Archive for the ‘beeswax’ Category

Hives at Elm Creek

I don’t know if you noticed it Sunday but not only was it rumbling thunder and flashing lightning all across the lovely Texas sky, but we also had morning temperatures in the upper 60s. Yes. You read right – upper 60s. As a matter of fact, when we set up shop at the Quarry market, we both noted it was a bit on the chilly side. I actually had a light rain jacket on and Mark was on the chilled side with the constant wind and being in short sleeves. This has got to be the strangest Texas spring/summer I’ve seen in the 16 years I’ve lived here. Up and down and back up again in temperatures – it’s no wonder the flowers don’t know what’s going on, which impacts how the bees make honey. As I have mentioned before, if there isn’t a consistent bloom season, then the bees don’t have enough flowers to get a great honey flow going. So far, we are seeing a little improvement in honey production but it’s still spotty to be honest and the total production numbers should be interesting to compare to the past couple of years. 2010 and 2011 were drought years so we didn’t get much honey production while 2012 was a bumper crop year. Let’s see what 2013 will yield.

Today Mark went to Elm Creek, which is pictured above. That is white bee brush you see next to the hives and the bees love that and so do we. It has the loveliest, sweetest scent and when Mark showed it to me in full bloom one year, I was so in love with it. It was like a summer snow dusting on the ground at Elm Creek. I still remember stepping out of the truck and just soaking in the fragrant air. Loved it. The bee brush typically blooms several days after a rain and when it blooms abundantly, then that is a real boost to the bees’ honey production. Wednesday we’ll go out to Comanche Creek to see how the brush did out there and whether it gave the bees a bit of a boost at all. We’ll report back afterwards.

After Elm Creek and some work at The Farm yards, Mark headed out to Gonzales. While they still aren’t doing much at the Gonzales yard, the Pizza yard bees were looking a little better and making a bit of honey. This is a shot of one of the fields Mark drove through on his way to the Pizza bees – good sign for the girls – that’s a lot of horsemint to munch on and that’s a great sight to see! Like bee brush, horsemint has a light, sweet fragrance and is a great bee food so we are pleased to see it growing like this. It’s also nice to not have to worry about someone mowing it all down like we have seen in some areas. Always breaks my heart a bit when I see beautiful fields of wildflowers mowed down. Well, we shall remain hopeful that these blooms will continue for a while so that the girls can get a steady honey flow going.

Pizza Bee Yard

In other news, we have joined another farmers market – Southtown Farmers & Ranchers Market, which will be located at the cool Blue Star Arts Complex! This Saturday morning market formally kicks off on June 15 although we won’t be able to join them until June 22 since we will be out of town for our daughter’s wedding. If you are looking for the same Sunday morning atmosphere of the Quarry market, then you’ll want to come visit us and the other vendors at the Blue Star. This market is coordinated by the same dynamic duo who run the Quarry market – Heather and David. As a webpage is developed, I will be sure to share it with you. Meanwhile, you can find the market on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthtownFarmersMarket.

Southtown Farmers & Ranchers Market

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4.5" in about 90 minutes

Well, it’s quite the flood this afternoon! At last check, Mark reported about 4.5 inches in about 1.5 hours. Amazing. What a lovely sound, too. The hard waves of rain and then some lightning and thunder. The line of storms looked pretty wide-spread and long running north-south so we feel like almost all areas where we have bee yards will benefit from this rain. Yay!

In other news, we are prepping for market again as we listen to the beautiful rain come on again. We’ve also had more orders for gifts and other things – it’s wedding season. Heck, this entire year seems to be wedding season as friends, family and customers’ families get hitched. We are thrilled that more and more people are thinking of using our products as either wedding favors, gifts or decorations. What an honor to be a part of such an important event! Thank you very much everyone! Here’s one of the testers for table decoration –

Mum in a jar

These lotus candles are destined for cellophane gift packaging for wedding attendant gifts and the hearts were part of an order for 24 to be picked up later. Not sure what the customer’s going to do with all of them but I’m sure they’ll let us know when they pick up their order.

Wedding favor ideas

And opposite of the dark, cloudy, thunderous outside is this lovely burst of sunshine inside. I got some sunflowers for Mom’s little prayer table because they remind me of her big bright smile! I love to watch the pollen fall sometimes – it’s so peaceful and lovely. A quiet activity you don’t notice in the field but is quite a sight indoors. I am thrilled at the thought that I have Monday off (Memorial Day here in the states) and that we will likely go to check the bees in Medina County at Comanche Creek. We have to pass through Castroville and Mark said that the sunflower fields should be beautifully open for me to photograph! I am so excited because I was told about that a couple of years ago but when we went to hunt down the fields, the blooming season had already passed. Now I have a chance to see them. Charging up camera battery NOW.

