For the past short while I’ve enjoyed meeting some beekeeping friends each month. We have a two-hour coffee and try to figure out how we can fix the world. Well, actually, we get together to talk about building stuff and about beekeeping. I look forward to these rambling discussions. I don’t get out enough – too often, I stay home and talk to myself. I am a good audience for myself, but tend to be a bit weak on objectivity while talking to the wall. The two guys I’ve been meeting up with are able to pull my chain back to earth and help me examine my thoughts a little more rationally. So here is my suggestion to you for the day: find a group or two to regularly bounce ideas off. It is worth a lot. If you are stuck in a box of your own making, the only way out is through the help of friends. I originally met these guys at the local bee club, and you should be able to encounter some idea-bouncers of your own in a similar venue. Meetings are great for mixing and learning, but a two-hour coffee with just a couple of friends creates opportunities you don’t get at structured formal bee meetings.
We didn’t solve any of the world’s worst problems, the planet is too messed up for even us to fix in a single day. So instead we talked about the drippy hippy honey-tap hive (Sorry, we voted it down on mechanical and ethical grounds.) and we talked about how package bees are installed and how to best prepare hives for winter. (I know, it’s spring here, but you can never start planning too early for a Canadian winter.) Over the three cups of coffee and two hours of chatting, I was reminded that there are a lot of really interesting beekeeping ideas out there. And those ideas usually need adapted to fit our climate and geography. That’s another way that gabbing with beekeeping friends can help. They often have faced the same stubborn location-specific issues as you and they can offer suggestions or commiserate with your struggles. So, I urge you to find your own mini-group to discuss your bee issues. If you do, I hope you can find as great a meeting place as we had today – our coffee shop was in Bragg Creek, in the foothills of the Rockies. My buddies live near there. For me, it was just a 50 kilometre drive west of my city, through rolling farmland then up into the alpine forest. The Rockies were gorgeous with glistening late spring snow while the air was fresh and warm. Made me happy to talk bees, even if we ended our session with some of the world’s problems unresolved.