That was the day that Melida and I worked as a team to extract honey. That was the day, I almost left my children orphans because if I was going down...so was the other parent!
It all started with typical preparation for honey extraction. The room was set up with all the stations and the electric extractor was center stage. It was a very impressive room and I was proud that my daughter wanted to help. Heck, she came from Texas to experience this.
Tom was in charge of bringing the frames from the bee hives. ( a frame is what the bees build honey comb on and store the honey on) We did this several months earlier and all went smoothly. In fact, it was so enjoyable that I figured we could do it with Harper and Hope around. Things started to go south when the bees decided to follow him to the HONEY house. After all, that honey and honey comb was theirs!! Since we were planning on several hundreds of pounds of honey, this became a dangerous situation. Bees aren't anything like a dog or cat or butterfly for that matter. Bees, when on a mission to retrieve their stash...are aggressive and mean. Sort of like a kid throwing a temper tantrum but instead they all had little stingers instead of voices! The more frames that came to the honey house the more bees that followed. Tom was outside wanting to bring the frames in and the bees wouldn't let it happen. Eventually, he made it through the doors leaving some behind but the ones who came in...WHOOWEE!!! The honey house became full of bees with nowhere to go.
We had already extracted quite a bit of honey. We wear gloves and cover every surface with plastic so floors, tables and anything else doesn't get sticky from honey. The honey leaves the extractor and goes into a big bucket that is topped with a mesh filter. We were just watching the honey come out of the extractor when Tom tried to bring in the next batch of frames through the door along with the bees. They landed on the frames that were already scraped, they buzzed to the extruder where the liquid gold was pouring out. There was a west facing window that they finally landed on, realizing that this place was possibly a grave yard for bees. They were frantically trying to get out the window through the screen. Ya, screens don't budge. And we had never ever tried to open these windows prior to this day.
How do you open these windows? Hell if we knew. I didn't care if we broke them just to get the bees out. One thing we knew was to turn off the lights and let the light of the sun direct them toward the windows. We fooled them into thinking it was night and they needed to leave! But, we still didn't know how to open the window. As we where thinking, some bees started swarming around my face, I tried to brush them away when Melida decided to help. She took her gloved hand, laden with honey, and brushed my hair out of my face. Oh My God...there was food on my head for the bees. The bees and I danced for what seemed eternity until I got to the sink to wash it out of my hair. After I settled, I braved the attempt to just open the window any way that I could using a hammer and screw driver. With one blow of the the hammer, my right hand slipped and palm side up, I sliced my hand with a pitch fork. Yes, there was a pitchfork face up next to the window that for some reason I did not see! My blood squirted toward the ceiling and I knew I was facing death. Believe me, when I say this...Melida applied pressure on it with her gloved hand still laden with honey and it stopped bleeding. The first miracle of honey performed!
The windows were eventually torn open and some of the bees left. It was tolerable to continue with our extraction.
As we went about our business, we realized that Harper and Hope were alone in the cabin. This in itself could spell disaster. I could only imagine how many diet cokes and chips Hope consumed and what kind of coloring and art mess Harper had made. Since there were still swarms of bees outside, we had to come up with a plan for me to get out of the honey house so I could check on the girls.
The plan seemed to be sound. I would put on a bee suit and run out the door. Sounds simple enough but I tripped and hit my head on the door and landed face first smack damb next to the angry bees. Have you ever seen an overweight middle aged woman dressed in a bee suit run like hell? I'm sure it wasn't a pretty sight, consideringmy hand started to spurt and leave a trail as I ran to the cabin. Of course, I thought it was my head bleeding and I knew I was a goner!
Here comes the part where if I was going down so was the other parent. NONE of this would have happened if we didn't have those damn angry bees. Or any sort of bees. My life flashed before my eyes and I remembered every bad thing that had happened to me...EVER!
If you are a believer, like me, I'm sure you are thinking...HUM doesn't sound like the account of dying that is more recognized.(you know the ones where you see relatives and there is a light and a tunnel). I guess what I saw was a sure indication that I was indeed going to live, and I was probably going to hold a few grudges about my current situation of hurting and blood spurting. Melida finally came to the cabin and saw that Harper and Hope were just fine but she got and earful about my demise. "See those jars over there, make sure you fill them with honey so the guests at my funeral have a party favor to take home. And....I'm sorry you will be an orphan, Dad's going down too!"
As the day went on, I didn't die and the honey was processed. But those BEE'S!!!! A bee can only sting once and it is dead. They better start thinking about that! I'm so glad I'm not a bee!