SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

December 29, 2010

BetterWorld Books (on sale)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jan Turner @ 1:18 am

(This is me kicking myself!  Got this email many days ago, but just got around to making a purchase today.  Expires soon. I have bought books from them several times.  For a bargain hunter – it can’t be beat.  You can read their particulars below, for now I just wanted to tell you that the prices are almost unbelievable and the shipping is free.  With a couple of million in stock, chances are good you can benefit.   Your time is short, so look it over soon.   They aren’t going away, it’s  just the special pricing I’m referring to.   Happy hunting    Jan)

To view this email as a web page, go here.

15% off 5+ or 25% off 10+

The End of Year Sale, that annual favorite of book lovers (and really good deal lovers), has returned.  This year, we’re offering you 15% off 5 or more used books, or 25% off 10 or more used books .  The more you pile into your cart, the more you save, so browse our sale selection now.  (Offer not good on Marketplace books.) Connect with Better World Books Now: Free Worldwide Shipping. People, planet, and profit. We don’t just sell books; we’re tackling illiteracy across the globe.  Be a part of it by following us on Twitter or joining the daily discussion on Facebook. Are you outside the US?  We now have free shipping worldwide, not just here in the States.  Check it out. We’ve got a triple bottom line: People, planet, and profit.  Doing good isn’t just part of our business, it is our business.  Find out more about us.

This email was sent by: Better World Books
55740 Currant Rd. Mishawaka, IN 46545



Swarming to Beekeeping

Filed under: We Love our Bees — Jan Turner @ 12:29 am
Tags: ,

A HONEY  OF A HOBBY

JOHN FLAVELL THE DAILY INDEPENDENT (ASHLAND, KY.)    Honeybees enter and leave the hive in an orderly manner through a slot door near ground level.

By Kristina Shevory      NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

As more city dwellers swarm to beekeeping, their efforts benefit the environment and the insects
By Kristina Shevory | NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

Mike Barrett doesn’t have much of a yard at his two-story row house in the Astoria neighborhood of the New York borough of Queens.  But that fact hasn’t kept him from his new hobby of beekeeping. He put the hive on his roof.  When fall harvest time arrived, he just tied ropes around each of the two honey-filled boxes in the hive and lowered them to the ground.

Then Barrett hauled the boxes to a commercial kitchen in the borough of Brooklyn. There, along with other members of the New York City Beekeeping club, he extracted his honey, eventually lugging home 40 pounds of the stuff.  He was happy with his successful harvest, but he also reaped something he didn’t expect.  “I was surprised how much I really care about the bees,” said Barrett, 49, a systems administrator for New York University   “You start to think about the ways to make their lives better.”

Until last spring, Barrett would have been breaking the law and risking a $2,000 fine for engaging in his sticky new hobby. But in March, New York made beekeeping legal, and in so doing it has joined a long list of other municipalities, from Denver and Milwaukee to Minneapolis and Salt Lake City, that have also lifted beekeeping bans during the past two years.    All central Ohio municipalities allow beekeeping — although some, such as Grandview Heights, require city approval, which is largely a formality, said Barry Conrad, the past president and current treasurer of the Central Ohio Beekeepers Association.      Conrad said the organization has members throughout central Ohio, including urban settings such as the Clintonville neighborhood and Bexley.

For 20 years, Barbara Bloetscher kept up to eight hives in her Eastland-area home without incident. She recently moved to Grand-view Heights and plans to move two of the hives with her in the spring. She doesn’t expect any problems there, either, even though each hive hosts an average of 50,000 bees.    “They are very docile, and only a third of them fly,” said Bloetscher, the state apiarist (bee specialist) for the Ohio Department of Agriculture.      Bloetscher knows a few tricks of urban beekeeping:

  • Position the hives so the bees’ spiral landing pattern doesn’t regularly cross into the neighbors’ yards;
  • place the hive behind a bush or other obstacle so the bees rise when they leave the hive;
  • keep plenty of water in the yard so they don’t fly off looking for a drink;
  • and make sure there are plenty of nearby crops — fruits, vegetables, flowering trees and wildflowers — for the bees to feed upon.

“The beekeeper needs to be responsible and conscientious,” Bloetscher said. “There are things the keeper needs to do to keep them from swarming.”    Nationwide, hives are being tucked into small backyards and set alongside driveways; even the White House has installed some.   Beekeeping classes are filling up quickly, and new beekeeping clubs are forming as established ones are reporting large jumps in membership.

At Barrett’s Queens club, membership has more than doubled — to about 900 — in the past year. The central Ohio association has grown from about 100 members a   few years ago to 350 today, Conrad said.    One force behind this rise of beekeeping is the growing desire for homegrown and organic food. Another is the urge to stem the worrisome decline in the nation’s bee population.

FRED SQUILLANTE DISPATCH    A purchased queen comes in a cage with attendants.

ERIC BRADY THE ROANOKE (VA.) TIMES    A beekeeper surveys a frame of honeycomb.

