Beekeeper is a modern-day Thoreau


Writer Sue Hubbell, a fiercely independent beekeeper who makes her living all alone on her land in the Ozarks, had to be convinced that she had a memoir worth writing. Her slim book that covers five country seasons is well worth reading.
She tells that when she first laid eyes on the acreage that became her home, she found it so beautiful she was nearly reduced to tears. Years later, she still finds the beauty of the farm breathtakingly amazing.
Wisely, she writes, she is not the sole proprietor of the hundred acres, with the cast of characters claiming ownership changing on a weekly basis through the seasons.
“At the moment, for instance,” she writes, “I am feeling a bit of an outsider, having discovered that I live in the middle of an indigo bunting ghetto. As ghettos go, it is a cheerful one in which to live, but it has forced me to think about property rights.”
Have you ever seen an indigo bunting? I once held one in my gloved hand as life faded from it, and I still simply cannot get over how absolutely stunningly beautiful that little male bird was.
Breathless. To find oneself in the midst of an entire flock of their particular brilliant blue would be enough to take the breath away.
“Indigo buntings are small but emphatic birds. They believe they own the place, and it is hard to ignore their claim. The male birds – brilliant, shimmering blue – perch on the garden posts or on top of the cedar trees that have taken over the pasture. From there they survey their holdings and belt out their songs, complicated tangles of couplets that waken me first thing in the morning; they keep it up all day, even at noon, after the other birds have quieted. The indigo buntings have several important facts to tell us, especially about who’s in charge around here,” Hubbell writes.
This tiny, 105-pound woman writes of days filled with incredibly hard work as she struggles to make a living from her patch of ground after her husband has left for good. She chops, hauls and stacks her own firewood, because everyone knows you either chop wood for the wood stove or freeze to death.
Peaceful. She lives peacefully with her two dogs, and they reside among snakes, spiders,

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.