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Posts Tagged ‘Come & Take It’

All set up and ready to sell

Hello everyone and sorry I am just now getting to post. Our days and evenings are so packed and instead of posting last night, I made a little time to snuggle Smokey instead. I think I was on the move from the moment I left work – groceries, honey curry chicken, laundry, bills and checkbook work, and so on. All the routine stuff in life in addition to work and GBR. We love being able to do the bee work, though, so we just plug along. 🙂

Okay…so we made it through our BIG double event weekend. Not just any double event but the three-day event also known as Come & Take It. It didn’t disappoint overall though the crowds were thinner than in years past we noticed. We talked to other vendors and they agreed. We did, however, manage to do good business there. Some new things for us include the very new, very nice, surprisingly easy to put up and take down canopy from Academy. Weighing in at 65 pounds each, these have an extended awning that provides much needed shade from the Texas sun, both for our customers as well as our candles. In the four years we’ve been doing this whole market thing, we have learned a lot and we continue to with each event. Our neighbors have helped by providing feedback and suggestions on everything – from how to place products on tables for optimal appeal to how to set up the various canopies we’ve had (and some have even helped us put up that dreaded double canopy that didn’t last long). We sure appreciate the advice and help.

Speaking of help, the Pearl market was Saturday as well and Mark worked that event with Lan and Cathy, who was so sweet – she brought fresh eggs again and a tin of honey cookies! Thanks, Cathy! You are the bomb, as kids say. They do still say that, don’t they? Anyway, the cookies even made it to Gonzales and Jess and I got to enjoy them as well. I am notorious for savoring my special treats so guess what – I have some cookie left I’m going to enjoy tonight with a cup of hot tea after my blog post. That’ll be my reward. Who cares if I have to brush my teeth again. 😀

Cathy's Mesquite Honey Cookies

Finally, I want to catch you up on Mark’s work in the bee yards – it’s not all dividing and requeening right now. I think we need to clone him. Just a thought. Anyway, he is treating for mites! Yes, the dreaded mites. You really have to stay on top of them and he has yet to find a treatment that he is satisfied with but for now, he’s reading up on Randy Oliver’s site about Mite Away and trying some suggested methods of dealing with them. Randy does a lot of great research on all things bees and their well-being. We really appreciate his efforts as well as those of the groups with which he works. We had a chance to hear his presentation at last year’s beekeeping conference and it was fascinating. So, if you’re keeping bees, then be sure to do what Mark is constantly doing – reading, experimenting, reading, reading and more reading. And you’ve got to check your bees to stay on top of any potential problems, particularly at the height of activity (summer time). Right now we’ve got to get them ready for winter and that means helping them kick the mites off and out. So as I mentioned, Mark’s using Mite Away, a white strip of formic acid (don’t worry, this is considered to be an organic treatment). It sure smells better than Hopguard. Just my opinion.

Mite count fall 2012

Seven days ago, Mark treated six hives with the Mite Away. Today, he dusted each of those hives with powdered sugar in order to do a mite count. In past posts, we’ve written about the bees grooming that sugar off each other and in the process they knock the mites off. With the white board at the bottom of the hives as well as a screen bottom board, you can then do a count of mites over the whole white board. He found less than one percent infestation in the hives. YAY! Mark is very satisfied with this result and will continue this treatment for the rest of the hives. My poor honey bee – he’s going to be out of commission for a while, folks. Between this mite treatment and the dividing activities, he’s not going to be around the Honey House much. If you need honey or candles, please call me at 830-305-7925 and I’ll set up a time to meet you at the HH either during lunch or after 5p when I’m off work. Thanks for your understanding! And thank you, love, for contributing to the post. 🙂

Okay, now I’m off for tea and my honey cookie! Ciao!

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Mark working with some wax cappings

People sometimes ask what we do with the cappings from our honey frames after we extract. That gray tub Mark is working with is where we shave off the tops of the capped-over honey frames. The wax falls into the tub, which has a grill on the bottom and the grill allows the honey to drip off the wax and into the bottom bucket under the draining tub. It looks and smells wonderful because there is a good amount of honey left on that wax as we uncap and prepare the frame for extracting. Anyway, as the extracting continues and we need more space in the two uncapping tubs, Mark puts the wax into buckets for later processing. Look at that scrumptious looking batch of wax cappings. Is it just me or does it look like makings for some oatmeal raisin cookies?? It really does! I wanted to grab a gob of it but didn’t…have to behave.

Oatmeal or wax cappings?

Okay, so now that all the harvesting is finally, finally completely done, Mark started to go back to those buckets of cappings and put them back in the tubs for more complete draining. I was totally shocked when he told me how much honey was left on that wax (and he’s not even done yet). We’re not talking chump change either. Wow, I didn’t realize how much honey was still left in all that wax. And thank goodness my honey bee knows these things. That’s why he’s the boss and I’m the documentarian. 🙂 Lifelong learning – gotta love it!

In the end, after the micron filtering the wax goes through, Mark hand pours each and every candle and bees wax block, whether it’s an ounce or a pound. We love turning people on to beeswax and the people in San Antonio seem to REALLY love the wax products. We have never sold so much wax products in non-cold months as we have since joining the Pearl Farmers Market. That’s awesome! Mark is trying hard to keep up with demand, especially with several multiple event weekends coming up (and soon!).

Bees wax products at the Pearl

Speaking of events, guess what’s coming up this weekend now that we have hit October? That’s right – the 3-day Come & Take It Festival in Gonzales starts Friday afternoon already! Woo hoo! We love that event and if you haven’t been, you should really check it out – great music, fun environment for the whole family, good food, great night lights lighting up the entire downtown area, parades, reenactments, and tons more. The Gonzales crowd also knows what they like and we’re happy and proud they love our Gonzales Wildflower Honey. But the also like the specialties as well so we’re taking it all with us. We still have the Pearl market so we’ll be splitting up and lining up two separate teams. Thank goodness we have good friends helping us out. Thanks, everyone!

The lake at the Pearl Farmers Market

And speaking of the Pearl market, we were soaking wet this past Saturday but we still managed to have fun and had a decent showing of customers. Wow – what loyal shoppers! They didn’t let torrential downpours stop them from doing their weekly market shopping. And we thank them for showing up and shopping with us some. Especially in the location we were in – near a drain hole that was not draining. At one point, we had water halfway up past our tables. We were literally standing in water. Thank goodness a friend of ours at Springfield Farm (another vendor) had something with which to pry up the wood covering on the hole. Then another gentleman stuck a bit of a cone under there so that the opening could remain up and allow the water to drain. Hooray for friends who care. We have got to get better draining or a better spot. Last weekend it was the sun hitting our bees and beeswax and this weekend it was the non-draining drain. Let’s see what is next. I’m hoping they fix that drain at least. We got a new canopy with an extendable awning so we’ll see if that helps with the sun at least.

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Come & Take It booth 2011

We are having a GREAT time in Gonzales at the Come & Take It Festival. If you haven’t stopped by the booth, please come by Sunday and say hi and then sample all the new honeys we have that we didn’t have last year when we sold out early! We’re right in front of the Lynn Theatre – just look for all the beautiful honeys and wax products and the bees. 🙂 We’ll be there 10:00 a.m. to about 5:00 p.m.

Y’all have a great Sunday and thanks for all your support. I’ll post more and upload pictures after the event.

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