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Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees Hardcover – October 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585747319
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585747313
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Novelist Thomas (The Angel Carver) recounts her first year in a small New England town with her young daughter, her old cat, and her laptop. Once there, she decided on a lark to try her hand at beekeeping, about which she knew nothing, and headed to a local beekeeping store for advice and supplies. As she learned to care for her three hives, she overcame her initial apprehension. With a bit of philosophizing and a lot of self-appreciation, Thomas describes how she tended her hives from one spring to the next and how, during that time, she developed a strong animosity toward one man and opportunistic friendships with several others. As she distributed her first crop of honey as gifts, she concluded that "a single narrow four-inch-high jar cost approximately $200 to produce. It was worth it." With her newly acquired facts and enthusiasm, Thomas strives to be an inspiration to other novice beekeepers. But tedious descriptions of her mundane activities bog down the narrative, and Thomas's depiction of her trial-and-error methods tends to confuse the reader. A beginner will find a much sounder introduction in such excellent guides as Diana Sammatro and others' The Beekeeper's Handbook and R. Bonney's Beekeeping. Not recommended.
Ilse Heidmann, Olympia, WA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Thomas writes with the gentle precision of a master."

"Through Rosanne Daryl Thomas's witty prose the reader is catapulted into a land where bee colonies, with the ever-swarmed queen, prove to be remarkably similar to human society...In between her Ball jars of sugar honey and countless trips to True Value hardware, we also come to know August, and amazing little girl who is able to encourage her mother's spiritual growth while acting like a regular kid." -- St. Petersburg Times Review

"Wonder, anticipation, devotion--all are implicit in this scrupulous writing."
--The New York Times Book Review

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
While most of us give a wide berth to stinging insects, memoirist Roseanne Daryl Thomas cozies up to bees, affectionately calling them "my girls." - quite an about face for one whose prior knowledge of apian life consisted of "They buzzed. They stung. They were yellow."

Following a divorce Ms. Thomas, her then 7-year-old daughter, August, and Ruffy, a geriatric cat, sought new life in a small New England community populated by 3,000 inquisitive souls.
There she met Farmer Tom; farmer being an unlikely sobriquet for a man with clean fingernails and a business card. Another unlikelihood was Ms. Thomas's out-of-nowhere comment that she might like to keep bees. At this, her daughter smiled, and Farmer Tom offered his land.
Smitten with the idea of having a mother who was a bee keeper, August "danced jubilantly about the house, composing beekeeping songs, drawing beekeeping pictures." Not wishing to disappoint her daughter, and just a little enthralled by the idea herself, Ms. Thomas began a task about which she knew "a teaspoonful more than absolutely nothing."
She visited a master beekeeper who introduced her to a hive body or deep super where bees live. Inside the deep super would be wax covered moveable frames where honey is made. . To her chagrin these did not come ready made, but had to be assembled - a daunting task for one who was not sure she owned a hammer. She bought three unassembled hives.
Another necessity was "The Outfit," first of all, gloves, elbow length cotton covered with yellow latex. Gloves did not come in a 7 ½; the smallest size in the white beesuit was a men's 42 regular. Finally, the hat. She was hoping for something in "a pale gold closely woven straw.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Douglas E. Welch on February 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I love reading books about someone passionately engaged in something new, and this book is exactly that. Author Rosanne Daryl Thomas tells a tale of becoming a beekeeper almost on a whim, but it goes deeper than that. Clearly, there was something that drew her to the bees. It simply took circumstance to bring it forward. More importantly, she triumphs over the setbacks that occur with an honesty that seems missing in many books today. Reading this story was like listening to her tell it over coffee in her honey-covered kitchen.
Thomas' tales of learning the beekeeping trade from the bottom up are humorous, enlightening and presented in a conversational tone that kept me turning the pages. So much so that I finished the book in 1 day! She also throws in a few lessons about life and love, without being heavy handed or bogging down the story.
Even as someone who knew a little bit about beekeeping, I learned new stuff about the processes involved. For the gardener in me, it is great to learn a little more about how my garden helps bees to survive and thrive. My neighbor has a single hive on top of his garden shed and I can sit in my garden swing, watching their comings and goings. He makes sure we get some honey each year, too. Tasty! Even more so since part of it arose from my garden.
Several of my favorite books are based around the cycle of the year's passage. I think growing up on a farm certainly plays a part in this, but we all instinctively relate to the passing of the seasons in some way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kiesa on November 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
BEEING is deep, insightful, and witty. Reading the book feels like sitting down to tea with a close friend who's telling her adventures. I also learned something new about writing, because the descriptions are extremely good. The part about Rosanne's first experiences with a hammer -- well, it had me grinning, and I also began to think about tools in a whole new way! Non-tool-users such as myself will have a heyday recognizing the signs and symptoms. I think that section, and many others, could be used in writing classes to teach people, by example, how to bring someone into the exquisite details of a story, and draw them into feeling as if they're living it along with the writer. It's a good book for EVERY parent, for EVERY woman, for EVERYone. And you'll learn plenty about beekeeping, in between the A-Ha! moments. I am not kidding. This book is GREAT. Rosanne is a terrific writer, as the New York Times Book Reviews of her other books will tell you, and this new book has the added bonus of a kind of personal gentleness, an intensity of quiet emotion that's never overstated, but always there -- like the humming buzz of the bees in the background. It's a beautiful, meaningful book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What a great read! Thomas breezes us through a year in the life of an unstoppable single mom, as seen through the lens of a novice beekeeper. She braves the vicissitudes of her first year of beekeeping with pathos, humor, intelligence and grace. As she interweaves her care and tending of the bees and their hives with the care and tending of her daughter, herself and their memorable home, I turned page after page with an ever-widening smile. Many thanks to the author for granting me a glimpse into her personal and universal world.
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