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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

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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…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). πŸ™‚

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

Dirt on mushroom top

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

Cutest little acorns ever

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.

Bee boards

I might never have known that bees have happy hour as well.

Bees drinking water

I might have freaked out if I saw ghost bees, especially on a night such as this.

Vertical view of powdered frames

(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.

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Financial work sessions

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

Thinking we will have shrimp for din tonight...2nd pass this AM.

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Mac desktop all clean

Besides church in the morning, Sundays are now a little extra time to catch up on tasks around the house (both personal and for GBR) as well as some much needed time to simply rest. We’re not quite the spring chickens we used to be and while we aren’t ready for retirement, we just needed at least one day at home. That doesn’t mean we sit around watching football like we used to while we read the paper. There are plenty of things to do to keep the business and the home running – we just get to go at a more leisurely pace and when we’re not feeling so great (me), we get to actually go back to bed for a while. I was thankful for the extra rest yesterday, that’s for sure. And I also FINALLY had and made time to move my trillion-billion pictures off my computer and onto external memory. Phew. Been dreading that but now it’s done and my desktop and Mac are super clean and happy. Yay for time!

Anyway, in weather news – we got rain again! It started Saturday, overnight, and it’s been raining on and off through today. At lunchtime, I checked the radar and saw a line running north/south and moving across the area westward so I booked on home and got here in time to prep lunch and then we watched a strong rain shower come down on the Bee Ranch. The sound of it on the metal roof is quite lovely. πŸ™‚ I think the rain gauge indicates about 4.5 inches of rain so far. This nice, lingering, soaking type of rain is great for the parched ground and it’ll certainly help with next year’s flowering season, which will certainly help with honey production we anticipate. Already, this fall has been better than last year’s fall in terms of moisture. The weather people predict a bit more rain this week – pretty exciting news around here. When we went out to collect pollen at Cibolo Creek yard, we saw the Bottle Brush fading but there was a bit of Bee Brush in bloom along with a variety of yellow wildflowers I haven’t looked up in our books yet. Pollen collection has gone well and the girls are quite productive. Mark has put away a decent amount of pollen for them and even made up several jars for people wanting pollen for allergy relief. I am thankful for it as well as my allergies have been quite manageable and only occasionally am I impacted by them. I am, however, very pleased that I can’t recall the last time I had an infection due to allergens. Yay! I used to get them several times a year once allergies entered my Texas life. Miserable, especially right about now with cedar, which I noticed just started appearing in the pollen reports I get emailed to me daily. Nerd, right? I like to know what’s in the air so I know what might be triggering any reactions. Anyway, I have put in my own order for some new pollen to ward off whatever this fall has in store for us. Yay for connections with the awesome beekeeper!

Check out these lovely mushrooms I spotted out at Big Oaks bee yard – really cool new things pop up when there’s actually rain!

Mushrooms at Big Oaks Bee Yard

Ohhh! Sundays are also for visiting and being with family and friends. So, in light of that, we want to make it official – we’ve set the date for our 4th Annual Holiday Open House at the Bee Ranch! We hope you can join us here at our Bee Ranch on Sunday, December 8. Like last year, it will run from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and there will be light refreshments, bees (as long as conditions permit us to bring them here and they won’t be bothered by it), me and Mark giving visitors our time and attention, candle shop tours and hopefully demos (depending on what’s cooling in the molds), honey tastings and shopping, of course! We always have a lot of fun so we hope to see a lot of you here. πŸ™‚ I’ll post more information as the date drawers nearer.

In other news…

  • We will not be at Pearl Farmers Market this Saturday, October 19. Β [We are actually having a mini-vacation! On an actual beach!]
  • Progress on the Honey House is actually occurring! Slowly but surely, that HH will get built. And we will appreciate every square foot of it. I am really hoping that there will be a slab, four walls and a roof at least. That’s all I need to have the Holiday Open House in there which would be so awesome! I’m praying we have at least that much done but if not, we’ll go with Plan B: The Party Garage. πŸ™‚
  • The Spurs season is gearing up! You know we are crazy about our Spurs and especially about Tim Duncan (okay, I might be a little crazier about him than the beekeeper since TD’s an ACC guy). GO SPURS GO!
  • Smokey and Mark teamed up and got a rattlesnake in the backyard, in case you don’t follow our other social media outlets. About 3 feet long and hopefully that was the mate to the earlier one we spotted and shot at months ago. eeks.
  • The scorpions are out and about and I do not mean the band. We had two in the house this past week. Double eeks.

