Beehive. That word gives humans pause. Since Hollywood got a hold of the concept of killer bees that word has really freaked out some people. When I, who live in the suburbs and am certainly a "girlie-girl" decided I wanted to keep bees people couldn't have been more astonished. I have always thought bees were these amazing creatures, but kept my distance, you know they sting right? I took up gardening about 4 years ago, and have since become obsessed with the sowing, growing, watering, feeding and nurturing of my garden.
In the course of my gardening, I got up close and personal with one of my favorite & important parts of the garden, the bees. Every year for the past 3 years I have planted specific plants for the bees. I had heard about something called CCD, (Colony Collapse Disorder) which at the time I didn't know the name, just that the world's bee population was in danger. Let's face it, I'm not the most socially conscious person on the planet, I'm not MISS GREEN, heck, I don't even recycle. I won't lie, I garden because it relaxes me, wards off depression, it's my hobby! I'd love to be able to say that all the food I grow saves me oodles at the store, but that's simply not true. It probably costs me more to grow one tomato than buying an entire container of them in the summer. That's not what it's about for me. I will however admit that every single thing I grow tastes 100X better than anything I bought. As my kids say, I grew it with love. Maybe that's why.
About 4 years ago during the honeymoon phase of my first garden, I was a little over-zealous on my facebook page about how much I loved my garden and watching the bees. A "friend" made a snarky comment "enough about your garden & the bees already". For the next few weeks I was embarrassed and didn't say a peep about the garden, my cats or much less the bees! As the summer wore on and my love for the garden and all it's creatures encompassed me. I couldn't help it, I "unfriended" said "friend" and went on about my business and felt a little better about talking about my garden. In the back of my head lurked the comment, that maybe this ONE person had the gumption to say what others were thinking. Maybe I had become boring and annoying with my talk of flowering pumpkins, cats chasing butterflies, grapes and bees... It has stuck in my craw for 4 years.
As and aside, in that 4 years, and during this time, I was a part time gardener, this has been a sanity saving hobby because I have built a business, sold that business and am now retired and I'm not even middle aged. Well, it's garden time again, and for the past six months all I have thought about is the garden and the buzz of the bees in it. Enough of this pussy-footing around! I read up on urban beekeeping. First just some blogs, did a few Google searches, then I approached my husband with the idea of a hive. I did my research and it seems we are in an area there are no prohibitions for beekeeping. YAY! I have signed up for a class (this Sunday, cannot wait!). I have ordered my first nuc of bees, and am feeling elated!
I have been thinking about my first garden a lot as the season progresses, and that comment, made so offhand, which embarrassed me so much. I want to thank that "friend" because of that comment, I am going to actually step up and start beekeeping. Is that the only reason? Of course not. I am delighted that I will be helping the bees, that I get to watch them and photograph them. I'm completely thrilled that I will get to learn something new that gets me out and something that I can share. I am not going to be ashamed to share on facebook or twitter as I progress. As a matter of fact, I decided to blog about my experience as a brand new beekeeper in the city. So, here it is! For the record, I've never even been near a beehive, I've never pulled a frame or collected honey or fed a bee (other than planting wild flowers for them). I have never seen a Queen, or scraped honey or even seen propolis or royal jelly. I just learned what a queen excluder is and how a hive actually works via some books. I'm a bit worried that you know, I'll get stung (which is pretty much a given), that I will freak out when I feel bees crawling on me, or that they could swarm. I don't think these are unfounded fears, but the excitement I'm feeling is overriding every one of these fears.
I have no desire to sell honey or comb. I don't think I care much about making stuff out of the comb, but you never know with me. I may get a passion for candles or something. Could happen. I am excited about my new adventure! I'll keep you posted. So hopefully you'll hit "follow" and come along with me on my journey as an urban beekeeper.