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A Sweet Discovery in The Wall

By September 19, 2017Farm

As I opened the gate to let my horse out, I noticed bees buzzing around a knothole in the milkhouse wall. Behind the wood they hummed like violins. With the dire news about colony collapse disorder, they are rare, valuable.

I stopped in at the Boone County Farm Bureau exhibit at the fair and asked about bee keepers. The volunteer said Philip Raines of Raines Honey Farm in Davis, Illinois, would be at the exhibit the next day. She gave me his phone number and suggested I send pictures, so he wouldn’t waste a trip to the farm. That evening I texted a picture, and he confirmed they were definitely honey bees.

The next day I asked if Raines would be interested in our bees. “Now is not the time to move them, because the whole wall might be full of honey. It’s way too messy. Give me a call in March. If they are hardy enough to survive the winter then maybe they are worth keeping. I’ll help you then.”

I also learned that honey bees smell bad when they are aggressive, and it’s best to leave them alone.

It’s funny how rich I feel when these animals adopt us. I felt that way about feral cat Onyx and I feel this way about these bees. Today I stop to watch them swarming around the hole. I hear their low thrum and feel the sun on my neck.

I’m Katie Andraski, and that’s my perspective. This was originally published by WNIJ. If you’d like to hear me read this, click here.


  • Yes!! It’s the small things like that that make me feel very grateful!! That I can even be aware of things like that is a miracle in my humble opinion. I come to The Garden Alone while the Dew is still on the Roses. That one can see that Dew on that Rose!! It’s A Beautiful World and I am part of it and you are part of it. I am grateful.

    • katiewilda says:

      Thank you so much Charles for stopping by and reminding me of the dew on the roses and the spiderwebs that show up on foggy mornings. Thank you for the reminder to be grateful…

  • Wilma Christine Guzman says:

    Your country life mirrors my city life. Just in the past few days I’ve noticed a swarm of bees under our front stairs. Could be something to do with my husband being a hobby beekeeper (he has a few hives in the country) ….and we have stored unfiltered wax there. (As we have lost our free access to my parents storage shed). For now we have covered the area with some blue styrofoam pieces, before the neighbours complain.

    This is a quote from a Toronto Star article on the weekend – from a 94 yr. old who fully enjoys interacting on the internet (since losing his beloved wife and son) and tweets in all the right ways – as his way to stay involved with younger generations and pass on the wisdom from his life experiences:
    “I personally, because of my age, am so thrilled to see the flowers in bloom and the trees, he says.
    It’s as though you can’t get enough to fill your body’s needs. I think sometimes you realize you might not be seeing them much longer.”
    – Harry Leslie Smith – author of 2 books – Harry’s last Stand and Don’t Let My Past be your Future.

    • katiewilda says:

      Wow..It sounds like my life does mirror yours. Will you try to move your bees to the country? That is very cool your husband is a hobby beekeeper, so he knows what to do. I have wondered about becoming one too, if these bees survive and we get them moved to a proper hive. I think we have more bees that adopted us in our shed. Mostly I want to preserve them because of that colony collapse disorder…if they survive…

      That is very interesting about the 94 year old who enjoys interacting on the internet. I sometimes feel guilty for my FB and internet reading but also feel it’s a kind of ministry. (I need boundaries so I can get my writing and book reading done.) I hear what he says, “I think sometimes you realize you might not be seeing them much longer.” I feel that too and feel time racing by and my not always using it well to look and see and smell and feel and hear our wide world…So good to hear from you again.

  • Alison Bolshoi says:

    Your voice is so unique and has such clarity. I always feel like I’m standing behind you, peeking around at what you’re telling me about.

    • katiewilda says:

      Thank you so much for your encouragement. For these WNIJ perspectives I try to write about what I’ve observed on the farm. I guess I’ll keep at it–trying to write one post a week…

  • Chris says:

    Gorgeous pictures Katie! Did you take these with your phone???

    • katiewilda says:

      Yes I did take them with my phone. The iPhone 7 has a great camera. I have thought about investing in a fancy camera but like how the phone is almost always with me. Thanks for liking the pictures…

  • Wilma Christine Guzman says:


    A few years ago the last few of my husband’s hives in the country died off. But by the next year at least one strong hive came back on its own- he has since divided. (Could make up my own song …. the bees came back, the very next year…I) We actually have one in the city – behind our fence (still on our property) – as we have a ravine lot, the neighbours 35′ below don’t mind, as well as some empty boxes stored there. I have written poems about when my husband closed off and got rid of a wasp’s nest on a neighbouring property, closing off their entrance as well, to one he was working on (as a contractor) and the next day a woodpecker – seeming to be on the wasps’ side – tried pecking it open again. By the way…. I was stung by 27 bees when I was 2 years old …. when at my cousins in a close by park, one cousin in the tree with the hive, another throwing stones at it and me being under it. I was rushed to the hospital through red lights, spent 5 days there, but still have no adverse affects – I am not allergic to stings.

    • katiewilda says:

      You’ve had quite the experiences with your husband’s hives and your being stung as a child. Do you keep the honey or sell it? Honey is supposed to be very good for us. I’m so glad you didn’t develop any allergies. I think they can come on suddenly. I had to rush my husband to the ER because he’d gotten stung and had a reaction, where he hadn’t before. Bee stings haven’t bothered me much. I walk past this hive with the horses daily but figure honey bees aren’t aggressive. I hope they survive the winter…and we can get them set up properly or give them to the beekeeper…