Progress, Water, and Bees
We tend not to think of “Infrastructure” when we jump in and buy a really special piece of property, or at least it was a fleeting thought. When the dust finally settled we were asking “Where is the electricity coming from?”, and “Where is the water going to come from?” All my life I’ve lived in homes where you call the utility and voila, you miraculously have water and electricity and gas if you want it. I’m finding out that Farms such as mine are different. There is no readily available infrastructure in place, so we have to create it. First, it took us a couple of months of talking to Duke Energy and several meetings at the farm to get the underground utilities defined, the work orders written and then installed. There we a lot of questions I had not anticipated, such as “How much electricity are you going to use?”, “How many structures will there be on the property?”, and “What are their uses and how will they be powered?” Then there was the question of “Right of Way”. Duke would need a right of way in order to access the equipment they were installing. Fortunately, we had a great Distribution Engineer named Will and he patiently worked with us to get through the process.
What a great job they did! Then I had to specify my electricity needs for my temporary power pole, bid it out (not cheap) and then wait for the electrician to build it and then I installed it to save a few bucks. Next, Duke had to come out and power it up. We’ve got power! No “Voila” there. It is a process, and you can get through it….
Water – Cool Clear Water
The plants are in the ground, and we are fighting to keep them alive in the heat. We purchased a 275 Gallon Water Tote and a pump and are hand watering the plants. Despite our best efforts, we’ve lost quite a few. Lessons Learned, 1) have a water source and irrigation plan, and the irrigation installed before you plant. 2) Understand the complexities of drilling a well. 1st there is the specification and bidding process, how much water do you need, how many fixtures are in the barn, how many commodes, sinks, dishwashers, hose bibs, showers, etc., then, will you use the well to irrigate, how many gallons do you need. Then the application process (that is the phase we have just completed) filling out the application, more importantly knowing the answers to the questions, getting a map drawn of the well location, the pollution free area around the well, and structures old and new, any septic systems, the boundary lines of the property. Write the application fee check, send it to the agency that deals with wells (we’re in SC so it is DHEC), and wait two to three weeks for it to be processed. We had a little twist in the application as we want to have a wedding venue toilets and a warming kitchen. Now we are talking about a “Public” water system which has other rules and regulations. We had to consult with DHEC on several occasions and want to thank Melissa, our Engineer at DHEC for her assistance and advice. Now it is time to queue up for the actual drilling which I understand from my well contractor that it won’t take him but a day or two to drill the well. The hitch is which day or two. Hopefully we will have water in the next two weeks.
The Bees are here; the bees are here……
The ladies have moved into their new home and seem to be adapting very well. They had quite a ride. We purchased them from a dealer in North Carolina who purchased them from an Apiary in Georgia. They rode up the mountain, then down the mountain. It was a pretty ride up to Beech Mountain Beekeeping Supplies. These are Italian Bees. Very gentle. The trip up the mountain and then down again took longer than expected so we were rushed to get the bees into the hive before night fall. Soo much to learn. Fortunately, we have my granddaughter Scout to assist. She was recently named VP of Apiary Affairs (not bad for being 15). She has done all of the research and is frequently in attendance and is watching everything to insure our success in this endeavor.
Last but not least…..
We have had so many helpers, our children and their spouses, grandchildren, advisors, vendors and friends and met lots of new friends who helped get us this far. We are constantly faced with problems that cry for resolution and by God’s grace we have had their assistance in solving them. Thank you all.