Monday, March 25, 2019

Bee Sweet ~ my column from Sunday's paper

One morning last week as we walked, I saw something in the barnyard that caught my attention. It was a shard of cobalt blue glass from an old Noxzema jar. Some people rented the farm in the early 1960s and they were unkind to the environment. They turned the property into a private garbage dump. Through the years, I have picked up and hauled off most of the debris they left behind. I’ve always tried to be a good steward of the environment.
I started another environmental project over a year ago. Bevill State offered an Entrepreneur Class. My project in that class was HomeFolk Honey. 
What I learned in that class was invaluable. As an unexpected bonus, the Business Maker Program awarded me a small grant to give my project wings, so to speak.
By the time the class ended in May, it was too late to get beehives, so I banked the money and began learning about bees.
Late last year, I learned of an older beekeeper that was selling some of his hives complete with bees. I bought two hives with the understanding that I would get them when the weather was right.
Early last week, the beekeeper called to say that it was time to pick up the bees. The weather forecast for that Saturday called for sun, but the morning sky was ash gray. A wind out of the northwest was biting. 
I'd started to the truck in a simple long sleeve pullover, but it only took a few steps outside to realize that the thin shirt was not going to cut it. Heading back inside, I put on my Spike’s K9 Fund sweatshirt.
My nephew Haven agreed to go with me and help lift the hives. I rolled into his driveway at 6:30 a.m. We arrived at the beekeeper's house before 7 a.m. His dogs greeted us when we pulled into the driveway.
The beekeeper had closed up the entryway into the two hives the night before. This trapped the bees inside. That was a good thing because they were not happy when they felt movement. Haven and I both grunted when we lifted the first hive. The bees and their winter honey stores weighed about 60 pounds each.
I could hear the buzzing of their wings. The syncopated drone tone was in the key of B-flat. 
It was over 20 miles from the beekeeper's house to our farm. I drove “snail’ishly.” Is that a word?
I’d built a stand for the two hives among our peach, apple, and pear trees. We set the hives facing east. 
I let them settle in for about an hour before putting on my beekeeper suit. When I took the narrow blocks off their entryway, the bees flooded out of the hives. Several of them lit on the veil and said some unkind things to my face.
Soon, they settled down and got down to the business of scouting the territory to look for food and water.
This evening, Jilda and I walked down to the hives slowly without protective suits. A couple lit on my pants leg, but after looking me over, they headed to the pear tree, which was in full bloom. 
The reason I chose bees is that they are vital for the environment. Bees pollinate most of the fruits and vegetables we eat every day. 
I love my new friends. It will take some work caring for them, but I think it’s important to “bee sweet” to the environment.


  1. I suspect there may be more hives in your future.

  2. Great article. Your loving your bees. I think they will be good for you.

  3. I hope more people will bee interested in bee keeping. A good article.
    Hugs, Julia

  4. Most people in the world have no idea the importance of Bees in this life. I was grown before I learned of huge groves and orchards hiring 'Bees' to ensure pollination. More is being taught now, and that is good. I hope you truly enjoy the new 'hobby' and at the same time get some real 'local' honey!!!
    Sherry& jack

  5. As part of your 'homework', were y'all advised to check and make sure you're not allergic to bee stings? I'd be interested in hearing how your dogs are reacting to the newcomers!

  6. I can't wait to hear how your bees are doing and how much honey you will have...yum, yum


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