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A ladder, A kayak, and some attacking bees

So...... Lorraine and I scheduled a trip to secure the new utility building. They finished it up and we looked forward to starting to secure it and utilize it.

We had been up two weeks prior with Bryan and Amy to install the garage doors. The larger 10x10 was operational, but the 8x8 had a slight issue that caused me to keep it out of service until I could get a part to correct the issue.

So the primary tasks were:

  • Get 8x8 garage door operational

  • Install locks on both garage doors

  • Install shades on all windows

    • Why, you ask? Because the property is not totally secure yet, and we do have people coming in once in a while. Since you can see the building from the main road, I want to shut down anyone trying to see what we have in the building.

  • Clean the 3 kayaks and get them into the building

  • If time permits, install lift storage for kayaks in utility building

  • If time permits, go after more of the debris in the water on the boulders

We were able to depart around 3:30 PM on Friday. We knew there were strong storms coming down from the north. Fortunately, we didn't hit the storms until exactly two minutes outside of Black River Falls. Unfortunately, we had to sit at the Cenex gas station, to be able to fill up the camper with water, for over one-half of an hour.

Here are two videos I took during the storm... interesting that the first one is green and the second one is blue.... just shows how the colors change from the beginning of a storm as compared to later on in a storm.

Note: Nick's store, SRE Outdoors, can be seen across the pond.

We were able to finally get to the property around 8:30 PM, so it was really set-up-the-camper-and-go-to-bed more or less. We set up the camper on the fire lane. Since most of our work was going to be on the utility building, we saw no need to camp at the clearing which is much further away from the building. I had a really good night of sleep on Friday night.

As usual, I was awake pretty early on Saturday morning and headed up to the building to begin my work on the garage doors. I quickly solved the issue on the 8x8 door and made that door operational. Since I extended the vertical tracks by 8", I had some 2x6 header boards to install in addition to working on the lip on the spring pad. I was able to get this work done.

Then I went to install the locks, only to find that I had forgotten to bring my ratchet set. With self-drilling screws it is almost impossible (unless I wanted to drill pilot holes) to install the locks. I had also noticed we had missed a few hinge screws on the larger doors that I needed to resolve.

So, I had to change our sequence of events. We would need to go into town to Scholze's Ace Hardware so I could get a 3/8" socket. And, since we were going into town, it would be a good idea to also get the kayaks cleaned at the car wash so we would not have to travel to town twice.

It was time to break for breakfast then. Blueberry pancakes and sausage links cooked on the new smaller griddle tasted awesome. It was an excellent meal.

I then took off to go back to the campground to get the kayaks loaded into the truck while Lorraine cleaned up from breakfast. I was able to get the first two off of their racks and onto the ground. But the third one was strapped to the top of our Bravo trailer. I needed a ladder, but I had brought my Little Giant ladder to help me with that. This is when the "fun" began.

The kayak was stored upside-down on the ladder rack on top of the Bravo trailer, with a cockpit cover on the opening of the kayak that was facing down. I was able to get the kayak unsecured and even flipped over so it was sitting upright. I noticed a ton of needles in the drain holes, and as I began to clean that out, I was stung by a bee, who then went up the sleeve of my shirt stinging me more. And then there was a swarm of bees.

Being three or four steps up on the ladder and having bees stinging me had me moving down the ladder pretty quickly. I had my work boots on, and my left boot got caught on a stair rung while my right foot missed the next step entirely and landed on the ground. But that motion caused my left foot to flex back so far that it did some sort of damage to the tendons and ligaments behind my knee and down into my calf muscle. While I was in some pain, it only grew worse as the day and weekend went on. But being one not to go sit down because I got an "owie", I pushed forward.

So, now I am standing on the ground, looking up at the kayak half-off of the top of the Bravo trailer and a couple dozen bees swarming around the cockpit of the kayak. Now what do I do?

