Bailer Twine and Cow Paddies Smoldered in the Bee Smoker
This apiary was fenced inside a cattle pasture. The ground was littered with dry, hard cow paddies. Halfway through the beeyard, Earl did something unexpected. Normally, as fuel for his bee smoker, Earl used sawdust and tiny scraps from wood that he turned into new beehives. But I caught him hefting a dry, hard cow paddy. He dropped it into his hot bee smoker. I gave him a puzzled look.
"You're wondering what I'm doing?" he said. He puffed the bellow vigorously, thick white smoke gushed from the bee smoker.
"Seems a bit weird," I said. "Why stick a cow pie in your smoker?"
"Well, reminds me of when I was a kid - a smell I don't get to enjoy, except a couple times a year."
"When you were a kid - you had a job burning manure?"
"No, I kept bees in the California desert. No trees, no wood, nothing to burn in the bee smoker except dried cow dung. Fifty years ago, I used this all the time." He breathed, his lungs ballooned out. He grinned. "Nothing like it."