The thing people say to me after they assure me of their love and prayers is “How are the bees?” So here is a brief update:
The bees are very well.
They had a rough spring but have enjoyed the summer quite a bit. The apiary has been a haven for me. I go there to rest and to be tended to by the bees and to be in nature. My buddies Eddie and Mannie have helped with the grass and the shelter (this is a before picture). My brother Bernie has been helping in the yard regularly. I am amazed by how strong he is and how easily he manages the equipment. I could work out every day and not be able to move a colony of bees the way he does (am I a wee bit jealous? why, yes, I am) (everywhere I turn there is more spiritual work to be done!)
In as many ways as possible I let the bees lead. This means attentive listening and observing. They prefer not to be disturbed, especially when there is a honey flow on. Each time you open a hive they have work to do to rebuild comb. A hands off approach has been good.
The kind of listening you do in an apiary is like the kind of listening you do in L’Arche. You know how when you start a friendship with someone who does not communicate in the same way you do. Especially at the beginning, you put forward what is best about you and in turn you open yourself to receive what is best about them and allowing them the space to communicate in their way. That is how you approach bees.
In beekeeping there is only one date that you follow without fail and that is September 14. On September 14, no matter the weather or how great the honey flow is you’ve got to get the supers full of honey off. The rest of the honey is for them for the winter.
(Who got Holy Cross Day, when I mentioned September 14? Let me know if you got it without being told and I’ll send you a prize.) (Everyone likes a treat once in a while.)
In the meantime, I’ve got a bit of work to do in the honey room to get ready and I’ll be tapping some friends on the shoulder to help with the heavy lifting and labour of extracting honey.
We’ll be putting honey out at the end of the driveway soon!