Saturday, February 16, 2013

Can't Hardly Wait!

Maybe it's because I'm an early bird that I'm always so relieved once January is over and the days start getting longer again. But this year, it seems that warm weather just can't come fast enough. And I know the reason why. This spring, I'm getting beehives!!!

Meanwhile, today, I had a wonderful time taking the New Beekeepers class with the CT Beekeeper's Association. Doesn't it look like a perfect day to indulge daydreams of summer?

I can't explain why I want a hive, but I've always liked bees. Of course, honey is a very special thing all on its own. My first honey memory is from about kindergarten or the first grade. (I can't remember the year, but I remember crying about being forced to wear an "ugly" black velvet dress with a white satin collar instead of the crazy color combo I wanted.)

Anyway, midway through December, my Uncle Neal sent us a package wrapped in brown paper for Christmas, and we were all trying to guess what it contained. Then on the big day, it was one of the very last gifts we opened. My sister and I watched my parents carefully pull the paper away from the box, which only seemed to contain even more paper, lots and lots of paper. But nestled inside all this wadding was a jar of honey that he'd harvested from his own bees. I remember feeling a kind of wonderment and awe at this amber liquid. At the time, I don't think I could have explained what made it so special, how it represented the best of summer in a bottle. But between the scrummyumptious butter and honey sandwiches, a light bulb went on in my tiny brain. I realized that someone could actually keep bees.

My desire for a hive goes deeper than just honey, though. I just like bees. When I was about 8 or 9, I used to sit on the walkway to our front door during the summer and wait for honeybees to collect nectar from my dad's garden. Then I'd very gently, very softly stroke their fuzzy backs. I knew they weren't tame or pets -- but I still considered them like good friends come to visit.

Several years ago, my dear friend Jodi at Curious Acorn started keeping hives, and I've been completely jealous vicariously enjoying them ever since. However, with all the bear traffic through our yard (and periodically garage) in Jersey, I never dared keep bees there. In the new house, though, the biggest animals I've seen have been foxes, and I don't think they like honey. So this is it. I'm starting an apiary.

In the meantime, nothing is getting done at home because I spend day and night researching all about bees. My family rolls their eyes every time I say, "Do you want to hear something cool?" because they know some factoid about Apis mellifera is coming up next. If only that could be a Jeopardy category...

My DH has been co-opted graciously offered to build my hives. (Instead of Langstroth hives, I want Kenyan  top bar hives, but that will be a post for another day, I think.) To keep him focused, I've been sorting through the garage, which hasn't really been touched since the movers dumped a bazillion boxes in it last August. I also keep "reminding" him of his deadline like a little kid that really wants a toy. Truly, this is becoming worse than waiting for Christmas ever was.

How many weeks is it until May? Fingers crossed that I don't burst before then.


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