Every fall I seem to write about my micro loans through Kiva. This is my third update even though it’s numbered two, had I an idea I would update every now and then I would have used numbers in the first. At present, I only have one loan outstanding and it is almost paid back. I have withdrawn my last $25 and when the last bit is paid back I will donate it to Kiva. While last year I was nearly certain that the three failed loans wouldn’t affect my loaning, it has. I have a sadness when I try to think all the loans I funded, all 6, and why I couldn’t fund more, because the partner organization took the money from the lendees and decided not to return it to the lenders. I was totally prepared for hardship on the part of the lendee and the inability to return the funds. It never occurred to me that I would face dishonesty and lose my investment. It wasn’t hundreds of dollars, it was just enough that I was unable to reinvest without dumping more into the program. I admit, I liked seeing how many people my $100 dollars helped. The first 3 people I picked resulted from 2007 in loss in 2009, yet I continued. I added $25 more to my account and helped 3 more groups, one in 2008 and two in 2009. The last one from 2009 is almost paid off but I need a break.
As a family, we have always been generous with the resources we are given, but as time goes on we find ourselves looking more at our neighbors. We have chosen to support our local food bank and other charities. I still have a heart for those in need worldwide which is why one of the charities I still support is Mully Children’s Family, a Kenyan family caring for Kenyan children in need.
Over a year ago I read a book that discussed self-sufficiency on a small-scale: keep a couple of chickens, a rabbit or two, learn to knit, play an instrument for entertainment, etc. The woman took a hands-on approach and tried these things and wrote about her experiences. I was absolutely mesmerized by the beekeeping account. I felt for her, she made many mistakes even with a mentor beekeeper, she lost a queen and had a bear attack. That right there kept me from jumping into beekeeping, bears are sited around these parts often enough for it to be a legitimate concern.
My brother-in-law and his wife have some chickens. I thought about chickens, but I really don’t want hands-on animals. Chickens would be nice for the garden, keep bugs down, and be needy. We couldn’t travel or be gone very long without chickensitters. I don’t know how to sit a chicken, I can guess they need food and water of some sort but that’s about it.
My husband and his brothers grew up on a bird farm, they raised bobwhite quail and I think one other type of bird to sell. They all had to help feed and care for them. He and I have discussed some responsibility for Boo Bear when he is bigger. But I have family 800 miles away and like to visit at least once a year, so the critters have to be able to either care for themselves for 10-15 days or we have to kennel them. Our house cats get a sitter by means of looker-iners.
Enter the bees. We like honey, we cook with honey, our extended family likes honey. I don’t have to pet the bees, I don’t have to clean up their poop, they can be left for a week or two and most likely be fine if precautions have been taken to keep them well fed and safe. I put out a plea to friends on a social networking site and within 15 minutes a friend stepped up who has been keeping bees for years. I have a husband of another acquaintance who beekeeps as well and would sit down with me and talk about bees. While there is no rush, there is. Bees need to be ordered soon to be delivered next spring as they can sell out. I need to get a bee house prepared for them as well as some basic equipment. Luckily, I have one bee mentor lined up and the possibility of another.
Do you keep bees? What don’t I know?