Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Beginnings

At the urging of my partner, I have begun this blog concerning a new journey in my life: beekeeping. When I begin any new endeavor I become a bit passionate about the subject and obsessive in my research. She seems to find this whole process rather fascinating I guess and thought it would be interesting for me to document it through a public blog.

I'm a sociologist by training and have been in this field for over 25 years. I still have a passion for the discipline especially in the areas of the sociology of religion and social movements. What I don't have a passion for is the increasingly McDonaldized environment I have to teach in, where "the appearance of learning" is much more important than actual learning, where the "friendly"suppression of individuality and humaness is done under the pretense of institutional survival. So, I have turned to beekeeping as an outlet for an occasional escape.

I have always been interested in insects. When I was a child in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn, NY, I became quite the amateur entomologist, learning to identify the countless insects I could discover in my small yard or up in Highland Park. I remember one week capturing foraging honey bees by hand in order to examine them more closely. I learned at that time how non-aggressive the species were. (I was stung only once!) This interest continued though admittedly remaining of secondary importance.

My current interest in bees came back to the surface indirectly through the activities of my partner. She is an artist who about a year ago took to painting in the ancient medium of encaustic. Encaustic painters mix various pigments into beewax. These beeswax bars of paint are then melted and used like oil or acrylic paints though with their own peculiar techniques, qualities, and results. Her need for beeswax has put us into contact with a local beekeeper who sells her supply of beeswax His passion for his bees has rekindled mine.

My plan now is to begin a colony next April. I will use this blog to both document my progress and, hopefully, dialogue with other more experienced apiarists. In the next few posts, I will write more details of my plans.

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