Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2 a.m. - Our Babies are Home

-Posted by Isaac

I just dropped the last load of bees off, it's drizzling, 2 a.m., and now I'm too hopped up on Coke (the caffeinated sort) to sleep. Might as well post about it.
The apple pollination came off without a hitch this year. No break-downs, no busted hives, a few stings, and (Thank God!), no burying the truck in the mud and running home at three in the morning.
Off the wagons, onto the truck...
 We were lucky enough to have a rainy day taking the bees into the orchards, and almost lucked out today, bringing them out.  Almost... I had to wait a couple hours, catching a mid-afternoon nap under the apple trees. What a pleasant respite... unfortunately I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture of the big hunks of pollen the bees were bringing in. By 5 p.m. the rain had started again and that's when the work began.
Night pictures: I starting thinking about this post a little late.
Rainy midnight caffeine stop
 No real troubles. Just nine hours of trucking and lifting. I just dropped the last yard off, finishing with a big hive:
All done: 1:45 a.m.
 I called the yard rent landowners earlier this evening to let them know I was coming, possibly in the wee hours of the night. One conversation went like this:
"1 a.m.? In the dark? In the rain?"
"Yeah, should be about that time... I hope my diesel doesn't wake you."
"Well if it does, don't expect me to get up and help you. You picked a kinda nasty line of work, didn't you?"
"Are you kidding? I love this. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing right now. Well... maybe one thing. (ha, ha, ha.)"
"I don't know, man. I don't know about you beekeepers."

I was being a little cynical, but the truth is I really do love the pollination work. Alone with the night, my thoughts, the road and the bees. I love it. I can think of about a hundred things that could be worse. A real job (teaching) for instance.

This year the moving of bees was made easier with these special bottom boards I built during the winter:

They have a little trap door on a swivel so the bees can simply be closed in when it's time for the move.

And then opened back up when the bees are brought back to their home yard.

One benefit of moving hives for pollination is that it's easy to change a bee yard or set up a new yard in a better location.

When the bees come out of the orchards, you can fill your new yard quickly without carrying nucs and splits one at a time.

 I set the blocks and timbers for this new bee yard a couple weeks ago. It was a sunny warm day, so Bridger came along for the ride. While I worked on it, maybe twenty minutes, he wondered up the slope toward the lane we had just been on to access the location. I watched him a minute from about thirty yards off, but from the angle I stood I could only see him from the knees up. He was throwing rocks and seemed pretty content. When I finally walked over to get him, I found out why he was so content:
Umm... Mommy may not be happy about this.

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