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Just fifty years ago, no one could explain mountains. They were just there. Old ones had eroded and withered; young ones were spired and majestic. Arguments about their origin were spirited, to say the least. Scientists were ridiculed for advocating the wrong ideas about the birth of mountains. Most geologists thought mountains rose because the planet was shrinking. Contracting like a hot ball of iron in a smith's shop, cracking and leaving trails of ridges that became mountains. Other scientists were quite sure the planet was expanding. Growth tore open canyons and sea basins and thrust up mountains. Still others pointed to cycles of erosion. Sediments built up along the seashore, becoming thick and heavy until weight and heat created a trampoline in the abyss from which the mountains sprung. There was yet another idea, the theory that the world's crust was cracked into pieces that jostled around, drifting until they collided, crushing mountains into shape. That was the idea that could cost an untenured professor a promotion. But the doubtful theory of plate tectonics was eventually accepted as the best explanation for the world's mountain ranges. Mountains, earthquakes, many of our volcanoes, ancient ice ages, even the occurrence of diamonds and petroleum are now seen as the offspring of tectonic forces. Half a century ago, most geologists rejected the idea of drifting continents, but there were a few early champions of plate tectonics. The Mountain Mystery tells their story. The Mountain Mystery is available now at this link.


This memoir is Ron's first book. It's the story of the author as a youngster from western Pennsylvania who moves to the open prairie badlands of southern Saskatchewan. In the village of Val Marie, he buys a honey ranch and keeps bees that make a million pounds of honey. Not being seriously dumb, he managed to leave Saskatchewan for a few months every winter and make honey from the Florida orange groves that surrounded his acreage in the swamps there.

Although rich in beekeeping lore, this is a book about people, not bees. The reader meets the folks who shape Ron's life - including a Cree rancher with three sons playing NHL hockey, a Hutterite preacher who yearns to roam the globe, a reclusive bee-eating homesteader, and a grey-headed widow who grows grapefruit, plays a nasty game of scrabble, lives with four vicious dogs, and was invited to Ronald Reagan's Inaugural Ball.

This true story evolves from the earnest inexperience of a young man learning the art of beekeeping and building a business. Each spring, he hauls big truck loads of honey bees into Appalachian apple orchards, then settles them in Wisconsin during the summer months so they can feast on clover flowers. Meanwhile, he has those colonies in the Canadian badlands and brings everything together in Florida for the winter. It is a fast-paced adventure comedy and a truly unique lifestyle. Then, of course, it all goes terribly wrong. It's Bad Beekeeping.

Read, Learn, Know:     Ron's First Book     Ron's Second Book     Ron's Bee Blog     Ron's Geo Blog

                copyright 2017 Ron Miksha

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