And speaking of bees, my old friend Bill Dixon (those of you who know him will not be surprised to hear this) has been in Afghanistan for a while-- after spending two and half years in Baghdad! Fearful he is not. He's been sending me pictures and stories of life over there, just incredible to hear. I have meant to post them because they are a hell of a lot more interesting than what filters to the papers but keep not blogging much.

This past week he ended up in a region called Shakar Dara about an hour north of Kabul, which means "Sweet Valley,". Bill says "it is amazingly beautiful and the people are incredibly friendly. In the 80's it was a brutal killing ground for Russian conscripts, but it's okay now as long as I go with Afghan friends who know some locals. I've adopted a bunch of the kids and show up regularly with school supplies and candy."

The name of the area may come from the beekeepers there. I have posted a bunch of Bill's pictures below. Aside from Eva Crane's work I haven't read much about beekeeping in the Middle/Near East. I am surprised to see, perhaps wrongly, that they more or less use Langstroth equipment. The cloth inner cover is a bit different, but definitely would work and is cheap. The frames look the same, though the empty space makes me curious. I like the entrance closer, easy with such a small entrance.

I would have guessed that there were more top bar hives in Afghanistan, but of course that would not be useful for migratory beekeepers. I wonder what backyard Afghani beekeepers use. I wonder if it is appropriate to use the term "backyard" when discussing Afghanistan.

On a side note, a friend of mine just today mailed me that book by the Scot who walked across Afghanistan. I'll see if he mentions beekeepers. I am guessing not since my friend who mailed me the book is also a beekeeper, so this might have been the kind of thing he would have mentioned. Or, perhaps, he liked the book because of its insights into Afghani beekeeping. In any case, I'll read it and report back.

I love the colors in these pictures, the contrast between the bightly painted hives and the monocolor landscape, just striking.

That's Bill with some honey, he says it is delicious.


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