Well I guess all the gang has made it home safely. That indeed means alot.
Where do I start it is kinda hard. I tried to talk myself out of going several times--- 7 1/2 hour drive straight through. I knew the many sordid names I would be called if I didn't show
! So glad I went.
The ride was long. I had never traveled that area of I-20 and Talladega was beautiful. I arrived about 4 hours ahead of what Bud was expecting and a day earlier than the rest. Bud was not home when i arrived so I parked under a shade tree and eyeballed a swarm from one of bud hives as I napped. I begin to see the bees look a little restless so I decided to look for a place to hive them ( I feared the harassment I would receive if I neglected to do it. I found a Nuc and hived the swam (only for it to abscond the next day).
As I got the swarm hived bud came riding up on the ATV, pointed a pistol across a field and fired a few shots, I pretended to duck behind the car and began to laugh. It was on from there on. We traveled around for a couple of days waiting on the others to arrive. We ran the swarm trap circuit (about 30 boxes) and collected three swarms. I see it is not as complicated as I wanted to make it. We eat the best pork chops @ the local diner I have ever had (and I promise this country boy has had his share of pork chops --- just look @ the pictures). I the grand tour of a catfish processing plant.
Bud told everyone his truck was riding level for the first time ever as we went down the highway
tires on the passenger side got wear they have never had. Beemaster accused me of looking like a local, life with but could be addictive
The gang finally arrived:
Chris and Beemaster came from the furthest. I appreciate the effort they made.
Chris- great meeting you. Hope to see you at the next gathering. It truly would not be the same without you there. I hate I missed the Lobster. Just drop mine in the mail
JP and Brendhan unloaded and it made me tired watching them. Wide open all weekend. They pulled out their James Bond devices and poked and probed ever hive and colony they could find
. It was great watching you guys. Brendhan shot hours of footage. You beekeepers in his club are lucky to have someone so eager to learn and share. Jp shared pictures of his many cutouts with a sideways grin under the Jet black Cajun beard. Thanks guys.
Dallas- Wow fractured his leg loading bees the night before and still came. What else can you say. It was touch and go for him for a while, but he was good after the Meds kicked in. and he finally understood the instructions to the split they gave him that they didn't have
. (If you didn't catch that they sent him back to Buds with instructions on how to care for his splint but they didn't have a splint?) I recently spent 5 1/2 months on crutches due to a surgery, and now back complications from it (me the big guy in the pictures probably sitting on a stool with the bees chewing on me
), so I felt his pain. We got to spend alot of time together as I hauled crip around
. It was great Dallas. Thanks for all you do for the forum and arranging this get together.
Alan Buckley --- to the man who has more bee knowledge in his pinky than I will ever have in my entire body. Thanks for all the help and advice. From queen grafting to nuc building. I hate I missed the session on aliens and outer body experiences. NOT
John (Beemaster)- what can I say. The man who raises beekeepers. Thanks for your endless hours you devote to the forum without which I would have not meet new friends. Thanks to all of those who help you make it possible: Dallas, Ken, Robo, and the others behind the scenes I have failed to mention or don't know about.
Bud- what can I say- The host with the most
! Flintstone steaks, Big man breakfast, Boston butt, Shrimp etoufee (sp), and big clabber head cinnamon rolls. And a heart of kindness bigger than any. They say you can judge a man by his friends and I got a full weekend of what a kind man he is regardless of the exterior (even though he looks like Ms. Santa). I cannot thank you enough Bud.
Also thanks to Leonard, Clark and sons, Mr gene, Mr. Poole and all the others who made my stay so wonderful. Oh yeah, Hello Clyde and Sprout.
I have so much more to say but I will stop rambling.
I would like to close by saying, bees brought us together, but it was not about the bees. It was about new found friendships that I hope continue to foster and grow. As I took the long drive home I reflected on the events of the weekend, the closeness of the community of friends in Macon Ms.(that's what America is about) and other personal issues. The time alone really done me some good and I hope grounded me in some areas in which I have fallen short. I hope I focus and do better.
None of the above would have been possible without the Beemaster Forum. I salute you all with a big REBEL yell. Even the YANKS