Monday, May 11, 2009

Beetime Traveller Chapter 2~



Four months ago, on a rainy wintry day, I called the local honeybee center, and registered for a four day long, "Basic Bee Keeping" course. The course was to be taught by a local Beemaster and would include both classroom and field study. The cost was 250 dollars, which I paid without hesitation.

A week later, I bought all my honeybee equipment including the veil and safari type hat. Of course, once I had those things in my possession, I tried them on every chance I got, and stood in front of the mirror dreaming of bee keeping, like a child does Christmas. I was on the count down. And as the blossoms bloomed in the garden, one after another, the way they do at this time of year, I knew I was getting closer to the course scheduled for the beginning of May.

You see I have this "way" of looking forward to an event that has to do with what flower, or vegetable, or fruit is in season, on the day that the event is scheduled for. It's a childhood ritual I simply cannot help but still do, and it goes like this: I knew that on the 1st day of my bee course the plum trees would be in flower, and so instead of looking on the calender to when my course would be, I waited for the plums to bloom before preparing.

I invented this planning style as a child when I couldn't understand calenders and time lines. I could however, understand what time of year it was when the violets were out, or when the pumpkins were ready. I knew that my birthday was just before violets and Halloween was sometime around pumpkins. My niece understands this logic very well, and she asks "when will I see you again Auntie, and I reply, "when the raspberries are ready to eat, or when your mom plants the squash, or when the sunflowers are out." And she gets this, more than she might if I had said in two months and five days. For, what does two months mean to a child?

( Funnily enough this is how beekeepers think too, as they respond to the needs of their bees based on what is blooming, and they ask themselves "are we in dandelion season or blackberry?")

But back to Basic Bee Keeping, a course due to start when the plum is in bloom.

Two weeks ago the plum tree's bloomed. A week later I got in my car and drove for an hour into the fields where I met up with twenty others who wanted to learn about honeybees. And I have to say, as far as I can tell, people interested in honeybees, seem like a pretty good bunch. These folks were the most down to earth, unpretentious, good hearted group I have met in long time. I think it takes a certain kind of temperament to be interested in such things. Opening a hive of 60, 000 honeybees is not for the angry impatient ones, it really isn't.


And so together, with our unbelievably knowledgeable and inspired teacher, we ventured into the land of the honeybee. We donned our bee suits and headed out into the Bee Yard, we opened hives, inspected frames of bees, lit smokers, counted eggs and larvae. We read books, we took notes, we watched slide shows, and we were tested, both on the field and in the classroom. There was an exam which I proud to say I did rather well on (little geeky grin), and a certificate awarded to all of those who past the test. It was one of the most informative and interesting things I have done in a very long time.

I learned more over the course of those four days than I can fully integrate, but I expect I will figure much of it out along the way. It's a bit like all things that way, gardening, parenting, getting a dog, buying a house, going traveling, falling in love, first kiss, loosing ones virginity, all daunting things in the beginning. You can only prepare so much for any one of them, and then, you just do it, and you figure it out. eh eh eh. ( I hope I haven't offended any bee keepers out there by comparing bee keeping to "loosing one's virginity," but you get my drift, I hope).

So that said, here I go, two weeks until my Bee's arrive! I know a little bit more now then I did last week, and I will learn a whole lot more over the many years that I hope to do this. I have no doubt that this is going to be a life long learning, but I am truly okay with that, cause let's face it, what isn't?



8 comments:

ArtSparker said...

There's a very sweet film directed by Victor Nunez called "Ulee's Gold" about beekeeping. I think you would like it. Sounds very exciting...it would definitely go on a list of things I'd like to do one day.

Nao said...

Susan you always give me the best recommendations!

I will check it out for sure~

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

This makes me excited for you! I can't wait to see your hive. And just think how gorgeous all your flowers are going to be.

Love to Gus.

Rowan said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your bee-keeping course and did so well at it, it must be really exciting to be so close to getting your bees. I really like your idea of planning by seasonal happenings, must try this with my grandchildren as I can see that it will mean more to them than saying 'in two months time'.

mamak said...

Yay for you and the honeybees!!

Karen said...

How exciting! I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of your own bees :)

pinkrelish said...

I like it...new growth and bees...
good stuff. Congratulations Nao!

Chimera said...

Blog award for you on mine!!
tanvi x