Monday, September 28, 2020

Maintaining Our Boardwalk

Our beekeeping mentors give us a bit of light-hearted grief about our "swamp," where the bee hives are located, but the bees really thrive down there... assuming you can GET to the bee hives, because the path is sometimes completely underwater.

Strong storms will regularly leave the hives largely cut off from our house. There's a creek between us and the hives and while we could access them from a road on the other side, that route is more difficult due to terrain.

This is what our bridge will look like after a heavy downpour. The creek is normally about 2-3 feet below the bridge deck and about 2-2 1/2 feet deep under the bridge. When the rain comes, it gets deep and fast really quickly and them spills out quite far over the banks beyond. Even if you felt brave enough to attempt crossing the bridge, there's no where to go on the other side.
When the water subsides, there's usually damage to repair. If we're lucky, it's just some deck boards to replace, but several times over the years the bridge has shifted significantly or been destabilized. Fortunately our neighbor is an engineer, so I replace deck boards when I can and he's really quick to re-anchor the bigger structural things. 

The bridge is just the first part of the journey to the apiary. There's a pretty long path after that which, even in nice weather, is commonly muddy and slippery, so I've made a pallet boardwalk to give us easy, dry and reliable access through the marshy low spots between the creek/bridge and the higher, dryer ground the bee hives are on.

Unfortunately, like the bridge, the rushing waters will routinely ravage the pallets closest to the creek.  I have anchored them with posts driven deep into the ground and chains around the pallets so they don't go completely missing anymore, but that doesn't stop them from getting damaged and/or rotting and sinking into the mud.

Which meant that I took advantage of an abundance of pallets I've stored up (and the dry weather) to replace the three pallets closest to the creek. Can't risk tripping and dropping/losing our fall honey harvest! 

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