A Country Year
Living the Questions
A “delightful, witty” memoir about starting over as a beekeeper in the Ozarks (Library Journal).
Alone on a small Missouri farm after a thirty-year marriage, Sue Hubbell found a new love—of the winged, buzzing variety. Left with little but the commercial beekeeping and honey-producing business she started with her husband, Hubbell found solace in the natural world. Then she began to write, challenging herself to tell the absolute truth about her life and the things she cared about.
Describing the ups and downs of beekeeping from one springtime to the next, A Country Year transports readers to a different, simpler place. In a series of exquisite vignettes, Hubbell reveals the joys of a life attuned to nature in this heartfelt memoir about life on the land, and of a woman finding her way in middle age.
“Once in a while there comes along a book so calm, so honest, so beautiful that even the most jaded or cynical readers have to say thank you. . . . This is such a book” (The San Diego Union-Tribune).
An invasion of spring peepers, a young indigo bunting at song practice, a parade of caterpillarsthese are integral parts of Hubbell's environment. She lives alone on a 100-acre farm in the Ozarks, where she tends 200 beehives and produces honey on a commercial scale. In a series of exquisite vignettes she takes us into her world, and a life attuned to nature. Hubbell's busiest season is late summer, when she harvests the honey. Then she needs help for the backbreaking labor ("a strong young man who is not afraid of being stung''). She tells how she desensitizes her helper to bee stings; there is a vivid description of a day in the beeyard at harvest time. We meet her dogs and cats, her neighbors; travel with her when she sells the honey; share the pleasures of observing wildlife. Some of these delightful pieces have appeared in the ``Hers'' column of the New York Times and in Country Journal. Illustrations. First serial to Harper's.