Narratives and advice from beekeepers across the globe and through the centuries
Is there a funny side to beekeeping? Most literature on the subject wags a solemn finger and instructs. Molony’s articles aren’t like that. They’re about various interventions in his beekeeping life – by his wife, by other people who garden near his bees; by being a village beekeeper at the behest of all and sundry. And they’re about being by the sea. Keeping his hives on an allotment that looks out across Lyme Bay brings out its own angle on beekeeping. Having a wife with her own views on bees produces another angle. Notes from a Clifftop Apiary is a light-hearted portrait of beekeeping up against other pressures of the real world: on the one side there’s the sea, on the other there are people. It makes a colourful mix.
Bees have been entwined with our history since the appearance of the earliest humans. Being among them is a full-body experience, Mark Winston writes-from the low hum of tens of thousands of insects and the pungent smell of honey and beeswax, to the sight of workers flying back and forth between flowers and the hive. The experience of an apiary slows our sense of time, heightens our awareness, and inspires awe. It is at once sensual and riveting, intellectually challenging and emotionally rich.
Why is ‘bee time’ so compelling? Because, Winston writes, as we come to know bees, we see an echo of ourselves, and our potential to be more compatibly integrated with each other and the world around us. Bee Time presents Winston’s reflections on three decades spent studying these creatures, and on the lessons they can teach about how humans might better interact with one another and the natural world.
Like us, honeybees are intricately social. How they submerge individual needs into the colony collective provides a lens through which to consider human societies. Winston explains how bees process information, structure work, and communicate, and examines how corporate boardrooms are using bee societies as a model to improve collaboration.
Winston also considers bees’ representation in art and literature as a symbol of survival, from Egyptian tombs decorated with elaborate bee hive scenes, to Virgil, to Sylvia Plath’s poem Wintering, where, going through a dark time, Plath wrote of their winter cluster, “This is the time of hanging on for the bees.”
But the relationship between bees and people has not always been benign: bee populations are diminishing due to human impact, and we cannot afford to ignore what the demise of bees tells us about our own problematic relationship with nature.
Bee Time reflects over thirty years of walking into apiaries, and the lessons learned from a life spent among bees.
Not so long ago, in a small island nation in the South Pacific, beekeepers produced a most peculiar honey. It was much darker than clover honey everyone put on their toast in the morning, and it tasted very different. In fact the honey was a problem: it was hard to get out of the combs, and even harder for beekeepers to sell. This book chronicles the remarkable ‘rags –to-riches’ story of manuka honey, as seen through the eyes of a New Zealand beekeeping specialist who watched it unfold from the very beginning.
A life history together with a collection of drawings and poems by a 93 year old Somerset Artist which ranges from snapshots of beekeeping life to the very best of the Glastonbury Festival as well as drawings of life in Scotland. This book – while not helping you to a larger honey harvest will give you many happy and enjoyable hours scanning the pages.