-Posted by Isaac
About the time I got the new/old trailer home from Michigan, we got word that new life had arrived in Iowa.
Little Evey Rose, born to my sister Molly and her husband Brian, graced us with her presence in the corn belt. Beautiful. Molly and Brain's second.
This called for a visit and it also made a convenient excuse to go on out to South Dakota and pick up the long awaited extractor.
Early Sunday morning my parents and I were heading west with truck and trailer. Mom stayed in Iowa, and by Tuesday afternoon Dad and I were loading my new, just slightly used toy.
Dennis Potts is a migratory beekeeper, moving his bees annually from Oregon to South Dakota for the summer honey flow. In the winter, of course, the California almonds. Seems to be the trend with these guys.
Mr. Potts is my pick for "Mr. July," 2016 Commercial Bee Calendar.
|"Oh, you flatter me!"|
He's upgrading to a newer extractor and we are the lucky beneficiaries.
Ain't she a beaut? My nephew, little Lije thought so.
We made a couple pleasant discoveries in South Dakota. Both were captured in this shot. One, we could legally drive at a natural speed in that wide open country.
And two, the incredible nectar flow they have up there. It may look like it, but those are not raindrops on the windshield. Those drops are nectar! We happened to drive by a big bee yard (at 80 mph) and hit a few bees. Amazing. You don't see that around here. It's just bug splats on glass.
Nectar isn't the only thing flowing up there.
A little Bakkan shale oil heading straight to my big winter furnace:
|400 ppm, here we come!|
A conversation between Dad and I:
Dad: Well, the earth may be heating up, but human beings have absolutely no bearing on that.
Me: Really? 400 million years of trapped carbon, and poof, released up into the atmosphere in just a hundred years?
Dad: One volcanic eruption puts more stuff up there than humans could do in a million years.
Me: Ya think?
Dad: The earth is really cooling down. We were hotter ten years ago than we are now. It's getting colder not hotter.
Me: Hmmm. I'll have to look that up.
Back in Iowa, I found out where Molly hides her pot of gold.
|Iowa farmers need silos to hold their gold.|
While still in Iowa, I couldn't help but make another "business trip." The next day I visited the the 3600 hive operation of Curt and Connie Bronnenberg.
No one was around when I first arrived (unannounced), so I got to snoop.
They have an obviously successful package bee business.
Later talking to Curt, I found out they'll shake about a thousand packages a year.
They bring the hives home from the almonds in March and go to work splitting and shaking, providing hundreds of area beekeepers with new beginnings. Connie calls April "package season."
My initial snooping gave me plenty of questions and things to ponder. It was a fun half hour just walking around exploring, thinking about the years and looking over old equipment.
Like most commercial beekeepers, the Bronnenbergs had the usual array of bee junk.
|A successful pallet breeding operation?|
Hard to throw something away when you just might need it someday.
It was all so informative and engaging. I probably spent two hours, peppering both Curt and Connie with questions. I'm thankful for their patience.
Kicking myself I didn't get a picture of them together. Cute couple, very Iowaish,
a personable blend of intelligence, smiles and well wishes for our own bees.