Rest day

  • Posted on: 7 September 2019
  • By: MrWurster

I was supposed to be resting yesterday. I'm still not over the effects of more than 20 bee stings. Two days later and my arm is back to normal size, the lump on my face has gone. I am still having flare-up of single sting marks suddenly going off, bright red and itchy, but the nausea and cold sweats have gone.

I knew this would happen! I've been putting off doing some work on the beehive for ..ahem…years. The bee boxes had weathered and cracked and needed to be replaced, but I am frankly intimidated by the bees and kept finding other things to do. Its suddenly spring and the bees were getting busy. The longer I put it off the more complicated the job would get.

And it was complicated. The boxes were in poor shape, and stuck together. Levering them apart was time consuming and jarring, which agitated the bees. But the frames were overgrown with cells, and a couple of them broke up when I tried to move them into new boxes.

I did have a bee suit, but the bees found all its weaknesses, which included….
- The face mask mesh touched my face. Which meant a bee could land on the mesh and sting my face.
- The sleeves had elasticized cuffs, but they rode up as I moved and exposed my wrists.
- The waist was elasticized, but I am not a circular shape, so there were gaps. They crawled up my back.
- I wore long pants and boots, but the bees crawled up and into my boots. A few got up as high as my thighs. The stings on my feet were the most painful.
I'm not allergic to beestings, or haven't been before, but so many triggered a reaction. When my face started ballooning I went to the doctor.

Hence the rest day.

Except yesterday was the first lamb of our lambing season, and it went badly. Officially not due until next week, this one was incorrectly folded, legs stuck and it wedged and died during birth. I saw the mother at breakfast time and went back to check on her progress later in the morning.

The dead lamb had to be delivered, but the mother wasn't hanging around for me to help. Ailing sheep turn into Olympic sprinters when you approach them, and she was the same.

So my wife came and helped, and in a torrential downpour we tried to corner the sheep, her driving, me leaping off the moving cart and running. We got close, but each time she ducked between us and sprinted off. I was getting to the point of thinking we should come back and try again in the dark, when the sheep abruptly headed for the top of the goose pond, and went over. It's a 6 metre drop to the water, with just a narrow lip of soggy ground around the pond at the base of the wall. I peeked over the edge and there she was, hiding from us in a shelf.

My wife walked around and approached from the far end of the shoreline, the sheep watched her approach. At my end, I slid down the wall. She was in between us, with water on one side and a vertical 6 metre wall-face on the other. Nowhere to go, you'd think.

The sheep made one half-hearted effort to climb straight up the wall and was falling back as I grabbed her. All 60 kilos of her slid down on top of me and the two of us rolled into the ice-cold water. Wonderful.

We sloshed out of the water and I laid the waterlogged sheep down, kneeled over her, untangled the dead lamb and pulled it out. We left the sheep there to recuperate, and when I went back a couple of hours later she was up and about. This morning she was loitering, grieving, and she'll be like that for a few days.

I'm hoping we have less trouble with the remaining births.