John Butler's Lessons From Beekeeping And 'Leave Alone Beekeeping'
Updated: 28th January 2021
Honey bees at a bee hive entrance.
The Wisdom Of The Bees And 'Leave-Alone Beekeeping'
Recently, I discovered a wonderful You Tube channel featuring videos of a Mr John Butler, who, at the time of writing, is 83 years old.
In each video, this quietly-spoken, gentle, dear man shares his wisdom, sometimes responding to deep and sometimes challenging human questions about life, the mind, meditation and more. He brings comfort to me, and I feel sure, comfort to many in these strange times.
However, the reason I decided to share one of his videos on this website is because in this particular video, John reveals why he became what he calls, a 'leave-alone beekeeper'.
As well as being a beekeeper, it is clear from his videos that he has a keen love of nature and the countryside. He was also, at one time, an organic farmer - one of the first to practice this method commercially in the UK, and he explains why he preferred the traditional farming methods at a time when farming was changing.
A swarm of honey bees on a tree branch.
Below is a transcript of part of the video (the whole video is only 10 minutes long), and below that, the video itself.
"As a farmer, I was farming at a time when traditional farming was being taken over by rather clever scientists who knew everything about everything: how to fertilize the soil, how to control the bugs and grow bigger this and that. I was pretty sceptical about it at the time, and the longer I farmed the more I considered the wonder of the soil and I knew just about enough science to not be too impressed by the latest science. I trusted man ever less and nature ever more....
There's an old saying: "the more you know, the less you know".
It's quite true.
I used to look at the wonders of my soil and say; "who am I to impose my will on this miracle?".
I used to keep bees, for 40 years I was a beekeeper. I remember one day I opened my hive and was wonderstruck at what I saw really - the marvellous, marvellous sight that greeted me of these bees all knowing exactly what to do, and there and then I stopped trying to control them, you know, I became what's known as a 'leave-alone beekeeper', I put the lid back down, left them to it, stopped trying to impose my will on them. I always had enough honey..."
I recommend taking a look at John's You Tube channel if you are seeking comfort and reassurance at this time - although it is obviously not a channel about beekeeping.
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