A Lesson in Patience From our Friends the Bees
When my sixteen year-old daughter expressed interest in becoming a bee-keeper my immediate feeling was, ‘YES!’ Visions of claiming my place in the 9000 year-old legacy that is beekeeping spread a smile across my soul. What would we do with all of that sweet honey? I already had been using this liquid gold for all sorts of medicinal purposes for years. The health benefits of honey are boundless! From alleviating allergies, to sore throats and coughs, to healing cuts and scrapes. I’ve also enjoyed the benefits of the natural beauty recipes for *honey baths (Soak Like Cleopatra recipe below) and hair masks. As it is, the fermented nectar can be found in many different rooms of our home. What I did not expect was the life lesson I would get along with this new undertaking. Patience.
As a chronic Lyme patient I am acutely aware that nature takes its time. The best thing that you can do is to support your system and allow your body heal on it’s own. That was never more clear to me than during this process. The key is to nurture the nature.
Together as a team, my daughter and I enlisted the support of anyone who was interested in our newest endeavor. We ordered a hive (assembly necessary), bee suits, smokers, weird brushes and knives. The bees were set to arrive in late spring after a canon-ball-style run cross country from California. Our excitement was palpable.
Hive built, beautifully painted, placed, and ready, my daughter and I waited, close to a month, for the arrival of our ‘girls’. Finally, buzzing with excitement (it would bee an opportunity lost to let that pun slip by, right?) we took a little road trip mid island to pick up our bees. All of the tips, and well-meaning advice, hadn’t prepared us for this experience. It was SO COOL! All types of people were there picking up one, two, even a hundred nucs (pack of bees). We had brought a couple of blankets to cover the package to prevent the bees from escaping and start flying around the car. All the way home we were in a state of shock. This was happening.
When we arrived home, our friendly neighborhood bee-keeper arrived with his teen in tow. We all donned our bee suits. My daughter placed the bees in their new hive with squeals of terror and delight. And then… what now? The general consensus is leave them alone. For how long? Hours? Days… Ten whole days before we do anything so that the bees can settle in. Okaaaay. I had been looking forward to a little more of a jazzy fun time. Instead, my daughter went about her teen life, and I threw myself into doing what I could to make a good life for our bees. I over seeded our lawn with clover seed, I dug a trench around the hive to keep pests out, gave the stink eye to my neighbor’s gardener when they were putting weed killer on their dandelions. I sectioned off a portion of our own lawn to grow wild which will provide the bees with a more ambient landscape. I started following local bee-keepers on Instagram and watched beekeeping you tube tutorials. Anything I could come up with to keep myself ‘bizzy’. Finally, day ten came. My daughter and I suited up, lit the smokers, and opened up the hive. Our girls seemed to be doing great! But now we had to leave them alone to do their business.
Spring turned to summer, and, when summer started winding down, it was time to harvest the honey! We had been told that we probably would not get honey the first year. However, our super star hive was burgeoning with wax-capped honeycomb! We decided to just take a little. Most of the honey needed to be left for the bees to feed them through the winter. We were able to harvest close to a glorious golden gallon.
What I learned, or relearned, as my teenage daughter exemplified so naturally, is that nature will take her course. Sure, nurture the nature, however letting go of the need to be in control, and eschewing my ego’s desire to take credit for this miracle that has been happening for thousands of years, mirrored my own journey on the path to wellness. Nurturing and patience. The gentle shifts over the passage of time can create amazing results. Realizing that this life is happening, for myself, my daughter, and that all we’re called upon to do is live, been has been so liberating.
Cleopatra’s Milk and Honey Soak
The nourishing honey contains antibacterial properties that alleviate numerous skin conditions, while the lactic acid in the milk acts as a skin calming exfoliant. A soothing gorgeous glow!
5 cups milk
¼ cup real honey
Add to warm bath, mix in and enjoy!
By Ashley R Dye