Just a year ago, my husband Tom and I decided to acquire bees. Although the decision seemed sudden, I realize it had been brewing for some time. The clincher was two-fold.
First, in 2020 new neighbors moved in across the street. They had some bee hives in their backyard. We immediately noticed now much the bees loved a puddle of water we’d inadvertently created while solarizing (killing by heat) a raised bed gone rogue with weeds. This watering hole had become such a popular spot for them that I decided to drain it even though the bees seemed nice enough and were welcome otherwise. There were just so many of them and I needed to get gardening done in the vicinity.
I began noticing bees often from then on. They loved Russian sage hedges I’d pass walking to and from work. They became part of our yard and neighborhood. The kind owners quickly became good friends and it was admirable how their children were so involved in the care of the bees and harvesting of honey. Whatever fear I may have carried was evaporating.
Secondly, our artist blacksmith daughter, Betsy, had acquired a bar hive from some bee people in Boulder, Colorado. She’d been forging custom bar hive tools and now had a cute pitch-roofed hive on legs of her own – bees not included. After moving back to Casper she was creating a wonderful garden for pollinators and hoped to get bees someday as her Colorado friends were passionate and encouraging.
In the spring of 2021 the first of our seventeen fruit trees to bloom (usually a little too early for Casper weather) were the apricots. We rarely get fruit on these two trees but appreciate their beautiful blossoms and lovely fall colors. On a particularly blustery day, Tom was looking out the window at the spring snow and told me there were bees all over an apricot tree. He is good at pulling my leg, considering it was cold and snowy. I bah-hah-ed, his comment and he seriously said, “no – just stare at the tree.” As I did so, there was a buzz of movement all over the tree as hundreds (or thousands?) of bees delighted in the first blossoms of spring. It was an amazing and beautiful encounter. The tree full of ripe apricots in July was even a more beautiful sight and SO delicious.
Fast forward to the spring of 2022. When our neighbors had moved in, they mentioned that they usually moved every three to four years and we really didn’t want to lose the great pollination efforts of their bees if that should happen – so we started doing our research, interviewing them and other beekeepers, and decided to take the plunge!! We ordered all that we needed with the guidance of our sweet (pun intended) bee mentor, Debby Reddy! All was in place for the arrival of bees on Saturday April 30th! A local bee keeper had driven 100 packages up from Cheyenne! Debby helped Betsy hive her bees and then came to our house to hive ours.
Psalms 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof …