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‘Just love every second of it’
Retirees discover passion for beekeeping in Coldbrook
As Thelma and Wayne MacDonald’s love blossomed, so too did a passion for beekeeping.
The Coldbrook couple married about five years ago. They started searching for something they could do together as a fun hobby.
“He was trying to come up with something that we could do together. His father had been a beekeeper way back but he never learned much about it,” said Thelma, adding at first, it wasn’t a hobby she thought she’d like.
“I always thought, ‘no, I don’t care how much protection I had, I don’t want all those bees over me.’”
That fear quickly dissipated. “I love them,” she said, grinning. “Just love every second of it.”
The couple attended the Honey Harvest Festival in Avondale on Sept. 9, providing visitors with information about the pollinators as well as tips on beekeeping.
She said their passion for beekeeping blossomed just like the vast array of flowers in their backyard, which are all designed to attract pollinators and butterflies.
Wayne says he gets great enjoyment out of their mutual hobby.
“I take a certain pride in making some of my own equipment. It’s something that my wife and I are both interested in, so it’s nice having a common interest. It’s fun,” he said.
The couple first started looking into beekeeping prior to the worldwide pandemic and took a few courses. During COVID, they took a course online and were hooked.
A CLUB IS BORN
Thelma said their mentor Alex Crouse, of Port Williams, who was a former president
of the Nova Scotia Beekeepers Association, died in 2022. They were saddened by the news and wanted to gather with like-minded people to continue talking about beekeeping.
“We thought we need some people to talk to, to learn together with, or who have advanced knowledge beyond what we have,” recalled Thelma. “So we just started, by word of mouth, asking a few people to meet once a month in our living room.”
There’s about 20 people on the club’s mailing list, and usually 10 to 12 show up for the near monthly meetings.
She said they have “very rich conversations – everything from beekeeping and extracting honey to a whole bunch of other things. We’re becoming friends as well.”
Her husband agrees. He said the Kings County Beekeepers Club is an excellent way to share new ideas and troubleshoot.
“The main point of our group is to learn from each other and with each other,” he said. “If one of us makes a bad mistake, we tell the others and hopefully that saves somebody else from making the same mistake.”
The couple had initially capped their hives at six, but after a few swarms were offered, they’ve expanded to have nine hives.
Thelma said a lot of what they make goes out the door as gifts. She does informally sell some of the honey to friends, but the retiree isn’t planning on pursuing that as a business. She also makes beeswax candles.