Thursday, March 28, 2013

Georgia On My Mind

-Posted by Isaac

Vacations- 
Jayne and I have recently been trading off. Last month was me in New Orleans. Then she took a trip to Illinois to visit a friend, and this week it was my turn again; Georgia for package bees.
Some of you may have heard about the higher then normal bee death we've experienced in Ohio this winter. So far, and we're not yet in the clear, I've heard that it's up around a 60% die off. Our own bees didn't fare that bad but we were not untouched either. Day after day this month, checking hives, I'd come in to report more bad news to Jayne. I got a bit drama-queenish. Finally (I think it was her suggestion) the idea came up to try and replenish with package bees out of Georgia. What a brilliant girl I married!
I called about six places down south, got on waiting lists, and luckily a few days later got a call from Gardners in Baxley, GA.
Hey, drama queen times call for drama queen measures.

So I left this cold miserable weather and drove 13 hours to the sunny south. By Nashville the snow-white dogwoods were calling out for attention, and by the time I hit Georgia I was in a flowering beekeeper's Eden.
Wisteria vining through another tree. 

Does anyone know what kind of tree this is below? Some kind of tulip?

Here's an up-close shot of the tree's blooms.
Tangent-
Traveling with a companion is of course more memorable, but being alone on the rode has its benefits also. You just find yourself some good traveling music (Ryan Bingham), a good book (David Sedaris), and  some bad food (Huddle House and Hardees, in honor of Wayne Morris, my late great Montana bee boss)... No screaming kids.... You let your mind wonder, 70 mph, and just sort of pick through the years --the people, and places and friends-- until it becomes somewhat therapeutic. At some point, it always happens, I stumble on the bigger, more encompassing thoughts. I'm sure this happens to everyone. The important and universal questions --life, death, love, hurt, continuity... the world and my   place and how I came to be doing just what I happen to be doing at this moment. Big life questions like, "Where did I go wrong anyway?"
(kidding!)

 Halfway there, Gardners called and backed up my order a day, which resulted in two good things: one, a free day in the sun to vacation. Two, I could delay driving the bees back home through the most recent Ohio blizzard.
The kids and Jayne enjoyed the Ohio snow while I was in the Georgia sun
My sister Becky told me I should check out historic Jekyll Island off the Georgia coast. Sounded like a good way to kill some time.
I quickly discovered that Jekyll Island is a place where wealthy northerners like myself come to play.
See -- They were expecting me.

And play I did. Miles and miles of beach, dunes, bike trails and forest.
 Mine, all mine!

A good omen: on a long run down the beach, within the first forty minutes, I picked up three (almost) perfect sand dollars, one for each of my three (almost) perfect children.

About a mile of the run was spent zig-zagging through a driftwood "enchanted forest."

And a little history: In the late 1800's Jekyll Island was a retreat for some hefty Guilded Age tycoons like J. P. Morgan, Frank Goodyear and the Rockefellers. Here are some of their summer "cottages."


It's all golf, tennis and croquet here.
"Scuse me, ... I'm lookin' fer the cornhole tourney?"

They do have a campground for folks like me. $23 for a "primitive" site -- Outrageous!
My spot looked like something straight out of the Mesozoic.
Didn't like the price to sleep on the ground, but then I promptly spent more on dinner. Food's important!
The island pizza joint somehow managed to have Fat Tire amber ale on tap. (A Colorado beer that has no business on the east coast.) Well that just figures...

With a big Monday of driving bees north, and before a Georgia velociraptor could snatch me for breakfast, I beat it out of there pretty early. Past the golf course, the country clubs and mansions, across the bridge and back to real life. Just a few miles off the island, I came across this place:
Mattress, anyone? 
At the time I was in no great need of gas, but I couldn't resist pulling in anyway. The irony was just too much.

Packages loaded and ready to go... a long road ahead and more wandering thoughts.

Taking off, north out of Baxley Georgia, I glanced out to see this-- a beekeeper with his priorities obviously in the right place:
The future of Honeyrun Farm?
Yeah right... Keep dreamin, buddy!
"Jayne Honey, my Love, my Darlin', my Dumplin'... if we work hard enough... if and only if... someday maybe pay down these debts... we'll get out of this here shotgun shack, and put'cha plop down up yonder in a fine trailer."
"With steps and all!"
"Fit for a beekeepin' queen!"

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