Bike a Bee's first year came to a close and what a wonderful year it was. There were many challenges with the drought and continually hot weather, but most of the hives made it through fine. There were some losses, though. We lost three hives just at the beginning of winter and combined one small and weak hive with a stronger, healthier hive. Many beekeepers in the area reported similar losses. A combination of many factors are at play here, including insufficient honey stores, stress, and small populations.
This is how agriculture goes all over the world. You win some, you lose some, but every year you go back at it again with all of your energy. That's what Bike a Bee will be doing next year and for many years to come.
Allright BACKERS! Firstly, thank you for your patience. This was my first year as a full-time, self employed crazy person, and it was a lot of work. As of today, all of your postcards, stickers and bee drawings have been sent. The poster is 80% designed and will be hand-printed in late February when our printers get back from their honeymoon! At that time you'll also get your honey. It'll be a lovely little taste of summer during these cold times.
Here's a little video dedicated to those of you who backed at the $100+ levels. I hand-painted each of your requested names onto all of my hives, as you'll see here. You backers will also be receiving photos with location information this evening, as well.
The video was filmed by Christina Stradone and Rosa Gaia Saunders. Music by Ned Gawron.
What's next? Well over the winter the bees stay inside their hives, huddled up for warmth. They eat the honey they worked so hard to collect over the summer and right about now they start gearing up for spring. The queen begins laying and the cycle starts all over again. The beekeeper's duties are minimal in the winter, though I am feeding the hives supplemental sugar-cakes to ensure that they do not run out of food. This summer did not provide much bounty for these first-year hives.
As far as my activities go, I am getting in touch with many more community gardens who are interested in hosting beehives. Hands-on classes are in the works for spring and throughout summer. I'm also working with my dear friend Lauren Gill to become a Non-For-Profit so that I can continue to give beehives for free to community-owned and maintained spaces. This way I will also be able to hold fundraisers with fun partners like local breweries! Free beer for bees? Okay!
Allright! That's it for now. Thanks again for you patience, and please, if you have any questions or comments, send them to me through Kickstarter, or I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org!
With love and warmth,
Jana (+ the bees!)