Yes, I retired this past week. Friday was my last day in the office, Saturday my first official day as a retiree. My inclination was to do absolutely nothing that day, but I had already signed up for a beekeeping workshop with our local parks and rec department. I've been sort of interested in beekeeping, but each time I checked a book out of the library on the subject, I'd find myself thinking, Wow, that is a lot of work. This workshop gave me the chance to find out just how interested I am and how much actual work is involved.
I didn't realize it, but this was the first time the workshop has been offered. The instructor was a little disorganized, but he covered most of what he planned and what he forgot, we asked about. His expertise is in beeKEEPING, not bees per se, so he had lots of advice about procuring hive equipment and handling bees and bee behavior. He also had a habit of not completing his sentences. For example, when he told us the local ordinance says we can have two hives on our property, he ended with "Fort Wayne is the only city in the state." To have an ordinance? To limit the number of hives? To even allow hives? I don't think the latter, but maybe both of the former.
Besides several hours of bee talk, we visited the hives at Salomon Farm. Since I was the oldest person in the class, I made it my prerogative to ride in the cab of the pickup truck. This did not make much difference on the ride down, but since it was pouring rain on the way back, I did manage to stay drier than the rest of the class.
We lucked out in that a local man who raises queens came by just as we headed out, to check on the status of the queens in the hives. While we were fully suited up, he wore only a veil. The two hives we checked before the rain put a kibosh on our fun had queens. He plucked them from the frame barehanded, despite the attendants surrounding her, and showed us how to mark her.
I wish I could have taken more up-close-and-personal photos, but my gloved fingers were useless on the phone display and I was not brave enough to bare my hands. I did wear sneakers, not sandals like one woman, but was wishing my socks were taller as my ankles were not covered very well. No one was stung, and as far as I know, no one picked up any ticks on our trek from the truck to the hives, something that actually bothered me more than the prospect of a bee sting.
Will I get bees? Since there is a significant investment in both time and money, I will save that as an option for the future. But I would be willing to volunteer my time helping out with the hives we visited yesterday.
What about you? Any beekeepers out there?