From the President's Cell
By Susan Spruill
What a year 2017 has been! Before I launch into a list of all the wonderful things TCBA has accomplished, I want to pause to thank a few people. I’ll start with the Harty’s. Rick (past president) and Alice (past treasurer) have been officers for TCBA since 2011, sometimes serving 2 or more officer positions simultaneously. Their tireless dedication to TCBA is to be commended. We are where we are thanks to them. They leave big shoes to fill! Thank you! I will be taking the helm as President of TCBA for 2018. Mary Sheldon will be taking the duties of Treasurer. I’d also like to thank Michele Mejia, who served as our Vice President for 2017. Michele brought the enthusiasm of a young and enthusiastic beekeeper to this position. It was the shot in the arm we needed to take our group to the next level. Among other things, we have Michele to thank for bringing Michael Bush to present to our local beekeepers back in September. Thank you! In 2018 the Vice President duties will be handled by Zach Downing, another young and enthusiastic beekeeper. Zach has already proven his willingness to roll up his sleeves by making our 2017 Black Jar Honey Tasting Contest a reality when a series of obstacles appeared to threaten this function.
There are many more people to thank: members who have chaired committees and volunteered their time to community based activities in the name of TCBA; guests who took the time to travel to our functions or present to our group; seasoned beekeepers who have shared their experiences, whether they were successes or failures.
Isn’t that what this is all about: coming together to share our experiences and enjoy the comradery of fellow beekeepers? I would add to that a duty to educate the public about the importance of honey bees and other pollinators to our ecological wellbeing. Here’s a short list of what TCBA accomplished in 2017:
We held 6 meetings, all with potluck dinners and guest or member speakers. Topics included, preparing for spring build-up, integrated pest management, catching/baiting swarms, wax rendering, and queen rearing. The meeting attendance ranged from 15 to 30 at each meeting.
We held a picnic and a hands-on apiary inspection in June, hosted by members Mary Sheldon and Jim Ludwig. The event included a raffle for a starter hive packed full of bees from Joe Capp’s apiary.
We operated a booth at the 61st annual Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair, in Burnsville in August, where we sold local honey and answered questions about honey, bees and beekeeping. The club netted $863 in sales in 2 days. The best part: watching kids eagerly look for the queen in our observation hive.
We hosted a 2-hour presentation by renowned beekeeper and author, Michael Bush, at the Burnsville Town Center, in September. The presentation was free to the public and drew more than 120 people from 14 counties in NC, TN and SC.
We hosted our 3rd annual Mayland Black Jar Honey Tasting Contest, at Homeplace, in October. The event netted $415.
We catered a meeting in October where we elected new officers, ratified our new by-laws and shared plans for over-wintering our bees.
On top of all that, we increased our membership to 61 people!
So, what does the TCBA have in store for 2018? Well for starters, we will meet every 4th Tuesday of the month beginning February 27th. Since we like to eat, we will make all regular meetings a potluck event. Meetings will start at 6 pm (to allow time to eat and greet). All regular meetings will be held at the United Community Bank at the intersection of 197 and 19E in Burnsville, NC.
We already have a great line-up for speakers: Lewis Cauble, Phyillis Stiles, Carl Chesick, David Stallings, Paul Arnold, Scott Person so far. In between all those great speakers, we will host an annual picnic and hands-on apiary inspection, operate a booth at the 62nd annual Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair, host the 4th annual Mayland Black Jar Honey Tasting Contest and maybe even host another internationally known speaker. We will also be expanding our print and video library, working with community groups like Dig-In and master gardeners of Mitchell and Yancey counties, working with the Yancey County Extension Services to create a “honey house” for TCBA members to use to extract their honey and building a website to house all our amazing information. However, none of this happens on its own. If you are already a member of the TCBA, please volunteer to help one of the committees that’s making these things happen. If you are not a member, but you are interested in beekeeping, or pollinators in general, please consider joining us. Your membership helps us bring in speakers, add equipment for sharing and add reference materials to our library. There is no better way to learn about honeybee and the art of beekeeping than to join a local beekeeper’s association.
To stay informed of our activities you can follow us on Facebook at @toecane. We will continue to send periodic updates via our Mailchimp (if you are getting this you are already on our mailing list).
Wishing each and every one of you a Happy New Year,
2018 President, TCBA