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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's A Girl!

Our first lamb of the season! Isn't she sweet?

Happy New Year!

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blood Spots

Just received a call from a lady that said she had found blood spots in our eggs. We were surprised because we've only seen one in the last several months in the eggs (the reject eggs) that we eat and we thought candling would catch this. If you get any please let us know.

Here's a website that gives a really good explanation about this.

God Bless You All ~Grama Sue

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nauvoo Craft Show

Craft show at the Nauvoo grade school gym tomorrow. 9-4! I'll have pies, noodles, muffins, edible decorations, dance hoops, craft supplies and more! Mary Lou is sending a bunch of stuff from the Art-n-Needlework shop. My friend Gwen has all kinds of cute Made in Nauvoo stuff. Who knows what all else will be there. Come explore for those last minute Christmas gifts!

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And one more! This is video of filling the truck so it can go to the elevator!

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

The Dance From Inside the Tractor

Wooo-hooo! Cold outside and snow is covering everything, but the skies are clear and this video loaded on the second attempt! This video is taken from inside the tractor as the tractor/agar wagon and combine dance.

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Portable Calving Pen Care Corral

Anybody need a portable calving pen? We bought this about 3 years ago, but never had any cause to use it. Don't have any cows right now and probably won't for quite a while so we'd like to sell it. Click on my ebay site in the right hand column for more info or to bid.

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Trip to the Elevator

Hi Folks! I wanted to upload another video from riding with Grampa in the corn field, but the weather isn't co-operating tonight. There's a big snow storm blowing in and right now it's pretty cloudy. With this satellite internet, video's apparently take just perfect weather. It will probably be a few days before I can upload another.

In the meantime, I did take a trip to the elevator with Grampa the other day and snapped lots of still shots which are uploading just fine so here we go!

Grampa Tom driving the truck.

Our destination. Grampa said to make sure to tell you all that I helped build the second bin you see way back when I first moved to Nauvoo, about 28 years ago. My career in construction was short lived. I wasn't very good at it.

Grampa stops to take the tarp off the top of the truck.

He gets in line to have the truck probed and weighed.

Grampa says I have to get a picture of the barge filling. He says it's something that is hard to catch.

Here the truck is probed and weighed. The corn will be tested for moisture and contaminates like weed seeds, mold, insects and other factors.

This cute little contraption is where the sample goes. Somehow it measures all this stuff. Think maybe there's a genie in there doing all this work?

Grampa gets in line to dump the truck.

Just a few pictures to try to give you a feel for the massiveness of this place. A camera really can't do it justice.

The doors on the truck are opened and the corn is dumped into a conveyor that will take it to whatever bin it is destined for.

Grampa goes back to have the truck weighed again.

The barge has loaded by now and putts away.

Hope you enjoyed our trip to the elevator. Let me know if you have any questions. Hopefully I'll be able to post the videos in a few days.

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Whoo-hoo! I've figured out how to use my new camera to take videos and post it!

This video is about the delicate dance two humungus pieces of machinery do in the midst of bumpy corn field. I've actually got 3 videos about the process of getting corn out of the fields, but I'll have to do 3 different posts, probably over 3 days. My 'puter takes a long time to upload and my internet subscription is limited as to how much I can do each day. Don't want to over load things so ... hopefully tomorrow! \

~ God BlessYou All,
Grama Sue

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Goals for Today

I have 2 goals for today. One is to sweep and mop my kitchen. The other is to write something on this blog! Both are way, way, way overdue. Things have slowed down a bit and I figured out how to reformat my computer. It finally works well enough to load pictures - so - I'm back!

The markets are basically over. I'm still doing the Burlington Farmer's Market from 4-7pm on Thursdays inside at the Hotel Burlington (3rd and Valley) and you might occasionally see me hanging out with my die-hard friend Lou (pictured above) in Hamilton on Wednesday afternoons or Saturday mornings if it's nice. Lou needs some company and I'm not working any other paying job at the moment so I might as well. I've done a couple of craft shows as well. They haven't been to lucrative. I had a goal of doing one a month this winter, but I don't know if it's worth it. Haven't lost any money, but breaking even: is it worth all that work? I enjoy it, so I'm on the fence right now about whether or not I ought to continue. It could get better if the economy improves, and I am able to do some PR work promoting our eggs ... I don't know, we'll see.