Sunflower dropping pollen on the table

In other news and activities, it was Canopy-Check Week around here. We go through them pretty well and it was time for the men to haul them all out to see which tent needs what part. Helped us reduce clutter in our little garage. Still no serious movement on building of the Honey House, which I now have the urge to rename House of Honey. :-p

Looks like a scifi spider to me. Canopy check in progress.

Well, I better get back to wrapping candles for market. Hope you have a wonderful evening, weekend and holiday! And that we see you at one of the markets. πŸ™‚

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Honey making bees

The weather continues to be all crazy here in South Texas. This week we are nice and cool again but I’m not complaining! I just know those three digit days are coming any time now. πŸ™‚ Just can’t believe it’s May and we are in the upper 70s…NICE. So nice. Okay, here’s a frame shot of some hardworking bees making some good-looking honey. It’s hard for them to keep the momentum going in honey production when the weather dips down into the 30s and 40s and then you add some rain to the mix. On the one hand, we do need the rain. On the other hand, when it rains, they can’t forage. Also, when it’s windy and chilly, they can’t forage. All of this slows them down so they can be in the midst of a honey flow and then bam, a cool front comes along and shuts down honey production for a bit. We’re not sure how much they will end up making this year but we’ll have a little bit of something and that something tastes pretty good already. I don’t see another abundant year in the making at this point. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

In other news, Mark was invited to check out some of the loveliest country around these parts – a property where two creeks converge. Is that cool or what and why do I have to miss that opportunity??? Boo! πŸ™‚ Let me show you the creeks – here’s Cibolo Creek:

Cibolo Creek

And here’s Martinez Creek:

Martinez Creek

At one point, both creeks come together and then it’s known as Cibolo Creek. So cool and lovely! I so want to explore that area. Mark said it was just ablaze with cacti and wildflowers – Indian Blanket, Horsemint, and others. A real feast. That, along with the great water sources will make for a great bee yard location. I believe he said it was over 200 acres the bees would have access to if we establish a yard there. The problem will be identifying available bees to move. Good problem to have I suppose. We’ll let you know if we move forward with this location. I hope we do so I can see it. πŸ™‚

Edited Honey bee on Queen Anne's Lace

Meanwhile, back at the Bee Ranch…today we walked out back with the Smokester during lunch in order to enjoy the wildflowers we have in bloom. Nice to see the bees working things a bit. That’s a bee on the Queen Anne’s Lace. They seem to like that as much as the Indian Blanket. Saw a bit of Horsemint starting to bud out here and that’s nice; they love the Horsemint and it makes a great honey flavor. Really enjoyed being out there together. Even with crazy cat, who stuck close to the beekeeper (probably in case the Rattler was near).

My kitty & my honey bee

We swung to the left field and I just was floored by the buffet of flowers the bees had – look at that field! It was so pretty! If it wasn’t for all the critters and possible Rattler, I’d love to run through there and soak it all in. But instead, I will just shoot pictures. πŸ™‚ That’s where the Honey House is suppose to sit. It’s sort of nice that the delay in obtaining the land actually meant that we get to see this field like it is this year. Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

Future Honey House Field

Finally, I want to say that it was a little like Christmas here today during lunch hour. A box came. A new gadget was inside. Any guesses?

A beekeeper and his gadgets - figuring out the pollen cleaner

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Mark at Williams-Sonoma

I want to thank my beekeeper for learning to be such a great sport about being in so many pictures! Someone’s got to represent us in front of the camera, right? We kicked off Saturday at the Pearl market and took off for Williams-Sonoma’s Artisans’ Market once Sonia and Jessica showed up to relieve us. The weekend markets and events are often our rewards for working all week – we enjoy interacting with customers and talking bees, candles and honey and even non-bee-related stuff on ocassion. πŸ™‚ We want to thank the staff of Williams-Sonoma at La Cantera. It was a lot of fun and they really took good care of us. We thoroughly enjoyed it and are happy we were included on the invited list.

In other news and development, we are pleased to share with you that Poteet Country Winery has now received their second batch of honey from us and are carrying Guadalupe County Wildflower and Frio County Huajilla at their store in Poteet. We have not had a chance to visit them yet but we are looking forward to it and of course will share some pictures with y’all. For now, you can find and support them at the Pearl Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, they’re just down the row from us!

