Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy, Happy New Year!

Me & Mark
From happy, happy us. Here's to a wonderfully crazy busy 2011 - let's hope 2012 will be even better, filled with more adventures I will share with you all here. I hope to be able to do a better job posting to this blog - that's my one resolution! :) Meanwhile, be careful out there and be safe. Meet you back here in 2012, my friends.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Meowee Christmas!

Snugly kitty on Christmas Eve Eve 
Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you all have had a wonderful day filled with love, laughter and peace.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fall in Our Lil World

As I got in the car this morning, I was struck by the beautiful coloring of our peach tree. I love having the bee boxes in the yard.

Friday, December 09, 2011

2nd Annual Gretchen Bee Ranch Holiday Open House

Dec 10, 2011 GBR Open House
Sorry I've been busy - it's the holiday season so you know what that means! All sorts of events to get our name, honeys and beeswax products out on the market. We're having a great time meeting folks and sharing information along with our products but our favorite event is tomorrow. That's because people get to come to the Bee Ranch and check out the honey house - we'll have food, good music and a lot of fun. Hope you can swing by to visit and shop. Or if you're done with your Christmas shopping, you can just pull up a chair and chat. We'd enjoy that. Off to bed I go. We have class in the morning (10-12p) before the Open House; I'm going to need some energy! Goodnight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Hopefully you are baking, relaxing and/or spending time with loved ones...and I don't mean Best Buy. As much as I like BB. :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Game Stop Crew

Game Stop Guys
I went with a friend to Game Stop so she could pick up the newest game out - MW3. I didn't even know what that stood for at first. And I had never been to Game Stop so I wanted to tag along. These two cracked me up! They were so funny and enthusiastic about their work, which I think is great. If it wasn't for them, then the rest of us would have to keep up with all the games and names and scenarios and tips for getting to level 4,506...and who can remember all the Pokemon names! I know Pikachu and Jiggly Puff. They had me laughing so hard, I knew I had to post about them. And as soon as I asked them for a shot, they had their poses ready. I loved that! So, if you need a game, go see the friendly guys at Game Stop in Seguin. :)

Monday, October 31, 2011


Halloweeners at Walmart
Hope everyone's had a good Monday and a safe and fun Halloween today. I never got around to a bee costume but I did see it was a popular costume this year! Go bees! I ran to Walmart in order to shop for our neighbor, who's not able to get out and about easily anymore. To balance out the fact that it's challenging to shop for someone else, I had two really funny conversations --- this couple parked next to me and they were so fun and sweet, trying to explain to me who they were (I still am not sure) that I told them I would blog about them. They were really polite young kids. Then I ran to pick up some dinner and the server gave me my order and he had a face mask on...said it was an evil pumpkin. lol, made me laugh on both counts and I needed to laugh. I love it that people are able to enjoy life. It is a good feeling.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Beep-beep, Road Runner!

Road runner dashing 
When I was growing up, Saturday mornings were the only days I eagerly got up without wakeup calls from my parents or siblings. Cartoons were on and we got to watch all morning until Kung Fu Theatre came on at noon. After that, the TV was turned off. :-) I loved the Bugs Bunny, Road Runner Show. I mainly just loved Bugs Bunny. I was often irritated by how futile the Coyote's efforts were to capture Road Runner. When I moved to Texas, I learned the Road Runner was called a Chaparral. Hmm. And it was not tall with long legs. And it did not run around, going "Beep, beep." :-) Bummer. But every time I see a Chaparral, I hear the beeps in my mind. And it makes me smile. When I go with Mark out to Deadman Creek bee yard, I get to see lots of Chaparrals so I get to smile often. Have a SUPER week, friends!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Revitalizing Rains

Mill Crk bee on yellow bloom 
It's been a couple of weeks since our last great rainfall but we continue to see how alive the landscape has become with just a touch of rain. No amount of hand-watering can work the magic that real rain provides. It's wonderful! Things are green again and we even have flowers blooming, which is great news for our bees as well as for us. The color bloom we are seeing most is yellow - blooms of all sizes, large and small. The bees are loving it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Palace, A Goat & A Turtle

