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Claris Honey: How The Prism Honey Gets From Bee to Jar

Hopefully by now you’ve had the pleasure of tasting some of our fresh, local honey made by our very own Prism bees. (If you haven’t, as you’re about to learn— we have plenty! Be sure to ask any Prism team member next time you’re around and we’ll give you a jar.) Our “Claris Honey” as we call it, gets harvested annually by Alan and a crew of other helpers, and the latest harvest took place just a few weekends ago.

We asked one of the harvesting crew members, Nicole, about the process and were fascinated by how it all works! Read on & watch the video below to learn how the honey you enjoy from Prism gets from bee to jar.


How do bees make honey?

Bees make honey by gathering nectar from flowers with their tongues and storing it in their “honey stomach” which is different than their food stomach and has a specific enzyme to help break down the nectar. They take it back to the hive and then spit it back and forth to other bees in order to reduce the moisture content. I’ve heard that each bee chews it for about 30 minutes! Then the honey is stored in a little hexagon wax cell made by the bees. It gets dried out even further by sitting in the warm hive or being fanned. Once enough moisture evaporates it becomes honey and the bees put a wax cap on the cell to keep it safe in storage!

How often and at what times of year do beekeepers harvest honey? Why this timing?

Bees make honey and store it in their hives to eat during the winter when there are no flowers available to get nectar from. Uniquely, bees will make more food (honey) than they can possibly need if given the space and right environment. This makes it possible for us humans to harvest some of their honey and still leave enough for the bees to survive on during those winter months.

How often and what times of the year a beekeeper harvests honey really depends on what climate they live in. For example, often in Louisiana you can have a summer and a fall honey harvest. The fall is mild enough to still have flowers blooming for the bees to keep foraging (gathering nectar) and making honey late into the year. Some beekeepers will choose to harvest almost all of the honey in their hives and then feed their bees sugar water throughout the winter months; others will leave enough for the bees to eat for themselves so that they do not have to be fed.

What happens if a hive’s honey is not harvested?

Honey does not have an expiration date! Supposedly they found honey in King Tut’s tomb and it was still edible! So if a hive is left with all of their honey, they will eat through the honey stores they need for the winter months and then just continue to make more of it next summer if given the space. One thing to look out for if you choose not to harvest is that, if in the spring the hive does not have more room to expand and grow, they will be more likely to swarm. This means they’ll make a new queen and the old queen will leave with 2/3 of the population to find a new home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can decrease your honey harvest in the next year.

What are boxes, frames, hives?

A hive is a family of bees with only one queen. They work together to make honey, take care of their young, dote on their queen, and keep their little society running smoothly. A hive can live in nature in some crazy places like an old tire, under the hood of an old car, or just in the hole of a tree. Beekeepers use bee boxes made of wood to create a pleasing environment for a hive of bees to live. Usually the bottom boxes are where the queen stays, lays her eggs, and they raise the babies. Beekeepers can then stack more boxes on top for the bees to store extra honey. In each box there are frames that the bees can use to create sheets of wax with the classic honeycomb pattern. They build those cells on each frame and use them to store eggs, larvae, or food. The beekeeper can easily remove the individual frames to harvest honey.

What is the order of events in a honey harvesting/extraction process?

First the beekeeper will suit up in your bee suit (or if you’re like some of us… just a veil) and go into the hives to take out the frames that have “capped” or completed honey. You then need to “uncap” or break open that wax covering so that the honey can spill out. There are lots of fun tools that can be used to do this, or if you’re the low-tech type you can just take a potato masher and crush all of the honeycomb into a container so that all of the honey spills out.

Keepers with more hives typically have a tool called an extractor that looks like a big barrel. It gets filled with the uncapped frames and will spin them around so that all of the honey gets slung out to the side of the barrel and then drips to the bottom. There’s a valve at the bottom that can be opened to allow all of the honey to flow out into a bucket with a filter to clean out all the little bits of wax. Once all of the honey is drained into the bucket it is ready to be jarred! The honey buckets also have a valve on the bottom that can be opened and closed to pour the honey into those glass jars you know and love! (For those low-tech beekeepers, its possible to crush the honeycomb and then leave it in a bucket with a filter to drain out, it just takes a little more patience.)

What do you do with the frames and boxes after extraction? How does this affect the bees?

After extraction, you can set all of the sticky equipment and frames out for the bees to clean all of the leftover honey off of. Depending on condition, frames and boxes can often be reused in the next season. After a honey harvest, the hives will be smaller with less boxes of honey on top. This can help them survive over the winter months because they will have less space to have to keep warm and defend against pests.

How much honey does an average hive make per year?