Okay, I’ll call that a wrap for the night. πŸ™‚ Just wanted to catch you up a bit on us. Y’all have a super great week! Don’t forget to enjoy life and have a little fun each day!

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The sunlight made us all happy

That’s my indoor garden I’m maintaining quite well (in my opinion). The palm looking plant was given to us by our church family when my mom passed away this past April. I just really want to keep it alive as long as possible because of that and because when I left for college, Mom gave me a palm to take with me and I had it for a very long time. Anyway, all the other things are accidental rootings from friends at market actually. I always stick herbs in water when I get them home so I can keep them as fresh as possible until I use them in cooking. I’m always happy when I see roots sprout. So then I decide to plant them. Since they are indoors I suppose I may have to consult the beekeeper about q-tip pollination since I don’t have bees inside. They smell divine, especially the basil and mint. By the way, with the recent rains we’ve gotten, my outdoor herb garden is quite robust and smells divine, filled with basil, thyme, oregano, chives and

So I was sitting here about to blog and then I checked Flickr and it was offline! I link our pictures here most of the time to my Flickr account because it just works easier that way. Plus, it drives people to more pictures that I snap of bee stuff, because who wants a blog with a gazillion, million pictures that I snap all over the place every day? πŸ™‚ That’s what I use Flickr for. And Instagram. And Tumblr. And a lot of other apps you don’t need to hear about. Since I last checked, Flickr has come back online and since you came here to read about beekeeping, I will now post about bees and pollen since I have grown to appreciate it so much.

Pollen comparison

I love opening my refrigerator and seeing the jars of pollen in there. I especially am drawn to the difference in color in the jars. The one on the right is mine and Mark cleaned it for me months ago so I could take a little pollen each day for my allergies. I’m basically building up an immunity to the allergens around me. When I was growing up in North Carolina, I never had allergies really. But now I’m older and here in Texas, I’ve developed many allergies. The honey has definitely helped me and I really appreciate that Mark keeps bees if only selfishly for my own medicinal purposes. I used to get all sorts of allergy related infections each year and it seemed that shots and antibiotics became less effective each year, with each dosage. I have now been on regular local consumption for six or seven years and all I can say is that I am so much better! I can actually enjoy being outdoors more, even though I sometimes still get zonked pretty good with whatever’s in the air. Anyway, I thought I’d give the pollen a try and this year’s pollen is a lot nicer-tasting than in years past. If you’ve never had pollen before, it takes a little getting use to as it is earthy. Sweet but definitely an earthy after-taste; not bad and not bitter and not like dirt. Just earthy. I don’t know how else to describe it. Anyway, this year’s pollen is actually quite fabulous. Sweet and enjoyable. To me, this is so much better than a shot and some pills. Yay, bees! Another wonderful thing they do.

If you have follow us on the blog or other social media, then you may recall that we typically collect pollen and then keep it in the freezer so that we have some protein for the bees during winter months when they might need a little boost. Mark makes a pollen patty – mixing pollen with sugar syrup. It makes a mixture that looks and smells pretty good. And looks like sweet potatoes. Or pumpkin. As in pies. πŸ™‚ The best way to describe the importance of pollen to the bees is when we think of how important protein is to humans. Pollen is the bees’ protein. Mark says it’s their burger and I love that.

Smearing pollen patty on wax paper

This is my favorite shot of a good ole hardworking honeybee coming in with her pollen loads but she stopped and kept checking out the dropped pollen at the entrance. I guess she was thinking it was a shame all that good pollen is being wasted there. The different colors simply mean that the pollens were collected from different flowers out in the fields.

What a hardworking girl she was this afternoon. #beekeeping #texasbeekeeping #pollen

Remember that honeybees will forage up to three miles from their hives. They work very hard for all the nectar and pollen they collect and bring home. It’s quite amazing to watch them flying about, carrying their pollen or sitting at their entrance and watching them land and carry in the colorful loads they foraged. Very cool. I videoed a short look at one of the entrances for you:

The pollen traps do not harm the bees although when they find a way in that they’re not suppose to find, then things might happen. Like this. Mark opened this trap and we saw a bunch of dead bees. He’s not sure what happened, perhaps they got in that tray and then could not get out the same way in which they came. We just don’t know yet but he’s going to work on that trap for sure.

