Tom fact: Tom overly fixates on goals he sets for himself.
That’s me …I’m Tom, and if we are being honest with each other here, those goals can sometimes get me in over my head…all the time. As a self aware nerd sitting here pondering the large DnD game I’m supposed to be DM’ing later this afternoon, I get pulled back to 2014 when I meet a man named Pat that gave me my very first scolding for accidentally stepping on one of his Italian honey bees. Before long I had reluctantly apologized and he had talked me into walking back toward his small fenced in area that held 6 stacks of boxes. Each with a shiny metal top and an amalgamation of different sized boxes. Beautifully painted murals down 3 sides of each one in vibrant colors depicting life, death, and of course, honey.
It was at that moment I was caught up in the world of the average honey bee. Watching them fly in and fly out. Realizing each one had just returned from what amounts to a very long perilous journey to bring back what couldn’t have been more than a couple drops of nectar they had tirelessly harvested. That’s all that I knew, and that bothered me. Time to do some digging.
Didn’t take long before I found out there was a whole community of people out there that were completely devoted to raising bees. Not only did these people exist out there, but they were all incredibly nice and helpful. I’ve NEVER met that many friendly faces in one spot in my life. I was clearly the outlier, but they accepted me none-the-less. They never stopped divulging their secrets and I could only hope to retain the information.
Oh wait. There it is. My first speed bump. Possibly the first of all my homesteading hiccups. There was WAY more than I ever imagined to raising bees. I had the dream of a box on a brick with bees all over and honey magically appearing inside the box to be scooped out…you never dream of the dirt, and it gets real dirty.
It consumed me. I had to get started in bees. I needed honey. I dove head first and started pricing the equipment and looking around to see if I could find someone needing a swarm removed. It was a rocky road though and after over a year of research and big pipe dreams. Life simply got to be to much. My dream of golden, delicious, honey was dead.
That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been in the back of my head the last few years. It’s always the same. I tell myself “you know where you want them. When it’s time to revisit this idea, you’re going to know.” And I always knew I was full of it…I’ve never given up before on these schemes of mine. The bee business, with all of its amazing people and miraculous byproducts, had beat me.
Fast forward…laid off, Small homestead, big family, bigger dreams. The drive is back…for everything. Including bees, but it’s still to much. Now I have even more going and even more responsibilities. 3 kids take a lot of time and on a homestead time is always precious. It’s still just not in the cards. At least that’s what I thought.
The more I slow down. The more life seems to want me to speed up. So that brings us to Mrs. L (who wasn’t sure about the blog and asked for no pictures to be put on here, so I will keep her anonymous). Mrs. L is in the running for Sweetest Person in the County. It’s an award I created and hand out every year…in my head. I met her through social media as she had decided to move on from bees and try her hand at another hobby. Mrs. L had two very beautiful multicolor hives her friend had made for her a few years before. One full of bees and the other not. After speaking to her and her husband for quite a while on their back porch. We finally came to an agreement and two days later the three older kids and I took a trip to Mrs. L’s house, and she slowly and thoroughly walked us through all the terminology, (I took notes this time) and took us on a hunt to find the queen. We never did find that queen, but we did get to learn more than any of us could have thought possible. We got to witness the birth of a bee from its cell, and we left there with the confidence that we CAN make this happen…and maybe something else…
Bee’s! We finally got bees. It was interesting getting them home. We closed off the top and sat the boxes down on cardboard we strapped to the bed of my old farm truck. Within a few hours I had purchased and placed a queen in the box with no hive and before I knew it the bees had split the difference and I now have two hives working their little wings off (literally, look it up). We are all excited to keep checking in with our newest addition to our little homestead, but first we need to go get something on these stings.