An average hive can make around 50lbs or 4 gallons per year. (We recently harvested from several hives, however, and collected over 40 gallons of honey!)How long does the extraction process take?

Depends on how much honey you have! Also your method of extracting and tools can really impact the time it takes to extract. Usually it’s an all-day affair so we’ve found that it’s best to make a party of it and invite some friends!

How easy or difficult is it to get involved in beekeeping? How could one start?

Beekeeping does not have to be complicated and thankfully the bees are good at knowing what they’re doing even when you don’t! A good way to dip your toes into beekeeping can be to go to your local beekeeping club meetings or find an established beekeeper in the community to be your mentor. Ask them to take you out for a hive inspection so that you can learn what types of tools/equipment you’ll need and familiarize yourself with the bees.


Please let us know whenever you want some Claris Honey! We love giving it out and teaching people where it comes from and how it’s made!

Prism’s Newest Mediator: Joe Guilbeau

We hope you enjoy getting to know Joe a little more through the following questions + answers!


How long have you been doing work with Prism prior to joining the team?

I believe I have been using the Prism Group since inception but frankly it has been so long ago I can’t really remember the first time I had a mediation with Alan Jordan, but it had to be about the time he started Prism Group.  That would mean 15 years at least.

What are you looking forward to contributing to the Prism Team?

I am hoping to be more than just another mediator. I would prefer to be another virtuoso mediator as are the three who are already here. I do bring a different practice area to the group. What the industry calls “wet work”. I’ve actually practiced defense under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”) since 1984 and began defending LA State Workers Compensation cases in 1987. I have also defended Jones act and Section 905(b) (vessel negligence) claims since 1984 having started my legal career with Adams and Reese in its Maritime Section.

What/how does being a part of the Prism Team add to your life?

In a word, “everything”. It is positive. It is wonderfully fulfilling, and when I have a mediation or two scheduled for the day, it’s Christmas morning again as when I was 12. I hope and do believe that that wonderful feeling will continue through the years.

What do you feel are your strengths when mediating worker’s comp cases?

At this point, what I will call “active patience”, which is listening attentively, being able to read the room and act effectively.  I’ve always believed that most compensation cases should settle at some point because both parties are better off settling at that point. In my years of practice, I believe I have seen almost everything in some form, but yet there is always a twist in the facts or unique set of facts to which the law has not yet been specifically applied, that can surprise me. However, rather than frustrate me as a mediator I find that fascinating. I may not always recall where I was yesterday at a given moment, but I remember issues, disputes and strategies taken in cases that date back decades. I can draw upon those experiences and creative ways of resolution to share with parties and their attorneys to reach a present one.

What’s one “Prism”-ism or Prism “philosophy” you try to keep in mind while mediating?

Alan Jordan likes to say “focus on the relationships not the result” to get the best result. At this point, he cannot waste time and does not.

I am fond of saying (and hopefully saying this more often in the near future) that this is not rocket science but it could be bracket science that brings the agreement home. It helps to have observed and trained by one of the best.

What have you learned from the mediation business that has been helpful in navigating your own life challenges?

This is an easy one… or two: concentrated listening and active patience. Discern the problem and solve it comfortably with all cooperating.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of work?

Well for me this is another easy one: doing anything with my grandchildren. I have a great relationship with my three children but as I like to tell all of them I like their kids better. When able, I like hiking, fishing anywhere, crabbing on Ship Island, paddle-boarding my blow up almost anywhere there are no sharks, clay target shooting, preserve shooting at doves or quail, reading, Viking cruises, and sipping fine bourbon… unless there is finer scotch available, on my back patio, especially on Fridays.

Married?

Kathy and I have been married since May 16, 1987 and I have no problem remembering that date because if not etched into my brain, it is etched into my wedding band. We were engaged in November 1985 and I learned that apparently you can only marry Kathy in the month of May, but May 1986 did not give her sufficient time for whatever. It was perhaps the longest engagement in history. I felt it was way too much time for her to change her mind, but thankfully she did not. It was my first mediation. I lost the battle but won the war.

How many kids and where are they in life?

Three:

Kristen, my favorite daughter, is in her very low 30s, married, and has three wonderful children.

Jeffrey, 31, a PA in Birmingham married, no kids yet. (Jesuit HS)

Ryan, 28, our youngest, is married they have one child. Ryan is a steadily employed landman doing well. UL grad. (Brother Martin HS)

What are you reading and/or watching right now?

I just finished Dr Mary’s Monkey which led (at the recommendation of Dr Brobson Lutz) to On the Trail of the Assassins by former DA NOLA, Jim Garrison. Amazing and I will leave it at that. I am currently reading a book by Professor Brandt Pitre on spirituality of prayer.

