Happy, happy Thanksgiving, friends! May your day be filled with love and laughter no matter what you’re doing. We give thanks for countless blessings we receive daily – so many I am overwhelmed at times thinking of them all! Thank you for helping us do what we love and thank you for taking this journey with us to learn about bees, building, retail, people, and so much more. Your support and caring are what help us know we are doing a good thing here. We are also very thankful for each other and for the people who worked so hard this short week to help build our dream. The slab is poured and drying while we enjoy a day of family and rest (a little). I will dedicate a post specifically to update the construction but it is going well after some minor bumps. Friday the actual building will be delivered.
PS – That’s our Honey Pecan Pie. This year we shelled pecans from our very own yard and went with Frio County Mesquite Honey. Off to the parents’ house we go. Here’s the recipe should you wish to indulge: GBR Honey Pecan Pie.
Posted in administrative, construction, honey house, recipes | Leave a Comment »
Here’s our entrance to the Bee Ranch. The two papers posted are permits from the City of Seguin so that we can be officially in our construction and so on. We also had people out to mark all the underground things we need to be aware of – it’s 811 if you need to schedule that, by the way.
After an evening of worry over a plumbing issue that Mark noticed Monday, we got moving again after a fairly painless resolution was found the next day. Phew. We continue to learn a LOT as we get the Honey House built (this is how I found Mark after dinner Monday night: Recalculating plumbing measurements). Boy, talk about an entirely new awareness and appreciation for building projects. Can’t even imagine the coordination and administrative work of a really gigantic warehouse. But maybe it’d be less stress if you had on-site help daily. We are thankful, however, that we have a good friend who is acting as our construction consultant. Thank you, Thomas!
This is a shot of some of the rebar that concrete will be poured onto soon. What’s really awesome is the fact that the rebar going into the HH foundation is from our local steel mill where I work (CMC Steel Texas). Go steelers! I don’t know why but that just made it extra special for me when I saw it on property and in the form. At lunchtime, the update was sounding really great: plumbing work is done for now, the foundation crew returned (yay) and then the electrician comes next. This is all so exciting and we really are hoping we’ll have enough done on the HH so that we can stage it a bit for Holiday Open House on December 8. Fingers crossed!
In bee news: Last week the Bigfoot bee yard bees did not look good at all. It really worried Mark to see their frames empty of honey already given that the area had rain recently. He expected to find more but since he didn’t, he started pulling together plans to feed the girls to sustain them until they can go at it on their own. Still trying to figure out why they went downhill like that. Fortunately, a visit to Comanche Creek yards assured us we weren’t about to lose all of those hives as well. Mark was happy to see #1 yard bee looking pretty good. #2 yard will need to be fed but at least they are all still there. He wants to get back out there as soon as possible to feed, but given this critical stage of construction, he needed to stay around the Bee Ranch. Measure twice, pour once…as a friend wrote to us. He is right. We need to get this right for the HH.
That’s it for now. Next post, I’ll share some shots and directions for the best baked persimmon dessert ever! Ciao!
Posted in administrative, bees, Comanche Creek, construction, honey house | Tagged building, City permits, feeding, plumbling, recalculating | Leave a Comment »
Well, as of yesterday, this is how the Honey House (HH) is looking and we can’t begin to tell you the emotions and excitment we feel when we are out back there. It’s FINALLY REAL!!! See how happy we are? Smokey’s happy, too, and accompanies us each day to check out all the progress and to climb dirt piles and machinery. We leave the last two activities to him although I do get some height by standing on the tractor occasionally.
It’s been a crazy busy kind of week but Mark’s made some new candles and I’m totally smitten with them! First we have these sweet round pillars, which we’ll be debuting at the Pearl Farmers Market as well as in the bee class that Mark teaches, both happening tomorrow. These are 3-inch diameter pillars and their heights are 3-, 4-, and 6-inches (priced $14, $18, $22 respectively).
He aslo made some sweet little hand-dipped tapers – his first! I will get a good picture of them and share them next post.