Grampa Tom got done working for the seed company last week, but now he's helping Lane get his crops out. If you look clear down the road, in this picture, you can see where he's working today. Part of the corn is cut and there are a couple of John Deere specks on the corner. I'm still trying to figure out how to work my new camera so you'll have to use your imagination a bit.

The gardens are pretty much gone. We do have a little spinach and swiss chard under plastic yet and a few late herbs. I've been down in the back and Grampa's been gone, so things are still pretty much a mess, but the chickens love it!

We sold all the lambs early in November, but as you can see, we should be having more soon.

Molly and Lady are doing great! Molly went into heat about a month after I last posted so either she lost a litter or she was just }"pms"ing. Anyway, I hope we don't have a litter coming now. Lady went into heat too after Molly. We will see what happens. We are going to get them both fixed soon! Molly is so funny. She has a real sweet tooth. I have to watch her when I am transferring pies or cookies into or out of the car because she will steal them.We haven't had any more problems with them killing chicken's, although they did let a couple of stray dogs come take out a few the other day. I came home to them just laying in the yard as the stray dogs gleefully ran after chickens and the cats! They won't put up with a raccoon or a coyote, but they'll just let another dog reek havoc. They love other dogs and it was like they were just laying there saying, "Boy, are you guys in BIG trouble."

Ol' Blue has made his peace with the girls. The girls pretty much rule outside, but they've made friends. He likes to romp around with Lady and he's taught Molly all about stealing eggs from the hen house. He and Bear (the female black cat) are still best buds too. He's the only animal that is welcome in the house so that's some consolation. The tom cat thinks he ought to be allowed in the house too, but I'm adamant about making my house a cat spray free zone. I can still smell the remnants of the last tomcat territory war in one of my bedrooms. Grampa Tom says I'm crazy, but he can't smell nasty stuff. The other two cats are still around, but I didn't see them as I was out taking pictures.

Well, so much for my rambling! On to the kitchen! If I had some grow lamps, I wouldn't bother cleaning. It would be easier just to plant it, but my house is to dark for plants

God Bless You All!

~Love, Grama Sue

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Internet Meets Bailing Wire

Soon after Grampa Tom got his fancy-schmancy new John Deere tractor, he forgot about the roll-bar and hit my internet satellite dish. He cracked the brace that held it in place and since then I've had to take a hammer to it periodically to knock it into place. Yesterday, I went out to bang on it and decided the hammering was just making the entire thing to loose.

Desperate, I cried out to God, "LORD, what am I going to do?" I the next few moments, I had an awesome thought! Bailing wire! So I fixed my internet with bailing wire. I think I've been on the farm way to long.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No Time!

Has it been almost a month since I last posted? I keep telling myself " You have to blog. You have to blog. But it hasn't been done. Life has been a wonderful whirlwind and I'm loving every moment! Well, today I forced myself to take a bunch of pictures and promised myself again that I would update you all as to what's happening on the farm, but I can't seem to load the pictures! So here is my picture-less blog ...

The dogs are so sweet. They are gaining weight and looking much better! We had a problem about a week ago. They killed the geese and then went after the chickens, but they seem to understand we won't put up with that. I think the geese were a territorial thing (the geese were eating their food and trying to take over their sleeping spot) and they thought they were helping me with the chickens because I was throwing chickens that were roosting outside into the hen house at night. One of the chickens clawed me. I yelped and Molly and Lady are very protective!

The other day, they were under the house when I went to leave. I wanted to shut them up so they wouldn't bother the chickens while I was gone so I lured them out with a couple of eggs in bowls. I tried to give them time to eat the eggs before I shut them in the livestock trailer, but they started playing around so I put them away and left the eggs in the bowls. When I got home, I let them out and went to gather eggs. I put the egg bucket near the door while I took care of something else and Molly started sniffing at the eggs. I told her no, so she went over and laid down by the bowls that had eggs before I left (Blue had eaten them by now) and smacked it with her paw as if to say, "Well, where is MY egg!" They are so smart!

Molly seems to be with puppies! I talked to the lady who gave them to us. She thinks the daddy is a bull mastiff so they should be pretty good LGD's. If you are interested in a pup, let me know!

