Yep. It’s been one of those days. Today is Jasper’s 14th birthday, and instead of celebrating by going to a Renaissance Faire, we had to get up early to go learn more about bees before bringing a hive home. Early as we were up, Mary was up earlier preparing for and then running her first half marathon! She did well and we are so proud of her! Here is a photo she posted after the race:
So anyway, Jasper and I took off for the bee farm, and I realized I had lost the directions and couldn’t remember how to get there. I pulled over at a gas station and called Dick, the guy whose place it is, and he gave me directions. The only problem was that he told me to turn left on “25” and when we found “25,” it only went right. So I made things much worse by trying to find the route with my GPS.
It was bad. The GPS was royally confused and kept telling us to turn onto the north side of the highway instead of the south. Here it was Jasper’s birthday, and I’m totally failing to get him to his bee class. I was so stressed. There were tears. Finally, after driving around for more than an hour, we found one of the roads we needed. (It turned out that “25” was actually “21.”)We still drove several miles on it the wrong way before turning around, but once we were going in the right direction we found our destination without further incident, unless you call my being a complete basket case an incident.
Since we got there an hour late, Jasper missed getting to watch the others in their bee suits doing stuff with the hives. In fact we had to walk through clouds of angry bees to the shed where we assumed that Jasper would get some further instruction. Amazingly, we did not get stung, despite the fact that we were both wearing dark clothing (a beekeeping no-no).
We waited for an hour or so before Dick was able to pay some attention to Jasper. He instructed another boy to show Jasper how to make frames and boxes for hives, so he’d be able to make his own in the future. This boy Gabe is, in my eyes, the hero of the day. He has red hair and freckles and is unfailingly polite and helpful. He patiently helped Jasper construct multiple frames and boxes. Jasper learned how to operate a staple gun and a nail gun.
By noon, everyone had gone for lunch except for Gabe and Jasper and me. Gabe had brought a sack lunch, but we had not. Since Jasper was having such a good time learning to build stuff, I offered to go get us some lunch. The air between me and the Suburban was full of thousands of angry bees. Thousands and thousands. Since I hadn’t been stung on the way in, I figured I’d just hope for good luck again on the way out, but I was dreading it.
Then Gabe spoke up. “Do you want me to go get your car for you? I can drive it right up to the shed and you can get in without having to go through all the bees.”
“How old are you?” I asked. I mean, he sure didn’t look 16.
“Thirteen,” he said proudly. “But I can drive anything, even if it has a manual transmission.”
At that moment, letting a thirteen-year-old drive my car seemed a lot more appealing than running the bee gauntlet, so I tossed him my keys. He did a great job of driving the car up to the shed. After that I still had to back it out between the rows of hives, with the windows shut in the stifling heat, but I managed it without destroying anything.
I had to drive a LONG way to get food, but Jasper was happy to get it! I noticed that Gabe refrained from eating his own lunch until Jasper also had something to eat. Someone is raising that boy right.
Eventually, everyone else returned, and it was time to think about getting our hive. The snag was that Jasper’s bee suit had not arrived. He borrowed Gabe’s and helped load the hive into the back of the Suburban.
This is not a brand new hive, as I had expected. Dick gave Jasper a fully functional hive that is well-established. I realized at that point why everyone else was driving pickup trucks. We had to drive almost an hour to get home with a hive full of bees in the car with us. Please tell me it was brave of me to do that. It was actually pretty terrifying.
Once we got home, it turned out the hive was too heavy for Jasper to carry back to the stand that Walter had made for it. Walter and Lucy had carry it back there with nothing but vinegar for protection. Believe it or not, no one got stung. We had a day full of bees and no one got stung. Now we have a hive full of ladies in our back yard.
I really should have gone out grocery shopping tonight, but the last couple of days have been very exhausting and I just don’t want to go back out. Instead I’m staying in to watch a movie with the birthday boy, since Walter has to work and everyone else has abandoned us too.
Jasper a few years ago:
Jasper a few weeks ago: