Friday, February 28, 2014

Busy as a bee

      Last year we had a family from our ward over for dinner a few times and got to talking while the kids played. This family is not like most of the families in our ward. They raise cows and chickens, the wife makes cheeses and ice cream, and they sell their beef and milk at local farmers' markets. They are cool people. Well, we found out that they keep bees as well. Joe and I were instantly interested. I read a book they had on beginning beekeeping, we went to their home and helped with a few hive inspections, and then we accepted one of their hives and put it in our backyard.         Beekeeping has become our thing. It is so fascinating to read about the amazing honey bee. We can watch the hive from our master bedroom and get sucked into just watching the bees come and go for minutes at a time. We had already put up a small fence and gate in our yard to separate the main yard from the garden area. So we had a great spot already set up, in our garden, that would keep the kids and guests away from the hive. We also already had tons of bees in our yard prior to the bee arrival and haven't noticed any more since. Which makes since if you know that flowers have limited pollen and nectar producing capabilities and so only so many bees can forage any given plant in a time span. Plus when you watch you see that they leave the yard and fly over the neighbors home, and ours, and are on their way to more flowers.
       I know someone will ask, in the 5 months that we've had the bees only one person, me, has been stung and that was because I was brain dead and was in the hive without any protective gear (face mask, gloves) and one got me in the ear. (Which describes well how it felt, like I just got my ear pierced, not fun but nothing fatal) Plus we had just harvested the honey and I think they weren't happy with us. My father-in-law walked two feet in front of the entrance to our hive while Joe and I were working in the hive and he wasn't bothered at all. It's too bad we all grow up being told that bees will sting you because though it is true, they will, they won't if you are slow, gentle, and nowhere near their hive. I took one off a shirt recently and it, she, just walked on my finger (bare finger mind you) until she flew away. I was no threat to her and she had nothing to protect, so why would she kill herself just to sting me, a none threat?
       Bees are amazing, the more I learn of them the more I love having them in my yard. I feel a little closer to the earth knowing that we are aiding in a small way the production of so much. Bees are HUGE contributors to our food supply through pollination, without them we all are in trouble food wise. I love it. They take some work, more monitoring than anything else, but are so worth the little bit of time. An hour every seven to ten days in the spring and summer and even less in the winter. Oh have they loved this weather. And they fly in the rain. Tinkerbell did something to me and I was a little shocked when I first saw that, but then again, bees aren't fairies.
We are looking forward to this being a family industry, a few hives at a satellite location (in a few years) and one or two in our yard. The honey is amazing and so much healthier for you than what is sold as honey in the store. Oh and if we ever sold any (we've only given it away to some friends so far) you can make a little change to  pay back the investment of equipment.
I will post pictures of our hive this week. It's just such a cool experience. I love it.

1 comment:

Stacy Pettersen said...

You are our second pair of friends to start beekeeping, and it really peaks my interest too! Mostly, we like honey a LOT and it is super expensive (our other friends call it their "liquid gold"). I haven't done any serious research, though, since we seem to move every year... the downside to any farming options ever happening in our house. :( Super cool, enjoy them!