Friday, April 20, 2012

Our family is about to grow... by 10,000 members

In which Truffula and her family prepare to welcome 10,000 new family members...

My mother called in the morning.  She said she'd just talked to my brother; she'd needed a kind ear to bend on a situation that was bugging her.  Maybe she needed to unpack the problem further with me?  Or, maybe she wanted to commiserate about the bad congestion I heard in her voice?

"No, I'm calling for another reason...  How are the bees?"

The bees!  Yes, they have been consuming nearly all of my attention this month.  No joke: I think about them as I am falling asleep at night, and they are the first thing on my mind when I wake back up in the morning.

TruffulaBoy #1 and I took our local beekeepers' association short course this winter.  For six weeks, we learned about the finer points of bee anatomy, setting up a hive, bee illnesses, bee-friendly plants, honey harvesting, and more.  We listened with rapt attention, took notes for our friends who missed sessions, and yes, luxuriated in the honey samples which were passed around.

The next thing was to determine whether we'd try our hand at keeping our own bees.  I was so overwhelmed by the amount of information to process that I was unable to make any decisions.   This was not good, as the clock was ticking, and I was already behind.  Way behind.   The deadline for ordering bees approached rapidly, and then... passed.  The time pressure only froze my brain further.  

And, that's where this project took on a fascinating twist: a community of support emerged.  A work colleague offered to help me build a hive.  A fellow morning bus passenger also volunteered himself for carpentry support.  A bee club member, and fellow homeschooling mama, gave me tips for sewing bee veils.  A food club friend and bee classmate opted against bees for this year, but pledged to help us in anyway she could.  In addition, the ladies in my work group inquire daily about progress, as does my commuting buddy.  My parents are fascinated by the coming of our new family members.

Sanding a follower
On the shoulders of these people and their enthusiasm, I placed a bee order. Our deck, and then our living room was transformed into a woodworking shop as  we raced to finish a hive in time for the estimated bee delivery date.
Measuring plexiglass for the observation windows
A snag emerged when the delivery date came and went without that magic phone call to please come immediately for pickup.  Somehow, my order was overlooked.  I could hardly quell my frustration.   This week has been a good exercise in patience, and in the faith that a good solution will emerge.  That support community is rallying around us.

Squeezing out reluctant glue to adhere observation window panels
In the meanwhile, I'm continuing to read and learn at a furious pace.   The pained decision process over, I'm peaceful about having made my go/no-go choice in favor of the bees.  Already, the anticipation of their coming has blessed us with the kindness of our family, friends, and complete strangers.  I look forward to discovering what other secrets these special creatures will unfold for us, in addition to sharing in the gifts of their honey and wax.

Hotel Melissa is ready for its residents

5 comments:

Sara said...

Wow. What a fantastic and heartwarming story. I love that everyone pitched in to help!

We have been wanting to get a hive for awhile now, but we have been far too mobile. Someday we will actually do it.

I hope you have bees in your hotel soon!

Traci said...

We got two top bar hives last year and enjoyed it so much that now we are up to 5 hives. Best wishes to you as you welcome your 10,000+ family members!

Truffula said...

@Sara Thanks! We just hosted some (human) visitors to our hotel, who deemed it very acceptable, and we look forward to our winged guests!

@Traci Wow - from two to five hives in a year! That's wonderful! If you have tips on things to do (or avoid), I'm all ears.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

So jealous. I've been wanting bees for a couple tears now, but haven't made that leap yet.

Green Bean said...

I'm so excited for you and the bees!! Hope to add some next year.

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