If the bees were super aggressive, I would not have been able to do much of anything. But I slowly moved the back end of the kayak and was able to get it down onto the ladder, leaving the front still perched on the ladder rack of the trailer. I then was able to slowly get the front down to the ground with no further bee stings.

Once on the ground, I quickly stripped the cockpit cover off of the opening, prepared to meet some pissed-off bees. I was ready with my can of Raid in case that occurred. So I tore it off and threw it where it landed on the tongue of the Bravo trailer. While I can not explain this, the bees were all swarming around that cockpit cover. But the good news is that I had gotten them away from the kayak and did not get stung once during that event.

So I loaded up the three kayaks and tended to my bee stings with mud, all before Lorraine came back to lend me a hand. Since we had the dog with us, I was kind of glad they weren't there for the drama.

The pain in my calf kept getting worse as the day went on. We went to the car wash where I was able to power wash the kayaks. Sitting outside, they get algae on them and it is amazing how good they look once they are clean. But it was painful.

Then it was to Ace Hardware to get my socket, and then back out to the property to continue our work on the utility building.

I started working on the garage doors while Lorraine worked on installing shades. I also had to put another 1/4 turn in the springs on the larger door. We completed the work on the garage doors and installing window shades, blew out the sawdust and other debris in the building, and felt like "we are there". While we still have work to do, we are able to begin to arrange and store things and remove some of the "debris" located at various locations on the property. "Leave no Trace" is something we try to practice, but sometimes there is not a place to put things so you do the best you have with what you have. But the building will help us de-clutter the property.

We then went to cool off in the water. The water was high due to the prior storms, but the water felt absolutely great. But it also was a challenging trip to and from the water, as my leg was starting to tighten up and become quite uncomfortable. Once back at the camper, I sat and felt the pain worsen and worsen to where I could hardly stand it. Lorraine went to work on sweeping the stairs, so was not there to get me some pain relievers. But the pain was really bad at that point in time, and I could barely walk. I had done quite a number on my calf and tendons.

We ate a decent supper of BBQ and salads, and then had a fire up by the utility building. It was a nice night, but you could tell it was going to be a chilly one. We took showers (well, mine ran out of water before I was complete) and then to bed.

I was up early on Sunday morning, so went back to the utility building to load up the truck with my tools and other supplies. The planned breakfast of burritos did not happen as I forgot to bring them. This meant we could just get rolling with packing up and getting on the road. Lorraine worked on getting the camper in order, and I took off to the clearing to get things tidied up there. I had the other kayak cockpit covers and needed to figure out how to deal with the one populated with bees.

So, I got things picked up, and then decided to tackle the bees. I found a long stick, and gently lifted the cover from the tongue of the Bravo. The bees did not follow it; they stayed with the Bravo. Once I got it away, there really was not an issue with getting it folded up and in the truck.

You would have thought I had learned a lesson from the prior day, but I didn't. I took my can of Raid (which I did not have to use) and set it on the frame on the front of the Bravo. Well, the bees were still there, and they did not like that. So I got another sting on my face. That one really hurt.

So what is the deal with these bees? I am not quite clear on it, so am going to make up a story. While I never found a "nest" in the kayak nor the cockpit cover, I assume when I flipped it over, the bees went to the top, which was now the cover. When I took the cover off and tossed it, the bees went with it, including the queen. At some point, they decided that they needed to move the queen and took up residence in the Bravo trailer tongue. I can only conclude that the queen kept moving or was being moved. When I went back a bit later, there was no indication of any bees around. I assume they moved the queen somewhere else and had found a new home.

I am not sure if these were honey bees or small wasps. I had an event at my home around five years ago where we had a limb break and it was filled with honey bees. We were able to save these bees by having a bee keeper come and get the hive to move it to their home. The honey bees are important, so we try to be protective of them as much as we can.

We left for home around 9:30 AM, and had a pretty un-eventful trip back home. We feel good that we now have a building that will store things that will make the work we need to do happen easier and faster.


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