Welcome back my girls

A few years ago, the Ferry family experienced a traumatic death. We lost all our girls. During the winter, approximately 50,000 honeybees vanished from my backyard. They went into hibernation after Halloween and never woke up. I don’t know where they went, but come spring, there was no one home in either of my hives.

As the air began to warm and the flowers started turning their faces to the sun, the hives remained dark and empty. No one was home. Come the beginning of March, my worst fears were confirmed when the lids were lifted and not a soul was home. No droning hum. No fluttering wings on my hands. My girls were gone.

Honeybees have been a part of my life for many years now. I have a fondness for their company and I admire their lifestyle and work ethic. I devour honey and relish in the bi-annual collection of the blonde liquid. Their disappearing act and careless state of affairs that the hive was left in left me reeling. Questions kept running through my head and doubts clouded my mind…

Where did they go? Why were dead bee carcasses left in the hive and not carried out with all the waste honeybees unload daily? Why were the honeycombs still laden with amber food? Why did they vanish? Why? Why?! WHY?!?

And, the question that stung the most…

What could I have done?

Low and behold the answers are still unknown. It appears that my hit was a case of Colony Collapse Disorder. CCD has been dotting headlines and major publications and news channels for the past few years. It is a mysterious enemy and is killing honeybees and destroying hives at an apocalyptic rate. The beekeepers are helpless. It is a phenomenon of survival of the fittest. The bees are losing the war at a rate that will eventually devastate our food supply and the pollinated crops so many of us love.

My relationship with the bees wanes and waxes throughout the year as the shift from intensive care in spring and summer moves to lackadaisical hovering in winter and fall. And, then the circle begins again. But, this cycle came to an abrupt halt in the early spring of 2007 and has been in a holding pattern since.

I miss my girls. I miss the cyclical predictability of their season. I miss their comforting drone and buzz that fills my ears when inspecting the hives.

The list of excuses has been long and complicated for why these miraculous creatures have not come back into my life. The money hasn’t been there to start up the expensive hives from start. The time wasn’t there the summer after Beckett was born. Sleep and eating on a semi-regular basis were higher priorities. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Truth be told, the nagging excuse that really kept the ship at bay was my conscience and dreadful fear. I don’t want to lose another hive. I don’t want to be disappointed and heartbroken. And, I don’t want to let my girls down.

I am taking a deep breath, pulling my shoulders up straight. The order has been placed for two boxes of bees and the arrival date is set for the first week for May. My stomach is in knots. My beekeeping gear is fluffed and ready. The hives are cleaned and sweet. We are ready with welcoming arms.

As their buzzing bodies are placed into their new homes, I will say a prayer.

I pray that my bees live and flourish in my care and my yard.
I pray that they prosper on their staple diet of pollen and honey.
I pray that I am able to enjoy and deliver the golden nectar to my pantry and my fellow bee devotees.
I pray that my beekeeping fosters in Beckett a magical and wondrous respect for the honeybee.
I pray that my bees prepare for winter with steadfast determination and weather the storm with ease and grace.
I pray that my bees live and flourish.

Amen.

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17 Responses to Welcome back my girls

  1. Rachel Smith says:

    I enjoy following your journey Kate! What a lovely way to honor your relationship and commitment to your bees and sustainability.

  2. debby says:

    amen and amen…. for without the bees we would have no harvest… and without the harvest we would have no food. We need the wondorous work of the honeybees to pollinate the world.

  3. Jenny says:

    Amen! Wishing you and the girls much success and then some more. 🙂

  4. Carol says:

    I will be praying for a wonderful recovery of the hive.

  5. Cutzi says:

    Hey Kate – Just wanted you to know I added your blog to my reader a few weeks ago. It’s been fun and informative to read your blog as I too have goals to raise my family and keep my home as simply and purely as possible.

    Thanks especially for your cloth diapers on the cheap tip. Three kids later and I think I’m going to buy a starter kit next month.

    I am so interested in following your bee keeping endeavors. My husband’s grandfather keeps bees and wants to buy us some hives but we live in the city and I just don’t think we have room for them amidst the chickens, the garden and the kids we have seemed to fit into our little space. So I will bee keep vicariously through you!

    • sacredbee says:

      Hi Cutzi –

      So glad that you joined the feed. I can’t tell you how much we love cloth diapers so far – I wish I had done it sooner. I’ll keep you updated on bees and ask for some advice on chickens. We couldn’t get it organized for this year, but are going to get some next year. 🙂 Take care –

      Kate

      • Cutzi says:

        Oh but there’s still time for chickens!! They’re so easy – especially at first because you don’t need a coop or anything for them yet. If I’m any encouragement, I think you should totally get some. I’m telling you – SO EASY – and so worth it. They hardly take any care at all. (and a pretty inexpensive investment) We have 3 that are already laying and I just went to the farm store today to see about getting a couple more. They’re going to have my favorites at Lynden Farm and Garden next week. We’re even thinking about building them a new, more fashionable, coop. When we have more land I’m going to have a whole flock of them!

        Ok… stepping down off my chicken soapbox.

        Here are some chicken post from my blog:
        http://moonwithaview.blogspot.com/search/label/Firehouse%20Farm

        I hope that link works..

      • sacredbee says:

        Oh – I am glad to hear that chickens are reasonable. I want to try to make it happen this year, but need to focus on the bees. After I get that rolling – I will move onto chickens. Thanks for the link to the blog – I’ll see what you are up to, too. 🙂

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  7. Marian Henderson says:

    I would like to learn more about bees… call me when you need a hand. ~Marian

  8. abloggersman says:

    Beautiful golden honey flow, here we come. My favorite weekends of the year are spend harvesting, bottling and EATING honey from your bees. I can’t wait!

  9. Kathy says:

    I can’t wait for more honey! We have not found any we like more than yours..

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