When I was planning for our Flow Hives, I knew that I didn't want to go the traditional route of placing them up on cinder blocks; like most folks. I wanted something nicer, and settled on building a stone hive stand.
These are super easy for a procrastinator like me. Actually, I don't even know if it is procrastinating or just utter busy-ness, exhaustion, etc. The last few weeks have been brain-busting-busy around here. Drywall in the kitchen, re-finishing of floors, new bees...on a scale of one to exhausted, I'm definitely...exhausted.
The funny thing about farm life though, is that it doesn't wait for you to have time. Whether you are exhausted or not, the days go on. Spring takes over and in one warm, breezy, moment, lazy days by the fire are a thing of the past. You wake up one morning and realize that you haven't built hive stands for the bees that you are picking up the next morning.
When you are building a stand, make sure that it sits 13"-18" off the ground. This prevents moisture from getting into the beehive and splashing up off the ground into the entrance when it is raining. Raising the beehive above the ground can also help deter some insects and other predators.
I didn't go into The Home Depot with a certain plan in mind but rather worked it out when I got there. I knew that I wanted some kind of stone base. There were a lot of options when I arrived but most of them were too angular for the look I was going for. I wanted an older more established, rumbled, tumbled look and ended up finding the perfect stone. The product that worked best for the aesthetic I was looking for was Rumblestone.
I started by digging out a small area of the ground that would sit under the stone. I then laid down four of the 7"x7" square stones, and began the tedious process of trying to level them. It became apparent to me almost immediately that I should have bought a bag of sand. If I had, the leveling process would have been much easier. It would have filled in the peaks and valleys, and I could have been on my way. Instead, I spent an hour laying on the ground trying to get it right. Remember...I procrastinated so there was no time to go back to the store and pick up sand.
After the first four square stones were level, I laid the smaller stones on top. The second layer is made up of two thinner square stones in the middle and four brick shaped stones on the outside. This gives it a more random stone look that will be sturdier than just stacking four squares all the way up. I repeated the process, checking the level on each layer, for five layers. Five layers makes the column approximately 14" tall.
Next, I used a large square Pavestone paver to act as the cap. I didn't like the pattern it came in so I flipped it upside down so that only the smooth side was visible.
Ta-dahhhhh. A stone hive stand for the beehives. I looks so much more purposeful than a bare cinder block or two. The cost though, was slightly more than two bare cinder blocks. Each Rumblestone cost between $.68-$2.18. The total cost for two columns was around $75.00.
In the end, this was a super easy project. The leveling was the hardest part, after that, stacking the stone took less than five minutes.
UPDATE: Subsequent hive checks have proven that my stands are level. There is no cross combing.
Rumblestone use for hive stands
There are a few things that I really love here. I mean, more than a few things. Every. thing. The farm photography opportunities are among my favorites. Someone recently asked us "why do you keep up that old fence"? It's an honest question.
The fence has seen better days. Apparently the fence installing family that lived here a few owners before us didn't bother to put in pressure treated posts, leaving us with this question 30 years later. The answer is twofold. First, we will be completely replacing the fence with a beautiful cross-buck equestrian fence before we get horses (which was supposed to be in March). Second, I love it. It looks like a farm fence. It speaks to my agrarian dreams...it's bucolic.
Boscobel wasn't built in a day, it will take us time to replace the fence, but like everything else: it will be done.
We don't have an enormous amount of space here, but it's exactly the amount of space we need. A year ago, I would not have settled for less than 20 acres. Four and a quarter, with neighbors, may have elicited a chuckle. I believe that God gives us exactly what we need, in the time that we need it. This is what I needed, whether I knew it or not. The fence stays. I need the fence.
Back to the photography. We have little pockets of beauty here. Almost set up exactly for the purpose of capturing the bucolic sentiment I am so in love with. Photography has been a personal journey for me for the last 20 years. For the last three, living in the Middle East, it was nightmare. I took nearly no pictures. As I counted down the years until I could leave the tree barren, dust choking environment, I imagined having my photography back. I had my camera but I didn't have the freedom to use it.
I can't believe that it might be a coincidence that we settled on this place, buying it sight unseen, with all of these pockets of utter brilliance. There is a bigger picture here, and I am putting together the pieces.
My hope is that in the coming years, I can offer a few photography workshops on the property. One of my most powerful realizations over the last six years or so is that you don't have to start with the perfect location. You have to create the perfect location in your lens. It is possible on a four and a quarter acre farm to shoot the most amazing shots, that leave the surroundings up to the imagination.
Spirea can make the most beautiful monochromatic, dramatic, flower arrangement. Most of the branches have a graceful, gentle, curve. Since we moved to Boscobel in October, I had no idea that many of these mature flowering shrubs existed. This Spring has been a fun adventure in figuring out everything that already exists here, so that I can add in what we need for the cut flower garden. In addition to the Spirea, there are two mature Lilac bushes, gorgeous Wisteria, and Dogwood.
Make sure that you cut your Spirea (or any other flowers) in the early morning or late evening. If you must cut them in the middle of day, make sure they are under shade. These are the less stressful times of the day for the plant. It takes quite a few cut branches to make a substantial Spirea arrangement, so gather away. I used a vintage flower gathering basket. We will be offering something very similar in the store in May.
For this arrangement, I started out with an antique ironstone chamberpot. I set in my favorite antique flower frog. I always recommend using a flower frog if you are using a solid or opaque vessel. A flower frog will always give your flower arrangement the best structure with the fewest stems.
Start by placing your flower frog in the bottom of the vessel, and fill will fresh, clean water. Hold your branch up to the vessel and decide the height you would like your arrangement to be. The rule of thumb for flower arranging is that the arrangement should be one and half times the height of the vase/vessel.
Cut your branch and place it into one of the holes in the flower frog. Repeat, turning the vessel to ensure the arrangement looks good from all sides.
With Spirea, I like to find a few straight branches for the center and use the gently curved branches for the middle and sides. The end result is dramatic.
I chose to put this arrangement in the piano room. The white and green picks up on the landscape paintings in the room.
Can we talk about those Ralph Lauren lamps and the green Buffalo Check drapes for a minute? Both bring Spring full circle in here. We definitely have some work to do on the piano. My Mom attempted to start stripping it many years ago and it was never finished.
Do you love fresh flowers? Have any special flower frogs? Let us know in the comments.
Happy Good Friday! I was pruning our Dogwood Tree yesterday, the poor thing is not too healthy. Something that I need to figure out. I set out to prune off some dead branches and decided to clip a few for the house for a Spring Floral Arrangement.
I love Spring Branches in the house, they supply some of the longest lasting blooms. Typically staying beautiful for 7-10 days. Closer to 10 if you watch the water and change it often. I have been surprised and ecstatic to find that we have so many gorgeous flowering trees and shrubs on the property. We moved in to the house in October so this is the first time I am seeing what we are working with. I have been lucky enough to have one or two fresh arrangements per week!
AS FEATURED ON: