Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘store’ Category

Hoang girls at Comanche Creek #2

All that and a visit from our North Carolina sister. 🙂 It was a happy, happy week at the Bee Ranch as we got to share all we do with another family member. Thuy went everywhere with us and did everything we needed to do as we worked with the bees, prepared for markets, made candles and so on. We had such a great time and we appreciate all the expert help and advice she gave us on the administrative side of the business. Thanks, Thuy! Come back soon please.

Now here is an update on things related to bees and honey-making – things are looking much better than a couple of weeks ago. Most of the hives in each bee yard are making a good amount of honey. With several days off during Thuy’s visit, I got to tag along on the yard checks and here are a few shots I wanted to share.

This is a shot of some limited frames of comb honey we hoped the bees would be able to draw out. Looks like they did it!

2013 honey

This gorgeous lady is holding a lovely frame of capped honey. This is what the bees do when they determine they’ve dried out the honey to their liking. 🙂 That means it’s good for us also!

July 2 visit to Bigfoot bee yard

Then we let her try this year’s honey. It was quite awesome.

July 2 visit to Bigfoot bee yard

When we taste the honey, we do a little damage to the wax but the bees will fix this right up within a few days and we’d never be able to tell it’s where we dipped into the frame. Each year, whenever possible, you want to return frames in good or great shape so that it reduces the amount of work the bees have to do next year. They mend all the cells and reuse these frames. They are the ultimate recyclers.

July 2 visit to Bigfoot bee yard

In this shot, Mark is using the refractometer to check the moisture levels of random honey frames. Looking great – many are below the 18% point. Once the majority of the frames are capped, it’ll be harvest time.

Comanche Creek bee yard

Here’s some fantastic news for you Mesquite Honey fans – it’s blooming all over and has been for some time and will likely continue to bloom more. You know what that means, right? There’s going to be a nice bit of Mesquite in the honey, adding a nice, smooth flavor. Yay! This year’s honey has a healthy mix of all the wildflowers that bloomed on and off all spring and now into the summer – from early Bluebonnets to Indian Blankets to Mesquite and Haujilla. We are hopeful about bringing in a decent amount of local honey and we can’t wait for you to try this year’s harvest!

Old and new Mesquite blooms at Elm Creek yard

LOCAL HONEY ALERT! I found two locations where our local Guadalupe County Wildflower Honey is still available in case you need some before this year’s harvest is ready.

In Seguin, you can find several bottles of our Guadalupe County Wildflower still on their lovely display! Be sure to stop by there and tell them we said hi. Mary and her entire staff are wonderfully friendly and helpful. I love shopping there so if you ever need a gift, check them out!

Gift & Gourmet of Seguin

In San Antonio, I saw at least ten 1-pound jars at Melissa Guerra at the Pearl. That was last Saturday so call ahead and check that it’s still there before you head there although I must say parking is quite easy there at the lovely Pearl complex. Also ask them for the current pricing as they price differently from us (just wanted to give you a heads-up on that).

Local Texas Honey still available at Melissa Guerra at the Pearl

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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. 🙂 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!)

Read Full Post »

Small swarm

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

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

That's a dusty girl

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

Moving more hives

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

Bigfoot, Texas

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

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

Okay, for real this time. Goodnight. 🙂

Read Full Post »

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. 🙂 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!). 🙂

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. 🙂 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

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Farm 2012 hives 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas Honey

Read Full Post »

Mark shows some visitors the backyard hive

We are wrapping up the day as fast as we can so we can hit the hay – wow, what a day. We opened up the honey house for a first peek at this year’s local honey crop and we had some wonderful visits with folks who have been waiting patiently for the local Wildflower to get here already. It’s just been a busy but fun day that started with the first customer at 8am. We also got to see some dear friends and family members from out of town and it just meant so much to us that each person made the time to swing by the Bee Ranch to support our business. While honey and honey pots were being sold inside, many loyal customers brought newbees (haha I just coined that so don’t tell me if you’ve seen anyone else using it) with them so we showed the newbees the super gentle hive in the backyard. What wonderful little bees. They just went about their honey-making business paying no mind to us. Smokey was a little confused by the fact that there were people coming and going but no one stopping under the pecan. He just parked himself by the chairs as if he was waiting for class. What a nut.

Now, I had intended to share a bit about the long weekend we enjoyed even though it truly felt like it flew by and how could a three-day weekend feel like a regular weekend anyway? Sigh. I barely made a dent in my to-do list. I would much rather it be like this than to feel bored, as I occasionally hear people utter. How you can be bored in life with so many things to see and do? Anyway, I am out of time. I must get to bed as we have so many things to get done in the morning as Mark heads back to his moonlighting job as Librarian Extraordinaire. I’ll pick this back up tomorrow. Goodnight.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »