Honey and Honeys

 

As another new year rushed in, I used the benchmark to update my “bucket list.” In reviewing what I want to do before kicking the bucket, I categorized some of the remaining items (see notes above).

My fingers are crossed—again this year—that in perhaps just a few months I’ll be able to eliminate that last item on my bucket list. However, there is something I can cross off a bucket list; it just isn’t my bucket list. Last year I inadvertently helped someone achieve something on theirs.

Spring of 2011, before I knew if my bees would ever make drop one of honey, a groom-to-be asked if I could sell him honey in jars for use as wedding favors. 

 

I sell a bit of honey to raise money for my late husband’s two favorite charities—Loaves & Fishes, and Meals on Wheels. Optimistic, I said sure I could supply the wedding favors. It was Spring; and hope springs eternal for beekeepers when blossoms emerge.

I then wandered about the apiary, begging my dozen hives that if nothing else, would they make the 300 ounces needed for Zach’s wedding, still several months away? They buzzed in response. I took that as a “yes.”

The bees delivered, bless their tiny little hearts. June and July were filled with the beyond-words-glory of extra golden honey for Zach’s wedding and all my other friends and neighbors who have come to rely on me for nature’s perfect candy.

Zach’s parents dropped off their honey containers for filling in early August. When I met Zach’s Mom, the delightful Debbie, she asked many questions … beyond the usual “so, you keep bees?” 

I had planned a few hive checks that afternoon. Sensing a real interest, I asked if she’d like to put on a spare suit and meet the insects responsible for her son’s wedding favors.

Debbie got goosebumps, and then those goosebumps got goosebumps of their own. She said getting close with bees was something that had always, always, always been on her bucket list. She’d be thrilled.

I’m an emotional sort, so I also got goosebumps. Plus, I love working bees. Doing so with someone who also really wanted to work bees? Wow. Deb and I were buzzing like all the other critters in the apiary with mutual excitement. I was probably doubly excited. It’s always great to have an extra pair of willing hands when lifting hive bodies in August.

My extra bee suits are my sized (Amazon-esque), Debbie is not. Even with several layers of goosebumps, she was swimming in the bee suit, or rather—floating. Her smile was as broad as a 10-frame deep body. 

As if sensing our fascination, the barely bothered bees hummed happy tunes while we popped the inner covers and admired them. “You are SO beautiful,” murmured Debbie, totally enthralled.

I will embarrassingly admit that it took me a couple of seconds to realize she wasn’t talking to me.

Our hive checks went smoothly, with nothing unusual found—although, like most beekeepers who love bees and beekeeping, finding ”the usual” in a hive is not only something to be relieved about, but is still absolutely marvelous. A happy hive in August is one of the most fragrant, vibrant, active, marvel-at-the-organization things you’ll ever be blessed to witness.

But, there were even more blessings, like the August 11th wedding of Zach and Mary, and the generous contribution to Meals on Wheels I was able to make because of it. The wedding favors were beautiful … almost as beautiful as the bride and groom.

 

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