Beekeeping with Irene in Killington

Now that the soil has drained, almost, I thought I might relay a little bee keeping experience to anyone interested in the events of the area. Killington was in the heart of the hit zone.

There was no internet in the morning, and the last I saw of the weather report was the night before about 10pm. The storm was striking thep9220185 tip of the Carolinas and it was unclear what would happen as it usually is. In the morning, the rain was steadily picking up. It was as hard a rain as any at sea, and anyone who knows what that means, well, knows what that means. You had to keep looking and going outside because amazing things were happening. Water was erupting like fountains several inches out of the ground in places this is unheard of. I half expected animals coming to my house in twos.

p8280151Looking out from the second floor window, I realized that things might be a little more severe than I was expecting. Upon occasion a heavy storm or spring melt will flood my valley, or a few beaver dams will breach and block a culvert or two. In my years here, I've seen these things, as many towns do, but this time was different. Things were happening very quickly. I noticed the water level rising noticeably in terms of minutes. At first I was in disbelief. Knowing my hives were in trouble and not wanting to open them in these ridiculous rains, I left to get a two wheeled hand delivery truck from a friend of mine three miles away.

The trip there and back is another story, suffice to say I wasted no time in getting back. The water was more than 18" higher in a span of 20 minutes and was already an inch above the hive entrances. No time for a smoker! I stuffed an entrance screen in the front opening of the first hive. When I leaned the two wheeler back, the rush and weight of water that was in the hive popped the screen right out and the bees finally had the chance to see what was going on out there. In my haste, the boxes shifted relative to the stack and more eagerly joined the fray.p8280148

The first hive was wheeled up a dozen steps and I went for the second. I didn't bother with the screen this time. Time was short, so pretty much the same things happened and the hive was brought to safety. The defending bees would be thrown down to the ground by sheets of rain only to shake it off and take flight and fight. Within minutes they quelled the defence mode and started cleaning up the hive. The whole time the hummingbirds kept up dogfight games at the feeders as they do any other day.

The water continued to rise several more feet in the next few hours. The hives would have certainly perished. It occurred to me in one shining moment that Noah, too, must have kept bees, and that's good company. Now, if I can only keep off these bears...

snowmaker