Mishap with pollen trap

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Table of productivity
These are ready for markets this weekend although the ornaments are wrapped and stored for our big holiday rollout after we finalize packaging and labeling. Yay!

Besides hand-pouring all these lovely beeswax candles, bars, blocks and ornaments, Mark’s been on a tight schedule to clean up from harvest season, treat and requeen all hives and make progress on the Honey House project. Finally got some engineers who speak the same language so we are super please about that. Thanks to our good friend Thomas for his help in reviewing all the plans and proposals and catching some things that helped us out a lot!

Check it out – more queens! Mark is really trucking along on Project Requeen Every Hive before mid-October. Good job, love. Unlike the last back of Olivarez queens (they came around 7:00pm), this box was waiting for me when I got home for lunch, which is really nice to be able to do almost every day. My day job is about 7 minutes from home. Pretty awesome. Anyway, so far so good on the requeening. Things are going very smoothly this year and the direct introduction method is working very well with our hives. So glad Mark read about it on our friend Emily’s bee blog and then followed up with the researchers. It has saved Mark a lot of time and energy.

Queen bees in the mail

The box under the queens contains more samples of containers we are considering for packaging the new holiday ornaments we have developed and plan to roll out in time for holiday shoppers! So excited. We are making progress with Maeve as well and hopefully we’ll have our new tags and labels soon for the creamed honey as well as the beeswax products. Did I mention we are excited? πŸ™‚

Beautiful frame of bee brood

Speaking of excited – the report for the JW Marriott bee yard is fantastic. Mark went there this morning and was thrilled to see all the hives were doing very well. That’s a frame full of beautiful brood from one of the hives. You may recall that we lost four out of five hives out there at the Marriott last year so we are really happy they are thriving this year. You never know from year to year which yards will do well. Historical performances don’t always act as the best indications of how well a bee yard will do the current year. It all has to rain and what’s been blooming for the bees. No rain, no blooms, no protein = two bee yards moved out to new locations this year. You have to watch the hives and if they are not doing well, you have to help them and in our case, Mark moved them to areas that seem to be getting more rain this year. In both instances, the colonies made progress within a week or two of being in their new yards. That’s always a good feeling to know that you’ve helped them in some way. They do so much for us.

Moving the rest of the divides

One last thing, I miss seeing all our new divides out behind the house. We still kept a few teaching hives as well as the queen bank out back but this week, Mark and Stan completed their move of the new divides to their permanent home. They have been developing quite well and we hope they will make it through winter just fine. You don’t really know what 2014 will be like for them until spring, when we can see how they managed. But these bees have been building up their honey stores and carrying pollen like crazy so those are great signs. It’s raining on and off here this afternoon and that’s also a great sign. A wet fall and winter would do wonders for next season’s crop. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

Here’s how it looked when we had a full house not too long ago.

Backyard divides 2013

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Honeybees carrying in pollen

These bees were spotted carrying in some pollen earlier this week – yay! We’ve actually gotten a bit of rain here and there, definitely enough to make a difference since they’re finding pollen somewhere out there. Just this week, we’ve measure about 1.25 inches in the gauge. And Mark reported earlier today that Bigfoot got about two inches down there in Frio County. Nice! A fellow Texan commented on one of my Instagram shots that it is funny how excited we get over rain here. Well, it’s true. We do. We just don’t always get rain consistently so we get excited in drought years. πŸ™‚ And then we run outside to pull our potted plants out far enough so they, too, can benefit from the natural watering from above.

Rainy evening

Next up and in light of some cool (though not really cool for our bees) pictures the beekeeper gets for me when I’m not with him in bee yards and the fact that people have questions about what dangers face the honeybees, I thought I’d show you some of the things we’ve seen in our beeyards that might impede the progress of the bees (besides man). First, here’s the very gorgeous Lynx Spider. Though not poisonous to humans, I read their bite does cause pain. Quite a bit. My awesome older bro pointed out to me, when I told him this, “All bites cause pain.” Well, that’s sort of true isn’t it? Put it in perspective for me. haha

Got another one for dinner

Back in 2006 we had our first but not our last sighting of the awful Robber Fly – nasty and reminds me of several alien-related movie creatures. Poor bees – these guys prey cleverly, following the bees around the area as they forage. And when the bees least expect it, they pounce! Grabbing them and then doing their thing. I read that they pretty much drink the life out of the bees. 0_0 Mark has gone through several robber fly swatters as he smacks them whenever he can in the bee yards.

