PODCAST EPISODE 50: Geoff Ball, beekeeper from Ballan, Victoria (and many other places), Australia
Can you believe it has been one whole year since the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast released its inaugural episode? Me neither! What a journey! Both fast and slow (when you think of all the incredible, frightening, life-changing, existentially rocking things that have happened during that time), the past year has been a whirlwind with huge consequences. I have done more thinking, reflecting, and changing in the last twelve months than perhaps ever before – and that’s not just the new haircut, new job, new car kind of changes of past transitional phases. I mean, REALLY deep and still evolving changes in thinking and acting – how do my actions affect the environment, the people I love, my community, my business, my life, the lives of others, the lives of bees! Of course, still always thinking of the bees (some things stay the same).
For these reasons, I wanted to ask a special guest to the Ben’s Bees recording studio for episode 50 (yes, the big 5-0!) of the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast: the enchanting, hardworking and wise Geoff Ball – an 82-year-old beekeeper, the oldest beekeeper I know, a keeper whose love of bees started 70 whole years ago when Geoff was just 12 years old and helping his dad out with his hives.
I appreciate the hard yakka of Geoff’s early days – and while it makes me feel a little sad to think of how hard things were for him and his family, it also brings tears of joy and admiration to think of the resilience of humans and the joyful spirit with which people get things done, make changes and build their lives and passions. When his dad came over from England, he started keeping bees, leaving ten hives behind. His father was farmhand and worked 18-hour days, earning the equivalent of only $3 per week! And then, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: whilst setting up his beekeeping business. his father extracted a large trove of honey from his hives and in one week sold enough honey to equate to 62 weeks’ pay! Joy! This gave Geoff’s father the means to buy a truck and expand his business – soon, Geoff and his brothers were helping with the business. These days, things haven’t changed, with Geoff still managing (wait for it) 750 hives! What a champion.
However, things have slowed down a little – Geoff only works 14-hour days now (ha ha) and admits to having a sneaky afternoon nap from time to time. For these reasons and a million more, I am thrilled to introduce you to the delightful Geoff Ball for special episode 50 if the BEES WITH BEN beekeeping podcast. Thank you for listening and be sure to keep tuning in for year two of this fantastic conversation about all thing’s bee-related!