Probably the most common two questions I get asked are "Why Bees?" or "How did you get started with bees of all things?"
Well...funny how the little things in life can have such a huge impact on your life....
One night, I was bored and was 'browsing' videos on YouTube when I accidentally clicked on a video by 628DirtRooster. The name caught my interest more than the content of the video....but it was about bees and beekeeping. His slogan is 'Hobby Bee Keeping Is A Way Of Life'.
Well, I started to watch this video, and another and then another...it just facinated me. After spending three or four nights in a row watching his videos, and a few other peoples on beekeeping, the better half finally came in the room and asked me what had my attention so peeked! She watched a few with me, and we both decided almost instantly....lets maybe get a hive or two for ourselves! After about four weeks of staying up until all hours of the morning watching videos... I finally made the call... ordered myself a couple of ready to go complete bee hives from our local home building centre...and by the time the week was done, we had 5 hives up and running...now we just needed the bees! Come spring, we purchased enough bees and queens to stock our 5 hives...and our little adventure took flight.
Today, we have a full time bee yard up and running!!! Due to the generosity of The Stratford Perth Museum, with an offer for another parcel of land for a second if we need it. We cannot thank our benefactors enough for their generosity in allowing us to use their land for our apiaries.
Both Pauline and I have spent endless hours just 'watching' the bees, and being amazed at the work and the beauty they perform in the everyday life of a bee. Bees truly are a remarkable insect...Did you know they are the only insect that provides food for man! In the few short weeks of an average bee's life (5-6 weeks during the summer months) they feed other bees, make honeycomb, care for the queen, guard the hive, forage for pollen and nectar, and during their spare time...make that golden nectar we call honey!
This year (2018) we have had some ups and downs, and a major bump in the road due to the senseless vandalism we had in our one beeyard, but we kept going....and we have enjoyed some major 'firsts' .... we did our first swarm rescue, our first cutout, our first tree trapout, our first taste of honey from our bees, sold our first honey...
More importantly, we have met some very nice people along the way who have supported us with good wishes, sometimes donations, sometimes advice, and sometimes just a 'thank you' for helping the bees! This means more to us than anything else!!!
We hope by the end of the 2019 season, we hope to have both yards 'buzzing' with excitement, and hope to have upwards of 25-30 colonies going...and by the end of the 2020 season be at the 50 colony mark....
We presently do swarm captures, colony removals (cutouts), relocating of honey bees in general.
Bees are such an important part in nature...without them to pollinate, we wouldn't be alive very long...and that is a FACT!!!
I would again like to take a moment and thank 3 very special people who were instrumental in making this 'retirement dream' a reality...
1. Pauline Williams - the better half... her support and assistance is so comforting. Oh yeah, her patience too!!!
2. Randy '628DirtRooster' McCaffrey - for his guidance, advice, emails of assistance, and his basic mentoring and leading me in the right direction and of course his friendship.. No small feat seeing he is in Gulfport Mississippi and I am up here in Stratford, Ontario!
3. John Kastner, the manager of The Stratford Perth Museum, whos assistance and support and generosity means so very much. His offer of the use of the Stratford Perth Museum property for our first apiary, was instrumental in our journey, and got us going on the right track!
Oh and for those of you who are wondering.... yes we occasionally get stung...but its usually due to us doing something stupid more than the bees doing something wrong or being aggressive or unmanageable.
Another beekeeping (Scott Hendriks) who I have been fortunate enough to get to know says it the best I think..."Be good to your bees, and I am sure your bees with be good to you"
More true words were never spoken!!!