To Bee!

☆ April 25, 2017


The Farmily grew by ten thousand members this weekend. I became a bee guardian, initiate bee priestess.

Mike and I built a top bar hive, and I introduced the bees to their new home on Sunday. It was intense. It was a totally psychedelic experience. I laughed out loud, I cried, I felt the truth of the universe. I watched a bee dance, I watched a bee die. I got sick of wearing gloves so I took them off, and a bee landed on my hand, and bathed herself. Bees wash their faces like cats, with their front feet and tongue, did you know that? I did not know that, until I watched it happen on my forefinger, inches from my face.

They say not to open the hive for three days, to give the bees time to settle in without disruption. It has been so hard not to open the top and peek in! I resist, and I sit by the entrance and watch the bees fly in and out. They are carrying pollen in, which apparently means the queen is alive and all is well. I listen to the walls of the hive with my stethoscope and it is BUZZING in there. Another good sign. Tomorrow afternoon, I shall peek in.


34 Responses to “To Bee!”

  1. Jackie Roisler
    April 25th, 2017 @ 8:31 am

    Love, love!

  2. Deborah Dutko
    April 25th, 2017 @ 8:44 am

    So exciting!!!! Thank you for caring for them. We need bees!

  3. Karen
    April 25th, 2017 @ 8:55 am

    Wonderful! You will be a great caretaker and will continue to marvel at your ever-working bees in their apiary~ (listening with a stethoscope.. must have been very, very loud)

  4. Angela Meier
    April 25th, 2017 @ 9:05 am

    So cool!

  5. Susan
    April 25th, 2017 @ 9:07 am

    Welcome to the bee world, you will be awed and amazed. I have had 2 hives for 2 years and it is a thrilling and learning experience every time i go into the hives. I’m still at the bottom of the learning curve that’s for sure.

  6. Marg
    April 25th, 2017 @ 9:35 am

    Oh Wow !! Pure unpasteurized honey…..I envy you this more than anything else. Can’t wait for more posts.xo

  7. Katbalu
    April 25th, 2017 @ 9:49 am

    I am living vicariously through you Shreve! Congratulations on becoming a mommy to many bees!

  8. wright1
    April 25th, 2017 @ 10:30 am

    You and beekeeping are a good fit; I’m surprised it took you this long to get started ;)

    Decades ago a wild hive moved into part of the outside deck of where I was renting. For awhile they didn’t object if I got right up to the side opposite the knothole they used as an entrance. I could put my hand on the planks and feel their collective heat, smell the pollen, honey and musk of the bees themselves, put my ear to the wood and hear their mesmerizing many-layered humming, the soft rustle of them pushing past each other. It was a magical thing.

    Looking forward to what you share about this new part of your community.

  9. wright1
    April 25th, 2017 @ 10:35 am

    PS, love the description of the bee grooming herself, something I’ve observed too. It is very feline, isn’t it!

  10. penny in co
    April 25th, 2017 @ 12:21 pm

    That is so cool!!!!

  11. Lindsay in Oregon
    April 25th, 2017 @ 12:39 pm

    That is so awesome!! I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in beekeeping! My mom has had anywhere from two to four hives at a time for the past few years, and it has been fun tagging along as she cares for them. And of course, the honey is just incredible!!

  12. angelojones
    April 25th, 2017 @ 12:40 pm

    i so very much admire that you felt the pull to remove your gloves, and i am so envious that you watched *up close* a bee wash herself on your hand!!
    honey is one of my major food groups, and i have always wanted bees. i’ll be following your progress……

  13. Charity Suzuki
    April 25th, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

    That is awesome!

  14. Carmen
    April 25th, 2017 @ 1:03 pm

    You said you fixed a box for them- how did they arrive- like when your buy lady bugs? more pictures! this will be an ADVENTURE!

  15. shreve
    April 25th, 2017 @ 2:06 pm

    C ~ they arrive in a little crate the size of a shoebox!

  16. Po
    April 25th, 2017 @ 2:07 pm

    This is really cool! We all look forward to hearing more about this new adventure.

  17. Nancy B
    April 25th, 2017 @ 2:22 pm

    This is a perfect additional vocation for you! My husband used to keep bees for many years and it was a fascinating and very worthwhile time commitment. Enjoy!

  18. Theresa Szpila
    April 25th, 2017 @ 2:41 pm

    Oh, Shreve, how wonderful!!! We sooo need more bees and beekeepers! Colony collapse disorder has robbed the world of so many of these truly amazing and necessary creatures. I jump for joy that the world has a new hive and that it’s under your guardianship.

