Here I am, sneaking in a beekeeper selfie so I can say I actually met Sue Cobey and hung out with master beekeepers Bruce and Marco. It's all about street cred, you know?!
so how did I get here? Good question. I've been working with and buying up a bit of Bruce's amazing honey for my small but growing wholesale side business, which will hopefully sustain me and my bees over the winter when funds and honey reserves are low. Bruce has a team of great guys working with him, each with their own set of strengths and abilities. I see Seth and Joe and Pat regularly, but haven't spent much time with the man himself. So I just asked him one day recently, if I could ride along with him sometime and ask him a million questions....or just sit with my mouth shut the entire time, whichever he prefers.
It was the next day when I unexpectedly got a call back from him, asking if I wanted to tag along to do some "spot checking" of the high mountain hives for a (hopefully) big fireweed honey crop. He said we'd be meeting at an undisclosed location, and when I asked "who's we?" he replied, oh just Sue and Marco and himself. I immediately knew he meant Sue Comologistwith UC Davis and WSU. Marco is a local beekeeper with a nose for knowing exactly what the gals are up to and an answer for every question (and a story) under the sun!
A beekeeper in his office:
We got started early and visited two different bee yards. Fireweed was seemingly done with its nectar flow for the season, and many hives were full of beautiful light honey!
Here's Bruce checking a hive
And Marco holding a gorgeous fresh frame of fireweed
We saw many other mountain wildflowers still in bloom, including Goldenrod (which reminds me of Michigan) and Pearly Everlasting, and maybe a few I couldn't name.
The whole day was so special for me, to kind of hang out with the varsity team and get to take notes and listen to their combined years of bee work and wisdom. Marco and Sue didn't really wear any protective gear and they both handle the bees with grace and ease. Bruce is just like hanging out with any old farmer, filled with ambition and experience I could only hope to gain someday. We had a picnic, and later Bruce took us up to this darling little secret mountain lake, just to look around. These are the best moments of being a beekeeper, when you get to roam the wilderness looking for nectar sources and scouting for future bee yards!
Big thanks to Bruce for letting me tag along and take pictures. Can't wait for the next time!