My start into beekeeping was pretty simple. I was 22 years old, it was May, and I was just putting the finishing touches on my top bar hive. I received a phone call from my friends Mag & Daniel, saying that a bee swarm had landed in a tree in their front yard. Knowing that I was hoping to catch one, they offered me the chance to do so. I eagerly drove over and there it was, in a tree, a collection of bees the size of a basket ball. I climbed up the ladder, cut the branch, and climbed down with the bees in hand. I duct tapped the branch cross ways on a tote, with the ball of bees suspended in the middle. The drive home seemed to take forever. I was so excited, but nervous, as I had to drive so carefully so that I wouldn't knock the ball of bees loose in the car. When I finally made it home, I drove back to where my hive was and placed the bees, branch and all in the hive. That was it, I was a beekeeper!
The bees saved me that summer. I felt broken and lost from my previous job in advertising, and letting go of the career I thought I wanted. The bees slowly healed my heart and soul. Every morning I would check on them. I planted flowers for them, talked to them and even dreamed about them. I fell in love that summer, in love with bees & beekeeping. I felt like I had rediscovered my passion, and it gave everyday a renewed purpose and responsibility.
December 22nd of that year, the bees died. I was utterly destroyed. I sat in the snow beside my dead beehive, heartbroken and cried. I thought it was my fault, and that I had done something wrong which resulted in their death. I couldn't believe that something I had cared for so much died. I felt responsible, and I just didn't understand what I had done wrong.
That incident sparked a drive within me to learn as much as I could over the winter in hopes to try again next spring. The following spring, I picked up some new bees from another bee keeper determined to put what I had learned over the winter to work. The new bees survived the winter just fine. I grew to three hives that year , and then even more the next year. All along the way never forgetting the lessons that those first bees taught me.