About a Dude with a thing for Bees

If you’ve ever seen the movie,  “The Big Lebowski” then you know of The Dude.
I’m not The Dude, but I do think he’s pretty cool and has his own way of pulling things together.

There are more than a few aspects of The Dude I could hope to emulate, if for no other reason than they are so opposite to my own character. Concepts of modern Zen may well have a place in my life. Maybe, balance things out a bit.

Portrayed by Jeff Bridges, ‘The Dude’ has been recognized by some in the community as a ‘Zen Master’. Not too surprisingly a lot of who The Dude is came directly from Mr. Bridges. You can read more about that elswhere. But, that’s not what this place is about.

30 years ago, I left beekeeping. Well, I really left home. School wasn’t good, no job – no money. Kinda pointless if you know what I mean. So I essentially abandoned my few hives and ran away to ‘join the circus’. Thankfully I had family that stepped in and picked up those hives for me. No, not exactly my proudest moment. But, that was me.

What circus you ask? A touring repertory theater company. It also happened to be a non-affiliated, inter-denominational Christian ministry. ‘Non-affiliated’ means we weren’t part of any particular church. “Inter-denomination” means we weren’t all that picky about who we worked with. “Christian ministry” essentially meant we were trying to help others do good according to their needs. Best part was I had a purpose, a goal and some structure around me. Kept me off the streets, out of jail (likely) – all by changing what little plan I had for my life – thankfully!

What a trip that was, man! Traveling the US and much of Western Europe for about 8 years with folks I’d not yet met, never a home, living out of a van, carrying everything I had in a suitcase or two, visiting a different a town along the way every week. I not only had many unique experiences but met the lady who was to become my wife. When it was time to leave that trip and rejoin ‘the world’, we came back to Wyoming. Only place I figured I could pick up and make a go of things.

Things had changed – I’ve changed – the world changed – most a good deal. Over all, it’s an opportunity.

We got a start and we’ve had a reasonable struggle to make a home, raise our son and continue on our path to become who it is we were created to be. Now that our son is off and in college, it seems the current phase may be – or is at least related to – ‘new recollections’ or reliving memories, differently. But, instead of looking at snapshots, reminiscing and reliving fading memories, We’re hoping to build new experiences and new memories. Maybe with a few new old things. Hey, like honeybees.

So, as well as in trying to correct a past wrong of ‘abandonment’, I hope to be come a ‘bee master’ – long way to go. We’ll see if I have it in me. As such, I’ve labeled that future achievement of ‘mastery’ of things bee – The Bee Dude. But, more than likely, the Dude of Bees will come out long before I can make any such arrogant claims of mastery. The Dude abides.

Apiology has changed a bit in the past 30 years. New problems (pests, diseases), new laws (what’s up with that, man?) and new techniques.  But not so much new technology. Even what little ‘new tech’ has appeared seems mostly gimmick or solution looking for a problem to solve. Still, it’s not the same game I remember. Could be my memories. Since I now make my living with technology (I’m an IT geek to pay the bills), thought it’d be kinda cool to use those resources to sorta “re-do” one of the old things I dropped back when. Maybe make some things better along the way. With my wife at my side – and in some ways leading – we’re going into this together. That alone is worth it. Whatever else may or may not happen.

So, we’ve lots of wooden ware, foundation and tools collected. We started our adventure at the 2015 Wyoming Bee College. Since then, new package bees have arrived and nucleus colonies installed. To say we’re diving in with both feet wouldn’t be too far off. Spring 2015 we had 4 colonies to start with. 2 Carniolans and 2 Russians. That grew to 8 with swarm captures and finally diminished to 3 for our first winter.

So, follow along, see what happens. Maybe learn a thing or two or maybe see something familiar from a different perspective. Whatever, man – I just hope you’ll share some along the way as well. Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em!

Don’t forget to bowl a few lines now and then, either.

One comment on “About a Dude with a thing for Bees

  1. A Dude says:

    We went into winter 2016-17 with 9 hives. Down from 10 in September. More swarms caught than last year. I think we only kept 2 this time. We’re growing!

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