Palace Theatre Seguin (Tx)

This evening we actually had time to rest and work on things around the house and prepare for our bee class tomorrow morning. Then we drove around town to see what was happening here and there - the Palace was nicely lit. We wish it could be a current run sort of theatre - would LOVE that! But any time it or the Texas Theatre are lit up it's beautiful. Below is a shot from a friend of ours when he wandered around the fairground last weekend when he came by to visit us at the GBR booth his honey was working with me at the time. I love turtles and I think goats are cute when they are small. This picture just cracked us up! Crazy goat! They do the funniest things ever. Like one minute they'll be standing there and then the next minute they kick up and trot around. Hilarious. Makes me laugh every time.

  goats are silly - from Tim M.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Biggest Pecans Ever!

Heather & 1st Pecan

Recently my wonderful friend, and roommate of several years during college, came to visit. It was so awesome! We talked non-stop and Mark couldn't even interrupt our flow at some points, poor man. LOL. We also got to show her the bees. AND we took her to see the big pecan on the square. I sat in the back so she could have a good view of the sights of Seguin and I watched as we neared the square to see if she'd do the same thing I did when I was first introduced to the World's Largest Pecan. She did. She looked up, into the sky. She was looking for the World's Largest Pecan the same way I did fifteen years ago. I laughed so hard! And then I told her to look down! I love that. And she loved the pecan. And then we had to take her to see the new World's Largest Pecan (For Real). :-) We had a lovely weekend together.

 Heather & Big Pecan

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Rain vs Fair

Well we are sitting around with all the other vendors, blogging, listening to music or a football game, checking the rain and the parking lot, and wandering around. Rain doesn't help to get folks to visit our honey booth but we'll take it over sales right now :-). We sure needed this rain.

I finally loaded Blogger on my 'company phone' (GBR) so hopefully you'll see more posts more regularly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Smokey upside-down

It's nice someone is enjoying the great, hot outdoors. See the green grass? We pay a nice price to keep it going for our bee classes. Who wants to learn about bees or light a smoker when the grass is brown and crunchy. I get scared just thinking about it.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Beware the Bike Cop

bike cop 
Beware - they are out in full force now that school has started! I have seen two officers on bikes but luckily they haven't gotten me! :-) I've been wanting to snap a shot of them in action for a while but I'm always driving or without the camera. Plus it's tricky trying to discreetly snap a shot while they are stopping someone. This is a favorite spot of theirs on Cedar near Guadalupe. So be careful and you won't have a problem. There's a school zone right around the corner and people often don't slow down.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Rain Gutters & a Dove's Nest

bady doves nest 1 
You never know when we'll get rain but you do know you want to be prepared. We've neglected the gutters for a while now so Mark took advantage of the 80-something degree weather to clean them out and guess what he found!?! Dove's nest! The mama flew off and managed to avoid Smokey's clutches (thankfully). I did yell at Smoke and throw sticks at him to distract him from hunting the poor mama dove. :-( I was just wondering the other day where this shell came from and what came out of it. Now I know. 

  dove egg on ground

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Hello Clouds

Poofy cloud Aug 2011 

I am writing on what we hope will be the LAST 100 degree day of the year! That's right; I wrote it. Let's hope it comes true despite my putting it to writing. We have had either 52 or 53 days of 3-digit heat this year and we are eagerly awaiting an unusual 54F degree night tomorrow. WEIRD to go to such extremes but I'll take it. I believe this week should only be in the mid 90s. I can't wait for even cooler temperatures. But until those days get here, we are happy to see clouds in the sky so that we get a touch of cover from the intense sun.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pigeons' Watering Hole

Pigeons watering on deck

Today we had a TOUCH of rain but we'll take it. It was enough to create a few good puddles here and there and to green up things a bit. Maybe that's because the dust was washed off things and so things looked like the popped a bit more than they have been as of late. Sure wish we could get a little Hurricane Irene action.

