About a month ago when Travis and I attended our first Bee Meetup, we learned of a really good even that we should attend in order to get ourselves ready to take up beekeeping. It’s called the “BeeKeeper’s School“, and it offers a day filled with classes, seminars, and hands-on learning. To top things off, it’s also really cheap for what you get! Obviously, I signed us up.
Sadly, it turned out that Travis wasn’t able to get the day off to attend the course. However, the ticket was transferable and instead Ginger (mom-in-law) came to school with me.
Now the weather had been beautiful up to then, but on the morning of bee school a cold front came in, and we were not ready for it. It was 10C outside, and so windy! Beekeeping 101 for top bar beehives was held in a covered area, but the building had only one wall – we were pretty much outside and in the elements. Thankfully, Ginger had extra blankets in the car for the dogs, and we wrapped ourselves up in them for the 3 hour class.
We learned all of the basics, and it was incredibly helpful to see in action things that I had only read about before (or only seen being done on the wrong kind of hive). It was also great to be able to ask questions, and to get input from others in the community! By the end of the class I felt really confident about setting up our hive, and Ginger now knew enough to be a great help too.
After the class it was time for a BBQ lunch, for which the sun came out and the wind died down! We got to eat in the grass, letting the sun warm our frozen core.
After lunch, Ginger and I split to attend the classes that interested us the most. I attended: 1) Bee Plants of Central Texas, 2) Beescapes: Choosing Honey Plants for Gardens, Landscapes and Rural Land, and 3) Managing Bees in an Africanized Zone. I also watched a bit of the demonstration on Honey Extracting, and learned how to light a smoker. They were all very informative and helpful!
Lastly, they also had vendors on site, and we actually ended up purchasing one of our instructor’s top bar hive: it was really well made, didn’t have any of the stuff we didn’t want, and was priced fairly. It will also make our upcoming bee installation easier, having learned everything about this specific hive for 3 hours.
We were asked to pin where we were from on a map of the region, and it was fun to see where everyone was from. beekeeping is truly amazing in that it brings everyone together! There were young kids keeping bees and elderly couples, and everyone in between. Professionals and novice. Everyone together, everyone sharing, and everyone humble. I am also excited that bees are bringing our family closer, getting everyone involved in their keeping and well-being.
Ginger and I left at the end of the day excited, well informed, and ready for our bees’ pick up date! We can’t wait to get started.