Wednesday, April 06, 2022

The Way We Were Wednesday - Honeybees


 My father would have taken this, my grandfather working the bees, barehanded.  A pair of leather gloves would last him two or three seasons, my father would go through two or three pairs a season.  

My grandfather grew up dirt poor, too many kids, too little of everything. He discovered bees nesting in a dead tree, someone showed him how to harvest the honey, a year or two later someone showed him how to move the bees into a modern beehive, and his lifelong passion for the gentle craft of beekeeping started.  He was gentle, slow and caring with the bees.  Yes, he would get stung, and he would tell you that was almost always because he was careless or moved to quickly.  And yes it hurts to get stung.  After a few stings for most people the reaction changes, you don't swell the same way, but believe me it still hurts. (My grandmother was allergic to bee stings, and had a couple of life threatening experiences.) 

At one time, my father and grandfather had about 2,100 colonies of bees.  We shipped honey by the tractor trailer load in 55 gallon barrels, for pennies a pound.  

14 comments:

  1. How neat! And one lesson to learn...if one gets or finds a swarm on their property....don't spray them....call a local beekeeper! Most times they will come and get them.

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    1. I have been on a few of those runs

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  2. I expect producing that amount of honey now would ensure your father and grandfather would be rich.
    My father was stung by bees many times, but the last time he had a bad reaction and needed hospital care. He was very cautious after that, with the warning that the next sting could quickly be fatal.

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    1. At pennies a pound, they made a good living most years.

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  3. First off: Yes to what Maddie said! We need bees.
    Secondly: barehanded!! Ouch!

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  4. I love your family's bee-keeping roots. No gloves? I'd be wearing a lead suit!

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    1. I'm with you on the protection

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  5. I've heard that bees develop a special relationship with their keeper.

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    1. There are traditions, my grandfather was more in tune with than my father. I recall when I my grandfather died, my grandmother reminding my father to go tell the bees he was gone and that he would be taking care of them.

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  6. My friend has beehives on her small farm and sells the honey at her farmer's market. It is delicious and sells so quickly. I have a small pollinator garden...anything to help the bees, butterflies and other insects. They are so much fun to watch and photograph.

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    1. Yes, great close ups from time to time

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  7. 2100 colonies! Holy moly! That's a lotta bees!

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    1. There were some farms in central Canada that made us look small at the time. One guy in Alberta had over 5,000.

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