Hebrews 4:16

Let us then come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bees! Bees! Bees! and more Bees!

Here is the conversation my husband had the other day over the phone with a friend of his.
"Hey, the livestock is coming on Tuesday."..... "Yeah, we don't mess around with getting those low numbers... we have 32,000 on the way." .. "ha! ha! ha!"

It took me a minute to pull into that conversation. Then it hit me! He's talking about the bees!

How doth the little busy bee Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day From every opening flower. Isaac Watts

We went down to the hives about 3 weeks ago to see how the bees were faring. The weather was finally cooperating so that I felt comfortable opening the hives up and getting ready to get some syrup on my hives for my busy bees. We found both hives were a total loss. All the hard work, all the effort, and they didn't survive the winter. It was so discouraging for us. My husband just rolled with the punches, as they say, but I ... I had to cry a bit.

Cry over bees.. Yes.. I was so thrilled to have these amazing creatures and to watch them work, and build and create. These simple yet profound creatures are truly a wonder of God's creation. To sit and watch them work has to be one of the most peaceful things I have ever witnessed. Yes, that seems a paradox.. peaceful among thousands of busy, loud and often unpredictable creatures. Yet, in all honesty, to watch them only solidifies that there is a creator who is intricately involved with every detail of His creation.

After talking with some other Bee-keepers in the area and finding out that I was not the only one who lost every hive or nearly every hive, I felt a little more confidant that I was not a failure at this attempt to "keep bees". That is funny to me too... like we can really "keep the bees". They seem to do what they want and we sort of just "guess" as we go. I have determined that it is mostly a huge guessing game. There is not one single bee-keeper that can agree on which technique is best. Everyone has a different technique and a different suggestion about what you "need" to do.
The pedigree of honey Does not concern the bee; A clover, any time, to him Is aristocracy.
~Emily Dickinson

I remember last spring when I started this little adventure, my husband thought I was beyond crazy. He was sure I was going to get stung and have a horrible allergic reaction. ( note: He was reading all the horror stories he could find to try to persuade me out of following this through.) As I went to pick up my little colonies and the beginning of my bee-keeping journey, I was actually stung right there in the bee-yard. I remember asking specifically if I needed my suit, and the owner told me,"No,absolutely not." Well.. he was wrong.. The bees liked my hair and decided to check it out.. then she couldn't get out and didn't quite like that. Thus, she did what she was created to do.. sting. Whew! That was quite an experience, but we knew from that point I was not at all allergic to my bees.

The spring and summer proceeded and my husband found that he was quite intrigued with this small busy-body. He would come a little closer each time till he asked me.. "Hey.. would you get me a hat to wear so I can come closer to the hive." He began building all my equipment, even going so far as creating the forms he needed for the saws so he can "mass-produce" the frame pieces. We began to work together building the frames, boxes, lids and covers for the hives. It was so much fun, that it actually became like "date-night" for us to work together.

Bees work for man, and yet they never bruise Their Master's flower, but leave it having done, As fair as ever and as fit to use; So both the flower doth stay and honey run.
~George Herbert
So, here we are again in the beginning of the time when the earth awakens and reminds us of the new birth which the Lord sends after the hard winter. We see the leaves budding forth and some of the early flowers blooming. ( My primrose is in full bloom! My daffodils have buds and my tulips are at least 5 inches tall.) We see the grass changing from the dull brown-green to that vibrant green that beckons us to walk upon it. And it is time to fill up my hives again. This time, my hope is to so prepare my hives to withstand those Northern winters that I can peek in next spring and be able to rejoice. Not to mention that beautiful golden treasure.. HONEY! That sweet treat that only the honey-bee can give to us. There is not one sweetener on the earth that compares, to me at least, to the sweetness and the rich treasure of honey. And I think I should add, my honey is oh, so yummy! :)

We set up 4 new hives today. Each package of bees contained 8,000 honey bees and 1 queen. I'll have to wait a few days before I can go down and check on her to make sure that they have accepted my new queen. And then in about 3 weeks I should see the first set of babies coming out of their cells. In those first few weeks these amazing ladies will be building up the cells which house the new larva. I'll keep you posted as the weeks progress. If the weather cooperates and I have a fruitful and hard-working queen, I should have honey by July.( I hope). This was definitely a day that was divine and blessed. The reminder of new life in the midst of so much of real life pushes us on to look forward with a smile.

How provident that we will be celebrating the resurrection of our Lord on Sunday. To rejoice at the victory as he defeated death for us on a Cross, and to receive the gift of everlasting life through that sacrifice. May you be blessed this Easter and know His grace in a new and unimaginable way.

Therefore doth heaven divide The state of man in divers functions, Setting endeavor in continual motion; To which is fixed as an aim or butt Obedience; for so work the honeybees, Creatures that by a rule in nature teach The act of order to a peopled kingdom. They have a king, and officers of sorts, Where some like magistrates correct at home, Others like merchants venture trade abroad, Others like soldiers armed in their stings Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds, Which pillage they with merry march bring home To the tent-royal of their emperor, Who, busied in his majesties, surveys The singing masons building roofs of gold, The civil citizens kneading up the honey, The poor mechanic porters crowding in Their heavy burdens at his narrow gate, The sad-eyed justice with his surly hum Delivering o'er to executors pale The lazy yawning drone.
~William Shakespeare

Blessings to you!

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