One last thing – besides the fantastic produce we have access to at market, we also benefit from our friends using our honeys in different ways. Here’s a gift we received from our Sprinfield Farm friends – homemade chocolate syrup – YUM! It is so fun to learn what others use honey for in their lives and products.

Love gifts from friends

The list of recipes and uses continue to grow!
For wax: shoe polish, wax polish, artwork, iron work coating, scrubs, soaps, balms and salves, lubricant for sewers, quilters, and woodworkers.
For honey: Soaps, marinades, sauces, granola, facials, dog treats (for allergy relief!)

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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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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Great class this morning

This morning was our monthly Introductory Beekeeping class here at the Bee Ranch. Thanks to Stan, Lan and Jessica, I got to be here with Mark – I love the classes and had really missed them since I was typically at market when he conducted them. We had another fabulous group of students today and a couple of new beekeepers as well! I think everyone had a good time and I did as well (minus the two ant bites). Luckily I didn’t swell up from those bites as I have in the past. That would have been a bummer; took a Zyrtec and I guess that did the trick – swelling was minimal. If only that was all I needed for my bee stings! πŸ™‚

During class today and while we opened up the hive, we noticed that the queen was not marked and the bees were okay but not in as great shape as Mark would have liked. With the students’ consent, we took them through the process of requeening a hive. Made the class run a little longer but no one minded and we really appreciated that! It was a great way to get it done while also teaching them how you have to find the old queen and then we discussed the importance of killing her and putting her scent on the cage of the new queen. Can get very ugly if you put the new queen in there and don’t introduce her super slowly. These girls all go by scent and they are loyal to their old queen. Remember that rubbing the old queen’s scent on the new queen’s cage masks the new scent for a few days, fooling the bees enough for them to adjust to the mingled and then the new scent of their new queen. Really neat how that all works.

Passing the tapers test

So…I believe I have mentioned in the past (though not sure if it was here or on FB or Twitter, oh well) that I had decided that I would try my hand at candle-making in order to help out my busy beekeeper as the spring is shaping up to be super, duper busy. Not long ago, I entered the apprenticeship program at GBR :-p and see if I can learn how to do this. So out I went to the candle shop out back with my phone and pen and paper. I lost count of how many different candles and beeswax products we make and I know Mark has special techniques for some, maybe even all of them. Yikes. I’m a little nervous, honestly. If you don’t know Mark well and you haven’t bought a candle from us before, then you may not know that he is a perfectionist with the candles – we sell NOTHING that is not up to par. As Lan tells our customers, he makes each one with love. He handles each piece with much care. He spends lots of time making each candle look as great as possible, heating after removing them from the molds to smooth out lines, carving out excess wax. I hope I can meet his standards in the long run. I try and get out there after work when I can and remove candles then pour another round. I’ve now done maybe three rounds and I have done pretty well – messed up a few but they just go back in the melter. Well today we discovered something! You know how each of us possess a skill, talent or gift? I have found mine in a specific candle!! I apparently have the gift of pouring hot wax in taper molds without touching the bobby pins that hold the wicks in place. See that?

Candle maker's table #beekeeping #beeswax

It’s a small opening as it is but then you split it in half with the bobby pin so the goal, Mark told me, is to pour the wax down the side of the mold without touching the pin. Why? Because that contact cools the wax just enough so that it will cause streaking on the sides. So I did it and when we removed the candles this afternoon, my tapers passed the inspection. I was very happy! πŸ™‚

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floating mums and mac

Hello and happy new year, everyone! Lunar New Year, also known as Tet (Vietnamese) and Chinese New Year (obviously, Chinese) is today and it kicks off the year of the Snake. We had a wonderful weekend together at both markets – working together as Stan and Lan had other plans. We sure missed them both.

Don’t I have a nice view while I post? For Tet, the Chrysanthemum is one of the flowers considered to be lucky so you see lots of Asian families, and businesses even, decorate with them. Flowers, flowers, flowers. I found some at our local grocery store since I didn’t have time to make a run to Houston or Austin for Tet supplies this year. In honor of the special day, I had been saving a floating mum for myself. And the fresh flowers floating in there were broken so it worked out well for me. I am the luckiest girl ever to have a beekeeper AND a candle maker. I have always loved candles and burned hundreds I’m sure. I remember, as a child, I always longed for a good storm in NC so that the power would go out and then we could light some candles! lol We didn’t have a lot of money so we didn’t burn candles just because we felt like it. πŸ™‚ I’m so happy that I can now burn all the candles I want. Some of you ask what you can do with the bits of wax left after your candles finish burning. Well, if you are not set up for melting and filtering your own wax (though Mark micron filters it, after you burn the candle, you should probably filter in some way if your wax got dirty) for recycling into candles or beauty products, you can always do what my sister and I now do – she has a wax mini-crock-pot (don’t now the formal name for it but she got it at Gift & Gourmet in town) and I put my small wax pieces on my Scentsy burner. Smells wonderful.

