He is a 50 year old, grey-haired and bearded colleague of mine, whose hobby is beekeeping. Always wearing a beret, he often talks passionately about his leisure activities.
What made me really listen up was when he told me that he always made sure not to expose his bees to pesticides or GMO plants. I ordered some honey from him and it turned out to taste incredibly special, much less sickly sweet than what I was used to. It tasted somehow pure and did not leave my teeth feeling strange. Completely hooked, I asked him if I could pay him a visit.
On the 7th of June I saw the realm of this „Master of the Bees“. It was so very green that the premises seemed very much like a fairy land from out of one of my kids picture books. He offered me a cup of coffee.
Then he showed me one of his beehives situated near his house. But this was only the beginning.
We walked to his other property on the outskirts of the village. A gap in the fence served as the entrance. Seemingly without the need to draw breath, this beemaster talked about how he had built all of this without any outside help, without any loans, just based on his common sense. And there was a lot to see:
A wooden stable, which he had built himself. All around it, buckets, scythes and other tools lay haphazardly on the ground. That the only electrical implement seemed to be the infrared heater, helped to create a nostalgic impression. Everything fit into the image of the absent-minded professor. About 25 young geese lived in the stable, which my colleague was in the process of building an extension of.
Also there was an enclosure with a cock and a hen. He promised to give me some eggs but only after the chicks from the current clutch had hatched. He has just started a small scale breeding operation.
But the beemaster does not only produce his own eggs and honey. On his land was also a greenhouse with a variety of plants growing from seeds that he told me he had just thrown in there. Even though it looked like a chaotic wilderness to me, he could identify each and every plant.
He has developed an irrigation system for his greenhouse consisting of a hose going across the roof for warming so the water circulates. When I then saw his apple orchard, I was convinced to be in another country or even on another planet.
All of this had such an immediate impact on me, it was awesome!
At last we encountered four more beehives. Initially, my colleague had built a shelter for them, but they preferred to live in styrofoam transport boxes, which he then painted green. About 100 bees swarmed the area within a radius of 1 m around the boxes. I stood 2 m away, fascinated. Every now and then a bee passed me by. I was not afraid, even though we did not wear protective clothing. And even though the beemaster is allergic to bee stings. I can vividly remember the size and colour of his head from when he had been stung once. Two words: Medicine ball. He explained that these bees are the decendants of the first hive living near his house.
While we kept on walking he told me about another piece of land he owns and how he told the tenants not to use any pesticides on it.
I knew this was a windmill, but I had no idea what he might need it for. He explained that it was supposed to drive a water pump soon.
There was no way I could not be constantly fascinated.
At last the beemaster showed me his own little shelter. In between a chicken ladder, preserving jars and a home-made insect hotel, there were two chairs and a table. He invited me to come around for a cup of tea more often, which I gladly accepted.
Patting me on the shoulder he said his goodbyes and I went home feeling damn fine.
What I want you to take away from this article: We are not alone. There are people who have already started doing what everybody needs to do. Back to the small and simple things! Getting a glimpse of the pristine again. Nature does not need any political parties or financial shares, no pharmaceutical industry, no humans! But we need her and it is time to join the swarm. Everywhere in the World! Unite and give the bees and thus ourselves a chance!