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once there was a sharp crack, and the horses snorted and jumped in alarm. called to Bert, "Into the ditch! quick! The chain is broken. Get into the ditch or the load is lost!"
Bert managed to make the ditch, and the load was saved for the present. Bert climbed down, discouraged.
"This is a fine fix," said he. "The chain is broken, and not a soul around here that I know. I wish I had never started."
I was not feeling so bad, and hunted up some fence wire with which we fixed up the chain, and on we went with renewed courage. Our course led straight through the town; and once when we were well through it, we took the State Road direct for the upper country, and toward Galen Hill. The load seemed to be charmedevery thing was going nicely, and the horses stepped along as they had not done at all before. As we reached the foot of the rise the sun was just peeping up above the eastern hills. We thought a rest would be a good thing, and so we halted and inspected the load. It was a sorry sight. It looked just as if some one had taken a stick and stirred the whole load of hives and truck into a tangled mess.
But the worst of our evils just began to manifest itself; for with the broad daylight, every once in a while a bee would escape and flit in an uncertain way about the wagon. The higher the sun rose, the more the bees got out, till we were really at our wit's end to know what to do. If we stayed there in the road we would block up the traffic, and that would not do. If we went ahead we were sure to be in trouble; for with twenty miles to go, and thirty colonies of angry bees to manage, we had our hands full.
But standing still was not going to help, so I said, "Come on, Bert. I don't believe we can get very far with such a load; but we can try, and may be the bees will not bother very much." So the horses were hitched on again, our bee smudges were lighted, and the war commenced.
Galen Hill is about three miles long, but not very steep. We made the ascent slowly, one driving and the other sending great clouds of smoke on the bees. By the time we reached the top, the bees were under control and our prospects looked brighter. Bert and I both thought that our difficulties had been surmounted as we triumphantly drove through Galen.
The village passed, the level road lay before us. Suddenly, without any warning, something struck me a sharp blow on the face and I felt a burning prick. At
the same moment Bert ducked and fought the air. "Where did that bee come from?" I yelled. "They're getting out. Smoke 'em! smoke 'em! Can't you?"
Just then another vicious insect got me on the hand, and then another and another. A thin stream of yellow bees was leaking from the hives. Bert snatched up the smoker and began to do his best, but all too late. One of the horses jumped and plunged sidewise. Instantly I dropped on the whiffletree and pulled the bolt, with not a second to spare, for the horses leaped and would have bolted, but Bert grabbed one by the head and I the other, and so we got them away from the wagon. They were almost crazy with the stings, but Bert brushed some of the creatures away from their ears, and they became less restive. Little by little we gained on the bees, till the horses recovered their senses. When all was quiet we stabled them in a neighboring barn and turned our attention to the bees.
The wagon was where we had left it, in the middle of the road, and the bees flying all about it. The air seemed full of them. As we came up, how they did sting! I saw the load was blocking the highway, and so by pulling and pushing we got it off to one side of the track and made an examination. It was not one hive that was leaking, but all of them in general. The worst was that we could not find any holes from which the bees were coming, and yet they were coming. The case looked hopeless. Just then a team came in sight. Here was a new danger. Would it be possible for that team to get past the raging bees? In a few minutes the vehicle was right abreast of us, when the horses made one plunge, almost throwing the driver from his seat, and disappeared down the road in a cloud of dust. A few minutes passed, and another came and had the same experience. To help out we opened the fence on one side of the road to let teams pass by through the field; but this expedient did not relieve us entirely, for some would stay in the road in spite of our warnings.
It was about noon when a man came along, driving a spirited team, and tried to get by our wagon. The bees went after him. His horses shied, and then almost balked. He was almost by when there was a crack, and his whiffletree was down and also the wagon-tongue. This was a bad job. In a second we both jumped to help. I picked up the wagon-tongue, and Bert hung on to the whiffletree while the man urged the horses forward. The lady
in the carriage screamed, and jumped up and down with fear. This scared the horses worse; and when she pranced they did too. But the man soon put a stop to this; and as we were all the time getting further from the hives, the bees went back to their company, and our friends drove off.
The automobiles with covered tops got it worse than the carriages. The first one came along just after dinner, at full speed. No heed was given to our warning. As the party drove by, the hood scooped up a fine mess of bees, and there were yells and hoots and plenty of language. As the afternoon wore on, the time seemed interminable. We had been up all night, and were sleepy; but there was no sleep for us, for teams kept coming and going, and it was our duty to warn them the best we could.
