Have you ever looked at a farmerâ€™s Facebook or Instagram feed and wondered, â€śHow do they get it all done?â€ť The answer to that question is simple: They donâ€™t.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, farmers, particularly those who farm professionally, are some of the most innovative, efficient, hardworking people on the planetâ€”I oftentimes donâ€™t feel worthy of taking on the title. But I can deeply sympathize with the never-ending to-do list that landowners of all types have. I have so much to learn, and many of my big plans fall by the wayside as my attention is diverted by the tiny human that lives with us. A big thing on our farm we’ve neglected of late is our beehive.
During the course of my pregnancy and since having a baby, Iâ€™ve been into our hive only a handful of times. Last year, we kept tabs on the colony enough to make sure it was healthy and had what it needed to survive the winter, but we didnâ€™t harvest honey and definitely didnâ€™t partake in the proper maintenance activities.
This spring, once again, we got caught up in lifeâ€”namely, our daughter and our gardenâ€”and when we finally went to check on the hive, we found that the bees had checked out. They said sayonara, adios, ciao. Thatâ€™s right: The beesÂ swarmed.
This realization brought me sadness but also relief: sadness because we had failed our bee friends but relief because we could put beekeeping on hold until we are better equipped to give it the attention it deserves. This latter part Mr. B and I agreed on with reluctant hearts. For the next several weeks, as we hiked by the beehive, a little wave of guilt would wash over me.
Then, something miraculous happened. As if an acknowledgement from Mother Nature that weâ€™d been doing the best we could and deserved a second chance, the bees returned.
OK, I realize they probably arenâ€™t the same bees but rather a new colony that has overtaken the hive. Thatâ€™s OK with me for several reasons. First, they see the hive as hospitable enough to occupy, so maybe we’ve not done all that bad. Second, the new bees seem to be as gentle and friendly as the last lot, so welcomeâ€”and yes, please pollinate our garden and make some honey.
While weâ€™ll probably continue to be â€śhands-offâ€ť beekeepers in that we’ll probably not conduct constant hive inspections, this second chance has excited me and Mr. B and also inspired us to interact with our beesâ€”or rather, the bees that call our hive homeâ€”more frequently and continue our education on how to be better beekeepers. This second chance to have communion with the honeybees is a gift, and one that weâ€™re truly grateful for.