You can find Grama Sue's Rainbow Eggs at:

The Hy Vee on Agency in Burlington, IA


Wednesday - Friday 9am to 1pm at the farm 1/2 mi east of the Nauvoo-Colusa Jr. High then 3/4 mile North on 1050.

Wednesday 3-7 pm at the Painted Corners on HWY 96 in Lomax, IL


7 - 11 am Keokuk Farmer's Market at the mall

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the North Pole, or so it seems! We’ve even got an aspiring Santa here! Our kids can’t wait till Grampa Tom puts on that suit and bounces his little grandbabies on his knee. His beard is almost all white now and the hair is starting to turn.

Only our youngest will be home this year and no grandchildren, but we have all kinds of babies coming next year!

Spence and Tristina recently had an ultra sound that confirmed a little boy is on the way! He will be named Walter Terry Whitson, Walter - after his Daddy, Grampa Tom, and Great Grampa Whitson, all of whom bear the first name of Walter and Terry - his momma’s family name. He is due the end of May.

We also found out that one of our “adopted” kids is due the first week of June. Our little Katherine will finally be a big sister!
Then, I’m talking to my daughter a few weeks ago and she starts telling me she’s been offered a job running the nursery at the on base church they attend but she turned it down because she wouldn’t be able to lift soon. “Why won’t you be able to lift?” I asked.

“Well when I get the circlage…” she starts to explain.

“What? Circlage? Are you not telling me something?” replies a suspicious grama.

“Oh shoot! I knew I couldn’t do it! And we had such a creative way to announce it at Christmas!”

The kid never could keep a secret. I swore not to tell anyone but her daddy that she was pregnant, but hopefully most of the family has received presents from “Justin, Mary Jo, Olivia and Jellybean”, so I can announce it to everyone else. She is due the first week in July.

Our chickens are still on strike and we sold some sheep for about a third of what we wanted for them, but Grampa Tom got paid big bucks to dig out his parent’s driveway this week! They were victims of some fraud several years ago and the bank that had allowed it, after they had repeatedly asked them not to honor electronic transfers, refunded much of the money they had lost. They graciously shared some of it with us! Thank you Mom and Dad! Course now Grampa thinks he ought to get paid beau coup bucks every time he plows a driveway ;)

Not much about the business this week, but we’ve got so much to be thankful for!

Thank You LORD for:

New life!

Generous people! Thank you to Mom and Dad and my wonderful sis Sharon!

Our wonderful family!

A warm house!

No broken bones in spite of the ice!

Jesse, the child I got to keep. Well, kind of, he did move out and get married, but at least he’s only 10 miles away. He came to our rescue when the water froze up the other day. Thank you Jess! And thank you Devan for sharing him with us!

Oh and for all the beautiful clothes I got in the last couple of weeks! I hate shopping for clothes. I’ve never been too talented on the fashion front. Shopping is for the most part just an exercise in frustration. Give me some pretty hand-me-downs and I’m tickled pink! This last week I visited with both my Daughters-in-love. They are both so talented in this area and they both gave me some beautiful clothes! Thank you Tristina and Devan!

The fact that my computer is working much better since I took it to see its previous owner in New Jersey. Spence didn’t do anything to it. I think it just wanted to see Daddy.

The tree is still standing. Last night it warmed up and the ice from our roof started crashing to the ground. This huge crash at the north end of the trailer woke me up. I knew Grampa was in the TV room where the crash came from. Scared me silly!

And my last, but most important, expression of gratitude today - the fact that You gave up everything to come to earth and bring light, hope and salvation to our darkness! Thank You LORD JESUS!


Friday, December 12, 2008


Our egg production is way down. We had been getting 20 – 30 dozen per week, but with this cold weather and snow we were down to 10 dozen this week. Grampa Tom decided he’d better put the water and the feed back inside the hen house. Hopefully that will help.

