Wednesday, April 25, 2018

It's Not Really A Hobby

Hello! and Welcome Back!

That greeting is directed towards you as well as myself. I used to have an account here, years ago but deleted it due to sensitivities to 'adult content' and threats of removal. Well, nothing has changed much on my end of things and it looks like Blogger isn't going to be quite as controlling as I thought...so, cool.

Off and on, over the last two years I've desperately wanted a bloggy-type place where I could:


  • Jot down things/thoughts--sometimes relevant to my work, sometimes not.
  • Post/discuss my own short stories that are going to The KMQ Podcast--many of you wonderful Lurid Listeners have asked for that specifically.
  • Discuss research as I (eventually) move back into working on my WOLF novel.
  • Mention books I'm reading instead of just posting pics of the books I'm reading. I'd like to share the things I like/don't like about those books.
  • And this last item is just as special to me as the first four items... I'd also like to finally reveal and regularly discuss my new hobby!


Today, I'm revealing my new hobby and I hope you'll enjoy the updates and occasional picture as I go along. This hobby is not really a hobby. It's a treasured responsibility. It's something my Mother-In-Law actually asked me to do with her about two years ago. In a nutshell, my Mother-in-Law asked me to do something that was kinda fun, kinda scary, and so very interesting. Did I mention 'scary'?

Let's fast forward two years, toss in a couple of amazing classes, several meetings and...on April 14th, I finally took the solo, two-hour drive up north, to go pick up some bees. Did I mention that this was a solo trip? 

To date, that long-ass drive back home was the scariest part of this whole adventure. Because I was aloooooooooonnnnnnne. In a car going 80 mph, with the windows up. For TWO HOURS. With bees! It was also incredibly exciting and a moment in my life that I'll never forget.

Anyways, I've become a beekeeper! Yep. That's right. I like, intentionally hang out with bees now.

So, back to this drive back to my mother-in-law's house, (that's where we're keeping the hive). Let's just say that those two hours were...buzzy. Every minute or so I would look down to my right and see tiny bee heads and little bee feet poking through the grating of the (bee bus) travel cage. They were so cute and frightening. The entire drive my rational brain tried to reassure me that nothing bad would happen. That the cage was secure. That people transport bees all the time. I should say here that the good people running the farm where we purchased our bees were very competent and they gave me lots of wonderful support and direction. The bee farm was hosting a huge community festival with music, live hive demonstrations, tons of food and even bounce houses for the kids. I spent the afternoon prior to my drive home just chatting with folks who'd traveled from Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Southern California who were also there picking up their buzzy babies and, I've also gotta say here that beekeepers are really, really sweet people. 

Anyway, back to this car ride home. I had recurring visions of that little three-pound white 'bee-bus' crate thingy that was sitting on the passenger-side floor-board suddenly busting open. If you don't mind, take a second and consider what would happen if an entire swarm of bees attacked your face while you're coasting down the highway going 80 mph. Let's just say that I checked all my mirrors, used my signal religiously, and went with the flow of traffic like a good girl. I kept the radio off. You guys. Seriously. The noise of three pounds of bees is fucking intimidating. And kinda cool. Mind you, when my kids and other family members asked how the drive went, I said everything went great. Because, well, it did, lol!

Beekeeping is definitely weird. I mean, the outfit I get to wear is kinda cool, and I get to play with a smoker and have bees crawl all over me, but it's not a swimming-with-South-African-Great-White-sharks level of dangerous. Unless you're allergic, bees are magnificent to work with. This whole experience has not only opened my eyes to appreciate them more, it's caused my personal fears to plummet. I just have to remember to be calm. Don't make any sudden or jerky movements. And always expect to get stung.

Gardening is in my blood so it's not quite that big a stretch to imagine I'd ever end up beekeeping. Okay, maybe it is, but there's only a small handful of meaningful things that make me feel genuinely complete as a good, complex, and lucky human. Being a mom, a wife, a lover, a writer, a gardener, and now I'm doing something that's intensely exciting which directly benefits the environment. PLUS, there'll eventually be honey! That's the kind of sweet ending I'm totally sticking around for. You know, I've been searching for something to do, something that's outside of my realm of 'normal' and beekeeping has me hooked. There's still so much I have to learn because, eventually, when I move to that three acres of land I've always dreamed of having, I'd like to also have several hives. This Friday, I am going to visit my new hive to check that my queen is still there and that she and her brood are thriving.

To kind of explain what's happening in the photo on the left, that's me pointing with the smoker--I'm not actively smoking the bees. I'm pointing out to my Sister-In-Law (who is the best Kindergarten teacher in the whole world) how calm the bees are, even after I've removed the feeding can and queen cage from the bee bus. If you look toward the bottom left of the image, you'll see the queen's cage is covered by bees. The queen is still inside. There is a candy plug that the attending bees will chew through to release her. Down at the right-hand corner of the hive there, next to my right knee (your left), you'll see the feeding can. The white travel crate or 'bee bus' is sitting there on top of the open hive. The hole in the top of the bee bus is where the drip-style feeding can fit inside and also served as a lid to keep the bees in during the trip home. The photo up there at the top right of this post was taken from my own garden. In the mornings lately, I've taken to sipping coffee while sitting on the edge of my raised garden bed while watching the local bees poke their little heads into the blossoms of my sage plant. It's a calming experience. Similar to gazing into a fish tank.

Sidenote: My Mother-In-Law and I are both novices and members of our local beekeeper's association. We did try to sign up to receive a swarm but were unsuccessful. If you see a swarm of bees near your home or place of work, call your local beekeeper's association and they'll happily collect and relocate them.

To date, I've not gotten stung. But I'm expecting it so fingers crossed that I maintain my cool.

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