Something wicked this way comes...what is that?!

Back to spiders – the Black Widow seems to really love hanging out in the boxes. Not sure we’ve seen them feasting on the bees but Mark’s pretty sure they want to feast on the beekeepers. Thank goodness for good gloves and that the beekeeper and crew are wearing them more this year. They get in the way and slow down work at times but it’s better than getting a kiss from one of these ladies. 😦

Biggest Black Widow I've ever seen

This one has got to be one of my favorites only in the sense that the spider is pretty awesomely unique. I mean look at those fangs and that helmet head!

Spider's dinner

One last one to show the cleverness of the bee predators – building a web right outside the front door! Poor bees don’t even see the web until it’s too late sometimes, although I did watch as several of the bees were able to disentangle themselves and scoot on inside. After a shot this, Mark got rid of the web since he had to open up the hive to tend to the bees. Good job, love.

Spider web at hive entrance

Okay, so there’s a tour of some of the dangers awaiting bees and beekeepers here in South Texas. Besides these things, we just have to keep one eye out on the fields around us – no bears but sometimes there are snakes, wild hogs, skunks, and such things. The fun things include wild turkeys, road runners, deer, fiesty donkeys (thinking about the hilarious one at Deadman Creek), lots of gorgeous birds, weird looking caterpillars and an occasional coyote or fox. Pretty awesome stuff to see. I’m sure in different areas, y’all have different threats and all sorts of loveliness to see as well. That’s one of the many rewards of beekeeping I would say.

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Enjoying the kitchen window

When I am cooking at the Bee Ranch, I love gazing out the square window above the sink, especially if Mark’s out there working the new hives. When Mark’s on the phone, he often watches the activities outside also. It’s a great view of the trees and sky. Now I’m already missing some of the hives out there. When I was cooking lunch today, it hit me that many of the new divides were moved to their new and permanent home (unless they aren’t doing well, we don’t move hives around).

Moving 12 of the divides

Yesterday Stan and Mark got an early, early start and moved twelve of the new divides from the back yard to their new home, which we are so happy to introduce to you today – the Carolina Bee Yard! Mark chose that name because he said the tall trees at that location reminded him of the tall trees of my home state of North Carolina (GO PACK!). πŸ™‚

Here’s a look of the new hives out at the MooJesus Dairy Farm, which is actually part of the EverythingJesus! Ranch. Actually, they do a whole lot of a lot out there so if you ever have a chance, do take a tour out there. They open back up to the public September 18 according to the website. We love our friends there and what they are doing with the learning, growing and fellowshipping. Happy to be out there with our bees, also!

Our newest bee yard was established today: the Carolina Bee Yard

Here’s a closer look at the hives Mark and Stan set up out on the ranch.

New bee yard out at MooJesus Dairy Farm in Seguin

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New divides check

Now that the summer harvest is over and equipment’s been cleaned (thanks to the awesome work of our Belinda!), it’s time to tend to the bees to make sure they are ready for fall and winter. We tell people who go through our classes or who buy our bees – treat for mites, feed when they’re hungry, check on the bees. Do it now.

In the above picture, which I snapped right before dinner this evening, Mark is checking on the new divides we have out back to make sure things are going well. He’s looking to make sure queens are accepted; he’s feeding hives that look like they might need a little boost (nothing much for them to feed on lately); he’s making sure he doesn’t see some problem that needs to be handled immediately. Happy news is that they are looking good so far; strong and doing well with their new queens that were recently installed. This makes us feel more confident that they will head into winter months able to sustain themselves into next spring. It’s what every beekeeper wants, right? To know that their bees will be okay over winter. So far, so good but some rain would sure help the girls make some honey for their winter store. We’re always hoping. At least there are more clouds in the sky lately. That helps keep us below the 100 degree mark which makes a big difference believe it or not. The mornings seem more pleasant and actually a bit on the cool side (don’t want to say that too loudly for fear it will change on us suddenly). Today only got up to about 94 I believe. Cool front! lol

In mite news, Mark’s been treating with Apivar right now and he’s completed Cibolo Creek, Elm Creek and Big Oaks bee yards. Each hive had to be opened and each box of the hive receives two strips per brood box. It’s much easier to handle than Hopguard and has proven to be very effective for our bees. He’ll continue with treatments with each yard; he’s got quite a few more to go.

