The Alki outyard sits a mere 6’ above sea level, hosting 8 hives spread over two lots. The owner of these lots is an old man born from the sea herself, some might say accurately enough that he is a pirate, grizzled against the Southerly’s he spent his life sailing against, furrowed from the sun he chased down on a lifetime of distant horizons. When I first thought of keeping honeybees I knew only his yard would do, it is a feral place in the center of an otherwise deeply manicured neighborhood, a place fitting for an old salt such as he.
I won’t reveal its exact location here but I will tell you about its beauty, why it’s good for my bees: Above the Hives sits a massive plum bowery that blooms every February, turning the whole yard into an explosive cloud of white, a veritable honeybee heaven. Nearby grow 28 cherry trees, easily exploited by my girls and within even closer range sits pear, apple, maple and blackberry. All this within half a block, beyond that grows any number of coveted ornamentals, specialty bushes and of course my own mint crop, featuring 6 different varietals. I also grow Cilantro, sharing it with my bees for they love it as much as we do. In the morning the sea fog swirls through each Hive, gently rocking my girls awake and nudging the new honey, giving it that famous dark color and unusually decadent flavor; in the afternoon each Hive is visited by the Sun, baking my bees to their hearts delight. Its good being a Shipwreck Bee, I don’t know that it couldn’t be any better for any bee really, all hives are custom built by myself in that very yard, I am inspired there while building because I get to watch my bees work the yard in the Sun, because in that same yard many years ago a boat was built, a boat that now rests there again in her waning days. On the long afternoons the decrepit, old wooden ship casts a deeper shadow that almost reaches my Apiary and if the day has been hotter than usual, she emits that old boat fragrance on the evening breeze, the bees love it and that’s when you can find ‘em all over that boat, soaking it in. That’s how Shipwreck Honey came to be, a name brought on by that old boat in whose shadow the Hives are placed and in whose musty release the Honeybees bask.