I gave my studio a name about three years ago: Rancho Bee Haven.  We were consciously growing bee friendly gardens and of course, our early attempts at veggie cultivation, so: the name. But behind that, I longed to be a beekeeper.  The very idea intimidated the hell out of me, but with the goings on in the bee world, decline and collapse and what not, I started seriously considering taking the plunge. Then a couple of friends started beekeeping…

The plunge is not without considerable confusion, opinion, math (!), and basically learning how a completely different species wants to live vs. being forced to live.  I now refer to the beekeeping community as the 10,000 gurus chanting; there’s much to be gained, but there’s also a lot of noise.

Well, that was then, and this is now. On Saturday, April 19, one day before Earth Day, I got my first box of bees. The plan was to install them later in the day with my partner and six friends and neighbors in attendance. There was, in essence, a great deal of good energy to launch these girls on their way. Plus, they got to listen to Vivaldi and nip sugar syrup all day, so they were in a pleasant mood.

We now have a working, living, buzzing, breathing, flying hive in the garden. And those girls are unbelievably hard workers.  They’ve already started three bars of comb in five days–they have, it appears, grand ambitions. And are they interesting?  Yes.  OMG yes.

I have always been a wee bit (ok, all you who know me: shut up.) mono-maniacal and at long last have found the thing in the world that actually meets my mono-maniacism and raises it several notches: honeybees.  We get along really well.  Below are some pictures, thanks to Sally Shintaffer, photographer extraordinaire.

Milestones reached: Hive installed, Queen released, comb in progress, foraging map in progress and obvious good finds (judging by the pollen being brought back to the hive).

Back to the other fab studio life…I did a sketchbook workshop last week, the first in a while, and it was divine.  There was good, strong, creative energy enough to share, and curiosity in abundance. We made the requisite beautiful mess and then some. It was a wonderful, wonderful way to enter this new phase of my lucky life.