Wax on the Scentsy

While we’re on the subject of candles, I helped Mark remove and then wrap new candles last night to take to the Quarry. I thought he put this bee in lotus candle but he had no idea she was in there when he poured the wax in the mold. The mold is upside down so she probably crawled in there when he wasn’t looking. There are always plenty of bees buzzing around the candle shop so we never lack for them to put in candles for all the people who are tickled to have a bee in their candle. We occasionally get one person who thinks it’s cruel but again, they are already dead so it’s not really cruel. Not sure if this lotus bee was dead or not but she’s beautifully preserved now. We haven’t sold it yet…wondering if I should save it for a special occasion. Maybe.

Bee in lotus

Moving on to chocolate, one of our favorite topics! While at the Pearl yesterday, our friends over at Ms. Chocolatier (San Antonio) quietly left us this precious box filled with their divine truffles – with our honey in the recipe! That’s sea salt sprinkled on top – what a delicious combination of lightly rich chocolate and caramel with a little touch of saltiness. Who would have thought having your taste buds hit with both would be so wonderful, but it is. Janie and her crew create these and many other wonderful sweets in their shop in San Antonio so I hope you check them out at their store or at the Pearl one weekend. On top of the yumminess, they are all just super nice! πŸ™‚

Updated: Sorry I forogt to include the picture last night when I first posted this. hee
Caramel truffle from Ms. Chocolatier of SA - features our honey :-)

Now the weather. We got a drizzle here, a drizzle there. We’ll take it. Some friends are reporting up to an inch plus some and while we haven’t seen that, we are still hopeful since the bee yards are spread out over several counties. Even with the bit of rain we’ve had recently, there’s now enough blooming to give the bees a little boost. The wild mustard is always a sure bet for them when all else fails. They continue to carry in plenty of pollen and that makes us happy for the bees. We notice the Huisache is about to explode – beautiful but let’s see if the bees get on it this year. As you may recall, last year the Huisache bloomed beautifully but since there was an abundance of other protein blooming, they NEVER got on it! Come on bees, I need to get some nice pictures to put on my walls! haha Speaking of which, I’m also excited about getting our new bee yard set up in Medina County, which is west of SA. Huajilla country and I want to see some blooming Huajilla and snap pictures of the bees on that. We are so excited about making honey over at the Comanche Creek Ranch!

Nucs – we’re going to have some for sale next month! That’s always an exciting thing – getting people started with their own bees. In case you forget, our primary goal for GBR is to replenish the bees in our community and we can’t do that alone. Everything else we do is geared towards raising funds for us to buy, raise, divide and replenish bees while we also educate people. We’ve had hundreds of people go through our beginner bee class and we’ve had dozens take the next step in the journey to become contributing beekeepers in their own way and in their own communities. It is a responsibility for sure but also a fun adventure. If you told us in the past that you are interested in buying a nuc (nucleus hive or starter hive), then you should be hearing from us soon via email or phone if we have your number or you spoke with Mark directly in the past about it. If you don’t hear from us within a week or two, feel free to drop a comment here or send us an email. While we may not always be able to answer the phone (both of us are still working full-time, one in an office, the other in a field), we do return emails (end of the day typically) and we keep up with the blog easily on our phones. We’ll also post about the availability of the bees on Facebook and Twitter and again here when it’s time. Just wanted to give you all a heads up.

Okay, I think I covered most things I wanted to tonight. I better get to bed! Have a great week, everyone!

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Allison checks out the bees

Now that my belly is full thanks to the wonderful beekeeper, I am sitting here trying to wrap up the week while the Ravens and the 49ers try and wrap things up down on the bayou. Our niece should be happy as she’s been a Ravens fan for quite some time now. Mark and I don’t have much time any more for football though occasionally we enjoy a game on the tube, though not sure when we last watch a game in the entirety. BUT…we do try and catch our Spurs. πŸ™‚

This week was filled, as usual, but we got a little extra help! Our new intern came out and spent the morning getting to know the operations a bit with Mark and then she got to work. She learned how to mix some feed and that was a big help as it freed Mark up for more candle making, which we really needed since last weekend was so crazy at markets. Welcome to the family, Allison!

