Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
I am petrified of bees. This is no secret to the people that know me. Often times I’ll jump up in a shrieking jig if a wasp, yellow jacket, bumblebee or honeybee flies my way. I get stung. Often. Once while I was on the toilet. I once came home to my bathroom full of bees after a hive broke in our walls. I still have nightmares about it.
When my husband spent a summer helping out a master beekeeper and fell in love with bees, I didn’t think much of it. When we finally bought our farm this fall and he insisted on getting a hive of our own, I was anxious. When we ordered our be package in January, I tried to put it out of my head – after all, April was a long way away and we had bigger issues to face getting through the winter.
When March finally arrived, so did our hive. My husband painted it himself, and obsessively read bee keeping literature. I continued to try to live in denial. This Tuesday, the bees arrived. I was at work when my husband went to get our bee package with my father-in-law, but he texted me pictured that made my stomach drop.
Even though I wasn’t there to witness it, the installation of the bees into the hive went well. Of the four people that were there during the process, not one got stung. I watched the video and did my best not to cringe.
The bees have been with us now for several days, and despite the nights that have dipped well below freezing, they seem to be doing well. My husband goes out to visit them each day. I have yet to face them myself.
I do plan on making my peace with the bees. I am planting several varieties of flowers just for them, and will do my part to keep them happy and healthy – from a safe distance. When I see one while I’m gardening I will take a deep breath and think about what a help they will be to plants and my saplings. I will not swat at them, and instead picture all of the delicious honey I will enjoy this fall. And most of all, I will do my best not to have a panic attach when my husband starts to talk about all of the hives he wants to put in next year.
Carrissa Larsen runs a small farm with her husband in southern Maine. To follow the adventures of Feather and Scale Farm daily, please stop by and "Like" their Facebook page or visit their farm website for updates.