When her thirty-year marriage broke up, Sue Hubbell found herself alone and broke on a small Ozarks farm. Keeping bees, she found solace in the natural world. She began to write, challenging herself to tell the absolute truth about her life and the things that she cared about. The result is one of the best-loved books ever written about life on the land, about a woman finding her way in middle age.
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)