Grandpa had abandoned me for the time being. He took a temporary job with a seed company for a few weeks, so I'm on my own. The garden is slowing down some, but I still don't know how he did it when I took off for assessing classes this summer. It's a lot of work for 1 person! Grandma Whitson has been helping me some. We have put up about 60 quarts of green beans and about 6 gallons of tomatoes. Next on the agenda is apples. Our apples are very small this year, but we are planning to make apple butter to take to the Iowa markets.

I am taking apples and grapes from Baxter's Vineyards in Nauvoo to the markets.

Most of the markets will probably end within the next month, but Burlington is planning to have a weekly market until Christmas and then monthly until May. I will probably be there!

We went to a poultry show last Saturday. Grandpa entered our eggs in a contest that judged the quality and we won first prize! Our younger chickens are starting to lay. We haven't had enough eggs to take to the farmer's markets, but we're back in business now.

Well, I think I'll leave the rest for a time when I can upload pictures.



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Corn picking

Well folks, I've gone from sleeping around to working a corner. Haven't stayed with any old folks all summer, but since my last post I've been doing a lot of sitting on the corner of the 4-way stop in Dallas City selling sweet corn, melons and other various stuff. Pretty good little market! Sometimes there's 2 or 3 of us crazy farmers sitting there.

We've been growing the sweet corn up at my son's on the bluff above Dallas. He suggested I try sitting there. It's convenient (dont' have to haul the corn very far) and the town doesn't have a grocery store so the people really appreciate me. I'm planning to spend the day there tomorrow. We had about an acre of corn come on about 2 weeks ago. Usually, you have a week, maybe two, to harvest sweet corn once it gets ripe, but thankfully the weather has been cool and rainy so it is lasting long enough for us to get most of it sold. I think God must like us! We will probably be done picking near the end of this week. I've gotten out of most of the picking duty by sitting on the corner while Grampa, my son, his in-laws and Jesse's friends pick. Am I smart or what??? But Sunday, I did venture into the field and took a few pics for you.

Here's the crew:

My boy is the one with the gunny sack on his head.I did manage to get a picture of him without it. Ha, Ha Jess! Here he is: Jess (my istsy, bitsy, tiny baby boy). The guy behind the trailer is Ray (boyfriend of Jesse's MIL). Ray has been selling a ton of sweet corn for us over in Ft. Madison as well as picking quite a bit. Thank you Ray! Jess has been selling a quite a bit too in the evenings down in Dallas.

This is Grampa Tom and Judy (Devan's mom). We picked 9 of these big bags in about an hour Sunday. There's about 6 or 7 dozen ears per bag.

This is Jess lugging a bag to the tractor. Glad I have these big strong guys to help!

We've been eating corn for lunch and supper almost every day. It has been so good! We try to sell it within a few days, but we've had some in our fridge for over a week and it was still delicious.

Before we went to pick new corn, we froze about 6 dozen that we had left from some we had picked around 4 days earlier.The first step is to shuck the corn and wash it. I use a brush to get rid of all the silks. It works so much better than trying to pick each of them off individually.

The next step is to cut the corn off the cob. You have to be careful not to cut clear down to the cob so we aim for about 3/4 of the kernel. It seems like a lot of waste, but for us it isn't. Our chickens love picking on these cobs.

After that I blanch the corn for 4 1/2 minutes and then cool it quickly in cool water.

Then bag and put it in the freezer! We got 8 and 1/2 quarts out of this batch. If we do anymore, I expect to get more quarts per dozen. The next corn will be better filled out than this was and even better still.

Off to bed so I can get up early and head to Dallas!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grama's New Critters

The other night I went out to shut the chickens up and this fella jumped up and wanted me to pet him. It was dark and I couldn't see well, but he seemed bigger than the kittens. I picked him up and brought him in where I could see him well and sure enough, he's not one of mine. Anybody recognize him? He seems to have adopted us though! He has made himself at home and acts like he owns the place!

Thankfully, I don't have to shut the chickens up anymore. Devan (my sweet DIL) saw a couple of Great Pyrenees listed on freecycle last Thursday. We picked them up on Friday. They had been neglected by the person they had been given to and the original owner had taken them back, but she didn't have a place she could keep them. They are well-trained, beautiful dogs. In a month or two they ought to be back to good health. They are a mother and daughter pair that are 3 and 7 named Molly and Lady. The bigger one is the 3y/o. They are great with all the farm animals, but poor old Blue just doesn't know what to think of them. He's keeping his distance! They are only about 3 times as big as him!

