A New York Times Notable Book: “A melodious mix of memoir, nature journal, and beekeeping manual” (Kirkus Reviews).
Weaving a vivid portrait of her own life and her bees’ lives, author Sue Hubbell lovingly describes the ins and outs of beekeeping on her small Missouri farm, where the end of one honey season is the start of the next. With three hundred hives, Hubbell stays busy year-round tending to the bees and harvesting their honey, a process that is as personally demanding as it is rewarding.
Exploring the progression of both the author and the hive through the seasons, this is “a book about bees to be sure, but it is also about other things: the important difference between loneliness and solitude; the seasonal rhythms inherent in rural living; the achievement of independence; the accommodating of oneself to nature” (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Beautifully written and full of exquisitely rendered details, it is a tribute to Hubbell’s wild hilltop in the Ozarks and of the joys of living a complex life in a simple place.
In her widely acclaimed A Country Year , Hubbell wrote about living on her 100-acre honey-producing farm in the Ozarks. Here she introduces us to the tasks and pleasures of beekeeping. Hubbell manages 300 hives, some on her own farm, others scattered about the countryside on land she rents for one gallon of honey a year. Beekeeping, we're shown, is a marvelous example of symbiosis, advantageous to humans, bees and crops. Noting that the end of one honey season is the start of the next, Hubbell begins with autumn when she checks the hives and prepares them for winter. She takes us, step by step, through the construction of a hive, explaining terms used by beekeepers. Spring brings re-queening if needed, and late summer, the harvest. Hubbell describes the collection and extraction of honeyhot, hard workto complete the season. Beekeeping has to be the apex of animal husbandry; it is a wondrous subject, and Hubbell does it justice. Portions of the book have appeared in the New Yorker . Illustrations not seen by PW.