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Creating A Buzz
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Illustration by Pamela Rounis.

“A

re you bee people?” The passerby’s call comes to Janet Wilson while she tends to a cluster of pastel-toned, man-made hives in the corner of this Tsawwassen farmland. It’s the unassuming home of the Boundary Bay Bees apiary, and in what might be considered a huge understatement, its founder Wilson is absolutely a bee person.

She took up beekeeping about 15 years ago, after searching for a hobby that would keep her active in both mind and body. Starting with a couple of hives in her backyard, Wilson soon outgrew her home setup, moving through a few different spots before settling into this nook of Boundary Bay. Along the way, she earned her master beekeeping certificate through the University of Montana and started Boundary Bay Bees, selling raw honey to locals through word-of-mouth and signs along local walking trails.

For Wilson, though, it’s not really about selling the jars of (delicious) raw wildflower honey—it’s about everything else that the hobby brings. “It keeps me connected to nature,” she says. “I’m physically active, I’m connected to a community, I’m constantly learning—because we’re still studying these organisms—plus, there’s a schedule to it.”

A very basic snapshot of beekeeping: when Wilson arrives at the apiary, she consults her multi-tabbed binder, where she meticulously documents the general status, abnormalities, and any other notes about the 18 to 20 hives running at Boundary Bay. She then gets to inspecting, using a spouted metal bee smoker for the safety of all nearby beings; the smoke makes the bees think their “tree” is on fire, which is their cue to fill up on honey. This slows them down and in turn makes them more docile.

From there, Wilson’s day—typically stretching for four to five hours—involves going through the hives frame by frame, checking for progress, for queen bees, for whether anything is off (and if it is, figuring out why). Is the queen missing? Has a disease plagued the hive? “Every time you look into the hive, you don’t know what you’re going to find,” she explains. “So, you get logic puzzles, which is good for the noggin.”

As for the worker bees themselves, when they’re not building their combs, caring for their queen and brood, or regulating the hive’s humidity and heat to a precise 95 degrees Fahrenheit, they buzz away to collect nectar from nearby wildflowers—here, that’s orchards of apple and cherry trees, mustard plants, and blackberry brambles—to fill their cells and make beloved honey. Which brings us back to another of Wilson’s duties: lugging the 100 pound–boxes full of honey to her truck.

“There’s that connection to something bigger than yourself.”

Still, for all the physical labor, the mental gymnastics, and the seasonal stress of what she might find after the hives’ dormant winter, Wilson’s passion outweighs it all. “You can come here on a summer night—it’s beautiful,” she says. Her voice lowers to a hush: “You can hear them in there; they’re all up fanning, and the smell of the honey is in the air—it’s amazing. There’s that connection to something bigger than yourself. We’re mortal and they’re even more mortal than we are—so I think you appreciate the preciousness of that little short life, and you can’t help but understand that you’re precious, too.”

To keep from feeling isolated in her work, Wilson formed a club at nearby Point Roberts with a fellow keeper. Not only does this “create that sense that you’re not just individuals doing your own thing,” but it also helps maintain safe beekeeping practices—such as encouraging beekeepers to breed new queen bees themselves, rather than importing them from places like Chile. Along with the process being “a gas,” as Wilson enthuses, producing local queens can be more beneficial, since imported bees have the chance of being extremely aggressive and stinging “the bejeebers out of anybody who goes near them.” Honey bees, it’s important to note, are usually unlikely to sting, since doing so kills them. Wilson is adamant about making this differentiation: wasps and hornets are the ones who sting more often.

In her mind, it’s part of a larger issue of losing connection to the natural world. “I’m really concerned that as we become increasingly urban and we listen to the nimbyism, that there won’t be community apiaries,” Wilson says, “where a kid understands what a bee looks like and sees honey being made, and where you understand how our agricultural system works.”

What if we could move away from false idealized nature, from manicured suburban gardens with immaculate flowers and lollipop shrubs, from the idea that agriculture is something messy that happens far away? Wilson’s endeavours with Boundary Bay Bees forge a sense of connection—to nature, through nature.

