Today is Saturday, August 19, 2017

Woman of Wilson: Jana McCullough

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In 2011 Jana McCullough picked up a rather sweet hobby - beekeeping - which has allowed her to provide friends and family with delicious, local honey in both her native and adoptive states.

McCullough is originally from Fairfield, Illinois, where she still operates the 40-acre family farm; however, she made Wilson County her new hometown in 2001 when she moved south to assist her beau, oral surgeon Dr. Jim Tams, at his practice.

She and Tams first met in 1982 at the grocery store. McCullough described Tams as a friend of her family and she was introduced to him by her sister.

"We didn't date for 20 years," she said. That is until Tams was in Illinois on a family matter and stopped by McCullough's place of business two decades later.

"That was when he asked me out," she said. They have been together ever since.

Beekeeping started in an unconventional way too. "I was at my farm in Illinois and they swarmed in my garden. I was able to catch them and called a friend, who has become my mentor, on how to raise bees," she said.

She and Tams started going to classes taught by a master beekeeper and now manage and collect honey from a total of 24 hives in Illinois and Tennessee.

"We have honey for all of our friends regardless of their allergies or taste preference," she said.

McCullough explained that the pollen collected by bees in different regions actually helps allergy suffers who consume their honey to build an immunity. She said that the honey is also very tasty and good for a number of skin conditions.

"I put it on some poison ivy to clear it up. I put it on chigger bites and it immediately stops the itching," she said of the honey - which historically has been used for its skin-enhancing properties.

When she isn't beekeeping, McCullough enjoys other outdoor adventures. She likes gardening, horseback riding and vacationing at their cabin in Wyoming.

"There is so much to see - buffalo, bears, bald eagles," she said.

The woman she most admires is her mother, Kathryn Wilson.

Wilson was an educator and a devoted wife and mother of five daughters. "You have to respect a woman like that," McCullough said.

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