Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You Do What Now, Darlin?

Why in the world would I want to keep bees?  As a thirty year old urban woman who bathes regularly, doesn't have a cabin in the woods, and has never owned a bowling shirt from the 70's, I  don't seem to fit the "typical" beekeeper profile.  (Have you seen some of the beginning beekeeper instructional DVDs??? These productions rival any 1980's health book!)  The simple answer for my decision to keep bees is that they are easier to manage than chickens.

There.  I said it.  Yes, I contemplated building a coop and even sprung .99 cents for the iPhone app, but in the end I wasn't sure I wanted to haul around 400 lbs of wood or have my dog terrorized every time he had to go out in the yard (because you know the chickens wouldn't be happy playing his favorite 'I'm-going-to-get-my-deflated-ball-and-knock-you-in-the-groin-with-it' game).

I can't say that I've had a fascination with bees my whole life, or that I come from a long line of beekeepers, but deciding to keep bees seemed like no big deal - especially after watching my friend Coyote keep a hive for a year.  Speaking of Coyote, he really should update his blog: Garden Skulls

Anyway, research materials, online forums, and YouTube videos about beekeeping are cheap and easy to find.  Many supply companies will happily send you a free catalog, and these catalogs usually contain a lot of really good basic beekeeping information.  Between all of the garden seed, flowering bulb, beekeeping and outdoor furniture catalogs I've been receiving, I'm surprised Monsanto hasn't showed up to collect my entire back yard.

But I digress.  The more I read about bees, the more I became excited to give urban beekeeping a go.  Besides being excellent pollinators and essential to our food supply, bees are just downright fascinating when it comes to how they live, work, and clean house (did I mention they forcibly eject all of the male drones to their death in the fall because they are, uh, unnecessary for colony survival?)

So without all the boring detail of the English royalty names I had picked out for my possible chicken flock (Elizabeth, Victoria, Longshanks), that's the story of how I decided to become an urban beekeeper.

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