Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

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. 🙂


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Black Brush in Frio County

Well, it’s been busy! Before we go to bed, I wanted to do a little update. First and foremost on my mind – we got 1.25″ of rain!!! It sounded like a train ran over our metal roof and it was loud like I have never heard it but it was awesome! I was so tired from work and then market and an evening event that I registered the thunderstorm, gave thanks for it and then went right on back to my slumber. Poor Mark apparently was up most of the night and then next thing you know – we were up at 5a for market. I don’t care what the sprung forward clock said, it sure FELT like it was 5a. Painful the first night especially when you are already beat. Anyway, we were happy for the market and then rain and the friends who joined us to help. We appreciate it all!

Secondly, things are really starting to come out – from leafs to buds to blooms. The top picture is of Black Brush Mark saw while visiting the Youngbloods down in Frio County. Todd says the bees don’t go to this even though you’d think they would, right? I’ve never seen a plant such as this – bursting with blooms. Wish I could have show my mom all these blooms coming out now. She would have enjoyed it as she has an incredible green thumb. Now here’s another shot I loved because I want to see it in full bloom and to see the fruit would be fun – the Wild Persimmon! I have a fondness for Persimmons as it is so these hold a special appeal to my heart.

Wild Persimmon

So pretty! That was in Frio County as well and I can’t wait to see if we get any in our own bees yards. With so many scattered across several counties, I’m hoping we’ll have a chance to see them so I can photograph some of them for myself. I love doing that. Next post, I will post some of the shots I snapped at Comanche Creek of blooms we are uncertain of so that perhaps you all can help identify them. 🙂

For the coming week, we have a lot going on. In a nutshell and just so you know what’s going on with the bee part of our world, Mark’s schedule is about to get real tight again. It’s the feeding, nurturing and checking of the bees time of year. We have to make sure the bees are as ready as possible for things that are about to burst. We need them out there foraging as much as possible but in the meantime, he’ll spend a good part of this week feeding the bees and treating for mites. We have been happy with the state of the bees and we are encouraged about the coming honey season, especially with the rain we just received. It was widespread and long enough a storm cell to cover most all of our dozen or so bee yards. Just have to wait and see how it plays out. Just like farming sometimes. 🙂 Even our nucs are doing well with their adjustment to Texas. We have them all pretty much spoken for and we look forward to our class and pick-up day on the 23rd of this month. It’s always exciting!

Later in the week, we prep for our markets as usual. We have a new employee we are training. Jessica (Or Little Jess as we affectionately nicknamed her – she’s shorty than I am. It’s true.) is our newest addition to the team since Lan will be leaving us soon. 😦 Won’t think about that right now. I realized we need to introduce y’all to our growing team (if somewhat fluctuating) so I will snap some shots of Stan, Jessica and Allison so you can say hi if you visit us at markets and other events. We don’t have a formal training program so a lot of what they learn is on-the-job. Hopefully they’ll not think we’re too crazy and will stay with us a looooooooong time. lol Seriously, though, we couldn’t do what we do (without really killing ourselves) if it wasn’t for our dear family and friends. They all really are amazing and we are blessed they believe in what we are doing enough to want to help us when they can.

Y’all have a great week ahead and enjoy the weather – it’s suppose to be a pretty week, warming up as we progress towards Friday. Yep. We keep up pretty well with forecasts since bee work is kicking into full gear. Good thing they have apps for weather tracking. Okay, goodnight. Sleep tight.

OOOH! PS – forgot to mention I am learning to be a candle-maker! 🙂 Mark is going to be too busy with bee work for candle making so I offered to take over. We’ll let you know how it goes. hehe

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Major Peña in Afghanistan with GBR honey

I don’t think there’s ever a time when I don’t tear up when I hear our national anthem. Ever. I came to America with my family in ’75 when Saigon fell to the communist regime. We love America. I wouldn’t be the person I am if I wasn’t here. I try and thank soldiers, active and veterans, for the service they have given on behalf of our great country. And if I’m lucky enough to meet Vietnam veterans, it’s even more special to me because of all they went through in Vietnam and then when they returned home. I want them to know that they made a difference and that they helped provide me with so many opportunities in life – many I probably wouldn’t have had if I was still in Vietnam. So here’s a chance for me to thank another soldier and for me and Mark to feel great about being a small part of making his day.

