About Us

Beekeeper = Matt

My name is Matt. I grew up in a semi-rural area of Minnesota. We had 5 acres, a pond in the backyard, some woods across the street, and tons of wildlife around all the time. My dad made some bluebird houses when I was younger, and I was hooked. I spent much of my youth birdwatching, frequently making birdhouses and bird-feeders from the scrap wood in the barn. My biggest project was the wood-duck house which still stands overlooking the pond in the backyard and still attracts wood-ducks today. When I moved out/after college, I became a youth pastor and worked in two different suburban churches with junior and senior high students for 7 years. I then decided to go back to school for a career in nursing while continuing my ministry as an unpaid, volunteer house-church pastor. To that end, I moved into the city, worked as an Emergency Room Technician and Psychiatric Associate at local hospitals, and studied hard to complete school. I graduated from nursing school in December 2012 and felt I needed to pursue a hobby... Something fun that I could lose myself in after a long and difficult four years of schooling. I decided that beekeeping would be a great hobby that my sons could enjoy with me. We looked into city beekeeping, but because of the strict regulations in the city we decided it might be best to keep our bees somewhere else. We asked Grandpa if he'd like to be involved in the project as well, and that is how this whole thing got started! This blog is a record of our beekeeping endeavors. Hopefully you'll find it helpful if you're using Warre or Kenyan style top bar hives or if you keep bees in a cold climate as we do. Feel free to contact me at topbarbeesmn@gmail.com.

Junior Beekeepers = Noah and James

My sons are homeschooled and both love animals, the outdoors, and science. They also love building with legos, and coming up with new inventions. They were excited to help out with the project. They mostly got to watch the power tools being used as we built the hive, but got more involved in screwing the hive boxes together, stapling on insulation, and rubbing in the beeswax polish to waterproof the hive. They also made a poster board of the project to show at their homeschool co-op's project fair. They have their own beesuits and enjoy coming out to the hive to check on their bees and to help out as the videographers who record our beekeeping endevors.

Assistant Beekeeper/Woodworker = Bill (aka "Grandpa")

My father still lives on the same 5 acres on which I grew up. The pond is still there, though not as full as it used to be, and the sumac is encroaching in the front yard, but, other than that, it's pretty much the way I remember it. Grandpa talked a couple times when I was younger about keeping bees but never did. When we decided to undertake this project, he was gracious enough to allow us to use his tools and expertise in woodworking to build our hive and use his property as the home for our bees. I'm excited that my boys could come out and get a taste of woodworking and see their Grandpa doing something he loves. I'm also excited that they can come out to Grandpa's house frequently and explore the great outdoors as I did when I was a kid.

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