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When I ran into my 8th grade biology teacher about a month and a half ago (my favorite science teacher of all time, hands down), we naturally had a discussion combining the subjects that we teach: science and literature Once we professed our mutual love for Barbara Kingsolver, she recommended Sue Hubbell to me.What an awesome book Maybe I appreciate itbecause she reflects on life in the Ozarks and observes the flora and fauna I'm familiar with, but her calm and intriguing style is accessible to all I say anyone who has lived in Missouri should read this book in order to either acquaint themselves with the natural habitat or to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for the state She loves and is acutely aware of her surroundingsbees, fixing trucks, dogsdomestic and wild, termites, Good Old Boys and Simple Lifers, copperheads vs cottonmouths, carpentry, chicken telepathy, serviceberry, water politics, just to name a few This is an easygoing read with easygoing language and chapters of easygoing length And while she wrote this coming out of a divorce, she examines her connection as a strong and independent woman to the natural world rather than taking on an Oh, God, what do I do now? stance, which I also appreciated.You should read it. This was an enjoyable, comfortable read about one lady's experiences over the course of a year as a beekeeper in the Missouri Ozarks I like her observational approach to life and nature She's the type of person who takes field guides with her so that she can learn the common and scientific names of the plants, flowers, and animals around her She seeks to live in harmony with even the less savory of creatures around her including snakes, wood roaches, wasps, termites, coyotes I like how she speaks up for these creatures because she understands their place in the natural order of things.I've found myself relating anecdotes from this book to my daughter as we've gone out on walks About how a bee worker needs to gradually build up a tolerance to bee stings by letting themselves be stungandeach day until multiple stings no longer produce an allergic reaction About how sitting down still wearing a beekeeper's outfit can lead to pain in your derriere from all the stingers left behind in the suit How there's a certain type of caterpillar that only moves by following the leader and will keep walking until they collapse if you place them in a circle.These types of tidbits and snippets of nature trivia and observation are the epitome of what I love to learn and pass on I'm not sure I want to experience the isolation of living on a farm in the Ozarks, but I do envy the variety of animals and plants available for observation If you enjoy nature observations and comfortable reading, I suggest spending a year in the Ozarks through the eyes of Sue Hubbell. A seasonal diary that runs from one spring to the next, this is a peaceful book about living alone yet finding community with wildlife and fellow country folk At her farm in southern Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, Hubbell had a small beekeeping and honey production business, “a shaky, marginal sort of affair that never quite leaves me free of money worries but which allows me to live in these hills that I love.” After her 30year marriage ended, she found herself alone in “the afternoon of my life,” facing “the work of building a new kind of order, a structure on which a fiftyyearold woman can live” In fewpage essays she reflects on the weather, her interactions with wildlife (from bats and black rat snakes to a fawn caught in a fence), and country events like a hog roast She’s even bitten by a brown recluse spider, the most poisonous species in the USA, but is absolutely fine.This was a random find at The Book Thing of Balti last year I love introspective books like this one that balance solitude with nature and company and that showcase older women’s wisdom (Joan Anderson, May Sarton and Barbara J Scot also write/wrote in this vein) Hubbell, who died at age 83 in late 2018, wrote broader scientific narratives about evolution and genetic engineering, as well as detailed books about bees and other insects I’ll look out forof her work.Favorite lines:“Winter is not an enemy It is a time of less going about and brings quiet and peace.”(of older women) “We have lived long enough and seen enough to understand in athan intellectual way that we will die, and so we have learned to live as though we are mortal, making our decisions with care and thought because we will not be able to make them again.”“waves of people who find the cities too complicated have come here, meaning to lead lives of simplicity What they have not yet discovered is that a life is as simple or as complicated as the person living it, and that people who have found life in the city overwhelming will find it evenso here, where it is much harder to make a living.” This is the story of a woman who lives in the Ozarks on a small farm After a 30 year marriage, her husband leaves and she eeks out a difficult living keeping bees The rural people of the Ozarks are her friends and occasionally her comrades, but mostly she is alone with her farm It's almost a lie to say she lives alone She has the dogs, and her cat (Black Edith hello, awesome cat name), all of the bees, the coyotes, termites, copperheads, the goldfinches, indigo buntings, humming birds, bluewinged warblers, and all the other birds Sue Hubbell is never really very alone I don't think she misses offices, cubicles, nosy neighbors, or bustling sidewalks This is like one of those back to nature triumphofthehumanspirit books, but withauthenticity and integrity Felling trees for firewood, Sue shares her trials when the tree falls the wrong way When she robs the bees of their honey, it is a beautiful beelady dance She teaches her hired help to collect bee stings, day after day, to build up a tolerance to the multitude of inevitable stings during the harvest Botanizing plants in her path and learning the ways of the birds, Sue Hubbell is alive and connected to the natural world in that serene, sincere, filthy way that makes the palms of my hands ache for callouses I had a lot of those fuck you, be you, i wanna fucking be you moments while I was listening to this book.Sue Hubbell is a former librarian, and I wonder if that gives her the indelible sense of wonder and patience she carries through her daily work And I love how she comments in a sidelong way about her gendered experiences the allmale spaces (junk yards, for example) she has to puzzle through as a woman in middle age and on her own There is a quiet appreciation for the aging process of a woman here, too.It makes good biological sense for males to be attracted to females who are