My post from the other day was somewhat deceiving. The first photo actually displays how far the hive was leaning due to the top heavy placement of the super boxes. This kept me up at night and also concerned the contractor working on our house who called me at work with advice to come home to remedy the situation.
It was another hot day and so when I got home and hopped in my bee suit, I was hopeful for a quick fix. After carefully trying a number of ways to alleviate the lean, it was decided to completely disassemble the hive and place it on an even more low-tech stand - two pieces of wood that have been in the back yard for ages.
I just barely successfully removed the four supers before coming upon the first deep brood box. It is at comfortable height for me and i pried it off the second box and was carrying it over to place on the ground and from there add the other boxes to in order to remove the stand and place my plain, green pieces on.
In explaining this, several times, i know that my account of what occurred does not make sense, but the alternative makes even less sense. As I lifted the brood box off, and was carrying it to a different spot in the yard, the box seemed to fall apart in my hands. The nails released themselves from the tongue and groove edges of the box and the frames of brood, honey and bees collapsed in the yard in a pile.
What would make most sense, would be that I dropped the box and it all came crashing down. My memory and bruises all over my leg though say otherwise.
I was in a panic. Not in fear of being stung or harmed, but more so because beekeeping in a northern climate is a labor of love. I only get one short season all year to (fingers-crossed!) skillfully manage my hives and do right by them to get them through a harsh winter season. If I do not, I am not out only by honey, money, or time, but by these teeny tiny lives that I have so strongly hoped to see thrive.
The box fell apart and I worked as quickly as I could to move the frames, of what bees remained on them, to the tree trunk near-by, in a safe manner so as to not step on any piles of huddled bees. I had no extra deep hive bodies and the one in my hands needed repair right away. Adam and David jumped in as quickly as possible with Adam screwing the box back together and David rushing into his suit to help move boxes and bees.
I reassembled as fast as I could, with my body drenched in sweat during the height of summer awhile hopping over the masses of bees trying to find their way through the blades of unfamiliar grass. Their current set-up does not show any dangerous leans of the hive and as a friend said, hopefully with this scary situation, I was able to avert a far bigger disaster.
I will not mess with my friends for some time in hopes that despite the scorching temperature and humidity that they soon forget of the havoc raised in their home. I can only now hope that during this debacle, I did not lose the queen, who has been quite exceptional.
This episode made me realize exactly what kind of beekeeper I am. I care for them, each bee. I am thrilled to have them in my yard, near my home and see the progress they make each day, the rate at which they thrive and the wonderful smells of honey and wax they deliver to my senses. I do not do this for the honey, though if I am so lucky to receive any, I am indeed extremely lucky. They are fascinating creatures, and ones I only want to do right by and encourage.