While we love road tripping, we sure love coming home! Getting the bees from Florida is always fun but also a lot of stress since we worry about their well-being the entire trip and you never know what can happen on the road. I have a lot of pictures I need to upload and then I will devote a separate posting just for that since it is deserving of special focus.
What’s with the picture up top? Those are things we got at the Pearl last time we worked it. And you know what? We sure missed good eating while on the road! Can’t wait to get back to market and get some fresh, local foods! Top of the list – Brussels sprouts. And more spinach for this (I call it the Green Thienie Surprise since I sprung it on the men a few weeks ago):
And speaking of market and the last time we worked it, our friend Beatriz gave us this very cool waxed sheet of fabric that we can use as a food storage option – it’s reusable! This was a sweet gift and timely as I would like to learn how to make these also so maybe I will ask Beatriz to tell me more about it next time we have a chance to visit. I saw these on one of my favorite websites/blogs/shops (Food 52) and they had sandwich storage beeswax sheets such as this. I hadn’t had time to follow up with more research and then here we are…Beatriz beat me to it. Thanks, friend!
Posted in bee craft, bees, education, Markets, recipes, travel | Tagged friends, gifts, Pearl | Leave a Comment »
I have a few minutes before we need to go to bed since it’s market day tomorrow morning. I didn’t realize we’ve hit February without a post – SORRY!!! It’s just been so hectic with the Honey House nearing finish, bees needing checking and feeding, beeswax to filter and pour, and the list goes on. Anyway, it’s been good!
The above picture is a shot I snapped out at Comanche Creek in Medina County, where we visited last Sunday. It’s one of my favorite pictures because it looks like the bee on the left is sipping on the straw. haha It was such a beautiful day, warm and sunny. After several days of cold weather, we all were ready to be outside and so were the bees. They looked great and we are hoping for just a bit of rain so things can really pop! And we were happy to see some Agarita about to bloom and a couple of other bushes we didn’t know the names of yet. We’ll have to see how they bloom and then maybe we’ll figure out what they are. This is what Agarita looks like and it’s also about to bloom out at Deadman Creek, as reported by Mark and Tang today.
And of course, since it is Valentine’s Day, I will say goodnight with a shot of a couple of the cards I made for my friends. I hope you had a wonderful day!
Posted in "Deadman Creek", bee yard, bees, Comanche Creek, health, honey house, plants | Tagged bees drinking water | Leave a Comment »
In case you didn’t know it, today is the first day of the Lunar New Year! So happy Tet (Vietnamese New Year) to you if you are celebrating! I love that I have two cultures to draw from – so we get another new year kickoff! In honor of Tet, I made some quiet time this morning to reflect on our past, our present and what might be in our future and I am so thankful, so happy, and so excited about our continuing journey this coming year. We feel like it’s going to be a big, big year for our business as well as for our personal family life. There’s a saying that when your incense curls while burning, that means good things are happening so I was very happy to see our incense this morning. Good sign.
I took today off to just celebrate life and everything in it and to be with Mark and Tang. I sure miss them when I go off to work at the mill and they’re doing all sorts of work together. I do love getting reports and checkins but it’s not the same as being together. So today, I am very happy I get to just be with them as I was last Sunday when we went out to two bee yards to check on and feed the bees. And yes, they are used to all my gear.
Do you need some help deciding if you should come check out the Pearl Farmers Market every Saturday morning? Have you been but thought, “Oh, been there, done that. Why should I go again?” Allow me to share with you why WE love to go…
We’ve got all these good-looking, good-smelling, good-for-your-environment beeswax products we like to share.
And these sweeties will be there tomorrow also.
Then there’s the food we pick up so we can nourish our bodies. I made this last week and my brother told me I should have a restaurant (that’s a big compliment from him). I got the ingredients from fellow Pearl market vendors: big portabella mushroom from Kitchen Pride Mushroom, spinach from Springfield Farm, goat cheese from CKC Farms, cauliflower from Oak Hill Farms, egg from Wholesome Harvest Farm (right here in Seguin with us!).
Ah finally, an update on our lovely, lovely Honey House – so close to being ready for final inspection! Holding back on the exclamation points but we are pretty excited, to say the least. When I get frustrated with the red tape businesses have to cut through just to get something like this done, all I have to do is to into the HH. All that negativity just disappears into thin air as I look around and visualize us all working in the space that will soon be completed. No more falling on top of each other. No more sticking to honeyed/waxed equipment that because there wasn’t enough room to pass by even with your gut sucked in (haha). No more hunting one room for tape, another room for a box and a third room for the products you need to ship. WOW. What are we going to do or think?? This will feel like a mansion to us! Well, actually it will be a mansion for our bee biz. It’s really tangible now. It’s really looking like a work space and we can’t wait to move in, get to work and have y’all over!
