The Woodworker sipped his whiskey. If you could even call it that.  Cheap, blended Canadian stuff.  Black Velvet.  It wasn’t quite Buffalo Trace, but it really wasn’t that bad.  The Beekeeper’s Wife thought differently, as did the School Teacher.  Most people did, actually.  The Woodworker thought it  was pretty good with tea and honey, and not undrinkable over rocks.  Good for an aching back.  He set the glass down on the window sill and investigated the blood blisters on the backs of his hands.  And palms.  And in between his fingers.  He could feel them on his skull and ankles.  It had been a long week.

Several fingers and his left palm were puffy and swollen.  Itchy, too.  Still, it beat wearing the hot, awkward, and uncomfortable gloves usually worn by beekeepers.   The Beekeeper never wore gloves, but after a series of childhood injections and a few thousand stings, he was immune.  Mostly immune.  He’d still tear up a bit when stung on the nose.  The Beekeeper was more-or-less looking forward to the Woodworker’s first nose sting.  It was inevitable.  And kind of funny, when you’re not the one getting stung.

They’d pulled in a fair amount of honey.  Not jaw-dropping, but not bad, either.  Pretty good, really.  It was hard work.  They didn’t talk about it being hard work.  They talked about the weather. The crops.  Gophers. What they were going to do in the fall.  Lunch.  Old ranchers.  Old ranches.  Old times.  The price of land.  Dogs.  Bees.  There wasn’t a prettier place to work outside anywhere in the world.  They knew that, and each appreciated that the other knew it.  It was a fact- like the sky is huge, the weather unpredictable, and honey is best when pulled in Glacier County.

They’d go out again in the morning.  Until it was done.