VERY Close call

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  • Tue, Dec 04, 2012 - 03:40am


    Adam Taggart

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 25 2009

    Posts: 5509

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    VERY Close call

As we invest in our preps to increase our resiliency, we are often operating in new territory. So, we are vulnerable to the unexpected – or as Donald Rumsfeld would put it: the 'unknown unknowns'.

I recently had a wake up call on this front.

Yesterday I came within 1 inch of losing my hive. I mean that literally: ONE inch.

If you've been on the site for a while, you probably know I became a beekeeper this year (you can read about my surprisingly positive experience here). 

Here's a picture of my hive back in the halcyon days of Spring:

The hive is on a hillside overlooking a creek. It's a great spot (sun, water, lots of wildflowers)

It's a little hard to tell from this picture, but the drop from the little plateau where the hive is to the creek is about 15 feet.  It's a pretty steep plunge.

For most of the year (starting about 3 weeks after the picture above was taken), the creek dries up to a trickle. No more than 3 inches deep, maybe.

Well, if you've been reading your news, you've probably heard about the rains Northern California has been getting. We've been dumped on pretty harshly by Mother Nature over the past week.

Despite worrying about how my house might fair in the deluge, it didn't even enter my mind that the hive could be at risk. It's so high above the creekbed. Surely it wasn't in any danger.


Here's the hive at midday yesterday:


The rain runoff had swollen the creek so quickly that it rose and overflooded its embankment. The stand my hive sits on was underwater, and the water level was only 1" below the entrance to the hive. A little higher and my bees would have drowned.

Fortunately, the water quickly subsided. Here's a shot just 2 hours later:

I've added a red line on this image to show the high water mark (which is now stained permanently on the hive wall).

So, fortunately, this story has a happy ending. But my point is: it almost didn't; and that this vulnerability blindsided me.

I've now learned a valuable lesson that will reduce my risk exposure as a beekeeper going forward. But I'm also furiously wondering now: what unknown vulnerabilities do I have in my other preparations?

The takeaway here is that no system is foolproof. And fate has a way of surprising us when at our most confident.

Use my close call as a reason to look at your own preps with fresh eyes, and to challenge your assumptions about their dependabilty. Perhaps engage in some extra scenario planning to determine what you would do if a backup system you're counting on were to suddenly fail when needed.

We'll never be 100% prepared. It's wise to remind ourselves of that from time to time.


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