This is Major Peña and he is stationed in Afghanistan. His mother-in-law, Ms. Medina, wrote to us and said that Major Peña was so excited when he saw our jar of honey in the break-room. The label and honey gave him a touch of home when he read that it was Seguin, Texas. OMG! Did you just grab a tissue or your shirt sleeve? It’s okay if you did. When we first learned about this, I did tear up. I was so happy that we gave Major Peña that little moment and a slice of home when he is so far away. The amazing part about all this is that the honey wasn’t even his – someone else had put it in the break-room and he saw it there. Can you believe that? What a small world it is. 🙂 Mark and I are soooooo thankful that Ms. Medina shared this family story with us – thank you, Ms. Medina! We look forward to meeting you soon. And when Major Peña comes home, we hope to have y’all visit for a special honey tasting. Until then, we will pray for him and his fellow soldiers to come home safely and soon and we thank you for your service to our country. You are all amazing!!!

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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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All set (mostly) for tomorrow's Open House

Well, we are finally cleaned up and ready for bed. But not before I post a little on what we’ve been doing. I was wondering earlier about all the “famous and successful” businesses that started out in garages. You know, I’m too tired to go Google it and I have set a time limit on how late I can stay up to write this so I’ll keep moving. You know what I mean about the garage. We all have to start and sometimes restart somewhere and here’s where we’re at – our new Bee Ranch at 2745 W. Kingsbury. We’re now on the edge of town. Feels like the country sometimes since we are no longer about ten feet from our neighbors and we regularly have deer grazing on and running through the front to the back yard and then on to the eleven acres behind our property. 🙂 We will miss the good ole house on Krezdorn and people will have to adjust their coordinates for picking up our products, but we are really just ten minutes from where we used to be and right down the street from Interstate 10 AND Granzin’s Meat Market. What more could you ask for?

So, here’s your chance to see our restart. The Krezdorn house is under contract now, which means we seriously need to start emptying out the Honey House (not to mention our attic, still). When it came time to decide about events such as daily drop-bys from customers and the open house event, it seemed like the right time to go ahead and transition things over to the new Bee Ranch. We are happy to say we had our first shoppers stop by for BLACK FRIDAY shopping – we weren’t even having any specials but they sure didn’t mind. We appreciated their support as well as another big order I took over the phone. It’s that gift-giving time of year and we’re happy people are picking up our honey and wax products for family and friends. Tomorrow we’ll open our garage doors for any of you who’d like to do a little shopping, a little visiting and a little munching. We’ll have light snacks and some hot cider. Mark and I will be happy to show you our vision for the new Bee Ranch – Where will the honey house sit? Where might the retail shop be located? Where will Mark make his gorgeous candles? Where will Stan bottle honey? Which boots will I wear to tromp around the property in search of photo opportunities? If you swing by here tomorrow, we can show you where all this and more will happen. AND Smokey will be so happy to see you! He may run around the yard in a frenzy from the joy of having people visit us again. I think he’s really missed seeing people for classes and drop-by customers. Poor cat, like Lan and I don’t give him enough attention and snuggles.

Here’s a look at some of the handiwork from setup activities this evening. We just want to say a great big THANK YOU to my sis Lan. Boy, she is a worker bee to the max. Helped us out at the Pearl Farmers Market then came to Seguin in the evening to hang out and help us set up for tomorrow. We love working with family members and have enjoyed her feedback in addition to her hard work. We even had a video call with my other sis Thuy in NC to show her what we were doing – she loves our products and events as much as we do although today she told me that she thinks she gets more excited about our Pearl adventures than I do. How lovely that so many people, especially family members, care so much about what we do and how we do that they text and call afterwards to see how things went. It’s so awesome!

3rd Annual Holiday Open House at GBR

Okay, I’ve exceeded my time limit by three minutes. Oops. Gotta go to bed now so y’all sleep tight and come visit us!

Oh! The bees are here also! I know a lot of you love to see them. So there. Okay, this time I am really stopping. 🙂

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Lan talking bees

After another busy week and another two-event day, I am in my pajamas already and Smokey is crashed out on his current favorite spot while he is recovering from some injury he picked up while I was gone. Poor little guy. I bet if he was able to join bee class this morning, that would have cheered him up. Lan and I handled the Pearl market as Mark had seven students join him for class here in Seguin. Ah, I miss doing the classes with Mark. While we are blessed to be so busy and to have so many new opportunities, we always miss working events together. Sigh. The price of success I guess. 🙂 Here’s a shot from class today.

