My first venture into the world of bees began before I was even born. At seven months pregnant, my mum remembers on a hot sunny day a beautiful big fat bumble bee landed on her bump. It sat there comfortably then started to crawl slowly up, before my mum asked a young man walking past to shoo the bee away.
After I was born, my mum took me out in the pram to lap up the sunshine of my first summer. She strolled along Oldfield Lane South, in Greenford, near to where Litton Local Nature Reserve is situated today. A small dark cloud appeared and a swarm of honeybees flew over my pram as I slept.
Our family moved around London over the years, but on a winter’s evening I found myself, now an adult, walking up Oldfield Lane South to Litton Local Nature Reserve to start an introduction to beekeeping course at Ealing and District Beekeepers. How funny that I was here again, where it had all begun, about to begin a chapter as a beekeeper.
That was six years ago. From my first hive bought from Ealing beekeeper Ian Allkins to the four colonies I now share with Emily Scott, keeping bees has opened up a treasure trove of discovery and adventure. Each year as the wheel has turned through the seasons, the secret life of bees has been revealed from spring to summer to autumn to winter to spring…
Today is New Year’s Day. In a matter of weeks the hives will be flying and the dance of the bees will bring the earth back to life as trees blossom and flowers open.
This year will bring exciting new possibilities and I can’t wait to start an all new chapter. My blog has changed as my life has changed, which is a good thing. Alongside those changes, I’m looking forward to rediscovering pastimes of drawing, painting, photography and aromatherapy, as well as writing about bees. I made a start today getting out my pencils and paper to practise drawing honeybees and comb before painting the hive boxes for spring.
Every season is full of promise and 2015 is going to be an exciting time. I wish you all health, happiness and a very Happy New Year!
Bees it seems are your totem. I so look forward to seeing more of your talents on the blog in 2015. I love the honeycomb drawing. Wishing all the best in the New Year! Very Best, Catherine
Bees do feel like my totem, along with cats and owls. I’m so inspired by the nature magic on your blog also, Catherine. Wishing you a Happy New Year and blossoming ideas.
Love the link and circles. My son loves bees, when he was very small we used to find him stroking bumble bees, never stung, always gentle.
Bumble bees are wonderful creatures, your son sounds like a natural keeper of bees. I’ve stroked my honeybees, on occasion, when they land on my sleeve. They seem to like it, or perhaps I’m unknowingly grooming them!
That’s a wonderful story about the bees especially of the swarm flying over your pram. If you paint as well as you draw, I bet you could start a new trend of painting designs on your hives, like the Slovenian Beehive paintings. 🙂
I have some steep competition in UK if you Google for Neals Yard Remedies bee hive painting competition, particularly in the under-6 category 🙂
Gorgeous drawing. It seems you and bees are meant to be! We must make use of your artistic skills and paint our hives this spring, now that we have all the kit ready at the apiary
Yes, let’s get out paint brushes on next dry Saturday at apiary and paint those empty hives boxes ready for spring!
Tantalising thoughts for 2015! I will look forward to seeing how you paint the hives. Often the hives I see seem unnecessarily dull and not like the pictures of the WBC hives I always imagined but I do not know the modern practicalities of bee keeping. Amelia
I’m not sure why UK beekeepers haven’t always traditionally painted their hives in the past, other than using bee-friendly paint it should be ok and might even help prevent some drifting between apiary hives with a small motif by entrances for the workers. I look forward to seeing inspired painted hives in your garden Amelia 🙂
Loved reliving this story of yours. The bee and honeycomb drawing is beautiful too. Let’s see more of thes in 2015.
Thanks mum for telling me the stories of my first bees. As Catherine says, the bee must be our totem animal xx
…and I’ll definitely come to visit them again soon, might also bring a honey ‘goody’ to share ☺️
You are blessed by bees. May your hives flow full of honey in 2015.
Thank you, I hope that for the bees who love eating their own honey as much as I love to share it with family and friends! 🙂
I feel like I have a similar relationship with Buzzards. When I was little my dad would always point them out to me and we would stop in the car and watch them soaring for ages. As I got older I found myself spotting them almost wherever I went and now when I see them they are always like my little reminder that life is good. Happy New Year!
That’s funny you should say that. My mum always noticed the buzzards and points them out, “One, two…” It makes me feel too like being in the wilds where everything is good and free. These magnificent birds sound like your totem animal 🙂
What a beautiful story to have and to share! Best wishes on a sweet 2015!