Blog Archives

Bumble Beeing: On Story-telling, Science, & Magic at 3,000 m


Holding her gun with a big grin, a woman shoots a round of bullets into the mountain mist. I scream and dive under a log. Around me, my hosts laugh. “What are you doing Buket Hanim?” they tease. Although the sight of me squeezing under a log is funny, they kindly put away the gun, and coax me out from my hiding place. (more…)

Waggle on! Horon and Hives at the Honey Festival Oyoyoy…

Dancing horon!

“Yiiiiheeeeeuuu!!!!” everyone yells as my arms are yanked down to the ground, then up to the sky, like the slanted poles of a tent. The gencler (young people) around me make the movements gracefully, like eagles swooping for their prey. I look like a floppy fish. The blaring sound of the tulum (bagpipe) at maximum volume is relief to my ears, because I am almost certain that it masks my awkwardly uncontrolled screams. (more…)

Karakovan Dreaming – the Macaheli Way

Double the fun!


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…)

Where the Trees All Have Names: Treekeeping in Macahel

I try on my tree for size...looks like it could be a good fit!

“KIZ!” I hear Hasan call (meaning GIRL! in Turkish). “Would you like to buy this tree?” he asks me, patting a hefty chestnut. Its rooted deep in the ground with felt-like moss growing across its trunk. I think we are doing our usual family style joking, so I give Hasan my prepared reply, “sure, let me call Barak Obama and ask him to send me a check.” (more…)

I’ve Been Framed! Photos and Beekeeping in an Endangered Biosphere

Entrance of the karakovan, into a secret life of bees!

After shivering wet and cold in my bed, I embrace daylight and stumble into Hasan’s kitchen. Men rapidly discuss local politics. I plunk my camera on the table, turn off my ears, and indulge in dripping cheesy corn-flour fondue, homemade yogurt, eggs, and tomatoes. Then I hear a word, “çerçeve”… “frame. I turn on my ears at the sound of a magic honey cue word. (more…)


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