Friday, November 13, 2015

Wilbo Attends a Meeting Where Gathered Several Serious, Effective & Beautiful Beekeeping Women, And Wibo Buzzes Off Like John Belushi. Traverse City @PureMichigan

A bee flies flower to flower, day light hour by sunlight hour, gathering nectar & being hijacked by pollen. That describes my week since I turned my Subaru north toward a few watersheds north of my home watershed. I have lighted upon hermits in the woods and beggars in the alley, playwrights in the pub and philosophers in the park. And I still feel there's reason for this journey and I continue it. I accepted an offer of employment this morning that will take me far from my domicile on the shores of Lake Michigan, about eight hours away. The theme of lightness and impermanent became permanent as of this morning. Thank goodness conversation remains a constant. People remark upon my habit of accepting Facebook events, even events that are a good distance from my home. Facebook has hinted at what it thinks of my behavior. My default button now in an "interested button". If I really want to go, I have to open the event to click the "going" button. Sorry to fool all you event organizers with my ubiquity if not my omnipresence. I find that showing an interest in an event by any button other than the "no" button opens up floodgates of communication. Most of my recently added friends have found me because I'm "that guy" who responds to everything. Instead of being the tool who can't stay home I'm the fox crazy as a fox, finding out all kinds of different people and places for them to make possibilities happen. As the hours of the day are observed by a tolling bell tower, my iPhone6 buzzes excitedly with event after event, and depending of where I stand and what I can blow off or reschedule, I take Facebook's hint and show up in the flesh, real time and place. Tonight, I visited a beekeepers evening at a fire station on the Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City. I had second thoughts about going as it pulled me out of the city and into the orchard and vineyard lands between the bays. I reasoned with myself: "Didn't I set off on a quest to shed barriers to experiencing nature as she turned from Summer into Fall. So after seeing salmon pooling up at a weir, why not get in touch with people who get in touch with bees who get in touch with flowers. I even wondered if a few winemakers or oenophiles would show up. I sat on a metal chair and in the door walked in four beautiful lady beekeepers to complete the circle. Apple spoke first because she called the meeting. She works for a farm to table think tank located near Short's Brewing Company in Bellaire. ISLAND sends out a pretty cool newsletter. This Saturday, they'll be auctioning off garlic rare and exotic in Elk Rapids. She knows the dates of the beekeeper convention in Traverse City later in October. She can tell about the beekeeper who will show anyone how to build a bee box or about the honey entrepreneur who brings a portable give to the farmer's market with his wares, a safe give that has windows for children to see queen and her drones and workers. She wants to find all the beekeepers of Grand Traverse County and introduce them to master beekeepers she invites to town. Arbor sought advice. She lives mostly in a Mid-Michigan college town and keeps her three hives in Northport. Her bees forgot her and she forgot her beekeeping suit and her bees sung her from knee to hip on her right leg and from hip to knee on her left leg. She loved her hives and inspected all three even after stung after sting, finding healthy if aggressive hives. Apple had an answer. One area beekeeper brought a hive to peace after slaying the rebel queen and crowning a new apiary monarch. Arbor assured all that she was always wearing her "hazmat" suit after that incident as religiously as she wore a seatbelt when driving. Plus her arms length gloves reach her shoulder and covered with propolis, no stingers could penetrate to her skin anymore. Amber had a single hive and worried about moisture as the months grew cold. Bees can handle almost any cold in a dry hive. So she wrapped her hive in tar paper and ventilated the hive, even cold air bringing the salvation of evaporation. She had attended a beekeeping seminar organized by ISLAND at the farmer's market and took the plunge, buying a bee kit, box and colony all together. She drove from the bee hive factory in Holland with the kit humming in her back seat of her VW Bug. One friend had given up her garden because aggressive bees from a box kept shooing her office. Amber suited up and found a second queen starting a colony in the same box. Given a box of her own, that queen productively made honey and the first queen settled down too. The garden prospered. Autumn had almost too many hives. She had adopted them. Hives are surprisingly portable. Pick up a hive in a field of flowering blueberries. Set the hive down in a orchard of citrus after a transcontinental journey by UPS or USPS. A couple she loved had built up an apiary of many hives and before selling, Autumn was invited to pick ten to bring home in the bed of her Ford pickup. She had doubled the size of her apiary through, should we really say, husbandry. She liked them as much as she liked her cats. A fellow named Arnie rolled in late, and Apple didn't let his droning dominate the delicate conversation she was coaxing from the beekeepers. Arnie had a notion of building a few bee boxes and finding a queen in a hole in tree out of the woods, clearly a man who had given up reading after Winnie the Pooh. "Can't do beekeeping with a television remote control", thought more than one listener as Arnie shared his pipe dream. He even disrupted a few times by imitating Pooh, squealing, "Honey" or mimicking Eeyore, "We're never gonna make it. The bees are as doomed as the passenger pigeon". He did have a good idea, though, a bit of a daydream. St. Ambrose Cellars had a baronial hall where mead was served, as grand a hall as where Hrothgar and his Ring-Danes plotted revenge on Grendel, the man-eating lizard dragon of Beowulf. He envisioned a bee box building bee with a band in the barn and a fire in the pit and a spread laid out on the long table in the great hall of St. Ambrose. It was crazy enough to work thought the beekeeping hive mind. Apple humored Arnie. "Could we call it a Bee-O-Wulf party"?

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