In the Hands of Strangers

If you have read Bee Culture for very long you know that Kim and I travel a lot. We have been so blessed to be a part of the beekeeping industry and get to meet and know so many interesting people who just happen to love the honey bee as much as we do. Thank you to all of you who over the years have invited us to your locations – we deeply appreciate it.

This latest trip was quite an adventure – New Zealand. It wasn’t on my bucket list, only because I’m not that adventurous with my list! But it was an amazing trip.

When Kim and I travel my main job is to take care of all of the details – airfare, hotel rooms, rental cars, where and when we’re supposed to be there – all of that. Well this time others were in charge, so this was a little out of my comfort zone at first. But I quickly realized that we were having the trip of our lives. We put ourselves in the hands of strangers and it worked perfectly. From the time we arrived we were handed off from one beekeeper to another to another working our way from Auckland up north to Wellington down south. Then back up to Auckland and back home.

I was very concerned about the amount of time we had to spend on airplanes. We went from Cleveland to Chicago to San Francisco, 4½ hours and then San Fran to Auckland, 13 hours. Prior to this we’ve gone several times to England and Northern Ireland and that’s about a seven hour flight, so this was double that. I tend to be a very fidgity person – I can’t sit still for too long a time. But we did Okay. Neither of us slept much. But they have movies and I always take lots to read. I think Kim watched six movies on the trip over. And every now and then they come along and feed you something, so it wasn’t too bad.

Of course we arrived somewhat sleep deprived and wondering what day it was really. But Fiona was right there to pick us up and got us fed and then the adventure began. Kim and I will talk more about all of the beekeepers and beekeeping we saw. And so much more.

I have to admit I knew very little about New Zealand before we went on this trip. It is an amazing place. It’s peaceful and green and not heavily populated and – no snakes – a wonderful place to visit or live. I’d recommend this trip to everyone.

A big thank you to all of the folks who took care of us – Fiona and Jeremy, Kim and Aaron, Deanna, Gary and Karen, Carol and especially Frank and Maryann.

We’ve known Fiona and Jeremy O’Brien for about 10 years. They’ve been coming to the U.S. to the EAS conference every Summer for about that long. Frank and Maryann Lindsay also have been coming over for EAS for several years. So we had some familiar faces that were guiding us along. Frank and Maryann spear-headed the schedule and line up all of the people along the way. Kim gave eight talks at different locations as we worked our way down the country.

Back home in Medina daughter Jessica held down the fort taking care of all 20 chickens and the two fat cats. She did a great job. A huge thanks to her. We are lucky to have a good support team – at home and at work – which allows us the luxury of travelling and not having to worry about things back home. So thanks to all of those people too.

After spending an unexpected night in Chicago because of a snow storm in Cleveland, we made it home safely just in time to get ready for the Tri-County meeting in Wooster. It was a fantastic turnout as usual, about a thousand beekeepers from all around northeast Ohio and even the surrounding states.

It’s always good to see those old friends and get reacquainted. All in all it was a good day. We sold lots of books and subscriptions and gave away a bunch of magazines and calendars. Kim made it this year after missing the last two, so folks were excited to see him there. We took almost the entire Bee Culture team.

As I write this we’ve been home about a week and a half, so still getting caught up but glad to be back in the swing of things.

Don’t forget all of the exciting meetings coming up this Spring, Summer and Fall.

Bee Culture’s Pollinator Day, right here on Root Company property is July 21. If you’re close by or passing through please stop and see us.

Our annual big event will be October 19-21. We’re calling it ‘My Story’ and four well-known commercial beekeepers will be here in Medina giving you their individual stories of how they got where they are – Ray Olivarez, Brett Adee, John Miller and Mike Palmer. You don’t want to miss this. For more of the details visit Bee Culture. Hope to see you there!

I hope you all have a happy and sunny Easter and that Spring arrives quickly wherever you are. We’re hoping this weekend to get in the bees (mid-March). We were out there about a month ago and had lost two of our nine colonies. Hopefully the rest are doing Okay. Good luck with your bees and have a great Spring!

More on the New Zealand beekeeping adventure next month!