he saw a large hollow tree where the bees were flying all about.  Woodlock smiled at his finding and then marked his path to the tree. The next day, he traced his steps and found the tree again. Carefully he gathered the honey, filling nearly 80 Mason jars. When he was done, he headed back to the town square where people were still waiting for the general store owner to return. Woodlock waved to the people and showed him the honey. As people came to him, he handed each person a few jars to complete their canning, which brought smiles to everyone. Woodlock gathered honey for years to come and the town never had a sugar shortage again.

When my grandmother finished her story, she rose from the stairs and began to head into the house. Just as she did, a blue car pulled into the driveway. An old man emerged holding a Mason jar.

“Jules, I have your honey, minus the flour,” the old man said with a wink.

“Thank you, John. Can’t you stay?”

“I really can’t, Jules. I have some inventing to do.”

The man waved and then quickly turned back to his car and drove off. My grandmother just smiled and headed into the house. “Come on,” she said, “those buttermilk biscuits are probably cool by now and this honey will go nicely with them.”

I smiled at my grandmother when she gave me a wink as she held the Mason jar of golden honey.


Buttermilk Biscuits

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt 4 tbsp. shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

DIRECTIONS: Mix all ingredients together into bowl. Pour dough onto a floured surface. Knead dough lightly. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll into 1/2” thick circle using flour. Use a biscuit cutter or a 2-inch diameter juice glass and cut dough into circles and place on greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

R.D. Vincent is a Texas best-selling author and writer of American fables as well as the creator of the folktale series "Donbridge.” Please visit donbridgeseries.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like him to speak at your school or next event.

R.D. Vincent
Author: R.D. VincentEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
R.D. Vincent is an American author born in the historic village of Goshen, NY. He was raised on a small dairy farm. He had the rare opportunity to meet New York author and poet Maurice Kenny. Later, inspired by Kenny, he began writing for The Racquette, SUNY Potsdam College’s newspaper with a small cooking column called “Something to Cook About.” The columns were published once every two weeks and contained a short story and recipes. It was during this time that the idea for Donbridge came about. Vincent has since become a best-selling author, writing for five newspapers across the country. He has published eight books and has a ninth book on the way.