at an earlier point in their breeding years and who still want to build nests, and if that leaves us no longer able to lose ourselves in the pleasures and closeness of pairing, well, we have gained our Selves We have another valuable thing, too We have Time, or at least the awareness of it We have lived long enough and seen enough to understand in athan intellectual way that we will die, and so we have learned to live as though we are mortal, making our decisions with care and thought because we will not be able to make them again Time for us will have an end; it is precious, and we have learned its value.Because our culture has assigned us no real role, we can make up our own It is a good time to be a grownup woman with individuality, strength and crotchets We are wonderfully free We live long Our children are the independent adults we helped them to become, and though they may still want our love they do not need our care Social rules are so flexible today that nothing we do is shocking There are no political barriers to us any Provided we stay healthy and can support ourselves, we can do anything, have anything and spend our talents any way that we please.I've never read Sue Hubbell before I was looking for books about keeping bees, and this came up as one of the Customers Who Bought This Also Liked I requested the audiobook from the library, and listened to it secretly when I wasn't carpooling or schlepping my family around At first, it was a little slow The material seemed dense, the lady who was reading it had a weird voice, and I had a hard time relating to the story, but I kept listening By the end of the book, I was totally engaged and very sad to end it I can't wait to readof her stuff. Sue Hubbell writes a series of stories about her life from spring to spring in the mountains of the Ozarks in Southern Missouri Her husband of 30 years has just left for the last time They had started a business as bee keepers That becomes her only source of income as she makes a living, barely, harvesting and selling her honey Her stories are about her life on the land And they are amazing! She is a careful observer of all the natural world that surrounds her The stories also give an insight into the people who have always lived there mixed with newcomers finding their way in this landscape.I loved this book! I don't know how many times I have read this bookmy alltime favorite I still remember how it found me on the shelves of Willard Public Library in the 1990s I've carried my tattered paperback that bears her autograph with me all these years I was inspired to read it again while camping this summer, feeling the urge to take a solo trip in the future It has been at least a decade since I last picked it up Once I opened it, I knew I needed Sue to remind me how she made a life her own way This time I was not only transported to and inspired by the natural world on her hilltop farm in the Ozark mountains but I was healed, in a way, reading about how she carried on in midlife on her own after divorce I admire her strength and her humor This book is one of my treasures. Sue Hubble's reflections on life as a beekeeper in the Ozarks is quiet, introspective and tinged with an edge of melancholy This book is not quite in the league with Edwin Way Teale's A Walk Through the Year, or Henry Beston's The Outermost House, but it is a wellwritten and interesting look at natural history—and human nature. Sue Hubbell, author of A Book of Bees And How to Keep Them a delightful book which has as much to do with naturalism and our place in nature as it does about bees lives in the Ozark mountains on some 95100 acres where she maintains 300 beehives throughout the surrounding hills She writes extremely well, and in this book she reflects on nature's intricacies and queerness and man's place in the world She (and the reader) become captivated by such oddities as the chigger whose chewing on the human for food causes an allergic reaction which leads to its destruction; i.e the human scratches killing the chigger, clearly a case of lack of host adaptation or evolutionarily speaking a Terrible Mistake In a very Gouldian chapter she muses, with the help of her entomologist cousin, on moth ear mites and bats and their interrelationship Bats love these moths, but the moths have evolved the ability to hear the sonar emissions of the bats and thus can evade the oncoming enemy The mites which need to survive in the ear of the moth (I never really thought of moths having ears) cause hearing loss in the moth which would be evolutionarily a dead end but curiously the mites live and attack one ear only thus preserving not only the moth but the mites as well Hubbell ponders the human's psychomythology toward nature We fear bats, spiders, snakes; an irrational fear, which leads tomisinformation about these creatures because we fear to observe.Her part of the Ozarks is populated, as is much of the South, by the brown recluse spider, known for its venom After being bitten one day on her way to a swim, and suffering nothan a mild reaction she ruminates on the fear of her friends They refuse to come to the Ozarks, yet the venomous nature of these spiders was not commonly known until the early hazard since they inhabit the same kinds of places humans enjoy Coexistence has been successful for thousands of years Why worry now? Of course, a major benefit is the reduction in the tourist population We live in a world that is not only queerer than we think but queerer than we can think The human is part of all this, and being human we insist on meddling and interfering; but, having a mind we can hopefully recognize that some meddling causesreverberations throughout the whole than others. When reading A Country Year I was continually reminded of Oscar Wilde's apology for sending a long letter he did not have time to write a short one Sue Hubbell has taken the time to write a short book filled with concise gems, each as long as it should be and no longer, and I am much the richer for having read it.Other than the transcendent writing, what impressed me most was Sue's eye and mind She notices things that I would not, and then she reflects upon them and understands them better than I think I would She is anything but arrogant, yet I continually felt humbled (in a very good way) while reading.She is a Writer, and I'm a fan. ^FREE PDF ⇨ A Country Year: Living the Questions ⇹ When her thirtyyear marriage broke up, Sue Hubbell found herself alone and broke on a small Ozarks farm Keeping bees, she found solace in the natural world She began to write, challenging herself to tell the absolute truth about her life and the things that she cared about The result is one of the bestloved books ever written about life on the land, about a woman finding her way in middle age