One of my favorite snacks as a kid was toast with honey. My family had a huge honey jar in the middle of our kitchen table that I would sneak finger swipes from when no one was watching. Honey was a constant in our house. My mother cooked and baked with it. It wasn’t until high school that I realized putting honey in your coffee like my father did was not the norm. Like much of the amazing things my parents did when I was a child, I took for granted and didn’t pay nearly enough attention to what was there. I only have vague memories scattered through my childhood of some of my parents earlier homesteading projects and don’t remember much of what it was like having bee hives in the back yard, or baby goats running through the pasture, or, as mentioned before, tapping the maple trees in our front yard. While a lot of what my husband and I are doing should be second nature to me from my upbringing, I am learning a lot along the way while waking up those very distant memories and brushing the cobwebs off of them.
This week “The Compound” is starting our newest journey into self-sustainability. We are getting bees!! This area has a strong bee keeping community with lots of years of experience and willingness to share. In an effort to bolster new beekeepers in the area, one local fellow, John Brenemen, has been holding small workshops at his home on Monday evenings. He is also the president of the Fayette County area beekeepers association and the new president of the Fayette County Farmers Market. In another effort to encourage beekeepers in the area (and I think just for the fun of it too), John builds all the wooden bee equipment needed right in his backyard. And by build all the wooden equipment, I mean he has a huge building with stock piles of materials for people to buy – both handmade wooden supplies as well as any other general tool, food (yes, bees need to be fed sometimes in the slow pollen seasons) and clothing (think fun beekeeper suits). He says he doesn’t make much money, if any, off of these supplies, but by having them on hand, and keeping the source local, it is easier for all of us other beekeepers when we are in a bind and need more materials.
After forking over a chunk of change for our initial supplies the other night, the five members of the Compound glued, assembled, nailed and painted all the wood pieces that John had painstakingly cut for us. The paint and glue have dried, the rain that has swept over the state has stopped (bees do not like rain) and our bees will be waiting for us to pick them up tomorrow….yep they get shipped right to us, and believe me when I say the Post Office is very willing to let you pick them up as soon as you can! Pictures, and hopefully a success story, later on after the installation of the bees to their new home.