Hello, all. I'm new to these parts, and kinda-sorta-not-really-new back to beekeeping.
I grew up in California and we always had bees (which means I stepped on more than my fair share when I was barefoot and running around in the summers). I never had a lot to do with the hives, proper, but as I got older I did a fair bit with the honey and wax -- and I always liked the bees themselves (they're such pretty little girls). And then I grew up and there were apartments and lots of moving and big cities and no bees for years and years.
So, when I moved to a house (with a yard!) in Portland, one of the first things I noticed last summer was... there weren't any honeybees at *all* up in my neighborhood. A few bumbles, and some wasps... but none of the honeybees I was expecting (hoping) to see. So I started looking into getting my own hive... and promptly realized how much I'd forgotten or had never known about keeping bees. I can tell you, it's a bit overwhelming to vaguely remember some of the basics, but then there's hundreds of people and sites arguing about the "best" hives and breeds and equipment and all the rest. I figured my best bet was to do a lot of research, and then steel myself for murdering at least three colonies while I limped along the learning curve...
Which didn't sound like a very good plan at all, but it was about the best I could think of...!
(It's okay -- this story has a MUCH happier ending than that. I think. So far.)
As luck would have it, at the first local Farmer's Market of this season, I got to talking to a local honey seller whose husband does swarm retrieval and beekeeping. She mentioned that her husband was always on the lookout for folks that were willing to host hives in their yards. The working plan is the the hosts can be as much or as little involved in caring for the hives as they like, with a bit of honey for rent. And that, of course, sounded BRILLIANT to me. There was the safety-net of a seasoned beekeeper I'd been looking for, with the opportunity for me to hands-on with a hive and learn and re-learn what I'll need to have my own hives, eventually, when I'm no longer a hazard waiting to happen.
So a last month, we got a call about a swarm, and those were put into a nuc and set up in a morning-sun spot in the back yard. And then a week later we moved a second, established hive into a super next door to the nuc. And, hooray, my backyard is buzzing with bees! I don't care too much about honey (I take a spoonful a day as I've always done, like vitamins, and I use it in lotions and salves), but I *love* working with beeswax, so I talked them out of some few-years-old comb (and some reaaaally ugly old burr, haha) and have been rendering some gorgeous dark wax the past couple of weeks.
And now I've talked WAY too much for any sort of introduction (I can get VERY chatty ), so I'm just going to say hello again, and I'm looking forward to meeting and talking with and learning from you all!