Any recommendations?

I have read Band of Brothers, separate books by almost all of the band of brothers, many others by Stephen Ambrose, all of which I recommend. I am usually reading 2 or 3 at a time. Mom was an English literature teacher who gave me the reading genes. I recommend anything by Mark Twain, especially Joan of Arc, not his usual work, but of the best and which took him the longest to write. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The movie was terrible and a waste. Don’t let that stop you from reading the book before you depart. It is a treasure box of humor. Call me anytime for more….

What famous or well-known individual would you most like to meet and have a conversation?

God. I just need a D+ to make it there eventually…

As far as humans go…Volodymyr Zelenskyy, because he basically told Vladimir… “nuts” and is currently fighting our evil dedicated enemies.


Send Joe a welcome greeting or gather some more book recommendations from him here: jguilbeau@prismgroup.net

Creation From Chaos: Lessons From the Mediation Room

In our role as mediators, we often meet people in their darkest moments. Due to a series of unexpected and unchosen events, their life has become unpredictable, unknown, scary, filled with phone calls and paperwork— in short— chaotic.

But all creation begins with chaos, and what a beautiful thing creation is to witness! It is messy and even counterintuitive, but we are honored to be next to people as they begin to create from this chaotic place in their lives. As we work with people through their chaos, we are ever amazed at the creativity and generativeness of the human spirit.

When we meet people with severe injuries and see the lives they are able to create for themselves and their loved ones despite the chaos swirling around them, we are reminded that so much of what we do is not about money. The value in mediation is about giving people a chance at the life that all of us want, and that chance begins by offering people a new perspective on the chaos before them.

Even outside the mediation room, the pattern of creation from chaos exists. Although chaos is uncomfortable and not often our chosen route, when we choose to approach it with a different perspective, things begin to change.

Long ago when Prism Group was just a seedling, “perspective” and “choice” were two of the largest guiding principles we knew we wanted to structure our practice around. We have long believed that by offering people a new perspective on their current circumstances, we empower them to then make a choice to move forward differently despite the circumstances remaining the same. We do not have the power to calm the chaos, but we firmly believe in our power to help people choose a better tomorrow by empowering them to create the life they want from within that chaos.

It’s often a challenging process, but it’s a very rewarding experience for all involved to witness the creation that springs forth from chaos when we choose to see our circumstances differently. It’s not always an easy job, but it’s work we’re proud to take a stab at in every case we get to see, and we always learn something about life from the work we get to do.

The mediation room teaches us so much about life and vice versa. What have you learned from your own work or your experience with us?

The Unexpected But Powerful Tool We Use In Mediation (And In Our Lives)

One of the ways we at Prism Group live out our values of team-connectedness & company culture is by hosting semi-annual company retreats. These are days for our team to come together and think more largely about not just Prism as a purposeful organization, but also about ourselves and our own purposes and growth. Each year, we choose a theme around which we center our retreats and other yearly in-house content, as a way of keeping us focused and intentional in our work and perspectives.

The chosen theme for 2022 is: Practice Pause. It’s our belief that in the “hustle” and “always on” culture we have created and now live in here in the West, there’s plenty of focus on sales strategies & increasing revenue, but not enough focus on slowing down and being present. There are endless resources on increasing efficiency and productivity “hacks,” but what we lack are resources on the power of pausing, resting, sitting still & simply being.

The mere mention of doing less or—heaven forbid— taking time off, usually almost instinctively causes us to teem over with reasons why we simply cannot afford to “do nothing” or take some much needed R&R time.

“Ha! I’ve got way too many things going on to do nothing!”

Must be nice! I’d love to take a break, but I just can’t.”

“I wish I had time to sit still but the kids have this, the wife’s got that, my parents need this, the yard, the car, the house, the boat, the dog…”

Ironically, we meet the idea of pause with full-force motion. We are invited to be silent and our reaction is to speak up about why we can’t be.

The idea of doing “nothing” makes us uncomfortable. Rest is difficult for us Westerners to prioritize, and silence is described as “awkward” by most. Not only silence in dialogue, but also silence on our calendars, in presentations, debates, at dinner parties or quarterly reviews. We don’t quite know what to do with “nothing,” with silence, with time unassigned, and we certainly don’t make room for it on purpose in our days or weeks.

But what a tool silence can be! In our conversations, but also in our calendars, our relationships, our work. In mediations, we often have to create space for parties to think and weigh their options. We do this by tactfully pausing and remaining silent, rather than rushing in with analyses and a myriad of potential solutions. In this space, opportunity to reflect is created, space to breathe is made, and decisions are reached.