Posted in administrative, equipment, food, honey house | Tagged construction, Pearl Farmers Market, Pearl Market, vendors | 1 Comment »
Hello everyone. Just wanted to take some time to catch you up on our happenings. First off, yard treasures. This past year we had an amazing pecan crop when many others didn’t. Between bee work, candle making, construction and living life, Mark and Tang picked up pecans. We had a little help from family visits and a LOT of help from our dear friends, Mr. & Mrs. Savior. Boy, that man can climb trees still and he is up there in years. I was very little help really as the cedar has been trying to hurt me as it does every year about this time. After harvesting the pecans, we took them in batches to Brookes Pecan of San Antonio. They did a great job for us and while we wait for the final total, it looks like we are either first or second in terms of hauling in the most pecans, measuring by pounds brought in and shelled. Whoa! That’s pretty cool. At this point, I can safely say it was over 1,000 pounds. Exact number coming soon.
Here’s a second yard treasure for you (pecans being the first) – Colombian coin in the yard! It’s so pretty. I love the beautiful flower tree on one side of the coin. It’s the tree of life, which is what one of our ornaments is named! Meant to be, I tell you. So neat to find little treasures, both edible and not.
In construction news, we are happy, worried, anxious, eager, and all the other emotions that people must feel when they are spending a ton of money to build a dream. There’s always something unexpected though not always bad, so that’s nice. It’s good we’re near the end of building because we’re also dwindling away funds and while we did set aside funds for this, it’s still a little scary, right? Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, please. We can’t wait to get in the building so we can see how far our journey will continue to take us. We have power; we have concrete landings; we have some landscaping dirt and gravel; and we have a builder ready to finish out the inside. Ahhhh!!! There’s still more landscaping work to be done but it looked so wonderful tonight when I walked out back to see the progress made today with fill dirt and gravel. It’s going to be so wonderful when it’s time to move into it! What a joy it will be to work in all that space and to have the things you need better organized.
One more shot regarding building and construction and things you have to do to make the City happy. Such as build a sidewalk in front of your place of business. This one deserves a post at a later date so for now, I will leave it at this…the men were out front researching and figuring how to meet requirements and also not have to take out the lovely trees at our entrance. We’ll keep you posted.
Finally, I will share a one of the pictures I got from Tang and Mark as they check and feed bees. This is the first batch of drone brood for the season and it’s exciting because it means the hive is starting to grow and that’s always a great thing. It’s a sign of good health. Yay bees!
Quiz time: What else do you see in the above picture that is noteworthy?
Posted in bee yard, bees, brood, construction, honey house | Tagged feeding, mites | 2 Comments »
Guess what? Gretchen Bee Ranch will again have a limited number of starter hives, or nucleus hives, available for sale this spring. We’ve had so much fun and great success with the nucleus sales, that we wanted to offer the hives again. This will be our third year and we’re so excited! If you think you might be interested in a hive from us, then keep reading.
We will have the nucleus hives ready for pick-up here in Seguin on Friday, March 22 and again on March 28. Please understand that factors beyond our control (such as the weather and the delivery of our queens) could force us to alter this schedule. The cost of the nucleus hives is $195 each. As a reminder, the nucleus hive is a starter beehive consisting of five frames: one frame of honey, one frame of honey & pollen and three frames of brood in various stages of development. The frames will be covered with bees, and one of these bees will be a queen from a reputable queen breeder that is already laying eggs. The frames and bees will be enclosed in a corrugated plastic box designed to transport bees. The frames will need to be transferred to your wooden hive boxes soon after you arrive home. Our experience with nucleus hives is that they build up quickly and often produce honey the first year.
You may purchase a nucleus hive or hives on the GBR website or drop us a comment or email if you have questions.
On the day that the nucleus hives will be available for pick-up, we will also offer an optional class titled “How to Build Up Your Bees in the Spring.” This will be a two to three hour, hands-on class that will cover such topics as feeding your hive, evaluating your queen, enlarging the brood nest, swarm prevention, adding honey supers and mite control. There will be plenty of time for questions as well. The cost of the class is $59 per person. To register for the class, please email us and we’ll place you on the class roster. Again, this class is optional.
Our wonderful Honey House is still under construction so we may not have beekeeping equipment available for sale this spring. We recommend Mann-Lake as a reputable supplier with free shipping on most orders over $100. You can check the Mann-Lake site and see what you think. Even if you aren’t going to keep bees, it’s still fun to look at all the cool stuff.
Posted in administrative, bees, education, equipment, sale | Tagged bee sale, nucs | Leave a Comment »
So a few weeks ago, after the mad rush of holiday activities, I finally came down with something. It didn’t feel like a flu but it didn’t feel like just allergies. I guess it could have been a combination of really bad allergies and a really bad cold. I was out of it, sleepy all the time, no energy, congested, coughing and freezing all the time (which is really unheard of for me and that’s how Mark knows I must really be ill). My sore throat could only be soothed with hot beverages and the lemon honey tea is always nice for that. I think all the talking during Pearl market really was what pushed me over the sick edge. The soar throat was just killing me from talking for about four hours and inhaling all that cold air and whatever was flying around that day. Anyway, I did have some nice down time and fortunately it happened when things were slow at my other job as well, with so many coworkers on vacation or out ill.
