The intent was to get to the Farm on Sunday after picking up packaged bees. Snow delayed the pickup until Monday as noted in an earlier post. The first two days were really too cold to do much of anything, though the failed hives were retrieved from the apiary. Wednesday was really not much better and I decided I would put the bees in nucs and leave them in the barn to protect them from the wind. But Thursday and Friday were both beautiful days and I spent Thursday from dawn to dusk cleaning and sorting hives, frames and otherwise just cleaning up the place in general. I did manage to extract two and a half gallons of honey.

For some reason, my organizational capacity seems diminished. Probably the chemo, as it is known for that. After five years of it I guess it is not so surprising that I am starting to show some effects on cognitive functions. Still, it is disturbing to know that faced with a mutifascited job I would simply not be able to organize it into workable chunks. As a result, everything I did took twice as long and some of it was done poorly or only half done by days end. And by days end I was in a hurt locker. Exhausted and frustrated.

Still, I did get some things done. I went to bed around ten, figuring I would do better on Friday. Not so…. Friday dawned and I was so muddle headed that I could barely organize myself enough to make some oatmeal and tea for breakfast. That and things just plain hurt. I decided to sleep for a few more hours and woke up late afternoon, still fuzzy and uncomfortable. Tried just organizing by rearranging… and failed, gave up and went back to sleep.

Saturday was not much better. I simply could not figure out how to get started. The day was beautiful and I hated to waste it. I had intended on being back in Minnesota Friday night but there was this mess of work to do… and I still felt like my ass had been kicked by a platoon of MPs. I slept a lot on Saturday too.

Sunday was better. But I was up against a wall on time. I had to be back in Albertville Monday for lab work so Tuesday and Wednesdays chemo could proceed. At least I could think more or less. I extracted another two gallons of honey, organized the hive components, cleaned the extraction equipment and stored it, packed my shit all up and put it in the truck including the nearly four gallons of now jarred honey.

Then I realized that the weather was probably going to be pretty decent and the bees should probably not be in the barn, but instead out at the apiary. So I got the tractor and trailer, loaded up the nucs and enough hive components to sustain the bees for a month, which will be how long before I have the chance to return to the farm. The drive out to the apiary was beautiful. Tiny areas of green already showing through the grey-gold winter residue of last years plants. A breeze out of the Northeast was blowing gently and carrying the scent of spring pollen…just a hint from the woods I suspect. The sun felt really good, like an old friend that I had not seen for a while.

The hives got placed and the bees transferred from the nucs to the hives. I was not impressed with the cluster of bees. There were a lot of dead bees after only a few days. I hope they take off and do well, but I am concerned. Guess it will become evident in a month when I get to check on them. That is really too long, but short of driving five hours down and back during a chemo week when I am already rather beat up, I guess the bees will have to make due. They have plenty of food and some pollen substitute to get them started…

The drive back to Albertville was uneventful. I stopped at the Valley Tap for a burger and an ale. Chatter and hellos and good hearted chiding is the flavor of the day. Everyone is glad for the sun and warmth. The owners of the place are working and I have known them both for a few years now. They chat me up a bit and when I mention the work with the bees done this week, they ask if I have some honey to sell. I make twenty dollars on my way out the door, get in the truck with half the burger in a carryout, start up and hit the road.

The radio played and there were some really good folk and blues tunes spinning. Was great to hear a Luther Allison tune! Traffic was light and the roads were dry, the sun set in the west as usual. The truck ran out great with the Cummins churning out RPMs and sipping fuel in a miserly way. When the sun disappeared the half moon provided plenty of light for the contrasting grays of night scenery. Driving those long drives is a medicine of sorts for me. The road and the tires smooth out the constantly firing signals in my mind, reducing the noise and cross-talk of neurons which are overstimulated. Driving soothes…

So this new protocol of chemo is a test of endurance and patients. One has to be patient with oneself. I will have to learn to work through the cognitive debris left by the treatments. And to simply not fight it when the battle will be lost anyway. I do fine when I do fine, and I don’t when I don’t. Let it be… work with it, not against it. One will not win fighting it anyway. It is like fighting cancer itself…an utterly useless exercise in futility. It just leads to frustration which is pointless and non-productive. Let the medical professionals do the fighting, that is what they are good at. My job is to live…

So now a new test of adjustment. A new cycle of ‘adapt and overcome’.

It is just a different test…