In addition to the treatments, he also had Stan help him move emptied honey supers and other equipment out of the The Farm location and into a new storage facility – a temporary solution until we get that honey house built. Here’s our new storage at the warehouse our friend Mary is letting us use – we’re only taking up a small portion of the space but it’s a huge help to us!

G&G Warehouse

Another view:

G&G Warehouse

It’s going to be so nice to have our own space one day soon! I love it when things are neatly piled in their places. Of course, you can necessarily tell that by looking at our house right now but I do. lol Okay, here’s a look at the before shot of the former storage space at the Farm (this is just one side of the space we used so there’s some equipment to the right of the picture you cannot see here):

Moving out of The Farm storage space

And here is how Mark and Stan left it – nice and very clear, ready for whatever new adventures await the spooky-ish greenhouse:

Moving out of The Farm storage space

In Honey House news, it’s moving along! Engineers and drawings completed, septic system designed, building purchased and plans in review…things are getting lined up. At this rate, we are hopeful that the HH will be ready (enough) to host our annual Holiday Open House, which is usually in November. Keep your fingers crossed!

In market news, we had to drop Southtown market for several reasons but we are rooting for the other vendors that the market will be successful. We’re just pretty worn out, to be honest with you. The 7-day work week in the heat is wearing on us and let’s face it, while we’re not in our golden years, we’re not spring chickens anymore either. πŸ™‚ We need some kind of rest that’s more than the Sunday afternoons after markets are done. Anyway, we’re still at two markets and we hope you’ll continue to support all your local farmers, ranchers and producers no matter which market you support. We have an entire new level of appreciation for the growers of our foods and we feel blessed to have had the chance to meet all these fine, hard-working people who we now consider friends. Please support them as best you can. Thanks!

Random market story: We met a young group of friends last Sunday at market and one of them was Vietnamese and she asked me if I’d heard of or sampled a new trendy delicacy – bee larvae in puddings or porridges. No. I can’t say I’ve had it but I have heard of it and not too long ago, actually! A beekeeper in Hawaii that I follow on Instagram posted about the protein provided by bee larvae and how people harvest some of those for that purpose…that’s about as close as I’ll probably get to consuming them. I don’t see myself trying that since I look at bee larvae and I see a honeybee to be. Oh well, still interesting to learn new things.

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Comb in the uncapping tub

While I do tire of the non-stop 3-digit heat days, I never cease to be fascinated by the beautiful work of the bees. Not just the honey but look at the wax they create, like art to me. I love to visit the shop and see what’s happening out there. I shot the above photo because I just love the different colors of the wax. Some darkened with use, age, light, etc. Still good, all of it. These are bits of the cappings we shave off the tops of honey frames so we can get to the honey. We still do it all by hand with with bread knife. We have a heated knife for this purpose but found the bread knife works just fine in the blistering heat (natural heating πŸ™‚ ). There’s a lot of honey still left on the comb so we just let it drip down into the tub under this for a couple of days and then we’ll run that through our fabric filter to catch debris. It’s amazing how much honey you can harvest from the cappings alone. We never waste a thing if we can help it. The cappings are then stored in buckets until Mark is ready to clean the wax for our beeswax products. We love it and I always tell Mark that even if we never sold another candle, I’m sure our families and I could use up all the candles he makes. We love his work! We can’t wait to show you some of the new things we’re working on for the upcoming holidays. Some new beeswax ornaments for the gift-giving season – you’ll like them I think. Stay tuned.

As I type, I see the clouds have rolled in – yay! Some relief from the scorching sun! It’s been a brutal stretch lately. I believe yesterday Mark told me we’re going on our 13th straight day of 100+ heat. Not unexpected here in Texas this time of year but I think we all still long for fall to hurry on up already. Anyway, whenever there’s a change in the sky, you get excited. lol even if, like yesterday, you don’t get more than 45 drops of rain, the claps of thunder and dark skies make for a welcome change. Sounds like I’m in a bowling alley. Very nice sounds.

Prior to the change just now, we turned on the drip hose for the new hives out back. We’ve been doing this since they got here and the temperatures have been so high. The girls seem to be holding up just fine. The bit of water does a lot to cool them and also provides them with what they need to cool their hives down. They fan water in the hives to create their own cooling system. Pretty awesome, those bees.

Watering divides at the Bee Ranch

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