Hello Boys, I’m Back!

The Idea

fadi10The grass is certainly greener in Florida than Wyoming. But after circling the palm trees, it’s back to Wyoming’s western ways for me.

The Details

Adios Wyoming 2006

I was born and raised in Wyoming. As a skinny kid, I first worked bees for a commercial beekeeper there. College, the Army, and some initial pursuits carried me to other places. But I returned with my new bride and raised my family there. We boomed and busted with the economy. And survived with our many friends through wonderful, as well as some difficult times.

But it was time for a change. We were empty nesters. Wyoming’s economy was at a peak. And it was time to experience something different while we still had the enthusiasm and energy to enjoy it. Wyoming’s wind was blowing me to a warmer, wetter tropical climate.

My wife’s a tropical bird. And I’d always wanted to experience the tropics and the ocean in particular. We’d spent little time with my wife’s family. So, it was Florida, hoa. I wasn’t naive enough to believe that palm trees equal paradise. Moving from the rural open wild space, the solitude, the freedom and a western culture, to an urban environment, which is almost opposite in every respect, requires a major adjustment.

Boynton Beach 2007

What happened in South Florida? Not much! It took awhile to acclimatize to the heat and humidity. I didn’t put on a pair of long pants or boots while there. And I spent a lot of time at the beach.

November had the coldest weather of the season, with a low of 56 and a high of 71 degrees. After acclimatizing somewhat, these temps were cool. But I toughed it out in shorts and sandals. 😉

Paradise?

Not. But we were looking for a change and we found it in south Florida. I learned about and grew plants I’ve never heard of. And I saw some neat reptiles and had a ten acre lake in my yard. I was near the ocean, which was a new experience.

Wyoming Hoa 2008

I spent a little more than a year in Boynton Beach. Then it was back to Wyoming. I do miss the Boynton Inlet, the green winter weather, the sense of adventure associated with living in a new area, monsoon rains, and growing exotic plants.

I don’t miss the constant noise, lack of freedom, traffic, crime, corruption and lack of employment.

But I do wish I could have spent more time there. And I’m looking forward to future visits. I still own property in the area. So, I’ll be back.

Impressions Renewed

Wyoming beekeeping is in sharp contrast to that which I’ve seen in Florida. It’s most discouraging to emotionally realize just how hard Wyoming beekeeping is. And just how much our submarginal bee pasture is overrun by commercial beekeepers.

Using the latest GIS technology and recent high resolution infrared photos to scope out new beeyards, I figure there are somewhere between three to five times more hives than this area can support. Few locations would be more than a half mile from at least one large commercial yard. And most good locations have large commercial yards that are spaced closer than that.

Wyoming law requires a two mile separation between beeyards. Yards established before 1983 are exempt. Using the IR photos, the two mile legal spacing, and the available bee pasture, less than three dozen yards, from Alcova to Guernsey, a 90 mile stretch, are possible.

Yet, I know of, at least 130 yards by a single commercial beekeeper. And there are other commercial guys, unregistered yards, and hobby and sideliner yards as well. This place is overrun by both bees and beekeepers.

And that’s quite surprising, considering just how pathetic the irrigated alfalfa fields are for bee pasture. Biodiversity is low in them. They are quickly cut at 10% bloom. They are a pesticide magnet. And when  cut in a few days, the bees are left with little to work until the next cutting which is quickly cut again.

The stark contrast between native ground and the irrigated fields make them look much more attractive than they are. But it’s the only option here, where all agriculture is a stretch.

Bees Renewed

Colva Beeyard containing my old hives.

Colva Beeyard containing my old hives.

I’d given my beehives to Jim, a commercial beekeeper, before relocating to Florida. He said he’d take care of them till I returned and smiled. I thought I’d never see those bees again. But I’m back and Jim has graciously allowed my bees to stay in one of his beeyards. I’ve got more than five hives which, by law, are required to abide by the two mile limit. And that’s an impossibility with all bee pasture more than covered with yards grandfathered in before 1983.

I like my space when beekeeping. Then, I always develop a friendship with  someone who’s interested in bees and wants them on their land. They’re often older folks who appreciate my friendship and freely offer me true Wyoming hospitality. A trip to a beeyard always begins by stopping for a visit with the landowners.  I need my own beeyard.

I could do what most do. And that’s ignore the law in my own dealings. Then scream like mad when someone else ignores it. But today, there’s more than just bee pasture involved. An illegal yard is a lawsuit waiting to happen if something goes wrong. And I not willing to risk that. So, I’ll probably cut my hive count and register a new hobby yard.

-bwguy

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