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Posts Tagged ‘beeswax’

Bees at entrance

Well, here we are into November and there’s only 5.5 more Mondays until Christmas. Yikes! I might as well cover the next two months in case I don’t have a chance to post until 2016!

Today it is once again cloudy as our slightly rainy period began about a month ago. Prior to that we were bone dry and our ground had severe cracks all over the yard. I shot the above photo several weeks ago on a Saturday morning during our Honey Store hours. The bees were flying like crazy after a rain spell and they brought in such beautiful and bright pollen – it’s always so awesome to see them like this. Amazing and mesmerizing to me.

Beekeeping supplies

On the Honey House front, we have lots going on as we shift our focus more on all the new things we want to do and offer at the Bee Ranch. Our beekeeping supplies and equipment have really grown and we’ve even added a storage container in order to make more room inside for new things arriving weekly. We now have everything a new or an experienced beekeeper might need – from bee gear (suit, gloves, etc.) to bee equipment (extractors, smokers, bee brushes, etc.). Need a book about beekeeping? We have it. Need some frames? Got it. Can’t decide which smoker you want to buy? We have two and we can talk about which one Mark likes best and why. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to explore new products and to share what works for us and why with new beekeepers. We’ve been able to conduct more classes than in the past several years and we love that! You know we both like to help others and we both enjoy teaching. And of course, we both love to talk bees and honey so this is really becoming a dream come true for us – sharing what we love right at the Bee Ranch, which we love so much and love to share with visitors. We hope to see you sometime soon!

Happy to be home and working on new products!

On the Bee Crafts front, we have a lot going on as usual. It’s amazing what we keep learning and our biggest desire most of the time is that we have more time to explore, learn, try and try again! haha I’ve been reading up on bee crafts such as body and home care for about a year and have been experimenting with different products the past six months. Mark and I are so excited to have three new products we are rolling out: our first lip balm, a traveling tea light, and a tin of sweet tea lights for a delicate way to ease into cold temperatures and before we bring out the big pillars to warm up the house. We are working to get things listed on the website so be patient a little longer and give us about two or three weeks to get everything up and running! Meanwhile, here are some sneak peeks in case you don’t follow us on all the other social media outlets where I typically share day-to-day work. Enjoy and talk to you soon, I promise. There are some new workshops we are hosting at the Bee Ranch every Saturday starting in a couple weeks and I will definitely need to post the topics here. Free and open to all during our shop hours.

Fall 2015 GBR product rollout

Fall 2015 GBR product rollout

Fall 2015 GBR product rollout

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Bigfoot bee yard June 2015

Above: Littlefoot – a new bee yard established Spring 2015 in Frio County. The Mesquite tree in the background on the left was struck by lightning several weeks ago. Luckily, it did not fall towards the hives because that’s been one of the highest productivity yards this year so far!

It has been the strangest spring ever in many ways. We’ve had plentiful rain filling up empty stock tanks and raising lake levels and things are greener at the end of June than I’ve seen it in the twenty years I’ve lived here. What a spring. Over all the bees are doing well and honey making is happening in bits and pieces. While some yards are heavy with activity, other yards are doing next to nothing. That’s why we spread out our 170 hives…just in case. Below is a look at some gorgeous honey we are letting sit on the hives a little longer so the bees can continue drying it. Lots of moisture this year! We have pulled just a fraction of what the bees made and with the timing (if it is just right), Mark just told me at lunch there is a chance we may get some Mesquite Honey this year after many years of going without one of our all-time favorites – woo! hoo! Seriously, I love that honey for it smooth, smokiness. Let’s hope it happens after all.

Almost ready to harvest

So. The major shift in focus. What is it? Well, if you follow any of our other social media platforms, then you already know. This coming weekend is OUR LAST WEEKEND AT PEARL. Yep. This is a 2012 photo I snapped in September, just a few months after we had been accepted as a vendor at the Pearl Farmers Market. What an amazing and exciting and exhausting 35 months we have had! 🙂

New location for Pearl Farmers Market

With each year since we formally established GBR, the business has picked up and the opportunities have also. Last year when Mark was elected President of the Pearl Farmers Market Association, we had no idea the amount of time and energy it would take and what it would take out of us both. We planned on longer hours and some hard work but it has been more like what we planned for and then multiplied by 20. We have learned so much at market and have made so many friends amongst our fellow vendors as well as our customers, but the time had come to make a change. Not only are we physically exhausted doing both weekend markets on top of a very full 5-day work week, but we are just not as young as we were and the pace is insane but maybe that’s just us because that’s how we work. We give it our all. You know we lived and breathed bees and somewhere along the way, market out-weighed bees in terms of workload. There are so many projects we want to pursue but haven’t had time to carry out the work. There are so many exciting new products we want to roll out but there’s prototypes, testing, packaging, marketing – there hasn’t been enough hours for us to do any of that the way we want to so now we re-focus.

