I have been working as a beekeeper in New Zealand. We really spend most of the day driving around the countryside, yet while gazing out the window at the gorgeous pastures and scrub, as a beekeeper, I am looking at our big farm, the valleys wide, us and our bees. I imagine every blossom and bloom, every sweet drop of nectar reachable by bee tongue, passing between my rubber gloves and swollen knuckles. There are many beautiful aspects of beekeeping, yet the most spectacular is how in this form of farming, we don't own the land and the plants we harvest from, yet we are always welcome as husband to the pollinators-honey bees.
It didn't take long to get used to the harvest, hauling lugs of anything to the truck has a certain joy, the sensation of making food from the land, the ultimate management. Yet the bees make it a little more exciting than brussels sprouts. First of all, we trick the bees into thinking there is a bush fire. A light puff of smoke at the entrance signals the entire hive to gorge themselves with honey and hide in a food comma in the bottom of the hive. This makes it relatively easy to pry their hive apart with a mini crow bar, a hoodlum breaking into a house; and with a harvest this good, I get the sensation that I am stealing. Blowing the bees off the combs and stacking the oozing boxes onto the truck is a rhythm, a constantly shifting dance with two hooded actors, and the persistent buzzing and stinging of pulsating abdomens.