The number of bees has been falling since the end of World War II, when farmers stopped rotating crops with clover — a good pollen source for bees — and started using fertilizers. Pesticides and herbicides became common as well. In cities, native plants were ripped out in favor of exotics that aren’t good for bees.

Four years ago, honeybee colonies started mysteriously to die around the country — a problem called colony collapse disorder.    “We don’t know the primary cause, but we know the combination of poor nutrition, heavy pesticide use and bee diseases have put bees into a tailspin,” said Marla Spivak, an entomology professor at the   University of Minnesota and a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant for her work on honeybee health.    Whatever the cause of colony collapse disorder, “People want to feel that they are doing something to help,” said Dave Mendes, president of the American Beekeeping Federation in Atlanta. “Having a few beehives in your backyard can make you feel better.”

Helen Hoffelt of Clintonville has been keeping bees for five or six years, rotating them between her home and her sister’s place nearby.      She started keeping the bees in part because she wanted the wax to use in art installations. Now, though, she has grown so fond of the bees that she leaves the wax alone.    “I can’t even take all the honey from my bees,” she said.

But beekeeping is forbidden in many places.    Some of the bans arose   after World War II. Cities, seeking to eradicate any traces of agriculture within their limits to show they were full-fledged municipalities, forbade the raising of livestock, chickens and other creatures used in food production.

Another wave of prohibitions came 20 years ago with the arrival of “killer bees” from Mexico. Fortunately, the bees turned out not to be the threat that people feared. Nurturing flowers, fruits and vegetables is another factor in the rise in beekeeping, and it ranks high for Marygael Meister, who runs the Denver Beekeepers Association. In 2008, when Meister took a beekeeping class and set up two hives in her backyard in Denver, her goal was to help her more than 300 rosebushes thrive.      Meister said she had initially called the city information line and had been told it was legal to keep bees. The information was incorrect, and she received a cease-and-desist order when a neighbor complained about her hives. But instead of giving up, Meister decided to fight.

“I really enjoyed my bees, and it was not like I was keeping a mountain lion in my backyard,” Meister said. “It was absurd to me that the city was perpetuating the idea that Denver is so green and we’re not.”    Meister spent the next five months urging city officials to legalize beekeeping. In November 2008,   the Denver City Council did so, and shortly thereafter Meister started the city’s first beekeeping club.    But legalization doesn’t give beekeepers free rein. Cities often impose conditions on beekeepers — an annual fee, a permit, a minimum required distance between hives and nearby structures.

The city of Minneapolis, which legalized beekeeping last year, has set particularly stringent restrictions. Besides paying a $100 annual fee per hive, beekeepers there must obtain signed permission from all the neighbors within a 100-foot radius of the hives and, for neighbors within a 300-foot radius, they need 80 percent of the signatures.      For Jacquelynn Goessling, getting her neighbors to sign off on her hives was hardly a problem. People in her Minneapolis neighborhood of Kingfield were so supportive that some wanted to host one of her hives in their own yards, or to help by planting their gardens with the kinds of flowers preferred by bees.    “Power to the bees” became a rallying cry for many of her friends. A year later, she has 12 hives citywide.

Max Wong, a Los Angeles beekeeper, hopes to wield some of the same political techniques in a legalization push in her city. Beekeeping rules there are a patchwork, with the hobby legal on one side of a street and illegal on the other.    “We’re in trouble and the bees are in trouble,” said Wong, 42, a member of the Backwards Beekeepers   club. “We need to do something.”    Wong, a film producer who started keeping bees a year ago, wants to legalize bees not just to help out hobbyists such as herself, but to help feed and employ others. She sees bees as the best way to increase vegetable pollination in community gardens and thinks that some people, such as a few members of her club, could even become professional beekeepers.    But — like Barrett from Queens and other new beekeepers — Wong is developing a close relationship with her bees, and she wants to ensure that others can enjoy the hobby as   much as she does.    “It’s like having 35,000 pets,” Wong said. “I’m hyperactive, so anything that shuts down my brain is a good thing. When I’m working at a hive, I’m quiet and meditative.”    Dispatch Reporter Jim Weiker contributed to this story.

MARIA STENZEL NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY    Beekeepers such as these in California wear veils and protective gear as they transfer bees from strong hives to weaker ones.

To learn more

Those interested in learning how to keep bees can enroll in the bee school sponsored by the Central Ohio Beekeepers Association.    The association will hold two classes, each consisting of four sessions.    One class will take place at Ohio State University’s Waterman Farm from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on four consecutive   Tuesdays beginning Feb. 8.    The other class will be held at the Franklin Park Conservatory from 6:30 to 9 p.m. the first four Wednesdays in March.    Classes cost $50, which includes textbooks and a year’s membership in the beekeepers association.    To enroll or for additional details, call 614-837-3899 or visit  www.centralohio    beekeepers.org  .

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