It happened when I was doing some research for INDIGO AS AN IRIS, my fifth book in the Biscuit McKee mystery series. I located a goat farm in Watkinsville GA and asked if I could come watch the goats and ask lots of questions. Mandy Lattimer said yes, so I went, learned lots, finished my book, and then went back the next spring to see the goats who had been pregnant when I was there the first time.
Okay, I admit it -- the real reason was to see baby goats that had just been born. It takes a few days for baby goats to get used to nursing, and in the meantime the moms fill up with LOTS of milk, so Mandy milks the mamas, puts their milk in bottles, and feeds their babies until the little guys can get the hang of how to do it on their own.
I was there at just the right time, and I got to help! The baby I fed -- one day old and cute as the proverbial button -- was highly enthusiastic about eating, but wasn't quite sure what to do with that rubbery thing I kept poking in his mouth. He kind of had the idea that it was the food source, but getting a grip on it was more than his little goat mouth could manage.
The result? Almost as much milk on me as in him. Mandy's much better at it than I am. You see -- it wasn't entirely the little fella's fault. I didn't know how to hold the bottle at the right angle. It had been a long time since I'd had to feed a baby.
The guard dog had his eye on me the whole time.
Now, bees don't have that problem. For one thing, no mammary glands. The babies eat their way out of the cells, shake themselves, dry off a bit, and start to work. None of this gamboling about like goats (yes, the baby goats did these cute little hip-hop dances around and over everything). Baby bees are all business.
I just re-read that last sentence. I wonder if I'm wrong. Surely the newness of life is a joyful experience for a little bee coming into a hive full of supportive sisters and one great big mama.
Next spring, I'm going to try to watch the babies and see if they bounce around a bit before they start cleaning the cells.
BEEattitude for Day # 55:
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for knowledge, for they shall be pleasantly surprised.
One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
The incredible opportunites that have come to me as a writer.