Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

GBR Check out page

It’s back and better! When the shopping cart went down on us a couple of weeks ago, the company that ran the back end didn’t even notify clients. Really! That is crazy business. Thanks to Troy and Mark working away since that time, we now have a brand new shopping cart with lots more for you.

Here are a couple of things I wanted to point out real quick since I need to go to bed for an early drive to SA markets.

You like the honey? You want to tell us how you cooked with it in a wonderful recipe? We now have a review feature – tell us what you liked and didn’t like (hopefully you’ll call us on this one so we can work it out together)!

GBR Shop Cart Reviews

Need to do a quick search since you don’t have time to browse? Check out the new search capability as well as the featured products for that time period.

GBR Shop Cart Search

Take a look around and tell us what you think. We’ve been working and testing but nothing beats real user testing. We also added several free pickup locations in the “shipping” section. Thanks for your patience and support as we worked through another little hurdle in running a business and having an online store. When a server crashes, sometimes you just have to sit and eat honey until the next solution is ready. 🙂 We’re ready now.


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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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Master Gardeners Mtg Presentation

Master Gardeners, that is. This evening we carried some technology as well as honey and candles over to the Agrilife Extension Office here in the downtown area of Seguin and spent about an hour with the group. We totally enjoyed it because, as always, talking about the bees, honey and candles is a lot of fun. It’s all a lot of work but when we interact in this way with people, we forget how tiring it all can be. And when it’s over, we can’t wait to do another event. Crazy, isn’t it?

We went through our usual bits – who we are, why and when Mark took this on full time, how Mark likens my bravery in being close to bees despite the fact I’m allergic to the bravery I showed in Viet Nam when my mom took me into the war zone to see my dad over night during the height of the war. What?! That was a new tidbit of information he shared! Made me laugh and think, “How’d I get so lucky to find him??” Really, that war bit did happen but I wasn’t really brave. I was just a baby and my dad missed me and wanted to see me so my mom brought me out there. And I didn’t even know that story until recently when Dad told Mark about it. I just love it. See? You just never know what you’ll learn attending one of our presentations. Or taking one of our classes. Or reading our blog. By the way, thank you for doing one or all of those things. 🙂

Speaking of my dad, last week he referred a friend to us. I spent about twenty minutes on the phone, fighting morning grogginess (actually slept in that day!), with Dad’s friend who had received a jar of our honey as a gift. He was so fascinated with what we were doing and with beekeeping in general – he had so many wonderful questions and I did my best to answer them in my not-so-great Vietnamese. I was sort of drained but I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise. I wish I had a Viet tutor!

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Oct 2011 Groupon

Check us out – Groupon is running another promotion for us and this time, we are more pleased with it – especially since it actually provides our company link this time. You may recall, I also posted about the first Groupon ad back in June of this year and we had lots of issues with that writeup as well as with the follow-up “I’m sorry” edition that ran in August. We had better and direct communications with them this time around so I think that helped a great deal. Let’s hope people buy up the Groupon. At last check we had 47 people purchase the deal. The first time it ran in the summer, we had 105. The Intro to Beekeeping class is a lot of fun and we were able to mention it to several interested folks in Gonzales so here’s to fuller classes in the near future!

Now that I have the big news over, I just want to say that I thought I’d actually have this all done before 10pm so I could try and get to bed early. 🙂 Everything just takes longer – you can’t just post. First I got the pictures off the camera, then uploaded them to Flickr so that I can link this post and the pictures in it. By the way, you can see all my Come & Take It shots if you visit the GBR Flickr set for Fairs, Markets & Trade Days. Secondly, I had to grab the snapshot at the top of this post to show you our Groupon ad and save and upload that as a picture. And while I’m at it, I wanted to share some blog stats that kind of startled me and Mark. See below. Notice the GIGANTIC leap in views??? Prior to today’s 120 views, I think our last record high was 98 (remember, I tried to push it to 100 but it was a no-go).

Site Stats 2-Oct-11

Wonder what happened today!? Don’t get us wrong, that’s wonderful to see…but it’s a huge jump in terms of our average numbers, especially as of late. And on top of that, I revised our little business postcard prior to the weekend event so even if all the people we met actually went to the website address listed on the postcard, it would have been to our primary company site, not the blog site. Anyway, it was a nice shocker and I just wanted to share a bit of news with you. Happy news. Plus, you get to peek into our post-event world which is filled with “paperwork” such as photo editing, blogging and rambling commentary while Mark balances books and counts earnings and so on. Our partnership is such a nice balance of brains (Mark) and lively entertainment (me, in case you weren’t sure).

Okay, I have plenty of other things to share but I will save it for tomorrow’s post. This entertainer/beekeeper’s assistant is tired and I have a fulltime IT job to tend to tomorrow so I shall bid you goodnight, my friends. Sleep well.

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Aug 2011 groupon

Happy Monday morning, everyone. Just a quick note to share some interesting news with you. First of all, we are featured on Groupon again! Nevermind that it says Round Rock Honey and that they didn’t use the correct text in the body. 🙂 The main correction to note is that the class is in Seguin with me and Mark. And our bees don’t hum Boyz II Men. Maybe classic jazz and pop from time to time.

Second bit of interesting news – so far today, we had visitors from Brunei (Malaysia) and Tulbagh (South Africa)! We love to see where people are from and especially when they keep coming back. Very nice to have folks visit from so far away. Thanks!

GBR blog visitors

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GBR site meeting - laptop

If you have been keeping up with us over the past half a year, you know we are working on launching a new website to replace our humdrum freebie from Microsoft. Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate freebies and we needed something in place as more and more people wanted to know about GBR and what we do with the bees. But the real action happens here on the blog. This is fluid and immediate. It allows us to share information with you in a nice formatted webpage. It’s easy to use since Mark and I are NOT web gurus, contrary to what some people think of our abilities. Thank goodness WordPress makes it so easy for us! The blog, along with Twitter and Facebook, have allowed us spread out across the states and actually, across the world (we get visits from all over, which is pretty neat). Well, it is time to jazz up the official GBR website and launch it soon. We met with our web designer, Troy, while in Connecticut last week and we had a good work session. We hammered out more details of different pages within the site and settled on action items for each party. Status calls every day now, until the site is launched (eeeecks!). I’m excited. Can you tell? It’s a lot of work and it’s even harder when all parties are not in the same place. You know I love technology but sometimes a face-to-face work session is the best, especially if you haven’t met the other person. I still work at the steel mill and we have offices all over the world. We use video conference quite a bit – it’s okay but it still doesn’t have the same impact when you haven’t met the other folks at least once. All that to say we enjoyed meeting Troy finally.

Speaking of my love of technology – another piece of technology we recently invested in is the device below – it’s a reader from Square. This elegant little gadget will allow us to now accept credit card sales we’ve been missing in the past. I wouldn’t say that we felt a big impact from those missed sales but we hope that having this payment option will bring us even more sales. We’ll let you know how it works and how it does for us. Just another one of those things a small business has to think about in this day and age of hardly a checkbook in the purse or slacks. I rarely even write a check anymore. Everything’s online or swipe. We’ve gotten spoiled with ease. 🙂 So we’re hoping you’ll like how we spoil you as much as we can.

Square Reader

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