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I love to visit our old family farm in West Texas, even though it’s almost a thousand miles there and back. The place is beautiful to us.

Someone is out there about every three weeks. We have ongoing restoration projects and hunting in season. Deer, wild hog, turkey, quail, dove. Yes, we’re into blood sports in our family. We have guns, bows, hunting stands, everything.

I spend my time writing on a laptop. I can’t get on the internet. The farmhouse is in a dense stand of trees, down in a sort of bowl. We have a land line but can’t get cell phone or TV reception. It’s isolated and peaceful.

Recently, my brother Bob, daughter Anne Marie and I drove out to spend a few days. We left here early and got to the farm that day at dusk. Bob went around back of the house to turn the water on. He returned, horrified because a big bunch of honey bees was buzzing about, trying to get inside the water-heater room.

Anne Marie’s husband James is a bee keeper and she went to look at the bees. They were scouts, she said, looking for a place to bring a swarm. They’d have to be killed. We tried to call James. He wasn’t home. We put in a frantic call to the sheriff. He gave us the number of the only beekeeper in the entire countryside. The man wasn’t answering his phone. Luckily, Anne Marie knew what to do. The bees should be sprayed with soapy water, she explained. This kills them because they breathe through their little exoskeletons.

My brother filled a big sprayer with soapy water, sprayed, and bees dropped and died in clumps. We sighed with relief.

With the bee problem solved, Anne Marie and I wrote every day on our laptops, edited hardcopy and brainstormed new novels. Bob fired up the tractor and mowed. We came home happy after another enjoyable trip to the farm. Little did we know.

Fast forward two weeks. My son John Ed, his wife Cheryl and Anne Marie’s daughter Carrie went to the farm. The bees had established a hive under John Ed and Cheryl’s travel trailer, which is permanently parked in the pasture behind the house.

The beekeeper still wasn’t answering his phone. Many calls to James and several bee stings later, John Ed decided to let the bees alone until he could return with help. He, Cheryl and Carrie moved into the big house for the duration of their visit.

In a couple of weeks, James and John Ed will go back, suit up and do battle with those disruptive, invasive, diminutive marauders. We constantly fight wasps, scorpions and centipedes. Skunks and rattlesnakes, we simply shoot. Badgers are sometimes allowed to live under the house because they discourage the skunks. But tolerate bees? Not for all the honey in the world!

Follow up: Bee warriors report mission accomplished.

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