Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to work with a Portuguese beekeeper here on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores. He comes from a very long line of beekeepers, and he got his first sting when he was very young. His initiation.
I really enjoy working with bees, learning about bees. Harvesting honey. Eating honey. Drinking honey.
Well we didn’t harvest honey, that will be in August. No, we just checked on all the hives to make sure the bees were doing ok. Most of the hives were doing well. There was a lot of honey. And a lot of bees.
One beehive alone has an average of 50,000-60,000 bees. Well my Portuguese beekeeper friend has 17 hives in his backyard. 17 beehives is seriously millions of bees!! (and this is not counting the young bee colonies in the ceramic cylinders) The buzzing produced by that many bees is intense.
My sweetheart and my 5 month old daughter Luna stayed away from the field and hung out in a large garden. Joao got close enough to take a few photos of us at work, but most of the time, he and Luna hung out under some banana trees, far away from the the buzzing of the bee yard.
When we were done checking all the hives, we walked back to the shed, and learned that little Luna had been stung on the back of the head. Apparently she barely cried. But I know bee stings really HURT! My little girl is very tough. Out of all of us, she was the only one who got stung. I felt really bad. I would have preferred it if Joao got stung! (Haha). Anyways, our beekeeper friend went to the garden and brought back a handful of parsley. He wrinkled it up and put it on the back of Luna’s head. He said this would help the sting and prevent it from swelling. It worked. There is barely a mark. Perhaps she has been initiated. But next time I work with bees, she will stay home. She can start beekeeping when she is a little older. Like 5 years old. ;)
My beekeeper friend gave us a very large jar of honey, some tomato plants, and told us the craziest story I have ever heard. About a pigeon and a cat.
There is a wild pigeon that showed up at the beekeepers house a few years ago and has become best friends with his cat. They play together, eat together, sleep together, and are very much in love. We caught them having dinner.
Isn’t that the sweetest story?
With lots of honey~Tiff