I remember the late spring and early summer days of clear blue skies with their wispy white clouds hanging, seeming still.
The light, warm breezes, carrying the scents of nature and pleasant days. Work and worries forgotten in the afternoon wonders of Nature.
Sitting on the old wood bench my Daddy made all those years ago. Rubbed smooth by all the sitting and talking we did since I was old enough to go along with him out here in the honey bee hollow.
That’s what my Daddy always called it, his honey bee hollow, back between the shed and the rolling fields that stretched as far as the eye could see.
It’s a magic place, where the honey bees live, back in honey bee hollow. Smells of honey and sunlight in the air and bees flying, busily going to and fro, curiously knowing from whence they came and where they go.
My Daddy started his hives back there when he was young and the honey bees swept his heart away. Mama always said she knew even then, the bees were his ‘other girls’ and there was no point in standing in the way.
I sit here now, just like I did back then, on this old wood bench watching the bees, buzzing softly, going about their terribly important business as though nothing else exists in the world but flowers and honeycomb.
I spent countless days working in honey bee hollow with my Daddy. He taught me just about anything a person could know about honeybees by those hives and sitting on that bench back in honey bee hollow.
In his late years, my Daddy couldn’t work the bees like we used to. It still gave him so much pleasure to come out and sit on the old wood bench though and listen to the bees, watching them coming and going.
It was out back in honey bee hollow here that my Daddy sat on the wood bench for the last time. He wanted to stay, he said, just a little bit longer. I told him he can stay as just as long as he wanted and I went on up to the shed to get some tools. When I came back, my Daddy was gone.
I walked up behind him, calling to him quietly, not wanting to startle him awake. Then, I saw the peace on his face and I knew my Daddy would be in honey bee hollow forever and ever.
Now I come to honey bee hollow and sit on this old wood bench and I listen close to the bees and the breeze. Sometimes, I can still hear my Daddy’s voice, telling me just about all there is to know about honey bees.
If it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Burn out in beekeeping is one of the most common problems beekeeping as a practice has to contend with. Whether it’s due to frustration with bee dilemmas, dealing with other beekeepers, access to or lack of access, to research and quality information, it can get to you.
You need to make it fun to have longevity as a beekeeper. Bees can be ornery stinkers, foul tempered and obstinate just as easily as they can be industrious, docile and endearing. I like to encourage people to engage with the colonies like you would a dog or other animal. I admit to the habit of talking, even arguing with my bees. Why? Because it’s fun.
Being a professional apiarist can be even more stressful. There are expectations of you by the customers and clients who are paying you. You likely have pretty high expectations of yourself knowing how your actions and advice can influence and affect others. Take my advice, keep things low key. Build being a relaxed, and humor having type of personality with your base. Your attitude will set the pace for everyone else. If you keep things relaxed and low stress, others will tend to follow along. After all, you are the expert. Lead by example. It works the same with people as it does with bees. If you stay calm, they will too in most cases.
Regardless of whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, let your passion take the lead from time to time. Let yourself be excited and enthusiastic while working on beekeeping “stuff”. It’s fine to be stoic and straight-laced when it’s called for. You are involved in one of the world’s oldest and oft considered “wildest” activities endeavors. This almost demands that you allow a bit of your eccentricities off the leash unless entirely inappropriate (like at a funeral or a bank loan meeting).
And truly, don’t let stupid suck you in. There will be people, there will ALWAYS be people, who feel the need to contradict, argue, nag, be contentious, etc… that want to make your life a drag, especially in front of others. That’s how they build themselves up, by bringing others down. Even in beekeeping, walk away from the stupid. You can’t fix it, it will not only win, it will try to get it’s hooks into your head too. Just learn to let things go and just like live bee removals, you can’t save them all. It’s hard, I know, oh boy, do I ever know. My truck…. start telling the horniest, worst bee puns you can think of. Just see how bad you can make them. Once you’ve gotten yourself to make or even laugh at yourself over those, you’ll be OK.
Beekeeping should be fun. Bee classes, bee clubs, bee meetings etc… should all be fun. If not, someone’s doing something wrong.
We are engaged in planning the first ever mini golf tournament to generate revenues and increase awareness about bees and beekeeping.
Some of the revenues will be donated to the Nebraska Extension program for Bee research and beekeeper education.
This, the first tournament, will bee held in the Omaha, NE greater metro area. Subsequent tournaments may be held in other locations or multiple locations simultaneously as things progress.
The Bee Smart “Tees for Bees” mini golf tournament is currently in planning and details will be released when they beecome available.
Tom Henihan Spotlight As artist and teacher, Chantal Nicolet lives in Falher, a town that identifies itself as the honey capital of Canada it seem inevitable that she would eventually come to creating works in beeswax. Nicolet, who began working inmedium last spring, says she just decided on her own without exposure to other encaustic…
As promised, there are photos here of the paintings that were made on Saturday January 14th during the Bee Creative event we held at Cheers Paint & Sip studio.
We love all the paintings and we love that people came out to have some fun in the name of bees. Beelieve it or not, only two of the people in the group are beekeepers themselves. The others are either indirectly involved or not at all which made things even more fun.
The event was dedicated to the Rusty Patched Bumblebee as it had just been added to the Endangered Species List on January 10th. It was fitting that the painting was of a bumblebee.
Without further ado, I present to you the very encouraging work of our Apicultural Artists.
We had a great time doing bee themed paintings at the event this past Saturday at Cheers Paint and Sip in Omaha, NE. The painting was of a bumblebee in a field of flowers (for most of us, others got uber-creative) which we dedicated to the Rusty Patched Bumblebees which were recently placed on the Endangered Species list.
Here is a photo of our participants and their excellent works of art. One of their paintings will grace the header photo of this website for the month of February. The video and results post will be out soon so you can see all the creative fun that was had in the name of bees.
Bee an artist! The Bee Smart project wants to do more than just provide people with information. We want to share experiences. One of the best ways to create unique bee related experiences is to stimulate the creative flow within people.
On Saturday January 14th from 1 to 4 pm as part of a unique arrangement set-up with an equally unique local small business, Bee Smart is excited to present to everyone and anyone interested in bees, beekeepers and beekeeping a chance to bee creative and share this truly awesome opportunity.
Cheers Paint and Sip is a terrific little place doen the street from Lo Sole Mio Restaurant at 3052 S 32 St. Heather and her talented, friendly helpers will bee ready and waiting to help you bee an artist and have a great time.
As part of a select special event and at a very special rate just for our patrons, friends and supporters (only $20.00 per person and you get to take your painting home with you!), we invite you to come and create a bee themed painting while you relax with a special beverage (there is an open bar for our wine and spirits appreciating friends Participants MUST bee 18 or older to participate and coffee, tea and other beverages on hand. The bar is a cash bar so bee prepared). You do NOT have to be a beekeeper to participate in this special activity, you just have to love and support bees, beekeepers and beekeeping.
The creative specialists at Cheers will see to it that you have a great time and leave with a bee-autiful piece of art that you make yourself. All the while, the Bee Smart camera will be rolling to share the experience on one of our unique video show presentations. (Don’t bee worried, if you don’t want to bee on camera, you don’t have to) One of the undoubtedly incredible paintings will be chosen to bee the Image of The Month for February 2017 on this Bee Smart website.
The original painting you will bee making your own version of looks like the one below…
Please go to: Cheers Paint and Sip Registration page to save spaces for you and your beemigos to enjoy some painting, some wine (or not) and a lot of fun. Spaces are limited.
The activity starts exactly at 1:00 pm so please bee prepared to arrive a little early to get settled in and ready to relax.