    Sending warm, fuzzy thoughts for a healthy colony and delicious honey!

  19. Keri
    April 25th, 2017 @ 3:10 pm

    I love this! Thank you for being a noticer and for sharing your joy!

  20. mlaiuppa
    April 25th, 2017 @ 6:31 pm

    Congratulations on your bees! You are perfectly situated for bees. They don’t roam more than a mile or two from the hive and you and Mike don’t use pesticides so they’ll have plenty of healthy food sources.

    You’ve probably done all your bee research already.

    My local organic nursery has bees and Bill does a free talk twice a year on bee keeping. He also carries beee keeping supplies. Never been that adventurous. Maybe if I end up moving back to my parents’ house ( they’re in their upper 80s now) I might talk my Dad into letting me put a hive in his back yard. He doesn’t use pesticides either and he’s on the canyon so hopefully they’d have plenty of healthy food sources.

  21. Laura
    April 25th, 2017 @ 8:43 pm


  22. Sara
    April 25th, 2017 @ 9:15 pm

    This is Great!!!

    We had a bee keeper out by a garden where my dad raised veggies and the hive quit doing well. We think there were GMO soybeans in the nearby field. Grrrr!

  23. Karen
    April 25th, 2017 @ 9:29 pm

    A wonderful childhood memory for me: chewing on honeycomb!! There’s nothing else like it~

  24. Dave Wallace
    April 26th, 2017 @ 3:29 am

    I’ve only been following the Farmily for a decade – this might just possibly be the most important topic to date.

  25. Ticia
    April 26th, 2017 @ 2:40 pm

    What great news! I, too just hived some lovely bees on Monday, into a top bar hive my boyfriend built for me. I’ve been waiting about 12 years to do this.

    There is tons of great material to get info from. In case you’re interested I have the two books written by Christy Hemenway on top bar bee keeping. The first one is called “The Thinking BeeKeeper”. There is a lots of useful information in her book on when to inspect the bees and what to look for. Anyway, just an FYI. She is in Maine so her bees over winter in a cold climate as well.

  26. Nova
    April 26th, 2017 @ 4:03 pm

    If you’re doing this for honey, check out “no smoke” hives. They have a mechanism that cracks the comb and lets the honey flow out through a tap (yes, it’s literally honey on tap). There’s no smoking out the bees, tearing down the hive, scraping off comb; all that kills bees. The smokeless hives let you have honey without hurting the colony!

  27. shreve
    April 26th, 2017 @ 5:55 pm

    N ~ Top bar hives are totally pro-bee, too! No smoke, no bee murder if you’re conscientious. It’s basically a hive that mimics what they would create in the wild, and they love it!

  28. Ruth
    April 27th, 2017 @ 3:38 pm

    Yay! Watching bees in my suburban “wildflower” patch, I wrote this haiku:
    bees without meadows
    a yard of weedy flowers
    five loaves and two fish

  29. Nikki
    April 28th, 2017 @ 2:09 am

    Amazing. :)

  30. Deborah
    April 30th, 2017 @ 11:50 pm

    This is so cool! Bees need help, so what you’re doing totally makes sense and is def your vibe. I don’t have the space to have hives, but have many plants that bees love: orange, peach, lemon thyme, rosemary, Hesperaloe, Aloe, a fancy aloe, and the vegetables. I don’t know where their hives are, and I’m happy that they frequent our garden. What’s next, real HoneyRockDawn honey? I’m on board.

  31. Vanessa
    May 3rd, 2017 @ 2:16 pm

    Love your rendition of your introduction of meeting a bee “first hand, bare handed”. They’re not the mad, angry things most would have you believe them to be.
    Years ago I lived across the street from a neighbor who had several hives; they would come to my house for water. I had a pool in the back and a bird bath in the front. I always knew when the bird bath needed refilled because they would come for a “swim” in the pool. I never gave it a second thought to scoop them out bare handed as time was of the essence with a bee in water; never got stung once in the 5 years I lived there. They are amazing to watch, delicate in bathing and cleaning themselves.

  32. hello haha narf
    May 4th, 2017 @ 2:32 pm

    my heart soars at the knowledge that you are a guardian of bees! i desire to also become a bee priestess. looking forward to following along on your adventure.

  33. sybil
    May 17th, 2017 @ 2:53 pm

    I cried. All the best to you and my favorite critters. If I ever tattoo, it’ll BEE.

  34. Carolyne
    December 18th, 2017 @ 10:06 am

    Will you sell the bee pollen granules? My cancer Dr. recommended it for energy! It works great!!

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