The lady that was staying at my MIL’s decided to go home so I’ve been spending some much needed time cleaning my house. Our finances are so tight right now, but several years ago I learned a secret that literally opens doors for miracles to occur. When I started doing this, I had done all that I could do and we still didn’t have enough for groceries. People started giving me money. I’d go to church and not be able to get my kids in the car for all the groceries stuffed in it. There were even times when I’d open the cupboards knowing there was nothing in them to feed my family, and I would find food that simply wasn’t there before.

Why was I opening the cupboards? To lay hands on the non-food items in there and thank God for them. That’s the secret! Thanking God for what you have and focusing on that.

With the economy the way it is, I want to challenge you to do what I did then and am doing now. Sit down and make a list of things you are thankful for and every time you are tempted to panic, read it over and add to it. There’s just no better way to calm your nerves and give God a chance to work. Post it here and/or on your blog and challenge others to do the same!

Grama Sue’s Thankful List
(This is so partial!)

Thank You God for:

1. Your great mercy
2. My wonderful husband
3. All the food I have stored in my pantry
4. My comfortable bed
5. My friends who bless and encourage me
6. The wonderful doctor we have in town who made the time to see me when it was time for her to leave
7. My house that is so easy to heat and cool
8. My computer and the internet
9. Warm clothes
10. Crocks and all the varieties of these comfy shoes that are out now!
11. My digital camera
12. My assessing job
13. My sleeping around job
14. My parents who challenged me and held me to high standards
15. The gift of wonderful in-laws who love me
16. Running hot and cold water
17. Cars and roads to drive them on
18. Upholstered furniture … LORD we are so spoiled!
19. My automatic washer and dryer
20. My stove, 4 refrigerators, and my chest freezer
21. My chickens and sheep
22. The chickens and guinea hens that were given to us last week
23. Lighters and matches
24. My huge bathtub
25. My Bible and all the wonderful online tools to help me understand it

OK, I’m going to quit for now. I need to get some lunch and go to town.

God Bless You All!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No More Cock-A-Doodle-Do!

Or at least that’s the plan. We went out at about 10am this morning and rounded up 15 roosters (turned out to be 14 and one hen, but sometimes it is hard to tell). We spent all day processing them. Grampa Tom killed and plucked while I cut and gutted.

Between Grampa and I, it takes us a total of about 20-30 minutes to process a chicken. Not exactly cheap meat, but I’d much rather eat chickens I’ve butchered myself than those processed in a FDA approved packing plant. My kitchen has to be 1000 times cleaner and I’m not known for my housekeeping !

I’ve seen programs about how those places work. In my kitchen, if I accidentally nick the intestines, all the fecal matter is immediately cleaned up, the chicken is doused with bleach and then rinsed with copious amounts of clean water. In one of those big packing plants, all chickens regardless of weather they’ve been contaminated or not are placed in large vats of chlorine and fecal matter laced water to soak up whatever. Yuck! I’m also constantly bleaching and rinsing my sinks and all the equipment throughout the process.

Not to mention the incredible taste difference between slow growing pasture raised chickens and those mutant things that the factory farms grow!

I’ll miss the roosters. Well maybe not at 2 am, but I really enjoy incubating my baby chickens and they are so beautiful! It’s just that with this large of a flock, we can’t afford to feed enough roosters to keep the flock fertile through the winter. We thought about penning up a few roosters and bringing hens to them come spring, but the logistics of it were more than we could handle right now. We can’t even keep the hens where we want them now, much less trying to keep a separate flock! They are always in the garden and all over the place. Maybe next year I can find someone who has fertilized eggs I can incubate.

One thing that amazes me every time I butcher is the difference in lung size between one chicken and another. Here’s a picture of lungs from 4 different chickens.

The other organs of all these chickens were of similar size, yet some of the lungs are huge and I have a hard time finding others! Makes me wonder how some of them breathe! They all appear healthy so why the difference? Maybe one of the youngsters reading this will take up the challenge and find out for me. The smallest lungs on the upper left hand are actually from a bigger chicken than the last ones on the lower left. Interesting.

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue