Sunday, April 20, 2008

Here's the buzz...

We installed our new package of bees yesterday. It was quite an experience, and that is putting it mildly. Let's just say that there was crying.The bees come in this little wooden box with screen on both sides. We picked up the bees on Friday, but didn't install until the following day because the weather was so much nicer. Friday was very cold, very windy, and very cloudy. Saturday was sunny, warm, and mild. It was gorgeous. And bees like gorgeous days too.
I got all my bee gear on, and got ready. Who am I kidding? I may have been ready physically, but wasn't even near ready emotionally. You see, I have a fear of bees. Always have. If a bee happens to land on me, I have to run, scream, and wave frantically. Oh, I know very well that bees won't hurt you unless they feel threatened, that the best thing to do is just act calm, that the bee isn't really diabolical, yadda, yadda, yadda. But man, if I happen to not run and scream and wave frantically, it is only because I am talking myself down off that ledge with great fervor. Which, I know, begs the question...Why am I keeping bees?

Good question. My answer is that I don't know. Therapy? No, I guess it is because we are striving for self-sufficiency and honey is a part of that. What I don't know is why I am the so-called beekeeper in the family. That is the real question.

So anyway, there I was, all ready in my protective clothing. Don was manning the camera and Caleb and Meagan were there, ready to watch. I removed the wooden pieces from the bee box that were holding the screen in place. And started to pour...

A good majority of the bees just plopped right into the hive. It was actually quite amazing to see.

But, that is about where the pictures stop. Because Don had to come help me. I was getting a little panicky. You see, the bees wouldn't all come. And I couldn't figure out how to slap the side of the box to dislodge them when the side was covered with bees and I was told to be extremely careful to avoid smashing one or there would be an alarm scent emitted which would make the other bees frantic. And I was pretty much ready to just set the box down, walk away, and hope the bees figured it out.

So, there I was, in my protective clothing, breathing quite rapidly, while I watched my unprotected husband...and children...finish the job.

Yes, I'm a big pansy.

I did have to walk away at one point to remove a bee from inside my pant leg. I had planned to secure the bottoms of my pant legs with elastic straps, but in the excitement of the whole thing, forgot. And, well, the wide-legged fashion of today does leave a lot of room for bees to enter. I do have to pat myself on the back because while everything in me wanted to slap my leg silly, I was able to control myself and gently pull up my leg to let her out. I'm currently waiting to receive some sort of award in bravery. I'm quite certain I deserve it for that.

Anyway, we finally got all the bees in, put their feeder in place, and secured the hive. And yes, I'm using "we" quite liberally here.

And then I walked away from the hive. And my legs were jelly. And I felt like I needed to lay down. It was probably 30 minutes later when I actually started to cry. Yeah, this is a great hobby for me. I didn't out and out sob, but I did lose it just a little. I just needed a little release.

When I started to suggest that we just give the hive to our friends and let them just supply us with honey in return, that's when Don put his foot down. And realized that he had just acquired a new hobby.

Oh, I kid. I'll try again. I just may require a tranquilizer beforehand.


Prairie Chick said...

Oh wow. You do deserve an award! I hereby award you with the award for being braver than I :D

Lona said...

I am right there with you, chicky. I love, admire and respect bees--from a distance.

We buy our honey from this guy that has no fear...