The last year has been quite an extraordinary one, maybe even the most extraordinary year of my life and quite an incredible experience. The upshot is that I quarantined alone on this hill for over three months without any human contact. I had split up with my husband last August and our farm lay abandoned as I considered my options: go back home to England? Move back to New York City? I tried both, then along came Covid-19.
We had made a mess of beekeeping too. Someone suggested that we smear honey on the outside of the hive, for some reason that I can’t remember, and the bees just kept getting robbed until they absconded for good.
I began my quarantine mid-March and slowly began to see my neighbors regularly in June. In order to take my mind off things in solo quarantine, I began to restore our neglected house and garden, and write the book of this remarkable year, living alone in the very place that my husband and I had begun over 16 years ago for this very event: a global pandemic and possible apocalypse. Does that seem a little dramatic now? Maybe, but I clearly remember harvesting the honey that the bees had left behind in early April amidst the sound of gunfire practice ringing across the ridge. My neighbors were certainly all preparing for something a tad more threatening than an epidemic.
The farm had completely grown over, so I began to clear that in May and add more top soil. I learned to make cheese with a local farmer Two Stones Farm. Then finally, in June, after having spent more time with my lovely neighbors, who helped me chainsaw a downed tree and fix my tractor, I began writing Upstate Dispatch again because something miraculous happened, (the first of the July miracles that have happened since). In mid-July, the bees came back. I’ve no idea where they went because they can’t tell me, however, they are home again, but still a little wild, like me.
So I’ve dithered since July wondering if I should open the hive up and make it more hospitable in there for them, because I left the honey super on the top, empty of its frames. But maybe I should just leave them alone. They know what they’re doing more than I do.
I’m open to suggestions.