It was a family affair yesterday morning as we moved the first of our hives to what will soon be the new home of the Runamuk farm. Currently we have a total of 6 hives. 4 reside at Medicine Hill, an organic farm in Starks–just 6 miles away, and 2 have been happily situated in our backyard here at the “micro-farm” in town.
Typically I don’t like to move hives around, I don’t believe it’s healthy or safe for my bees to be shifted and jolted in and out of vehicles, trucked across any distance, or rented out to pollinate monoculture crops. So when I decide to move a hive it’s generally a one-time thing. Even after our move from a single-acre to 50, I intend to leave my established hives right where they are at Medicine Hill. Linda Whitmore-Smither’s pastures and orchards there are a veritable bee-buffet. Linda and I are on the same page when it comes to farming methods, and I know that my bees there are thriving and will continue to do so. Besides, having multiple apiaries allows me to promote better genetic diversity in my colonies.
We will leave one of the backyard hives where it is until the end of the summer–probably until after the fall nectar-flow is over–to ensure adequate pollination of our family vegetable garden; and then that hive will join the new apiary at Runamuk. I wonder if our neighbors here in town will miss us?
The night before, while all the girls we safely inside, I had closed up the entrances on the hive that was to be moved. Then yesterday morning while the family ate and dressed I strapped the hive tightly together with a pair of wratchet straps.
Keith and I worked together to load the hive into the back of the truck, then, after a brief stop for gas (what a novel feeling it was to sit at the local gas-station with a hive of bees in the truck-bed!), we traveled the four and a half miles from town to the property where we will soon be living and farming.
Because all of the spring run off flows down the hill through the path that we once laughingly called a “driveway”, mud-season tends to linger late at the future farm-site. Rather than risk getting the truck stuck in knee-deep mud, Keith and I opted to carry the hive the 200 yards up-hill to the spot we’d chosen as the initial apiary location.
Out flew the foragers, encircling the hive in the air above it to orient themselves before they got to work. And with the spring bloom just getting underway at the future site of the Runamuk farm, there’s plenty for these girls to do. Black cherry and apple blossoms abound, violets and, of course, dandelions, await these industrious workers, soon the honeysuckle will bloom. And so it was with a feeling of pride and a sense of anticipation for what’s to come, that we piled back into the truck to return to town.