I feel like one of the luckiest people in all of NYC. I've managed to (quite accidentally, I believe) find myself in the fortunate position to be making a living doing something that nearly everyone I know thought was a little wacky and unrealistic.
None of what's been going on in my life recently could have come to pass without the generosity of the folks surrounding me. The kind people in the NYC food and agriculture community have a remarkable way of not only elevating themselves through their work, but also those around them. All it takes if for your name to get dropped one time to the right person and it's game on! Once you've been referenced to others a few times like I have and the gigs start rolling in, the inspiration to grab a few good people by the jacket sleeve and take them for a ride bubbles up fast.
Ladies like Annie Novak, Leda Meredith and Stacey Murphy have been my fairy godmothers of good fortune. Between the three of these women, I've been thrown more bones than I'd ever be able to bury myself, so I've begun to enlist the help of some inspired neighbors to give me a hand with a few things in exchange for a chance to learn.
Patricia and Nicole are my first beekeeping "apprentices". I get a lot of people asking to shadow me for a chance to learn about beekeeping. It's a totally sensible way to go about learning, so I understand why I've gotten such inquiries. I prefer hands on learning to a classroom setting, too. The problem is that a lot of these folks don't really know what sort of commitment apprenticing with someone requires and also don't know how to listen, and it puts me in an unpleasant position most of the time. I can't tell you how many times I've been stood up or I've told someone to wear light colors when working with the bees only to have them show up to my place looking like a mall goth. They always get stung halfway through an inspection. Without fail. Guard bees don't care that black is makes you appear dark and brooding or makes your ass look small. You just look like a bear to them and you're sweating like a pig on my roof, so listen to what I tell you next time! Please! I don't know everything, but I know some things. Bees seeing black as clear as day and perceiving a threat happens to be one of them.
Patricia and Nicole get this about me. They are committed. They listen. They are truly eager to learn. I can work with people like Patricia and Nicole. In fact, I enjoy it. I'm glad to have their help this season and I'm pleased that next year they will have the confidence to keep some bees on their own.
(Patricia with the Jewel Street bees)
This is Patricia Maples. She's a trained pastry chef that focuses on raw, vegan and gluten free foods. She makes easily the best raw, vegan pumpkin cheesecake in the world and is totally wellness-minded which I find to be a good influence on me. She's a nice southern woman with a soft spot for animals and she's currently working on her own urban farming project where she will be able to keep some bees of her own.
(Nicole, conjuring her inner varmint)
Meet Nicole Lane Fulmer! She's a Greenpoint resident just like me. I met her when she signed up for my Beekeeping Bike Tour last summer. She fearlessly handled frames of bees for the first time that day, so I suspected she'd make great beekeeper material. Nicole also has a great interest in growing her own food and has even gotten some good practice growing some veggies in her backyard. She's also quite a cook and makes really delicious ice cream that keeps my boyfriend's addiction to the frozen treat going strong.
Welcome to the fold, dear ladies! I couldn't be more happy to have the opportunity to share what I know with the two of you and I hope that I can be as helpful to you both as others have been to me.