Several months ago, I wrote about my bee dreams; for years, I’d loved watching the bees buzzing industriously through my garden, and I’d even had a moment of profound bonding with a Slacker Bee. We’d communed silently as she rested on an angelica leaf, leisurely grooming herself, apparently defying the Bee Work Ethic.
Although the moment wasn’t conducive to dreams of an impressive honey harvest, it did spark my bee dreams. I REALLY wanted my own hive—even purchasing a pair of bee veils at a thrift sale despite having no immediate use for them—but the cost of the hives, the gear, and the bees themselves always deterred me. (They may be bugs, but they cost a pretty penny.)
Then my puppy Chaussette died. She’d been my consolation when she’d sniffed happily around the grave of the dog I’d had and loved for thirteen years, but now she was gone. She died in January, and I looked ahead to her burial in spring and was desolate at the thought there would be no consolation this time. “If I can’t have a dog,” I thought, “I’ll get some bees.”
I fondly thought that the humming of the hive as I buried my beloved girl would be consolation enough, a symbol of life’s continuity. As it turned out, the reality has proven to be much more fraught and complicated than I’d ever imagined. My first two weeks as a beekeeper have been an emotional rollercoaster; with the bee drama on top of the current three jobs I’ve been working, I’ve been too drained up until now to write about it.
My dear and loving husband has graciously given me gift of solitude for Mother’s Day, though, so I’ll take this chance to start recording my experience in case it proves useful for fellow aspiring beekeepers. In the next few blog entries, I’ll put as much as I can remember about the vicissitudes of my first two weeks as a beekeeper.