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From A to Bee: My First Year as a Beginner Beekeeper Paperback – 2 Jul 2012


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From A to Bee: My First Year as a Beginner Beekeeper + The Bad Beekeepers Club: How I stumbled into the Curious World of Bees - and became (perhaps) a Better Person + Beekeeping For Dummies (UK Edition)
Price For All Three: £30.95

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (2 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849532729
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849532723
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Dearsley, the Surrey Beekeeper,started The Beginner Beekeepers page on Facebook, one of the largest online communities of beekeepers (www.facebook.com/beginnerbeekeepers), and is on Twitter (@surreybeekeeper). His site www.surreybeekeeper.co.uk started as a blog, so others could learn from his mistakes, and expanded into a shop and general online resource for beekeepers.

He has written for a variety of publications around the world including Mother Earth News in the US, Grow Your Own Magazine in the UK The Ecologist and has recorded a DVD,Beekeeping for Beginners, with Charlie Dimmock, which is now on general release. He lives with his wife and two sons in Surrey.

Should you want to contact me directly please feel free to do so james@surreybeekeeper.co.uk

Product Description

Review

'A.k.a. The Surrey Beekeeper, Dearsley started the Beginner Beekeeper's page on Facebook - now the biggest online community of beekeepers - and has also released a beekeeping DVD.'

(The Bookseller)

'Written in a humorous, accessible, non-technical style… offering great practical advice'

(Grow Your Own)

'a funny, practical and inspiring account.'

(The Daily Mail)

'will inspire more people to take up this intriguing and captivating hobby'

(David Squire)

'James Dearsley's engaging exploration of the mysteries of beekeeping will ensure you'll never look at a bee the same way again.'

(Kay Sexton, author of Minding My Peas and Cucumbers)

'An endearing and amusing personal account of one man's immersion into the magical world of beekeeping.'

(Anna Nicholas, author of A Lizard in My Luggage)

'James offers us an entertainingly jolly, extremely readably account of all the trials and tribulations of becoming an English beekeeper… James is fearless in poking fun at himself… It is quite touching how completely absorbed he becomes in the bees.'

(Adventuresinbeeland)

Featured in The Lady, August 2012.

(The Lady)

'Talk to any small-scale beekeeper, and they'll tell you there's more to this hobby than simply producing the glorious golden sticky goo at the end of it. Beekeeping is an ancient craft with many dimensions… To find out more about the highs and lows of James Dearsley's plunge into the remarkable world of beekeeping you can read his book'

(The Ambridge Voice)

"We liked [this book]. The Book charts James' ambition to produce in year just one jar of honey and is written in a humorous accessible, non-technical style while offering great practical advice."

(Gifts for Garden Centres)

"Dearsley writes with the boyish enthusiasm of a man falling in love with a new hobby… Containing endless illuminating facts, this is the ideal present for any budding beekeeper… A delightful introduction to an age-old art."

(The Good Book Guide)

'If, like me, you've ever thought of becoming a beekeeper, then this book is for you… Full of information as well as the ups and downs… This book was a delight to read, inspiring, and encouraged me to learn more about solitary bees and look for a local beekeeping course for next year.'

(Living North)

`Written in a humorous, accessible, non-technical style - while offering great practical advice'

(Grow Your Own)

About the Author

James Dearsley is also known as the Surrey Beekeeper and writes for a variety of publications including "Mother Earth News," "Grow Your Own Magazine," and the "Ecologist."

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Emily Heath on 8 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James offers us an entertainingly jolly, extremely readable account of all the trials and tribulations of becoming an English beekeeper. Not only is he combining this with a hefty workload as an international travel agent and being dad to a young toddler, he has to face the worried looks of his wife and friends as he turns into a complete bee geek. The book is written in diary format and follows his challenging journey during 2009 from complete bee novicery to getting his first pot of honey.

