Wednesday 10 August 2011

Rome wasn't built in a day (Norwich Community Bees)

So, the hive went up a few weeks ago and we set about finding some bees.  But then we had a bit of a hitch; the general consensus was that it was now a bit late in the season to start a colony from scratch.  The bees needed time to get used to the area, build up their stocks for the winter.

For a while, I was willing to chance it - we could get some bees, do our best, see how they got on.  But then I stopped and reflected why it was I wanted to do this in the first place - it was about supporting a community of bees, supporting a community of people.  The deeper I've got into this world of bees, the more I've begun to think of them as something really special.  I don't want to gamble with the life of our first colony.  That just felt wrong.  Better to take the advice of people who know and have the experience; better to wait until spring and do it properly.  Sure, I was disappointed, really disappointed after all the effort so many people have put in to get things up and running since March.

Marco reminded me of one of the principles of permaculture when we met up a few weeks back - the principle of patience - watching, being aware of the location before you start planting.  It helped me to accept this delay, and made me realise all of the things we will need to do before the spring so that we're in the best shape for the bees when they arrive.  We've had offers of instruction on how to build hives, visits to apiaries, talks, all sorts of things.  It'll be a busy and interesting six months.

Pic: The Barefoot Beekeeper by PJ Chandler, which has helped me think of bees in a totally different way; highly recommended!

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