And if man cannot learn from his mistakes here in the USA, at least the good people of Europe don't continue the damage unchecked.
The end of the year says goodbye to the past with anticipation of the future. In 1788 a song was added to help us remember the past by a Scottish writer known by some as the Bard of Ayrshire, Robert Burns. (click on the photo to hear the tune) The year 2013 brought our first year here at "Beefield" and new experiences and sights. As we became familiar with our surroundings and new neighbors, new beekeepers became familiar with us as we began offering honeybee rescue and relocation to the surrounding five counties. This service was added to those which we offer in 2013 and gave us some new natural neighbors as well. It seems that not all honeybees want to be "rescued" and put into a box. (Langstroth hive box) It would seem that in at least two instances bees have added new homes to our landscape and serve now as educational sights. Our first discovery was made in late August when bees we rescued from third story university student accommodations left their new home on the ground here at Beefield and migrated about three stories up a large oak in the garden. The queen and her bees now reside in a westerly facing knot of the very large oak where we suspect nature has hollowed. Knowing that the opening can not be as big as a Langstroth hive, we know to expect to see new swarms every year from the hole up the tree and with hope and skill we will be able to catch one or two and give them new homes in boxes we can reach.
Our second find came in December when the leaves finally fell from the trees after a couple hard frosts. Again, way up high away from prowling beekeepers the bees created a new home, this time right out in the open. About forty feet up on a stiff branch of a water oak where Ruth spotted this new hive.
In the few short Summer months this supple hive was built and filled with honey stores to protect the bees from the cold of winter. While these bees will have the hardest time getting through until Spring, they will now serve as one more educational discovery for visitors to Beefield. The bees are way up there so once more these beekeepers have no plans of friendlier accommodations and we are pleased to once more have a show and tell feature to our classes on beekeeping.
Beeutiful Bees relocated honeybees from Portal and two location is Statesboro since July and served the folks at the historic Beaver House on South Main with temporary measures to keep bees and painters from clashing two stories up a ladder in one of the Corinthian columns at the Beaver House Inn and Restaurant.
The year 2013 has had a great deal of change for us both. From Effingham to Bulloch, from Springfield to Statesboro we have found that God has given us much this year. Improvements to our 1950 barn have included concrete floors, a new chicken coop, and a remodeled barn kitchen that serves as a classroom and storefront for Beeutiful Bees. Beeutiful Bees even went social the introduction of our Facebook profile and a Pinterest account to share the life of beekeeping in photos with others. We have a great deal to be thankful for and we look forward to sharing with others. In December 2012 Savannah Christian Church, of whom we were members at the Effingham campus, opened a new campus called Compassion Christian Church in Statesboro where it currently meets in rented school space at Mill Creek Elementary School. The church has purchased property on Cawana Rd that sits between the GA 301 bypass and Cawana Road and will begin construction in the last quarter 2014 on the final Compassion campus. In the meanwhile property in downtown Statesboro now tagged "the 401"because of it's location at 401 S. Zitterower Ave. at the intersection of Stillwell just a few blocks from the Georgia Southern campus and a block from the City of Statesboro recreation facilities equipped with a city historic walking trail, an outdoor pool, from 1940, now closed, and playgrounds and ball fields. The new facilities at 401 are now under improvements to serve as the temporary home for Compassion Christian for the next two years while the Cawana Rd campus is under construction. In the long term the campus will serve as an ideal location for Compassion Christian campus ministries.
In October of the year we purchased the 14 foot tandem axle trailer from our friend Bobby Colson over at B & G Honey Farm and with it the beekeeping supplies business which had grown too much for Bobby, Gail and Cindy to manage as their retail honey sales have grown over the past few years. Beekeeping, just like many hobbies, tends to grow requiring more resources and time. We are honored to now be able to continue the legacy Bobby and Gail have created supplying the needs of new beekeepers and the beekeeping clubs in Savannah, Statesboro and Beaufort SC. Ruth will be heading up the retail business and anticipate the needs from month to month so we can have sock on hand for all the supplies local beekeepers will have throughout the year. In 2014 we will be joining participants of the Main Street Statesboro Farmers Market where will will offer educational information and access to beekeeping supplies on Saturday mornings.
During the fall we were honored to help out at the Kiwanis County Fair by working two nights in the newly constructed "bee room" where people could closely watch us handle the honeybees, opening their hive and displaying the hive frames and the working girls of B & G Honey. In October we were also able to participate in Statesboro's first "Green Fest" and at the beginning of Winter we spoke at Georgia Southern University in the health department educating students on the agricultural benefits to the food chain that honeybees provide.
We have made some new friends this year, Thomas and Denise Lariscy from "The Little Chicken Ranch" who also operate vertical grow greenhouse operations to supply fresh produce at the market became friends this Spring when we leased some of our bee for pollination of their tomato crop. After a month they decided to become beekeepers themselves and are now the proud members of the new Ogeechee Area Beekeepers Association and beekeepers of two hives.
So, what does 2014 hold in store for us here? December 2013 records our first official month of operation at the Beefield retail store front and the new year will give us exposure at the bee club meetings as well. Colony Collapse Disorder continues to grow plaguing the world and this loss of over a third of all honeybees has raised awareness and public concern over the plight of our pollinators. It is because of this awareness in communities that the garden or backyard beekeeper numbers will continue to grow and it is our hope that we can lead the way in supplying information and resources for the new beekeeper as well as the seasoned beekeepers. This year Ruth hopes to attend the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute, a program of the University of Georgia college of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, expanding her knowledge of beekeeping giving customers of Beeutiful Bees a learned resource right in the local area.
So as 2013 sails into the annuals of history we look forward to what God has in store for our lives and with our friends at Glory Bee and Beekeepers for Christ we hope to provide support for young Christians away from home for the first time as they attend university. As we celebrate the new year we welcome all beekeepers to look over our web storefront and give us a call so we know just what to bring to the January bee club meetings.
To close I quote from the song about should we forget old times, "And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give me a hand o’ thine ! And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne." And remember we are cautioned about the drink in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 " Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." Be safe this holiday friends, say a prayer for the safety of a loved one too. Until the next time, Bee good."
Mark & Ruth Mettler
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