Ed has written a book about building your own bee equipment and also sells equipment he has built. I have been wanting one of his a top bar hives (because I am no carpenter), so after the interview I ordered one. He called me up a few days later to tell me it was done - just in the nick of time because the very same day I got a call to come pick up my bees, several days earlier than expected.
Ed paints the hives, but for me the gray color was too boring, so I gussied it up with some vivid spring green paint and a sunflower/bee design. I found a sturdy old shelf I used to use for chicken nesting boxes in the barn, and it was a good height, so I set the hive upon it for a temporary base. I still prefer the architecture of the cute little Warre hives to the aesthetic of the top bar hives, but the top bar hives have some advantages in handling and none of my Warre hives have survived the winter yet, so I wanted to try the top bar style. I planned to have one hive each: Top Bar, Warre and Langstroth, but I thought one hive would survive the winter that didn't and only ordered two packages of bees. So, I am putting the Warres into storage and hoping to acquire a swarm or a nuc (a very small starter hive of bees that some beekeepers raise to sell) later this spring.
The bottom opening is closed off and plugged with grass to prevent the bees from flying out immediately - I don't know why they would, though; this hive is stocked with frames of honey and pollen and drawn comb, all ready to settle in and start raising new bees. The log on top is to prevent a strong gust of wind from lifting the top off the hive.
The front of the hive has an observation panel, a window beneath my painting, so I have been peeking in daily. I am very concerned about this hive because there is still a big cluster of bees in the corner, three days later, presumably around the queen, with no drawn comb yet. My beekeeping mentor Tom will stop by later this morning to try to help me figure out what is going on. I will be so disappointed if something has happened to my queen.