So, I mentioned in my last post that I was going to bee school, I think.
Well, hubs and I went to bee school! We took the NC certified beekeeper written exam and hopefully passed it. We sat in a room with over 100 other people while various beekeepers gave lectures for 9 hours. It was a thrill.
About halfway through the day, I leaned over and told M that we’d probably have to wait until next year (aka next bee on-season, aka 2020) to get our first hive. I said it with disappointment, but I knew that I couldn’t keep bees at our apartment.
Well, then they drew the winning raffle numbers.
For the first time in my life, I won a raffle. Wanna know what I won?
Bees. I won bees. Three pounds of bees.
What?! Of all the things to win and all the times to win it.
My journey to beekeeping has been very fast and very fortunate. When we started the road trip back in September, our very first stop was at Mount Mitchell. We hiked up to the highest point east of the Mississippi and stepped a couple feet onto the N.C. Mountains to Sea trail and I heard buzzing. The loudest buzzing I had ever heard.
As I stood on this narrow trail surrounded by wildflowers the most bees I’d ever seen, I expected to run away, as I really do not like bugs. But I didn’t. I stood there and smiled and really couldn’t walk away. I immediately started (instagram) following a really cool (female) beekeeper from San Diego and decided to be a beekeeper at some point.
On a side note, I also mentioned in passing sometime last year that woodworking would be a cool skill to have.
Then, in October sitting on my friend’s from steps in Spokane, Washington, I looked at M and said, “I think we should move to Raleigh.” Back in North Carolina, exactly where the road trip of discovery began. Close to home and familiar. I didn’t know why I felt like we should move here. It popped into my head and I said it out loud and M seemed to agree. We still don’t know why we decided to move here.
Well, as it turns out the North Carolina Beekeeper’s Association is the largest in the country, if I’m remembering that correctly. And the Wake County Beekeeper’s Association here in Raleigh is the largest in the state. It just so happens they have an annual bee school. We moved here and started working in January. Bee School was February. Then I won my bees.
I texted my mom and grandma and some close friends and laughed really hard. What am I supposed to do with three pounds of bees?
When we took our lunch break during bee school, one of the speakers decided to say a prayer because, well, we’re in the south and people do that here. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I’d identify as a Christian, but I’ve been pretty put off by the culture lately and I have not had success finding a place for spiritual things in life currently. I thought the road trip would help and it kind of did, but not really. Anyway, I digress.
The prayer this beekeeper said was really simple, but the most powerful thing I have heard in a long time. He prayed to God: thank you for our lunch, thank you for letting bee school happen, thank you for the farmers that grew our lunch and thank you for the honey bees.
I nearly started crying. I was in a room full of people thankful for the same things I’m thankful for and winning that raffle and finding myself in the middle of bee school is, without a doubt, the work of a higher power.
It turns out my cousin, who is good at everything, also dabbles in beekeeping and is going to help me install my bees into their new home. My dad has a spot picked out at my parent’s house where they are going to let me install my first hives. Another friend said she wants to come over and start beekeeping with us. My little cousins, whether they know it or not, are getting veils and bee gloves for their birthdays. And my husband is doing it too. And to put a hive together and paint it organically is going to require the woodworking skills I happen to want to learn.
I feel emotional as I write about it. This is clearly and so obviously the community I need right now. The gift of a job with benefits and a living salary that will allow me to live comfortably and buy equipment is too good to be true. The past year of learning how to live organically and sustainably was the perfect preparation for caring for the earth and caring for my new babies, all 10,000 of them.
Did I ever imagine I’d become a mother to 10,000 little buggies and honestly feel like I owe my life to them and will do whatever it takes to keep them alive and thriving? No, never, but here we are.