Blog Archives

Karakovan Dreaming – the Macaheli Way


Double the fun!

KA-RA-KO-VAN.

Since coming to Turkey, karakovan hives have fascinated me. However, out in Kars, there have only been a few conventional karakovan hives to pique my imagination. This small handful of the old-school-hollowed-out-trunk-style karakovan hive is mostly for show and tell. Because there is neither a tree culture, nor a large bear-attacking-hive culture (and most hives in Kars come complete with a growling Anatolian Shepard or Kangal), there isn’t much use for the traditional karakovan. However, in response to the high demand for karakovan honey comb, many local beekeepers have found alternative ways to adapt a modern box to produce karakovan honey (they instead use rounded frames or mini cubed frame inserts). But this solution aesthetically and culturally doesn’t fully compare to the looming dark Macaheli karakovan hive cylindrical orbs that I have come to love.* (more…)

Beekeeping for Feminists: Is Queen Bee Syndrome Wrong? How to Make a Queen


“Don’t be a drag just be a queen” sings Lady Gaga…easy to say when you haven’t just been drugged and artificially inseminated!

“Wow, she is such a queen bee!” says a jaded co-worker in another article talking about women in the work place. Time and time again, these articles resurface, drawing a connection between bossy women in the work place and queen bees. Usually the connotations are negative, that queen bees rule the office, bullying other women in an effort to “dominate the hive.” Its feminism backfired, they report. Women become so powerful that they oppress other women in an effort to keep their power, and in doing so replicate the struggles that they had to go through in order to get where they are. If you haven’t read this kind of article, here is a quick sample for you, courtesy of Google: On “Queen Bee Syndrome,” where women oppress each other in the work Place - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1265356.ece. (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…)

Take Me Higher…into the Yayla of Ayder


The local restaurant awaits.

“Ok, if you end up sleeping outside tonight, give me a call and I will drive up there and get you,” Ahmet, the owner of a bus-stop cay-stall tells me before he packs me into a dolmuş. Wait, what?

The door slides shut and my mind begins to race. Wait! Will Ayder be so crowded that I won’t be able to find a room? If this doubt exists, can’t we just call someone and check first? (more…)

From bee to shinning bee


Everyone agrees: this has been the worst honey seasons across Turkey in 10 years. Where hives should be yielding 20-60 kilos of honey, many are yielding a mere five. This is not from major bee losses, diseases, or an increase in cell phone waves. These production struggles are from climate change. Too much rain, or not enough, have cut seasons short, dried up flowers, and dampened productivity.

As a result of the prevailing honey woes and the increasingly volatile seasons, I have taken to the hills (and two ends of Turkey’s seas) to do my research. Before I enter business with 10,000 + hypersensitive Caucasian women (i.e. kafkas bees), I want to learn everything there is to learn. And oh yea, and I have decided I want to write a book.

Writing a book somehow makes sense. I could raise the profile of Turkish honey, as well as increase awareness about the environmental issues, culture, history, diversity, politics, and stories of the local people – all through the lens of honey and bees. Shedding light on this incredible region will also help the Balyolu venture and the bees-honey-women-development cause. For at the heart of great marketing lies an incredible story. And I can tell you this, that story is here.

So as my journey unfolds, I am swept away from Kars temporarily to Ayder (Rize), Yusufeli (Artvin), Tekirdag/Gokceada (Trakya) and the famous Macahel (Artvin).

Here is the sneak peek of what is to come:

Ayder: beekeepers take to the trees ... or their rooftops to harvest famous Ayder honey.

Yusufeli: From the hights of the Kackar Mountains to the depths of the Coruh Valley, ancient Georgian bridges and churches blend into the stunning geography. Bees really know how to pick the most beautiful places to live.

Tekirdag: Though radiant in the mid-summer sun, Tekirdag sunflowers spell danger to bee populations.

Gokceada: at the western most point of Turkey, hives face the surrounding Greek islands and Gokceada's raw past.

Macahel: leaving the mighty forests behind them, bees return to the safety of their karakovan home.

Stay tuned.

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