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Writing Samples

Organic gardening, beekeeping, green living, and the natural world have long been specialty areas for Susan, although she can take on most any subject.

Click on the links below to see some samples of her past work from consumer and trade publications.

Arts & Crafts · Beekeeping · Business

Miscellaneous · Nature · Organic Gardening

Arts & Crafts

Outdoor Illinois

Feeling the Sting? Illinois beekeepers face up to some troubling national trends

“Things haven’t been so good for the hard-working honey-bee lately. Just ask the folks from the Northern Illinois Beekeepers Association. At a recent meeting, its members were polled on the all-too-familiar ‘How many of you had hives die off this past winter?’ and, according to treasurer Steve Wenzel, ‘Practically every hand went up.’”

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The New York Times

The Real Life of Bees

“The walking, talking, sneaker-wearing honeybees in Jerry Seinfeld’s animated film certainly are cute. But if a beekeeper like me had been in the director’s chair, ‘Bee Movie’ would have looked quite a bit different.”

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Boys’ Life Magazine

A Honey of a Mystery

“Beekeepers around the United States are puzzling over big mystery: Beehives buzzing with activity one day are nearly completely empty when next inspected.”Normally when something goes wrong, beekeepers find piles of dead bees and other clues, but with what scientists have named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), beekeepers find no dead bees—just honey, eggs, larvae and pupae left behind.”

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Plenty Magazine

Adventures in Beekeeping: It’s Not Just the Honey That Makes Tending a Hive So Rewarding

“The truth is, I wouldn’t be a beekeeper if it weren’t for a strange man I’d never met falling in love with a lady who was allergic to bees. The pair got married, and, not long after, the fellow sold his hives, honey extractor, smoker, veils, gloves, and back issues of Bee Culture magazine—all easily worth thousands of dollars—to a dear friend of mine for just 250 bucks. I thought it was all rather touching—not to mention quite the haul, as my friend turned right around and gifted the equipment to me.”

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Beekeeping

Indianapolis Monthly Magazine

Security Check: Christopher Soghoian thinks what we don’t know can hurt us

“It looked like a scene right out of Low & Order. Christopher Soghoian arrived at his small Bloomington apartment last October to find smashed glass, books tossed on the floor, and computer and equipment gone. But the IU computer-science grad student hadn’t been robbed. He’d been served—an FBI search warrant had been taped to the kitchen table.”

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Indianapolis Woman

Tough Enough: Julie Kedzie Kicks It Up a Notch in the Mixed Martial Arts World

“Julie Kedzie’s nose bleeds again, and her hair’s a mess. Wisps of it have come free from her tight cornrows. She works hard to catch her breath.‘Still, the professional mixed martial arts fighter beams like a cheerleader at the top of the pyramid. It’s a clear case “‘You should see the other guy.’”The referee has called a stop to Kedzie’s fight with Julia Berezekova at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The packed venue erupts as Kedzie raises her arms in victory.”

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Business

Plenty Magazine

Beyond Pigeons: Bird watching catches on in the urban jungle

“Okay, so he was dead. But he was also the most stunning wild bird I’d ever seen—probably ever would see. I’d been walking the city alleys of Bloomington, Indiana, when I nearly stepped on a lovely-but-lifeless Indigo Bunting. I recall lightly pinching his paper-thin body between my thumb and index finger. With the smallest movement of my wrist I could make his electric blue head flop from one side to the other. His snapped neck made sense. After all, the neotropical migrant navigates with the stars. Flying at night, he probably never noticed that eight-story brick building smack in the middle of the city’s buzzing downtown—until he smacked into it himself, of course.”

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Boys’ Life Magazine

Barricading Bears

“After half an hour of clawing and biting, four Bronx Zoo grizzlies gave up on the apple-filled canister their keepers tossed them to test. The confounding container manufactured by Garcia Machine was designed to be bear proof, and fortunately for the bears, it is.”

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Indiana University Alumni Magazine

The Ordinary Extra-Ordinary Junco: Singing the praises of a research rock star

“From the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker to the well-traveled arctic tern, there are a lot of fantastic birds in the world. Dazzlingly iridescent indigo buntings. American redstarts that very nearly glow. Birds with, at least at first glance, a lot more cachet than an ordinary junco.After all, juncos are ubiquitous, ranging across North and South America. Sometimes called ‘snowbirds’ in Indiana, they arrive in autumn, stay through winter, and will be migrating away soon. (Look closely and you just might spot some of the little, gray birds outside your window right now.) But, when it comes to research value, the unassuming junco is a veritable rock star.”

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Miscellaneous

Hobby Farms

Farm Garden column

“When soil temps reach 45 degrees F or so, it’s time to put in the season’s first crop of peas. Both traditional shelling and edible-pod peas thrive in cool weather and are among the easiest crops to grow.”

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Country Living Gardener

Garden Tech: The Latest Seed-Starting Stuff

“The right mix of seeds, growing medium, moisture, and patience work together to produce tiny green miracles.Whether you’re a beginner or an old hand, seed starting is easier now than ever. Here’s what’s new and how to make it work for you.”

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Nature

Plenty Magazine

Beyond Pigeons: Bird watching catches on in the urban jungle

“Okay, so he was dead. But he was also the most stunning wild bird I’d ever seen—probably ever would see. I’d been walking the city alleys of Bloomington, Indiana, when I nearly stepped on a lovely-but-lifeless Indigo Bunting. I recall lightly pinching his paper-thin body between my thumb and index finger. With the smallest movement of my wrist I could make his electric blue head flop from one side to the other. His snapped neck made sense. After all, the neotropical migrant navigates with the stars. Flying at night, he probably never noticed that eight-story brick building smack in the middle of the city’s buzzing downtown—until he smacked into it himself, of course.”

View PDF

Boys’ Life Magazine

Barricading Bears

“After half an hour of clawing and biting, four Bronx Zoo grizzlies gave up on the apple-filled canister their keepers tossed them to test. The confounding container manufactured by Garcia Machine was designed to be bear proof, and fortunately for the bears, it is.”

View PDF

Indiana University Alumni Magazine

The Ordinary Extra-Ordinary Junco: Singing the praises of a research rock star

“From the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker to the well-traveled arctic tern, there are a lot of fantastic birds in the world. Dazzlingly iridescent indigo buntings. American redstarts that very nearly glow. Birds with, at least at first glance, a lot more cachet than an ordinary junco.After all, juncos are ubiquitous, ranging across North and South America. Sometimes called ‘snowbirds’ in Indiana, they arrive in autumn, stay through winter, and will be migrating away soon. (Look closely and you just might spot some of the little, gray birds outside your window right now.) But, when it comes to research value, the unassuming junco is a veritable rock star.”

View PDF

Organic Gardening

Hobby Farms

Farm Garden column

“When soil temps reach 45 degrees F or so, it’s time to put in the season’s first crop of peas. Both traditional shelling and edible-pod peas thrive in cool weather and are among the easiest crops to grow.”

View PDF

Country Living Gardener

Garden Tech: The Latest Seed-Starting Stuff

“The right mix of seeds, growing medium, moisture, and patience work together to produce tiny green miracles.Whether you’re a beginner or an old hand, seed starting is easier now than ever. Here’s what’s new and how to make it work for you.”

View PDF