With the help of the very adorable Jeremy at our nearby Lowe's, we have the raw materials to build our very own Kenyan Top Bar Bee Hive. We were pretty tickled he was willing to cut our pine lumber into 44 inch sections for us so that
the biggest cutting is out of the way. Our fabulous friends, Lynn & DT, are loaning us their small circular saw, so we can cut the ends and all the top bar sections ourselves. The plans for our hive box come from a book that is quickly becoming our beginning beekeepers' bible: Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health (Les Crowder & Heather Harrell). When we unloaded the lumber, the wood glue and the nails into our gayrage, we were grinning with excitement. We're actually going to do this!
We settled on the Top-Bar hives, and in particular, the Kenyan Top-Bar hive, because it made the most practical and earthy sense to us. The hives are created to most resemble a hollow log, encouraging bees to live as naturally as they would in the wild. If all the books and experts are right, our bees will have a better chance of being healthier, disease free, and live out their lives like their wild cousins.
Our Lowe's helper, Jeremy, had never heard of these hives and he actually had a good time asking us questions and playing his part in the creation of project. I have this theory that the lumber yard folks actually like to see the lesbian couples with our books and measuring tapes--it spices up their day and adds a bit of colorful variety. We told Jeremy that, if we are any good at this hive building business, we just might be back and build some more; I think he thought our optimism was jaunty.
Our plan is to start our building today--all that sweet pine lumber seems to be calling to us from out in the gayrage...stay tuned!