Category Archives: Left Field

Review of the Novel The Bees by Laline Paull

Christmas is over.  The weather is cold, and the bees are clustered.  What is a beekeeper to do?  This beekeeper reads.  While browsing at my local library, I happened upon the novel The Bees by Laline Paull (HarperCollins Publisher, copyright 2014).  The book describes the inner working of a bee colony whose hive is located in an abandoned orchard.   The story is told from the perspective of Flora 717, a bee born to the lowly class of sanitation workers.  The author skillfully describes nearly every  possible event within the life of the colony including:  wasp attacks, a mouse invading the hive box, repercussions of climate change, contact with pesticides, spreading disease, mating, loss of habitat, swarming, and my personal favorite…..The Visitation.  The Visitation is when the beekeeper comes and takes honey from the hive.  The Visitation is one of the things the bees fear the most.  The book describes a cut throat world where the ruling class clings to power, and the motto of all bees is, “Accept, Obey, and Serve.”  Continue reading

Biblical References to Bees and Honey

Beekeeping has changed me.  I have never been good at observing what is happening around me.  I am the person who doesn’t notice that someone has new glasses, a new haircut, or an amputated limb.  Months usually pass before I realize a building along my commute has been demolished.  I become deeply engrossed in my thoughts and  miss what is going on around me, but the bees are changing me.  Now I pay attention to flutters in the grass because the movement could be caused by bees on clover.  Weather forecasts suddenly hold my interest.  I notice the progression of wildflower blooms because wildflowers feed the bees.  The fact that bees make me more aware of the natural world may not come as a surprise, but this new sense of awareness has also spilled over into other aspects of my life including my reading of the Bible.  Until I began keeping bees, I never realized how frequently honey and bees are mentioned in the Bible.  Continue reading

Could Beekeeping Save the US Political System?

The summer dearth is upon us, and there is not much to do in the hives except to keep feeding the bees syrup.  Doug did a walk away split a few weeks ago, and I will write about that once we know how the story ends.  I started visiting county fairs to see honey entries, and you can expect a post on that in a few weeks.  While the beekeeping activities are in a bit of a lull, I took the opportunity to reflect upon the past 6 months when we immersed ourselves in beekeeping.  The bees are wonderful and fascinating, but I discovered that beekeepers are just as wonderful and fascinating!  Here is what my experience has been over the last 6 months: Continue reading