Wednesday, April 22, 2009

still a chance

Every morning I go out and do my rounds. I check on all the animals. I carry water and feed. I look things over. This morning when I walked by the hive on the way to the sheep pen, my heart sank. You just can't know how hard it is seeing a year's work broken like that ... To know those bees survived one of the coldest New England winters in recent history... that all summer they built comb, raised brood, and helped pollinate my forest and gardens...and now this; a pile of bear rubbish.

Sometimes all this farm business just takes your heart and throws it under a bus. This morning was one of those mornings.

Thank you to everyone who wrote, commented, or emailed me to say they're sorry about the hive. I am truly sorry if I haven't been able to respond to your emails. More and more have been coming and with a full time job, and a full-time spring on the farm, email has become a luxury. But I appreciate your writing me very much, and even if the responses are late, I'll get them to you.

And some good news: After this morning's drama, I did what I could to recreate the orginal green hive body. I put in the combs that were intact, and put the lid on, hoping the bees that swarmed off would return. Tonight, I checked and bees were back inside! No way of knowing if the queen made it back, but there is still a chance I could replace her from an apiary and keep the honey flowing this summer...cross your fingers folks. I'm living on a prayer.

Let's hope the bear doesn't return tonight for seconds. That hive is weaker than water right now...


Blogger Jamie said...

We've all got our fingers crossed for you!

April 22, 2009 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

I am so glad there are no bears here. I am worried about you though. I am so glad he just stopped at the honey and didn't decide he wanted mutton or chicken to go with it. what can be done to repel a bear? I worry about you too. Walking in the dark to feed. Did the dogs bark or anything?

April 22, 2009 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Rhonda Jean said...

I live in an area that is home to Taipan snakes, death adders and funnel web spiders. They don't bother me at all, but if I saw one inkling of a bear, I think I'd drop. Take care.

April 22, 2009 at 11:51 PM  
Blogger Jason Crowson said...

i know you probably wouldn't want to, but do the laws there allow you to shoot a bear if it threatens your farm? some places have those kinds of laws for wildlife that destroy your crops, etc.

April 23, 2009 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Janine said...

Life has its ways, the intention is always for the better good of all. Important is not to give up, but to have faith in what is. It's hard, especially when we feel pain.
You are walking such a wonderful path, I can hardly imagine Life means you harm. Open your heart. Maybe it is a gift still in disguise? Reading your blog and your book is such a gift, it has surely changed many peoples lifes, for me it brings hope.

May the queen of the hearts find its nesting womb in your delicate honeycomb. Good luck dear. :)

April 23, 2009 at 1:07 AM  
Blogger Darx said...

I'll be praying for your bees and their queen and also praying that the bear has moved on.

April 23, 2009 at 6:31 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

The bear came back. The hive is lost.

April 23, 2009 at 6:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna, I am so sorry to hear about your hive.

April 23, 2009 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger kate said...


One of the best offices in the minimal state government in Vermont is the one that deals with wildlife. And a lot of their info is online.

When I had the four bears right outside, waking up with me, I researched a lot of this online at their site.

I bet you can get good info about how bears and bee hives co-exist, a/k/a how to stop the bears, or what time of year to be watchful.

Someone asked about your dogs. My German shepherd, hackles rising with excitement and play, has always been stoic and still when bears are around. If I hear something and my dog is still, it's bears.

I don't have any advice, except ask the people who deal with it.


April 23, 2009 at 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna, tough one. But no need to resort to shooting. When I kept bees here in PA, I had to have an electric fence to keep bears out. They sell solar chargers. To improve results, hang strips of bacon on the wires to entice the bear to chomp the bacon and get zapped, instead of him just pushing through the fence. Something else worth trying is to put a little ammonia in a ballon, rub it with bacon grease, and hang it on your bear fence. --SteveinPA

April 23, 2009 at 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Marguerite said...

I agree with anonymous. There must be a way of dealing with bears without shooting them. If you're like me, I wouldn't be able to shoot an animal unless it is to protect my life. I'm sure you'll find a solution for your bees! You're a real pleasure to read Jenna, keep up the good work.
PS sorry for my english... being french I do my best!

April 23, 2009 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Jody M said...

I also like anonymous's comments. So sorry about the hive.

April 23, 2009 at 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh NO! I could cry. All that work lost!

April 23, 2009 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Oh No! Stupid bear. It sounds like how I feel when my sweet corn is *almost* ripe, and a raccoon comes and eats the whole row --- except worse, the poor bees. I have heard good things about electric fences, though, and they do make solar chargers for them now....

April 23, 2009 at 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please fence now or your are setting your bees up for another disaster.

April 23, 2009 at 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

So sorry about your hive Jenna. Darn bears...

April 23, 2009 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Dom said...

I don't know about fencing the whole thing off - sharing with the bears might not be the end of the world, right? Especially if they make it and it isn't a persistent thing.

I'm really sorry about your loss, I can only imagine how terrible I'd feel if that happened to my little darlings.


April 23, 2009 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

The important thing is that neither you or your dogs, chicks, bunnies, sheep, ducks etc. have been hurt. I think I'd have to figure out how to get rid of the bears...that's scary...

April 23, 2009 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger Offwhiteknight said...

Sorry about this Jenna... you just don't seem to be having much luck with the whole bee-keeping thing. A search for bear deterrents turned up these sites, check them out. - This one is pretty inexpensive but may not be practical if your hives are close to your house. - several deterrents here, maybe one will work for you.

April 23, 2009 at 7:47 PM  
Blogger Carol G said...

Hugs Jenna. I just want to cry with you. We get a lot of bears around here. Last year they used my hummingbird feeders as lollipops. That was the end of feeding my sweet birds. I can't imagine how disappointing that must be for you. I hope that you can find something to work it out. The DOW last year gave my husband some rubber bullets to use with a particularly pesky bear. It made him run, but he still came back... I guess it made us feel a little less helpless. It gave us some good bear stories to share too...


April 23, 2009 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger SWEETHEARTS MOM said...

Jenna, I am really sorry. If an electric fence works, get one that is high power but battery operated. I have one that hooks up to a car battery, the battery will last a year and will knock the dog snot out of them. It will almost knock a large horse on it's butt.

April 23, 2009 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Chelli said...

Fingers crossed here in OK! My kids felt so bad for you too... They'll be glad to hear of the hopeful return.

April 23, 2009 at 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna, I'm so sorry about your hive.

April 24, 2009 at 1:11 AM  
Blogger spinyurchin said...

Stupid bear. I'm so sorry she came back.
Listen Jenna, you can totally handle this. You are one tough cookie and extremely resourceful. You'll figure out a way to live with bees AND bears. Next year at this time, we will all be reminiscing on your blog about how that bear got into your hive while you will be enjoying some honey on your toast. You can totally do this.

April 24, 2009 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger djp said...

fingers crossed! i'm sure it'll be just fine. just hope you have the queen b.

April 25, 2009 at 12:10 AM  
Blogger Alisha said...

I am feeling that sense of loss that comes with not only friends lost, but potential, hard work, and a future lost, too. I had to bury my favorite goat today. It's this kind of thing that makes farming a job, and not an easy one.

April 30, 2009 at 10:24 PM  

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