Once they’d left Darrell smirked, “You do know that you stood up and started clapping after they told us, don’t you?”
I suppose it’s possible. Since their rehearsal dinner feast (remember those stuffed portobello mushrooms?) and wedding, I’ve been awaiting this news. Is it any wonder that everything went fuzzy after the word baby slipped out of Colleen’s mouth?
Happily, I’m not pregnant but I have been anticipating new life around our farmette since my beehive arrived just before Christmas. Milo and I watched attentively as Darrell put it together on the living room floor and I could hardly contain myself when I finally ordered my 3-pound package of honey bees which would take up residence when Spring arrived.
I’ve learned a lot since then. Just like birthing a baby, there’s no set date when the bees will arrive. There’s a window of time when they might arrive but you have to be ready on nearly a moment’s notice when you get the call that it’s time.
My call came in early April. It was earlier than I expected and I worried that the bees might not make it through the unusually cold nights that still lingered but there was no going back. Everything was in motion.
On a cool Spring morning I set out to pick them up. I had plans to attend my great-niece, Addie’s, baptism so I decided that since the bees were en-route they could tag along.
Maybe they’d get a bee-blessing by default.
It didn’t work out that way though I did have some things working in my favor. One of my former students and his dad coached me a bit on what to expect and invited me to their farm to see a honey harvest. I’d consulted books and YouTube videos through the long winter months and was confident about the location of the hive. I’d even convinced myself it was no great feat to install bees. After all, people have been bee-keeping for thousands of years. How complicated could it bee?
In hindsight, I’m not sure anything could have adequately prepared me for the moment when I reached my fingers into the buzzing package of ten thousand! bees, pulled out the queen-cage, gave the box a couple of good thumps, and started shaking gobs of bees into the hive.
Darrell and I thought it went pretty well. We installed them on a dreary Monday afternoon and I started a ritual of racing home from school every day to check their progress. The bees were moving in and out of the hive and, because I have a window to peep into the hive, I knew they had started building comb. Woo hoo!!
I posted the good news on Facebook planning to update my friends and family on a regular basis! I was a bee-mama!
You can imagine how disheartened I was when exactly one Monday later I came to watch my bees in flight and found only an uneasy silence by the hive.
My adolescent-self emerged in full swing as I flung myself on my bed in despair. I couldn’t help thinking that I was a failure, that the bees didn’t like me, and that I had no idea what I was doing. It didn’t help that Darrell tried to console me with, “You’ll just have to get over it.”
Had I heard him right? My sweet, compassionate husband was telling me to just get over it? I glowered at him.
The only consolation turned out to be just sticking to the facts: the bees had left. It softened the blow. When I was finally able to not take their leaving personally, I shared the tragedy with my pal, Nancy, who unknowingly joked, “The bees must not have liked you.” What could I do but laugh?
Thankfully the Rochester Beekeepers had some extra packages of bees. I took a lesson from my daughter-in-law waiting until sufficient time had passed before sitting down to write my post and announce the arrival of the new bees. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll decide to stay.
I’m in a huge learning curve and have a great opportunity in front of me to practice patience, being in the moment, and letting go of attachment to an outcome. So with no expectation (but certainly some anticipation) of honey next year I thought I’d revisit my Honey Whole Wheat Bread and continue working on my Bee Sting Cake (recipe coming soon!)
Hope to see you around the bread bowl…..or maybe the honey-hive….soon!
PS: Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list at the top of the page (you’ll be the first to know about class offerings including our possible pie class coming in the Fall!) You can also like Kneading Life on Facebook!
Posts about other happenings around our little farmette that you might enjoy: