I went to see my first apprentice, Laura, this evening as I wanted to dandle her new daughter, Poppy on my knee.
It was about 5 years and 9 months ago that the phone rang and a voice at the other end said she’d like to be a beekeeper. I invited her to spend the day with me going through my hives. We started at the alloment where she was filled with apprehension and fully gauntleted. Later, at my Kingcombe apiary where I had a hive on a double brood box and I asked her to move the top one aside, to give her an inkling of the weight lifting involved, she told me off, pointing out that, as a freelance nurse, her back is her living!
We finished the day at my top bar hive at Litton where she took the lead and went through the hive bare handed and unstung.
Since then we’ve been working independently and she built up on her own, at one stage having more hives then me I think, although she has cut back a bit for the time being, now she’s a busy Mother. We’re always willing to help each other out and she’s wound my handle at extraction time on several occasions. We share one apiary site.
What I like about having an apprentice, besides the company and free labour, is that it makes me THINK. When you’re explaining to an apprentice what you’re doing and why, ‘Because that’s the way I was taught’ or ‘Because I’ve always done it that way’ simply aren’t good enough answers.
I felt really proud when Laura passed her BBKA Basic exam!