Home & Garden · Nonfiction

Our Native Bees – Paige Embry

5 stars

There’s so much more to the story than honey bees. In the last few years, at least for me, bees have been in the news more and more frequently. Bees dying! We’re all going to starve! No one knows how to stop colony collapse! Mites, fungus, and disease – oh my! And then, on the edges, I started hearing about mason bees. And then leafcutter bees. And then suddenly I owned a house, and keeping bees was suddenly something I could explore for more than just curiosity’s sake.

 

bees
Cover image from Goodreads

 

Our Native Bees by Paige Embry is a thoughtful introduction to some of the 4,000 bees native to the United States. Embry’s wry sense of humor and storytelling keeps this book from being a dry textbook recounting of bee facts and instead is an engaging book that will endear our tiny neighbors to anyone with a passing interest in our most efficient pollinators.

Embry’s book is full of anecdotes of bee hunting adventures and stunning photographs. From likely-extinct Franklin’s bumblebee to blue orchard bees, and even the ubiquitous European honey bee, Embry profiles the different species in such a way that I can’t help but want to install a mason bee house in my backyard as soon as the weather is appropriate.

In a wondrous turn of luck, Embry lives in Seattle, where I also live, so her personal beekeeping anecdotes are applicable directly to me, and where I live. In her section about blue orchard bees (also called mason bees), Embry references Crown Bees, a company based in Woodinville Washington, just across Lake Washington from Seattle, and a company I’m already familiar with. Crown Bees is the company that kicked off my interest in mason and leafcutter bees, and where I intend to purchase my cocoons and supplies from this spring.

Along with profiling the different bees, Embry also outlines the many challenges facing our bees – natural and manmade.

A fascinating read for gardeners and bee enthusiasts alike, Our Native Bees is on sale February 7 from Timber Press.

I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

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Nonfiction

Distillery Cats – Brad Thomas Parsons

5 Stars

I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Distillery Cats is a charming book full of lovely little profiles of the cats that live and work in distilleries and breweries throughout the United States. The profiles are accompanied by cocktail recipes from the respective distilleries, many of which are named after or inspired by the featured feline. In addition to the drink recipes, the profiles include illustrations of the cats in their element.

As a cat-lover (I have three) and spirited-liquor lover myself (currently sipping on a gin and tonic), Distillery Cats appealed to me on both fronts. Not only do I now have about 20 new Instagram accounts to follow (never too many cat pictures!) but I have been introduced to new distilleries and breweries to seek out. A few are even local to me in the Seattle area! (Field trip!)

I particularly loved the profiles of Pizza and of General Patton. Their stories put a smile on my face.

Distillery Cats is a quick, fun read and would make the perfect gift for any cat-loving drinker you know. It hits shelves on September 19, 2017.