This is a shot I took with Mark's iPhone this morning as I watched the pigeons through the back door - explains the weird coloring in the picture. The birds are taking turns watering from the dish we use to put rocks in when we collect them during travels. I had watered the lawn in that spot last night and I guess some water collected in the dish. I'm glad it provided them with a bit of relief. You can also see how brown our garden is - I gave up on trying to keep it going. Too hot. Too dry. Maybe next year we'll get more done in the garden.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dublin Dr. Pepper for Friends

Dr. Pepper

This special Dublin Dr. P is just for my special friend Down Under - hope you are well, friend! :-) Thanks for continuing to check on me.

And another special shout out to my other special friend Little Jess - thanks for bringing us some special Dr. P! Love you.

Monday, August 15, 2011

In the Year of the Drought

Prickly Pear in Drought

You know it's a bad rain year when the prickly pear is looking like this. :-( We need rain! And some relief from 3-digit heat wouldn't hurt either. Just saying...

Here's how lovely the prickly pear can be -

Bees on Cactus at Big Oaks - 13

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Drink, anyone?

Twin Liquors

We have a new liquor store in town, in case you haven't noticed it (if you live here). It's where the Blockbuster used to be - that's right. No more Blockbuster video rentals! I haven't been inside the new store but when we drive by there in the evenings, I am always drawn to the beautiful and colorful glass bottles on display. Unlike most other beverage stores I've ever see, this store has the bottles displayed quite nicely against the clear glass windows. Nice design. Snapped this with an iPhone - doesn't do the colors justice but you get the drift.

Friday, August 05, 2011



Today's temperature as I reached my driveway after work; the car had no shade all day while I was at work. Lordy, it is blazing hot. I accompanied Mark to a bee yard for about thirty minutes as he fed the bees some pollen supplement (they are also struggling in the heat and drought conditions), I wore shorts and tee. I could only stand the direct sun (around 5:45p) for about a minute on my bare legs. After that time, the burn of the sun was quite hot and somewhat unpleasant. It's not so bad in the shade - you're still hot but at least you don't feel as if someone was holding a magnifying glass between the sun and you. Stay cool, everyone.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Camo Lizard

Holdman Honey Divide 30-July-11 5

Anybody know what kind of lizard this is? He was very fast when he saw me coming and I barely caught sight of him before he dashed up the tree truck and went up pretty high. He changed colors very quickly which I thought was pretty neat. I spotted him while I was visiting a friend out in the country.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Hot As All Get Out!

iphone 3 warning

Have you heard that saying before? We used to say it all the time when I was growing up and then I grew out of it. But these days, I have been using it again because it's funny. Makes me smile. Speaking of it being hot, this week is suppose to have record high temperature days. Awesome! Not. I wish we had a pool summers like this.

So this picture is what happens when you go to a bee yard and you have your phone in your back pocket one minute....and then next thing you know, it's not there. Luckily it was a small parameter I kept walking so I could easily retrace my footsteps. Took me two rounds but I found it! Face down in the dirt for maybe ten minutes. Luckily it did work after it cooled down for a while in the truck. Safe and sound. Below is a shot of the yard where I lost it. :-)

Pizza Yard Visit

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


rain 1

No huge writeup on this but I just want you all to know how wonderful it was to see this sky and to finally get some rain. WOO HOO!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Texas Sky In July

Sky above Deadman Creek Jul15

Hello folks. Was feeling under the weather a bit this weekend so I am behind. I actually wanted to share this on Saturday but oh well. My world was tilted so no posting from me. Anyway, this is our lovely, hot sky above Seguin from one of our bee yards. It has been about 100 degrees everyday, not counting the heat index. We sure do need some rain and tomorrow is predicted to have a 40% chance of rain. Come on rain!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Intro to Beekeeping - Explore the Hive Video

This is part of our beekeeping class we did in our backyard last Saturday. I just realized it was posted on the KWED YouTube channel. Cool!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Sky

sky 11 Jul 11

Here's what today looks like from our backyard and on the ramp of the honey house. It's HOT. Oppressive really, but the sky is lovely. Hope you had a good Monday. Four more days until some chill time. :-)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bee Suits, Not Aliens

Donning of bee suits

No, aliens did not land in Seguin this weekend, in case you drove by our house and wondered that. It was the first official beekeeping class in Seguin, as far as we know and have heard. We had a great time and we think the students did also. It's a lot of fun to introduce new things in our community to people. Already looking forward to the next one on Saturday.

