Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sometimes Learning Really Stings: Lessons of Honey and Development


We were able to move a swarm of new bees into the new hives, but we did not open any of the others.

Today I made a mistake. It was the kind that results in puffy eyes, howling, deep stings, and lies. Now a good six miles walk away from the mistake, I am tempted to keep it to myself, to tuck it away, even to use it as an excuse to give up. But then it would really be a mistake. Instead, I am posting it on the blog and turning it into a lesson, because at the end of the day, inspiration and success isn’t always coated with sugar. In fact, like good honey, we benefit the most from our experiences when they are served without any added sweeteners. (more…)

From the East! to the West! Why bees die as pests?


Another reason why I feel like a cheater? Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. Their beautiful patterns, their stunning colors, their sense of community. Just have to remember, don't blame the flower, blame it on the a-aaa-aalgecides.

In Kars, I try to travel like a bee. Staying close to my home base, but leaving to feast on the diverse scents, exotic colors, and daily changes of my surroundings. I glide over the familiar rolling steppes that have become my home, noticing when budding flowers open after the rain and when old ones are withered. I feel the new season that is every couple hundred meters on these ancient steppes, and the untamed wild of 2,000 flowers calms my heart to a happy buzz…

That’s why I feel like a cheater when I jump in a plane, and the next thing I know I am standing at the farthest western corner of Turkey. My warm fleeces, my cozy socks, my heavy sleeping bag are snug in Kars and I am a world away on a whole other set of borders in Trakya. Hugging Bulgaria and Greece, the new landscape is hot, sunny, European, and crowded. (more…)

Tasting Ramazan and other Holy Honey Matters (The Mellified Man & Mumijo)


Camili Muslim worshipers and honey bees have a few things in common, they both love bright colors, flora, and elaborate geometry.

A famous Turkish honey saying, “He who handles honey licks his fingers,” must not have considered he-who-practices-Ramazan, the Muslim holiday of fasting. As we open hives and begin harvesting honey this month, my beekeeper friends look at me miserably, their fingers all sticking without any licking! (more…)

Falling for Yusufeli: a historic past & approaching future of dams, people, & honey


Yusufeli is one of those rare places in Turkey that has gained more fame from its impending future than it has from its rich past. A drive from Hopa to Yusufeli nearly illustrates the town’s now infamous fate. (more…)

Sleeping with Cheese: a Snapshot of Bogatepe’s Legendary Gruyere


Cows pattern the hillside. From a distance they appear like a strings of ants.

It’s nine p.m., and even with the full moon I can see thousands of stars. I am at 2,300 meters (about 7,500 feet) and I am walking into a dark long shed. In the darkness, I smell hot humid boiled milk. I keep walking into a deep throaty smell of fermentation. Finally I end in a smell that is cold, aged, salty. The lights shoot on and giant warm orbs of gruyere cheese glow from the shelves. All around me men suit up and start pulling the cheeses from the shelves, salting, spinning, wiping, drying… and to think just five minutes ago I thought I was headed to bed! (more…)

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