I’ve still got it. It’s been years, but I just dusted off my bee gloves, the smoker and goofy hat with the netting and gingerly got back in the bee business.
Some weeks ago I found a discarded bird’s nest under one of our huge cedar trees. At first I wasn’t sure what it was because this baby is maybe 14-18 inches in diameter. Clearly unused, it had obviously been dismissed from the tree so I considered it fair game. I have several nests parked here and there in my house – ones that I’ve come across in my to-ing and fro-ing, but I’d never seen one like this. It is a bundle of moss and strips of cedar bark and much bigger and different than the sticky/twiggy robin’s nests I’m used to finding. I suspect its architect was a larger bird of prey since we live close to a river where those guys hang out.
Doesn’t matter, it’s mine. I trotted it back to my back porch and carefully ensconced it on my potting table. Over the next several days I realized that every time it was jostled, it let out a humming sound. In fact, it was humming AND there were bumble-like bees coming out of one side. No wonder whatever carefully sculpted this beauty had kicked it out of the tree.
One of the side benefits of having an organic garden is that it attracts and supports the natural order of things including the birds and the bees. They seem to flourish here, birds building nests and bees happily bumbling from Echinacea to calendula, and when I’m gardening we all always peacefully coexist. As I repeatedly rummaged around my potting table to get a trowel or a pair of gloves I marveled that the bees in this nest seemed perfectly fine with my presence. Until they didn’t. Isn’t it amazing that when one has babies to protect, one’s demeanor changes?
So very early Sunday morning before the workers or guard bees had had their morning bee-coffee and begun their appointed bee-rounds, I suited up in my silly netted safari hat, elbow-length leather gloves, stoked up the bee smoker and carefully moved the buzzing domicile to a safer place for all of us. Several of the guards aren’t altogether pleased with the change of address, but hey, sometimes zoning laws change.