The Bee Whisperer

A bee beard at the fairMy grandparents lived in a remote West Virginia holler. The closest telephone was a mile away. They hunted for their meat, raised potatoes, cabbage, and carrots along with a few scrawny chickens. Because they were too poor to keep livestock, my grandmother helped till the garden wearing a horse collar and pulling a plow.

They lived in a tar paper shack with a boulder for a front porch and they cooked and heated with wood. Out of necessity, they burned the dining room one winter when the snow became too deep to chop wood. Water came from an open spring about 1/4 mile up the mountain and everyone used the same dipper to drink from the tin bucket in the kitchen. I remember when the power company came down the mountain with a mule and spool of wire to bring them electricity. The house had no switches or wiring so they unscrewed the single bulb to turn it off.

And they had bees, perhaps 20 boxes of them.

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