When I'm into this mode, that is, the camper life mode here at WillOaks, I really do seem to notice nature with more detail than during "everyday life." Last weekend we had a unique occurrence that seemed scary at first. But on closer inspection, and after a few phone calls, the amazing phenomena made me very very happy: A honey bee swarm passed through and chose to pause for the night on the southwest corner of the only building in this part of our acreage: the bath house. It took awhile to realize that yes, it WAS just honey bees and not the dreaded wasps which are also all around in early abundance. The bee "cluster" built slowly, bee by bee, over the whole afternoon until it was, by dusk, the seething mass that I captured in an iPhone photo here.
Problem was, in the bathhouse proper, a few bees wandered in through cracks in the window frames and so there were also a lot of worker bees flying around in the Men's Room. Ah well, we closed it off and declared coed bathrooms for an evening. Meanwhile, unwilling to kill a single honey bee, I worked the phones (in spite of the fact that it was Saturday night) and found a very helpful and knowledgeable beekeeper, Frank Reiss, who keeps bees in Genoa, Illinois a little ways southwest of here. He helped us comprehend what we were seeing here, and gave us good information about what it all meant and what would probably happen next.
Frank predicted that 1.) the bees would not be aggressive because they were swarming which means they are on the move to find a new home, but were NOT defending a home just then, 2.) were focused on protecting the queen in their midst and were just resting for the night and 3.) would probably be moving on at daylight the next morning, as they continued their hunt for a new hive. It all came true and in retrospect, this was actually thrilling to me because I had read about "bee swarms" but have never witnessed one and also because I've noticed the general demise and even absence of honey bees around here the past couple of years (speaking as a gardener) and to see a healthy population of them, even if it may have been a relatively small one, was a very hopeful sign.
|It's a double!|
Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and do remember our fallen heroes who defend America and all her highest ideals. Happy Memorial Day!