Well, it looks as though I may not be able to acquire any honey bees for my hive until next year, so we will have to make do with native bees and bumble bees. We do have a huge number of bumbles, and at the moment they are enjoying the flowering multiplying onions:
However, today I enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours helping and learning from a Raglan beekeeper, who was splitting her hive, using a purchased queen cell. While at the Hamilton bee club meeting on Thursday night, I heard her say that she planned to do this today, and so I plucked up courage and asked if I could help / observe. Amazing though it may seem to those who know me as a loud, in your face sort of person, I do in fact find it incredibly difficult to talk to people in situations where I know few others. For the past 28 years I have made myself talk to strangers (and do all kinds of things I would not have otherwise done) for the sake of my children. Now my 'baby' has gone (he went flatting in Hamilton two weeks ago) and I realise that if I do not wish to spend my days doing mundane chores in boring silence, I have to learn to talk to strangers for my own benefit.
So, I asked B if I could help her, and she agreed. I had a wonderful morning. I used the smoker to calm the bees. I helped lift boxes off and on to the hive. She showed me where the brood was, the honey, the pollen, and pointed out the different types of bees. And I wasn't scared for a moment - I didn't even think of being scared until afterwards when B commented on how calm I'd been! We agreed that I will go back and help when she is doing her bees, which will be a great way to learn, and whenever I do get my own bees, I will feel way more comfortable.
Afterwards we went into her house for a cup of tea, and the first thing I saw was a book of poetry - my favourite book of my favourite kiwi poet! The Art of Walking Upright by Glen Colquhoun.
First bees brought an old friend back into my life decades after losing touch, and now the bees have brought another interesting woman into my life. Perhaps there really might be life after children.