My favourite aspect of the book is that James is fearless in poking fun at himself. At a gangly 6'5, he creates a picture of himself as a clumsy Mr Bean style character, at one point falling down a flight of steps as he leaves his beekeeping classes. On another occasion he attempts to communicate with Polish beekeepers that he is a fellow beekeeper too by running around making buzzing noises and pointing at their honey - "As I walked away, I did turn back for one last look at these moustached Polish beekeepers and they were just looking at each other with a rather strange expression; one then shrugged whilst the other started laughing."

It is quite touching how completely absorbed he becomes in the bees, obsessively reading the nights away (a glass of red wine or whiskey at his side) and driving around trying to find out the local forage in his area. He also develops from being most interested in getting his first pot of honey to being deeply concerned with all the threats his bees and those across the world face. I think all of us beekeepers understand that feeling of wonderment at how much there is to learn, and how amazing these fascinating little creatures are.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rivendell on 9 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little book is charming, entertaining and full of fun - however along the way we do learn some of the basics of bee keeping and the ups and downs of this most interesting hobby. It is obvious that the author has a passion for his subject, and is not afraid to admit the mistakes he made on starting out. Bee keeping is an adventure and it is interesting to read how the author juggled his extremely busy job, and family responsibilities alongside his new venture with bees.

Is this a book that will teach you all you need to know about bee keeping? No, it is certainly not going to do that, but there are many great books out there that do cover in detail the ins and outs of the craft; this is however, a good introduction for the general reader about starting such a hobby, some of the joys and pitfalls that come along and also the plight of the bees in the world today.

It is an easy read and a satisfying one - there is much humour nestled among the pages and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in gardening, bee keeping and nature. Few people realise the plight of the bees and the pollinators, who are being wiped out in droves by the pesticides that are commonly used today in all our countries - and few seem to know that if the pollinators are gone, then so is mankind. If this book encourages even one person to think more about the pollinators in our world, then it will be a job well done. I highly recommend it.
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By Tanya Weaver on 31 July 2012
Format: Paperback
Having started out on my beekeeping journey in May 2012, I really wanted to learn as much as possible about this craft. Although the textbook type books I've read have been very helpful, it was great to read a diary account from a novice like myself who has been there, done that and got the bee stings.

James starts off his book in September when he has a crazy notion to become a beekeeper. It then tracks his first full year from attending a beekeeping course, to buying his two hives (a traditional wooden one and a modern plastic Omlet one), the collection of a swarm and then a nucleus and his adventures thereafter all leading to the ultimate aim of whether or not he'll get just one jar of honey.

I really enjoyed James' relaxed style of writing which was really rather humorous at times. He admits when he has got it wrong, which made me feel so much better about what I was doing (he's not the only one who has fed his bees brown sugar syrup, which causes dysentery). It was also great that it wasn't just about life in the hive and his account of it but how his new found hobby fits into his family life. Although very supportive, his wife and young son think he is barking at times (I can relate to that too).

You also don't have to be a 'bee geek' to enjoy his book, whether you are thinking about keeping bees or have done so far many years or have no intention of keeping bees at all but just interested in these fascinating creatures, then you'll find this a very enjoyable and engaging read. I for one hope that this isn't the end of James' account of his beekeeping adventures...perhaps the next one could be 'From Bee to Apiary - My early years of beekeeping' :)
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Format: Paperback
I read this book while travelling around Mongolia and thoroughly enjoyed it. From A to Bee describes James' adventures in becoming a bee keeper - from his very first thoughts trying to convince his family this would be a good idea to becoming a fully fledged beekeeper.

I'm not a bee keeper but I just enjoyed the story. It's a great insight into the world of bees and how important they are to our lives. But it's also a warm-hearted tale about the author's mishaps trying to learn bee keeping and a family coming to terms with the Dad's new hobby. And throughout the book, the author keeps you guessing as to whether or not he will get a jar of honey at the end. All bee keeping terms are explained very effectively so I was never lost.

If you like any books by James Herriot, then 'From A to Bee' is for you. It was a fantastic slice of home when exploring foreign lands and would make a great Sunday night drama. James Dearsley has a very engaging writing style that draws you in as a reader and I finished the book in about 3 days. So whether you're thinking of starting out as a beekeeper or just want an interesting story, I would highly recommend 'From A to Bee'.
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