A few months ago, Walden Publishing printed a beginning beekeeping article which they asked me to write: When to Harvest Honey. It can be found here. Then I was asked to produce a more general piece on beekeeping, which is now in their monthly, subscription-based e-journal, Independence Monthly. I’ll probably prepare a few more articles in this series. If you are a new beekeeper, you will find these pieces useful. If you are interested in self-sufficiency, living off-grid, or exploring new independent lifestyles, you will find the journal and their free website helpful.
If you are an old hand at beekeeping, you might question some of my advice. That’s OK. There are as many ways to keep bees as there are climates, environments, nectar sources, beehives, and beekeepers in the world. The basics are similar, but in the end, all beekeeping is local. You first learn the basic stuff, then adapt it to the conditions in your own back yard.
But when it comes to dispensing written bee advice, here’s another thing to ponder: how does one distill essential facts into a few hundred well-chosen words? The Walden editors were kind enough to offer suggestions. But it was still a tough task. If a stranger phoned you and asked, “What should I do to become a beekeeper?” could you answer in under three minutes? If I were actually asked in that way, my advice would be “Meet up with a good, established beekeeper in your area.” Then I’d have to explain the difference between a good beekeeper and a messed-up one. I’d also have to give some ideas on how to find and then approach that potential good beekeeper/mentor. But really, I’m just deflecting the answer, aren’t I? Basically, I’m saying, “Let someone else show you.”
In my Walden piece, I give lots of basic advice. I also mention the importance of a mentor. Here’s the story lead, as it appears in Walden’s Independence newsletter:
Most readers of this blog are experienced beekeepers. You probably have your own answers for newbee/wannabees, but if you take a look at one of my pieces over at Walden, you can see how I handled the question. It’s not easy. But trying to explain some aspect of beekeeping to a beginner is a good, disciplined way to consider your own beekeeping habits. By thinking about what you need to tell a new beekeeper, you engage in a bit of self-examination.
If you are an independent spirit (and most beekeepers do), there is a lot of advice about non-bee subjects which you will enjoy from Walden Publishing. Recent pieces include home brewing, increasing health and well-being, protecting your internet privacy, selecting a proper dairy cow, and producing enough eggs from back yard chickens. That’s a pretty good variety. Check it out, read my piece, and tell me what you think about it.