Howdy ya’ll and happy new year! Pollination season is about to begin any day now and I just shipped out Manmeat (aka my husband) a few days ago. This is the time of the year when most commercial beekeepers ship their hives out to California so that their busy little bees can pollinate the almond orchards. Beekeepers all over the nation load up their precious hives on flat bed semis and off they go to the land of fruits and nuts! Cal-i-for-ni-a!
Did you know that without honeybees there would be no almonds? What?! A life without almonds would be kinda nutty (get what I did there?)! Did you also know that almonds are the ONLY nut that honeybees pollinate? And….did you know that most almond growers actually pronounce them as “am-monds” instead of “all-monds”? There you go! Your trivia for the evening!
Anyhow, back to the point of my story. Before I had my first baby I would head out with the rest of my family and bust my hump for three months. Pollination is intense, stressful, fun, and it changes by the minute. My dad, you see, is the largest bee broker in California and not only do we place our own hives in the orchards but we also move in around 60,000 additional hives. These hives come from beekeepers all over the nation and we are on the receiving end to make sure they are taken care of. We are the liaison between the growers and the beekeepers.
I absolutely miss working this season! I miss working long hours with my dad. I miss driving huge trucks and having to think on your toes constantly. There was such a rush that came with working out there but there are also things that I certainly don’t miss. I don’t miss being away from my home, friends and having a social life (pre kids of course). I don’t miss having to eat at gas stations in the middle of nowhere because there is no time to find something else and you gotta keep going! I don’t miss having to pee in the middle of the orchards and being caught by the field workers! Oops!
I don’t miss the insane hours and only getting 4 hours of sleep every night….although it definitely prepared me for the sleepless nights of parenthood so I guess that part was worth it! Once I had my little boys I decided to hang up my bee veil for the pollination season so I could keep the boys at home and in their normal routine. Manmeat continues to work out there so every time this year I feel like a bee widow. Kind of like a hunting widow….where your hubby is gone and you are left behind to take care of the homestead for weeks at a time! I am so thankful that my husband is with my family out there and I know what goes into his every day routine. It helps me visualize and understand what his daily stress consists of and how I can be the best supportive wife ever! But I do have to say that it doesn’t get easier each year when he leaves. I have to dig waaaaaay deep down for some big girl undies so that I can suck it up and be strong for our little boys and continue running the other side of our business. The boys miss their daddy so much when he’s gone so its my job to keep them happy and busy to help pass the time. Thank heaven for FaceTime and lots of videos!
I dropped off Manmeat last Monday at the airport and I have to say that I cried like a baby! Not because I can’t handle being a single mom for a few months but more so because I will miss his company, companionship and I know how much he will miss the boys. I know one day when the boys are older they will understand what it means to be a husband and a father that works hard for his family. This is the life of a family in agriculture. Many wives of ranchers, farmers and other beekeepers know what it takes to keep life going. As hard as it was to not be involved with the pollination season I knew that my job as a mother and wife was way more important in this phase of my life. I will absolutely cherish the long hours working with my dad and sister. Honestly, they are some of my favorite memories and where I got to know my dad as a human being and not just “my dad”. It’s where I got to figure out what kind of young adult I could be and how hard I could work. It’s where I got to perfect my “backing up” skills with a 10 wheeler and trailer. I don’t mean to toot my own horn but I am reeeeeaaallly good at it. Like really good.
It’s where my sister and I got to prove to a male dominated industry that us girls could hang with the best of them! I learned so many lessons and have so many memories that I walked away with. I am grateful that Manmeat enjoyed our family business and helped take over my spot so I can try to raise these little boys into grown hard working men. Hard working men like my father and husband. I think that’s a pretty big duty and I am up to the challenge! So until I am able to return to the pollination season I will live vicariously through the crew working out there now. Thanks for joining me! Hope you are all having a great start to your new year and don’t forget to eat your honey today!