Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

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When Bees & Roos Collide

   The above is a bee trailer (and this is a better picture of one but I already posted it), and sometimes they have to be moved.
   Our mechanic knocks them together and I think he does a pretty good job ... but they still are better at sitting in a field than driving down the road. Even on the smoothest roads I wouldn't go over 40 km/h with one.

   I'm always rather anxious moving them around because any of several things could go wrong -- my biggest fear is that a passing vehicle will not notice that the wheels stick out and crash into its wheels, or I'll pass too close to a solid object and do it myself. Also a strap could break and a hive fall off ... or the damn thing could just fall apart on the road from the wobbles ... and if a trailer with 28 hives breaks down on the road ... you're stuck in the roadway with 28 hives of angry bees and a real pickle on your hands.
   Also you have to move them at night so you don't leave bees behind. So you're invariably driving them in the dark.

   We had six trailers to move this week from our yard way out in the middle of nowhere to one of our closer ones, along little country roads.
   The first day there were three of us, and I was in the front of the convoy so if anything went wrong I'd have help, and the bossman was with us. The operation went without incident. The second day it was just me and Paul, one of the older Indian fellows who works on the farm. There were some shenanigans -- namely the first trailer we hooked his truck up to we realized AFTER we had gotten it all hooked up (which had taken a little bit of manouvering to get the truck hitch lined up with it) that it had a flat tire on it. I had just replaced a tire on a different trailer but hadn't found that one. So we go to one of the other trailers that needed to be moved but it's broken -- the built-in jack to raise or lower the hitch-end is broken. Fortunately we had the tire jack but it didn't go high enough, so we had to monkey around a bunch alternating piling blocks of wood and raising with the jack until the trailer hitch was high enough. It took awhile. Meanwhile it's pitch black and drizzling and lightning is flashing on the horizon. And then forty minutes later we had to monkey around to get it unhitched.
   And today it was just me to move the last trailer. Replaced the wheel, backed up to hitch up and was astounded that with no one to help direct me I managed to line the hitches up on the first try, so altogether the hitching took about 30 seconds vs the 30 minutes of the other day. So far so good...
   Watched the sun set, set off on the drive .... made it most of the way there when suddenly, out of the darkness a kangaroo the size of a large dog nonchalantly hopped out of the darkness right in front of me. With the trailer in tow breaking or swerving was out of the question so THUMP. And then terror it would get caught in the wheel well or something and cause the truck to swerve and pitch everything over. Half a second later it was clear that hadn't happened but then I had a few more seconds of terror thinking it might still jack up the trailer wheels and do the same thing ... but nothing happened. Never saw what became of the roo but I assume he didn't fare very well. I fear finding roo blood on the ute in the morning.
   AND THEN ... about a minute or two later I hear a SPROING! and crashing sound. Pull over to the side as fast as I can and run back -- the strap has broken off a hive and the lid come off. Fortunately the inner cover is still on, keeping the bees inside, and I'm lucky the hive itself didn't go because without the strap only gravity was holding it on. The timing with the roo hit is too close to be a coincidence, I guess the roo-hit-shock broke the strap? Those straps sometimes just break when I'm trying to tighten them. Fortunately I had a spare strap and lid, so I recovered the broken one and continued on my way.
   The paddy (Australian for "field") it was to be parked in was a bit of a labyrinth of muddy roads, so I wasn't anxiety free until I had parked it and successfully made it out of the paddy.

So sorry mate ):
Tags: australia, beekeeping, life in moorepark, no comments ):

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