Archive for the ‘construction’ Category

Bee board holding pecans

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.

Colombian coin found in our yard

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? πŸ™‚ 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.

Today's look at our Honey House

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.

Researching placement of the required sidewalk

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!

First drone brood of the season

Quiz time: What else do you see in the above picture that is noteworthy?


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Picking pecans and enjoying the sun and foliage on our little slice of heaven

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. πŸ™‚ 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.

Besswax candles and honey scrubs

In Honey House construction news, we’re happy to report that there is now ALMOST official power in there. We’re “this” close! πŸ™‚ 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.

Conduit for power to the HH

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. πŸ™‚ 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.

Harvesting delicious pecans

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.

January 2014 feeding

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2013 GBR Holiday Open House

My intentions of posting before the big weekend hit didn’t quite pan out so here we are, post-huge-double-event-weekend and some pictures loaded so I can share with you what and how we’ve been doing. We’re doing great, by the way. Quick run-down of things:

  • Our 4th annual Holiday Open House went smashingly. It was crazy. It was hectic. It was fun. And we are all excited about next year’s event and have made plans to bring in as many Hoang family members as can make it. Talk about fun working together! We couldn’t have survived the weekend as well as we have without the help of our family and friends. Thanks, everyone!
  • The Honey House is moving right along and we are thrilled! The crews worked really hard to help us get in the HH by the time Open House came along and they did it! Walls and roof up and on, then the windows and doors crews got to work and poof, we got some useable space. We made due with a very, very long extension cord and were able to have hot cider and the Christmas tree lit but that was it. πŸ™‚ We were thrilled to have such an open space even with it unfinished. Today we had temporary power hooked up so that the insulation crew could do their thing and they did. Can’t wait to look inside again tomorrow. Mark and Tang picked out paint today while I was at the mill working and the HH gets a coat of paint inside, top to bottom.

Honey House Construction Update

  • Speaking of Tang, that’s my older brother and he is visiting with us for about two months while our dad is traveling. Tang got to stay with us a week last Christmas and we all had a great time so we were thrilled when we found out he’d be here even longer with us. He is a sweet soul and an eager learner and helper. He LOVES Mark and Stan and being around them and he loves to help them do “man work,” as he calls it. I love him and I love that my beekeeper is teaching him how to make candles. Tonight at dinner he told us he enjoyed making the candles and when asked which was his favorite, he responded that the 1-pound block is his fav. He’s not sure why; he just likes it. Made us laugh. I’m sure there will be many beeventures for Tang between now and February so we’ll be sure to share! By the way, his name is not Β pronounced like the orange powder drink, but rather sounds like “tong.”

Tang levels out the vintage cookie mold for beeswax ornaments


  • We had a record sales day at the Pearl this past weekend and it happened to be the coldest day ever! The vendor turnout was lower than usual and we were in a temporary location due to the Tamales Festival running on the same day and there weren’t nearly as many shoppers as usual but the ones who came out to support the market were amazing! We really weren’t sure what to expect since we were pretty much frozen within an hour of getting there and setting up so imagine our utter surprise when Mark gave us the final numbers. And “us” includes Mark, me, Tang and another brother name Hung and our sis Lan. What a great crew we had and somehow we managed to laugh through some of it but man were we glad to get done and get home! Thank God for great family!

Okay, that’s about it for now. I need to do other stuff before bed. I hope you all have had a great month so far. This is my favorite time of the year!!!! If you want, here are links to two photo sets on our Flickr page. Click on the link to check out more of what we’re doing by viewing my visual memory book. πŸ™‚ Goodnight.

Honey Pecan Pie 2013

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. πŸ™‚

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.

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Permits posted at GBR

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!

Rebar in the foundation

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. πŸ™‚

That’s it for now. Next post, I’ll share some shots and directions for the best baked persimmon dessert ever! πŸ™‚ Ciao!

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Official permits are not cheap

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.

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