One of the things that makes our beekeeping operation special is that we make our own equipment. Most professional beekeepers have a shop to fix their equipment because it’s part of taking care of the bee’s home. However, most call the various suppliers and place an order for woodenware. There’s something really special about getting to know the wood and each box that then becomes a home. Cedar wood is a closed cell so it’s insulating compared to the more typical pine which is open celled and why it feels so heavy and moist. The bees struggle with humidity as a top contender for bee mortality in winter months. Using cedar or redwood helps to give a better rating for overall hive health. We don’t paint our hives with Latex paint or any paint. We use a Linseed oil and beeswax combination which meets biodynamic and organic standards. It’s beautiful to see all the natural colors of the wood. Some say that the paint helps to differentiate the hives so as to make it easier for the bees to know their home, but they are plenty able to see the different patterns and color in the variable grains of wood. Our style of equipment has been blowing us away lately with all its functionality and ease. The interlocking bottom and top boards makes stacking equipment so enjoyable. The wood shop is a pretty fun place to be. Sometimes the music is a little thick for my kirtan and bluegrass preferences, but all in all, I love the company. Eric, Travis, Patrick, and Casey are the steadies, and recently we started training Canyon and Fern.
All the wood we use comes from a very small family mill in Crescent City. The wood is selectively logged using sustainable practices for overall forest health and vitality. This is to say plainly that the wood we use for our beehives does not come from clear cuts. Before Eric and I were professional agriculturalists, we were and still are passionate environmentalists. It's part of the Diggin' Livin' mission that guides our decision making even into our farm store and the way we raise our kids. It is true that we are still beekeeping in big trucks, which is not aligned with best beekeeping practices. It a hard truth that following the bloom requires work trucks. But we talk about it a lot, and we are hopeful that we will find better ways of moving bees that is easier on the Earth. Integrity is about doing the right thing and fact checking with your heart. Am I being a good steward of this Earth and how can I do better for Nature and my fellow Earthlings? Collectively, how can we in cooperation with each other make decisions to reduce our fossil fuel consumption and to increase carbon storage in the soil? Whatever the answer might be, it involves people working together to help each other.
Cover photo credit @bradley_w_parks/@opbphoto