Tuesday, June 23, 2009

That new hobby I was talking about.

I know the exact moment when the germ of this new hobby of mine was planted in my pea brain.

I was shuttling into the city on BART about a decade ago, listening to some piece on NPR about an area in the south somewhere where they were recruiting people to become beekeepers.

"Learn how to keep bees! Help raise pollinators for local crops! Wear a hazmat looking outfit and freak out your neighbors!", they'd cried.

OK, so nothing about the hazmat suit specifically, but that did come to mind at the time, mostly because we had neighbors whose trash sort of required the wearing of a hazmat suit and I think I fantasized about the efficiency of having one on hand.

But the story was interesting and they had some colorful folks sharing their stories of interacting with bees in a keeping scenario and it was cool to hear about how local farmers would call them out to their fields with their boxes of bees to help pollinate their crops.

Neato. And, hey! I'm not even afraid of bees - so, no scary factor.

At the time though, that's about as far as my brain went with this faraway story of bees in boxes and people in hats with veils. And then it sat, this story, in the back of my mind gathering strength until a few months ago when I saw a post on the Love Apple Farm blog for a beekeeping class.

I am not even lying when I say that I signed up as soon as I read the post. In fact, I may not have even read the whole post. I think I just saw, "Class: Natural Bee-keeping" and scrolled down until I found a place to sign up. I thought I might have been the first to sign up, but I heard Cynthia say something to the effect of "Oh! You were our first sign up!" when checking in this First Signer Upper as I was wondering their gardens last weekend, so boo.

Thankfully I had these poppies to ogle, so I wasn't that sad.

She did, however, remember my name, but that could have been for any number of reasons that I assume had nothing to do with a thorough background check.


Let it never be said that I'm anything other than a self-involved child, obsessed with seeking the approval and recognition of those around me, OK.

So yeah, I took a beekeeping class. With the intention of keeping bees sometime in the near future. Of course, I come to find out in this class that starting a hive is something you do in the spring rather than in the dead heat of summer, but that's OK, I'll just have to do a shitload of research and ordering and perhaps helping of local beekeepers before I start a hive of my own and also stocking our house with EpiPens because you know that Bubba is allergic to bees.

Bless this man, he has always supported this idea of mine. To be a beekeeper. Granted, I've never said anything about doing it on any grand scale or making it my livelihood or tearing down his garage to set up rows of hives, but even from my way back days of sharing our "What if" jobs, he always said it was cool! you should do it.

He wasn't as wild about my desire to raise goats to rent out to people with grassy fire-loving fields, but that's because he hates goats more than he hates dying of anaphylactic shock, so nothing against me or my bizarre "What if" jobs, specifically, since he would have had the same reaction to me wanting to raise turkeys - another creature he hates at least as much as goats.

Maybe I should tell him I want a potbellied pig.

I have not entertained the idea of chickens, although I hear that's becoming a popular hobby as well. But I visited the chickens at Love Apple Farms - even bought some of their fabulous eggs - but I'm not having that brand of stinky in my yard and plus Jada would probably do in my flock before I got Egg 1. Plus, I am not really an egg person and Bubba would kill the Rooster the second he crowed before 6am, so meh.


Those little white dots are bees going back to the hive. Like you couldn't have figured that out.

And the class was very well done, even to the point where I got to stand on the approach path to the hives and let the bees just land all over me while our instructor moved frames around in the hives with her bare hands.

Plus, I got to roam all around Love Apple Farms, which is glorious and interesting in its own right, and which made the event even more supah perfect. I basically dorked out on a lot of levels and took pictures of a lot of vegetables without anyone thinking (out loud anyway) what a freak I was because they were doing it, too.

Ah, the joy of being around people who are dorky in the same way that you are dorky - it's liberating really. Like not having to suck it in at a wedding because you decided to wear a maxi dress instead of that tight strapless thing so YAY you can eat dinner and then not look like you swallowed a watermelon.

This photo has nothing to do with looking like a whale at a wedding, but isn't it nice just the same?

So, now you know my "I'm taking up yet another new hobby" news and I can go back to weaving in the ends of Bubba's sweater.

Because it's done.

But we'll talk about that tomorrow or something.


  1. FYI, you don't have to have a rooster to keep laying hens. Hens will happily lay without one.

    Although if your free-range no-rooster hens manage to corner a fledgeling small brown bird about the size of a chick, it may give you partial heart failure while you contemplate Avian Immaculate Conception. When it escapes from the motherly hens and flies clumsily away, you may die of laughter.

    Also if one of your hens turns out not right in the head and thinks she IS a rooster despite laying eggs, it's not a lot of relief to know that you don't need to have an actual rooster around anyway. At least hens-who-think-they're-roosters don't crow, even if they try to spur (with nonexistent spurs).

