Meet Beeman, mentor extraordinaire.
He has been a beekeeper for over twenty years and lives just down the street from me. I have been observing the hives in his beeyard for many years now without knowing who kept them. Those hives are the ones that inspired me to get into beekeeping for myself. He was randomly assigned to be my mentor in the Master Beekeeper Program, and those same hives became the ones that gave me my first taste of a new obsession. It was in that beeyard where I first heard the crack of a hive being opened followed by THAT SOUND. Life is so strange.
When I started as his student I had no experience. Zero. I was a blank slate. And now I work my bees like he does - I have the bad habit of blowing on my bees to examine a frame; I take ridiculously detailed notes; I feel unprepared unless my bee veil is tied very tightly, so you feel the ropes binding you with every breath.
I like to think he has learned a few things from me as well - like it's not the end of the world if your smoker goes out; that it is just SO MUCH better to work in a hive without gloves; that a little bit of pain makes the honey taste sweeter.
The most important lessons I have learned from him have absolutely nothing to do with bees. But those are the subject of another post entirely.