In the talks between Maple and myself of how to gradually and sustainably grow our little Farmstead we’ve come to the agreement that each year we’re interested in adding one new animal. Last year was chickens, next year will be pigs (to be slaughtered at the end of the summer with the meat birds).
This year, with the arrival of a new baby, lots of dirt work and a new driveway on the horizon we were looking for something pretty low-key…and we quickly arrived at bees. Maple has wanted to try bees for years. While I’ve always been a little scared of bees, I feel like raising bees is one of the ecologically responsible animals you can raise (is ‘raise’ even the right word for bees?) for the earth. I’ve also been interested in moving away from using refined white sugar as the main sweetener in cooking, and what better way to experiment with honey than to have a few gallons on hand?
We got the bees actually a couple weeks ago and I’ve had the first paragraph of this post written since about then but have struggled to find the time since then to finish it (hey newborn baby!) Anyhoo, we got our little bee colony on a Sunday, a tiny wooden box that seemed an unlikely size for 10,000 bees. We got home and Maple quickly got to work finishing the top bar hive we had started but struggled to find time to finish (hey newborn baby!) Since Maple is incredible he finished the top bar hive in about two hours during which the bees coexisted in the house with an oblivious Baby GHM and a wary me. We carried the hive up the hill, Maple suited up in bee gear and then he hived the bees solo.
All in all ‘Bee Sunday’ was a swimming success! We weren’t 100% sure our bees were going to make it (this being our first time with bees and all) but so far everything seems to be going well. Maple has been feeding the bees sugar water and we were recently happy to find that they had discovered our birch sap (we found a couple drowned bees floating in our buckets) which was a symbiotic relationship just waiting to happen. It’s wonderful to watch them fly back and forth from their hive or to see them in odd spots around the yard.
And the promise of honey? That’s pretty nice too…
Cheers and Love,
Maple and Me