Have you read Sweetness and Light by Hattie Ellis?
I have long been interested in bees and how they do their thing. When a friend began beekeeping my interest gravitated to the forefront once again. I love all things gardening and nature to the point that I find it hard to narrow my focus for very long. Now having completed the Master Gardener course I have become aware of all the ‘society’ groups for absolutely everything. My head is on FIRE with desire to do it all. But alas, I have a smidgen of sense and haven’t set up a tent at the MG Pavilion where all the societies meet.
I have been developing a curriculum as part of my program with Kids Ecology Corps on Butterflies, Moths and Their Habitats. The ecology of such leads to the dire status of our pollinators. At the Family Fall Festival (Mounts Botanical Garden) I was tending the Ticket Sales table by the Butterfly Garden and my neighbor was the Bee Guy. Much intrigued, I learned how little I really know or am aware of when it comes to bees. So off to the library to seek knowledge. To my delight I found Hattie Ellis’ Sweetness an Light on the shelf. She makes a great stab at telling the history of the bee from the stone age to present day. Intriguing, indeed.
The bee guy caught the scent of my keen interest and did his best to convince me to take delivery of a hive. He has a grant for the education and sustainability of honey bees. Therefore, he is recruiting new keepers.
This morning I was reading Ellis beneath my Kapok tree, enjoying my new yellow two seated glider and coffee. I became aware of a back noise that seemed to waft to and fro or up and down. I paused from my reading and took note around the garden. As my eyes traveled upward I caught sight of a few spider webs and an interesting dance of avoidance by none other than bees. The Kapok Tree is an easy twenty feet in height. The top is covered in hundreds of sweet blooms and there like a flitting hairnet was a great number of bees pollinating and collecting. How perfect a morning, reading of bees and their plight of evolution, travel through the ages adapting to climate differences, and acclimating to the nuances of plant blooms all intermixed with man and our relationship with the honey bee even if we were/are unaware.
Pondering the task of bee keeping . . . and do I have an appropriate space for a hive . . .
I recall the first bee sting. I was running barefoot in the yard of clover in Oklahoma City when I felt a jab of fire between my toes. I plopped down to look and there hung the little fellow wriggling free, the stinger still in my foot, and the bee oozing its guts. Poor little creature . . . and so began my fascination with bees. I was 5. And here decades later in Florida, I am still fascinated.