-Posted by Isaac
We've had some high profile people tour the bee farm over the last couple weeks. Two doctors, a lawyer and a medical chemist walked through the honey barn, looked over the hives in the yard, asked insightful questions and silly questions. Yesterday, Mike, the head grocer at Whole Foods Dublin was here to check us out. I put him to work extracting honey.
At my mother's Sunday dinner last week, I was thinking out loud about how such professional people seem impressed with our little mickey-mouse operation. My brother responded with, "I'll bet they're more envious of you than you of them."
True or not, that comment got me thinking. I really do love this job. Even the hot sweaty stinging parts of it. I was pulling honey in a yard last Friday, thinking, entertaining myself with the various reasons I've got a cool job. I jotted ten of them down on the drive home.
So here you go. The top ten reasons this beekeeping life is awesome:
#10 - Beekeepers are characters.
There's good, there's bad, and there's ugly (most, in fact), but everyone I come in contact with in the small world of beekeeping seems opinionated and interesting.
#9 - I don't have to answer to anyone.
Well, my wife, of course. And God sometimes. For the most part though, I'm free to make my own schedule and spend the day as I please. As long as the work gets done I can show up late, start early, take a nap, take a run, take a swim, have a snack, play with kids, etc... Of course certain times of the year, July and August for example, everything gets crowded out and about all there is to do is work. But I enjoy it.
#8 - You can sample your work as you're doing it.
Honey or pollen, in beekeeping you can continually check the product, making sure it meets the most rigorous quality standards.
#7 - It's a useful job.
Some jobs turn the wheels of the world and some jobs don't. We all know this. I have in the past, feeling high on myself, described beekeeping as "God's work" I don't think this is much of a stretch.
Sure, Mr. preacher man, you save souls here and there, but I pollinate whole orchards... I think we all know which is more important in God's eyes.
#6 - You work in open spaces and you work alone.
That pretty much sums it up. Alas, I'm not always alone. Only on the good days.
#5 - There's something very cowboyish about beekeeping.
I'm not saying this is a good thing, but I think it fits my personality. It kind of goes with the open spaces and working alone thing. I first thought this when I was working with the big commercial migratory operation in Montana. I think maybe Wayne, my boss, even said this a time or two. "We're the last real cowboys..."
We drove the lil' doggies all night long. We got to watch the sun rise and sun set.
The song is right: Mommas, make your babies be doctors and lawyers and such...
#4 - You don't have to be an ace mechanic
It helps, but unlike farming grain where you have to know how to fix every apparatus under the sun, bee farming deals with a lot of low-tech stuff and hands-on labor. This is good for a dummy like me.
You only need to know a little about pumps, sumps, heaters, spinners, tanks, engines, motors, trailers, saws, nail guns, valves, filters, refractometers, etc.
Which I don't.
#3 - No B.S. hoops to jump through.
When I taught school we had years of certification and recertification. Classes and tests to take. Fingerprinting. Licensing. Professional development days. Collaboration days. Staff meetings. Conferences. Continual improvement evaluations.
Just thinking about all that crap makes my blood run cold.
#2 - Beekeeping is a job where the kids can join in.
Much like what we see in Amish country where Jayne grew up, the children can see and understand what the parents are doing. Up there, Daddy doesn't drive off in the morning, come back at night and the kids are clueless as to what he's doing all day.
As our kids grow up, I hope they're be able to take part and maybe even one day take over.
So Jayne and I can move to Montana.
#1 - Jayne can always go back to work.
She's the brains behind the operation, so if in the end it all falls apart and comes crashing down, I can simply blame it on her and send her to work. Myself, I'll keep cowboying around with bees.
It's not like she's doing a lot now anyway.