Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
So from the age of twenty-four to thirty-six hardly a day passed when I didn’t stroll myself across a recollection of my grandparents’ northern Illinois grass, hoping to come across some old half-burnt firecracker, a rusted toy, or a fragment of letter written to myself in some young year hoping to contact the older person I became to remind him of his past, his life, his people, his joys, and his drenching sorrows.
It became a game that I took to with immense gusto: to see how much I could remember about dandelions themselves, or picking wild grapes with my father and brother, rediscovering the mosquito-breeding ground rain barrel by the side bay window, or searching out the smell of the gold-fuzzed bees that hung around our back porch grape arbor. Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”
~ Ray Bradbury, from “The introduction to Dandelion Wine” in Just This Side of Byzantium: An Introduction (Arena Stage Press, 1976)
Just another day in the bee-saving, lemonade-making, entrepreneurial office of 12-year-old Mikaila Ulmer. Microsoft technology helps her prepare for speaking events around the world, but also helps give her time to visit her tiniest yet most important business partners.
When Anthony Planakis was going through the New York Police Academy, they told him to write his interests down on a little card.
“Beekeeping, of course I put that down,” says 54-year-old Planakis, who is a fourth generation beekeeper. “And the very first job, the sergeant comes right up to me and I just look up and go, ‘Hey, Sarge,’ and he goes, 'Bees?’ and I go, 'Yeah, where?’ 'Harlem.’ And I go, 'Cool.’ That was it, that was the first job I handled,” he says.
And that’s how he became the department’s unofficial beekeeper starting in 1995, earning him the nickname Tony Bees. Planakis has been handling hives for 40 years and keeps them in his backyard in Queens and on a property in Connecticut.
“Whenever I’m working a swarm, I hear nothing around me,” he says. “I mean you can have a jackhammer running down below and I wouldn’t even hear it. I’m in the perfect world now. Actually that’s the only time I feel safe. I’m never scared, never afraid. So, uh, I think it’s in my blood.”