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A Country Year


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About the Author

Sue Hubbell was the author of eight books, including A Country Year and New York Times Notable Book A Book of Bees. She wrote for the New Yorker, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Smithsonian, and Time, and was a frequent contributor to the "Hers" column of the New York Times.


YA Hubbell, a former librarian and now a commercial beekeeper, lives on a peninsula between two rivers in the Ozark Mountains. Her quiet reflections are arranged by seasons, beginning and ending with the spring. Most of the short chapters include an attractive pen-and-ink sketch of the insect, plant, or little animal, etc., that is the major subject of the essay. Through a map of her farm and the lovely prose descriptions of the natural settings that she has had around her for the past 12 years, readers gain a pleasant picture of the countryside. This is a book for those who enjoy natural history and the questions that arise from it. Rain, snow, and mud; countless harbingers of each season; and Hubbell's bees and how they fare all make fascinating reading for anyone who appreciates the beauties and intricacies of the natural world.Mary Wadsworth Sucher, Baltimore County Reading Services

An invasion of spring peepers, a young indigo bunting at song practice, a parade of caterpillarsthese are integral parts of Hubbell's environment. She lives alone on a 100-acre farm in the Ozarks, where she tends 200 beehives and produces honey on a commercial scale. In a series of exquisite vignettes she takes us into her world, and a life attuned to nature. Hubbell's busiest season is late summer, when she harvests the honey. Then she needs help for the backbreaking labor (``a strong young man who is not afraid of being stung''). She tells how she desensitizes her helper to bee stings; there is a vivid description of a day in the beeyard at harvest time. We meet her dogs and cats, her neighbors; travel with her when she sells the honey; share the pleasures of observing wildlife. Some of these delightful pieces have appeared in the ``Hers'' column of the New York Times and in Country Journal. Illustrations. First serial to Harper's. (April 10)

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