I have always been intrigued by bees. Perhaps, it is because I have spent so much time catering to Thérèse, the Queen bee! Several years ago, I decided to sign up for a one day class on “How to Raise Bees in your Backyard” at the Greenwich Continuing Education Center. Let’s face it, the dogs had died and I was growing a bit weary of feeding wild birds, whose despicable eating habits simply attracted raccoons, squirrels, possums and skunks. Bees seemed like a great idea. At least we would have honey for breakfast. I could easily see myself meandering about the backyard watching the bees do the heavy lifting in recycling the best that nature has to offer. I’ve long admired British books in which one of the main protagonists raises bees or leads a sedentary life looking after sheep: D. H. Lawrence and Patrick O’Brien spring to mind.
Thérèse was not amused. My fallback project to build a bat shelter – to keep down the number of insects in the backyard – met similar disdain, if not outright derision.
Sadly, I have had to shelve my pet “pet” projects for quite a few years, but recently become quite animated when I discovered that no less of a culinary authority than Mario Batali was now harvesting honey from apiaries on top of the roof of Tarry Market in downtown Port Chester. For those not familiar with Port Chester, it is a small town on the New York border adjacent to Greenwich. Presumably, the bees fly to Greenwich to collect their pollen, since I was not aware that Port Chester had any flowers. (Editor’s Note: Bees will fly “only as far as they need to” to collect pollen, but some suggest that a range of 5 to 10 miles is about the limit.)
I am not convinced that a thumbs-up from Mario will cut too much slack with Thérèse, but I am hopeful. If fortunate enough to get the green light from Thérèse, I can envision Mario and myself putzing about the backyard in our orange clogs discussing the lives of bees, Italian cooking and other useful subjects.
PS: Thérèse didn’t say no this time, she simply sold the house.