Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Needed: A New Home

Sometimes the truth is a painful thing. But truth can be revealing and set you free too.

Truth is, our beehives are on this guy's land (since Dad has opted into being a beekeeper with me in this he's been correcting me when I say 'my hives' to "our hives". I guess that means he takes a share of the blame too).

My Dad, my cousin and I went out to the swamp last weekend and we measured. We also had records from the land registry office so we knew what the actual acreage and footage should be.

And we were wrong in our estimate. It was all unintentional of course but the bare truth is that we cut down someone else's tree and we are squatting on his land. The hives are misplaced and now they must be moved. But to where?

At least the truth helped to set things straight. Now we know what actions we need to take. We apologized of course and offered to plant new trees but the owner has plans to plant his own native trees so he declined (it wasn't a 40 year old maple though). Our apology was accepted, which we're grateful for.

Dad and I were separately brainstorming where the hives might go and funny enough we both came up with a great idea--the same idea. I thought that meant something. There is a fruit and veggie farm a couple miles away with bees already there. Maybe we could add our hives to theirs at that location. We met the land owner and he was really enthusiastic about it. After all, this is the pollination that his farm depends on. Then we called the beekeeper (a gentlemen in his 80's). But he said No! He didn't want our hives there. (Secretly we were hoping he'd want to retire from beekeeping and we could buy him out, but that didn't happen).

I have one other place in mind that's in the area that could be good. There's some hives across the road from what was my grandfather's farm. We don't own the farm any more but that place is the nearest and dearest thing to my heart. Having bees there would be awesome. I'm hoping to find out whose hives they are (I asked the old guy and they weren't his. He didn't even know there were other beekeepers in the area). I'll ask if I could keep mine there too.

Maybe I should instead spend my energies on looking for an entirely new place which would mean scouting farms or orchards etc., in the area and pulling in to ask the farmers and making calls. This may be the best long term solution but is very time consuming and I'm not sure how patient that guy will be. You see deer season starts 1 Oct and I think he'd like us gone before then.

A couple reasons why I won't stay in the swamp relocating to our land is mainly that now that we now the actual footage, our land is so far back from the road (1325') as to make trucking the equipment and carrying things too difficult. Currently they are 700' from the road and I carry or wheelbarrow everything back there. Also, the bees if relocated within that area they will just fly back to their original location.

My thoughts at this point are to just find a spot where the hives can go until at least spring and then I could spend the winter trying to find a permanent location.

Our bee club is meeting Thursday night. I'm planning to stand up and ask for help, to ask if anyone has a place reasonably close where I could move my bees. I expect I'll get many offers because one thing I've learned about beekeepers is that they are, for the most part, some of the most helpful people around.

And I just keep hearing that tiny voice saying, "I've made provision for you." So I'm curious just what that will be.
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