Finally, I just want to give a BIG TEXAS THANK YOU to our good friend, Josh, who owns Azulox Photography. I have admired his work and his talent for many years and we are so happy that we had a photo shoot with him finally – we’ve never had portraits made together, even for our wedding, so this was very special to us. I can’t think of anyone I trusted more to capture us and how we are together. We had so much fun and we love the photographs. It’s going to be very, very hard for me to pick the few I will put up on our walls. Thank you so much, Josh! We love you and wish you all the best in your life and work. Here is ONE of my favorites:
Posted in administrative, beeswax, equipment, honey house, Markets | Tagged "photo shoot" pillars, construction | 3 Comments »
So funny that we work so hard to get a couple of sheets of paper that give us official permission to officially start construction of the Honey House. It has been about a year in the makings and countless hours of work for Mark and others to gather and prepare and present to the City. And here we are. They finally gave their okay to proceed. It is a huge investment of time, energy and money; hopefully we will have something to show for it SOON.
I’m really proud of Mark for the work he has put into all of this. His previous work experience with city administration ranged from libraries to golf courses to coliseum and then back to libraries and on to asset management. Long road and lots of learning along the way, like how to put together a completely impressive package of materials in triplicate. Oh yes, plus one. (What is a set of four called?) Then he met with city staff and presented all our plans and the meeting went really well. Good job, honeybee. Good job.
Posted in administrative, construction, equipment, honey house | Leave a Comment »
…if Mark was not the beekeeper he is and if he did not allow me to simply wander the landscape on our big and mini-beeventures (instead of doing the really hard work).
I might have missed all the lovely mushrooms scattered here and there in our yard. I spied several lovelies as I photographed Mark and Stan unloading
I might have missed the most precious acorns ever in our front yard, under the huge oak tree. It’s nice to have things other than various types of caterpillars falling out. hehe
I might have missed the beautiful lines that boards make when stacked and the character of each board’s surface, telling of weather conditions here in South Texas.
I might never have known that bees have happy hour as well.
I might have freaked out if I saw ghost bees, especially on a night such as this.
(Actually, that’s just powdered sugar and it doesn’t harm them.)
I could go on and on but I’ll say goodnight here. Earlier today I was thinking about these things I have enjoyed seeing and so I just wanted to share them with y’all. Hope you’ve had a great day and a safe one most of all. Sleep well and talk to you again soon.
Posted in administrative, bee yard, disease, equipment, health, photography | Leave a Comment »
We are so thrilled to finally have all the components ready for the rollout of our first-ever holiday ornaments! We had been working on the packaging as I have mentioned in previous posts and now we’re ready. We did a soft launch this past weekend at market and class but now these lovelies are up for grabs anywhere and anytime. I still have to do an official photo shoot in order to prep them each for the website but here’s the basic information you’ll need to know to decide if you want to buy them for yourself or as a gift for others:
- Angel with Candle and Santa & Kitty ornaments are each $14.
- Round Tree of Life ornament is $16.
- All ornaments are 100% pure beeswax – all natural with no artificial scents added, just the sweet and natural honey in there. All beeswax comes from right here in South Texas.
- We hand-pour and pull each ornment in our Candle Shop here at the Bee Ranch.
- Each ornament comes in its own linen bag that includes a pull-twine-tie and a folded, heavy-stock information booklet with a history of beeswax ornaments and care and handling tips.
Here’s the front of the booklet:
The inside and back are filled with beeswax ornament history and care information:
Also, just so you know, I can’t wait to do a beeswax ornament themed tree this year – our first. Excited! We’ve been testing the impact of small lights on the ornaments and are happy to report there is no significant impact whatsoever and I’ve had the bulb touching the ornaments for weeks. There’s barely any warmth where it touches the wax so it appears to withstand the lights quite well.
PS – You can click on each picture to view them at a larger size. Just a reminder.
