Bouncers in the Bee hive and a Most Unsettling Steer

WELL we all made it through another day and another night in one piece peacefully. Such a beautiful day yesterday. I have decided that TonTon is actually sleeping with Mama because she is casting such a big shadow.

Do you see? Mama has a dogs tail, someone is using her as shade. How embarrassing!

Daisy has been experimenting with war paint because someone else in the barn yard is taking ALL the attention. It was so warm yesterday that they gathered under the mulberry tree even though it has no leaves yet.

A curious thing happened when I went to take a shot of the bees. They are carrying pollen into the hives at an astonishing rate and I wanted to capture an image of their little legs laden with the good stuff and I found this instead.

I have zoomed in a wee bit for you, which reduces the clarity but we don’t mind this once.  Look closely at the bouncer bee. They call them doormen bees but I prefer  the word bouncers. The Pub Bouncers in NZ are usually handsome, well dressed gentlemen with good teeth. They stand smiling at the doors of most of the bars at home.  They are not doormen, though they will open the door for you. They all carry this underlying animal, barely in check, and their eyes in their smiling faces ceaselessly cruise for battle.  You behave yourself in these bars or you will be getting a tap on your shoulder. And it is not a nice tap.

In that shot above, a bouncer has ranged out on his muscly legs to confront a blue fly, obviously the fly is either inappropriately dressed or drunk.  I am thinking drunk to even think about getting into The Hive. The Hive is a very private bar. Now look closely, do you see?, There is another  even tinier fly sat on top of the blue fly. Is he trying to talk his way in? Does he think that piggy back bugs get in for half price or something? Well, he is not getting in in those shorts and jandals I can tell you that.  They are going to be bounced right back out of there, down the steps and onto the footpath.  Oh wait. Maybe they are the band! 

OK here is a better shot. The equivalent of rolling in the kegs. That bee on the right has pollen. A good haul. In March!  And I think they are getting it from these flowers.  

The Forsythia. Our bees first real feast. I have planted a hedge of these. Next will be the pussy willow, which is about to bloom in the next few days!  There is also a little tiny clover flowering already.  The farmy is waking up!

And Queenie Wineti has been put out on one of the small meadows because The Bobby (you will remember that any steer we are fattening is called The Bobby and any sheep destined for  the freezer are called Murphys), anyway The Bobby is behaving inappropriately.   The Bobby has decided to stay a baby all his life. He had to be parted from Daisy because he wanted her to be his mother. I am trying to say this delicately.  Suffice to say that he was not breastfed long enough as a baby.  So he cannot be with Daisy because he will ruin her udder and now he has had to be parted from Queenie as well. Sigh. He is a nuisance this animal.  Not one single brain in his head.  Queenie is thrilled, as she gets to go out on the grass.  First.

The grass is still too short, it will be at least three weeks before anyone else gets out there but I cannot put Queenie back into a dark barn pen in this glorious weather. Animals need the sun and the space.

We had a lovely wee visit at the Old Folks Home yesterday. The Old Codger was in the physiotherapy room. TonTon was greeted with shrieks of delight both from the staff and the residents.  The Old Codger introduced him around with such pride.   This is some bright dog, he said. It was the best visit yet. Ton just loved everyone and they cannot get enough of him.  He almost wagged his tail right off. His presence turned into corridor gossip.  People in wheelchairs were pushing themselves to their doors as we processed past to his room. The Old Codger waving like the Queen in her slow moving wagon. It was great.

As we were leaving, TonTon and I  were chased down the corridor by one of the Occupational Therapy person who had heard me laughing with the Old Codger about bringing lambs in.  (If Mama ever decides to give birth.) Nothing is private when you are talking to a deaf person. He said he would PAY me to bring more animals in.  I said what about a calf or a pig or a chicken. He said he would clear a room.  What about a cow I said, thinking of Queenie.  How high, he said, moving his hand up and down in the air.  I told him they are not house trained you know. He did not even blink. That is fine, he said. Many of these residents came off farms he told me, and most of them have given up animals.  Just no ducks he said. Ducks scare me.

Good morning.

Fine and clear again this morning.  The dawn chorus this  is deafening today.  Isn’t life just full of possibilities. And I have to say that I would not have thought of pursuing the therapy dog angle if you had not encouraged me, so YOU get to feel proud too.   Now just imagine me trotting two little sheep around the healthy laughing wards!    I am off to work now, The Farmy is waking up to another day.

Good morning.





