I've wanted to keep bees since I was a child, standing a few feet behind my dad, wearing his beekeeping veil.
I was around Lupine's age.
In my young mind was the knowledge that someday I would be a beekeeper, too.
I've spent years imagining and romanticizing what it would be like to have my very own bees. On my very own farm.
When I started making body care in my 20's, I even named my company – now LuSa Organics – "Queen Bee's Earthly Delights". In honor of the bees my dad once kept in our backyard, and the bees I hoped someday
But I never really considered what it would actually be like to keep bees.
The hope that everything goes according to plan. The maternal-like need to protect them from pesticide spray and winter hunger.
If we spoke the same language I would tell the bees this:
You are amazing creatures. You pollinate. You make honey. Goodness, you make your own glue from the sap of the trees that surround our farm.
You creatures are nothing short of amazing.
And, well, I really hope you know what you're doing.
Because we're still pretty green. Completely green. We're learning from books and from some words on the phone or at the coop or through email of more experienced beekeepers.
We're learning as we go by getting in the mix and seeing how things work in your world.
And for now, harvesting your honey for our own use is only a dream.
But it's enough.
In my morning tea. Our weekly ice cream. And special baked goods.
And next summer I will harvest great hand-fulls of lemon balm from the garden and slice up some ginger and stuff it all in a mason jar. I will cover it with your honey and I will delight each time I stir that magic into a cup of tea.
And then we'll dig elecampane and make cough syrup.
Medicine. Treats. Magic. Nourishment.
But for that to happen, we need you to make it through the winter.
So hang in there, won't you?
We'll feed you some local honey we bought this season in hopes of preparing you for the cold months to come. And next summer I promise you a new, nectar-rich field of flowers, just beyond the garden.
Oh, and bees? Thanks for all you do.
15 thoughts on “Our bees.”
Oooo! Jen and I would LOVE TO DO THIS. Bees are truly amazing!!! I hope your babies survive the winter, and will be happy and healthy for a long time. 🙂
Yay for bees. We were suppose to get ours this spring, but they were limited around these parts, so many lost their hives last winter. We are gearing up for this coming spring and can’t wait.
Have fun and sweet honey dreams to you 🙂
How wonderful! We’re going to get bees next year, along with some fruit trees. Is that a top bar hive? My husband wants to build one but most of the info out there (especially in book form) is about traditional hives. Where did you get your gear?
Ours were supposed to be spring bees as well but we didn’t end up with them until the very end of June. Thus our feeding them. We’re hoping for good bee mojo next year!
This is the book we are gleaning most of our knowledge from :
What is this lemon balm, ginger, honey amazingness you speak of?
Oh that is so cool! The idea of beekeeping has crossed my mind a few times (altho I know nothing about it). It all started when I enjoyed working in my garden when the bees were out pollinating in the morning. Love it! Thanks for sharing. And for the book suggestion.
I love your attitude with your bees. This was my second year keeping bees, and it was so different from my first – last year was textbook perfect, this year, not so much. But I now have two hives that look like they will be strong going into the winter. I watch them and talk to them all the time. I hope your bees stay strong, too.
I love it when I come to your blog and have to look up words like elecampane!!! So excited for you and your dream of bees!!!
This is my third season as a beekeeper. The wonders never cease. He’s to a great winter! My TBH overwintered last year without so much as a wrap… but I have never harvested a drop from them yet. 😉
It’s heaven in a jar, my dear! Here is the plan: harvest lemon balm when it is free of surface moisture. (Late morning works.) Cram it into a mason jar, bruising a little as you do. (If it’s damp spread it out first to dry on a cookie sheet.) Add a think slices of ginger, and cover with raw honey. Use a knife to ensure that the lemon balm is completely covered in every spot with honey. Place it in a dark cupboard for a few weeks. Then strain off the honey and… yum! It will be thinner – pourable honey – after the infusion is complete.
Thanks Karen! I’m encouraged that we’ll get the hang of it.
When Sage was small and we hadn’t figured out his food sensitivities he had lots of bad winter coughs. He’d get a cough and cold, then cough for two weeks at night. But this herb? THIS herb is amazing. One doze of elecampane and he’d cough once more, then lay down and sleep for the rest of the night. ((cue angels singing))
Really truly amazing.
Where are you, Becca? I’m a little concerned that our short summers might be a stretch for TBH’s.
It looks like you have foundationless frames (maybe even frameless, only the top bar?). Do you get crooked comb? I start with plastic foundation and I just get rid of all the plastic foundations and want to use only the frames. But many people said that I will need ladder or wire to give the bee support and prevent crooked comb. Do you have this problem? Any tips? Thanks!