“I think people desperately want to care about something,” she says. “You just have to give them ways to do it.”

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Creating A Buzz

Creating A Buzz
For Boundary Bay Bees, beekeeping is about connecting to and through nature.
Creating A Buzz
Written by

Illustration by Pamela Rounis.

“A

re you bee people?” The passerby’s call comes to Janet Wilson while she tends to a cluster of pastel-toned, man-made hives in the corner of this Tsawwassen farmland. It’s the unassuming home of the Boundary Bay Bees apiary, and in what might be considered a huge understatement, its founder Wilson is absolutely a bee person.

She took up beekeeping about 15 years ago, after searching for a hobby that would keep her active in both mind and body. Starting with a couple of hives in her backyard, Wilson soon outgrew her home setup, moving through a few different spots before settling into this nook of Boundary Bay. Along the way, she earned her master beekeeping certificate through the University of Montana and started Boundary Bay Bees, selling raw honey to locals through word-of-mouth and signs along local walking trails.

For Wilson, though, it’s not really about selling the jars of (delicious) raw wildflower honey—it’s about everything else that the hobby brings. “It keeps me connected to nature,” she says. “I’m physically active, I’m connected to a community, I’m constantly learning—because we’re still studying these organisms—plus, there’s a schedule to it.”

A very basic snapshot of beekeeping: when Wilson arrives at the apiary, she consults her multi-tabbed binder, where she meticulously documents the general status, abnormalities, and any other notes about the 18 to 20 hives running at Boundary Bay. She then gets to inspecting, using a spouted metal bee smoker for the safety of all nearby beings; the smoke makes the bees think their “tree” is on fire, which is their cue to fill up on honey. This slows them down and in turn makes them more docile.

From there, Wilson’s day—typically stretching for four to five hours—involves going through the hives frame by frame, checking for progress, for queen bees, for whether anything is off (and if it is, figuring out why). Is the queen missing? Has a disease plagued the hive? “Every time you look into the hive, you don’t know what you’re going to find,” she explains. “So, you get logic puzzles, which is good for the noggin.”

As for the worker bees themselves, when they’re not building their combs, caring for their queen and brood, or regulating the hive’s humidity and heat to a precise 95 degrees Fahrenheit, they buzz away to collect nectar from nearby wildflowers—here, that’s orchards of apple and cherry trees, mustard plants, and blackberry brambles—to fill their cells and make beloved honey. Which brings us back to another of Wilson’s duties: lugging the 100 pound–boxes full of honey to her truck.

“There’s that connection to something bigger than yourself.”

Still, for all the physical labor, the mental gymnastics, and the seasonal stress of what she might find after the hives’ dormant winter, Wilson’s passion outweighs it all. “You can come here on a summer night—it’s beautiful,” she says. Her voice lowers to a hush: “You can hear them in there; they’re all up fanning, and the smell of the honey is in the air—it’s amazing. There’s that connection to something bigger than yourself. We’re mortal and they’re even more mortal than we are—so I think you appreciate the preciousness of that little short life, and you can’t help but understand that you’re precious, too.”

To keep from feeling isolated in her work, Wilson formed a club at nearby Point Roberts with a fellow keeper. Not only does this “create that sense that you’re not just individuals doing your own thing,” but it also helps maintain safe beekeeping practices—such as encouraging beekeepers to breed new queen bees themselves, rather than importing them from places like Chile. Along with the process being “a gas,” as Wilson enthuses, producing local queens can be more beneficial, since imported bees have the chance of being extremely aggressive and stinging “the bejeebers out of anybody who goes near them.” Honey bees, it’s important to note, are usually unlikely to sting, since doing so kills them. Wilson is adamant about making this differentiation: wasps and hornets are the ones who sting more often.

In her mind, it’s part of a larger issue of losing connection to the natural world. “I’m really concerned that as we become increasingly urban and we listen to the nimbyism, that there won’t be community apiaries,” Wilson says, “where a kid understands what a bee looks like and sees honey being made, and where you understand how our agricultural system works.”

