In a previous post I talked about the beginnings of my wonderful internship at Homeadow Song Farm. I had worked on making tamales the first few weeks, and talked about new things that I learned about the nixtamalization of corn and the in-depth processes of truly slow food. I have also been getting much more in touch with other aspects of the farm, including getting to better know the helpful farm assistants, the bees.
I started building my relationship with them very quickly when I helped wrap the hives in straw to keep the bees warm through the winter. I had never cared for bees before, (I’ve never even been stung) so this job made me a little nervous at first. But my intern leader, artist/farmer C.V. Mansoor, assured me that I would be fine as long as I kept a calm demeanor, and she was right. As long as I was nice to the bees they were nice to me.
While the bees stayed warm throughout the winter huddled in the hives, we worked on various bee related projects. We cleaned the supers and the frames of old and dark comb so the bees could start fresh in the Spring…
…made beautiful homemade beeswax candles…
…and salve made from olive oil, calendula flowers, and melted beeswax.
I even got to try raw honey for the first time, and it was delicious!
But what made me especially attached to the honey bees was some perspective I got on the bee’s welfare from a documentary I watched while I was shelling corn, titled Queen of the Sun. It tells the story of bee keepers from around the globe who are trying to raise bees naturally and give the species a fighting chance in a world of commercial bee keeping atrocities, unnatural monoculture farms, and the biological threats of GMOs. It makes me really appreciate how hard all of the bees work to make the honey that I eat and the wax that I use, and it made me think extra hard about the gift of pollination that they provide the world with to grow all of the fresh fruits and veggies I love to eat.
And with all the inspiration I have been gathering from all of these projects I couldn’t help but illustrate my love for the bees!
So the next time you’re putting honey in your tea, or using bees wax lip balm, or even eating fresh produce, think about the little bees that made it possible!