August 19, 2016

Because I like it

I've been a one-woman bottling line again. Well, at least I was until I ran out of bottles. More are due to show up on Saturday, so hopefully I can finish it off and have everything cleaned up by Saturday night. I got 59 pounds the first pull, and will probably get over 40 this time (TBD, of course). And I'm still leaving what should be a good stash for the bees. A pretty great haul!

I love my honey. I enjoy my bees. I think the whole thing, from seeing them grow to figuring out how to meet their needs to deciding when to take the honey so they don't swarm to deciding when enough is enough before winter to extracting and bottling to then feeling sick because I've eaten so much, is just fantastic.

But it's work. And it costs money. And it's so much time. Don't get me wrong - I do thoroughly enjoy it. But that doesn't lessen how tough it is when I'm completely drenched in sweat and not even bothering to swat the bees who are stinging me as I steal their honey because it takes additional effort I cannot expend. It also doesn't mean my back doesn't ache for days after working with them because it's so heavy and physically taxing. And it doesn't mean that burn/itch of the stings aren't felt 4 days later.

Which is why it completely irritates me that people feel I owe them honey. I'm definitely happy to share some with those I know who will appreciate it. Goodness, I have so much of it this year, that it makes the sharing part a lot easier. I just donated some to an auction, and didn't think twice about it. But when people make comments on Facebook or send me texts implying they're waiting for their bottles, or imply I'm stingy because I'm not sharing, I about lose my mind. One irritating person even went as far as to call me lucky and then said that she was jealous. As if I just happened one day to have 100 pounds of honey out of nowhere? (Meanwhile, when I offered to help her get started with her own practice, she quickly turned me down.) And truly, while everyone keeps urging me to, selling it gets me almost nowhere. I certainly don't want to sit at a market. And bottling and shipping it alone would cost $7.80 per bottle - and that doesn't even cover the honey part yet. Not to mention, I think if I tried to make money, I'd lose that love of what makes it so good to me. Because I love that it's pure and beautiful and interesting and, not least important, absolutely delicious.

It's sort of a lesson in the greater things on life, though, I suppose. People so often want what you have, and don't want to think about what it takes to get there. It's just frustrating because it is so much time and effort and money, that when people take it for granted, it lessens the thrill of it all. I'm to the point where I don't feel I can talk freely about it in certain circles because I have to fend off the questions why I'm not giving it away to random acquaintances and what I can possibly do with all that honey.

So yes, I absolutely share if I like you and you take an interest in my bees. No, I don't share if I don't like you or you have no interest in the bees. No, I'm not selling it, except in certain, very select cases. And yes, I really do like my bees and the honey that much.

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