93 Comments on “Bouncers in the Bee hive and a Most Unsettling Steer

  1. Had to read this post to my 4 your old daughter. Now, she too loves your farmy. Good morning! On our vacation last summer to the Charlevoix region, in Quebec, Canada we had an opportunity to visit an apiary and the girls got to see the bees busily working away. Took some nice smelling beeswax and honey home too. So great that you get to wrk with bees as well. Can’t believe the amount of pollen that they can carry in like that! Thanks for sharing. we learn something new from you everyday.

    Bringing the sheep and cows to the home sounds fantastic (although I sure the logistics, aren’t!). Is it possible to have these lovely people from the home occasionally visit you on the farm? Just a thought. Although I’m sure it might be quite challenging for some to get out there as well.

    Have a great day. I am off to practice at my practice, and my girls to dance and then visit the farm in the city.

    • I am thrilled that you daughter loves the posts too. Looks like you have a busy morning ahead of you.. c

  2. I’m amazed at the amount of pollen your bees are collecting! I’ve yet to see a bee but, then gain, there’s nothing really flowering yet to draw them to my yards. Great shot of TonTon using Mama for shade. 🙂 Speaking of TonTon, it’s good that he’s been so well-received. He’s a wonderful therapist and all he has to do is wag his tail.

    It’s going to be another beautiful day, Celi. Enjoy!

    • Isn’t this sporing weather great, I am thinking that since spring is so early maybe it will not get too hot too soon which would be grand.. c

  3. Hi Celi! I can’t believe how enormous Mama is getting!!! How much longer does she have to go? I wonder if it will be the same when we breed our precious goats? I love seeing the bouncer bees and the field bees. I’m getting excited about getting our ‘Bars’ up and running.
    So exciting about Ton Ton and the happiness he is bringing to the Old Folks home. I think bringing other baby animals, if you can, would bring such joy to the people there. What a get idea! xo

    • Judging by the size of Mias lost lambs i think that Mama may have about two weeks to go. Last year she had her lambs in April and it was freezing cold. I am buying a harness for the ram next time so that i know when she has been tupped, this will give me a more accurate date.. I am sure if i have to bottle feed a couple of lambs( fingers crossed) I should be able to take them to the Old Folks, it would indeed be fun! Morning Diane ..c

  4. The old Codger section was fabulous today, but I was surprised to realise that the Old Codger is female. I’ve always thought of the noun Codger as male terminology, not in any chauvinistic way, but I cannot for the life of me think of the female version. The bee bouncers also got my attention in that Kiwi bouncers are a very dangerous race of people, and that bluefly will be a black and blue fly soon, as will his mate. Cool post.

    • No he is a bloke. you were absolutely right. I should have said he was like a prince in a carriage.. ooops! I did not even think of that. I shall pop over to your page and let you know. The old codger would be horrified if he thought you though he was a girl! And thank you, those flies did make me laugh.. c

      • I never thought the Codger was female – I knew you were talking about our beautiful diamond jubilee Queen Elizabeth II.

  5. You make me smile Cecilia! Your Fly may just be in the band! Have you heard of “The Jazz Fly” by Matthew Gollub? It is an amazing children’s book which introduces the musical jazz style of “Scat.” For a little sampling you can go to the link at the bottom for a listen. My students loved it and the phonetic spelling of the Scat words were very phonetic for those early readers. Any parents or teachers in the audience? 😉
    Thank you for the smile so early in my day! ~ Lynda

    • Morning Lynda, no i have not heard of the jazz fly but i am going to take you up on that link and listen in .. thank you!! c

      • Arg, I meant to say that the Scat words were very DECODEABLE for those early readers! Guess it was too early to be commenting… hope you like it! ~L

  6. The Boucer Bees just didn’t want him bringing an unleashed pet into the bar… 😉
    So good to hear about your trips to the Old Folks’ Home… I’ll bet the lambs would be a big hit, too. Suppose you could get a chicken to learn to ride in a cat carrier? Take the man up on his offer!

    • A chicken! Why sure i could. A chicken is a great idea..! and an unleashed pet- that made me laugh!!! morning marie.. c

  7. Gotta love the way you worked Bouncer Bees into the story. Blooming Forsythia’s are a great in the spring …. but they are simply so early!

  8. You and TonTon are bringing such joy to those old folks. I certainly hope you follow up with that invitation to bring more animals to the home.

    As for the bees, I laughed at your comparison to a bouncer. And then I remembered how my husband told me last night about the Asian beetle that clung to the windshield of the car for 15 miles as he drove home from work. One tough bug, for sure.

    Enjoy your day. It’s another gorgeous one here in Minnesota.

