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These days, we keep bees, grow food, and otherwise film, write, and work in a mountaintop village in northeastern Bosnia. It’s a steep patch of a funnel-shaped land we inherited from our father, along with an unruly orchard whose edges are furrowed by a creeping landslide. We are now a matriarchy; our mother is to our land what a queen bee is to a hive.

Larisa Jasarevic is a flawed human being. Also an anthropologist and a beekeeper, a  photographer in training and a first-time filmmaker.  An independent scholar, Larisa works and lives by her family’s mountaintop apiary in northeastern Bosnia.  Her current research project concerns  honeybees, their beekeepers and the changing climate. She is especially interested in thinking about and beyond ecology with the insights of Islamic metaphysics. Her book, Beekeeping in the End Times, is forthcoming (IUP 2024) while the documentary film by the same name is currently in post-production. Among her previous writings is a book on bodily experience of post-war economy, entitled Health and Wealth in the Bosnian Market: Intimate Debt (IUP 2017). Larisa enjoyed her time teaching at the University of Chicago and being a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She strives to write for and speak to broad audiences and is currently (thrilled to be) completing an illustrated book on honeybee ecology and cosmology for children and young readers.
You can reach Larisa at jasarevic.g.larisa@gmail.com


Azra is an independent filmmaker. Since graduating  from the International School for Film and Television, San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba, she  worked with the Freedom Front, a local activist group.  She has been researching and filming the struggles of regional workers and the social justice movements in the context of post-socialist economic and environmental disasters. Ever a nature lover, she is  also  a part-time beekeeper. Along with Larisa, she is co-directing and co-producing  the documentary Beekeeping in the End Times.You can reach Azra at azrajasarevic10@gmail.com

Zumra, an economist by training and a long-time writer, is now retired as a fulltime gardener. Since 2015, she has also been a bee-lover. The most practically-minded one in the family, she has the final word in the household and keeps our apiary’s records and our expense log. The business of our beekeeping to date, according to her count, is financially reckless.

Pepe is being a cat.

Postcards from Our Village & Apiary

March 29th dawned brilliant and unseasonally warm. We took a long walk through the fields and forests. Mom and Azra hunted the forest for bear’s garlic while I stalked the foraging bees. There was not much for the bees to find in bloom besides dead nettles, primroses, and wild violets. And this strange forest flower—can anyone name it? Raw and pink as flesh, the flowers emerge beneath the blanket of last year’s leaves, as if they were shrouds. Arching low above the ground, the florets are hiding, though not from the bees.

Sometime in late May, 2021.  A plunge:  deep within the parted petals is an offering. We name it pollen but who could tell what the treasure means to this bee.  

Springtime 2024
Blooms came out way too early. But they are as gorgoues as ever. 

Our Apiary, spring 2020

The many honeybees that live on our hand occupy a mere eight hives. Our apiary is truly small but our greatest feat is that we’ve been managing to keep the bees alive and healthy over the years. We have harvested honey only three times, since 2015. Gorgeous, umber-colored linden, mixed in with black locust and blackberry blossoms, the honey is so fragrant that a whiff alone gives you a buzz. The jars warm up with golden hues as the honey crystalizes. All other years, we have fed honey and pollen (bought from a trusted source) back to the bees.

Without this emergency food aid (a snapshot of its production above), our bees would not have fared well through the dearths due to strange  weather. As the signs of global climate change become more immediately felt on the ground--even ground such as ours, far from industrial pollution and industrial agriculture, lovingly cultivated with bee-friendly flora and surrounded by forests and wilds--it is not clear how much longer we will be able to keep bees. In the meantime, with their perseverance, their beauty, their buzzing that sounds like invocation to Sufis and, anyhow, feels like a blessing, their swarming, nectar gathering, pollen foraging, pollinating and other acts of faith under inclement skies, the bees are keeping us going. 

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