The Local, Country Buzz

Around here it's like this- We drove in to the Rocky Mount Farmer's Market to see about some fresh, local produce and entered into a 20 minute conversation that began with "Do you know of any beekeepers in the area who might be willing to take some bees out of a hive in an old log cabin?"

Somehow the conversation, mostly unintelligible for a number of reasons, none the least of which was dialect, the early morning hour and baby boomer hearing, went from there to a discussion of gas prices and electric cars.

But 20 minutes later we left with 2 sweet onions, some new potatoes and a mission. We were to drive "You know o'var where Highland Street is don't cha?" To which I nodded yes but really had no idea. "Well, when you see Diamond Street turn on it." Never found Highland but found Diamond Street right away. "Well, it dead ends out past the railroad tracks, back near where Furnace Creek is. You know where that is right?"

I nod.

"Well," the Farmer's Market guy says. "Out there, there's a feller, I don't rightly know his name, but he drives an electric car. Says he gets 220 miles to the gallon. Says that's the way we're all goin', to electric. Now you see, he's got a governor on that thing. Only goes about 35 miles an hour, but if the governor was off, he could do regular speed and faster."

I smile. "Wow."

"Yep. Anyways, he's a beekeeper. He lives out on Diamond Street somewheres, like I said, I don't rightly know his name but he's got that white electric car with a yeller light on top, on account of it don't go no more than 35 miles an hour, and when you find the car, you found him. Maybe he can help you."

And you know what?

I found the guy and he was absolutely wonderful. A font of bee-ly information. There are at least 5 kinds of mites threatening honeybees. Wax moths can do them in too. Feral bees don't really thrive in houses, or apparently anywhere anymore because of the aforementioned hazards. "If you can put up with them," he offered. "They'll most likely be gone in a year or two. They'll die off. And if they don't, you should call Virginia Tech because they'd like to know about hardy feral bee swarms." Then he and his wife offered to call the Martinsville Beekeeping group.
His wife, Jeanette, said now was not the time to try and move a swarm because they wouldn't have time to regroup before the cold set in and froze them. She also added the bees can be right cranky this time of year because the flowers aren't as plentiful.

They said we shouldn't kill wasps as they clean up the dead bee bodies and that ants take away the excess honey from old hives. "You see, it's a right efficient system nature's got going and pesticides and poisons only endanger it."

There was no convincing needed here- Still, it was lovely to meet such someone who could explain everything in such a plainspoken, well-thought out manner.

"Don't worry about honey dripping down your walls like they show on TV," Jeanette said reassuringly. "It takes years for something like that to happen."

I left feeling the little log cabin is blessed to have such a rare group of cranky, summer campers.

No comments: