Monday, June 15, 2009

All I could say was WOW

Stephen and I finally took two days off work so we have a 4 day week end, its such a rare thing for us to just have a few days off with nothing pressing to do. So Saturday we traveled about 2 hours from home to attend and photograph the wedding of a friend in my unit (Nancy). I choose to offer to turn up early and assist in any way I could, I made this offer because Stephen and I had a small informal wedding and still found ourselves struggling to get it all together on the day of the wedding.

Nancy is the type of person who gets along ok with every one and rarely has an issue with other soldiers, but I wouldn't say she socializes much with the unit. During annual training this year we actually got to stay in a motel and had evenings free. I never saw her hanging out at the pool or anything like that. But if you take the time to talk to her and get to know her she is an interesting person with an interesting life story. In many ways its a real shame that many people in our unit don't know her personally, they only know her by the work she does in her job to support the unit.

I would have to admit that Nancy and her new husband Jim had what was the most "red-neck wedding" that I have ever attened. However as informal and "red-neck" as it was the people attending where happy people, and there was no real wedding day drama. We turned up (after getting lost) in the back woods of Coalgate Oklahoma, at a cabin sitting on about 100 acers of deer woods ( you know where men gather to hunt deer and drink beer) . Stephen was instantly ready to sell every thing we own and move into a cabin in the woods! This was a man's place and only brave hearted women dared to enter at the risk of a cold shower and no real sign of true air conditioning (AC). Now they had a small AC in the cabin, however when your cooking food for 85 people in a small cabin the stove overpowered the AC and the only chance of cooling down came from a cold beer that could be found in any of the many ice chest on the premises. Nancy, being the bride also had the fortune of a small travel trailer with amazing AC for her and her bridal party to pretty them selves up in.

When I say this was an informal, red-neck wedding, I am talking about beer mugs instead of champain flutes, and Bud Light Lime instead of chamain, cow paddies in the isle, deer horns mounted every where, a preacher dressed in camo from head to toe and a big "yeee hawww" as the bride walks down the isle. Now I was told before hand to turn up dressed casual, some of the bridal party were gonna be in capris, Ok I had on black dress capris and a nice top, OMG I should have taken her at her word and done as most of the other guest and turned up in short and a tank top, I was smoldering and my clothes sticking to me! Honestly I think that for what some would for sure call a very "red-neck" event, this was a fun and interesting event, where every one had a good time and no one felt out of place.

I am only adding 3 photos of the wedding, I just want to give you a general idea of the how things where, later when we have downloaded and edited all of them maybe I will add a few more.

We pretty much spent yesterday relaxing at the lake and spending time with the girls and my oldest daughter and grandson. The most eventful moment of the day was when Talan ( the grandson) had to get a hair cut. I swear one day he will refuse to come see me because every time I see him I cut his hair and he HATES it.

This morning we slept until about 8 AM and sad as it is we felt we had slept in. So as we slowly moved around and started our day Stephen wonders out side in his shorts and shoes only to have a look at his bee hives. It only took him a few minutes to come running in saying that the bees where swarming!! Now Sara and Shelby have gone to their sister's to spend the night so lucky for me Katie had just fallen off to sleep for her morning nap. So I was able to grab my camera and go see what was up with the bees. I am sure Stephen will post a blog about the details of the swarm and what happened before I got out there. I can only tell you what was going on when I got outside.

I was concerned that one of our hives was trying to swarm off. As it turns out our bees where minding their own buisness and doing their own thing, none of them where trying to fly away. Apparently its fairly common for swarms of bees to be attracted to places where bee hives are kept. Now I am not a bee master of any sort, but I have picked up a few bits of information along the way.

When I came around the house to where Stephen keeps his hives, I didn't see a swarm of bees and was wondering what all the fuss was about. Stephen was working quickly as possible to ready a hive for this new swarm and I must have looked puzzled because he pointed out the bees to me.

I have always been diligent in planting flowers every spring, and often I plant bulbs that will come back year after year. Every since Stephen's first visit here he has helped me with this task. Now days (every since he started with the bees) Stephen is even more into the flower beds and plants that I ever thought about being. Almost all plants we have are pre-annual plant that specifically attract bees. Needless to say we have a lot of flowers planted all over the yard.

This swarm of bees had landed for the most part on two large flowers. I am not even sure what these flowers are, they resemble a sun flower but they do not produce sunflower seeds. There where so many bees on these two flowers that the flowers where pulled down almost touching the ground.

Stephen prepared a hive for the bees and then broke off the two flowers and dumped the bees inside the box. Again I am not a bee master but I do know that once a swarm finds a new home there are certain bees that began to "fan", basically they rapidly flap their wings and emit a scent that says "this is our new home, come move in"! Almost instantly upon being dumped into the new hive there where bees fanning on top of the hive. Stephen didn't even have the lid on yet and they where fanning.

Stephen and I stood and watched as the rest of the bees migrated from the grass around the flowers into the box. It was like they formed a line and slowly moved into the box. I was amazed at how nature works and how these bees just followed the leader and moved into this have while several bees stood at the entrance and fanned the rest of the swarm into their new home.

Stephen is currently out there looking to find and mark the queen and trying to insure that the bees do not try to swarm off some where else. I really am hoping that this swarm takes up perminate residence in their new hive. I was so impressed by the bee's natural instinct and the way the work, I just want them to stick around.
here is a couple of photos, I will post more later

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