I’m very good at multi-tasking.
I’m writing this while at a three day craft market in Vancouver selling my handcrafted shrubs (Thirsty Whale Elixirs – small batch cocktail mixers made with organic apple cider vinegar, fruit, and cane sugar) and sending emails for my full time job. You might say, “I’m busy as a bee!” – so why not add another hobby on top of sewing, crafting, making sourdough and helping with our family’s brewery (Pemberton Valley BeerWorks)?!
I have always wanted to have bees. Growing up, my Grandfather had bees (Don Miller of Miller Meadow Farms – now Across the Creek Organics). I have memories of his hives out by the rhubarb and grape vines – little white boxes of magic. Memories of full gallon jars of liquid gold in Grandma’s pantry. Memories of covering her homemade biscuits in sugary love. He eventually had to stop beekeeping as he developed a bee sting allergy (And this being Pemberton in the ‘80s with no EpiPens available and only a small clinic a 15 minute drive away, I totally understand why he stopped.).
My first time “getting my hands dirty” or sticky in a hive was about 8 years ago on the farm when my Aunt got her first hive. I had no idea what I was doing, but no one got stung and we harvested 11 liters of amazing honey. Unfortunately, the hive didn’t survive the winter and now I have inherited some of her equipment.
Beekeeping is not a cheap hobby, but if you are lucky and not too greedy you can make some money selling honey to family and friends. Why not be greedy? Well, bees collect flower nectar and convert it into honey, (honey is their carbohydrate and pollen their protein), so they need to store enough of both to last through the winter.
In preparation for receiving my first two bee nucs (or nucleus, a small bee colony made from larger ones) at the end of May, I have taken a three day beekeeping course, read four books, talked to local bee keepers, watched countless educational videos online, and I still don’t know anything!
The real learning will come once I get my hands sticky again. And then even after a few years, I still probably won’t know enough.
All I can say is that I’m fascinated by Apis Melifera (the Western/European Honey Bee) and I can’t wait to learn more and share my journey with anyone who wants to read about it!
You can follow my journey on Instagram @Pembee_Hives.