In the Spring a Not-So-Young Woman’s Fancy Lightly Turns to Thoughts of Bees

Apiary_in_the_village_Varatic_(80-ies)._(2)

Apiary in the Village Varatic, 1980s. By Ion Chibzii from Chisinau. , Moldova. Via Wikimedia Commons

 

A Facebook friend’s post this week told how a large honeybee swarm had  taken up residence in an empty hive on his property. All on its own! He’d left the hive out all winter, “seasoning it with lemon grass every month,” (rubbing lemon grass into the wood), and the day before saw a scout bee checking it out. The next daya colony moved in! Free bees!

How incredibly exciting! I thought.

I’ve been dreaming of beekeeping for years here on my city property, but I’ve never made the move from dream to reality. Two neighbors on my block have given it a try. One had a hive for a couple of years, and a new neighbor across the street has a hive, or she did last summer. I’ve taken classes, and one year was thrilled to participate in a swarm capture, but I’ve always been just a little too wrapped up in other projects to take on yet another responsibility. (I would want to do right by the bees, you know!) I do take a lot of pleasure, though, in growing two big city lots full of plants that produce great bee forage flowers: lots of catmint, blue mist spirea, and borage, in addition to flowering trees and shrubs, vegetables, flowers, weeds, etc. We also provide water in a few birdbaths and a pond. The bees love to drink from the lily pads.

And every year I thinkhmmm, maybe next year.

This year’s musings were ignited first by the beekeeper, then by Pinterest, which sent me some suggested pins that included honeybee art. That took me to Etsy, and that took me to Wikimedia Commons, my favorite place for copyright-free antique images.

There I found a few more images I hope you’ll enjoy.

Bee well, and remember to love and care for our friends the honeybees!

Sandra Knauf

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Just one of many Etsy offerings of bee-you-tiful digital images. These are available at the shop Digital Magpie.

 

British_bees-_an_introduction_to_the_study_of_the_natural_history_and_economy_of_the_bees_indigenous_to_the_British_Isles_BHL19072798 (2)

I would love to have a room wallpapered with this. From British Bees: An Introduction to the Study of the Natural History and Economy of the Bees Indigenous to the British Isles, by W.E. Shuckard. Published 1866. Via Wikimedia Commons.

 

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From How to Keep Bees for Profit, by Anna Botsford Comstock, 1905. I learned that Comstock was a well-known  American artist, educator, conservationist, and leader of the nature study movement!

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Note the bees on his arm, a little stunt that beekeepers can have fun with. From How to Keep Bees for Profit.

 

How_to_keep_bees_BHL18160755 (2)By Comstock, Anna Botsford [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Another image, this one very lovely, from Anna Botsford Comstock’s book.

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From The American Bee Journal, 1916. The accompanying excerpt about women studying beekeeping looked promising, but soon I became very annoyed at the  condescending stance on women’s most important role in society: homemaking. “Their sisters may paint beautiful pictures, write wonderful stories or rise to exalted positions in business or the professions; but the home builder is, after all, the greatest producer of beauty and happiness.”

 

1917, book, The Home and School Reference Work

And, to end this post, a pretty color illustration from The Home and School Reference Work, Volume 1, 1917.

 

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6 Comments

Filed under Bug Love

6 responses to “In the Spring a Not-So-Young Woman’s Fancy Lightly Turns to Thoughts of Bees

  1. Sandra: this week I was weeding out a raised bed I use to plant pie pumpkins and noted a distraction to my focus….a loud noise I first registered as freight train? leaf blower? Then I really focused and realized thousands of bees were swarming one of our cedar trees. I mean thousands and thousands. I was a little afraid to be outside, then they moved to my neighbor’s cedar and then they moved away. It was quite thrilling. I love the eight bees on the “discover bees” page.

  2. Swarms are SO exciting, Tricia! So harmless, too, in almost every single case. I published a story about them in Greenwoman, and here, online, about the one time I got to go on a capture. http://fictionaut.com/stories/sandra-knauf/behind-the-beekeepers-veil
    A couple of years ago our neighbor’s hive swarmed and they went to my house, on a little cherry tree. I was so excited and tried to find a beekeeper to get them, but they were gone before anyone could make it over. They were within arms’ reach!

  3. I love bees. They often try to build a hive underneath my deck. Sadly, I must knock it off. They swarm over my royal purple cone flowers. I’ve been stung at least three times – ouch! We cannot live without bees. I loved the photos. Best wishes, Frances

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