Bee Syndicate S1 E8 8/30/2015 Growing Community and Using Tomatoes to Thaw Ice
In my previous blog post I talked about being a little nervous about telling some of my neighbors that I was planning on bringing tens of thousands of stinging insects within a couple of yards of where their children play. My immediate neighbors were predictably not opposed to the Idea. I have know these people most of my lives and I didn’t think they would have a problem with it. Like I said I know them pretty well. Who I was most nervous about was the family on the other side of my WWII vet neighbor. They have only been in their neighborhood for a few years they have several small children and largely keep to themselves. They are seemingly perfectly nice people. We always wave to each other when we drive past and I have to say seem to be great parents. Dad is always outside playing with the kids when he is home and when he’s not mom is always keeping a very close eye on her brood. That is about all I know about them. However as one person on the aforementioned post pointed out “Making friends is hard”
My street is an increasingly odd place in America and possibly the world and that’s a little sad. In a time when people tend to plug in and spend most of there free time inside its not odd for people to not know there neighbors that well, or at all. Often when they do know there neighbors they seem to not get along. On my street this for the most part is not the case.
Everyone on my street knows everyone and mostly everyone gets along. We look after each other and always lend a hand when we can. Most of us have known one another for decades and several people who grew up here now own there own homes just a few doors from where we grew up. This hasn’t just happened in my generation I know of several families that had this happen with people my parent’s age. It’s not a small backwoods mentality thing either I live in a very populated suburb of Pittsburgh. It just happens that I have been very fortunate to grow up and live in a very great community. People grow up or the family gets to big and they move away and a lot of times they wind up coming back after a little while. So it always seems to strike the street as odd when someone or some family moves in that keeps to themselves Its not that everyone else resents them or any thing no one gives said residents any sort of problem. Conversations about them just tend to go like this “ You know those people in that house?” “No, not really they keep to them selves”. “Yea that’s what I got too. They seem nice enough” “Yea they do. So what’s wrong with you lawn mower?”
Back now to my neighbors who sort of fall in to the introverted category now I don’t think they are going to pull up steaks and move anytime soon they seem to have built a very nice home for themselves and seem very happy. I sort of get the feeling from my WWII neighbor wo does talk to them ( and everyone for that matter. ) that they like the community that the street has they just sort of like to enjoy it from the out side. That’s fine they are good neighbors I don’t have any problem with them Its just that Id like to know them a little better they seem again from what I can tell to be very nice people we are around the same age and we partially share a property line. I made an attempt a few years ago to introduce myself after they had time to settle in after moving in. I saw the Dad in his back yard and I walked over to the fence to introduce myself and say hi. He was nice and polite but clearly didn’t have any interest in having a conversation. So I left it at that and we have both gone about our business for the next few years with very little other interaction. This fact is what largely fueled my nervousness about talking to them about bringing the bees into our community. You never know how people are going to react to that type of thing. But from moment I decided to get bees I knew I didn’t want to make any of my neighbors upset or uncomfortable even the few that don’t talk to me. It is after all their community too.
I had toiled in my mind as to how I would broach the topic with them and I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to do it short of walking over there and being like “Hey I know we don’t talk a lot but I want to get some bees. I know you have a bunch of kids running around so how do you feel about that?” I mean I wouldn’t have at this point any other reason to approach them. This seemed like It might be a blind side, but what other option did I have? Then the other day It happened I was in my vegetable garden harvesting some of the tomatoes that are finally starting to ripen this year and I saw him with out the kids tinkering with something used for his pool . I quickly filled a plastic grocery bag with some of my garden produce to use as sort of a bribe to get him to talk to me for more than a few minuets. I emerged from my garden and walked toward the fence. Here we go I thought. “Hey Neighbor can I interest you in some fresh garden stuff?” “Ummmmmm… Twist my arm. “Just like that we started chatting. We were talking about the little robot he uses to clean his pool and he mentioned that it sucks up bugs “speaking of bugs” I said and I mentioned my bee plan, and that I wanted to make sure all the neighbors approved before I went ahead with my plan. He thought it was a cool Idea and speculated that his kids would think that it was cool. I offered that once I had gotten used to working with the bees myself that I would be happy to open the hive for the kids to look at them and I would teach them about the bees.
With that I was able to tick another item of the prep list on my way to the great bee adventure.
Its amazing what the gift of free food can do to break the Ice. I am going to have to start giving food to all the new neighbors that move onto my little street. Hopefully in the future that food can be honey. Funny how the thing I worried about getting in between me and my neighbors is the thing that has made us (even if just a little) closer.
High five bees, well done!