While mowing down the tough grasses and weeds in the pastures, I try to get the edges under the trees because those darn Canadian Thistles love to grow in those protected areas. I duck under branches of fir and big leaf maples and back under the branches, driving the tractor with the rotary mower as far as I can to reach the weeds.
As I was backing in under a fir tree, I noticed a swarm of honey bees clinging to a branch. Now I love bees, we need bees to pollinate and they are a necessity for the ecosystem. I just can’t afford to get too close to them because they are attracted to me and I have a tendency to swell up like a puffer fish. Coming face to face (yes I was looking that way as I was backing into the branches) with a swarm, I jammed the gearshift into scram (that is the gear between 1st and 2nd for those who are unfamiliar with tractors or my driving) and got out of there as fast as I could.
Mike was driving over the bridge when he noticed my wild commotion. Over the engine noise of the Gator, the tractor and the whirring of the rotary mower he sensed that I was saying something about a nest of bees.
While he went over to investigate, I continued mowing weeds away from the area but I was keeping an eye on Mike. He was looking into the wrong tree. I kept trying to holler loud enough to be heard but he was skirting the area where my spotted nest was. Once I had rounded the corner and was mowing his direction he pulled over to me and said the nest I saw was the small one.
I shudder to think about the consequences if I were to have accidentally knocked into the first swarm and upset both the little and the big group at the same time.
I’m thrilled that we have a vibrant bee population here on the farm, just as long as we can keep our distance.