Chase Honey is a family owned Apiary right here in the little nook we call home, Eastern Washington. Grandpa Harold Chase caught a swarm of bees in 1962 and they buzzed his interest. (That was just about the worst pun I've made, but let's roll with it shall we.) With the help of his dad, Harold built a bee hive and purchased an extractor. 55 years later, Harold's boys and grandkids have taken over the operation and get stung just about every. friggin'. day.
Now enough about their history let me share my experience. Not that my experience was speical or anything... but it was and I'm super proud of myself for "gearing up" and venturing into the world of a bee keeper. And bear with me, I write like we're chatting over a drink so grammatical errors are my friend. See what I did there? Rraawrrr. Bare with me.
First, we drove a long A#% dirt road to the meeting place right between the middle of nowhere and the railroad tracks. I thought to myself "This makes sense, you wouldn't want your bees buzzin' on over to your neighbors for an afternoon sting. Ya they should be down a long dirt road."
I must admit when we finally arrived, I was completely underwhelmed. All I saw were white boxes tied up in rope. Like, where were the bees? Isn't this an Apiary?
So I get out of the car and was handed a white, creepy bee suite with all sorts of elastic protectors to keep my sleeves and neck tight. My response was something along the naive lines of "No need for that, a few bees don't scare me." He chuckled. He, as in the man in charge. The man that works 50/60 hours a week tending to these bees. Which mind you, HE WAS WEARING A SUIT. Luckily he just thought I was an idiot blond, not a jerk. Subtly laughing, enlightened me. "Each of those white boxes contain thousands (I think 7 to 10 thousand to be exact) of bees and we are about to go open a few" he kindly said. It was about then I nearly shat myself for the first time in that hour. Then humbly and graciously accepted the white, Breaking Bad doppleganger suit.
All suited up lookin' like Walter White and wishing I had a Xanax prescription, we ventured into the Bee Yard. At this point the Apiarist and I are buds. I've proven myself not to be the sweet, cute innocent blond he'd hire to watch his kids that he first thought I was and in fact, more of a weird, overly confident, optimistic woman with a mouth of a sailor (or trucker. tomato tomAto people)
He pulls out a friggin' metal rod that he surly bought from the scary store, where people buy weapons to break into cars and beat people with. Begins to pry open the box and it opens...
I was preparing myself for the ominous reveal of the Bees. Sounds like a good/stupid movie, right?
He calls me closer to look in the box.
"Whats in the boooooooxxxxxxx!!!???"
Anyone? Movie quote for those of you who I've completely lost.
Bees. A mother load of bees. THEE mother load of bees swarm out of the box. At this point I'm elated. My blood pressure has risen, I'm giddier than a school girl and my pits & palms are surely sweating. Finally. I'm a bad a#% photographer in the middle of a Bee Yard. So. Legit.
As I'm photographing I ask him to describe his work day. How does he tend to the bees? Any drama in the hive? Whose the B of the bees? Oh and where is the Queen Bee? I needed to know if she resembled Beyonce. Meh. Kinda. Both have booties on point, a relaxing tune and a colt following.
At that point I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. The bees are absolutely gorgeous up close, I'm loving listening to the details of the Apiarists schedule, I'm getting great, detailed shots. So I do what any sane person would do at an apiary with 100,000 bees. I take off my helmet type thingy to get better pictures. Also I get claustrophobic and that wasn't helping.
Don't get me wrong here, I love Jesus with all my heart but I swear to you he was in the mood for a good laugh. Because the minute I took off that stupid helmut, the bees got pissed. Whatever it was there were these three bees that chased me for I promise you, 10 minutes. As in I ran in circles for 10 minutes kinda laughing, kinda crying, kinda crapping my pants ( I told ya it would happen again) and kinda trying to put my helmet back on like a good girl that follows instructions well. But you see if I followed instructions I wouldn't have been in that mess to begin with. All while listing to my buddy over yonder chuckling as he tells me once a bee decides to sting you, he'll chase you till he does. So there I was. Running in circles, punching bees. That will surely offend someone and if that person is you, It's called survival. I'd like to see you bow with a
"Namaste" when bees are after you.
Makes for a great story though. And I never got stung. Straight Ninja.
(What I lack to mention is my field trip guide quickly morphed into Tom Cruise, Last Samurai and sprayed all the bees with some "magic" smoke and they immediately were chill).
Long story short. Sorry too late for that. This was such an experience. Sweaty palms & pits and all. I would do it again in a heart beat.
And the bee yard I just told you about, Chase honey has over 70 of them spread across the Pacific Northwest. And I thought I was a busy bee... :)
Chase Honey has been around for 55 years because of those of you that choose to support local. How incredible that Harold started making honey when he was 10 years old and now his sons and grandkids make it, and provide jobs for people in our community.
Support local my friends!
A big thanks to Chase Honey for allowing myself, a photographer representing the locally owned, community health food store, Pilgrims Market, come photograph your Apiary.