Arts & Life

Spill the Beans: The birds and the bees

When I moved to the farm after 13 years of living in the city, my grandmother suggested I start small. You know, small garden, only a few chickens, don’t bite off more than you can chew…I didn’t really listen. Maybe I should have. But now, almost three years into my prairie farm life, I think it might be too late to heed her wise advice…

Spill the beans is a weekly column chronicling my attempts at a self-sufficient life on this small prairie farm.


As you may remember, a few weeks ago I wrote one sentence about bees. As in, “we just got bees, so stay tuned” … or something like that.

So, we did get bees. And they have been VERY busy. And I have learned so much but still have so many questions. I know that you all probably know that bees live in exceptionally organized communities, each bee with their very specific job, from protecting the hive to collecting food, to birthing baby bees to taking care of the bee dead. I’ve only read about one quarter of the riveting, spiral-bound tome, “Beekeeping in Western Canada,” and I can’t believe everything I’ve learned. If you’re interested in bees, I highly suggest chatting with a beekeeper. Seriously, most of the ones I know are a little on the quirky side am I lumping myself into this group? Only time will tell but they know of what they speak. Seriously. And it is fascinating.

Today, I did a bit of bee-hunting in the yard to see where the little buzzers were hanging out. This is where I found them: in the catmint. It has been constantly buzzing with bees since it started blooming several weeks ago.

Catmint 2
If you look at this picture closely, you can actually see two bumblebees. Photo credit: Jamie Dyck

The raspberry bushes just started blooming. The flowers are so nondescript that the blooms are easy to miss. For humans, I mean…

Raspberry bush
Photo credit: Jamie Dyck

And, of course, in the roses…

Photo credit: Jamie Dyck

In this picture, you can actually see the bees in the poppies.

Photo credit: Jamie Dyck

And then something lovely and completely surprising in the lilacs…

Photo credit: Jamie Dyck

And after seeing a Monarch, I called it a day because I knew the bee-hunting couldn’t get any better than that!