Thursday 21 June 2012

Meet the ladies

Had I mentioned that we became beekeepers this year? It's something we've wanted to do since our holiday in New Zealand a few years ago. That was the holiday that we realised that city life is not for us, that things had never felt more "right" than when we were in a small place surrounded by open space, and animals, and bees. It was a bit of an epiphany holiday, and since then we have been inching towards making the changes that mean one day we can have that life every day.
 First we moved out to the suburbs to get a house of our own and a bigger garden. Then things got a bit stagnant. Career changes, and the British weather conspired against us. Until we spotted the local honey show whilst walking round the town one Saturday afternoon and popped in. We expected to leave fifteen minutes later having seen some wax, bought some honey and observed some bees. Instead we walked out after well over an hour, having ooh-ed and aahh-ed over the comb, spoken at length to beekeepers about the size of our garden and signed up to the winter theory course!

It all very exciting and a bit daunting. What were we thinking?! Our garden is bigger than the last one, but certainly not big, and although we'd talked about chickens soon, possibly, and bees "one day" we hadn't expected to leap in and have it the other way around. That was October, the classes started in January, and we thought no more about it.

Christmas came and went, 2012 began and along with it our new venture, and we were hooked. The nights of our theory class became the highlight of the week, we were theoretical beekeepers, and we couldn't wait to see actual bees.

We had to wait a while, once again the British weather got in the way, every night we went to the apiary in the spring it rained, and on one occasion the site even flooded so we had to de-camp to the local pub instead. But about a month ago the sunshine finally arrived, and so did our time with the ladies of hive J. And I fell in love.

I am in awe of how amazing this little colony is, and how week after week I feel like I know them a little better. It is a little colony as they didn't have the best start to their year, but they are the best tempered bees most of the beekeepers have seen. So much so that there is a fight going on for who gets the queens the colony produces.

At the moment our garden isn't ready for our own group of ladies. But we're working on that, and hopefully by this time next year we can spend leisurely evenings lighting the smoker and enjoying the (hopefully) gentle buzz of bees working. Until then Hive J is keeping us very happy indeed!

We really are covered in bees! 


  1. This is impressive. Honestly, as much as I love honey I think I'd be frightened of being stung by bees. What an adventure!

  2. Good luck in beeing covered in bees!