Wednesday, April 8, 2009

10,000 Bees in the Snow!

Yesterday was unbelievably hectic.  I didn't plan it that way but that's how it turned out.  I had a speaking engagement for a local gardening club.  I took Jeremy with me to help tote things back and forth.  We set up our demonstration table in a beautiful home.  Behind me was an antique apothecary cabinet - filled with antique bottles of medicine, mortars and pestles and was LOVELY! I think I covet.

So good!

Then the phone call came and the chaos began.

Just before I began to speak I received a phone call from home. Therein the trouble begins!  Josiah called to tell me that our bees were in.....OUR BEES WERE IN!  I took down the phone number and called to make sure....yep...they were in.  I didn't think I could get there before they closed so they said I could pick them up in the morning....that they were in a cattle trailer outside covered with a tarp.  Hhmmmm.....

The ladies arrived and I began to teach, and cook and demonstrate using herbs in all areas of your home.  These ladies were SO interested, they asked questions, they took notes, they whispered among themselves, they asked more questions....then when we were finished they began to purchase....there wasn't as much to tote back to the car which was a good thing.  They have decided to book a class on my farm to learn more about herbal medicine.  It will be a fun group and I'm looking forward to that!  But all of this was taking time and I was thinking about those bees...

Jeremy and I packed up and headed out to fill two propane tanks so we could heat the greenhouse that was predicted to be below 28...not good for my baby tomatoes!  I thought about those bees....and 28 degrees....and an open cattle trailer....  The propane guy told Jeremy that it was snowing on Viking Mountain - just a few short miles away.

We ran to the lumber yard to pick up a sheet of plywood for a birthing stall....and I thought about those bees.....

The lumber yard was already half way to the bee farm....and it was beginning to snow!  Yes dear readers, I was driving around in a raging SNOW storm....I just couldn't believe it....and I couldn't stop thinking about those bees.

I called the bee farm to see if someone would still be there and they said to come I did!

Now, I have to tell you that this is not how I planned to pick up bees.  It is an hour from my house and the thought of 10,000 bees in my car is a little unnerving.  Someone (or several someones) ALWAYS escapes!  I planned to take my veil, and my gloves and a large cardboard box to put the boxes of bees in....just in case!  I didn't have ANY of those things with me.  But I just didn't think it would be good to leave them outside overnight in weather that would be below 28!  Let's just say that Jeremy wasn't too thrilled either...bees are not his thing.

We got to the bee was busy...lots of people picking up bees!  And boy was I thankful for the pouring snow!  You see, cold makes bees lethargic...they form a ball to keep each other warm and then they take turns being on the inside and the outside - sort of a revolving ball....really neat! And quiet!

Normally when I pick up bees, they are buzzing...and sound angry.....and I am sure they are devising a jail break!  They were SO quiet....because it was SO cold.  We picked up our 3 packages and stopped to brush off strays that were clinging to the outside of the boxes - an easy job in the pouring snow.  They weren't stinging, weren't flying, weren't was great!  We put them in the back of the van and didn't hear a peep out of them all the way home.  No need for gloves or a veil.  Jeremy was thankful...the thought of riding home with his Mom wearing a beekeeper's hat and veil along with elbow length gloves was embarrassing - he was sure I'd get pulled over by the police.  I figured if a cop stopped me he'd understand when he saw the bees - in fact I figured it might be the shortest stop in history!

The bees were placed in my Mom's basement where they will stay for the next couple of days until it warms up enough to put them in their hives.

10,000 bees!

It is warmer in my Mom's basement....within just a short time they were beginning to make noise...I'm sure they were complaining about the cold....and they sounded angry....

Do they look angry?

I think I'll stay out of the basement for the next few days!



  1. You have such an interesting life! :)

    Your mom is brave--my mom would never let me put bees in her basement!

  2. i am shaking my head,just can't believe it. there is a lot of confidence when i say, those little apis mellifera linnaeus would not have been in my car and i LOVE HONEY. you are so funny (scary), kidding! and believe i have had to do strange things to get the job done but this, nope, don't think so.haha

  3. Wow! Can't imagine what an adventure that was! My husband is on the phone right now with someone that is also ordering bees, and will order some for us. Hopefully I won't have to go pick them up! Hope it warms up for you soon.

  4. You are a brave woman, Cheri! We have our first hive this year. Brandon is my beekeeper and he loves it. I watch from a safe distance! We just lost half of our hive to a swarm. Our bee mentor/friend said that just happens sometimes when another queen is about to hatch. We hoped to find the swarm but so far we haven't. We are learning so much. Happy beekeeping!

  5. Glad you could bee safe. :)

  6. Cool! Note to self: get bees when it's cold.


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