Husband home for the weekend, back from London, announced he would spend the entire weekend working on his term paper. (doing a masters degree in forestry, along with a full time job in the city and ‘helping’ run the farm).
Suddenly a frantic call from the barn. His Bees have swarmed. They have found a lovely spot in a very crooked tree, down a steep slope. So Richard (helper lurking around the farm) is sent to rent a cherry picker and I am off to collect a nucleus. I have no idea what a nucleus is, although I took very a intensive bee course that ran over several weeks with hands on experience. After which I decided I NEVER wanted bees.
The little buggers stung me in my calf the first time I was asked to feed them. (Because husband in London earning to pay for the farm). That is pouring sugar syrup (I now buy 20 kilo bags of sugar) into plastic bottles, lugging them to the hives, lifting the top, then pouring the sticky liquid into a plastic dish while hundreds of little disturbed bees surge out of the slots and buzz angrily around you. I made the mistake of leaving a gap around my trouser leg. One bee was all it took. A bee sting feels like someone throwing a dart into your skin. I pride myself that I have a high pain threshold, but this REALLY hurts. I ended up on antibiotics as my calf became infected. I hope this doesn’t discourage anyone from having bees…
Jo Stover has daily adventures on her small farm, together with her Highland cattle and Portland sheep, bees, a few hens, dogs, and some two-legged family and friends.