The team at Prism invites you to join us in practicing pause through being open to silence, making room for rest in your schedule, taking an extra second or 2 to think before you speak, savoring your morning coffee or afternoon tea, or whatever else “pause” looks like in your life. We hope you lean into the resistance you may feel around slowing down, for it is in that which we resist that we experience the greatest growth.

Meet The Team: Emily

Prism is a people-first organization. We treat our clients like people with real human experiences (because that’s who they are!), and we are a team made up of people too. We believe in the power of people-to-people connection, and as such, we like to allow others to get to know the people that make up our team. This week, learn about our newest hire, Emily Steele, and check out this short video of her explaining the role of her work for Prism Group!

How long have you been with Prism & how did you find your way here?

I suppose technically I’ve been “with” Prism since its inception, as I’m one of Alan’s 5 kids, but formally I’ve been working with Prism part-time since 2017ish and full-time as of 2022.

What do you enjoy contributing to the Prism Team? 

As a creative person, I really enjoy the fact that something that is truly a hobby for me gets to be such a large part of my work. It’s often hard to describe what I do, but it’s rewarding to see  the impact of what I make, write and organize for Prism’s team as well as for our clients. 

What/how does being a part of the Prism Team add to your life?

Working with Prism has given me a huge sense of purpose for my interests and skill sets. Previously, I spent most of my time working on my own business and trying to get that off the ground, which was fun but also very tough and discouraging some days. Since joining Prism full-time, it’s given me a renewed confidence in what I have to offer, both in my work here and to my work outside of Prism. 

What have you learned from the mediation business that has been helpful in navigating your own life challenges?

That there is always a different way of looking at a situation, our own narrative about what’s happening can really get in the way of making the next move, and slowing down long enough to think through options before rushing to an emotional decision is really important!

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of work? Married?  

I’m newly wed and recently a Texas-resident, so outside of work I’m exploring a new city by way of running, biking, and trying new restaurants with my husband.

How many kids and where are they in life?

See “newlywed” answer  😉 no kids yet!

What are you reading and/or watching right now? 

Reading: “Spark,” by John J. Ratey, among several others as I like to start and stop books at the same time. We’re watching “The Morning Show” currently- really good so far!

Any recommendations?

I would recommend The Morning Show if you want a sort of “parallel” to today’s news & women-in-the-workforce situations. It’s equal parts entertaining & realistic. If you’re not in the mood to think, we just finished Ted Lasso and laughed every episode!

What famous or well-known individual would you most like to meet and have a conversation?

Hmm… probably Brene Brown because I love her ideas and feel like she would just be easy to talk to! 

The Path to Resolution: At Work, At Home & In The World

Imagine…

A participating party refuses to make concessions about their case, although the path to a smoother, less stressful tomorrow is obviously in contradiction to what they say they want. How can they not see this?

It’s week 3 of your spouse lamenting about their latest struggles at work, and no matter what you suggest, you’re met with resistance. Why aren’t they at least trying to solve the problem?

The other side” wants to handle the problem this way, but that’s clearly ridiculous and makes no sense. How could they think this way?

Everyday— in the mediation room, at home, in the world— we are confronted with choices, beliefs and actions of others that we may not understand or agree with. And when others think differently than we do, it’s easy to conclude that “they” are blind, ignorant, careless, foolish. This labeling creates a distance between “us” and “them,” one that feels good, initially, because it assures us that it is not us who are “stupid” or foolish, it is “them.” We are the smart ones, the right ones, the ones who see clearly. If only “they” could think like us.

In maintaining this distance, we also maintain the subconscious belief that if those who disagreed with us would only come over to our side, things would be better, the problem would be solved, and all would be right. The greater the distance between “us” and “them,” the easier it is to maintain this belief.

We at Prism Group, though, believe resolution happens when both parties are willing to bridge that gap, to close the distance between “our side” and “the other side.” We believe resolution happens— at work, at home & in the world—when each side has the courage to walk towards the other in efforts to understand them.

Walking towards “the other” requires us to put our Egos aside, however. When we choose resolution, we must also choose to abandon our position and seek to understand another. We must choose to forego being “right” in exchange for moving forward in resolution together. Prism’s path to resolution is not about what each side wants, it’s about what both sides want: resolution. We believe resolution begins with an effort to understand “the other side”— at work, at home & in the world.

Why Prism Believes Love Belongs At Work

Although, like most holidays in America, Valentine’s Day has become a consumerist celebration where women don red lipstick and painted fingernails, men take their best shot at a romantic gesture for their sweethearts, single women claim their independence with “Galentine’s” parties, and retail stores capitalize on the exorbitant amounts of money spent on chocolates and flowers— at it’s core, what we celebrate on February 14th is really pretty special.

