The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

A Book of Bees

A Book of BeesIf I were recommending books for beginning beekeepers, I'd put Sue Hubbell's A Book of Bees in the optional-but-highly-recommended section.  The author is a commercial-scale beekeeper in Missouri, and she writes about her average yearly tasks with the weight of experience, having kept three hundred hives at a time for fifteen years.

Of course, the reader has to keep in mind that Hubbell's choices with her bees won't always match those of the backyard beekeeper, who might choose to be more hands-on and to delete chemicals from his repertoire.  But the author explains each of her actions so well, I think that even a new beekeeper could understand why she requeens, lets the bees swarm, and so forth.  And her words about minimizing your intrusions on the hive seem to mirror modern natural beekeeping methods.

Meanwhile, A Book of Bees acts as an antidote to the factual but dry beginner texts like The Backyard Beekeeper.  Hubbell slips in explanations of beekeeper terminology, the bee life cycle, diseases, and much more, so you end up understanding most of the basics without ever having to memorize a glossary of terms.

But the real reason to read this book is the same reason many of you picked up The Dirty Life --- pure fun.  Hubbell lets you into her life, from sipping coffee with her before heading out to the hives, to asking her chickens to pick wax moths off ruined comb.  It's a fast and fun read for beginning, intermediate, or advanced beekeepers, but is more of a library check-out than a purchase.  Read it and return it.  And, yes, Ikwig, this is a bathtub book.

Our chicken waterer is always POOP-free.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Guess I'll have to try and find a way to borrow it, then! :)
Comment by Ikwig Sun Jul 29 08:28:21 2012
Ikwig --- That's assuming you need more items on your to-read list. I tend to always have far more on mine than I'm likely to get read this decade. :-)
Comment by anna Sun Jul 29 16:52:38 2012
I wouldn't say that I NEED more books on my "to-be-read" list . . . but that certainly never stops me from adding to it! :)
Comment by Ikwig Sun Jul 29 20:54:06 2012

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