Monday, March 30, 2009

There's a new beekeeper in town.

Caleb celebrated his 10th birthday while Don's folks were here. You can tell he is getting more mature because after opening his presents, he said to me, "Mom, I sure like getting practical things more than just toys." Can I just say that choruses of "Hallelujah" were ringing through my head? Because if I have one nemesis in life, it is the seemingly endless supply of toys that seem to stream through our house.

Caleb's gift from us was this beekeeper's suit.Okay, so maybe it's a wee bit of a gift to myself as well. You see, I am terrified of bees. Last year's experience with them did not help at all. Not that anything happened, mind you. I was just expecting to go through some sort of "therapy" with them and end up completely at ease around the little stinging maniacs. Unfortunately, I was so scared, I wound up dizzy and sweating if I was anywhere near them. I spent the season standing 30 feet away shouting instructions (I was the only one who had read the books) to Don and Caleb while they did the dirty work. I tried getting nearer, but if just one single bee flew anywhere near me, it took all my concentrated effort to not run screaming into the sunset.

A little historical sidenote is that our bees killed the queen before she was able to lay any eggs and therefore we developed a case of "laying workers" which, for a single hive, is pretty much a death sentence. Our hive did eventually die off, so we ordered a second hive body and 2 packages this year and are hoping for better luck.

Anyway, Caleb has absolutely no fear of bees. He even remained calm when one tried to kill him stung him. And so he started to express an interest in taking over the work of beekeeping. Let me just say that he didn't have to ask twice. I pounced. Our plan is to have him work these 2 hives this year, under our (and I use that word loosely) tutelage and then, if he can handle it, let him take over next year. He plans to add some hives of his own at that time and turn buckets of honey into buckets of money.

Last year, he did most of any bee work without the benefit of any sort of protection and frankly, didn't want any. However, we never had to harvest honey last year. My understanding is that bees are not too happy when we human-types rob them. So, despite his protests that he is just fine, I insisted that he would need some protection this year. And so we picked this bee suit up for him from the local beekeeper's store for his birthday. I'd say he was pretty pleased. I think he loves the official look and feel of it. I also have a full coverage suit now that we picked up late last year so that, hopefully, I can get near them and help. Otherwise, I'll look pretty silly all decked out in my beesuit standing on the other side of the yard. Actually, I'm okay with that too.

Another gift he received was a really neat handmade yellow shirt from my cousin that says "Got honey?" on it. It was such a clever idea.

Caleb is now ready for these bees to arrive. They are coming from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms near the end of April. We hope to have a little bit better luck with these bees, in part because of the way they will be packaged. Anyway, I'll be sure to post pictures when the big day comes.

Oh, and by the way, another BIG deal for Caleb on his birthday, a huge deal for any military brat child of a military member, was to finally be able to get his own ID. We went up to the base just a few days after his birthday and now he is proudly carrying that around in his wallet. My baby is growing up way to fast.

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