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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thinking about Rocks and Bees

I saw a quote today on a wetlands trail at a nature center. "If it weren't for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song." Since Carl Perkins was a songwriter known as the "King of Rockabilly" I'm presuming the quote is from one of his songs. I'd love to listen to it. Anybody know where it comes from?

The quote got me thinking about the "rocks" in my life -- you know -- those things we may think of as stumbling blocks. We may be tempted to curse them when we stub our toes or trip on them.

But there's another way to look at rocks. Did you ever climb to a rocky high place to get a great view? Did you ever sit on a rock to rest or walk across the big flat rocks in a creek so your feet wouldn't get wet or just stare in stunned awe at a rock formation that reflects the glory of God?

Everything in life is an invitation -- even those heavy rocks we have to lift to get to a goal. They develop our muscles and make us strong. They teach us that working for something makes it all the more valuable when it's achieved. They give us materials that can build not only a beautiful rock wall, but a strong character.

I'm looking at rocks today in a new way. And I'm thanking God for them. Many things that don't seem like blessings really are when we alter our view a little.

honeybee on a rock
I was talking to a beekeeper yesterday and he told me a story about his daddy. When one of the children was angry because he got stung by a bee, his daddy said, "You should tell that little girl thank you. Bee venom can keep you from getting arthritis and other medical problems. So say thank you. And you know what else? She gave her life to give you that blessing."

Heavy rocks and bee stings: they both offer us a blessing. And my beekeeping friend said whenever he goes out to his hives he sings a song to the bees to let them know he's coming. "Your sugar daddy's here, little darlin's. No need to fear." And then he listens to hear what they tell him. If their song is cheery, he goes out and works his hives. If it's agitated, he sings that he'll come another day and not to worry, they're okay. I loved it! And I'll be singing my own song to the bees while I take the heavy rocks off the hives that keep the lids secure against the wind.

Rocks and bees -- yes, indeed, the Lord God gave them to us for our benefit and not our harm. Praise the Lord!


  1. I'm thinking of beekeeping...I have a large family and life is busy.I've been discouraged by a former beekeeper that it's a ton of work and now I feel I shouldn't even try.I'm not scared of hard work and bees fascinate me.I know there's a lot to learn but now I wonder if it's worth the investment and time.

  2. Well that's a shame. If you only have a few hives it's not that much work. During the winter, you can't do much at all. It's a busy time in the Spring and during the honey harvest and then you need to feed the bees in late summer and fall. We fed our two hives several times a week from August through mid October. Then we didn't do anything until we gave them a hard sugar cake and pollen patty in mid February on a day it got above 60. We'll check them again on a warm day soon to see what they have and if need be will start feeding until the nectar flow begins around April 1st. Then we'll be trying to prevent a swarm by dividing if necessary.

    We love it and you can get your kids involved. There are several young middle and early high schoolers in our bee club and they love it. The beginning investment is around $500 for hive materials, tools (hive tool and smoker, although we hardly ever use a smoker), and bee suits. And if you can find someone selling decent used equipment it can be even less. Although buying used equipment you can also inherit problems.

    Check and see if you have a bee class in your area and talk to some other bee keepers. We got into it because we met a retired professional beekeeper who used to keep five hundred hives and drive them around pollinating the apple orchards in the Shenandoah Valley. He still keeps bees as a hobby and when we need help he's always there with advice.

    Don't get me wrong, beekeeping can be challenging and frustrating. Our first year was easy and the second year we had queen problems and sometimes didn't know what the heck was happening, but we are starting our fourth year and have no plans to quit.