Would you climb this ladder, in the rain …in a skirt?

That’s what I did today, so that our hives in Mount Vernon Triangle wouldn’t go hungry. As it’s just about my second week as executive director, I haven’t visited all of our hives, yet, but I’m working on it. Today, I set off to feed the two hives on the rooftop of this building. Granted it’s a one-story building, but I had to lug my milk jug full of sugar water and beehive smoker.

As I’m setting up the ladder and figuring out how to expand it, it begins to drizzle. No biggie, I still have time. Then the wind starts. I’m trying to position the ladder in the steadiest spot I can find and every time I lift it up, a strong wind comes out of nowhere.

Finally I have it just right, so I climb about halfway, but get nervous and chicken out about four feet off the ground. After a few of these pathetic attempts, and sensing every driver’s eyes on me as I climb this ladder, I take a breather on the steps for a minute.

Then I decide it’s now or never. I stand by the ladder and wait for the first person to come along. I asked a nice-looking guy if he would hold the ladder for me as I climbed up — now I can’t chicken out because I’ve roped a stranger into my ordeal. Then I realize I’m wearing a skirt, and it’s windy. So I gingerly climb the ladder, clutching my sugar-water jug and the many folds of my skirt, and successfully summit the petite trailer.

Anyway, turns out I didn’t even need my smoker because of the rain. I should have taken a lesson from those honeybees and refused to work today — bees don’t venture out of the hive when it rains. But both hives look good. One’s top was so sealed with propolis I had to pry it off, and on the inside were a ton of happy-looking bees.

Now I’ll know for next time to bring someone with me, and to wear pants.


September 16, 2011