Bruce and I are getting pretty good at scrounging things. Food, animals, equipment all present as opportunities if you are willing to put in some sweat equity. This week it was bees. We were offered two complete hives if we were willing to go get them. So last night we borrowed out son’s big pick-up truck and drove out into the hinterlands to do the pick up. The two older men managed to get them loaded and secured in the truck, although it wasn’t easy for a couple of guys who will never see 65 again. We were driving home when Bruce brought up what should have been our very first question. How are we going to unload? It was dark and rainy and there was no way I could lift the darn things. It was a bit late to go calling on neighbors so we woke my son up and had him come down. So here’s the deal. These heavy hives had escape boards on them so the bees could not get out. The problem was that everything was wet and slippery and the hive enclosure is pretty tight and we had to get the hives turned in the right direction to have them sit steady on the base. You can see where this is going.
We were just about done. I was standing to the side holding the flashlight when the hive slipped. It fell off the base which knocked off the escape board which let out a few hundred thousand very angry bees. We escaped but not without some damage. Bruce fared the worst with several stings and both Nathan and I got it too. Then we had to deal with the bees that got in the house as hitch hikers. We must have had 20 inside that had to be disposed of before we could go to bed.
Lessons to be learned:
Murphy’s law; If it can go wrong it will go wrong. We have good bee suits and we should have all been suited up.
Planning: We should have had a plan for getting the bees off the truck that involved enough muscle men to lift the hives safely.
Gifts.: ALWAYS look the gift horse in the mouth. It’s no bargain if you need to invest hundreds in vet bills or dispose of a dead horse. In this case, the hives would not have been worth having someone get seriously hurt. I’m glad we did this but the outcome could have been a lot worse.
Saying of the Week: It’s not the odds it’s the risk. The odds of dropping a hive when you aren’t suited up are low but it happened. They could have been .0000012% and we still should have worn the suits.
I think this applies to so much of being prepared. Plan for the worst. Look ahead. Apply due diligence, assess the risks then act accordingly.