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Archive for the ‘Runge’ Category

Small swarm

Since I am fielding calls quite frequently about bees swarming here and there, I thought I’d do a quick post on a few things that I have found interesting so far this week. First of all, a few words about swarms – they are not necessarily cause for alarm, folks! Bees are actually quite gentle in this state for several reasons. Simply put, they have no home at this point to defend and they are actually quite full of honey so who cares about stinging people. They’ve got to look for a home all while clustered around their queen to keep her safe. That’s right. She’s in the middle of all the bees you might see hanging from a tree, fence, building, air conditioning unit (yep, remember when Mark removed one a few years ago?) or some such place. Usually they will stay only a few days or until they find a new home. While most of the bees are clustered, some scout bees will venture about seeking the perfect space to make their home. Somewhere closed typically so that it’s easily defended. Anyhow, just wanted you to know this is happening right now so you know what it is and why you don’t need to panic. Next topic…

Isn’t she adorable!? When Mark showed me this picture, he knew what my reaction would be – delight. He knows me. I was delighted for sure. She was covered in pollen! She must have rolled all around the flowers. lol They can be so silly and so much like children in my opinion. I love to hear about them and see what they are doing. If you can’t see the bee with pollen dust, look in the upper left quadrant of the photo and see if you can spot the one bee with wings that look mustardy. That’s her. 🙂

That's a dusty girl

In other bee-related news, we got moves going on left and right. Yep, the bees are getting shuffled around. We don’t actually move our hives around too much but when conditions warrant it, it happens. This particular move below was several hives going from the Big Oaks nursery to the Gonzales bee yards. You know how we love the Gonzales honey so here’s hoping they have a great year. I just had some Gonzales Wildflower in my cup of coffee – oh my it was delish. I sometimes forget just how smooth that county honey is – not sure why but it doesn’t seem to crystalize as quickly either. Too bad we didn’t make a lot of it last honey season – this jar was in my reserve. It pays to know the beekeeper, eh? By the way, the ice you see helped keep the bees cool during the drive as it was in the mid-80s that day. We don’t want them overheating while sitting on the truck. They made it just fine.

Moving more hives

Tomorrow Mark and Stan will move more bees – this time from Runge to a new yard they will establish in…wait for it…wait…BIGFOOT!! Finally! I get to write about Bigfoot; got to love that name. Here’s the sign I snapped when we visited the first time –

Bigfoot, Texas

It had such a neat feeling to it. Can’t wait to see what honey is like there. The farm we will be on is amazing. Well, the owner and his crew are what make it amazing. I have a Frio County Farm Visit Flickr set (of course) in case you want to see what the area looks like. We loved it and we can’t wait to work the bees down there! And a word about why we’re moving the bees: There isn’t much for the bees to feed on right now in Runge and they are looking pretty sad. We need to move them somewhere they’ll have some food so they won’t starve to death. This is what you do. You watch and care for them and you help them when they need you, which may not be often but this is a prime example. Sometimes we have people call us and ask our opinion about their hives. Sometimes we can help, sometimes it’s too late. Sometimes something could have been done to help the bees if intervention came sooner. So, here’s some advice for our new beekeepers – get in your hives on a regular basis. If you don’t know exactly when to check on them, at least read this blog or other beekeeper blogs and do what they do. When they check hives, you check hives. When they feed, you feed. When they treat for mites, you treat for mites. 🙂 One of the best ways to learn is to do. So open up those hives and keep an eye on your gals! And few guys.

Okay, I think that’s about it for now. Not bad for a mid-week post. 🙂 Now, I have candles to wrap for market. Lots of candles. Yay! OOOOOH! Forgot to tell y’all that we sold our first bucket o’ unrefined wax to a company that specializes in some very nice looking beauty care products. We’ll let you know how things progress. ALSO…we have signed on to be a participant at the Artisan’s Market being hosted by the La Cantera William-Sonoma! Exciting! More on that soon. It’ll be on a Saturday (April 27) from noon to 4:00 p.m. Can’t wait to share all the varieties of honey with folks and we hope to see as many of YOU ALL out there! That’d be awesome!

Okay, for real this time. Goodnight. 🙂

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Spring frames are looking great

Is that a lovely frame to see in January? Why, yes it is! This was one of the hives at the Big Oaks bee yard and Mark sent the picture to me from the yard when he checked on them a couple of days ago. I thought this was one of the most perfect frames I’d ever seen – so lovely. Note the cells of honey on the edges – ready for feeding new bee babies. And the center of the frame is being readied to receive a good laying queen. Now all she has to do is give us some good little bees.

