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ground hog day

The movie GroundHog day was exceptional. Very Buddhist and a great commentary on life. The essential message was to remind us that it  is through repetetion that we can overcome our defiencies and move along in a more perfect seamless fashion.
I realized how this metaphor reminded me of my journey with the bees. Slowly, over time, with repetetion, I learned what not to do. This is wisdom. Recognizing a situation, and knowing what to do about it. As you see more you and do more, you recognize things faster, even begin to anticipate your colonies. Anticipation is the key, where applicable, it makes for an easier time of it for you and your colonies. You spend less time in the hive, less stress on bees and yourself, and have a healthier herd.
Reaction is what happens in response to your discovery of a situation that has gone unnoticed.  An example is finding swarm cells in May, and knowing full well the die has been cast. So you have choices in this moment as to how to proceeed. Without going down the road of possibilities, my point is you can react, or not. If you react you need to anticipate the consequences of any action,  or if you do nothing it is full of consequences. Doing Nothing is a choice and an action. It means you approve of the bees solution to the situation or you recognize you are in uncharted waters and will watch and learn, maybe, or get some help.

Some situations allow you to not react. Some assuredly require immediate and decisive action, such as in the case of realizing you have a siginificant outbreak of a disease, or your bees have been exposed to modern agricultures chemical cocktails.
This is why,to me, it was so important to get a an education in Hivemanship. I do not mind my mistakes as they are the reason why I am successful. More importantly than making mistakes, is realizing you need some more information to make better decisions. So you begin the path. I do not give help unless it is asked for. I had to get to a place where I recognized my shortcomings, put the ole ego aside and asked for help. Ego aside is the key.

Beekeeping is a philosophical conumdrum. It is divided into 4 major camps and their hybrids.   The Past, The Progressive, The Intellectual, and The Practical. Your mentor, and you had better find one, falls into one of these categories. I found I had lots of people who mentored me at different stages. The beginning was hard. Looking back the early mentorship was by people who knew more than me but not much more. So in a way the blind leading the blind. The greatest mentor I have is myself. The ability to take the time to observe the bees who really are your best teacher and figure out the message they are telling you is no small thing. It took me a few years to even begin to understand the outline. So many areas of ignorance. So much is talked and written about bees that is just plain wrong on so many levels. It is the standard patent answers that are true at one level and not on so many others. So how do we learn? The trial by fire seems to be the work in progress for me. If I can learn from my mistakes, granted that is a big IF, I will be in a better position to anticipate the situation. If not, life is kind and will let me repeat the mistake until I figure it out.
So embrace the failures, as I do, although at the time I get really mad at myself, I learn. This is one secret we really need to share, our failures. This is not something easily done for most people, as most beekeepers do not make mistakes from what I've seen at the meetings.

So what makes for a good mentor. Well someone who gets you to the next stage in your journey. You can have many mentors, or if your lucky, have an exceptional one, where you dont need anything else. Read the old old books from Smith, Doolittle, Langstroth, Huber, Taylor, Manley. Please do read the Steiner lectures on bees as our problems have all been explained and predicted almost 100 yrs ago. LEARN BIOLOGY, Know what a bee is, what it likes to do, how it likes to do it. Learn your diseases. You should have instant recognition of the diseases in your area, and know the next step. Embrace new knowledge, but remember the program has been here for 50 million years. Lastly, as my friend Jim once told me, all is forgiven if you keep trying, as this is a journey not a destination. So enjoy your ground hog days, and learn from them as fast as you can. Break away from the cookie table at the meetings and spend more time at the hives.


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