At market, we often exchange ideas with friends and customers about uses for our products and other vendors’ products. And so I had a chance to talk again about using our honey in a cough syrup and decided I should really do it. So I combed through many blogs and recipe sites to see what was out there for natural honey recipes for coughs. I really liked the sounds of one in particular and I used it as a base model for some syrup to help my and Tang’s coughs. It’s essentially this: fill a jar (any size but I used a pint jar) 3/4 of the way up with lime slices and about 2 teaspoons worth fresh ginger (I just sliced up what looked like the equivalent of that and then added more slices for good measure since ginger is so good for the digestive system anyway). Then I went to work layering things into the jar.
For an extra boost of local allergy relief, I used the wildflower comb honey I had left from Guadalupe County. I liked the bits of wax that came along for the ride. Couldn’t hurt.
I mashed things up and then poured more honey in so that it was near the top of the jar. Then it went in the fridge over night and the next night we each had a cup of hot tea with one teaspoon of the syrup. Even though Mark doesn’t typically like citrus flavors in this hot tea, he did like this formula and the three of us give this syrup three thumbs up for sure. I am excited to next try a rosemary-lime-honey syrup since we have a potted rosemary by the back door and I love rosemary! You can also try oranges with cloves and honey but I haven’t done that one yet.
I sent some of my pictures and information out to family and friends and my brother Tuan sent me his picture of his own version. I like learning from others and in his version, he used five very juicy limes and upped the amount of ginger (as in he used “a ton” of fresh ginger they had in the freezer, he said). He did the 3/4 lime-ginger and 1/4 honey combination and stirred it all up, adjusting sweetness and sourness to his liking. Then he popped it into the refrigerator for a few hours and then proceeded to down five tablespoons straight up. He cracked me up! It does taste very good and I can see myself doing the same if I would allow it, which I won’t. haha Anyway, thank you brother dear for sharing your concoction and picture with us and for letting me use it here. I love how you committed immediately with the quart size jar! By the way, I am so happy to see you guys are burning the candles! We will send more.
Posted in beeswax, education, food, health, honey, Markets, medical, recipes | Tagged family, sick, syrup | 3 Comments »
Hi. I’m sorry. I don’t know where December 18 through the end of the year went. I know I meant to blog several times and then record-breaking sales at market happened. And holiday events happened. And family Christmasing happened. And then I got sick. And then here we are…2014. We did the best we could to keep up with orders, markets and walk-in business while balancing work with the Christmas spirit and joys of life. We love what we’re doing; we just wish time would somehow slow down a bit. Just a bit. But then we think, maybe that’s what will happen later in life when our bodies won’t let us do anymore what we’re able to do now. Maybe. We’ll see. Meanwhile, it’s full steam ahead.
Welcome to the new year! We are so excited to see what will happened for us all and we will continue to share it with y’all here and on our other social media outlets. 2013 was truly an amazing year for us and our little but growing business. We started setting our roots here at the new Bee Ranch of W. Kingsbury (I love how that sounds so medieval.) and we started expanding our line of beeswax products and we went into a few more select retail outlets. Oh yes, we established a few new bee yards and closed out a couple of others. Gosh, how to sum up an entire year of beeventures without writing a book? What a great year it was and the most amazing thing is that we have a feeling this new year will bring us even more beeventures and we are eager to experience it all. Can’t wait!
Here’s an example of a continued successful collaboration we look forward to growing – our friendship with the Springfield Farm family! We are thrilled they continue to use our honey and wax in their growing cosmetics line. Here’s a peek at a new scrub that features our honey. Be sure to go by the Pearl Farmers Market every Saturday and support our fellow vendors and friends. We all strive to develop partnerships that support each other and we’re so proud and honored when someone wants to use our products in their own products or services.
In Honey House construction news, we’re happy to report that there is now ALMOST official power in there. We’re “this” close! It’s a lot closer than before actually and come Thursday (tomorrow), the electrical and plumbing should be ready for City inspection. Woohoo! Below was a shot I snapped because I liked the thought of a conduit carrying power into that big ole HH. haha little things are big to us and we are so excited! Can’t wait to get set up in there and be able to work more efficiently. Soon. Very soon. Must be patient.
So in our free time, we like to find more things to do. New things we’ve never done before. Like caring for and harvesting from our pecan orchard of twenty-three trees. Seriously, we love pecans and we’ve picked pecans for our own devouring and gifting, but we’ve never harvested on a larger scale than that. But in a year when so many people told us their trees yielded no crop whatsoever, it would be a shame to let our own crop go unharvested and uneaten. So here we are, harvesters of pecans. Learning a lot each day, as always.
Back to something we know a bit about – bees. Lately, we haven’t had many warm days for bee feeding so with forecasted temperatures in the mid-60s, we decided we were going to hit two bee yards that needed feeding. The three of us loaded up and headed to Carolina and Pizza bee yards and it was so much fun! I had not been out to a bee yard in so long that I had to accompany the men despite not feeling 100%. It was so nice to get out of the house!
Here’s a look at the men while we were at Carolina yard.
Posted in administrative, bee yard, Carolina, construction, food, health, honey house, Markets, Pizza Yard | Leave a Comment »