Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

January 21, 2010

Want to hear the latest "Buzz"

There’s a good bit of "Buzz" going on here on the homestead. A~ and I have been kicking around the idea of dipping our fingers into the honey pool and making the commitment that is beekeeping. It’s an idea that we’ve been bouncing around between us for about a year and we’re currently taking a class from our local extension service to learn the basics of the biology, management and legal concerns regarding beekeeping to help us decide to help us on our way... because we've decided! We're getting bees!!

It all started last year during our Master Gardener class. One of our fellow classmates kept bees and was a great advocate of it. We, being the avid gardeners that we are, are of course aware of the issues facing our beloved bees and are horrified by the idea that they could one day leave us for good. We’ve also recognized the need for the increased pollination and a homegrown sugar source on our backyard farm. It didn’t take too much advocating by our classmate to make me start thinking about it. The funny part was that I never thought A~ would go for it, potentially stinging flying insects being encouraged to make a home in our yard and all, but it was her that first broached the subject. In fact, she said that she really wants to have them; go figure…will I ever fully understand this wonderful woman? Apparently she's always secretly wanted to keep them and never shared it. So now, prepended onto our every growing to-do list, is the acquisition, set-up and populating of two hives.

Life has again proven that is will lead us in the direction we need to go if we allow it too. After we'd begun talking about it in a very cursory way last year, we met the fellow classmate that was such a good advocate to us. Then, as we thought about it more over the fall and winter months, suddenly we got an email about the class that we're currently taking. (Yes, the class came to us...) Then, last month, after our accident, the physical therapist that we're going to turns out to be quite the homesteader too and had just last year started keeping bees; he was another great advocate. In fact, even as soon as Tuesday, when we had our first class, the "signs" continued. In the class was a really nice local woman who is also a Master Gardener and a pretty serious homesteader/prepper as well whom we met last year at our Master Gardener Conference. As it turns out, she also started keeping bees last year and was a great resource to talk with. Even our M.G. instructor from last year was in the class and we talked about trying to set some hives up at the Botanical Center. (Need to line up those volunteer hours for next year you know.)
It all came together to make us feel really comfortable about doing what we've been really wanting to anyway.

I don't have a lot of details yet, but as always, I'd love to hear what you have in the way of experience and advice. And of course, more details will be shared when I have them.

Best to you all... now I'm gonna Buzz off till later.


Wendy said...

We're getting our bees this year too! All over the 'net, I'm hearing from other folks like us who are getting their bees this year.

Funny. It seems like it may be all of us - the nanofarmers/urban-suburban homesteaders - who bring the bee population back to something sustainable ;). I think we can't underestimate how important a group we're becoming ;).

Kate said...

We too are starting bees. I think about half my blogroll is starting bees this year. When I attend the meetings of my local beekeeping association, I can well believe them when they say they're seeing a huge wave of first time beekeepers right about now. It's a regular zeitgeist! Should be interesting to see how we all fare with them. Let's hope we all meet with success.

Damn The Broccoli said...

I want bees, but I think my wee corner of Gaia is a little too small. However, one day I aim to have ten plus hives. They are a fabulous resource.

When I was a child my dad kept bees. I remember watching him centrifuge the honey from the combs and all this other stuff that seemed borderline magic at the time! And there was no finer end product than fresh honey.

We do need to save the bees. I don't believe in the Colony Collapse Disorder, it seems far more likely the increase in pesticide use is the culprit!

Bees often seem to do better now in urban areas as there are more plants and less harsh chemicals. I look forward to reading about your exploits.

P~ said...

Wendy~ / Kate~,
I totally know what you mean, beginner beekeepers are everywhere. The best thing I can think of about this is that unlike entry level chicken or livestock keeping, if the person doesn't do a good job or neglects them, at the very least the bees can generally care for themselves. Worst case they swarm off and leave 'em. I think we're all an incredibly valuable resource, and I'm so glad to have you all in my camp!

One day perhaps... one day!
I do believe in CCD, and think of it as a name for a phenomenon. A phenomenon that, like you, I think we've had a large hand in. Besides the pesticides, I believe the increased mobility of our colonies that are now managed not for honey production but for pollination has a great part to play in it. It simply cannot be healthy to a hive to be constantly changing location, climate and food sources. I look forward to having my "nano-farm" (Thanks Wendy, I love that term!!) play whatever role it can in their resurgance!

Wendy said...

And related to the mobility of the hives is the fact that when they're taken to a new area for the purpose of pollination, it's, typically, a monoculture of crop. From what we've read (my husband and I) bees need diversity in their diet, which modern pollinating practices often doesn't give them.

And you're welcome ;). We both kind of have a nanofarm, don't we? Mine is only a quarter acre, which doesn't qualify as a "micro-farm", and if things go well this year, I may actually have a cash crop for next year's (2011) Farmer's Market, which would make me a farmer for real :).

Robbyn said...

Oh, congratulations!!! Can't wait to see how the garden and bees stay happy together :)