Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bees Knees

My co-worker has been better about bringing a camera to the job than I have been.

Here's one where I look a bit too happy to be putting bee candy in a hive, and working without a veil:

I wondered if I was just enjoying the view in this one, then I remembered being asked to turn around to show the bees that were all over the back of my coat, a good reason to keep the veil on:

Here I am on top of the last truckload of bees heading south-there are 320 large beehives below me, this time the bees have the veil:

Happy holidays !

Monday, December 1, 2014


I have a few horse experiences to share from my past week.

The day before Thanksgiving I was still busy at the bee farm wrapping up hives for shipment down south.  The owner was back, and with a team of three we were knocking down the yards.

The owner took over my job of cracking and assessing the hives.  I darted about with the cordless drill closing up the entrance reducers.  My co-worker stayed in his slot of strapping the hives down to pallets.  I also ran interference, hauling boxes of bee candy and helping position straps.

We got to one yard, an Amish farm complete with windmill.  Far off in the distance I could see a group of horses, and as I stepped out of the truck, I said to my co-worker, "oh, I hope the horses come to see me!"

So we went about our business, tending the hives, and J said, hey, Tree, here come the horses!

I kept about my work, and he repeated, "here come the horses!"

So I stopped and looked up.  The hives were backed against a single line, and a group of 8 or so workhorses were coming to investigate.  And I mean workhorses.  They were VERY large.  At least 18 hands, most of them dark bays with white markings-Cleveland Bays? I haven't looked them up, but that came to mind when I saw them.

Three of the herd were more bold, one especially dark one came forward first.  I turned to face them, and unzipped my bee hood to reveal my head.

They were taken aback, literally,  the look on their faces was one of surprise, and they all stepped back. I extended my hand over the fence, but had no takers.

So I went back to my work, but still distracted.  Boss kept working.  I tired to lighten the mood, asking him if his Dad had had workhorses, but Boss was raised around tractors.  Hmmm.

I looked at the herd again.  They were hard to ignore, so huge and close, watching us.  Finally a huge graying chestnut muscled his way through the group, shouldering the others out of his way, and made his way to the fenceline.  I reached my hand out.  I talked softly.  he allowed me to stroke his muzzle.  I wondered what was going on with the heirarchy, the first arrivals appearing to be the leaders, but too shy to approach me, and then the old geezer finally shoving them out of the way to show his courage.

Maybe they just smelled the sugar in the bee candy.

There was a tiny chestnut mare in the herd, a little shetland or welsh pony that had her mane roached and it was growing out at all crazy angles.  She didn't approach the fence, but she clearly had a secure place among the giant geldings.


Sunday we worked at the goat farm.  There is a young Great Pyranees there that is such a handful at one point I nickneamed him "monster".  One of the many bad things he likes to do is torment the Norwegian Fjord filly. Not satisified with that bad behavior, he has moved on to the older Fjord mare.

Sunday we still had quite a bit of snow from our Thanksgiving noreaster. The mare was hanging about the barn area, Monster being loose.  All of a sudden I heard Boss shout, and exclaim, and saw the dog hot on the heels of the mare who was trotting out into the snow laden pasture.

I jogged toward the pasture, "Maaia, HO!" I shouted, while Boss, Mr Boss, and Firebird were all yelling at the dog.  The mare stopped in the field, the dog lunging and barking.  I went out to her, Maia, steady, easy girl, while the dog kept at her, all others yelling at the dog to quit.  The Firebird wisely kept his distance, and I called to him to get a halter.  I muttered, "I am getting her out of this equation."

He came with the wrong halter , but also a lead rope.  Of course the mare chose that moment to trot off, and the whole scene repeated.  I approached her, steady Maia.  I did my quicky lead over the neck and around the nose makeshift halter trick, accidently smacking her in the face with the clip as it sailed over behind her ears...sorry Maia, I said softly.

I slowly led her back to the barn, Monster trotting along at her heels, and put her in the paddock, feeling bad that she was getting punished.,  Monster was still avoiding capture.

I walked over to the pasture gate, he trotting ahead of me, to avoid capture, and I started to shut him out in the pasture.  Boss said, What are you doing?"  Well, I had a plan.  Given the choice of me clipping the lead on his collar or being shut in exile out in the pasture, he conceded and came to me.

He then was tied to his lead in the barn aisle, and the filly and mare let back out.  They eventually worked their way to the farrrrr end of the pasture by the time I had to bring them in.

I love horses, but bringing the horses in I find somewhat of a chore, because they, especially the older mare, choose to get as far away from the barn as possible because it takes longer to fetch her and more grass she can stuff in while you are making the trek. And I have heard the filly won't allow herself to be caught by some.

So I headed out, trudging along the fenceline through the deep slush, two halters slung over my shoulder.  The filly saw me coming and started trotting towards me.  Yes, she literally trotted across that length of hill and field and came right up to me.  Pretty little Estrella.

Once I put her up I still had to trek across the whole field to get Maia.  But she had a rough morning, so I didn't mind too much.