Here are two write-ups on the class in case you're interested:

  • Our official GBR post from the beekeeping couple's perspective (or the wife part of the couple, at any rate - Bee Ranch Blog

    Our friend and reporter, Jessica Domel's perspective (very hilarious) - Jessica's Blog
  • Wednesday, July 06, 2011

    Team USA Rocks!

    Waiting anxiously

    Today Team USA was welcomed home when they arrived at San Antonio International Airport, which is about a 40 minute drive from Seguin. It's either here or Austin. I pick SA every time. :-) Very manageable traffic and airport. This is the softball gold medal team that beat Russia in the championship round of the Special Olympics World Games in Athens! I work with one of the team coaches and his son is a team member as well. We are so extremely proud of everyone. I just had to share!

    Arriving home

    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    Circus Train

    circus train

    Here's what Mark saw passing him as he drove to Marion to restock the honey shelves - the circus train! I wish I could have seen it with him. He said there were passenger cars, then animal cars, then equipment cars. Neat! I haven't been to the circus in so many years but it's always a fond memory I have of elementary school and going with my class. Though I do recall not volunteering to go down to walk around on the floor because no one explained to six year old who just came over from Viet Nam that participating with the circus folks won't mean that they'll take you away for forever.

    Monday, July 04, 2011

    Watermelon & Bees

    watermelon slices

    Hope everyone had a great fourth of July today - filled with friends, family, parades, good eats and plenty of fun and laughter. But one thing I know we didn't have at all this year are the fireworks - banned due to the drought. Oh well, it is better to be safe than burnt up more than we already are. I'm glad for the precaution because we are still in need of rain.

    This is a gloriously sweet watermelon a friend brought us in exchange for some honey. Her family apparently has quite the garden and we bartered for fresh veggies and fruit. Wonderful deal for us! We've enjoyed cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash and zucchini, cantaloupe and now this. It was so sweet and delicious. Nothing said holidays more to me than snacking on watermelon all day. Especially after a hot spell out in the sun as Mark helped a faithful honey fan get rid of some bees whose home had tipped over to reveal all that honeycomb. Luckily they were not Africanized. The watermelon on the trip back to Seguin sure quenched our thirst.

    pettus wild bees (2)

    Sunday, July 03, 2011

    Look Up for Mistletoe


    One of the things I love about Texas - abundant mistletoe. It just doesn't matter if it's 20 degrees outside or 100 degrees. If you look up, you will see mistletoe here in South Texas. I LOVE mistletoe because it always makes me think of the Christmas season and that's one of my favorite times of the year.

    Hope you are all having a great Fourth of July weekend.

    Saturday, July 02, 2011

    Pictures, Honey, Pictures

    Thien straightening bottles

    Ever wonder how I spent time? It is still behind a camera oftentimes, but now it's behind a camera at a bee yard a lot. I am very blessed that I enjoy working with Mark and I get to learn about bees while still doing one of my favorite hobbies - photography! Here we are doing a product photos shoot for our new website we are working on furiously. Hope to get it up and running this weekend but we needed some specific product shots of each type of honey we have. It's always a lot of fun to add props and especially nice when we get to include nature in our photographs. I had a lot of fun doing this one.

    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Bee Biz Hits Groupon

    Groupon Ad

    Hi everyone. I am so excited I just had to share this - our little bee business has just hit Groupon! We are venturing into formally educating people about beekeeping, something we both enjoy a great deal and have been wanting to do on a larger scale and in a structured environment. This partnership with a honey company out of Round Rock will benefit both parties we believe. So far, we've had over 20 takers of the coupon. By the way, if you haven't checked out Groupon yet, give them a try. They showcase different coupons localized to your area or you can search by big city. Pretty neat and growing in popularity these days as we all try to stretch our money.

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Hair Haus Revisited

    foot soak

    I had the nicest visit to my favorite beauty shop in town! Recently I returned to get my hands and feet beautified with Katie at the Hair Haus and it was WONDERFUL. I'm just not a mani/pedi gal though I always enjoy it when I do have one (or both). I just don't have time for it and it's a luxury I don't often treat myself to for some reason. BUT...if a certain sweetie pie of mine gives me a gift certificate, well then, it's really a pleasure!