During the week, the weather warmed up enough so that Mark was able to open up some of the new hives so that he could check on them and feed as needed. Did you know feeding bees can be as messy as eating fried chicken with honey. And with your hands? πŸ™‚

Feeding the bees is messy work

Yep. I showed up at the yard after work that day to see how things were going and I saw this. Makes me love that man even more. lol The sky has been absolutely amazing as of late. The days are getting warmer but still aren’t yet hot and muggy. Great in my book but the beekeeper told me he likes hot and muggy. Sigh, such opposites but we work well together. Back to the weather, now the weatherman is saying there’s no rain in the forecast. Too bad. We need it so the bees can get a real boost before honey-making time. We are pleased, however, to see pollen now coming into the hives. Besides the wonderful Huisache blooming, we’re not sure what else the girls are into these days but we’re happy for whatever it is. Always fun to watch the entrance to see them flying on a beautiful, sunny day.

Speaking of Huisache, that reminds me that I wanted to let you know that if you want to get a fuller picture of our activities, think about following us on Facebook and/orTwitter. When I don’t have time to post as much as I would like, I use FB and the tweets to share pictures and tidbits of our daily activities. The blog is a nice place for an overview of how things are going. The other social media are immediate and daily. FYI.

We’ve also been working on receiving and processing bids on the slab and building of the new Honey House, though really we won’t start building a thing until all the paperwork is done with the city. Yes. It feels like things are moving at a snail’s pace but things will come along as they should and we certainly don’t want to rush into things.

Okay, are you ready to kick off the new week tomorrow? Not sure we are or not but I guess Monday’s coming so we all better get some rest. πŸ™‚ Goodnight, friends.

PS – Don’t forget that the big LOVE day is coming and soon! Chocolates are great but think about giving your honey some candles, maybe a beeswax heart (for the Scentsy perhaps), some good ole honey. mmmm…think about it. Okay. Goodnight.

I just love the hearts.

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Frosty windows

Thank goodness! While we have yet to measure between two and six inches of rain forecasted, we are still very happy to finally get a downpour today at the house as well as in the surrounding area. If we can get a bit more rain here and there, then the bees will be in good shape for honey production in a couple of months. Already! It seems like it was really just last month that we were trying to figure out how to extract all the honey. Time sure does fly by sometimes, doesn’t it. The picture above is my car yesterday morning when I left for work. Lot of moisture in the air lately, which is a nice change from the dryness.

As I type (sipping yummy coffee and looking at the Christmas lights we still have up b/c life is too short not to enjoy Christmas lights for as long as we want), Mark is out in the candle shop still, getting some more pine cones out of the molds. If you follow us on Facebook, the other night I posted a picture of three candles we are trying things on – different wicks, different pouring technique, etc. We’ll let you know how things progress. I don’t have much to report at the moment besides the fact that Mark just brought in more to test so yay for me! It rocks to have your very own candle maker. I personally think the candles are fine but he has very high standards so if he sees just one thing he doesn’t like about it, back into the pot it goes. Or to me if I see it in time. Here’s one of my favorite melting candle patterns. I love the pit that is being created. I also love the smell of the wax. I’ve decided the hollowed out pines make a nice little container so I’m saving them once they burn down to about an inch. Fun, pretty, functional. Good stuff.

Candle pit

In other news, during dinner conversation tonight, Mark casually told me that today Apivar was approved for Texas and that he’s really excited because it looks like it has proven to be very effective for mite treatment overseas, where they’ve been using it for a few years now. I thought this was great news so I wanted to share that with y’all. When we get some in and use it, we’ll be sure to post about it. This product is less messy than Hopguard and is a slow-release so it will hopefully kill the mites more effectively than Hopguard and Apiguard, both of which killed mites that are there already but not mites that come after application. So be on the lookout, fellow beekeepers! If you have mites (and you’re bound to), then you want to stay on top of this product development.

Weather alert: It’s raining hard again and I hear thunder. NICE! Oh, now coming down very hard. Exciting. This is going to be great for the bees! We just looked at the rain gauge again and now it measures about 2 inches. Radar is showing quite a lot of storm movement so hopefully we’ll get more rain overnight.

