Saturday, April 25, 2009

But where will they live and have their bee-ing?

Months have literally gone by. Months and months and I had not yet established where my hives would be.

I had yet to determine that very important factor. Where would my bees live and have their bee-ing?

I would love to have them on my property but our bylaws must have a certain footage away from adjoining properties and my place isn't big enough.

I was hoping for a place fairly close to home so I could visit often, not only so I could manage my hives but also because I wanted to observe the bees as part of my research for my book. This created a little bit of a dilemma. If I had the hives at a friend's country place, then I'd be there most weekends, just hanging around with a camera or my water colours or sitting on a lawn chair making notes. I knew that I'd wear out my welcome really quickly and I didn't want that to happen.

I live in southern Ontario which is the corn growing area - all the ethanol now going into gas is mostly grown in this area. The problem with corn is that it gets sprayed a lot and bees don't normally forage in corn but they do drink the water droplets that collect in it. So I didn't want my hives on a farm with lots of corn crops. (I'd be at work too, so if the sprayer was doing his work and my hives were close by it'd be complicated to get out there to cover the hives).

I'd read in newsgroups and books enough about hives to conclude that hives would probably be safer in a neighbourhood than in the country but I couldn't think of a place in the city that would work.

Then my Mom reminded me of 50 acres of swamp land that my grandfather gave to his nephew.

Years ago my grandfather would come to his swamp for cedars. The cedars would be cut to make fence posts on the farm.

Now with modern farming fence posts of cedar aren't used any more.

That swamp land was still in the family and just sitting there. I called my cousin and he readily agreed to let me keep bees there.

There's about 200 acres of swamp there, 40 of it belonging to my cousin. We made arrangements to meet there to see if we could find some suitable high ground.

So we planned a drive out there on Saturday to have a look. I was told it wasn't so swampy the last few years so we could walk on it with boots on.

I was concerned about water levels once the hives were set up so I made plans in my mind for some kind of platform (maybe made out of skids) to raise the hives up off the ground.

There was a laneway adjoining my cousin's section of swamp and the other person's which gave us easy and dry access.
We walked quite a ways in looking for high ground.
It has been a very wet spring with lots of flooding. The swamp was very wet and full of water.
My cousin said that normally it was dry enough to walk on. I was glad in a way to see it at it's worst. That way I'd know how high the water could come up.

We did find some high ground farther back the lane that would work. There was great sunshine from the southeast and the ground was flat enough for a few hives. The only downside will be how far back it is from the road. But I'll try it out and we'll see.
(Photo - Mom, Dad and my cousin Ross - this is the spot we chose for the hives).

So after our trip I went home and then asked my sister to take me to the hospital.
You see, the day before (Fri) I'd fallen down the stairs at work. I landed really hard on my knees and palms, nearly doing a face plant. But my right arm took the toll to save my face. I broke it--at least by midday on the second day it was still pretty painful and I had to consider that it might be more than a sprain. A couple hours later and some x-rays and it was confirmed to be a broken radio head (w broken elbow). So I type this with my left hand. I'm right handed so this is bothersome. I am somewhat left handed too and I expect I will become a lot more so over the next while.

The doctor said it's a messy break and I might need surgery. I will wait to hear from a specialist next week.

That photo is me wearing my bee shirt. The strap is my sling - no cast yet. I've opted not to show my scowling face.

I can't (won't) begin to express my frustration over this major inconvenience except to say I regret losing my arm to save my face~!
(that's not really true because I could have broken all my teeth but a frustration nonetheless because I've got big plans underway!)
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