What if we could move away from false idealized nature, from manicured suburban gardens with immaculate flowers and lollipop shrubs, from the idea that agriculture is something messy that happens far away? Wilson’s endeavours with Boundary Bay Bees forge a sense of connection—to nature, through nature.

“I think people desperately want to care about something,” she says. “You just have to give them ways to do it.”

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Creating A Buzz

Creating A Buzz

For Boundary Bay Bees, beekeeping is about connecting to and through nature.
Written by
/

Illustration by Pamela Rounis.

“A

re you bee people?” The passerby’s call comes to Janet Wilson while she tends to a cluster of pastel-toned, man-made hives in the corner of this Tsawwassen farmland. It’s the unassuming home of the Boundary Bay Bees apiary, and in what might be considered a huge understatement, its founder Wilson is absolutely a bee person.

She took up beekeeping about 15 years ago, after searching for a hobby that would keep her active in both mind and body. Starting with a couple of hives in her backyard, Wilson soon outgrew her home setup, moving through a few different spots before settling into this nook of Boundary Bay. Along the way, she earned her master beekeeping certificate through the University of Montana and started Boundary Bay Bees, selling raw honey to locals through word-of-mouth and signs along local walking trails.

For Wilson, though, it’s not really about selling the jars of (delicious) raw wildflower honey—it’s about everything else that the hobby brings. “It keeps me connected to nature,” she says. “I’m physically active, I’m connected to a community, I’m constantly learning—because we’re still studying these organisms—plus, there’s a schedule to it.”

A very basic snapshot of beekeeping: when Wilson arrives at the apiary, she consults her multi-tabbed binder, where she meticulously documents the general status, abnormalities, and any other notes about the 18 to 20 hives running at Boundary Bay. She then gets to inspecting, using a spouted metal bee smoker for the safety of all nearby beings; the smoke makes the bees think their “tree” is on fire, which is their cue to fill up on honey. This slows them down and in turn makes them more docile.

From there, Wilson’s day—typically stretching for four to five hours—involves going through the hives frame by frame, checking for progress, for queen bees, for whether anything is off (and if it is, figuring out why). Is the queen missing? Has a disease plagued the hive? “Every time you look into the hive, you don’t know what you’re going to find,” she explains. “So, you get logic puzzles, which is good for the noggin.”

As for the worker bees themselves, when they’re not building their combs, caring for their queen and brood, or regulating the hive’s humidity and heat to a precise 95 degrees Fahrenheit, they buzz away to collect nectar from nearby wildflowers—here, that’s orchards of apple and cherry trees, mustard plants, and blackberry brambles—to fill their cells and make beloved honey. Which brings us back to another of Wilson’s duties: lugging the 100 pound–boxes full of honey to her truck.

“There’s that connection to something bigger than yourself.”

Still, for all the physical labor, the mental gymnastics, and the seasonal stress of what she might find after the hives’ dormant winter, Wilson’s passion outweighs it all. “You can come here on a summer night—it’s beautiful,” she says. Her voice lowers to a hush: “You can hear them in there; they’re all up fanning, and the smell of the honey is in the air—it’s amazing. There’s that connection to something bigger than yourself. We’re mortal and they’re even more mortal than we are—so I think you appreciate the preciousness of that little short life, and you can’t help but understand that you’re precious, too.”

To keep from feeling isolated in her work, Wilson formed a club at nearby Point Roberts with a fellow keeper. Not only does this “create that sense that you’re not just individuals doing your own thing,” but it also helps maintain safe beekeeping practices—such as encouraging beekeepers to breed new queen bees themselves, rather than importing them from places like Chile. Along with the process being “a gas,” as Wilson enthuses, producing local queens can be more beneficial, since imported bees have the chance of being extremely aggressive and stinging “the bejeebers out of anybody who goes near them.” Honey bees, it’s important to note, are usually unlikely to sting, since doing so kills them. Wilson is adamant about making this differentiation: wasps and hornets are the ones who sting more often.

In her mind, it’s part of a larger issue of losing connection to the natural world. “I’m really concerned that as we become increasingly urban and we listen to the nimbyism, that there won’t be community apiaries,” Wilson says, “where a kid understands what a bee looks like and sees honey being made, and where you understand how our agricultural system works.”

