Sustainable Living in Montesano – Bees

Regular readers are aware of my postings on this subject and I intend to add quite a bit this growing season. With Spring prep about to begin it’s time to re visit.

Happy Bees

For about 10 years now I have been making the effort to become less ignorant on the subject. Not sure how less ignorant I am, but at least I have made the effort. And an effort it is.

Gardening is an art. No question about it.. I have lousy sun here on my acre. Trees everywhere so had to get creative. I do have a year round stream and pond so that has opened up quite a bit of experimentation. More on that late.

The key for me was bees. Two years ago I went into Montesano Farm and Home and put my name on the list for a hive. I knew nothing about them. They were giving classes, not sure if they still do, but all you really need is to watch a few youtube videos. It isn’t difficult.

No, they don’t buzz around and sting you. Bees are pretty smart actually. They know who lives there. You can open the top of your hive and poke around, feed them, the whole bit. I bought the little smoker thing and have never even used it.

That first year, it was a virtual exploding feast of veggies, apples, and all manner of things. Even my nut trees were over loaded. If you didn’t know, Hazelnut trees do very well here. That little nursery in Satsop sells bare root Hazelnut trees if you are interested. Make sure you get two varieties or check with them for cross pollination plants. Food growing everywhere. Bees work cheap too. A little sugar water and thats about it.

They wintered well and I must have done something stupid. One morning I went out and they were gone. It is called “absconding”. Rare, but apparently the queen gets an idea she wants to move ……and she moves.

I deliberately didn’t get another hive the following year as I wanted to test the crop yields. A good half was cut out. From everything I grow.

A good website to join and have a support system while learning the art of beekeeping is Honey Bee Suites. At least they were and are for me. Highly recommend them.

If you go down and order your hive now, you will pick it up probably sometime in late April when they come in. Monte Farm and Home has all the supplies you need to get going and they ae quite knowledgeable. Its going to cost you about $500 to get started, but after that basically nothing.

Considering the state of things, learning how to tend for yourself is an art worth learning.