    • Just think about one of your gentle llamas walking into the old folks home, ducking his head to get through the door, those big eyelashed eyes, they would laugh with excitement. c

  9. Great farm shots and I haven’t seen any forsythia’s in a long time. I always loved seeing them in the spring. A good weekend to all on the farmy 🙂 t

  10. I love this post. The weather in Seattle has been cold and rainy for days, with snow and sleet mixed in for good measure. It appears to be about 70 degrees and sunny everywhere else in the country, including where you are! Every time I read your blog, I have a little fantasy about shipping my oldest son there…don’t worry, I won’t do it, but a girl can dream.

    • Morning Christine, animals are a balm to young people.. pity you are so far away.. what i would really like is a guest cottage then you really could ship him over! c

    • That made me laugh too! That dog was completely hidden by her big fat self, this heat is hard on her too.. ;poor mama.. c

  11. This is one of my all-time favourite posts of yours – and I love them all, so that’s high praise! I hope that was a serious suggestion to bring the old folk to the farmy – fabulous idea. Your clover looks very healthy.

    • Viv, you are a darling, and I do agree about the clover, it makes me feel so happy to see it growing like that. ! c

  12. This makes me so happy to read. Yesterday I got an email from a co-worker trying to find a home for a cat. The email said it had lived with a person who had gone to the nursing home and the cat would go “to the pound” if a home wasn’t found. I was so furious I replied (to all) that it’s bad enough the person lost their home… but to threaten to euthanize their cat was beyond cruel.

    Please take all the animals you can.

    • An old lady said to me yesterday how much she loved seeing the dogs and she said “especially for us who have had to give up our animals” she said that straight to me as TonTon lay under her hands.. she asked me if I had a cat who would come.. though I am not sure about that one, i will see what mary’s cat does in the car, he is the friendliest and most adventuresome, it would take a while to train a cat to go to strange places with me, i will try tho.. c

  13. This is great Celi, you are going to be like Patch Adams ;). I’m sure they all are going to be delighted.
    Thanks for the update on the farmy.
    Good morning!

  14. hey sweet C, I am away from home with a family member who has memory loss, eating chocolate and admiring the pictures of your animals and thinking about when Zeb was a pup and i did agility with him. one time we took him to show off to a group of old folks in their big tv room, made him a mini course and took lots of treaty bits so they all got to have some fun with him, getting him to do some of his commands. I love the idea of you taking sheep on a visit 🙂 🙂 Really made me smile

    • Morning Joanna, Zeb would have been perfect in a home being so small, what a wonderful idea to take treats for the oldies to give to him, i thought they might like to feed the lambs!! c

  15. I’d like to think that wee fly is standing on top helping out (only courageous with the help of the bouncer bee). I love that you can see that thick pollen, very cool!! You’re warm there?!! Lovely, we are inching warmer each day. I faux planted some pansies that I can bring in (still in pots) from the planter if it’s cold. We had a pig brought in to our school as a birthday present to our principal one day… well, a piglet.. what fun that was the little guy was tearing all over the place!!! So I encourage you to bring in another animal.. just not sure which one;) Perhaps a baby chick would be a better size??

  16. Morning Celi ! or rather afternoon here, sitting at home listening to the Rugby, reading about Kiwi bouncers, and flys that are wearing shorst and jandals, looking at photos of a fat sheep with a waggy tail, and a therapist who is scared of ducks. Life’s beautiful !

  17. You had a good eye to catch all the detail in what’s happening at your hive, Celi! I’m fascinated with bees, and closely following the concerns with the dwindling bee population. I have several very large lavender plants and the bees have been very plentiful for so early in the spring. I would love to have a hive…I looked into it, but ah, those nasty zoning ordinances! 🙂 I’m going to eagerly see what you may do with the therapist’s encouragement to bring more animals in to brighten the residents’ lives. Could you possibly point me to any of your early posts about when and how this got started? I just think it’s such a great thing to do, and I admire your doing it…it isn’t like you have nothing else to do with your time! 😉 Your green grass looked like shamrocks to me, so enjoy St. Paddy’s–even we non-Irish can get into the party mood! Debra

    • morning debra, i began to take TonTon is three weeks ago, yesterday was his third visit. An old friend of ours fell (Ton used to visit him with me twice a week in his own home) and he is having his rehab in this retirement home. So we are VERY new to the whole thing.. but maybe some of these animals can pay for their own hay by visiting .. how about that for a bonus! c

  18. Lovely read C. Really enjoyed it. Super photos. At first glance I thought Mama had sat on TonTon!
    Regards Florence x

  19. Glad all are doing well! We were off the web for the first three days this week and I am playing catch up. Paying bills gets hard when I haven’t worked in 3 weeks.

