Sunday, June 3, 2012

Raccoons and Eagles

Yesterday morning, just as the dawn began to break, Bob closed up ten of our hives and loaded them onto the trailer for transport.  For the next month or two they will be in town where there is an abundance of Chinese Tallow trees aka Popcorn trees that make a fantastic honey. We upgraded from baling twine to cinch down straps to keep the lids secure en route. Honeybees collect resins, called propolis, from tree sap and flowers,  and use it for a sealant for their hives. It is a very sticky substance which in colder climates becomes hard and brittle. They seal alternative entrances, and glue the lids to the hive body with this resin, allowing for more stability and less vibration of the hive, but because we have been opening our hives quite regularly we could not count on the propolis alone to keep the lids secure during transportation.

When we moved to Florida from Virginia we brought several beehives with us in the bed of the pickup. I remember pulling into a rest stop for a bite to eat and noticing that a particular lid had become ajar allowing bees to escape. I'm afraid that as we pulled away to resume our trip a cloud of bees remained in the Burger King parking lot in South Carolina wondering "Where the heck are we?"

When Bob returned to the farm we hurried to finish chores before driving back to town for a Boy Scout Eagle Ceremony.
As we were getting ready to head out the door, Joel spotted a raccoon on the grill on our porch eating the cat's food. It was drooling. If you read THIS ARTICLE about Rabies, you'll remember that I had spotted a raccoon very near the house several weeks ago and was concerned that the animal was most likely infected. An animal that has the rabies virus eventually loses the ability to swallow and will begin to drool. This has typically been described as "foaming at the mouth". The other telltale sign of rabies was that this nocturnal raccoon was wandering outside during the day.

Bob went outside with his rifle and though the raccoon did begin to run off, it only went a few yards before it turned and faced my husband. This is another sign of infection. A healthy raccoon would not have stopped but would have kept running. This raccoon showed no fear and appeared to be about to return either to the food or in aggression, so Bob quickly and accurately shot the raccoon and buried it.  I asked him later if he would have shot it, had it not stopped and turned and he said, "Probably not."  I think he made a wise decision. This animal exhibited all the signs of a rabid raccoon, and with our cats, dogs and livestock we could not afford to take a chance. Our concern now though, is - Did she have babies this spring, and are they infected?

We were able to get to the Eagle Court of Honor in time for practice before the ceremony. Joel introduced the Color Guard and led the Scout Salute, Pledge of Allegiance and the Scout Law,

and we were very honored to be a part of  the recognition of Austin's achievements and advancement to the highest level of Scouting.      

                                                         EAGLE SCOUT

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.     Isaiah 40:31

                        CONGRATULATIONS AUSTIN!

1 comment:

  1. We are not fans of raccons. We've had them kill our chickens and rabbits and destroy gardens. Walt Disney did a great disservice, portraying them as cute and cuddly critters!

    Praying there are no infected babies