Sweet Investment

When I was a kid to make ends meet, my dad raised bees part time and sold their honey to the local stores in Texas. We had all the protective stuff you have seen that bee keepers use, but you probably have never seen the filters to trap propolis, pollen filters and separators. It was quite an operation.

There were jars for mom to clean and for us to fill up. Our honey was never heated like that store-bought stuff you probably have in your cupboard. If you heat honey it will stay in solution and not turn solid when cold. However, as pretty as that looks, the heat kills all the good stuff in honey, almost making it inert glucose with a nice flavor.

Anyway, I was always afraid of the bees.

It was for good reason. I had been stung several times; none of which felt good. Dad also got stung a few times, but that did not seem to bother him as much.

One day I asked him about bee bites as we were extracting the sweet honey from the combs. He said, “Son, I do all I can to not get bitten. I wear the right clothes and nets. Smoke my cigar as well… but still… every now and then I get bit just like you. If you are going to get honey, as you see, it takes a lot of work and sometimes you will get bit, that’s just the way it is.”

“And I’ll tell you this; I know those bites hurt you a lot more than they hurt me. That’s because you have not been bitten much before, so there is a shock effect to that, but you will get used to it. Part of growing up is learning to endure pain.”

“There’s another thing as well, when I get bit, I think of the money I can pick up from selling our honey, kinda’ takes the entire sting out of it.”

Honey gathering and trading have so much in common.