What if we could move away from false idealized nature, from manicured suburban gardens with immaculate flowers and lollipop shrubs, from the idea that agriculture is something messy that happens far away? Wilson’s endeavours with Boundary Bay Bees forge a sense of connection—to nature, through nature.

“I think people desperately want to care about something,” she says. “You just have to give them ways to do it.”

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Food & Beverage
From Sea to Table
From watching fishmongers unpack their daily catches in PEI, to perfecting her clam chowder, seafood has long been a part of Chef Charlotte’s life.
From Sea to Table
Food & Beverage
From Sea to Table
From watching fishmongers unpack their daily catches in PEI, to perfecting her clam chowder, seafood has long been a part of Chef Charlotte’s life.
Food & Beverage
From Sea to Table
From Sea to Table
From watching fishmongers unpack their daily catches in PEI, to perfecting her clam chowder, seafood has long been a part of Chef Charlotte’s life.
Food & Beverage
From Sea to Table
From watching fishmongers unpack their daily catches in PEI, to perfecting her clam chowder, seafood has long been a part of Chef Charlotte’s life.
A Balanced Brew
Food & Beverage
A Balanced Brew
To better understand the ancient and fascinating process of making beer, we spent a day with Adam and Brent Mills, co-founders of Four Winds Brewery.
A Balanced Brew
Food & Beverage
A Balanced Brew
To better understand the ancient and fascinating process of making beer, we spent a day with Adam and Brent Mills, co-founders of Four Winds Brewery.
Food & Beverage
A Balanced Brew
A Balanced Brew
To better understand the ancient and fascinating process of making beer, we spent a day with Adam and Brent Mills, co-founders of Four Winds Brewery.
Food & Beverage
A Balanced Brew
To better understand the ancient and fascinating process of making beer, we spent a day with Adam and Brent Mills, co-founders of Four Winds Brewery.
Coffee Snob
Fresh Perspectives
Coffee Snob
For as long as sustainability has been a topic of conversation, the question of what exactly it entails and how it can be achieved remains somewhat clouded—and truthfully there isn’t a perfect silver bullet of an answer.
Coffee Snob
Fresh Perspectives
Coffee Snob
For as long as sustainability has been a topic of conversation, the question of what exactly it entails and how it can be achieved remains somewhat clouded—and truthfully there isn’t a perfect silver bullet of an answer.
Fresh Perspectives
Coffee Snob
Coffee Snob
For as long as sustainability has been a topic of conversation, the question of what exactly it entails and how it can be achieved remains somewhat clouded—and truthfully there isn’t a perfect silver bullet of an answer.
Fresh Perspectives
Coffee Snob
For as long as sustainability has been a topic of conversation, the question of what exactly it entails and how it can be achieved remains somewhat clouded—and truthfully there isn’t a perfect silver bullet of an answer.
Truth In Terroir
Farming & Agriculture
Truth In Terroir
It’s hard to talk about where food and wine come from without hearing the word terroir, and for good reason. Terroir is exactly what gives these things their unique characteristics.
Truth In Terroir
Farming & Agriculture
Truth In Terroir
It’s hard to talk about where food and wine come from without hearing the word terroir, and for good reason. Terroir is exactly what gives these things their unique characteristics.
Farming & Agriculture
Truth In Terroir
Truth In Terroir
It’s hard to talk about where food and wine come from without hearing the word terroir, and for good reason. Terroir is exactly what gives these things their unique characteristics.
Farming & Agriculture
Truth In Terroir
It’s hard to talk about where food and wine come from without hearing the word terroir, and for good reason. Terroir is exactly what gives these things their unique characteristics.
City Grown
Farming & Agriculture
City Grown
A subway ride away from the heart of downtown Toronto, step off the Line 1 platform at Pioneer Village Station and it’s an easy walk to Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF).
City Grown
Farming & Agriculture
City Grown
A subway ride away from the heart of downtown Toronto, step off the Line 1 platform at Pioneer Village Station and it’s an easy walk to Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF).
Farming & Agriculture
City Grown
City Grown
