Big Branch Apiary meets Hurricane Ida

First, let me say we weathered Ida without losing a single bee or feather from the flock.

It’s been a week since Hurricane Ida tore through southeast Louisiana. I’m sitting here on the steps of our RV, our home until we get the barn up, sipping coffee to the hum of generators. The weather is pleasant, in the high 70s for now. It will climb near 90° before noon. But infrastructure is coming back. Gasoline and propane are easy to get so we can run our generators to power our well pump, cool the RV, keep our food frozen. The local power company, CLECO, estimates we’ll have power by tomorrow–Wednesday night.

We evacuated to Picayune, a 40 minute drive from the Apiary. We set up overnight behind a Walmart with our three dogs and Peabody. The next morning we came home–an adventure that took three hours of dodging fallen trees, power lines, and flooded roads!

Our box-canyon safe harbor behind the Picayune Walmart.

The one heartbreaking casualty of Ida were the huge trees she tore down. On the Apiary these were mostly oaks. One in particular, a magnificent Water Oak we intended to leave in the middle of the new berry field being cleared, came down. The massive trunk was mostly hollow! Water oaks are not long lived so it was likely to have fallen even without the storm. Better to fall now while we still have the crew and equipment to clear it, rather than on top of blueberries or farm visitors.

Tim standing in front of the hollow trunk of one of the many oaks we lost. This one was in the middle of the new berry field we are clearing.

Post-hurricane we saw a huge increase in butterflies and a notable drop in wild birds at our feeder. The bird feeder usually empties within a few days but is still half full ten days later. We have a lot of mangled, but still blooming flowers at the Apiary which are sustaining the butterflies right now. I remain amazed at how something as apparently fragile as a butterfly can survive a hurricane.

A Dogface butterfly getting a meal. She joins the swarms of Zebra Long wings, Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, and swallowtails we’ve seen in the wake of the hurricane.

Tim went back to work today. I’ll mow the berry field before it gets too hot. Slowly, life is returning to the intermittent peace we like to think of as normal.

Be safe as possible in these wildfire, hurricane, virus plagued times. Be thankful to be alive to experience it.

Published by c ben-iesau

From L.A. to LA... I'm a New Orleans based artist and writer.

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