Honey

bee
Richard Juday is an engineer, retired from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.  In 2000 he married Darcy, who was living at the time in Ft. Collins, and they settled in Longmont after she told him it was halfway between Ft. Collins and Houston.  He has continued his engineering on an occasional consulting basis, and you can read some of what he’s been up to in the April 2013 issue of Popular Science.

He began beekeeping about 40 years ago and after a break of several years he resumed it after moving to Longmont. This is an insidious hobby, since it’s so tempting to respond to a “swarm call” even if all the present hives are doing well and you don’t really need another hive.  Having a hive makes him lots happier than not having one at all, two makes him happier yet (but not quite twice as happy), three happier yet (but not thrice as happy, nor even one and a half times as happy as having two).  You see the progression; at some point it becomes more like work than play.  His present hive count of five or six seems to be optimal for him — there is the economy of scale in that the cleanup from extracting several hives is the same as cleaning up from one, and the kitchen stays gummy the same length of time, too.

As a hobbyist, Richard is not under the same pressure as some commercial beekeepers, and as a consequence he has not felt it necessary to use pesticides or other chemicals on his bees.  He uses locally bred “survivor queens” that have come from lines that are able to live well in this climate.  The three humming hives on his back porch get a good deal of attention (though no complaints) from folks walking on the neighborhood greenway, and nearby home gardeners report that their crops have been doing better since he put the hives in.  The fine flavor of his honey owes to the variety of flowers in the neighborhood.

Richard has a number of other hobbies, the most time-consuming of which are auto restoration (1957 MGA) and woodworking (there’s a 1000 square foot shop in his basement).  He and Darcy travel as much as they can and enjoy Colorado’s splendid outdoor opportunities when at home.  Having lived in Houston for 40 years, Richard has little patience for those who complain of so-called “heat” during the Colorado summers.

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