When the welcome night fell at last we began to rearrange the load; and after a bit we had things fixed for the seventeen miles that were still before us. By nine o'clock that evening we were again moving. The horses pushed on in the darkness, along deep forest roads, and past cultivated fields. All the time we were so sleepy that we could scarcely hold our heads up. By ten I was so completely worn out that I dared not hold the lantern for fear of dropping it, and tied it to the top of the rigging, still keeping my hand on it. The next thing I knew, Bert was punching me for I had let go of the lantern. The road was far from safe, for on one side was a high cliff, and on the other a deep gorge. If the horses swerved, an accident would be sure to follow. But though we were almost dead from lack of sleep, it was imperative to get on. We must reach our destination before morning, for a second day like the first in the road would kill the bees. So we pushed on, one walking while the other drove, and then the other did the same.
We had been going this way about an hour, when all at once Bert called out that he had missed the crossroad that led to
his place. With some impatience I advised him to hunt it up, so we could go ahead like sane people. Off he went with the lantern, and presently returned with the word that he had discovered it. At once the horses were turned about and headed in the proper direction. It did not take long to get to the crossroad, and we were nearing home, with the farm buildings only a mile away. We felt the joy of victory. But this was not for long. In the uncertain light of the morning,
when we came to a small bridge we failed to keep to the center, and the wheels on one side did not hit the planking. Before we could help ourselves the wagon was half tipped over. We could not go ahead. We could not go back. We were simply stuck fast. So we unhitched the horses and went the rest of the way on foot.
When we arrived, Bert's father and the hired man fitted out another team and moved the apiary into the yard, near the house. We boys were a wretched pair to look at, and spent most of the day in slumber. But that did not make us presentable. Only time could do that.
Of the thirty hives of bees, sixteen came through safely. And it may be added that Bert and I have never engaged in the job of transporting bees since that first experience.
[The experiences cited here are by no means unusual. Accidents have occurred more than once in which lives were endangered and much property lost; and it behooves every beekeeper to prepare for the unexpected. No guesswork should be put up with, for the risk is too great. Hives, if old and shaky, should be fastened together with cleats nailed to the covers, bodies, and bottom-boards, and every precaution should be taken to keep the bees from getting out in case a stop becomes necessary. ED.]
WHITE CLOVER FROM MAY TO OCTOBER
BY L. D. MASSIE
We have had white clover in bloom here since May 4 and there is some in bloom now; but the cold rains and weather kept us from getting much surplus. Spanish needle, goldenrod, and a white flower weed that grows four or five feet high gave a surplus super for extracting and plenty of winter stores.
BEES FOLLOWING OPENING IN THE WOODS.
On page 618, Oct. 1, Mr. Semper speaks of bees not going in a straight line because of the wind. I have hunted bees in the woods since I was ten years old, and have followed a good many bees to their homes in the trees. I have found some beelines that turn and go very near in the form of a triangle. The bees followed openings in the woods.
I believe I can see a bee about twice as far as Mr. Semper spoke of. I have, by running after the bee, kept it in sight across 40 acres or a quarter of a mile. Somerville, Ind., Oct. 10.
CREATING A LOCAL MARKET
BY FRANK C. PELLETT
Now that the honey crop is harvested, the next question before the beekeeper is how to find the most profitable market for his crop. Few men have a proper appreciation of the possibilities of the home market. When the writer moved to his present location and began keeping bees in a small way there was but a slow sale for even the little surplus produced. I found a beekeeper in the person of John Dufford already on the ground. He was producing a fine article of comb honey, and putting it on the market in first-class con
Frank C. Pellett, State Bee Inspector of Iowa.
dition. As would be expected, he had the cream of the local trade, and his customers were so well satisfied that they seldom even asked at what price a competitor was selling. If asked about honey they simply replied, "Dufford always supplies us with what honey we use." Most of the stores also were supplied from the same source. As I did not have a large quantity to dis
pose of I found sale for it during the year, but mostly in such small quantities as to be annoying. I did not want and could not afford to get customers by cutting the price, for the price was already too low. I had no intention of shipping the few hundred pounds that I had to offer to some other point, but determined to create a market. Accordingly about the third year I put extracting-supers on a few colonies, and put up the product in quart jars. I chose the Schram jar, as it is of clear glass. I find that the honey sells much more readily in these jars than in the Mason jars, partly because of the more attractive top and partly because of the clearer glass, which makes the honey look much more attractive. The merchants were skeptical about extracted honey. People would not buy it, they said. I remember how hard I found it to make a deal with one merchant by which I left half a dozen jars to be sold if possible; and if not sold, to be returned. The first season the sale was slow, but I kept it constantly on display in a favorable situation in several of the stores. Sometimes I sent a liberal sample to persons who might prove valuable customers. The second season I produced more extracted honey and it sold better.