Improve the process for making our popular Creamed Honey. Done.

Ready for ordering and  purchase - yummy!!!!

Begin making the new beeswax products we’ve been meaning to try – like extra tall Bee-Day Candles. Done.

New at the Bee Ranch - extra tall Bee-Day candles

Brainstorm and plan out the next chapter of GBR – not just new classes and new products but also some down time for resting, returning to church and seeing more of our family members. Done.

Planning the next chapter

It feels good to take some steps to focus on what we want to do and where we want to do it. More of GBR at the Bee Ranch. We’ll still do occasional shows but the primary focus will be right here at the home we love so much and have spent so little time enjoying. We hope you stay with us and see what is next for us. One of the exciting goals I have for myself is a return to this beloved Bee Blog of ours that has been neglected like many other things we hold dear. Here’s to a new chapter! Or Version 2.0 as a friend put it.

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Another chilly night in Seguin so we now have two heaters running in the honey house. This keeps the candles from cooling too quickly, which can make them brittle and break when removed from the mold. Mark likes to keep the temperature constant around 100 and then slowly decreased the heat after letting the candles set overnight in the honey house.

We continue to prepare for the Yulefest event on Sunday at the coliseum here in Seguin. The honey is pretty much ready but we need as many candles as Mark can make between now and Saturday night. Business has definitely picked up since last year as we continue to fill orders online and in person, and at the same time, also prepare for class and the event this weekend.

Time to get some shut-eye so we can get back to work tomorrow morning. 🙂

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Bee Mine

Beeswax hearts on bee dish

Valentine’s Day (February 14) is just around the corner, but not before Lunar New Year (February 3), also known as Chinese New Year although many Asian cultures observe this festive holiday. But since we haven’t found a mold for that occasion just yet, we bring you some precious little beeswax hearts that smell as divine as they look. I just love them!

I came home from Virginia and Mark had already made several for me to see. I wasn’t sure how the ornate mold would turn out but when I saw the finished product, I decided I liked it even more than the simple mold. Who wouldn’t love getting one of these adorable hearts on any ole day? Come by, give us a call or drop us an email if you would like any hearts for the special folks near and dear to your heart.

(Trying to decide which ribbons to go with on the packages, which are $4. In the end, we went with pink ribbon and natural color raffia, which isn’t pictured below.)

Packaged hearts

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Looks like chocolate to me.

We are so happy to report that Mark successfully poured his first round of beeswax today! YAY! I was so excited when he sent me some pictures. I couldn’t wait to get home to see how it all works. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the scent of the honey house – lovely! It was a soft, sweet honey scent. I don’t know if we’ll ever add fragrances to our bee crafts at this point. Why ruin a great scent in the first place. 🙂

Above is what chunks of the wax looks like as they sit in one of the melting tanks. Pretty neat looking even with all the scraps we tossed in as well. I thought it looked like a big batch of chocolate! After melting, they went into some of the molds we ordered last week. We’re still waiting for additional molds to come in early next week and then we’ll go to town on things.

Wax in molds

After they cool down, we turned them over and popped them out and voila – beautiful little beeswax bars. These are the one ounce bars and the bee mold is about the same, possibly a little heavier. We want to offer these bee crafts at our next event so we have lots to do between now and December 3! I wasn’t crazy about the lighting for these since we were inside the honey house so tomorrow I will shoot some of these in the beautiful natural lighting in our yard. It’s suppose to be another gorgeous day in Texas tomorrow.

Beeswax 1

If you aren’t sure what beeswax is used for, following are some ideas:

  • Cosmetics – hand cream, face cream, body lotion, soap, and lip balm
  • Artwork – figures, castings, carvings, marble repair, ornaments, sculpture, batik fabric, and encaustic painting
  • Polishes – for leather, wood, metal, and marble products and used in making shoe furniture, floor, tool, winter-sports equipment, and car polishes
  • Lubricants – for sticky drawers, windows and doors, thread for sewing, bow strings, screws, nails, and pegs
  • Waterproofing – for canvas, sails, ropes, and twine
  • Other Uses – for sealing wax, grafting wax, and wood filler

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