becca the bee keeper

There has been a very exciting development around here. Our bee keeper who housed some of his bees on our land last year had too many paying clients and not enough bees. So he didn't have bees to put on our property. But we really want bees. And we want honey. And we want honeycomb for candles and soap. And even last year I had told Rory I wanted to learn how to care for our own bees. I'm sincerely interested.

And when we met Andrew Peterson after a concert he told us he had bees and that we "really had to do it on our own." And the way he said it made me think, we had really better do it on our own.

So we talked to Adam, our bee keeper over burgers at our favorite burger place and he actually offered to take this year to teach us and get us up and running with our own bees. He is the nicest guy, seemingly excited to pass on what he knows and I have vowed in my heart to be his number one student. I am going to try so hard.

And that's the fun thing. This is my thing. The bees are my deal on this farm. Rory seems to have a enough going with the garden, the orchard, the maple syrup, the animals and his actual job that he wasn't as game to take on a whole new trade.

But I was. Because at age 33, the thought of picking up an entire new trade is exhilarating to me. Just as I found absolute peace with being a stay-at-home mom, I have now added another title: bee keeper. And that feels good. Like adding a new title at a job you already enjoy.

So I spent the weekend in California reading a book on organic bee keeping cover to cover. And what I learned is that I have a whole lot to learn. And how glad I am to have Adam, ready to mentor me all season, passing along everything he has learned throughout his years of bee keeping.

Bees don't make me nervous. They never have. Which is good, because they can sense a persons anxiety, and may feel threatened by that anxiety and sting that anxious person. The goal is to be completely calm, relaxed, using smoke just enough...not too much, not too little.

I had on a jacket with hood and long gloves and didn't get stung. And today was a big day. They were moved from their nuc box into their new boxes. Rory will probably do a step-by-step (or maybe I will...) over on the grovestead sometime. It was really amazing. Loud and fascinating.

Perhaps the most story-worthy of the whole experience was that just before Adam showed up I was pushing Elsie in the swing. And I was thinking about how calm and peaceful I needed to be before I went near the bees. Ivar was walking towards our peonies and I saw an s,n,a,k,e right in front of him. I can hardly even type the letters without getting the chills. In college I had to put post it notes in my biology books whenever there was a picture of a, you know.

I have a life goal not to pass my fear of those things onto my children. So I tried to act really casual, pointed it out to Ivar like it was super fun. Got Elsie out of her chair and told Ivar we could go watch a show. I got in the house with a screaming Elsie who was not done swinging (she never is) and felt adrenaline pulsing through my body. I was completely pitted out and had the shivers every time I thought of the thing.

And then I had to go charm some bees.

Thankfully our neighbor girls came over and assured me that they had never seen an animal of that kind in this area before. So I decided to claim that as truth. That this little guy was an abnormality and just as soon as he meets my husband, he will meet the end of the shovel. For all of our sakes, I hope we never see him again.

And in the meantime, you'll find me standing in a swarm of honey bees.

To each his own.


Brad said...

This is great and I'm a a little jealous. I just watched this little documentary on beekeeping last week ( and it really got me interested. Good luck with your bees!

Kyle Groves said...

Bec, as you know, Lisa is very excited about this. We saw a great movie about the plight of the bees called More Than Honey ( you might also find intertesting. It s/b on Netflix, RedBox, etc.

[not the] Best Blog Ever said...

I am in awe of you and your many talents! I've always had a small phobia of bees, despite the fact that I grew up on a farm and lived outside... YOU GO GIRL!

annika said...

Mmmm honey ! Love

annika said...

Hi Aunt B I can't wait for honey love,Sonna love you so much.