Today Mark went down to Runge to check the bees there. A lid was off one of the hives – who knows how that happened but the bees were fine inside so he got them straightened out and back on track. A few of the hives needed some feed but overall they are looking good also. This makes my beekeeper very happy and hopeful for another great year ahead. This good rain we got will also go a long way in helping the bees build up for the spring which will then take them into the honey production months nice and strong.

Well, we are off to finish up the Spurs game and then to bed we go. Pearl market is early and then Quarry on Sunday. We hope to see some of you at the markets. We’ll have plenty of honey and candles restocked and ready for you. Sleep well.

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A gift in the bee box

And it’s about to get busier for a while. We are all set for tomorrow’s Pearl Farmers Market. If you are coming to see us, don’t forget we have relocated to the lot directly in front of the CIA Bakery (you gotta love that name – it’s really the Culinary Institute of America) and it’s only for tomorrow. After that, we’ll all move back to the usual spot on the other side of the stable. After market, we’ll load up for Yulefest here in Seguin at the Coliseum on Sunday – 10a to 4p. Great place to find some nice gifts for the family and friends. I want to get some of that awesome soup in a jar from Jett’s Jelly. Yum. Speaking of jelly, the box above was on loan and then returned to us by a friend. She also left us gifts inside! The eggs are from her hens and she made the most delicious blackberry jam I have ever tasted. I’m not even really a jam/jelly kinda gal but this was excellent. I hope she sells it one day so we can buy it all up. Danielle was a student in one of our classes and now has hives of her own. She also raises the yummiest chickens – I can testify to that. I am still talking about the chicken now. lol – just go check her site out if you want some great eats. Click here for Hanson Family Farm.

Mark’s been busy, busy. All week he’s been filtering wax and trying to catch up on beeswax orders and also stock up for markets. He sent this great shot the other day and I really loved it. Obviously he’s taller than I am and has a perspective y’all don’t get to see often in our photos since I see the world differently from my level. Ever thought about that? Tall and petite people shoot pictures differently. Anyway, here’s the awesome shot of his candle table. 🙂

The beekeeper's candle table this morning

Some of Mark’s other work this week included checking on and feeding some of the hives that needed it. Things are looking pretty good as he preps the hives for winter. He is also moving the Honey House over here bit by bit now that we have that new shed set up with electricity. He’s got to build a new candle table, however, and then we’ve got to move all those heavy buckets of honey! Looks like the garage will be our little honey shop until we can get the new HH built here at the new property. Very exciting! Somewhere along here we need to sit and plan out the space. I love doing that sort of thing!

Next topic: the “interesting” photos Mark sends me from the fields as he drives the country roads. I never know what he’ll send and sometimes he doesn’t warn me. Remember that shot of the wild hog’s head hanging from the tree down in the Runge bee yard? With the beer can in its mouth. Weird. I won’t post the two he sent this week but one was a headless hog (no one can figure out who would do that and why) and the other one was of a coyote sort of eaten up. Interesting. Made me laugh out loud literally. At work. Luckily I was alone. I think I may have screamed a little scream of shock. Maybe. lol

Oooooooh! I almost forgot! Tomorrow we are also delivering our first batch of Guadalupe County Wildflower AND Frio County Huajilla to Melissa Guerra! We are so excited to have a such an awesome new retail outlet in the downtown area. And besides that, we really like the look and feel of the shop, the friendliness of the staff and what Melissa does with the store. Looking forward to this new partnership. I’ll try to get a shot for y’all tomorrow post-market.

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Farm 2012 hives 2

Now that Mark is back full time, there’s a lot of catch up work going on. Here’s an update on some of his activities since he got back to GBR.

Coyote Bee Yard: We lost one hive there and pulled a couple of honey supers still left there. No coyotes spotted. And no goats either (as we normally see and/or hear).

The Farm Bee Yard: The picture above is from the Farm yard. I haven’t been out there in a while with Mark so he snapped this for me. He pulled about ten honey supers off the hives there and looking forward to extracting them. It’s been amazing what this year has yielded in our honey production and we are very happy and thankful for it all.

Restocking: Mark has restocked at Ta’s in Marion as well Lily’s Cookies in SA. Also got that order to JW Marriott for the trip up to New York City (You must say this in that Texas cowboy twang like on the salsa commercial – I wonder if I drive Mark crazy sometimes saying that. I can’t help it. Our honey is going to NYC and it’s exciting and fun! And for some reason that makes me use a twang.) Back to business – there should also be a good supply at Gift & Gourmet here on the town square of Seguin.

