Saturday, June 19, 2010

Plan B(ee)

Every day when I drive up the 1/4 mile driveway to the homestead, which gives one plenty of time to think, I vacillate between excitement and dread.
"ooh maybe some bees have moved into my hive!" and "oh... maybe bees have moved into my hive."

Even as I have built my hive, researched for months AND taken a class on keeping honey bees I have found that there is a definite part of me that feels a little fearful. Not so much, I think, about getting stung. I think it's more about the sheer weight of the task. Once I start bee keeping I will always be a bee keeper. And if I am suddenly not a beekeeper it because I have failed as a beekeeper - i.e. I let my bees die. Because, really, all I know is what I know and there is a lot more to know!

When I was having my teeth cleaned a couple weeks ago, I was chatting with my dental tech. about her new house in the country. When the subject of bees came up, as it always does with me these days, she lit up. She had started her first hive this year. She assured me that before she received her bees she had felt nervous and worried too. But now she feels it is all going very well and she has no trouble working with her bees.
She very kindly invited me over to her house to experience her bees.

We met on a sunny afternoon at her 5 acre farmlet and after we took a tour of the Maltese "puppies" and the lonely Guinea hen calling for her friend the white hen (who had escaped their enclosure somehow) we strolled up to the shed and she handed me a net hat and took one for herself and some gloves. I put my hat on and braced myself for the swarm of angry bees!

It turns out she never even put on her gear. The bees, as far as I could tell, couldn't have cared less about their hive roof being lifted off. They went about their business without the slightest bit of aggravation. We calmly chatted and admired their inner domain as bees buzzed to and fro. It felt very calm there amongst the inhabitants of the hive. Once in a while a little bee would land on us as if we had suddenly appeared in their planned flight path, it would pause, do the bee equivalent of shaking it's head and then take off to try again.

It was so glorious! Finally I was sure I really wanted bees.

So on to Craig's List I went and sure enough a kindred spirit was advertising that their hive was about to swarm and did someone want to buy the swarm? YES! I did.

Now I am sitting on pins and needles waiting for that fateful call when I must come get 30,000 buzzing bees, help put them into a cardboard box, drive them home in my car and dump them into their new home, which I can only hope I have built correctly and supplied it properly with bee syrup and pollen patty.

Bees any day now. Yay!!!


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