February 2024 Message from the President

valentine president msgBy now you all know that I like to share stories of my upbringing. I came from a family that pinching pennies was a way of life, so when it came to leaving Chicago for a tropical location in the depths of winter, specifically February … well that was never going to happen. Perhaps that’s why any hope of having some fun during this month was centered around Valentine’s day and not a beach or Disney Land.

By the way, I did a little digging to find out about Valentines day.

As it turns out, it’s not very clear. According one online reputable source, it may of has its origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was held in mid-February. The festival celebrated the coming of spring, but that’s not all. It also included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. Just to set everyone at ease, we will not be doing that here tonight.

Let’s go back to when I was in grade school. A week or so before the heart filled day, my teacher would hand out a list of all the students, which we all would use to write our Valentine’s day cards. Does this sound familiar to any of you?

Some cards where cool, like cartoon monsters or hot rod cars… I loved getting those, but those were more pricey … even at the local Kmart, so my mom always lead me to the cheapy box that featured the typical chubby cupid the with bow and arrow, or the red heart that said “be mine.” Perhaps several of you can relate. If not, well I have some good news, it just happens that I have some Valentine’s cards for you all.

Please take one and pass them on and feel free to open them up.

I want to share a little oops I did one year, and even after 42 years I still can’t get out of my head. I was in 4th grade at the time. I told my mom that I was going to take the easy route by not filling in the “to” lines to all the cards. I filled in my name in the “from line”, then just randomly handed out cards to the left and to the right, to friends, and to other classmates without reading the message on the cards. I saved gobs of time not having to practice my penmanship with filling all those names. It was a brilliant plan… or was it?

As my classmates opened and read the cards, I started get odd looks from them. My face turned bright red as I realized some of those cards … in that dreaded box of Kmart cards may not have so perfect… especially to other guys with sayings such as, “You’re so cute”, “Be mine” and “You go over big with me.” Yes, I basically handed out cards to guys that made everyone wonder about “what up with Patrick.” That Valentine’s day school party couldn’t end quick enough. Taking the easy route may not have been the best choice.

February is a month that most of us feel can’t end quick enough… right?. Snow, cold, slushy streets and short days don’t play well with most. March is just around the corner, so the days and weather will be turning in our favor. But until then … we can’t forget that this is a crucial time for our bees. It’s been almost 4 months since they forged for nectar, so their reserves may be running low. Much like that Valentine’s day party that yielded cards and candy, it’s time to take a peak … quickly opening your hives to give them some Valentine’s day love with an emergency sugar brick to help them get through to the first nectar flow. And while you’re at it, dropping in a pollen patty will help your hive with rearing new bees. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the treats as much as I do, especially if they are Fannie Mae turtles… yummy. Don’t take the easy road by not checking in on them, after all … you got them this far! Win them over as a caring and loving beekeeper by giving them some love.

Okay, let’s wrap this Valentine’s Day talk with a little surprise. Who has a round gold sticker on their bee card.  Cool, please step up. No Valentine’s Day would be complete without flowers, enjoy.