"Just Bee"

It's truly reassuring to observe how bees are perpetually in motion, showcasing impeccable time management and organisational skills. I am thinking  of how bees know exactly what time of day, depending on the suns angle where the  flora nectar flow is.

This past August, I downsized my home at the end of the swarming season, stowing away boxes filled with possessions I now question the necessity of. I am reminded of the wax honeycomb that bees construct, offering the most efficient storage solution. Each cell serves as either a birthing chamber or a larder for honey and pollen.

This year, my focus shifted from hands-on beekeeping to enhancing bee habitat. I experimented with 'shungite,' a meteorite substance renowned for its ability to counteract artificial magnetic fields. This intervention aids bees in their navigation, as they rely on the sun's magnetic field. Artificial fields from 3-5G technologies can disrupt this crucial skill.

In February, I renovated our tree hive, which had fallen victim to squirrel attacks. Using local chestnut poles from Powdermills Woods, we transformed it into a Rocket hive, both inside and out coated with shungite. Admittedly, it initially resembled a bin on stilts, but with the addition of a 'Haeckel' straw-thatched hat, it now exudes an enchanting, whimsical allure. Although swarming bees did not naturally gravitate to it, the challenge of having the hive on stilts makes the baiting process with bee scents—propolis, lemongrass, and starter comb—a bit more intricate.

Reflecting on my own traits in relation to the lessons from bees, I aim to cultivate creative indifference towards expectations.

National hives, the square boxes introduced two centuries ago for honey management, have their merits for beekeepers and  honey production. While it's no longer my preferred beekeeping style, I do respect its value with Bee Keepers who put the bee’s welfare before honey production. It's also the method I learnt so am keen also that children have an awareness of the different types of hives that exist. We now have Nationals, the Golden hive and the Rocket hive at the woodland wellbeing apiary.

We welcomed another national hive beekeeper, Dr. Paul, to our educational apiary. Retired from general practice, he passionately tends to his colonies, aligning with our therapeutic and educational bee work. Here's what Paul has to share:

"I love the time that I have with my bees in the Wood apiary, as there is a quietness, a serenity inherent in their setting, something I feel almost immediately on passing through those gates and into the tranquility of woodland. I suppose it helps that there are only 5 hives in this apiary, so I can enjoy a little more time with the bees, often just crouching by the side of the hive observing them, but sometimes, just admiring them in their gorgeous setting in a clearing of the woods, listening to the wonderful whirring of several hundred in the air as they follow one another like plants taking off consecutively.

For some years I have not been chemically treating my bees in my quest to become more ethical but realise it is not a black and white decision. Every year I experience the death of the colony in the winter. Then a new swarm appears in spring and my heart is uplifted. This year I did not treat the bees as usual with the hope they may pull through in the natural hive. I was however conflicted as I knew Paul was treating his bees for the destructive mite ‘varroa’. I treat myself with natural medicinal alternatives but will take antibiotics in a life/death situation. As I did with pneumonia some years back.   In late September of this year I decided to give the newly arrived 2023 golden hive swarm the thymol based varroa treatment. So watching this space I will see if they pull through next February."

Among my most cherished memories this year, I've found solace by the golden hive, watching bees under the dappled sunshine, surrounded by dwarf oaks and hedgerows, alongside young enthusiasts. In these moments, WE SIMPLY BEE in awe and wonder, experiencing mindfulness, connection, and sweetness.

This summer I shared the ‘ I BEE audio visual’ piece with the organisers of WE OUT HERE music festival in Dorset. They are keen to incorporate creative workshops and as their new site also has an apiary loved the idea of me working at the children’s area running my Honey Bee role-play too. This worked really well and was a lot of fun. Next year my hope is to incorporate a live audiovisual performance and perhaps ask if the ‘BEE ONE’ symphony were able to be involved too.

As a creative, my mission is to spread Bee Love, encompassing educational therapeutic work with children, artistic endeavors, and, of course, Bee Potions. To maintain sustainability, I've reduced costs, production, and effort, emphasizing the precious connection between the ingredients and the preciousness of our lives.

The core Bee Potion skincare range is available in limited quantities until December 10th, and I thank you for your support when purchasing from our website. When you apply the potion, take a moment to reconnect with your natural self.

Please feel free to reach out and share any bee-inspired stories.

Bee Well,

Katharine and the bees.

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