November 03, 2010

Book Review: Honeybee

C. Marina Marchese's "Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper" is different from most beekeeping books. The author herself is the honeybee in the title, and the book is an autobiographical account of her journey away from the rat race to urban beekeeper and honey connoisseur. It's a very easy read, yet it is loaded with facts: simple statements laced together with vivid memories of her discovery of the specialness of the bee and of honey. I learned several new things yet never felt heavy from the reading. My only complaint, really, is the plethora of typos.

Likening herself to the Queen bee, the author's East Coast attitude was a bit of a put-off for me, but in person she's not like that at all. The Denver Bee Keeping Society recently sponsored a book reading and honey tasting event with Marina, and we were pleasantly surprised to learn she has a Top Bar Hive in her apiary. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to talk to her in depth about it, but that's what happens at multifaceted events – things get a little crazy.

Things I Learned
From the Book: a "balled" queen is surrounded by a cluster of worker bees who overheat her to kill her off (usually during a supersedure). This must be what happened to our queen in June 2009!
From the Honey Tasting: solid lids, people, solid lids. Two-piece lids are a messy pain; they are for processed jams and jellies, not honey. And for an honest tasting, forget the wooden stir-sticks. They make all the honeys taste woodsy.

The author's inscription: Bee Good to Yourself… Everyday.

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