Grampa is going to sell the lambs soon! If you want a whole or a 1/2 lamb put your order in! We have 2 or 3 sold directly at this point. He'll take whatever is left up to the sale barn in Keosaukua.

I'm so proud of myself! I put new supers on the bee hives in my short shorts and spaghetti straps and didn't even get stung. Sometimes my bravery surprises me. This is from the lady who wanted nothing to do with working the hives.

This post seems rather rambling and disjointed so I'll end it up with another completely random observation!

Thought for the Day

It's been hot here. Our veggies thrive in the hot weather as long as they're connected to the vine, but once removed, the heat destroys them pretty fast. We are designed to be connected to our creator. If we are connected to Him, heat actually can make us grow, but if we aren't, it will cause us to deteriorate fast! Get connected! He loves you!

God Bless You All! ~Love, Grama Sue

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bout Time I Posted

To busy to post lately! The garden is finally starting to really produce. We picked 34 pounds of green beans last night.

Unfortunately our egg production suddenly plummeted. Went out tonight to take a count and we are down about 40 hens. Been hearing a lot of cyotoes lately. Blue has been barking up a storm too. He's a good dog, but no match for a bunch of cyotoes. Good thing the new chicks are just about to start laying!

Oh how we need some good fence, some more buildings, a few Great Pyrenees and some more land! Somehow, someway ...

We have the market! Filling the demand is another problem. Guess it's a good problem to have :)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Home Grown Meal

Mmmmm! I love mid to late summer when pretty much everything I eat can be home grown!

On the menu tonight:

Lamb tenderloin grown by Grampa Tom, breading by Grama Sue.
We had a little lamb that was injured and wasn't going to make it, so we butchered it. Not much meat, but WOW is it good! I could do the no pork thing if I had to! I like lamb better! I also used my own whole wheat breading for this dish made with whole wheat flour, natural sea salt, my own dried onions, garlic, some chili powder and paprika.

Cucumber and onions from our garden in apple cider vinegar made with last year's apples.

Mashed kohlrabi with onion and cheese.

What a feast! I did cheat a little. Our little store in town gets day-old bread from Pepperidge Farms for $1.49. I buy a whole bunch at a time and put it in my freezer. And the ketchup, cheese and the spices came from the store. As long as I can get this cheap all natural bread, I probably won't make my own, but someday I hope to make my own ketchup, cheese and spices (other than salt)!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Grant Crock


We really need more land, a certified kitchen, some equipment, more chickens and at least a couple more buildings for them. We really can't afford any more loans at this point so I thought I'd check out Willie Nelson's Farm Aid Grant program. What a crock! From their site:

The following types of projects are not eligible for Farm Aid funding:

  • grants or loans to individuals
  • grants or loans to support commercial operation of a farming enterprise
  • production of book, film, television, radio projects
  • projects outside the United States
  • projects directed or substantially funded by government bodies (federal, state, local)
  • legal defense funds
  • capital campaigns, equipment purchases, endowments or deficit financing
  • historic preservation of farmland or buildings
  • lobbying to influence elections or legislation
  • conferences, publications, or research projects unless they are directly connected to ongoing program activities
What do they fund??????????? The only other things I found were a low interest loan for beginning farmers and a couple of government grant programs, one of which I got an e-mail about the other day saying it had lost funding. Who's got time to figure out how to write a grant anyhow?

Want to help a farmer? Skip the red tape and send a donation to my PayPal account at gramasues@hughes.net

Rant over ...

God Bless You All!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nauvoo Markets & Misc

Started at a new market in Nauvoo today. Did fairly well for a first day in a brand new market. I was the only vendor, but I will be able to tell other vendors there is potential there. John Kraft said he would come, but he hasn't been to any markets this week because he's been sick. We now have 2 markets in our tiny little town. You might think that's to many, but the people were all different except for the one friend I called to let her know I had beets. I think it can work!

Paul, a traveling minstrel, stopped by to play his mandalin for us. He was wonderful. He may be back. The market manager, Gwen Hummel, is sitting behind Paul. Give her a call if you'd like to be a vendor. 217-453-6161.

Next week Mark Wheeler will be there to play for us and on the 14th, my brother-in-love, Scott Whitson will be preform.

