Saturday, October 29, 2011

Adventures in Moving... with Bees!

Van packed for moving... I think the only thing that we forgot was the kitchen sink.
After a great six years in the Philly area, life has taken me south of the Mason-Dixon line again!  About two weeks ago, I started as Director of Horticulture at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA.  Leaving Philly is bitter-sweet.  I made wonderful friends and was surrounded by a horticultural mecca of outstanding public gardens.  With my love of traveling and exploring new places, I'm excited to start the next chapter of my life and make Richmond my home.
My new garden- the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

My wonderful parents, Alice and Jim, flew up from Florida to help me move.  I have to say, I'm not a lady who travels light.  Our 17 foot moving van was filled with a two-bedroom apartment's worth of furniture, hundreds of books, supplies for all of my various hobbies (quilting, soap making, gardening, etc.), about 40 house plants, two cats, and... two beehives.

Yes, I know it is not normal to take beehives with you when you are moving to a new state, but I couldn't leave my girls behind!  To move the bees, I purchased screen bottom boards and screen inner covers.  The night before the move, my dad helped me install the screen tops and cover the entrance after the bees had all gone in the hive for the night.  We then secured the hives with straps to keep all of the boxes together.  The next morning, we used a hand-truck to wheel the hives into the back of the moving van.  During travel, the outer cover was left off of the hives, with the screen inner covers keeping the bees inside of the hive.
My dad, Jim, wheeling a hive into the moving van.  The outer cover will be removed during transit.

Air circulation is the most important factor in moving bees.  Normally, many of the bees are our foraging during the heat of the day, so having everyone "at home" greatly raises the temperature in the hive.  The bees are at risk of not having enough moisture to cool the hive and becoming overheated.  Every two hours, we pulled over and opened the truck to let fresh air in.  We also sprayed water into the top of the hives, through the screen tops.  Once we arrived in Richmond, we unloaded the hives to their new location, which was along the bank of a lake on the property of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden next to another beekeeper's hives.
Hives in their new home at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

The hives seem active and happy.  I have been feeding heavy sugar syrup with a top feeder to get them ready for winter.  Hopefully the girls will like their new home in Virginia and make lots of honey next season!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Philly 3-Day Walk

Grace, Judy, Sophie, Anna, and Kristin- still standing with smiles on our faces after 60 miles.
Last weekend I completed the Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3 Day Walk for the Cure.  With my team, "Phi Mammo Grama," I walked 60 miles in 3 days through the streets of Philadelphia.  I was walking in honor of my Aunt Cindy who is being treated for breast cancer.
Grace, Maria, Judy, Kristin, Anna, and Tracy in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum
The 3-Day walk is an amazing experience to say the least- physically, mentally, and emotionally.  First, it is an incredible physical challenge (especially for those of us who fell off the training wagon 2 months before the walk).  There were times that my feet hurt so much that I didn't think I could take another step and I was sick to my stomach with exhaustion.  Mentally, I didn't think I could go on and wanted to quit.  The only thing that got me through those rough miles were my fabulous teammates Judy, Kristin, Tracy, Maria, Anna, and Sophie.
Team Phi Mammo Grama- Anna, Grace, Sophie, Maria, Judy, Kristin, and Tracy

Grace, Maria, Judy, Tracy, Kristin, and Anna with "Mr. High Five," one of the faithful cheerleaders along the way.
Emotionally, the walk is very intense.  Every walker has been touched by breast cancer in some way.  As a team and as part of the 2,000+ men and women walking that weekend, there was an overall feeling that we were going to stand up and do what we could to support breast cancer research and education.  To take our mind off of the pain in our feet we sang songs and cheers- "I don't know, but I've been told... 60 miles is mighty bold...," and "if you're happy and you know it shout 3-day," even "happy birthday" to a fellow walker who was celebrating her birthday walking so that other women and men would have the chance to have more birthdays.  The flood of feelings of family, togetherness, standing up for a cause, and sorrow for those lost to this disease was overwhelming at times, but both the tears and laughter were shared mutually with the family of walkers.
At the opening ceremony, breast cancer survivors carried inspirational flags onto the stage.
Together, the Philadelphia walkers raised almost $6 Million dollars to support breast cancer research and education.  My team raised over $12,000 and my personal fundraising total was $3,120.  I am so grateful to my 50+ donors for their support.  It is absolutely touching that they stepped up to support such a fantastic cause.
Walkers wrote their goals for the 3-day and their reasons for walking
Many neighborhoods welcomed us with signs and decorations.
Lunch was a time to kick off our shoes and enjoy some of Philadelphia's beautiful parks.
We camped in a sea of pink tents in the Philadelphia Convention Center.
Walkers held up their shoes in salute as our fellow walkers who were breast cancer survivors marched into the closing ceremony.
Tent mates and adopted family members Judy and Grace after the walk.
 This is a walk that I would absolutely do again.  Let me know if anyone is interested in joining me in 2012!!
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