Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Can I have a dull moment please?

It was a dark and stormy night... at least that's how the fictional stories start. At least it was dark. I was in a hotel in Toronto for a couple days for my job. I actually had a nice room with a great view. Toronto lit up at night and viewed from the 15th floor is really quite pretty.

Then the phone rang. But I had greasy dinner on my fingers because the restaurant forgot to give me cutlery and I let the phone go to voice mail.

The message was from my niece who was taking care of my home and pets while I was away. Apparently a guy was calling who owns a portion of the swamp land next to ours. I had cut down a 40 year old tree in the swamp and he was really angry about it.

This was worrying but I actually did manage to get some sleep that night but I think it was more from trip exhaustion than anything else. I didn't call him because I needed to focus on my work and I realized there was nothing I could really do but rack up long distance charges.

Besides, my hives were on our land so I didn't think he needed to be concerned. But the nagging question kept coming, was I certain the hives were on our land? It's possible my cousin made a mistake and what if I was on his land? That would mean I cut down his tree. And that could make some people really mad. If someone did that to me, I guess I'd be mad too.

I got home the next night so tired I was close to tears, maybe that's a girl thing. I knew I wasn't up to dealing with anything let alone anybody. I'd call him the next day to find out what was going on.

The next evening I came home to a voice mail. Basically it said my hives were on his land and if I didn't call him he be throwing them out into the road the next day. So I called him. He didn't answer. I hung up. He called me back.

He told me he had a map that drew out the lines showing who owned what portions of acreage and he felt certain I was on his land and that I had cut down his maple tree.

Now, after calming down I wonder if I've been kidnapped and put into a fictional story that's carrying me off in a direction I don't want to go. I'm afraid to ask if anything else could go wrong because I know it can. Can it ever.

The next question is what now? I've negotiated a couple weeks to get the hives moved but in the mean time we need to re-look at the markings to try to clarify where the boundaries are...just in case he's wrong.

Meanwhile, the bees are enjoying their second week with no rain and all that extra sun, minus previously mentioned cherished tree. I haven't been to the bee yard in a week, the longest I've gone all summer without visiting. I need to go out and see them, just to make sure they're okay.

Maybe I need to tell the bees that today, I'm not okay. That we've got some problems. Again.


Anonymous said...

Hey Barbara! Wow! I used to deal with people and land disputes all the time when I was a deputy sheriff. It never fails that someone will say that they have X amount of land and so-and-so is encroached on it illegally. It happens don't feel like you're the only one.

My advice to you would be, #1 - move the hives without delay. If he's irritated, and obviously he is, my concern would be that he will somehow retaliate. I really find it ironic that he's so "ballsy" that he's going to throw them into the road -- but if he's that dumb to mess around a bunch of bee hives and dismantle their home...well...let's just say I hope he knows that they'll protect their hive and themselves. Surely this man can't be that dumb, but -- I've known dumber people.

Move the hives now. He might not tear them up and throw them in the street, but he can sure hit it with some hornet killer and kill the colony. My gut feeling is if he plans to retaliate, that's what he would do -- so get them out of harm's way...this weekend or in the next few days.

Next, go to your county registrar or whoever handles the recording of land boundaries and get a map that shows the property lines. Also get a copy of the land deeds. If all else fails, and the map doesn't show it, spend some money and get a surveyor to measure the land and mark it. Especially if he hires one and they are on your property. Don't let some sheister try to screw you over.

Last but not least, you may have to ask the courts to settle the dispute, if it goes that far I mean. Hopefully it won't, and you can come to some resolve with this guy. But if he is going to be a total jerk about it, call a civil lawyer and get the ball rolling.

But for now, move the hives away from peril.

Good luck and you're in my thoughts!

Cliff W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cliff W said...

A few too many typos....

Jeez Barbara! This is the last thing you need after all that tremendous work you've put in and the way you overcame those difficulties. I've no idea of Canadian law but, whichever way it is resolved, we'll be thinking of you and hoping that common sense and decency prevails. Please try not to be dispirited and let this upset you with the selfless work, that IS hobby beekeeping.

These things always seem bad at the time but, in a while, they become a great anecdote.

Ex-Deputy Mark sounds a rock of sense. Mark, you are now our offial adviser in all legal matters of an apicultural nature!

Wish I could help more.

[BTW, we have folk like that here too. When the local authority had to purchase land to build our new road, suddenly land values soared and all sorts of unneighbourliness (is that a word?) appeared.]

Anonymous said...


Speaking of land disputes, I once picked up a woman on a court order for being mentally ill. She was so obsessed with her land boundary, she would ride in her yard (that's right..her front and back yard) all a pickup truck! She also accused her neighbors of cutting all the timber on her land from midnight until daylight (she said they cut the timber in the middle of the night so they would go undetected...imagine chainsaws running at those hours). Oh, and she hoarded 17 cats in her house too.

The doctor said her behavior appeared to be a stress related illness -- all because of her obsession over her land issues.

I may not know it all, but in all those years, I deal with some dillies!


PS - Then there's the story of the man who wanted his dead niece's body exhumed from the family burial plot because she dated people that he found offensive. Outrageous! :)

d said...

barbara - i've been thinking of this ever since i read of it! i really hope the best outcome for you!!!! i'm sure ALL OF US BEEKEEPERS are "in there for you".