Deb (in muck boots) hauls a sheet of barn roofing through the field

A Sucker for Ugly

My aesthetics are evolving. You know, when I first told Deb I wanted to keep bees, she wasn’t thrilled. Why? She didn’t want to see a line of towering white boxes on the hill in our yard. And I get that. I don’t like the white boxes either, so I painted my boxes a few different colors. I’ve settled on a couple of colors that I like, and now I paint all my boxes some variation of those. (Every now and then, I throw in a shade of blue that I’m not crazy about because Deb likes it. Gotta do it.)

However, I’ve started to like the way the Langstroth hives look unpainted. I like the way they weather…especially if the boxes are jointed together…because the joints weather a different shade than the flat parts.

All of this to say that since I first learned of top-bar hives (TBH), I’ve been drawn to the ugly ones. The ugliest ones. The very ugliest ones. None of those pretty hives for me.

Right now, I’m still buying some lumber, and I’m still using power tools. But TBHs are awesome because they can be built without power tools, and I’m working my way there. I think I’ll like the looks of the hives once I go completely powertool-less (I had to make up the punctuation of that last word…no dictionary recognizes what I’m trying to accomplish with it).

This most recent hive was constructed of cedar fencing. The roof is a piece of barn roofing that flew off our Kentucky barn. When we get back to the farm, I’m gonna scavenge the barn (which is falling down) for old siding and use it to build the next TBH iteration.

They may kick me out of my nice neighborhood for getting so ugly.

Deb (in muck boots) hauls a sheet of barn roofing through the field
Top-bar hive with barn roofing
And here's the top-bar hive with its reclaimed roof

Bad to the Bone

My new top-bar hive is being met with general displeasure. The plywood doesn’t seem to be aesthetically pleasing to too many people. I like it. I’d prefer to use some rough-cut lumber, I guess, but that’s not easy to find, Reader. Others want me to see my next hive made of pine.

I think my aesthetics are just different from most.

I LOVE the corrugated tin roof, but it presented a safety issue. No one would go near its shredded edges. The words “to the bone” were often heard. So, on Friday, my friend Sherry and I headed to Loesch Hardware store (where those guys can figure anything out), and we bought some trim stuff and some silicone calk. We trimmed the aluminum shards from the cut edges; we bent the corners down; we lined the edges with this rubber trim stuff and calked it in silicone. Now it’s safe, and I still like it. (Once the sun comes up, I’ll take a picture of it and post it for you.)

Next time, though, I’m going to a metal fabricator to have my tin cut.