I spent half of a day last week on a mission to go buy a few thousand bees from a honey farm in Hickory, PA. I love traveling anywhere I've never been before - even if it's just a simple back roads trip to a honey farm (and maybe especially if it is so). I found the farm on Craigslist and headed out two days later to pick up a 5 Frame Nuc to add to our apiary at Churchview Farm where I work part-time.
The honey farm is a typical roadside house, shed and perma-tent thing that sells honey, herbs, plants, etc. A little underwhelming at first. Then I noticed the cow in the front yard with the dogs. A single cow, sunbathing by the front porch while the cute dogs did their own thing. My new life goal is to have a cow-in-residence. Then I notice the bee yard down over the hill by the pond and the garage filled with woodenware and wax foundation and every other bit of beekeeping equipment you could ever want to lay eyes on. Then I meet the grandpa hanging out in the shop. Then I meet the wicked charming 3-year old who named me "captain". I was in total love with the whole place.
The owner (who told me the story of his family losing the farm in the depression and how he bought it back over a decade ago) had me hop in his little farm cart (which I also need STAT) and we roamed all around - sometimes picking up his daughter and her pet silkie chicken, sometimes driving the boy, always carrying a lit smoker to calm the bees when we got to the bee yard. After Mark selected my nuc and loaded it on the cart we went to see his honey house and he gave me some quick lessons in organic mite treatments and I was ready to go. He thanked me for making the trip to which I responded, "I never want to leave". Regardless - with 5-10K bees in the back of your car it's best to hit the road and get the ladies set up in their new home pretty quickly. Less than two hours later they were settled in next to Delia I and Delia II at the Farm. It was a simple, exciting adventure that I hope to do over soon when I'm ready to have bees at home again. Here is Betsy tucked in next to the Delias. Welcome home, gals.