This morning I sat in a garden teaming with the birds and the bees. Humming birds noisily darted between creeping vines of nasturtiums, red raspberries hung plump and inviting from semi-orderly thickets, honeybees swooned in the fuzzy clumps of borage, and zucchini’s performed their summer competition for Most Alarmingly Large Vegetable.
So you want to keep bees, but aren’t quite sure where to start? When I decided to become a beekeeper, I had just barely managed to squeeze a weekend class and some dedicated YouTubing under my belt before I received an unexpected swarm call and my new life began. Catching my first swarm was exhilarating, intimidating and required a lot of patients. I made some mistakes, but the bees ended up safely settled into their new top bar hive, and I, beaming, fell utterly in love.
In Northern California there is still snow in the hills and rain on the weather forecast. However, despite the winter chill, it’s time to start thinking about getting bees. Regardless of where you live, late winter is the time most local bee breeders start selling bee packages and nuc. You wont receive your bees until the spring, but if you want to ensure you’re going to get bees this season, it’s best to buy them now.
My dream of the apiary exist at the Natural Beekeeping Trust. A place of serenity and joy, filled with the life-affirming site of flowers, colorful hives and humming bees. On an brilliant autumn day in September, the sky is clear and the sunshine awakens hives to a prosperous day of foraging.
Melissa bends low and plucks a small herb growing out of the cobble stones in front of her house. She holds it up to the light and shows me the tiny perforated holes in the leaves.
“That’s how you can tell it’s the medicinal St. John’s Wort.”
England is full of natural springs. Every time I come here, I seek them out. There is nothing like drinking pure water, straight from the depths of hte earth. Almost all of the springs and wells in England are dedicated in one for or another to the sacred.
Sometimes it's important to take a moment to simply appreciate beauty. Physical beauty. Beauty of nature. Beauty of place. Beauty of soul. I've been thinking a lot about beauty lately. Beauty as a power that evokes a sense of peace, wonder and love.
Angharad has just returned from a walk with a handful of blackberries, elderflowers, nettle and apple. She is going to make a fruit crisp and some tea. Three things about this:
1) Angharad wildcrafts like some people (me) frequent cafes; It’s a nonchalant, every-day sort of thing.
California is burning right now. When I left my home state the air quality of my town was registering at the most hazardous level it can go. Can’t even leave the house, they say. Strange then, to come to a place with so much water.
On site visits to your hives or potential hive location to assist you in deepening your connection to bees.
For new beekeepers or curious clients
Phone sessions assisting you with your dreaming in relationship to the honey bee. Meant to be used as a tool for personal growth and dream work development.
Working with Ariella has been a deeply empowering and refreshing experience. The way that she relates to bees is woven in with our own personal work and becomes about not only an honoring of the hive as a whole, but an honoring of ourselves as well. Ariella has dedicated her heart and many years of her life to working with bees and it shows in the way that she shares this knowledge as well as in the way that she works with the hive. Beekeeping is so needed right now, and I couldn’t recommend her more highly as a solid, steady presence in supporting each of us to find our own way in honoring and working with bees.
Hive Style: Top Bar Hive
Ariella helped me with my first hive. She brought my bees all the way out to me, described the process thoroughly, and aided me throughout installation. Her calming effect was felt, not only by me, I am sure, but to the honeybees too. I have a thriving hive that made it through summer and its first winter. She gave me the confidence to walk the path of a beekeeper with a different stride than I had originally imagined. One of tenderness and devotion. I spend my first year as a beekeeper deeply entranced by the power of the beehive and I can attribute that to the sweet beginning that my hive was able to have thanks to Ariella.
Hive Style: Top Bar Hive