Friday, May 15, 2015

Bee Zendo

I was hearing a quiet little voice periodically that had the idea it would be fun to raise bees. I don't know where it came from or why it came to me. However, I had heard many times that one should listen to the still small voice the whispers in the heart. I had no reason not to listen, so I began looking up bees and what was required to raise them. 

Now, I never knew anyone who raised bees. I had never been up close to a beehive, yet there was an interest I could not account for, so I pursued it. Since we now have the Internet that was fairly easy to do. And YouTube especially was a wonderful place to get oneself educated. Seemed to me right away that a lot of very down-to-earth people raised bees. It was obvious these people were having a lot of fun doing it. It's the kind of thing that either you get it or you don't. Same thing as the saying, "Well you had to be there to understand." 

From what I read and what I saw, it seemed to me that beekeeping was rather Zen-like. I suspect a lot of beekeepers are rather contemplative types. Most probably introverts, but I really don't know. A beehive didn't seem like an overly complicated thing, and Zen calls for simplicity, so I was attracted to what was called "The People's Hive," or widely known as a "Warre Hive." This was about the simplest hive there was. Warre was a French priest who raised bees for 40 years. I thought he probably knew a thing or two about them. 

Without further thought I downloaded plans for a Warre hive. I went to Home Depot, bought some would and went to work. Being a free spirit with plans the first hive I built was a little rough and not to my liking, so I had to buy more lumbar and start over. The second time around I took my time and measured and sawed carefully. The second hive came out much better. 

Now, following my inner voice, and not any plan, I had a nice hive built and no bees, and no knowledge of where or how to get them. So, again I took to the Internet. I found that I had built my hive in April, long past when most bee packages are already delivered. Every site I went to that advertised packaged bees for sale was sold out. 

So, what was I to do. I could try and catch some, but I didn't know how to catch bees. I had caught them one by one as a child, but one wasn't going to fill my hive. Besides, I wouldn't know what I had. I mean the lineage would be God knows what. I kept at it looking at sites, Googling in different bee related words, and I finally found a firm that had packages for sale. 

I had no clue how to judge a honey bee operation. I am still ignorant, so to speak. Really ignorant. But I did know one thing. I did know that if I was going to have bees this summer, I was going to have to order these as all the other sites were sold out. 

I filled out the order form. I didn't really know what I was signing up for, exactly, but I had to act. The price was $177.00 for a package of bees. How many were in a package, I did not know. What was interesting was that the bees could be picked up at Lowe's. I thought that was nice. It seemed quaint to me that Lowe's would let someone deliver bees to them and that they would let you come in and pick them up. How convenient, they would call me and I could pick them up after work. 

The bad thing was that the bees wouldn't be available till the first week in June. I had learned enough to know that was a little late to try and get a hive going. Also, I had to send a check to Arizona and they had to have the check cashed before I could pick up the bees. I hoped the check would get there in plenty of time. I drove it to the post office to give it a head start. 


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