Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And Alexander thought he had a bad day!

In early April, our very special New World Carniolan Bees were supposed to arrive in Stillwater, MN from their origin in Chico, CA. This is a really big, important spring event. Huge in fact. It is anticipated and talked about for days. All winter Bob works every spare minute to ready the hives for this day. It is Our Opening Day of bee season. The day cannot be chosen and pick up must be immediate whenever “the girls” arrive.

We discovered at least a week prior that April 11th was the scheduled pick up day—by alphabetical order so we would be right in the middle around noon. It was also my birthday and Grandparents Day at Harrison School. It was a bit difficult for me to generate proper enthusiasm for a seven hour road trip to Stillwater and then back again on that particular day with a new load of precious cargo. This is hard to imagine, I know.

I was happy when Kevin agreed, on request of my hubby, to take a personal day off from his work to be the other driver and allow me to stay home—a happy birthday gift to me from Kevin and my beekeeper hubby.

Early Friday morning, I was also glad to hear that Kevin did not have to go. His time is precious and he is in the middle of a large home renovation project. If I had only known, I would not have been pleased.

The bees were delayed because of a massive winter storm in Wyoming causing our bee supplier and delivery point beekeeper much concern and a driver detour because Route 80 was closed.

I was nearly home from Grandparents Day, when Bob called to tell me that he had just talked with Beekeeper Jim and we could leave right away for MN. Yay! Lucky me! I could go and help with the driving and complete my Bible study lesson in the car and be home to celebrate birthdays (with my friend, Ellie) on Saturday evening.

After a long snowy, rainy, sleety ride to Eau Claire where we decided to stay for the night, I was treated to birthday Oreo cookies and water as a complimentary hotel gift—and I did not even know that they knew it was my birthday.

Unfortunately, things were not going nearly so well for “our girls.” The delivery truck was involved in an accident with several other semi's in ND. The drivers were not injured, the tractor wasn't damaged, the trailer was damaged. Two pallets of bees (about 200 packages) fell out of the truck. They were banded together and other than the drop, really not in bad shape. The trailers were separated and the drivers were going to get the bees loaded back on the truck. At that point, the ND trooper said, “We are clearing this road right now!” and directed a snow plow to plow the bees into the ditch. Beekeeper Jim told us we would all have to bear some of the pain of the accident and none of the excited and anxiously waiting new fathers—excuse me--beekeepers would get their complete order.

We got a personal phone call regarding the good news delivery update before falling asleep. Perhaps only 100 packages had been lost. The rest were on their way and would arrive by 7:00 in the morning.

Unfortunately, as we were hurrying to take off for Stillwater around 6:00 a.m. to welcome our “baby girls”, we received a very sad phone call. In an early morning routine check, it was discovered that all of the bees had died!

We surmised that the bees had frozen to death but we were wrong. Apparently the autopsy results show that the load over- heated and that led to their demise! Boo hoo! Boo hoo!

I will have to end this story now but I will update again when we get more information from the supplier and Beekeeper Jim. Or you can read about it yourself by checking this blog.

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