I found out a couple of days ago…we do bees the same way we did goats:
Think about it for a while, talk about it, not do it, then do it, talk about building their home, then start it, then not finish it, then get them, then finish their home.
Let me point out some issues in that rather vague word picture of our animal/insect aquisition process.
1. Think About It For A While. There is nothing apparently wrong with this. It is how all great ideas start. One small thought enters the mind through some unfiltered, undetectable micro tube in the brain, something that looks similar to one of Dr. Seuss’s long talking tubes in Horton Hears A Who. The bee flew into my tube about three years ago.
2. Talk About It. Nothing much wrong here either, except this was (as I recall) the way it went when we first talked about it.
Me: I think we should get bees.
My Husband: WHAT? Are you CRAZY? There’s NO WAY we are getting bees! They will ATTRACT BEARS!! We DON’T need BEARS around here with the GOATS and CHICKENS! AND, we’ll NEVER be able to have ANYONE over because someone who is allergic to bees MIGHT GET STUNG!! Just get that OUT OF YOUR MIND. (Perceived bold letters are my interpretation.)
Thinking to myself, I know you, I know you will get used to the idea, I just had to be the one to insert it into your Dr. Suess brain tube and hear the verbal side effects of the pain it caused as it traveled to the “My Wife’s Crazy” section of your brain. Soon, you will adopt it as your own, maybe not tomorrow, but at some point in our future together.
3. Not Do It. For three years. After about one year, it came up again as he warmed up to the idea of bears frequenting our property and people getting stung. We repeated steps 1 and 2 again, each year for 2 more years. But each spring, when it’s the best time to “start” bees, we decided we had too many other irons in the fire, and put it off…again.
4. Then Do It. This year, in about the beginning of April, feeling the bee procrastination bug biting again, I couldn’t bear one more year without what was a natural progression of our farm. We have our own milk, cheese, soap, eggs, meat, vegetables, child labor and fruit. WE NEEDED BEES. And The Animal Whisperer agreed. Without further adieu, I called Christine Faith who told me to call the Pikes Peak Bee Keeper’s Association who told me to call John Hartley who told me yes, there was still time to order bees, how many did I want?
Whoa, that was a concrete question, which required a concrete answer, which meant we were seriously getting bees. I narrowly averted an embarassing hang up and mind change with the bee man.
“How much are they?” I asked, shocked to hear that one order of 3 pounds of bees and a queen costs $97.50! (Quick translation: Much like good cheese, NO WONDER GOOD HONEY COSTS SO DANG MUCH!!) And learned that he drives to Northern California every spring to bring back bees. They are bees that he trusts, as they have not been Africanized. (still don’t know what that means, but I understand it’s bad and Africanized bees haven’t been detected in Colorado yet.) I would need to mail him a check now and he’d call me mid-May when he gets back from California. It’d all depend on the weather.
“Two.” I told him. Two orders of bees.
There. It was done. Once we actually have bees on our property, there will be no turning back. No more procrastinating.
5. Talk About Building Their Home. This was my plan, the boys and I were going to shock The Animal Whisperer and build the two hives ourselves! We had a pile of old dresser drawers that kept hinting to me they were the perfect size for beehives. I would just have to learn how to use the table saw, cut them to the right size and make a bunch of sticks to put on the top and somehow we would fashion them into two beehives.
6. Then (Me) Start It: I made it to the “learn to use the table saw” part. I cut the back ends of the drawers off, set them on the ground and there the three sided drawers sat for a month. Gathering dust, leaves and spider webs.
7. Then (Me) Not Finish It: Funny, they did not finish themselves. And without any guidance from their beehive impaired mother, the boys (5 and 9 years old) did not finish them either. (Note: On #6 and #7, I specify it was “me”. Not for any other reason than to make clear that I take full responsiblity for starting the project and not finishing it.)
And, now, since this is becoming a rather long story, you’ll need to read Part 2 when I recover from Part 1 induced carpal tunnel syndrome.
Talk to you then,
-The Goat Cheese Lady