Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do you sell honey?

honey comb from Morristown
Do you sell honey?

It is a question I am often asked when someone realizes I am a beekeeper. The answer thus far has been no.

What I have been doing for the past 3 years in working with the bees is trying to wade my way through the teachings of experienced beekeepers.
You see, for some time now beekeeping has been about stealing honey and pollination. Otherwise, (the other, all to common question) "what use are the bees?"

We live in a society that places high value on things (a.k.a living, sentient beings) that reap profit. If these things do not reap profit, we disregard them or manipulate them to make them into profit.

The other day I got into a discussion about wasps. The person I was speaking with was struggling with wasps continuously building nests on their deck. "What are they good for, what use are they? I am just going to kill them."

Rewind a week and I have Bob, the farmer telling me that before the wasps came to his place he struggled with worms in his cabbage crop. "No more worms for this place, the wasps have eaten them all!"

I digress. Or do I? There is a point to this. All creatures on this planet are here for their own reasons. I will not pretend to know what the reasons are. Not even sure what the human purpose is, but I am sure it isn't to exploit every other species and I am pretty sure that every other species' point isn't to serve humans. I could be wrong though.

So the bees...most books and teachers come from a background of years of exploiting bees for profit. Few have taken the time or have had the inclination to understand 'beeness'.

some top bar hive bees a few days after being given this bar
Bees have their own nature as do humans. We hurt each other when we view our relationships merely as a give and take; when we view 'other' as an object to exploit or take advantage of. As a culture, it is important for us to learn to listen. Yes, time is money and listening takes time, but aren't relationships the mainstays of our existence? Isn't it time we put more value on our relationships (our friends, family, animals, bugs, land, food...)?

beautiful bees and burr comb in Vancouver

So no, I do not sell the wonderful honey that the bees make from their hard work of harvesting nectar from the numerous dandelions, clover, linden, sweet william, salvias and numerous other wild and cultivated flowers that grow within their reach. I am too busy working on a relationship with a species whose nature I have barely begun to understand. After 3 years with them I am realizing I barely understand my own human nature.

I do know that it is in my nature to love sweetness and the bees graciously offer that to me and for this I am thankful. I am also thankful for all the beekeepers who love and care for their bees while taking the extra honey they make to sell to us folks who have a love of all things sweet. I am thankful for the bees for making extra! I am thankful for the land for producing so much sweet bounty for all creatures. I am thankful for all creatures! I am thankful that you are reading my words.

40th anniversary of earth day...what are YOU thankful for?


Cylia said...

Hi Tammy: finally found a bit of time to read your blog, which is refreshing and uplifting. The western attitude of senseless consumption can be depressing when one wants to comprehend a new world. I am thankful for people like you who want and care to learn and live more in harmony with nature. I know that there is a gentle turbulence of us, who think differently and walk a more caring path. Cylia

Sell Honey said...

Thanks for your GREAT blog Tammy! I'm a beekeeper as well and completely understand the feelings you're sharing in this post. Beekeeping can be a very spiritual endeavor. While I don't think there is anything wrong with profitable beekeeping I think a return to small local farms is certainly not a bad thing!