My honey is going to bee a beekeeper. The honeybee order has been placed for May 1st pick-up. Does anyone know how many bees are in 3 lbs of bees? I don't--and ignorance is truly bliss! This is totally a Linda project; although I've already learned many fascinating tidbits that she's so generously sharing as she does her extensive research (when you start a hive the queen stays in a box for several days; honeybees are not aggressive; they eat the honey to survive the winter; skunks love to eat bees), and while I look forward to truly homegrown honey, there's some, well, fear involved. I'm not a bug person. Oh, I can be mildly amused by a ladybug or two, love butterflies, and was fascinated by the first walking stick I ever saw 'in the wild', and despite a rabid fear of spiders, will ignore a harvestman or daddy longlegs spider in the house as long as it's tucked away in a corner--not the bedroom!...but basically, at the root of it all, I'm terrified of spiders and horrified by other bugs. Last Spring and Summer the endless rain brought millipedes into the house...dozens every day. I'm still traumatized. So the honeybee hive thing is a challenge. That said, I encouraged her to try this. There's a pattern swirling about in our lives, ever-strengthening ties to the natural world at large and roots sinking ever deeper into the thick Catskill clay and rocky soil of this place we call home. The life we're creating--and the direction that life needs to take--is becoming ever clearer and stronger, and welcoming honeybees into it seems the natural and right thing to do. Linda's enthusiasm, the almost-spiritual tone as she plans, the way she's already immersed herself in the research and planning are the exclamation points to the pattern. They'll take up residence on the second tier, at least for this year settling into the future home of the labyrinth; when we're ready to build the labyrinth, a project that we keep pushing back, we'll discuss potential relocation with the bees. The heretofore wasteful expanse of grass up there that requires weekly mowing will become a wildflower meadow, and the bees will provide an excellent excuse to indulge our growing passion for coneflowers!
So we'll see what happens....perhaps this time next year we'll be sitting by the fire, snuggled under a blanket knitted from yarn I spun, oohing and ahhing over the seed and plant catalogs as the snow falls, sipping tea sweetened with our own honey. And how sweet will that bee?