Saturday, November 16, 2013

To bee or not to bee

All day today was spent at the Minnesota Arboretum attending a University of Minnesota class on the basics of beekeeping in a northern climate. There were about 250 attendees. Beekeeping is on the ascendency. It also is reported to have a fairly high estimated attrition rate (only 10% to 20% still doing it after 5 years). It's complicated, but would encourage beekeepers to pay attention to a number of details that might otherwise be ignored, for example, what's blooming when. Furthermore, I hadn't know that honeybees depend on pollen from oaks, maples and some other trees early in the season. Beekeeping fits with sustainable living and self sufficiency. It looks like we're going to be getting into beekeeping this Winter (getting organized, ordering) and Spring (setting up). Stay tuned for details such as the electric fencing to dissuade the bears. Meanwhile, today's weather calls up a poem like Tim Bowling's, although we've already had first frost.

honeybee on maroon pansy
honeybee on maroon pansy       © harrington

The Last Days of Summer Before the First Frost

By Tim Bowling 

Here at the wolf’s throat, at the egress of the howl,
all along the avenue of deer-blink and salmon-kick
where the spider lets its microphone down
into the cave of the blackberry bush—earth echo,
absence of the human voice—wait here
with a bee on your wrist and a fly on your cheek,
the tiny sun and tiny eclipse.
It is time to be grateful for the breath
of what you could crush without thought,
a moth, a child’s love, your own life.
There might never be another chance.
How did you find me, the astonished mother says
to her four-year-old boy who’d disappeared
in the crowds at the music festival.
I followed my heart, he shrugs,
so matter-of-fact you might not see
behind his words
(o hover and feed, but not too long)

the bee trails turning to ice as they’re flown.

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