Love.

That feeling we are so privileged to get to experience and yet that is so beyond our realm of comprehension that art has struggled to describe and portray it for centuries. 

Love.

That feeling of depth, magic, realness and closeness that makes the human experience both messy and beautifully unique.

Love. 

Indescribable, powerful, sometimes painful— love.

Whether it’s romantic love, platonic love, familial love, or simply that “love” feeling we get when deeply immersed in our hobbies, we all like love: to feel it, to receive it, to give it, to experience it.

And yet… love can be such a nuisance. It is not fair, not capable of being measured or predicted, not subject to regulation. It is hardly teachable, often complicated, and frequently associated with “falling,” as well as being the cause of less-than-prudent or otherwise “crazy” decisions (i.e. “The things we do for love.”)

What place has love in matters of work and business? What place has love— unfair, unmeasurable, unpredictable, “crazy” love— in discussions of money and the future?

According to therapist Pittman McGehee “The opposite of love is not hate, it is efficiency.” What place has inefficiency in matters so serious as work, money and business? Laborious, thought-heavy, costly, time-consuming love— why try to incorporate it into work?

Superfluous as it may be, when we infuse love into our work, when we take the extra time to do the little things, when we lead instead of pull, when we listen instead of hurry through, when we have patience instead of haste, when we understand that it is love and not efficiency that humans seek from other humans— maybe, just maybe, we get what we want from our work and then some.

Prism Group Welcomes Vanessa Francingues to the Office Team!

As we enter the New Year, the Prism Team is bidding a bittersweet farewell to our behind-the-scenes “jack-of-all-trades,” Cindy, as she leaves the workforce to be able to spend more time with her grandchildren. 

If you’ve visited our offices, you’ve seen (and felt!) the effects of Cindy’s magic touch— from her seasonal decor and lunchtime set up, to keeping all our amenities stocked and ensuring every person who enters the building feels welcome and comfy— but her efforts extend well beyond what meets the eye. Cindy, like everyone here at Prism, has those wonderful qualities that you can’t name but that you know when you feel them, and she gave the same special touches to our office, our clients, and our business. She will be missed!

As endings go, however, a new beginning is in store. We are overjoyed to have Vanessa Francingues, our resident Spanish interpreter, join our team full-time this February. Vanessa will remain interpreting (thank goodness— Alan, Sean & Michelle were a little nervous to learn Spanish!) but between mediations, she’ll fill Cindy’s role and continue to tag-team with our out-of-office creative team member, Emily.

Keep reading to learn more about Vanessa and join us in giving her a warm welcome to the Prism family!

How long have you been with Prism & how did you find your way here?

I have been working with the Prism Group for approximately 3 ½ years. I met Alan interpreting for a mediation in New Orleans and we worked so well together that I knew instantly that this was a company I wanted to do more work with in the future.

What do you enjoy contributing to the Prism Team? 

I enjoy being able to facilitate communication and understanding for the Mediators and their Hispanic clientele.

What/how does being a part of the Prism Team add to your life?

Being part of the Prism Team has given me a sense of pride, personally and professionally, that I am truly helping the limited-English speaking clients navigate and understand what could be an intimidating and confusing legal process.

What have you learned from the mediation business that has been helpful in navigating your own life challenges?

I have learned that in order to see eye to eye at the end of the day, there needs to be a true understanding of the situation at hand, patience, empathy, and compromise.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of work?

Now that my husband, Wayne, and I are empty-nesters, we really enjoy going on date nights, trying different restaurants, and getting together with friends who are also empty-nesters. 

How many kids do you have and where are they in life?

We have one daughter, Alexandra, who is 19 this July and is a sophomore at LSU, studying business finance. 

What are you reading and/or watching right now? 

Unfortunately, I am not reading as much as I would like to be, but we have recently finished Netflix during the pandemic. In all seriousness, I enjoy watching psychological thrillers and murder mysteries.

Any recommendations?

We recently finished Mare of Easttown, with Kate Winslet. Unfortunately, it was so good that we stayed up until 3 a.m., on a weeknight, in order to finish it. Another recent favorite was Your Honor, filmed in New Orleans, starring Bryan Cranston. I am currently attempting to get my husband into The American Horror Story Series, but he is resisting a little.

What famous or well-known individual would you most like to meet and have a conversation?

I would have loved to have met and had a conversation with Princess Diana. I have always admired her quiet strength and grace in the midst of public and private scrutiny. I feel like she could have given great advice to young women of today facing adversity.