I know we have been planning on getting bees for quite some time now, but going from planning to get bees to being able to walk up to our hives and watch the little gals zipping in and out are two totally different things. It seems surreal. I can still hardly believe we have three dairy goats either.
I wasn’t sure how I would like beekeeping. Studying up on it was fun enough. Honey bees are fascinating creatures. I have to give them that. But who wants to be stung? Who wants to willingly open up a hive of thousands of stinging creatures and have tens or hundreds of them crawling on themselves? I wanted the honey, so I was willing to do it, but I wasn’t sure it would be all that fun.
Then, the email came and Tom, Dad, and I drove to Oxford and picked up the bees. Tom and I put our bee suits on, and Dad initially hopped out of the car with us to check things out. By the time we had found the lady with the clipboard, Dad had locked himself into the truck and was extremely hesitant to let Tom and I in for fear that a bee would slip in as well.
We had watched a couple of youtube videos on how to install the bees into their hives once we got them home, and we felt relatively confident about it. None of the people in the videos had made it look very hard after all. So with suits on, and smoker at hand, we opened up our bees for the first time.
AND IT WAS AWESOME!!! Not only did I feel pretty safe in my bee suit, I also got to hold up frames of bees and watch as they went about their daily lives, seeing stores of honey and eggs, along with thousands of bees going about their business. It almost made me sad when we were done because it was so cool. Neither Tom and I have been stung yet either. We figure it is bound to happen, but at least now we don’t feel like beekeeping means getting stung all the time for the payout of honey at the end of the game. Instead, it seems to mean more along the lines of keeping/being a steward of a beehive, watching over the little suckers and doing little things here and there to help them be successful as a hive. The experience itself is rewarding.
Now if I see a bee in the garden, I give it some praise and root for it to pollinate and take back nectar. If the bees survive the winter, we will be able to harvest honey next fall. That seems a long way off, but it will be here before we know it. In the meantime, I will enjoy watching the bees come in and out of the hive (they are quite docile; a person is pretty safe standing a handful of feet off to the side of the hive) and getting all excited to suit up anytime we look into the hive.