November 2, 2017

ABOUT No Bull Ranch Bees

In the mid-80s we were raising cattle, swine and chickens on a small family farm. We matured from raising ‘mutts’ in to focusing on purebred animals. Some friends of ours Danny and Danna gifted us and old school purebred Scottish Highlander Heifer Cow. So we blame them for starting us on purebred’s!


As time went on and our heifers matured, we would have to take them to a bull or have the vet artificially inseminate them. No one had a Scottish Highlander bull, so we produced crossbred (Angus X Scottish Highlander) calves to raise and eat.


Up to the beginning of the 90s I performed construction work to pay the bills and keep our hobby farm in feed. This included feeding three hungry kids or three unpaid farmworkers, depending on who you ask. I changed jobs and went to work in an office. Remember in those days: My office computer used 5 inch plus floppy disks and it would take three different disk to turn it on! No Internet and fax machines were just becoming popular. Pagers had better range than cell phones and the cell phone was half the size of a briefcase (called ‘Bag Phones’).


One day during my break, I was responding by phone to an ad in the Scottish Highlander Association magazine. I had found a rancher back in the Midwest that had four or five Scottish Highlander bulls. Normally breeders only sell bull semen by the individual bull with a 10 straw minimum(at $25+ per straw). I was in heated negotiations because he was willing to let me mix-and-match bulls for a 10 straw order! As I completed the deal I looked to my office door, which was totally blocked by my coworkers listening and wondering what I was doing buying semen over the phone!


They were all city folk and with extreme embarrassment I explained I had to buy semen because “I had No Bull “. Shortly after this we decided to sell one of our calves at the livestock auction. Upon unloading the steer this old geezer came over and identified himself as the state Brand Inspector. He gave me a ticket for having an unbranded beef animal! Seems that there’s still rustling going on and to fix my ticket I was going to have to register a brand with the Fed. I didn’t have to burn a brand on the animal, I could freeze the brand or I could tattoo it in a ear. But from now on I’d better get a registered brand. BTW the road we lived on was named Noble Ranch Road. This was the genesis of “No Bull Ranch”.


Another jump in time and the start of a new millennium. The every other year wild swarm or two of bees that would fly through the property quit coming by. We got worried, did some research and discovered the documentary “Vanishing of the Bees”. Decided to do something! So we started beekeeping and did everything wrong!


We found ‘Bee Master Dave’ the owner of ‘Dollar Mountain Apiary’, 40+ years beekeeping in Lake County California. We’ve been taking classes and learning bee rescue for quite a few years now. Dave lost his ancestral home (and a hell of a lot of beehives) in the California Clayton Creek fire. Dave continues beekeeping his beekeeping business while trying to rebuild after the fire. We’ve developed a bit of a support each other relationship. Dave still has enough hives that if I run low on honey he can backup my needs.


Now we get to here, new website, new email address, new marketing ideas and an interested son with grandchildren (remember the unpaid farm help!).