Photo submitted                                Working together during extreme events, David Zirnhelt observes, can become tradition to bond people closer, especially on the ranch.

Photo submitted Working together during extreme events, David Zirnhelt observes, can become tradition to bond people closer, especially on the ranch.

Work bees: many hands make light work

There has been a clear reminder of the advantages of members of communities working together

Over the past two years and during previous bad fire years in our region, there has been a clear reminder of the advantages of members of communities working together.

From helping to look after livestock to feeding those people fighting fires, we are all better off for the collaboration.

Now, these were during extreme events. Will the lessons of working together during these extreme events carry over to working together to build stronger communities?

Read More: Ranching workshop tackles wildfire recovery

I will argue that it was (is?) co-operation that led to the development of civilization(s) and considerable abundance in the material world.

However, sometimes we are too successful, for example, in the overproduction of some foodstuffs leading to surpluses that drive down prices, sometimes below the cost of production.

I recognize what many experts say about there being enough food in the world but that it is not distributed well enough to feed all the people. And there is considerable waste in the food system.

In our history, peasants, the people doing the real work of producing food, worked together to lighten the drudgery and to get the job of planting and harvesting done.

Threshing bees come to mind. When the crop is ready it is ready and should be processed for storage.

The other kind of work bees common in our cultural history, were the building bees well known as barn raisings. At our place during the early days of starting our ranch we held bees to build some parts of the house.

When cedar shakes were the preferred roofing material, you could find a half dozen or more people on the roof.

When we built a one hundred and fifty-foot log bridge (three spans), we held bees for peeling logs, for laying in the cross ties and for decking.

A decade ago, preparing for a wedding on the ranch (our second son) we thought the bride deserved the barn dance she wished for so we built the barn.

We did not open up this bee to the community, as it was a family event. Could the boys all work with the old man and raise this timber frame barn the way the Amish were accustomed to doing it? Except we used machinery to lift the sections, rather than dozens of people with ropes, pulleys and A-frames.

A common work bee is when neighbours and friends help out for the branding of calves before they are sent out on the range.

These become traditions and bond us closer to one another. Good feelings of helping each other out make us willing to do it again. Big dinners frequently follow allowing for the conduct of many little pieces of business and information exchange.

We all spend a lot of time on our electronic devices. At our peril, we forget that human interaction and co-operation are what made us who we are as social beings.

Read More: TRU’s Ranching program kicked off its third year

The strength that comes from practising co-operation will keep us fit for any big challenges that come our way. “Many hands make light work” as the saying goes.

I was thankful for a recent bee to put in a new water line under the driveway. All three of our boys helped and a neighbour provided the excavator.

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“These artworks combine the grittiness of our urban and port-side environment with the lightness of a playful and exploratory creative process,” note the artists in their artist statement about the show.	(Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Station House Gallery’s latest exhibit features a port-themed collaboration

Valerie Arntzen and Lori Sokoluk created the pieces when they had adjacent studios in Vancouver

Emergency crews respond to a structural fire on Highway 97 between Williams Lake and Quesnel on Friday, April 16. (Photo submitted)
Update: Famous Cariboo carver Ken Sheen’s wood shop destroyed by fire

The shop was located between Williams Lake and Quesnel

The city of Williams Lake has been doing routine maintenance to one of its wells at Scout Island as seen here earlier this week. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake residents asked to reduce non-essential water use

One of the city’s pumps is under repair

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks games against Leafs postponed as team returns from COVID-19

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Island woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

Becomes first person in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read