Two bees ran into each other. One asked the other how things were going.
“Really bad,” said the second bee. “The weather has been really wet and damp. There aren’t any flowers or pollen, so I can’t make any honey.”
“No problem,” said the first bee. “Just fly down five blocks and turn left and keep going until you see all the cars. There’s a Bar Mitzvah going on. There are all kinds of fresh flowers and fresh fruit.”
“Thanks for the tip,” said the second bee and flew away.
A few hours later the two bees ran into each other again and the first bee asked, “How’d it go?”
“Fine,” said the second bee, “It was everything you said it would be.”
“Uh, what’s that thing on your head?” asked the first bee.
“That’s my yarmulke,” said the second bee. “I didn’t want them to think I was a wasp.”
That’s a beekeeper joke, don’t ya know.
Today, I spent the morning avoiding my homework by browsing the internet. I shouldn’t, but some days, I just need a warm-up before I can focus. I was thinking of my upcoming beekeeping class in May. Yesterday, I purchased a big jar of locally produced honey at the supermarket and had a nice conversation with the elderly checkout man about it. He said he’d been to the farm where this honey was made, and recommended I visit. I told him I thought this would be the last jar of honey I’d be buying, because I was going to grow my own. I also shared that my family wasn’t too keen on the entire idea, but since I had 50 acres I thought I could stick my hives off somewhere where they wouldn’t be intrusive.
The fellow said, “You may want those hives close to the house. Around here, beehives get torn apart by bears. Happened to my neighbor just last year.”
Now, that isn’t something I considered. We did have a bear tear apart my rabbit cage last spring. However, that bear was captured and released in Tennessee, or so we believe. I guess the bear threat will be something I have to prepare for. Frankly, I like bears as much as I like bees (or more) and I would kinda find it cool to think one was pigging out on my honey. Of course, I might feel very differently after I invest in equipment and spend a few months nurturing a hive.
I got my confirmation for the class in the mail this week. They say that if you think you really will want to raise bees after the class, you should consider investing in a beginner hive so they can help you set it up. They sell for around 125.00, but of course when I went shopping on the internet, I found a more modern, high tech version that produces more eggs from the queen (and sustains the bees better through the winter) made of a new, duraplastic (less cumbersome yearly maintenance than wood) for 210.00. This doesn’t count the bees, of course. Wonder what your standard queen bee goes for nowadays?
Ee-gad, living simply is expensive (at least the set up).
So, here I go. I have to do the justification calculation.
Honey sells for about 7 bucks a jar, and we go through a jar every two months (put it in tea, don’t ya know, and I often cook with it too). On that principal, it would take 30 months to break even on my investment. Dang – that’s no good.
Too long. Let’s see – I go to the movies for entertainment and spend about 20 dollars a pop. Keeping Bees is entertainment in a way, so perhaps I can consider savings in that format. Then there is the wax and the fact that I can make candles and soap from it – which I think would be fun to try. I will reap 100 pounds of honey a year. More than I will use for sure. So, I’ll give some away as gifts to teachers and such, and maybe sell some in my coffee shop when I get around to opening one someday. Yep – it’ a stretch, but I can contrive an explanation that will eek by as reason why beekeeping is a good financial investment for the family. Over ten years, we’ll have come out way ahead ….
I have a better idea. I’ll just write an article or story about bees and sell it, and that will justify the entire investment in one fell swoop! Yep, you can’t put a price on life experience and all it can lead to. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Considering I have spent money on a spinning wheel, chickens, a donkey ,llama, fruit trees, and the garden we are putting in – not to mention that I am looking at wine making equipment now – I may have to consider my set up hive as a Birthday present to myself. The rest of the year is filled with guilt when I dare ask for something no one else values. April is my one month for selfish indulgences. Thankfully, it falls just before the beekeeping month. Lucky timing.
I bought a lovely, classy shirt on the internet today to wear to my class. It says, “Beekeepers like to eat their honey.” Ha. People will know I’m enthusiastic. I also subscribed to Beekeeper magazine. There is no turning back now. Not like I can go around wearing that bee shirt and reading that bee magazine and NOT have a single bee to call my own. That would be false advertising.
The other day, we were talking about my keeping bees and Denver said, “I don’t know how you can stand the thought of working with bees.”
I said, “You might think this is odd, but I have this image of myself, standing naked, like Eve, in the middle of the bees, just stretching my arms out, throwing my head back, and allowing them to swarm all over me, like light or energy from heaven. I know it won’t happen, but that is the romanticized ideal for me. I’m not afraid of bees. I think of them as nature’s soldiers, and I feel connected to them. They are just another animal. Only smaller.”
She narrowed her eyes and said, “That isn’t normal, Mom. Bee’s swarming all over you? Sometimes, you worry me.”
Mark said, “Don’t worry. The first time she gets stung, she’ll snap out of it. She’ll change her tune quick, and probably kick over the hive, cursing up a storm. Then, I wouldn’t put it past her to drown the varmints forevermore.”
Well, thanks for the vote of confidence and your belief that I am Mother Nature’s sidekick, Honey.
One day we saw a commercial for a TV show that featured beekeeping as a test of the businessperson’s mettle. (The Associate?) It was portrayed as some scary, awful thing these poor, inexperienced people had to try if they wanted to stay in the game with Donald Trump. I blew a big raspberry at the clip.
Mark laughed and said, “THAT is what beekeeping is really like. See their bee suits? You’ll have to wear one of those. Hard to look sexy in that.”
Humm…. just because you can resist my charms . . . .
Nevertheless, I still like to imagine myself walking up to the hive, sans the suit, bees swarming all about me, all of us together at peace. However, I’ll be buying one of those dumb masks and a pair of gloves because the material list calls for it, and I’m always practical in the end. Frankly, for all my bravado, honestly, I don’t want to be stung if I can help it. I know that might interfere with my love affair with these new creatures.
I’ll be quite a fashion statement – me in my classy, “eat your honey” shirt, a mask and gloves … and a pretty clay necklace, of course.
OK warm-up over. I have to work on my thesis. Gotta buz.