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Emmett talks about Mr. Buchanan, his friend and bee expert.
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Emmett Snead operates Snead's Farm along Tidewater Trail in Caroline County.
IREMEMBER first meeting Mr. Buchanan in 1963. My dad and I were burning brush piles on a piece of land he had on the corner of Lee Drive and Lansdowne Road. He had bought the land to plant timothy hay on to help feed his 280 head of Golden Guernsey dairy cattle. Mr. Buchanan pulled up to where we were in his state trooper car. He and my dad had apparently known each other for some time. He told my dad that he had seen a big buck cross over Lansdowne Road the night before. That was significant in 1963 because it was rare to see a deer back then.
After Mr. Buchanan left, my dad told me Mr. Buchanan had served on PT boats in World War II. He seemed godlike to me.
One day in 1984, Mr. Buchanan pulled up to my roadside stand to buy some asparagus. He told me that he had recently moved into my neck of the woods (Moss Neck, that is) and that we were neighbors. I had heard he was an expert on honeybees. There were plenty of bees around at the time. I figured a few more wouldn't hurt.
So I asked him how much he would charge me to keep some bees on my farm. He said, "I'll supply you with whatever personal honey you need. I get to pick for free whatever fruit and vegetables I need. And I get to sell any extra honey." I said, "Deal!" It's been working like a charm ever since. During her high school years, Jessica (my daughter) helped him with the bees and extracting honey. She said he always smelled like honey.
My brother moved onto my farm several years ago. He and Mr. Buchanan really hit it off. George has become Mr. Buchanan's apprentice and helps him with the heavy lifting. If and when Mr. Buchanan retires from the bee business, George will take over. The goal would be to have plenty of bees and local honey for my CSA.