Bees

Waxing on about bees

Jacqueline Freeman is making a buzz in the field that chose her – beekeeping.

Originally from small towns in New England, Jacqueline and her husband Joseph Freeman moved to Seattle years ago and tried to be city dwellers. Soon, they discovered they just weren’t urbanites and in 2002 found 10 acres in tiny Venersborg in Clark County. While they didn’t intend to farm, today they have acres of gardens, pasture and forest, home to cows, hens, a goat, three cats, a dog and a few hundred thousand honey bees.

Jacqueline’s relationship with bees began when she was offered a hive from a couple that was moving from their house in Portland.

“I was fascinated from day one,” she said. “I was transfixed. I spent all this time with the bees. It wasn’t just a box of bugs.”

Over the years, Jacqueline learned about organic gardening, permaculture, and what really resonated was biodynamics, essentially a spiritual approach to organic gardening. She became a certified beekeeper and joined the Clark County Beekeepers Association. She quickly noticed most methods for contemporary beekeeping involved the use of chemicals and medicines to keep the bees alive and productive. But the more she listened to the bees, the more she knew she couldn’t take this approach. Her fellow beekeepers told her she would lose whole hives – and she did – but today she has ten working hives and a wealth of knowledge to keep them thriving. And the tides are changing – today, four out of the five officers at the bee club are fully organic.

After years of talking and listening to her bees, Jacqueline started writing down what she was learning through experience – and what the bees themselves were saying to her in her meditative sessions by their hives. Eventually, she had a book on organic beekeeping fleshed out. With the help of Susan Chernak McElroy (New York Times bestselling author of “Animals as Teachers & Healers”), she completed “The Song of Increase: Returning to our Sacred Partnership with Honeybees.”

The self-published tome was quickly picked up by Sounds True Publishing and will soon be translated into languages around the world. Jacqueline accepts invitations from across the country and Europe to talk about bees and meet with beekeepers.

Back at the farm, she offers classes of all kinds, and Joseph teaches a physical therapy technique he developed for horses. But the bees have become a central and sacred part of their journey.

Jacqueline Freeman
Friendly Haven Rise Farm
20309 N.E. 242nd Ave., Battle Ground
360-687-8384

 

 

Free Class: All About Bees

Charles Bennett, a beekeeper and instructor with Clark County Beekeepers Association, will lead a free class about bees at the Camas Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 23. Attendees will learn about the lifecycle of honeybees, bee products (not just honey and beeswax; bee products are used in more ways than you can imagine!), and how bees help us (for example, by pollinating most of the food we eat). There is no charge to attend and children and teens who are interested in the topic are welcome to accompany adults.

The Clark County Beekepers Association meets every month in Brush Prairie. The organization is dedicated to the preservation and propagation of apiculture. CCBA meets to promote information and education primarily to hobby beekeepers and to the general public.  It provides information and support to members interested in developing and maintaining honeybee colonies, linking experienced members as mentors to beginners as well as offering educational programs, workshops, and beekeeping classes in addition to its monthly meetings. Club dues are $20 per family per year. To learn more, e-mail clarkcountybee@yahoo.com.

All About Bees

Charles Bennett, a beekeeper and instructor with Clark County Beekeepers Association, will lead a free class at the Camas Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 23. Attendees will learn about the lifecycle of honeybees, bee products (not just honey and beeswax; bee products are used in more ways than you can imagine!), and how bees help us (for example, by pollinating most of the food we eat). There is no charge to attend and children and teens who are interested in the topic are welcome to accompany adults.

The Clark County Beekepers Association meets every month in Brush Prairie. The organization is dedicated to the preservation and propagation of apiculture. CCBA meets to promote information and education primarily to hobby beekeepers and to the general public.  It provides information and support to members interested in developing and maintaining honeybee colonies, linking experienced members as mentors to beginners as well as offering educational programs, workshops, and beekeeping classes in addition to its monthly meetings. Club dues are $20 per family per year. To learn more, e-mail clarkcountybee@yahoo.com.

Earth Day at New Seasons: Yay for Bees!

Here's the latest buzz: New Seasons Market at Fishers Landing is hosting an Earth Day celebration during store hours, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Arpil 22. It's free to attend, and you don't need to purchase anything in the store (although we dare you not to—the organic produce, artisanal cheeses, local microbrews, freshly baked bread, and Stumptown coffee are usually too tempting to resist). The Fisher's Landing grocery store is the only building in Vancouver that keeps bees on its roof; they have two hives of honeybees that, at this time of year, are busy pollinating grasses, flowers, and trees.

There will also be a number of vendors on hand selling bee-related products, such as mason bee houses, Honey Mama's nectar fudge, Bliss Nut Butters, My Local Honey, Mickelberry Gardens Northwest honey tonics, and Jasmine Pearl Tea. Pollinator plants will be on sale to help beautify your yard and feed local pollinators—and when you buy a polllinator-friendly plant for $3 or more, New Seasons will donate $1 to the Xerces Society. Bring the kids in at 4 p.m. for a book signing with local author Phil Silver, who will read from his book "Andi the Bee." Talk to Sherian Wright—a pollination expert from Washougal—and learn how to make your yard more welcoming to mason bees.
 
For more details, or to get directions to the Fisher's Landing store (just off McGillivray in East Vancouver), click here to visit the store's webpage.