And in Honey House building news: It’s a long, trying, challenging process that we are sure will be great in the end but for now, please say a prayer for us and all the people we are relying upon to do what they are suppose to do without running us in circles. Seriously. I’d appreciate it. πŸ™‚

And finally, with so much flu and other illnesses floating around out there, I thought I’d share some honey related information. Thanks to my sister-in-law Renee for suggesting this inclusion. πŸ™‚

For allergies (like I’ve been having lately since I’ve been enjoying too much non-Guadalupe Wildflower), do a daily teaspoon of whatever’s local for you. You can do it straight or in your tea, coffee, oatmeal, other cooking.

For sore throats, I mainly do a cup of hot tea with honey and 1/2 a lime or lemon in there. There are tons of variations so you can alter as you wish. This one was always great when Mom made it for us. πŸ™‚ You can also try honey and cinnamon which is a popular combination. Some people take it in tea while others take it in milk. Typically it’s one teaspoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. I’ve also read a recipe that adds ginger to that so I’m going to try that soon as I like ginger for settling my stomach when it’s out of sorts.

Hope you are all well and whether you are or you aren’t, you should probably still have some local honey daily as it is just an overall great food for overall great health. Sleep well and have a great day tomorrow!

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No off loading of honey is nice!

We had a great weekend that capped one of the most hectic and stressful weeks in a long time; hence the lack of blogging for so long (sorry). First things first – we closed on the old Bee Ranch! Woohoo! Now there’s funding for the new Honey House and so we continue the process of platting the land and preparing to build. As much as we loved our last home, we sure are glad that’s all done and over. Hope the new owners enjoy it as much as we did! That was Friday morning. Then in the afternoon we did our usual preparations for market except this time, we prepped for two. In addition to the Pearl that we enjoy so much, we did our first Sunday morning at the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market – had a GREAT time! We had as much fun as we do at the Pearl. As a matter of fact, several vendors from Pearl are also at the Quarry. And there’s always a parade of pooches. πŸ™‚ Our favorites are currently at the Pearl, especially the Great Danes. Check out Harley in the shot below. If we saddled her, I’m thinking Lan and I could each ride her around. lol big, sweet Harley. We’re learning lots about dogs and their owners.

Great Danes abound at the markets

Okay, so about the grits – mmmmm! I love grits and it’s hard to find great grits. That being said, I can get the Shrimp & Grits Crepe on Saturday (Thanks, CrepeLandia!) and then a Kiss My Grits on Sunday (Nice to meet you Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!). I am one happy girl.

Kiss My Grits

And that brings me to the A-Team. Stan is joining us on an-ongoing basis at the Quarry so I can have a bit of a break. He and Mark make a great team and Stan’s learning many aspects of our little bee biz and we sure appreciate his help! Plus he’s so much fun so y’all be sure to swing by either market and meet and get to know Stan. Welcome to the family Stan (and family!). πŸ™‚

Stan & Mark at market

And by break, I mean some time to tend to the home and things like groceries and so on. And though I still need things like breakfast juices and milk from the local HEB, we are really enjoying meeting and bartering with fellow vendors. The vegetables are amazing and now I have added handmade pastas, pestos and bread to the mix. What a wonderful life. What a pleasure to know who grew and made your food. It’s exactly what we want to do with our products and we’re happy people are so supportive and appreciative of our products and work with the bees. You can view more pictures on my Flickr page if you’d like.

In addition to all that, we have been trying to stuff as much “stuff” into the little brown candle shop at the new house and into the garage. Until we get the new HH built, things will be a bit crazy and spread out but at least it’s all at one house so that’s a much better situation – saves time since we don’t have to drive back and forth as we have been since September. We’re also developing new packaging, waiting on more candle molds (since Mark can’t keep up with demand between orders, walk-in customers and markets), filling orders, orders, orders, and planning for picking up more hives from East Texas…the usual stuff. πŸ™‚ Busy, busy. There’s definitely an increase in orders and we are very thankful! Speaking of which, before I leave you, I want to share with you, a look at our new labels we just got Saturday. We love them! Easy to peel and stick and they add a very nice finished touch to our packaging. Okay, off I go to gift wrap beeswax hearts and Saddle Bag gift boxes. If you need host/hostess, coworker or teacher gift for the holidays, we hope you’ll give us a call. Heck, if you just want a gift for yourself, give us a call. :-p See you later.

New labels

Here’s the Saddle Bag gift box – $18 a box. I’m happy to say all the ones I made for the trial run at Quarry Market were bought up by some happy customers who needed ready-to-go gifts. Happy they chose us to gift.

The newly invented Saddle Bag gift set

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