A subway ride away from the heart of downtown Toronto, step off the Line 1 platform at Pioneer Village Station and it’s an easy walk to Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF).
Farming & Agriculture
City Grown
A subway ride away from the heart of downtown Toronto, step off the Line 1 platform at Pioneer Village Station and it’s an easy walk to Black Creek Community Farm (BCCF).
For The Love Of Food
Farming & Agriculture
For The Love Of Food
It’s no secret that farming is tough, but the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour make it all worth it, according to two veteran farmers.
For The Love Of Food
Farming & Agriculture
For The Love Of Food
It’s no secret that farming is tough, but the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour make it all worth it, according to two veteran farmers.
Farming & Agriculture
For The Love Of Food
For The Love Of Food
It’s no secret that farming is tough, but the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour make it all worth it, according to two veteran farmers.
Farming & Agriculture
For The Love Of Food
It’s no secret that farming is tough, but the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour make it all worth it, according to two veteran farmers.
Cross-Pollination
Art & Design
Cross-Pollination
For many consumers, buying a bee emblazoned t-shirt is enough to add to the cause, but for some they feel that more needs to be done.
Cross-Pollination
Art & Design
Cross-Pollination
For many consumers, buying a bee emblazoned t-shirt is enough to add to the cause, but for some they feel that more needs to be done.
Art & Design
Cross-Pollination
Cross-Pollination
For many consumers, buying a bee emblazoned t-shirt is enough to add to the cause, but for some they feel that more needs to be done.
Art & Design
Cross-Pollination
For many consumers, buying a bee emblazoned t-shirt is enough to add to the cause, but for some they feel that more needs to be done.
From Form To Feast
Art & Design
From Form To Feast
Grace Lee of eikcam ceramics and OH studios in Vancouver invites us to examine how hand-crafted objects influence the way we practice intention.
From Form To Feast
Art & Design
From Form To Feast
Grace Lee of eikcam ceramics and OH studios in Vancouver invites us to examine how hand-crafted objects influence the way we practice intention.
Art & Design
From Form To Feast
From Form To Feast
Grace Lee of eikcam ceramics and OH studios in Vancouver invites us to examine how hand-crafted objects influence the way we practice intention.
Art & Design
From Form To Feast
Grace Lee of eikcam ceramics and OH studios in Vancouver invites us to examine how hand-crafted objects influence the way we practice intention.
How Food Can Save The World
Farming & Agriculture
How Food Can Save The World
What makes a good life, and what does it mean to eat well? For Carolyn Steel, the key to unlocking the truths behind these perennial uncertainties is Sitopia.
How Food Can Save The World
Farming & Agriculture
How Food Can Save The World
What makes a good life, and what does it mean to eat well? For Carolyn Steel, the key to unlocking the truths behind these perennial uncertainties is Sitopia.
Farming & Agriculture
How Food Can Save The World
How Food Can Save The World
What makes a good life, and what does it mean to eat well? For Carolyn Steel, the key to unlocking the truths behind these perennial uncertainties is Sitopia.
Farming & Agriculture
How Food Can Save The World
What makes a good life, and what does it mean to eat well? For Carolyn Steel, the key to unlocking the truths behind these perennial uncertainties is Sitopia.
Stop And Smell The Wild Roses
Art & Design
Stop And Smell The Wild Roses
While major corporations seek out land for large scale lumber and minerals, B.C. artisans like Leigh Joseph look for resources with a deeper, spiritual connection.
Stop And Smell The Wild Roses
Art & Design
Stop And Smell The Wild Roses
While major corporations seek out land for large scale lumber and minerals, B.C. artisans like Leigh Joseph look for resources with a deeper, spiritual connection.
Art & Design
Stop And Smell The Wild Roses
Stop And Smell The Wild Roses
While major corporations seek out land for large scale lumber and minerals, B.C. artisans like Leigh Joseph look for resources with a deeper, spiritual connection.
Art & Design
Stop And Smell The Wild Roses
While major corporations seek out land for large scale lumber and minerals, B.C. artisans like Leigh Joseph look for resources with a deeper, spiritual connection.