I am sitting at my desk eating “project food.” The red spatters on my computer look like blood, although they’re merely the crimson juice of a pomegranate. I can’t figure out how to peel a pomegranate without painting a crime scene. But no matter, I only do it at Christmas.
Did you know that bees are used to enhance pomegranate pollination? Pomegranate plants are self-pollinating, meaning that bees are not essential to get fruit. But the cross pollination carried out by bees enhances production, increasing both the size and number of fruits. Honey bees and a variety of wild species participate in pomegranate pollination.
Honey Bee Suite’s eighth birthday
As my regular readers know, Christmas Day also marks the anniversary of Honey Bee Suite. I celebrate this birthday because I can’t believe I’m still writing posts after all these years. When I began, it seemed like a fun thing to do for a while. But this is crazy. I exhausted everything I know years ago.
This year, instead of just recounting the past and adding another candle to my website, I asked a few readers what I should write about today. The overwhelming answer was, “something personal.” Huh? I don’t do personal very well.
Reviewing the past
This past year has been good for both me and the website. Honey Bee Suite continues to grow and received over 2.6 million hits since January. That is all due to you, of course. I can write it but I need you to read it. I continue to get most of my ideas from you, from questions and comments and tidbits you send my way. Most days I have no idea what to write until an idea just lands in my inbox like magic. Very cool and much appreciated!
On the downside, I continue to be frustrated about my lack of time to write about wild and native bees—my true passion. I sometimes think I’m going to segue out of honey bees and write about native bees exclusively. But each time I think like that, fate intervenes and steers me back to honey bees. Oh well, they’re cute too.
However, I did have one shining native bee moment this year. Kirsten Traynor, the former editor of Bee World magazine, published an essay I wrote about native bees along with 14 of my photographs. The publication of “Bestowing a Name on the Beautiful Unknown” was a highlight of my year, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share my love of the also-rans.
What’s next is up to you
I’m not sure where this is all going in the coming year. My notebook of post ideas is ever-expanding, containing hundreds. I try to keep the posts timely, but with large readerships in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa, it’s impossible to get it right for everyone. But I do my best.
I also have plans for changing the entire layout of the site, but they are the same plans I had last year. The day-to-day stuff is so time consuming that I don’t have time for the infrastructure. But I keep thinking about it anyway.
What I would like to hear, however, are thoughts you may have. What do you like? What do you dislike? How can the site be improved? What would you like to read about? Ideas are synergistic, so yours inspire me to come up with my own.
As I’ve said before, I love the group we have here. I like the exchange of ideas, and the give and take. I love that I recognize so many names. I love that readers compliment and thank each other for tips and ideas. It seems like we are all working together to become better beekeepers.
Okay, now some personal stuff…
So, to wrap up, here’s some (marginally) personal news.
Our new car is a 1926 Model T Ford. This car has been in my husband’s family for 67 years and, as of this summer, Rich became the new caretaker. I haven’t learned to drive it yet, but I have learned how to tow it out of a ditch using a rope and a pickup. This, it seems, is a valuable skill.
Yesterday Rich gave me my own key! But honestly, folks, the brake is where the accelerator pedal belongs, the reverse pedal is where the brake should be, and the so-called clutch is in the right place but does the wrong things.
A fully depressed clutch pedal is low gear, half-depressed (which also describes me thinking of it) is neutral, and fully released is high gear. Oh, did I mention the accelerator is on the steering column? And in case you get bored, you can adjust the carburetor and spark advance as you drive? As if.
Many beekeepers have signs on their property. Usually they say things like “Bee Crossing,” “Beekeeper Parking”, or “Pollinators Only.” But how many beekeepers have signs that announce tick habitat? This strange addition to our property was recently given to us by a friend. After living in the same house for 23 years and never once seeing a tick, Rich got bitten twice in November, two weeks apart. An invasion of ticks is not good news, but I do love the sign.
Other readers have asked about where I live, so I decided to include a photo of our town center where you will find a post office in a ramshackle trailer, a tiny Methodist church with one stained-glass window, a Chevron mini-mart, and a saloon. On a trip to the post office last month, Rich stopped to take a photo of the sign in front of the church. It tells you everything you need to know about life in my little community.
A bee is a small thing
So that’s about it for another year. Once again, I thank Rich for putting up with my many messy projects. I thank my readers for their thoughtful comments and suggestions. I thank my financial supporters for their generous donations of materials and money.
I extend Christmas and other holiday wishes to all. But most important, remember these two things: Find the time to laugh and always take comfort in the small things.
Peace on Earth,
Honey Bee Suite