My beekeeping journey began by chance when my parents moved to a condo and had to give up their hive. At the time I knew absolutely nothing about beekeeping so I was thrown in blind. I joined the Susquehanna Beekeepers Association and began attending their monthly meetings. I was so fortunate to meet my mentor Ted at the farmers market. He came to my house the next week to look at my bees and began working with me closely to provide me equipment, instructions and learning opportunities. Throughout the years Ted has become a great friend and my bees have slowly begun to flourish.
That first hive died that winter pretty early on as it had been through a lot. I took a course on beekeeping at the community college that Spring and purchased a startup hive. They did well but ultimately did not make it through that winter.
So I tried again, this time armed with a little more knowledge. My friend Melissa who also has bees and I would trade and help each other with our hives to make it less overwhelming. Last winter was the first time my hive survived and in the summer I was very fortunate to finally taste their honey. It was the most delicious honey I had ever tasted because it came from my very own yard!
Every time I need to go work my bees I am overwhelmed. I still feel like I only know a small percent of all there is to know. I don’t do everything perfectly but I try to remind myself I am learning. I have been stung countless times.I have struggled a great deal with trying to be as natural as possible while also managing serious threats to the bees like the deadly varroa mite. I have lost many hives over the years and only harvested honey once.
So why keep doing it you might be wondering...
What I get from the bees in return for all the work and stress is priceless. They are a constant reminder of the oneness of us all. They are all working together for the collective. Each bee selflessly works itself essentially to death for the benefit of the hive. They do their duty to ensure the safety and needs of the next generation are met. How can we be more like bees, working as a whole for the benefit of those to follow? We may never be able to see the whole picture of what we are doing here on Earth, but the bees have taught me to trust that it is part of something bigger than us.
Beyond that, they are beautiful funny little creatures and they smell amazing! I love watching them fly in and out of the hive, and in the warm months seeing their little leg baskets filled with pollen. I love watching new bees chew their way out of their capped cells where they have turned from larvae to bee. I love seeing the white glistening half moon of larvae before they become capped. I love hearing the buzz of a full hive in summer. I love feeling the weight of a heavy frame full of capped honey, knowing they will have enough food to sustain them. I love seeing my yard full of bees on early spring days when most other insects haven’t returned yet. I love watching them pollinate things I have planted. I love the friendships and connections they have brought me.
So I will carry on and try and care for my bees as best I can, but also give myself a break when I can’t do it all. And I will continue to try to work, and live my life like a bee, focused on those yet to come and what we can leave behind for them to thrive.
It has been a struggle for me over the years to love and accept my body the way it is. But I realized soon after recovering from an eating disorder, alcoholism and depression at a young age that self love and self acceptance was a matter of life and death for me. If I wanted to have a happy and free life, then self care was something that I had to work hard to prioritize. So I found yoga, massage, walking every day, feeding myself well, growing my own food, fermenting food, baking and ultimately herbs to nourish myself deeply. I put self care as a priority in my life because I truly believe it makes everything else in my life easier. Through this daily practice of self care I have come to love and accept my body.
One of the main ways I use herbs is as a way to show deep love and care to my body. Herbs can help support me through all the ups and downs of life; changes of season, illness and emotions. They help boost me up when I am dragging and slow me down when I am rushing. They help connect me back to nature which is what we all really are.
The products I make for the CSA are all designed to help you love and care for your body. If self love and self care are things you want to prioritize but don’t know where to begin then receiving monthly handcrafted herbal products is a great place to start. Some products you might receive are calendula infused body oil for deeply nourishing your skin, flower bath herbs to make you feel like a goddess/god in the tub, a calming tea blend with chamomile, rose petals and holy basil, milky oats for when your nervous system is fried, elderberry syrup to help you through the onset of a cold or an herb and mushrooms mix to help you make super charged broth.
All of the products are filled with love from our hearts to yours. From the planting of the seed, to the harvesting of the herbs to the crafting of products, each step is taken with great care and intention. We want to help you grow deeper in self love by connecting you to plants and their medicine. Plants are our allies here on Earth and they help us to connect with the deep love the Earth holds for all her creatures.
I hope you will consider taking yourself on this journey of self care!