Subscript to the PS - I did some Christmas shopping already and I’m putting a gift under the tree tonight! HEHE
Posted in administrative, bee craft, beeswax, honey house, marketing, packaging, store, travel | Tagged Christmas tree | 2 Comments »
Today’s work is some serious financial reconciliations and planning and strategies for future efficiencies. Even while we took a late lunch break, we continued to discuss business matters, covering everthing from nuc sales forecasting to holiday ornanment pricing structure. We are so blessed to have a sister who loves her financials and loves us. Win, win. We’re also blessed because we get to celebrate with her even as we work. Thuy is a breast cancer survivor and it’s a little over a year since she was first diagnosed and underwent her first surgery to remove the cancer. Through it all she has just let her magnificent light shine and it now shines even brighter than I have ever known it to – she’s glowing with life and a pure happiness and joy that comes from learning not to take a day for granted. Last fall, Thuy’s days were often filled with chemo treatments, meaning plenty of not so great side effects that kept her from doing anything except sleeping so her body could heal. We are all so thankful that she has made such a great recovery in so little time. I know it’s been a year but it is just hard to believe it’s been a full year. Seems like yesterday when we had to cancel her trip to the Bee Ranch thanks to the dreaded BC diagnosis. This summer, Thuy told me she wants to enjoy every single day of fall and winter since she missed them both last year. I just really love how she is embracing each day she wakes up and it inspires me even more to do the same myself. So here we are, enjoying even the work we must do while we are on our little mini-vacation. Really, who can complain about work when you get to look up and see the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and shrimping boats and dolphin pods and gentle waves. Not us!
To date, we are entering fall in pretty good shape in almost all bee yards. Last week in our area, we averaged about 5.5 inches of rain on top of the recent weekly rains. This fall rain is great and will hopefully mean the bees will be good and strong come next spring so they can gear up for honey production. The pollen and nectar they continue to bring in this fall all go towards building up their winter honey stores, meaning we leave it for them and they will sustain themselves with little intervention from us. We do have several gallon bags full of pollen should some of the bees need a boost to help them get to spring in good shape. In other bee biz news, mite treatments were all administered. The Honey House building continues to move along even if it is slower than we’d like; at least things are happening now that Mark decided he needed to be his own contractor. More work but more control that way. He’s in the collect-bids stage so we’re getting engineers to finally agree and qoutes from plumbers, electricians, septic system designers and builders and so on and so on. Exciting! One day we are really going to be rocking and rolling in our new building and we probably won’t know what to do. Well, yes we will because we are desperate for more space for working but you know what I mean.
Also wanted to share that we have enjoyed working with our branding consultant, Maeve of Design Maeven, and we have approved labels and tags to the printers. Woohoo! As much as I enjoy “crafting” the handmade Creamed Honey tags, I just don’t have time to do the print-cut-glue-cut-hole-punch-tag process every week. Can’t wait to peel and stick all those jars – people love it so much I can hardly keep up with the 48-55 jars we sell weekly pretty consistently. The other part of the rebranding project is our gift tags for the ornaments we want to introduce this year. Can’t wait to show that to y’all and to have the products available for purchase. People have already started pre-orders for the ornaments as Christmas gifts and they haven’t even seen the final packaging! We are so touched by the trust placed with us to do good things. Thank y’all so much!
Now, I must really take a stretch break. We’ve been working all day and while the view of the ocean is lovely and the sound of the gentle waves is relaxing, my east coast soul yearns to walk in the water. Unfortunately, it is a little on the chilly side for a dip in the ocean today (boo) but I hope to do so before we leave. Meanwhile, I have watched this shrimp boat cruise back and forth about three times today so I’m thinking shrimp might be what’s for dinner. Will let y’all know. Will also let you know if Mark and Thuy ever take a break today from their financial planning and reconciliation activities. I’m happy they are making such great progress on their to-do list, however. Thankful, thankful. Talk to y’all soon.
Update 11:42pm EST: They took a break around 5:45p and we finally got to walk along the beach, collecting shells and taking fun pictures and just being thankful for having this time together. I just love being with these two.
Posted in administrative, bee craft, beeswax, food, health, honey house, packaging, travel | Leave a Comment »