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To Bee or not to Bee
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
London Christian Prayer Breakfast
Mt. Pleasant & Oakland Cemeteries A Place of History, Nature, Tranquility and Caring
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Kids Say The Darndest Things (HUMOUR)

By Helena Smrcek



A couple of springs ago, despite my husband’s objections, I got bees. I found several YouTube channels to educate me, sunny spot in my garden, and a supply store. He wasn’t happy.

The bee numbers grew. By the end of our second summer I had six hives. The honey harvest was amazing. My husband, now sure that the bees were not evil plotters, waiting for him to walk out the front door, with their stingers sharpened, actually built me a nice bench to house my hives.

Then the wasps came and decimated the population by half. By the end of the winter, not one of my weakened colonies survived. I was sad.

I called my supplier, e-mailed a few bee farms, but there were no bees for sale left. Then I remembered my husband’s golfing buddy. The man promised me a hive. There was hope. Only I was invited to a friend’s cottage that weekend.

“All you have to do is open the empty hive, take the frames out of the box, and insert them and close it.”
“With the bees on the frames?”
“Of course, where else?”
“Yeah, like that’s going to happen,” he scoffed, and quickly left the room.
No cottage for me.

Saturday evening I looked toward the setting sun. My bee-dealer was late. Bees don’t like being bothered in the dark, I earned that knowledge, plus a sting, last summer.

The temperature dropped. Anything below 15C was not good for them, and the forecast for Sunday promised single digits and rain. Bees hate cold and wet weather.

When they finally arrived I had only minutes to spare. I cut the tape. Pulled out the first frame. Ignored my stinging gardening gloves. Number two went in. The buzzing pitch changed. The third frame cost me several stings in my face, and when the fourth frame got stuck, and I had to tap it in, I knew I was done for.

Back in the house my son helped me to pat mud all over my face and arms. I spent the night on the sofa sleeping with a clay mask, resembling the Phantom of the Opera. As it dried, every movement reminded me that I did purchase the beekeeping gear for a reason.

The next morning I woke up, too scared to look into the mirror. The last swelling stayed with me for two weeks. Did I mention that I was leaving for an overseas trip in five short days? I simply had to resemble my passport photo. Somewhat.

I looked in the mirror. My face was red, but recognizable. I was relieved. The trip was still on. Despite the rain, I ventured outside to see my buzzing friends. I told them I forgave them, then rushed home. As I applied more clay, I thought of our first batch of honey, when my husband proclaimed he loved bees the best of all our animals, because they produced something so delicious, and were no work at all. Yeah, right.