  2. You know, I HAVE heard that pot-bellied pigs make really good pets...

  3. Miss Finny, I do believe you're a farmer at heart. We had bees once. They were really fun until half of them swarmed and left the hive. The other half met their fate when the pest control man behind us decided to fog for mosquitos. So sad -- we never tried again.

  4. My mom's friend had a potbellied pig. It followed her around like a puppy and it was adorable. Therefore, I advocate getting one.

    As for the beekeeping: That is so totally awesome.

    The word 'hives' was in my captcha. It's a sign!

  5. Bees. I mean, bees? Really? Bees. Like buzz...you know, bees. Bees. Bees? Now I'm just typing the word because it's fun. Bees.

    Word verification: knopkhe. "Finny wants to keep bees. She's a little knopkhe, that way."

  6. I'm jealous you got to visit the farm. It looks so pretty and well-kept on their site.

    Also, A. just saw a pot-bellied pig in a little purse-dog carrier at some restaurant, and came home announcing he wanted to get one. I said no. Because I'm not as nice as Bubba and I like to crush his dreams.

  7. This is definitely one of my potential hobbies. (Is it weird that I have potential hobbies? Like I sure as shit don't have time to start anything new like right now, so I have to think about it for awhile and plan it all out, and then I just do whatever I feel like at the time anyway.) So I am very excited for your bee-keeping adventures.

    Also, you can tell Bubba that I hate turkeys too. I was actually attacked by one once. True story. Maybe I'll tell it one day.

  8. oh I was waiting and hoping for this post! so so cool. Can't wait to hear how it unfolds. It is al quite mysterious to me. My Andy says no way to bees. But he also didn't want a second cat or a dog when we got one or chickens and now he adores all of them so ha.

    And, I have to defend my hens. They don't stink. And I am totally not just saying that. I am not a consistent coop cleaner-outter and still no stink. But most of their poo is where it best benefits the world anyway--in the yard. It dries out and decomposes in a hot second so no scooping it either.

    So, I am totally not being ridiculous and annoying and saying you must keep chickens but you would look adorable with a hen on your hip...

  9. Galadriel - Really? I did not know this. I do not know much about chickens, clearly, but this is an interesting fact. I will have to re-broach this subject with Bubba again. My getting chickens could be all your fault.

    Mujercita - I have heard the same. Fortunately, our house isn't large enough to accommodate another remote control, much less a pig that weighs more than the dog.

    Anna - Someone fogged and didn't tell you?? Did they know you had bees?? I will have to talk to the surrounding neighbors about this, although I don't think anyone fogs for insects around here. That's so sad!! And thank you for the best compliment ever - maybe I *AM* a farmer at heart!

    Yellowpansy - Yeah - I've heard good things about them, too. I just don't see how I can make the argument against getting another dog because we don't have space and then get a pig instead. Not cool, man.

    Kris - That poor man - all he has are sheep and rams and dogs and cats and a huge farm and beach and and and...I don't blame you.

    Wendy - That's why he hates them. He got mauled by them repeatedly as he tried to clean their coop. He says their stupid as shit and mean. I can see that. I'm sorry you, too, were traumatized by the menace that are stupid turkeys.

    Dig - Ok, you had me at "they don't stink" but then you reminded me that I'd have to clean the coop, which is a lot like cleaning a litter box - a chore that I LOATHE. So, sadly, as much as I want to hold a chicken on my hip, I may have to pass. Plus, we're running out of room back there.

  10. Chickens certainly do get to stinking if they're confined, though. We locked ours away from night-time predators, and that cage needed to be cleaned very frequently. The chickens spent most of their daytimes roaming the horse pastures, but if they ever spent much time in the barn, we did need to clean it out too.

    If it hadn't been for the aggressive hormonally confused hen, we'd still have them; overall, the chicken-keeping hassle was minor. Of course, I'm comparing keeping chickens to keeping horses when calling the chicken-maintenance minor, so YMMV.

    Hey, Finny, I saw this today and thought of you:

  11. Very cool and yet, I am among those with the epi pens.

  12. And because I'm a dorky librarian, I'll tell you that this is national pollinator's week! So look at you with the timely post!

  13. Awesome. I say go for it.

    My friend and I buy some awesome local honey that we can't get enough of. She has even thought about doing it herself. Hmmmm ... I guess I'll have to see how busy I am with six kids and eleven hens first. :-)

  14. Finny,
    I've been lurking and laughing my ass off for quite some time, but had to write in and say yay for bees! We have 3 hives, and we (and our gardens) love them.
    Tell Bubba not to worry; I keep an epipen in my pocket when I'm tending the bees and it's never been a problem. Well, except for the one sting that let me know I need the pen, but Benadryl is my friend now and I'll never give up the bees!

  15. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.