Back in the beginning, when we first started investigating bee keeping, we talked to Carl Haaland, the father of one of my best friends, Marie. She'd told me he was bringing her a hive he'd built, a top bar hive, and that he'd mentioned a trip to Mississippi.
We talked to Carl, and found out that he had researched cypress wood, and that Heartwood in Star, MS was going to be his destination if he could get to MS from Texas. To be honest, I was more excited about seeing Carl than seeing any hives.
Little did I know, Heartwood has so much more than "cypress." True, they have the best value (read: least expensive) cypress boards for bee hives you can buy if you're prepared to assemble them yourself. However, they are the only, I repeat, the only remaining birdhouse manufacturer in the United States. For that reason alone, I wish everyone would give them business. It turns out they're also a household name in some parts of the country for the sheer architectural splendor of their birdhouses. Trust me, you haven't seen a birdhouse until you've see The Barrington. They also have butterfly, ladybug, and bat houses.
So, if you want to put less money and more sweat equity into constructing your first bee hive, you'll want to check out Heartwood, though hives aren't listed on their Web site. It's worth the call. Or if you want a "Made in America" gift for the person who has everything, check out their other products.
For the record, Mark has made at least two trips to Heartwood without me. He has *not* returned with The Barrington. Or the Copper Songbird Deluxe. Or even the modest Bungalow, pictured below.
Picture used without permission, from the Heartwood Web site. Please don't tell on me. I'm desperate, deprived of a birdhouse of my own.