The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Fruits of Neverland II

The sweet fruit of their labor
I will continue to tell about my latest "safari" in South Africa, but wanted to take a small brake to talk a little about Neverland, my own little piece of paradise in Leelanau county, Michigan.
Last Saturday, after shooting sporting clays at Cedar Rod & Gun Club - not particularly well mind you, and having lunch with my wife at the Rare Bird in Traverse City, I met Del at Neverland to set up a feeder for deer season. Of course setting up the feeder took a lot more work than planned since the brutal storm that hit northern Michigan on Sunday August 2nd caused a bit of havoc at Neverland, with many broken and uprooted trees, and we had to cut a new trail through the debris.
The bright side from the destruction is that the "Bridge over the Mann Creek" is intact, although surrounded with deadfall, and that all the downed trees should create space for new growth that will create fresh habitat for ruffed grouse while also increase the area where deer can feed. Eventually we would have to do similar work with a chainsaw!
Anyhow, after we were done with the feeder we paid a visit to the thousands of workers that toil daily in my domains. Of the three colonies where they live, each with a queen duly appointed and sanctioned by me, two are doing absolutely great, and we are concerned that the third will likely not make it through next winter. This is hard, but there is little we can do about it.

While examining the healthy colonies, we were able to savour a sample of the sweet fruits from the labor of my workers. One of the colonies was overflowing with honey and honeycombs, and in order to put the cover back on Del had to scrape the excess, and we would not allow that to go to waste. As one hand scraped the excess the other would bring light wild honey to mouth.

And everything went really well until due to either lack of attention or a bit of gluttony I did not notice that there was a bee stuck to a honeycomb and upon chewing on it I got stung in the tong.

I tell you, the honey was so pure and sweet, with a very light champagne color, that the sting didn't hurt that much, but eventually I had to stick my tongue out so Del could scrape the stinger away. The end result is that I could not comfortably close my mouth for a couple hours, but that isn't really a problem either.

And before I forget, Del - the experienced beekeeper - got stung a good dozen times or so. He had protective gear, but being an experienced beekeeper, he refused to wear it! Sorry, but I had to say it, as he is saying we will not a honey harvest if I continue to eat the bees (just like an old bear.)

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