Many of you have asked about our dog, Belle, whose image greets you on the 'Fair Schedule' page. We're sad to have to report that we lost our faithful friend in May 2011.
Belle was a very unusual dog. You've heard of sheep dogs? Well, Belle was a bee dog. This photo shows her dressed as her favorite critter, the honey bee.
When we went to work our bees, Belle HAD to come with us. She'd jump in the truck before we could even light our smokers. Belle had specific bee dog duties. She was a real working bee dog, not just a wanna-bee dog. When we would arrive at the bee yard, Belle's job was to monitor the number of bees that found their way into the truck cab. She counted bees, and, when the automotive apian population reached a certain critical threshold, she alerted us by diving down into the passenger side footwell and giving us plaintive looks until we arrived to shoo the bees out of the truck.
Like all beekeeping mammals, Belle did take the occasional sting. This was not her favorite part of the job but she never let it stop her from coming with us to work bees. She did, however, let us know that she really prefered chasing rabbits to being stung.
Belle was quite elderly when she suddenly took ill and passed on within the week. We buried her in the home apiary by her beloved bees. She is sorely missed.