So you all know that Young'un has a small two-beehive apiary, right? He's beginning his third year with it and is so excited about selling some honey at the Chillicothe Farmers Market this year. He's even more excited that he's been able to raise his bees naturally, without synthetic chemicals, and is hoping to have his apiary Certified Naturally Grown, just like our livestock and produce.
Here's the thing with his bees ~ his original hive is nice. That hive of bees came from Dan Williams of Williams Honey Bees here in Frankfort. They get a bit of an attitude on occasion, but for the most part I don't feel like I'm risking life and limb while I stand there as Young'uns sidekick in my false sense of security suit trying to help get the job done. The second hive, on the other hand, must have bred with bee spawn from Hades. That hive came from the first swarm we caught a few years ago and had raised it's own queen.
Young'un and I went out to do some hive maintenance because that's just part of what you do when you're a beekeeper...or the sidekick, as in my case. It was a beautiful day. Young'un just puts his suit on over whatever clothing he's wearing. Me, oh nonono. I have on heavy jeans, a long sleeve shirt, a jean jacket, and a baseball cap under mine. I also put my cell phone in the bee suit's front pocked so I can call for backup if needed. This all stems from my first false sense of security suit. It was thinner than a t-shirt, which had me feeling every single sting those bees dished out last year without layers on. Along with us being dressed for the occasion, we also had the smoker, lighter, and a few hive tools needed for the job.
When we approached the hive from Hades we did so cautiously. The smoker was lit and Young'un smoked the daylights out of the little pistols as I got the top off the hive pried off. As I opened it I found that it was stuck more than what we usually deal with. The top box had the feeder in it, which we had filled for them earlier, but they weren't wanting to use, so we were going to take it out. I attribute their not wanting the sugar syrup to all the flowers that seem to be doing their thing early this year, a bonus for the bees. Well, when I got the top off I found that they had literally been busy little bees making their own free form comb in there. It was quite a good size considering it hadn't been long since we had been in there. It was actually very neat looking to see, and it was being used for honey storage. As much as we'd have liked to let them continue doing their own decorating, hive maintenance would have been impossible with it sticking to everything.
I began cleaning it out, angry bees flying all around us, Young'un smoking them. I kept telling myself to breathe...remain calm...breathe. I remember reading that they can sense a person's nervousness, so in hindsight I should have done calming exercises beforehand I suppose. Anyway, as I was cleaning and the bees were literally in my face with their little behinds twisting their stingers in the mesh of my hood I noticed the smoker wasn't really smoking much, so I asked Young'un to take a look, relight it...something. Well, that's when the lighter decided it was done. No more. Kaput. There we were ~ no more smoke. Angry bees all around. Both of us messing with their hive. I took a deep breath and decided to persevere. Young'un and I worked quick as we could to get the the job done, the hive put back together, the tools picked up, and us out of there as soon as possible. WHEW!
As we were walking away from the hives we were a mess. Taking the honey comb out kind of had us all sticky...and there was grass and dirty stuck to that. We checked for bees on each other and started peeling off our gloves. When we got to the house I told Young'un I'll just stick everything in the washing machine. As we stood there in the laundry room getting our sticky stuff off I heard a bee buzzing around my neck. I couldn't see it, but it was there. I started running around, flapping my arms. Hon opened the door for me to run out, him behind me to find it. Well, he saw it and started slapping at it instead of trying to pick it out of my hair. Ouch. Hello? That's my neck and head.
When he finally got it out I think I was as irritated as the bee. I stomped into the house, grabbed our bee suits and gloves, put them in the wash, and turned on the machine. Then I went about my business, still annoyed. All of a sudden there was a noise. Kind of like a blunk-blunk-blunk *pause* blunk-blunk-blunk *pause*. I told Young'un I have to have someone come fix the squeak it's making again, but the blunk-blunk-blunk noise was new. I figured maybe the drum was unbalanced so I opened the lid to redistribute our clothes.
As I opened the washer lid it hit me...I didn't take my cell phone out of my pocket. AHHHHHHHH! In all the years we've had cell phones, since bag phones were a hot item in the late '80's, I have always always always taken supreme care of my cell phones. Hon's the dropper, the one that has the ability to ruin one of those heavy duty Otter Box cases. Not me.
I scrambled around in the washer for my false sense of security suit, found the pocket, got my cell phone out, and then try as I might I couldn't get the Otter Box case off of it. Gesh, those suckers are not easy to get into when cell phone life depends on it. I tried it, Hon tried it, and then Eldest was finally able to pry it apart. I lovingly dried my cell phone and watched as the screen flickered all sorts of weird colors and then slipped into a coma. I was devastated.
As I stood there in shock, not knowing what to do, Eldest said he's always read to put it in dry rice and turn it periodically. What did I have to lose, you know? It wasn't looking too good. For days I lovingly rotated my cell phone around in the bowl of rice in hopes of it coming back to me. After three days, just when I was ready to give up, it flickered...then it went back under...so I continued it's rice bath. Next came the miraculous ability to reboot it, at which time my cell phone completely lost charge...but there was still hope. I plugged it in and then I was promptly given an error message that the cord and adapter I had plugged it into weren't the correct ones so it refused to charge. I tried every charger we had and still nothing. I was losing hope. I gently tucked my cell phone back into the bowl of rice figuring I might as well let it go...in the morning...to the store so I could tell my shameful story and see if they could help.
Then...a miracle happened. In the morning I found my cell phone plugged in ~ and charging. Yes! Yesyesyesyesyes!!! Hon said he was going to give it one more go at plugging it in and it just started up, accepted what it was plugged into, and was happily charging away. My cell phone was alive!
So there you have it folks, a cell phone miracle. I've been told many instances of cell phone washing haven't turned out well and mine is one of the fortunate. I've hung a sign up on the washing machine reminding myself to check all pockets to prevent an unfortunate incident like this again. It's kind of like periodically having to put a sign on the toilet to remind the testosterone around here to put the lid down and flush. We do what we have to. The bees are happy, this sidekick is happy, and I'm assume my cell phone is happy to be fully functioning again. Smiling & Waving, Sharon