Administrative Work: There’s a LOT of catch up work here and I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, Mark will be busy, busy, busy between the bees, balancing the books, weekend markets and moving. Yep. We’re trying to move and the big move is coming up this weekend. Wish us luck. [BTW, if you want my undying gratitude and if you have time to help on Sunday, let me know! There’s pizza in it for you. :)]

Hopguard: It’s time to treat the bees for mites so Mark begins the rounds tomorrow. Elm Creek is first and then he’ll just continue on with the rest of the bee yards. No more powdered sugar treatments at this time.

A new honey: Check out our new Texas Clover harvested from the Runge Bee Yard down south of us about two hours. Yummm. Very light in flavor and people responded well to it last weekend at Market. We’ll have to try and get more sizes bottled before Saturday. Now that Mark is back home, we hope traffic will pick back up here at the Honey House. Can’t wait to get our new Honey House built and a big, welcoming GBR sign put up out front. And a retail space. And a honey bar. 🙂

Texas Honey

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Applying Hopguard to the hives in Runge, Texas

We got it all in one post. Today Mark and David trekked down to Runge to check on the hives down there. A few supers came back with them and they spent some time applying Hopguard on the bees to treat for mites. Given the hot, dry weather conditions, Mark said the bees were not too pleased being bothered in the middle of the day so they were a bit feisty. Mark got about 15 stings down there, poor man. When I got home and went to check on him in the Honey House, I think I gasped a little when he looked at me. He was a little red from the heat and swollen from the stings. 😦 My poor beekeeper. I know he’s tough but when you love someone and they look tired and slightly swollen…my heart just constricted a bit. So I did what any normal, loving, allergic-to-bee-stings wife would do – I ran in the house (lot of bees in the HH due to the honey supers) to make fresh ice water and a plate of cheese on crackers. Later, when some friends needed to borrow a bee suit, Mark went back out to the HH to get it and a bee got in his shirt. She let him know she was there as we ate dinner. That was sting #16. Good thing he is not allergic to them. I itch just thinking about it. 🙂

JW Marriott Wildflower 2012

This was my little project this week to help Mark fill a special order for our friends at the JW Marriott in SA. They need 150 little jars of the Wildflower extracted from the hives on their property. And guess where our wonderful jars of honey are headed? New York City! We’re hoping Ryan will take a picture or two during the trip and share with us. We’d love to see what’s happening with it. I did learn that the event is a special dinner at which Ryan (JW’s executive chef) is presenting some delicious, Texas theme dishes, according to the James Beard events calendar. That organization grants awards in the food industry (including wines, restaurants, etc.) that are like the Oscars. Wow! That’s cool to think our honey heading to an event of that caliber. We’re happy Ryan and his staff are so supportive of our efforts. Like the griffin logo that belongs to JW Marriott? Mark designed it for their honey. I am always impressed with Mark’s creative side. Way to go, honey bee!

Lastly, I saved this less-than-lovely-but-oh-so-fascinating shot of what Mark and David saw at the Runge bee yard – yikes! Mark texted this to me while I was at work and I opened the picture and I’m pretty sure I yelped. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a scream. Maybe it was. But it’s sort of fascinating while also gross. It made me think of Lord of the Flies, which I read while in high school. At one point in the book, the boys stake a pig’s head on the beach from what I remember. It’s been a while. Speaking of which, my TWENTY-FIFTH (yep, 25th) reunion is next month in my hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina! Shout out to my friends – go Eagles! 🙂

Don't lose your head, hog. Runge, Texas bee yard.

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Runge Clover Field

I’ve never been to Runge but I can’t wait to go the next time Mark and David need to check on the bees. The two hour drive south is farther than we normally place hives but this location is a special and temporary project. You see, there’s Texas Clover down there. A big ole field of it (that’s the picture above this paragraph) and the beekeepers want to see how the bees will do. We’re hoping they survived the hot drive down there okay and that they’ll do fine. Glad to see some bees on the Clover, which is lovely in both white and yellow varieties. Hope they are our bees!

Bee on yellow clover

Here are the bees all set up and ready to go. Make us some good Texas Clover honey, girls!

Runge Clover Field Hives 2

If you’d like to see more pictures of the beeventure, just check out the Flickr set for The Runge Clover Field.

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