Saturday, October 3, 2009
I knew about this place. In fact I'd known about it since I was a child. It was a family owned apple farm about 4 or 5 miles from my home. We would always drop in there every summer and fall to buy bushels of apples and cider. Juicy Macintosh apples were my favourite, chilled and fresh right out of their giant cold room.
Then about 10 years or so ago the family who had owned the place for generations put it up for sale. The City bought the land and then leased it out. And a man who thought he'd like to be an apple farmer leased the land and learned how to be an apple farmer.
So the good news is that an old farm with apple trees still exists on the edge of the city just like it did when I was a kid.
I had called the city about this land way back in April when I was first looking for a bee yard but they were very quick to put me off. So I dropped it. But the more I looked into the by-laws I realized that the city really couldn't say no to bees if the leasor agreed. Besides, I found out there are no by-laws to prohibit them. Also as I called and tried more and more places and got negative responses I got back to thinking about this place. And when two people mentioned to me that I should try asking at this place so I took them up on it.
The leasor said YES and that he's zoned for farming. So the great news is that within the next few days my bees will call this place home.
I talked to the farmer, yesterday on the phone and he was quite happy with the idea of free pollination of the apple trees and some honey in exchange for giving us some space. This morning we met him and he had a nice spot picked out behind the large shed and right to the side of the grass driveway. Yes, a drive area - so I can pull the truck in right next to the hives.... SWEET!
There's a lot of things to be excited about. I'll save on tons of gas and time by not having to commute out of the city. The thing I'm most excited about though is not having to battle the mosquitoes. They really were bad in the swamp and I always had to keep a veil and gloves on the whole time. Now I'll be able to sit a minute and look at a mite sticky board without having to slap my fingers or do a little video without shaking them off.
There is a large conservation area across the road and a huge lake, lots of meadowland with wildflowers, a large neighbourhood with gardens and of course the apple orchard. So there's plenty of forage for the bees. There's even a lowland area on the other side of the road where ducks and geese gather and I believe a creek too so that will be another natural water source for the bees.
Of course it was raining, actually thundering quite ominously when we got to the swamp so we had to move quickly to beat the real downpour.
We weren't moving hives today. Instead we brought out as much of the "gear" as we could and brought a couple pallets and cement blocks which we would use as the new platform. My nephew Codie and his friend were willing to come and help which speeding things up incredibly.
Back at the new location Dad got out the weed whacker and very quickly created a nice level spot. I didn't get any before shots so picture the area with about two feet of grass and wildflowers. Then we put down the cement blocks and the pallets. And amazingly enough the pallets were level!
I think that's a sign of a good start...and a great provision.... actually an awesome provision.