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Terra Love and the Bees

Sometimes all it takes are a few words of encouragement…

I was at the counter at Hudson Valley Bee Supply in Kingston, NY, buying a huge  jar of raw honey and some Calendula & Beeswax soap... I was all jazzed up from the all day course I had just taken called ‘Starting Right with the Bees,’ taught by the owners of the store, Jorik Phillips and Megan Denver.  I had always thought it would be AMAZING to keep bees, but, you know, the circumstances would have to be perfect. When I had read all the right books, had taken all the right classes, hooked up with the perfect mentor, got all the perfect equipment and had followed an experienced beekeeper around for a few years, then, maybe I could take on my own hive. 

 

As a gardener interested in ecology I’m always focused on how my designs and plantings can support pollinators, and I especially love bees. I love to hear them buzzing and humming, reminding me that the landscape is ALIVE. I’ve also watched  a few other beekeepers inspect their own hives, so I knew this beekeeping thing was for me. (Unlike that time Ron and I went to a backyard chicken workshop and and we both left the place going, “yeah, let’s not keep chickens”)

 

But the bees. The bees were a dream I wanted. But not yet. I wasn’t ready.

 

I was completing my purchases with Joe Krein, an employee, when he asked if I’d ordered my bees yet. They were all sold out but they knew someone in Sullivan county who was also picking up some bee packages, I could try there. “Oh no,” I said, “I think I’ll just find someone to follow around for a year and maybe do it next year.” With that statement I thought I was really committing to something pretty strong. Finding a mentor! What a big deal!

 

He must hear this excuse a lot though, because he just said to me, “Oh you can do it- these bees have been doing it for thousands of years; I know you’ll figure it out.”

 

What, Really? I can do it? I can figure it out? 

 

Hmmm. Maybe this was true.

I’ve noticed a pattern, that when someone else believes I can do something that I perceive as challenging, I start to believe it too. (Like when Corey Link, Senior Arborist at the New York Botanical Garden, had confidence in me that I could use a chainsaw, the wood chipper and the skid steer to pick up logs along the Bronx river, I was like, ok, no problem, I got this.)

 

So, *Spoiler Alert* I got those bees from Sullivan County and I got a sweet hive for them to live in. I Installed the bees myself. I did my first inspection 5 days later and found the queen in the hive and the workers buzzing and happy, drawing out comb. So, so far so good. I’m doing it!

 

So, I hope maybe you'll think again about that dream of yours you're keeping on the back burner; or maybe you could even encourage someone else you know who needs a little confidence. It seems like the words “Oh you can do it,” to the right person at the right moment, really can make a difference.

A few pics from my adventures so far:

Attempting to be the bee whisperer by going bare handed...and yes, I did get stung! (only once though)

Attempting to be the bee whisperer by going bare handed...and yes, I did get stung! (only once though)

Helping the queen find her way into the hive

Helping the queen find her way into the hive

5 day check-in; they're happy!

5 day check-in; they're happy!

Some burr comb I had to remove; mission accomplished

Some burr comb I had to remove; mission accomplished

Stay tuned for more updates on the bees. I'm all in now xoxo