Earlier today I ran into an acquaintance, who asked with great enthusiasm “How are all the little critters in your backyard?” To which I dryly replied “Dead, they’re all dead.” I only wish I was kidding.
Earlier this year we decided that this spring we would rotate our chicken flock, so those birds were given away and now grace a fellow backyard farmer’s freezer. We planned to get new pullets this spring to rebuild our egg laying empire. Enter wind storm with hurricane force winds that nearly leveled our backyard farm, and the chicken pen is now destroyed.
Destroyed to is the greenhouse, from the same storm. We put out a call to our wonderful community and quickly rehomed our koi and shut down the aquaponics system until we could come up with a new plan. The greenhouse (what’s left of it) stands empty in the backyard.
And finally, about a month ago I noticed an absence of bees on a warm day – very strange. I began to suspect that something was wrong with the hive, and today Ben and I finally got in the hive to check. All dead, and all dead under very strange circumstances. The hive is packed full of honey (to which the dead bees are still attached), there’s no sign of mice, moths, foul brood, or CCD. Just a large cluster of dead bees still attached to the frames of honey. Honestly, we think they froze to death.
So that’s the bad news, but would you believe there’s good news to be had? Let me explain…
I’ve been wanting to expand our super productive garden beds. Cool – we’ll pull down what’s left of the greenhouse and put new raised beds in that location – we can nearly triple our backyard production by making that change.
Over the years I’ve become increasingly vexed with harvesting honey from a Langstroth hive, and I’ve been wanting to try a Warre hive. Our untimely bee hive death has now afforded me that opportunity.
Having eaten more eggs than I would like to admit over the last several years, I’ve been looking forward to reducing the number of laying hens we have on the farm, and now with a clean slate I can do just that.
Add to that list that it looks as though all of our fruit producers have survived (with the possible exception of our peach tree that a black bear totaled last summer), the new watering system we’re putting in May, and some super cool landscaping changes. Change and tragedy can open up new opportunity for growth and improvement – nature teaches us that lesson frequently.
While I am not pleased with the amount of work ahead of us to reset the farm, and I am not at all pleased about the damage, I am genuinely excited about the upcoming changes. I guess when catastrophe strikes that’s our option – wallow and moan or adapt and overcome. For Ben and I, it will be the latter.