Friday, July 17, 2009

Grandpa Beekeeper’s New Apprentices

Hubby had thought he would take Jackson out to one of our beeyards as his helper. Usually, we like to wait until the kids are seven years old until they accompany Grandpa Beekeeper. The first reason being that even though we buy the smallest child size bee suit, it is really too large for the children. Secondly, hubby likes to wait until the children can concentrate long enough to stay for awhile as it is a bother to dress and undress to bring the kids back and forth if they get tired in the first 10 minutes. Then also, he likes to make sure that they are old enough not to “freak out” when bees land on their suits.

However, Lilly would have nothing of not going with her big brother and Grandpa so we drove two cars and I went along as photographer. We put a pair of Grandpa’s thick socks on her little legs, taped her shorts around those same little legs and put on one of Grandpa’s jackets. She was satisfied and we decided that she would be adequately protected.

The bees were particularly docile on Saturday—not at all in a defensive or feisty mood. I did not even need to don a suit to be the photographer.

Grandpa fired up two smokers so both of the kiddos could calm the (already calm) bees.

Earlier, at home, Lilly and Jackson had identified a queen bee and nurse bees and carried them safely in a little cage all over the house.

They learned some beekeeper terms. The hive tool is the most basic of a beekeepers supplies. Jackson measured and noted the holes distinguishing the deeps from the supers.

They learned about drawn comb, honey, and capping. They compared how light a frame was to hold with little or no honey and how heavy the frame gets when the bees fill it with honey.

They looked for a queen. Grandpa pointed out brood and baby bees.

They were interested and understood why Grandpa uses excluders to keep the queen in the deeps.

Jackson helped assemble a hive, noting where the little ventilation hole is placed.

When after the second hive, I noticed the bees becoming more agitated, I suggested that we go home and go swimming. Both children objected, “Not yet! This is cool!” and “I like helping Grandpa!” We stayed for a few more hive inspections and then I lured the children away with the promise of a McDonald’s milkshake and a swim at the pool.

Later that day as well as the next morning, we enjoyed fresh-from-the-comb honey. It received a thumbs up, “Mmmmm Good!” review from the two world's cutest beekeeping pros.


Mom/Barb said...

Brenda! These grand kids of yours are too cute. I think you and Bob are wonderful grand parents, teaching them such valuable things and doing so many fun things with them! You are truly blessed!! Barb

Wanda said...

Your grandchildren look like little scientists Brenda in their protective managed to create a lot of fun for them...that could be a science project for school one day. :)

Take care

Anonymous said...

I followed a link from a friend's page to your site and I feel so bless that I stumbled upon your beautiful site!
Your grandchildren are adorable. And how fascinating it is to learn about beekeeping!
God bless you!!!

Anonymous said...

This brings back soooo many memories. May I tell you that these moments for these children will last for a lifetime, and I wouldn't trade my beekeeping with my Daddy for anything. I'll be 59 in a few weeks, and I learned so much from working with family...working in the bees....and I say that you are giving them one of the most valuable lessons they will ever learn.... Love and hugs to wonderful grandparents.

Jacquelyn said...

This is just amazing to me...something totally out of my realm! Sad to say my only knowledge of beekeeping is from the novel The Secret Life of Bees! What a learning experience for your grandchildren...your hubby looks like he is having entirely too much fun :) Seriously, I think you could get these pictures and this story into a should look into it!

Nicole said...

they are about the cutest beekeepers ever!

and i'm not just saying that...thanks for sharing the sweet pics!