    • mercy, 3 weeks is very hard harold.. you need to start a campaign to let people know you can do all those little plumbing jobs and maybe even building jobs.. everyone needs someone for those handyman type stuff.. buy a ream of paper, make flyers and you and the kids walk around and put them in letterboxes. I know what it is like .. well you know i do, I am going over to your site to lecture you over there as well!.. c

  20. About 25 years ago, a nurse was fired for sneaking in her lambs to ECU when she was off shift. We conducted an uproar. The old folks loved the animals and studies were everywhere about the good this sort of exchange provides.

    Now? You should see the livestock that comes through our ECU – including a llama!

    • P.S. – Celi…I am so glad your hives are thriving. This is such a serious concern, this business of our bees. I am concerned everytime I see a bottle of bee pollen – or tablets. How can we not be affecting these little creatures if we’re always taking their pollen?! Am I off key? Guess I could google it…

    • I would love to bring a llama in .. they are so sweet.. alas i do not have one! wee lambies will have to do and isn’t it wonderful how we have gotton better with our care of the oldies! c

  21. You watch it! The nursing home will be hiring those good-teeth bouncers to eighty-six you and your traveling menagerie. They’d never let you back in again so you’d best not do it, but it would be fun and sure liven the place up.

  22. Would Queenie hop in the car for a visit to the older folks? I’m sure she eveyone would love her.
    I used to visit a nursing home where they had regular visits from an organisation called the city farm; it was formed to encourage city children to interact with young farm animals.
    They tow a small trailer and take a couple of lambs, a calf, and whatever else is …. (lasooable) to the nursing home, all the folks know what day they are due to visit and they are taken into the garden to stroke and talk to the animals. They also bring two sheepdogs to keep order amongst the baby animals.

    • I would love to take Queenie, if only i could get her to sit in the passenger seat like a good cow! However I do have a stock trailer and the trucks. It has to be doable.. It really has to be! c

  23. What a fun shot of mama with Tonton’s tail. They’re like two peas in a pod…sort of! Love the shot and the characterization of the bees. That’s really cool to see the one taking the pollen back into the hive. We are covered in yellow pollen here this weekend. Happy St. Paddy’s!

  24. So interesting to see the bees at work. They must be so happy to have those yellow flowers to feast in. Great to see green in your pictures and that things are warming up (though cooling here of course).

  25. Wow, those bee shots are amazing. What, doesn’t the OT want you bringing the rest of the farm yard with you?! No sense of fun. I think that there has to be a story behind the being scary of ducks. Liking your sunshine, so fed up of our fog. 🙂

    • daisy is sick of being locked out of the paddocks, but soon, soon she can go back and graze for the summer.. c

  26. That is so sweet that they want you to bring more animals! TonTon must have been a wonderful ambassador of good will. Interesting to see the bees, and loved your commentary about the flies. 🙂

  27. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see that the Codger is in such a grand place that they will welcome animal therapy with good grace. It’s so obviously a fantastic medicine and spirit lifter for absolutely everyone in the place, and the OT is so right to recognize that many of the people there are from farming backgrounds and therefore all the more in need of good animal companions. What a blessing!

  28. As I was reading this today, Lucy came up and recognized your animals and format. She said, “Remember the story about cats you read me? Is this another cat story?” She obvously remembers and loved that “Kitty Story” post of yours!

  29. Loved your post, C! and stunning photos as always. That naughty steer of yours brought back a memory from my youth in Zimbabwe, when my dad briefly farmed with a dairy herd, before he switched to commercial flower growing. To stop the calves that had been weaned from helping themselves from the moms, my dad would make a calf-mouth-sized squarish ‘nose-plate’ out of light tin, with padded tips. It would sort of clip into the calves nostrils like a nose ring (but not pierced through the nose). When calfie was good and eating grass, the nose-plate would fall away from his mouth, and he could eat whatever he wanted, but when he was naughty and went for a teat, the plate would cover his mouth! It worked very well, and the calves could stay with their mamas. My dad did hate to hear them and their moms crying when they were separated!

    A recycling project, perhaps? 🙂

    • That is an interesting idea, a very good idea and something John might be able to make up for me! Thank you!.. c

      • You’re welcome! I hope John can design something – I remember my dad would clip them out of smooth tin, then bend the edges in like a hem, so it wasn’t sharp. My dad padded the pieces that went into the nose with sticking plasters, I think, the fabric ones. It was war-time in Zimbabwe – we recycled stuff on the farm often!! 🙂

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