Now I sell all I can produce through one merchant, and do not have to bother about peddling it around. I now work my few colonies nearly altogether for extracted honey, and leave the comb-honey market to Mr. Dufford. Instead of injuring his market I have helped it, and the price has constantly tended upward. Last year I sold about 2000 pounds, nearly all through the one store, and our supply ran out several weeks before the new crop came in. This honey advertising has also helped the store with its other lines, and helped to enlarge their trade. They tell me that they have several regular honey customers who live in Des Moines and Omaha, but that they have become accustomed to our honey, and feel sure of the quality.
This fall at the county fair there was a special exhibit of Atlantic-made goods. The local factories had their lightningrods, wagons, brick, tile, and other goods on display. I prepared an exhibit for my grocer also. An observation hive was used to attract attention to the display. About one hundred pounds of honey was put up in pint, quart, and two-quart jars. Behind the whole was placed a large sign appropriate to the place where the exhibit was placed. It read as follows:
A label somewhat similar was pasted on each jar. No one was placed in charge of the exhibit to take orders; but the secretary of the commercial club, who had general charge of all the exhibits, remarked that this exhibit attracted more attention than any thing else in his charge. As a result of this advertising the sales increased so much that the honey we had put up and regarded as sufficient to last the trade until near the holidays was sold within a month. Many new customers are added every month, and this season's crop bids fair to be sold through one grocery before Christmas. Four years ago we could not sell one-fourth as much through six or seven stores in the same length of time.
Instead of having to ship honey to the central markets, or having it a drug on the market at unprofitable prices as formerly, the local stores now take all the honey produced by the several beekeepers in this locality at profitable prices, and ship in honey from abroad to supply the demand long before the new crop comes in. I have not sold comb honey for less than 15 cents
per pound for three years, although I will not produce any hereafter. I get 1211⁄2 cents per pound for the extracted and the grocer furnishes the containers. The retail price is 30 cents each for pint and 50 cents for quart jars. I think that Mr. Dufford has found an equal advance in the demand for his comb honey, though he has used somewhat different methods to increase the sales.
There is no doubt in my mind but that the demand can easily be created for far more honey than is now produced, which can have but one result-higher prices and readier sales. It is an easy matter to create a market at one's own door if only a little ingenuity be used in calling attention to the product, putting it up in attractive packages, and delivering a uniform qual ity. The same principles apply to other produce. This season there was an enormous stock of plums in western Iowa, and thousands of bushels rotted on the ground. We sold ours readily by packing them in small baskets similar to those that the finest western fruit is retailed in. At the same time, fine plums in ordinary half-bushel market baskets were rotting in the same store not ten feet away. One great secret of successful marketing lies in putting your product in a package that will look attractive to the buyer, and at the same
quite so bad, at any rate at times, as most people regard them. These boys are the sons of wealthy parents of Greenwich who have a special tutor to care for them and take them around, showing them the interests of nature. They requested that I give them a lesson on bees, and this is their first experience. We opened the hive without the aid of veil or gloves, and the boy just in the rear of the hive passed out the frames to his mates. Though they played around with these bees for an hour there were only two stings in the entire company. One little fellow was quite enraptured with the delights of the little insects, which he viewed for the first time as he sat on the ground gazing into the entrance of the hive. I think this a remarkable object lesson that bees are not so bad as they have been regarded.
Arcadia, Sound Beach, Ct.
A CONVENIENT HONEY-HOUSE AND WORKSHOP
BY JOHN T. SMITH
The engraving shows my bee-yard and work-shop. In nearly the entire yard I use the Hoffman frame. Part of the yard is run for comb honey, and the rest, some 24 colonies, for extracted honey. Last fall there were 110 colonies in the yard. I lost 50 in the winter, so commenced the season with only 60. I have increased to