Breeann Doerksen, along with her husband Trevor, own and operate Bulkley Valley Hive & Honey, producing delectable, beautiful honey as well as a line of health and wellness body care products. I will give a little tip and say that her Lemon Vanilla Bath Bombs are my absolute favourite and my children know not to touch or (as my dad used to say), there will be war in the valley!!  I buy 4 or 5 at a time and savour them!

Breeann also has spent the last 10 years teaching elementary school from Houston to Hazelton. She enjoys spending time with her 2 children, as well as her students, exploring nature believing that the natural world is our greatest teacher.  She is passionate about teaching as well as her new path of becoming a Herbalist – learning that plants can teach us, and heal us.

You may also recognize Breeann because she shares the family farm with her parents, who run B & T Rides; wagon and sleigh rides for the Bulkley Valley. I know many, many community members have delighted in their winter wonderland in rural Telkwa.

Breeann has learned to cultivate her need to be creative, and she says she is happiest when she is making something.  She is a really good example of imagining what life could be like, and then having the courage to change to follow a different path.  It’s not always easy to do that – from one path leaper to another!  I’m so grateful for women like Breeann that show us (and our children) that life is full of twists and turns and what matters at the end of the day is that we’re living life with the people we love most.

Welcome to the table, Breeann!

How long have you called the Bulkley Valley home? 

I have called the Bulkley Valley home since 1993.  I moved around the northwest for about ten years living in all the communities from here to Prince Rupert, but always felt the BV was home. I returned home in 2014 to live permanently on my family farm in Rural Telkwa. 

What is one thing you’ve learned about friendship (or community)? 

I’ve learned that friendship and community are the backbone of rural living. When you live in the country, your closest Neighbour is 5 minutes away, your closest friend Neighbour is a ten-minute drive away. But there’s a special kinship we have because of our distance. When I need a helping hand, or a friend to talk to I know my group of rural dwellers have my back. I know my muddy boots won’t be scorned at, the coffee is on with a warm muffin and some good conversation. 

I’ve also learned that people from very different backgrounds and life paths make for a dynamic and interesting community. Our neighbourhood has cattle ranchers, dairy farmers, chicken breeders, off grid homesteaders, beekeepers, loggers, teachers, secretaries…. and we all have a common thread of rural living that forms the basis of our community. 

What is one area you are growing in?

Being ok with the changes of life.  I have wanted to be a teacher my whole life. I received my certificate in 2011, had kids and finally in 2019 my son was in school so I could teach full time!  However, life took a different turn around 2017 when we started keeping bees and I took my hobby soap making and turned it into a business. Our side hobby projects quickly became a full-fledged business, and my teaching career was strictly part-time. It’s been hard to let go of the vision I had for myself. However, this new path is teaching me so much about myself especially about learning to take what comes. 

What is one thing you would say to your younger self?

Nothing!!!  My younger self was a kick-ass strong woman who led a life full of adventure and possibility!  I know that might sound conceited but I feel like I took advantage of the freedom from family ties and from a steady job. I worked so many jobs from tree planter to insurance sales, ski/snowboard instructor to bank clerk. This was liberating because I was able to move around, meet so many people and it helped to shape me. I don’t regret anything from my younger years, even my mistakes helped me become who I am today.  I feel completely settled in my life now because I took advantage in my youth to fully experience life. I also saw so many possible ways to live life through the people I met. I feel that being free from societal binds allowed me to see what was possible, helping me now because I have a more open mind what I can accomplish in life!

Who inspires you and why?

I am inspired by so many, but probably most inspiring for the moment is my husband, Trevor. He has a wonderful passion for life and for new ideas. When he has an idea, he focuses almost obsessively about it to learn the most he can about it. He once spent the better part of a year learning about tea; the origins, the varieties, where to source the best tea.  We had a serious collection of tea and now, he just knows what he likes and buys that!  It’s inspiring because he takes us all along with him on his idea adventures, 9 times out of 10, it’s a blast!  He lives life being open to the possibilities that might come our way. 

What do you know is true, and how do you carry that day to day? 

I know that my energy is best spent on my family. I always try to think of end goals and what my tasks are doing for me and my family.  At the end of the day, whatever struggles we’ve endured, eating dinner with my family is the most important thing. I try to remember that all the hard things throughout the day with running a business, raising children, whatever, are all part of the bigger process of our rich life. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s HARD!  But what I know to be true and the best part of my life is living where I live with my family.