Nov 17 2012 Bee Class in Seguin

At least we have the evenings together. Tonight we were suppose to go to a Chucho Valdez concert and we were both so excited but unfortunately, I was really exhausted and an earlier migraine post-market really wiped me out (even after sleeping it off for three hours). Mark is pretty beat as well so we thought it’d be best to not push it by rushing to SA to catch Chucho. We’ll have to catch him again when we can. 😦 Instead, we had a nice, quiet dinner out and now we are both doing a bit of administrative work as we watch the Spurs beat up on the Denver Nuggets. AND we are sipping on some yummy hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and a touch of cinnamon AND we are nibbling on the delicious Texas Honey Caramel Truffles that Ms. Chocolatier dropped off at our booth today at market. They are a fellow vendor at the Pearl and they used some of our honey in this magnificent creation. Has a touch of sea salt on top – SCRUMPTIOUS. Is chocolate on chocolate too much? Impossible.

Chocolates with a touch of our honey

One ore thing…guess what time it is? Besides turkey time, it’s time for our annual Holiday Open House! I know, it feels like it was just yesterday that we were all trying to keep warm and dry in the tiny little Honey House on Krezdorn while it poured down cold rain on Seguin last year. Right? Well, here we are again. Gearing up for holiday shoppers who have already started placing their orders. We’d love to see you here at our new Bee Ranch on Kingsbury. We’ll have some yummy, light snacks and plenty of time to talk gift-giving ideas with you if you have time to shop local with us.

2012 Open House

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Mark showing bees at Pearl July 21

It was another great and super-busy four hours this morning at the Pearl Farmers Market and I didn’t fail to look at the clock two hours into it but feeling like it must be at least three hours into it. Not that we didn’t enjoy ourselves – we did! Especially with my sister Lan now joining us at the market when she can. We sure did appreciate her help because we were bless-fully swamped!

Here are a few things we noted from today’s activities:
1. The observation hive continues to be a huge hit and draws people of all ages to the booth. Nothing beats watching the queen bee lay eggs and for us to be able to point to the frame and explain how the honey goes from there to a tank to a bottle gets the point of freshness across quite easily. It’s fun to educate people.
2. Lan really knows how to sell! Not that I’m surprised because I know she has tons of retail experience and she’s also been working in the hotel industry so she’s all about great customer service. We both really appreciate her attention to detail and her products display skills. What’s awesome on top of all that is that she hasn’t been to one of our classes yet (though she will in the fall when we resume) nor has she had time to spend a great deal of time working the bees with us. But she sure can listen to what we say to customers and then repeats it herself and sounds like she’s been doing it for years. She rocks. She’s as outgoing as David is so we can’t wait for them to meet and work together. We think on those days they will probably sell out of honey and beeswax.
3. Speaking of beeswax, it continues to be a great seller at the market! Who knew? Typically, consumers have not bought a lot of beeswax during the summer. Not sure why but we suspect it’s just hot and how really things of burning candles or melting beeswax in 100 degree weather, right? Besides candle-making beekeepers. Well, people in SA sure do like their beeswax and beeswax candles. We sold quite a bit last weekend and we did so again today. Below is a shot of some of the wax products we took to market today.

Beeswax at the Pearl July 21

Finally, here’s a parting shot for the evening. I went with Mark to return the observation hive bees to their home at Deadman Creek so I decided to start practicing with my new tiny macro lens I got last week for the iPhone. It cost about $11, compared to a $1000 Nikon macro lens. Yea, we’ll be okay with the iPhone lens for a while. 🙂 I think it’ll be fun to shoot with it for a while. It’s not perfect or even super-awesome, by any means, but it will allow me to get some close-ups of bees, wax, and super-tiny flowers like the Bee Brush, which is blooming abundantly right now after last week’s rain. I usually can’t get a great close-up of the blooms with my regular Nikon lens because it’s hard to capture white and the flowers are very small and bunched together. I’m happy with this shot for now. Hope you like it and that you sleep well tonight.

Bee brush macro July 2012

Thank you so much to all the fine folks we met today. We had a blast making new friends and also getting to see more and more of our dear SA friends. I have really missed a lot of you and I am so happy when y’all stop by the booth to see us. Really makes my morning so thank you, thank you! Okay, before I got to bed, I have to share with you one of our favorite vendors (already) – the crepes folks of Crepelandia. Oh my. We are addicted.

Mark’s choice –
Strawberry crepes

My choice –
Sunrise Crepe - tomato, spinach, avocado, etgg, cheese

Okay. Now for real, goodnight.

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