First, let me say I am a lover of honey. The problem is I do not get along with the bees. This little feud dates back to the 1960’s.
I had saved up a little money and had hoodooed the bank into loaning me some money based on my employment that brought in $160 per month. I found an old farm house located on a road in Jefferson County. It had started life as two two-story log cabins with a “dog trot” between them that had been closed in, a staircase installed, and the outside shingled with the good, 5-inch board of a century ago.
The plumbing was rudimentary as was the electrical system. I hired a friend to correct this. It also had 25-acres of land. I got started clearing this. I noticed there were several small structures among the second growth of trees, as well as tool sheds, and a small office. The property had belonged to a local justice of the peace.
First, the electrical was corrected, since that was the most likely place for a fire to start. This took the better part of two months; then the plumbing. It really was rudimentary. If you don’t know what a Minnesota mound is, picture a hole in the ground that all the sewage runs into. We got a back hoe and put in a drain field, plus an upstairs bathroom.
The inside was beautiful when you got past all the neglect. There was a fireplace in every room, and even a small “sewing room” over the staircase with a window for light to sew by. Once we got the electrical in, and could use power tools (small generators were not available) the work went much faster.
My wife at the time went up and looked the place over. She wanted the bedroom that faced east as the master, and she wanted the windows enlarged. As a parting shot, she wanted the walls sheet rocked to look like plaster, instead of paneling. Naturally, this happened. The windows were first and the floor sanded. The fire place was pointed up and the chimney cleaned.
Finally, George, the man doing the work, started on the sheetrock. He had to strip off lathe and plaster work that had been in place at least 50 years, then, cold weather set in. We scurried to get heat in so the plumbing would not freeze. When the weather warmed a little, the sheetrock went up.
Shortly after, I got a call from George. “You have to come up here.” I did. Something had struck through the new sheet rock and stained it black. When we got it down, we found honey was flowing down the log walls behind it. We continued outside- removing the paneling. Behind it was over 150-pounds of honey- some so old that it was black. We used pressure washers, concrete cleaners, anything we could think of to get it down. We put the sheetrock back four times, but finally got it sealed.
In asking around, I found out the owner had kept a dozen hives of bees. In his later years, he didn’t tend them, and lived on the ground floor. We got a local bee keeper to come, and recover the swarms so there would not be a repeat. We were just getting finished when the man who owned the farm across the hill came over. His son, who was married, was getting out of the service. He wanted to buy the place. I wasn’t thrilled, but he offered me so much money I couldn’t refuse. Thus, me and the bees parted company.