I wanted to get some serious work done this morning, so I put my dog in the spare chicken yard—Hennery Eight, we call it—so he wouldn’t bother the hens, the cats, or the neighbor’s cattle while I was concentrating.
After an hour or so, the dog began to bark. I yelled for him to be quiet, which usually works, but today he just kept barking. Deciding I better go see, I took a short cut through the garage, which I usually leave open to the outside on summer days. As I stepped from kitchen to garage, I stopped short and inhaled sharply.
There, standing in the middle of my two-car garage with contempt, was my neighbor’s bull. I nearly choked. I muttered several incantations of the s-word, followed by “Shoo! Shoo! Go away!” which was equally ineffective. Briefly, I thought of pushing on him. But his testicles, looking like a pair of hanging planters, changed my mind.
I eased back into the kitchen, secured the door, and then hurried out the back to get my Australian Cattle Dog from the hennery. Surely he would know what to do—after all, “cattle” was his middle name.
Q2, the dog, nipped the bull in the ankles a few times until the over-sized beast sullenly turned around and walked out of the garage, across the driveway, and stopped within a heartbeat of my top-bar hive. I always think of that hive as massive, but next to the bull it looked as fragile as a Chinese takeout carton. If the bull so much as took a deep breath, he would knock the whole thing over. Cautiously, I called off the dog. It was time to phone the neighbor. Quick.
I don’t know why my neighbor’s phone is not programmed into my cell, but it’s not. With a not-so-hasty flip through the phone book—I had to recite the middle part of the alphabet to find the name—I found the number, memorized it, and dialed. I got the Fellowship Christian Church. Those lucky folks found themselves a sinner. I mumbled something clearly sacrilegious before I apologized profusely and dialed again.
By the time the neighbor appeared the bull was gone. My so-called cattle dog was manically snapping at bees and providing no help whatsoever. After a brief consultation, the neighbor and I split off in different directions. It didn’t take me long to discover where the bull had been, I just had to follow the path of pureed foliage. He had plowed through the electric fence—a mere annoyance, apparently—and then walked up the hill to my first hive stand. He had cruised within an inch of my triple-deep hives, left sinkholes in my woodland path, and sauntered across the wooden bridge. At the end of the bridge he snapped the 2 x 6 lumber like so many toothpicks and gifted a steaming pie the size of a wading pool.
The fact that the bull toppled no hives amazes me. Perhaps it was related to my inadvertent call to the church? Maybe a donation is in order?
My neighbor finally found the bull fraternizing with the cows down the road. He offered to fix the bridge but I declined. When you are the one with the bees it is prudent to remember you are the one with the bees—you never know when you may require a little neighborly forbearance yourself. I think I will give him some honey.