Bigfoot is a Beekeeper

Remember, you read it here first.

This summer I spent two blissful hours marking queens at my out-apiary, located in bee heaven, which is my Dad’s fruit and vegetable farm.

You veteran beekeepers are probably thinking “Wow, how many hives does she have?  You can mark a lot of queens in two hours!”

Well, maybe you can.

I cannot. “Two hours of marking queens” consists of 118 minutes of looking for queens, and two minutes dotting them with yellow. I repeatedly told the worker bees that if they’d flag the queen for me, I’d be in and out of their hives so much faster. (Of course, if bees were going to do what I wanted, there are a few things higher up my wish list, like “no stinging.”)

In the two hours I was in and around the (embarrassingly, just, um) eight hives, the bees were seemingly as content as I was. No one buzzed loudly or even considered chasing me to the car, which has occasionally happened. After closing up the final hive, I shed my protective clothing and drove off with a big, contented smile on my face.

I stopped by the farmhouse to visit my octogenarian father. He was busy solving the world’s problems under a sprawling maple tree in the backyard … or maybe just cat-napping. His face matched my smile as I made my way across the yard to see him. “Bees must be doing well,” he commented, “I can see you’re happy.”

My smile didn’t last long. I disturbed a honeybee in the lawn, and she flew into my sandal and nailed my right foot. I launched myself into the empty lawn chair near Dad and removed the stinger. We both laughed at the irony of working a quarter million bees without any issues, and then getting stung on an innocent stroll across the backyard.

We had to laugh. I knew what lay ahead, and knew there wasn’t much that could be done about it. Nature and venom would have to run its course. I’d be spending the next few days hobbling on a foot the size of Miami.

Dad was right. My bees were doing good … except for, er, that particular one.

Within a couple of hours, I had a big toe on either side of my foot, the “new” big toe being the one formerly known as the little toe.

Twelve hours later, even with ice and elevation, my foot and ankle were so puffy that it was painful to walk. Luckily it was the weekend, and I took the hint and found a couch and the remote control.

While channel-surfing, which can be done on just one foot, I wandered by a “scientific” documentary on Bigfoot. This tall, hairy creature is said to inhabit the woods of the Pacific Northwest, where it enjoys salmon, berries, and (gasp!) honey. There have been very, very few sightings of this shy critter; the few times it has been seen it is always wildly racing away. However, plenty of its huge footprints have been found over the years. The enormous prints, for which the critter is named, have been as large as two feet long, and eight inches wide.

Putting down my iced tea, I looked at my size 12 swollen foot, nearing eight inches wide. And hadn’t I dashed wildly across my Dad’s yard?

Remember, you read it here first. I’ve concluded that there really isn’t a Bigfoot species wandering the Pacific Northwest, but instead just some tall, honey-loving guys living off the land who lack shoes and razors. These shy guys rob bees without the benefit of Kelley’s protective clothing and decent footwear, and have been glimpsed racing away after grabbing honey. Undoubtedly stung on their feet, they leave really big footprints until the swelling goes down … which is why only some footprints have been found.

Bigfoot mystery solved. Perhaps next month I’ll solve the mystery of where queen bees hide when you open a hive to look for them.

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