|Rachel holding up one of the hive’s frames. The yellow part is the wax
foundation that the bees will build their comb off of.
If you had asked me anytime in my life before the last couple months if I could see myself as a beekeeper, the answer would have been “no.” However, life has a funny way of taking you on unexpected journeys, and here we are preparing to start up a couple of hives next spring for the Hust Roost.
In our planning for the Hust Roost, we had kicked around the idea of beekeeping and everyone thought it was a good idea (Dad said he hated bees and didn’t want to have to do any of the work, but he thought it was a great idea). I asked a professor from college that Rachel and I both had if we could meet with him to talk about bees. He dabbles in some hobby farming, and he was happy to meet with us, show us his bees, and talk about beekeeping.
|Drone Casey on the beekeeping throne reading Storey’s Guide
to Keeping Honey Bees.
We left the professor’s house feeling that beekeeping was a lot easier and more fun than we had previously thought. For example, honey bees are actually quite docile. They usually only sting when they feel threatened, which is
|Queen Rachel on the throne reading Storey’s Guide to Keeping
why you can see pictures of beekeepers covered with their bees. Ever since that meeting, we have been checking Craigslist for good deals on beekeeping equipment. Soon enough we found ourselves at a sheep farm in Canandaigua talking to a man that had kept bees for over fifty years.
We learned a lot from that beekeeper, and he ended up selling us two hives at a very good price. We still are in need of some equipment before we start next spring, but our first purchase for our beekeeping enterprise has made the upcoming endeavor more real to us. This is one of the aspects of the Hust Roost that I knew the least about, and while I still know very little and plan on blundering through the first few years (that is how I learn!), I have learned enough to be genuinely excited about this topic.
So, once we move down to the Hust Roost next spring, we (Tom and Rachel have joined me in running this aspect of the business) will be getting bees (either by catching swarms or buying them—maybe both, depending on what our research tells us and our ability to discover swarms). We plan on getting stung a few times and always having a beekeeping first aid kit handy (just as a precaution), but we also plan on learning a lot about nature, enjoying the honey of our labor, and watching our fruits and vegetables thrive in the presence of our bees.
|Casey admiring the new excluder, a piece designed to get all of the bees out of the honey box before
we go in to harvest the honey. It works by letting the bees out of the box but not back into it.