Christmas Day 2015 marks the sixth anniversary of Honey Bee Suite. I don’t know how I feel about that. In some ways it seems like I’ve been writing posts for decades, and in other ways it seems like I just started. Then too, on some days I have endless ideas, and on other days the well seems dry. Writers are known to be moody, so I’ll just blame it on what? Hormones?
Regardless of the daily ebb and flow, Christmas, the winter solstice, and year-end always remind me of the good things. Of all the things to be grateful for, my readers are right up there—and having more than 2.2 million page views this calendar year requires a lot of grateful.
My readers make it happen
I can never say enough about all the help and support that comes from this vast sea of people, nearly all of whom I’ve never met. Most of the ideas for posts come from readers. In addition, I routinely receive photographs, stories, how-tos, suggestions, links, recommendations, and even some guest posts. Then there are those who send hard goods—things to try or experiment with. This year I received books, equipment, tools, jewelry, and even a box of syringes.
On top of that are the people who have donated money to keep the site going. As the site gets bigger and more complex, the expenses rise. I use the donations to pay for hosting, security, software, registrations, upgrades, internet services, and problem-solving. Every donation, no matter how small or how large, gets plowed back into the site in some way, so everyone who benefits from this site owes the donors a much-deserved thank you.
Bumps in the road
As with any large endeavor, some problems seem only to get worse. This week, for example, my photo organizer kept locking up. Every time I tried to open it, I had to close and restart. I assumed I had about 14,000 photos in there, but when I actually checked, it turns out to be 29,012! And that’s after mercilessly deleting while they’re still in the camera.
Lots of you say you like my photos, but the ones you see are the carefully edited cream of the crop. Of the 29,012 that are mucking up my computer, I would guess 28,000 are out-of-focus bee shots—in other words, 2.8 x 104 fuzzy bees. I can’t decide what to do but hate the thought of deleting something good.
Aside from photos, the most persistent problem is finding time to answer questions. I do pretty well in stretches, but once I start to get behind, things go down hill in a hurry. I want to help everyone who asks, and I feel terrible when I can’t keep up.
The year to come
In spite of a few hitches here and there, I’m looking forward to the next bee season. I have some ongoing try-its lined up, including using honey supers with access holes and platforms (Anthony Planakis), experimenting with double-queen hives (Bill Hesbach), and learning from the Broodminder (Richard Morris). In addition, I recently agreed to be a contributor to the experimental Apis Information Resource Center being developed by Malcolm Sanford. Lastly, I continue to be mesmerized by native and wild bees throughout North America and hope to keep publishing portraits and CVs of the ones I encounter.
My most attentive reader
The most important thank-you of all goes to my husband, Rich. He puts up with scads of bee-related nonsense from me. He helps me lift things, build things, move things, and re-think things. He’s the first to yell “Typo!” and the first to find leaps in logic, especially concerning things mechanical. He puts up with my moods when everything is awry, the web is down, the hackers attack, or my site becomes unreachable. He listens to me complain while I read a question as long as a novel, or ignores me completely when I’m having a hissy fit. In short, I couldn’t do this without him.
A bee is a small thing
To all of you out there I wish the best of the season, I wish you good health and happiness in the coming year, but most of all, I urge you to find comfort in the small things.
Honey Bee Suite