It’s 11 a.m., and I’m not covered in honey — it’s a good day.
While living on Vancouver Island for a couple of years, I worked at one of the largest local honey farms and apiaries.
When you walked through the front door, the potent sweet scent of beeswax candles and honey swarmed your senses. Tidy rows of stacked jars and pails filled with honey covered the tables. In front of each row were trays that held an open jar of sample honey with pink plastic spoons scattered around it. Four bookcases housed the selection of different shaped and sized candles. On the bottom shelf, large, gold blocks of beeswax played home to a variety of spiders.
To get to the plant, we’d enter through the sliding glass door. This was the hub. It was here the beekeepers met at sunrise to discuss the day’s agenda and buzz around the lunch table was always bee-related. Normally a few bees would be humming around but during extraction, the roar of thousands of annoyed bees in search of their honey vibrated the walls.
The gooey suction squeak of my work boots across the concrete floor strangely harmonized with the scratching of the plant’s residents that scurried above. I was grateful when one of the beekeepers offered to do the daily check on the rat-traps.
Still, the sight of a sticky, stiff black carcass was not unusual.
In the bottling room, three large stainless steel tanks stood on a metal table. The full tanks had to be turned a minimum of eight times a day.
The top of the tank was approximately 1.65 m from the floor. There I was, a short, plump woman with T-Rex arms lifting a 15-kilogram bucket of warm honey over my head and pouring it back into the large vat.
Half the time the bucket would clip the top of the tank and a small wave of honey would ooze over and continue flowing downward.
Do you have any idea how disturbing sticky armpits are?
My dress size went down while my ring size went up…even my fingers got muscular.
Unlike the beekeepers, I never found being stung routine, but after a dozen times, I did grow more accustomed to it.
Coming up: It’s a small world after all – working in a miniature shop.
Decades of working in a variety of fields led to the pursuit of a writer’s life. Peggy has a knack for writing cover copy for romance novels and a love of vintage VWs. With her eye on the Golden Pie Server trophy,her spare time is spent training for the family’s annual pie-baking competition. Last year she placed third...there were three entries.