This past weekend was busy at the farm. Lots of planting, lots of tidying up of the already flourishing edible gardens, lots of photo taking and chicken chasing. But two very exciting things happened that are totally news worthy.
Seraphine had her baby.
And I brought home two new hives of honeybees.
On Saturday evening Maribeth drove me to Noble, Oklahoma, where Brian and Marcy Royal run a wonderful little bee business from their home. We admired their peach trees (how could they not be well pollinated?), wished Brian well on their soon-to-be-born fourth baby, and put the two NUCs I had ordered into the back of Maribeth’s minivan, the one with the magic rear hatch. (When she’s not looking I play with it endlessly. You can close it without touching it, just using your mind powers.) We made a quick stop at her house for supplies I needed which of course she had, then drove the bees easily and without incident back to the Lazy W.
Once the two waxy cardboard boxes were settled onto their tabletop spots in my vegetable garden, we stood around in the purplish dusk eating sugar snap peas straight off the vine and accepting fuzzy kisses from the new cria (baby llama). I wondered that night, as I do so often, whether Maribeth knows how important a role she plays in our hobby farming adventures. I hope she does.
On Saturday night I went to bed a very happy beekeeper (but a very sad Thunder fan, because on that same evening my team lost their shot at the playoffs). My dreams ran thick with golden honey.
Early Sunday morning Handsome nudged me from sleep saying, “Hey are you gonna go feed your bees?” I sprang out of bed like a kid on Christmas morning, donned my pink bee suit, and ran outside. Past the hungry cats, past the fattening eggplants and cantaloupes.I ran straight to the bees and fed one of the hives all the sugar-water I could offer them, which wasn’t much. We’ve been trying to eat less refined stuff here and so I just don’t keep sugar in the pantry anymore. Also, I wasn’t planning to feed the bees so early in the season but am happy that Maribeth urged me otherwise. Maybe keeping them overfed and happy will be a good buffer against the odds. Two years ago, remember, I just kind of crossed my fingers and walked away, until winter.
After church and a family lunch, we stopped for groceries. I bought five million pounds of granulated sugar. Home again, I mixed up some thick, yummy syrup and returned to the vegetable garden. It was easy to gently brush the bees away from the feeding holes to position the inverted buckets. The sweet stuff was dripping softly, and my heart was content. I looked around and knew that everything growing nearby would not only feed these amazing creatures; the bees would also pollinate these plants and help them thrive. In one lopsided rectangle of earth, symbiosis and poetry were reigning.
I thought of my Papa Nieberding.
May 2- This was truly a lovely day. The temperature was in the high 70s- and the bees were carrying nectar in loads- Tonite there was an odor of ripening honey. I haven’t any idea what the source.
May 3- The willows are blooming and should bolster the brood rearing.
Well, it’s mid-morning now and I have a long list of wonderful stuff to get done here. I wish you well, friends, however you are spending your Monday. I wish you good, nourishing food. Memories that heal. Friends who help. I wish you goals worth pursuing and love that catches you well at the end of the day.
“She did not need much, wanted very little. A kind word, sincerity, fresh air, clean water, a garden, kisses, books to read, sheltering arms, a cosy bed, and to love and be loved in return.” ~Starra Neely Blade