Actually that family kept 3,000 skeps during summer.
Right where Georg Klindworth has had his skep apiary with up to 3,000 skep hives in summer (nowadays the young Klindworth doesn't run any hives anymore), I visited a friend in the Luneburg heathland who runs skeps in the heath.
I took some pictures of him demonstrating skep beekeeping.
First row of pictures: the applying of cow dung to create a nice and snug cover for the skep.
Provide a convenient height of the work bench.
Thinned or worn out patches get refilled with straw, chapped seams get re-sewn or stapled with a wooden staple (sort of).
The most important ingredient is cow dung. Cow dung. It should be
absolutely fresh - because if there a small dandruffs of dried patches it'll disturb the applying of the dung onto the skep.
Best is fresh cow dung in Spring, because no hard fibres means a smooth skep cover that doesn't come off (cracking) when dried.
Only dung from cows off the yard, no shed. Needs to be grass fed, no soy, no silage.
The cow dung preserves the skep from moisture and keeps it nice and warm. Also there might be some lactic acid bacteria in the
dung being beneficial to the bees' health?! Maybe.
First skep is turned upside down and the bottom ring gets covered. With long strokes.
The inside of the skep gets a cow dung cover up to the height of one or two rings.
Work thoroughly, dear "heatherman"!
The skep is turned back into original position and first the "eye" of the skep, the flight entrace, gets closed with dung.
Apply the dung onto the cap next.
It has to be nice and smooth.