Moments: Megan Paska, BeeKeeper

Made by Hand / No 3 The Beekeeper from Made by Hand on Vimeo.

Megan Paska, Beekeeper

With a real sense of purpose and connected to the world, “local farmer Megan Paska has witnessed beekeeping as it morphed from an illegal habit to a sustainable, community-supported skill. Mirroring beekeeping’s own ascendance, she found more than just a living: “This is the first time in my life when I’ve just felt absolutely on the right path.”

A project from Bureau of Common Goods, Made by Hand is a new short film series celebrating the people who make things by hand—sustainably, locally, and with a love for their craft.

About Megan Paska, author of the Roof Top Beekeeper: She moved to Brooklyn, NY in 2006 by way of Baltimore, Md (her hometown). She was no stranger to growing food when she got here. Meg had been gardening in Maryland, her mother and grandmother had vegetable gardens and the rest of her family managed a 450-acre farmstead in rural Virginia where she would spend summers walking through the pastures and valleys picking Chicory and learning to appreciate the quiet.

Once settled in NYC, she found that her landlords were enthusiastic about having a little bit of dirt to dig around in. So, they tore down the ratty old swimming pool that occupied the backyard and put up a raised bed vegetable garden. Soon after came the bees and honey, then the chickens and fresh eggs. They raised rabbits for meat. They canned, pickled and brewed beer. They lived pretty darn well.

“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.” Marcus Aurelius

The happiest work times of my life

“I love being a writer. I love that the words I’ve chosen to express myself (aided by my editor and several other folks along the way) may have a positive impact on the lives of a few readers. I love the freedom it offers me to be alone with my thoughts, to work in my pajamas, and to set my own schedule.

There is one other job I have loved this much in my life. It was when I was a projectionist at a movie theater. I was the connector between the creators (writers, actors, directors, etc) and their audience. Through those creators I was able to have a positive impact on the lives of a few movie goers. I loved the freedom it offered me to be alone in the projection booth with my thoughts, or a good book, or to watch the film, to dress, well, not in my pajamas, but certainly casually, and to have a schedule that I loved (play all day and work in the evenings).

The job of projectionist has changed a lot in the last 30 years and I suspect that with all the technological advances we’re seeing it will go the way of typewriter repair people before too long. Thanks to my friend Gary for sending me a link to this short video “Facts About Projection” that took me right back to those wonderful nights and will allow you to peek inside the world behind the movies.


Repost with permission from my friend Thomas Norman DeWolf, author of the book “Inheriting the Trade” (published by Beacon Press, January 2008). DeWolf’s blog discusses issues related to the legacy of slavery that are raised in his book, Inheriting the Trade: A Northern Family Confronts Its Legacy as the Largest Slave-Trading Dynasty in U.S. History and in the film of his family’s journey, Katrina Browne’s Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.

Capturing Moments – Can a photograph feel like a film?

As author-photographer Douglas Gayeton immersed himself for five years in the lives and passions of  those he met in a rural Tuscan town, he put his thousands upon thousands of images together to tell their stories in a format he refers to as “flat film”. Gayeton’s personal recounting of his creative process and the journey he embarked on to capture the authenticity, intimacy and charm of their “slow” lives and cultural heritage are a feast for the eyes, transporting your heart and soul miles from home to Pistoia, Italy. Truly remarkable storytelling – enjoy!

Slow Life in a Tuscan Town

Book: Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town by Douglas Gayeton

“Douglas Gayeton’s SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town is a magical and utterly unique portrayal of rural Italian life, and a tribute to the region’s kaleidoscope of charming local characters whose livelihoods and culture center around the everyday pleasures of growing, preparing, and eating food. Imaginative and interactive portraits are layered with Gayeton’s handwritten notes, anecdotes, recipes, quotes, and historical facts and that cleverly bring context and color to the subject of each sepia-toned image and draw us deeper into this romantic, rewarding, and progressively rare way of life. You will fall in love with the intimate images of an entire town whose lives are profoundly bound to the rhythms of nature and inherently exemplify the popular principles that define Slow Food, a multi-national movement dedicated to preserving local food traditions and honoring local farmers and producers. The unique interplay of pictures and words conveys a thrilling sense of narrative that transcends the page and transports you halfway around the globe. It is a riveting story told in a riveting way: each image is actually comprised of multiple photographs taken over the course of time (from ten minutes to several hours – a photographic approach critics have dubbed “flat film”). The result is nothing less than a new and startling way of seeing photographs.” –  Pier Giorgio Provenzano – videomaker