    If you like having your hands and feet pampered and looking beautiful, visit the Hair Haus. I love that place because it's really beautiful inside. It's welcoming and calming and there is a lot of prettiness to look at - my eyes like it in there for the warm colors and the modern decor. I'm going back for a massage soon so I'll take my nice camera for a shot of the update shop. :-)

    Sunday, June 12, 2011

    Texas Sky in June

    June requeen Pizza

    Have you wondered how Texas has been weathering the drought? Here's a shot I snapped Friday when I went with Mark out to our Pizza Bee Yard, between Seguin and Gonzales. The sky is gorgeous, isn't it? Especially if you're at the beach! We sure could use some rain here - not just for us but for our bees as well. It sure has been dry this year. Last year was fabulous with all the rain that kept things blooming almost constantly. This year's a different story and while the bees are hanging in there, it does stress them a bit to not have a lot to live on right now. Notice how brown and dry the surrounding grass is around the yard. The tanks are drying out though fortunately there is still water in the tank at this yard so that our bees can water when they need to do so.

    Sunday, June 05, 2011

    Peaches, Kitty & a Friend

    From our peach tree

    Finally getting to enjoy a couple of the peaches from our tree. Nothing like last year but still adds a nice sweet and slightly tart flavor to our fruit salads. Doubt we'll get enough for any peach preserves this year, sadly.

    I would like to send a shout-out to Donna P. who is still reading my blog AND following our Gretchen Bee Ranch blog as well. I ran into Donna at the vet's office when I went to pick up Smokey at the end of the day. It was his annual visit for shots and he got a nice little flea dip. Anyway, I want to say hi and thank you to Donna for her encouragement about the blogs. We met when I taught some computer classes here at the Seguin Library many years ago and it ALWAYS warms my heart to see students again. Especially when they remember me and let me know how we met. So, thank you, Donna. You made my whole week last week and I really appreciate your kind words and your continued support of the blogs! Hope you and your family have a great week!

    Smoke hides face

    Saturday, May 28, 2011

    Summer Sights

    Borage bloom

    Here are some things happening in our yard so far this summer. It's been hot and dry though we did get a bit of rain a couple of weeks ago. In the above shot is borage - anyone use it for any cooking before? Someone gave it to us and we've never used it though I read you can use it in drinks and saute it as you would spinach. It's got a lot of white fuzz on the leaves and stems. Interesting and pretty plant.

    Tomato May2011

    Here's one of our little tomatoes - we got a late start on them so they are just now starting to bloom out a bit. We planted eight but only six are left with us and I'm working hard at keeping them well saturated to fight the extreme heat and sun. Our squash and zucchini didn't make it sadly. Asian Long Beans are doing fine though no white blooms on them just yet. I plant a LOT of them since we liked them so much last year. I also put some sunflowers in so hopefully they will continue to grow and then bloom for some photos. :-) Below are some of the peaches on our little tree out back. You may recall last year we had so many peaches we had to give a ton away because we couldn't eat them fast enough. They were delicious! This year, we have a decent number of fruit on the tree though nowhere near what we saw last year. I think they look lovely when they turn this beautiful blush color.

    Peaches May 26, 2011 C

    Finally, this morning I continue to try and keep our grass from drying up too much so I put the sprinkler out for a bit. I also like to do that for all the birds - they love to come to the water and get a bath in while they can. They fluff up and twirl all around - a lot of fun to watch. I especially love the red cardinals since they remind me of North Carolina.

    Cardinal bathing in sprinkler

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Concrete Art

    concrete products - rounds

    I loved the shapes and look of these! We passed this business as we went to one of our bee yards in Kingsbury. Technically I don't know if this is Seguin or Kingsbury and I don't even know the name of the business since there is no sign that we could see. Anyone know? It's no 90A. You see these at construction or staging sites for road and building projects. I bet they are heavy! And I think it'd be neat to do a photo shoot there among these things.

    concrete products - boxes