It’s Honey Day!
Sherlock Holmes was a beekeeper. According to Arthur Conan Doyle, he retired to Sussex in the early years of the Twentieth Century and divided his time “between philosophy and agriculture.” Later, details were provided when his hitherto unknown work on beekeeping played a role in breaking a spy ring on the very eve of the Great War:
“But you had retired, Holmes [says Dr Watson]. We heard of you as living the life of a hermit among your bees and your books in a small farm upon the South Downs.”
“Exactly, Watson. Here is the fruit of my leisured ease, the magnum opus of my latter years.” He picked up the volume from the table and read out the whole title, “‘Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen.’ Alone I did it. Behold the fruit of pensive nights and laborious days, when I watched the little working gangs as once I watched the criminal world of London.”
(from “His Last Bow”)
Now, in celebration of the honeybee and in support of Heifer International’s efforts to provide poor communities with assistance in their agricultural (if not philosophical) endeavors, this exclusive facsimile booklet of Holmes’ Practical Handbook excerpts is available.
Just donate two hives ($60) to the Team LRK page of Heifer International by May 20, 2009, and you not only get the Holmes beekeeping booklet, but a pot of Heifer community honey, and a chance at having a character in the next Holmes and Russell novel named after you.
Heifer International is one of my favorite organizations, based on the idea that the best way to help people is to let them help first themselves, then their neighbors. I hope you can help me support this cause, and the industrious bee that keeps us all fed and healthy.