By Monica Albertson
From Peg Cochran’s Cranberry Cove Series
I thought my brother Jeff was crazy when he told me he was renting bees. Who rents bees? There are plenty of them buzzing around the climbing roses on the trellis outside my back door.
“It’s like this,” he said, tilting the kitchen chair back on its rear legs. “We need the bees to pollinate the cranberry flowers, and there aren’t enough native bees to do the job.”
“So you rent them?”
He nodded and took a swig from his can of pop. “Without them our cranberry yield would be a lot less than it is.”
Jeff owns Sassamanash Farm, a cranberry farm not far from Lake Michigan. He does the farming and I do the baking for the farm store where we sell all sorts of cranberry products—scones, muffins, bread and my own cranberry salsa.
“Hey sis,” Jeff let his chair drop back into place. “Do you have any of that cranberry coffee cake you make?” He patted his flat stomach. “I’m kind of hungry.”
I had to laugh because the cake was sitting out in full view on my counter and Jeff had been eyeing it the whole time he was in the kitchen.
“So you’ll let the bees out near the bogs?” I said as I cut a generous slice of cake and slid it onto a plate.
“Yes.” He glanced out the window. “Although maybe not today. Clouds are moving in and they don’t like dark days. They don’t want to work.”
I had no idea bees could be so particular.
“Isn’t it dangerous?” I cut a sliver of cake for myself. “All those bees swarming around.”
“The beekeeper knows what he’s doing. He wears protective gear and he makes sure not to rile up the bees.”
“That sounds safe enough,” I said, not knowing that those words would come back to haunt me later.
Beekeeping would turn out to be a lot more dangerous than any of us bargained for.
To be continued in Dead and Berried, book #3 in the Cranberry Cove series.