I've loved having honeybees in the years we've been keeping them. That is to say, I've loved having the bees. I love the honey when we can have some, I love the pollination they provide, I love helping out a few precious and amazing honeybees in the world, and I sure do love 'running into them' in the garden, or anywhere else around here, being reminding of their presence and what they do. But keeping the bees? Well, that's been the more difficult part for me to love. I want very much to love that part, but it's been tricky. It isn't as though the bees require that much of their caretaker, but they do require some attention and love. And truth be told, as the time went by, and years have passed, that has become something increasingly challenging for me to give to them, that love and attention. I'd continually think, "Oh, I need to get to the bees today..." and then a million other things would present themselves and they'd get put off for one more day. The bees are patient, but do we Mamas really need one more thing nagging at us, reminding us of what else is to be done, reminding us that we've got just a few too many things going on for the given hours in a day? Sigh. I think I started to resent the bees as one more thing.
As my dedication to the bees began to wane, and was further discouraged by the low winter survival rate (oh and that one incident involving all the bees in my hair and the resulting trip to the ER, but that's another story for another day, and really, I think the bees were more scared than I)....as all of that was happening, I noticed that someone else was leaning closer in to the bees. "Aren't you supposed to add another box to that colony on the left?" Steve would ask. Hmmn....I began to think. And then I saw him reading my bee books. And the next thing I knew, whenever I was asked a question about bees and responded yet again with an exasperated "I have no idea," he swooped in with the answer. And so it was that under the Solstice tree this year for Papa was a membership to the local beekeeping club and a winter class at the cooperative extension!
Armed with plenty of excitement and more knowledge than I ever gained when I took the same class (it couldn't have been the knitting distracting me, it just couldn't have been!)....Steve has begun his beekeeping journey. This week, he picked up his nucs in Vermont. They're overwintered Russians (I always kept Italian), and I think his plan is to swap out the queen for a Maine queen. That seems logical to me - Russia/Maine....Italy/Maine? Perhaps the Russians will be a bit more suited for this climate and therefore more successful at making it through the winter. I don't know, but Steve has plenty of folks to talk to about it, and many ideas on his own and for that I am so grateful. And relieved, really, to hand the reigns over.
It's funny, the responsibilities that we take on in a relationship for one reason or another, but don't really question. And then when we suddenly do after sometimes years and years, it just makes so much more sense for the other person to be doing it. Or vice versa. I can think of so many examples like this in our own marriage where we've switched up the responsibility for this or that - much to the relief of one and satisfaction of the other.
And so for now, I'm very happy to be the wife of a beekeeper. Welcome, bees! We're glad you're here!