This is the Winery Farmer's Market on Friday from 3:30 - 5:30 in Nauvoo. The other regular vendor there is John Kraft. He always has lots of fresh veggies! His 94 y/o mom is one of the ladies I buy the black walnuts I use in my muffins from. You can also go into the Winery, tour the mini-museum, buy some of Carol's Pies, some Nauvoo wine and an array of other cool stuff!

Random Pictures:

I'm not sure I've ever seen an albino wooly bear. Dark wolly bears are suppose to herald a cold, snowy winter. Hope this white one is common. We could use a mild winter for a change!

Grampa called me outside the other day to enjoy the antics of the new kittens. Little ones are always such a joy! Life is good!

God Bless You All!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our New Hired Hand

I got home tonight and found a new farm hand working in the garden.

This guy looks strangely familiar. OH WAIT A MINUTE! IT'S GRAMPA TOM!!!!!!!!!

Last sheering: April 2009

God Bless You All!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quick Post

Quick post. Had to go to a class for the assessing job last week and it has put me way behind.

Thought I had enough noodles made up for last week. Got home on Thursday. Grampa Tom had sold almost all the noodles I had. Made some more Friday morning and sold out again on Saturday.
Made a batch of noodles yesterday and two batches today. Hopefully that will be enough to get us through the next couple of days. There's Avon that needs to be delivered and herb gardens that need weeded again (I don't trust Grampa with these. He thinks all my herbs are weeds. Pant ... pant ... pant ...

Will have to wade in the mud tomorrow morning to harvest some veggies. Rice would have been a good thing to plant this year! Grampa did manage to run the tiller today in the big garden before it dumped on us.

Thought for the day:

We were seriously financially challenged when the kids were growing up. I learned to do a lot of things because I had no money to go buy stuff, things like making noodles and growing my own food. Now those skills developed out of poverty are becoming a source of riches! Cool huh? Reminds me of the scripture that says "He turns my mourning into dancing!"

God Bless You All!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Noodle Making

Lots of people have been asking me about how I make my noodles so I thought I'd blog about it.

One young man picked up my noodles and exclaimed, "Oh these are just like the Amish women make them!" I hope I didn't roll my eyes too much when I replied, " Well, there are still some of us old country women that know how to do this stuff." Don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful that the Amish have preserved the old country ways and that people are rediscovering these riches through their knowledge, but they aren't the only ones!

Since I am a city transplant, my MIL taught me to make noodles. She learned to make noodles from her mother, who learned to make noodles from her mother, who learned to make noodles from her mother ... who knows how many generations. The one thing I do different, is I use a pizza cutter to cut the noodles while the dough is on the rolling board instead of rolling them up, using a knife to cut them and then unrolling each noodle. This is something I learned from my good friend Gwen, another old non-Amish country woman.

When I first married a farmer, I was given a couple of awesome non-Amish books to help me learn country ways. One was the Farm Journal's Freezing and Canning Cookbook and the other was Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living. Both were very helpful, but Carla's book is the one I refer to most. Carla learned most of what she shares in this book from her family and the older women in her area, many of them Mormons not Amish.

I get such a kick out of my friend Becky! She's been exploring ways to store food on the Internet and a lot of what she comes up with is attributed to the Amish. Becky will share her delight in some new treasure of knowledge she has discovered with me and I will smile and nod my head ... and then suddenly she realizes, "Oh, you already know about this don't you?" There have been a few things she has shared with me that I didn't know about, like canning butter, but not to many.

Anyway ... on to the noodles ...

My first step in making noodles is to make the dough and then refrigerate it for a while.

Free-Ranged Eggs
Natural Sea Salt
Olive Oil

Add 1/4 tsp natural sea salt for every egg used. Mix in about 1/4 tsp olive oil for each egg. Slowly add flour until the dough is soft and pliable. Put in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hr.

The oil and the refrigeration make rolling the dough easier.

If I'm not already there, the next step is to get
properly dressed. No, I don't put on a cute little Amish dress complete with bonnet. I don't know how they do that without perspiring into the noodles. I know it can be done. They do it, and my MIL usually wears panty hose, a pair of slacks and a short sleeved shirt while rolling her noodles, but not me. The body tends to acclimate to what you grew up with. My summers were spent in bikinis, short shorts and halter tops as a youth. It doesn't make a pretty picture ... a fat old grama stuffed in short shorts and a cami .... so be warned! But, it works for me!

OK, so now I'm dressed and in position at my kitchen table armed with my rolling board (an old piece of shelving covered with contact paper), a rolling pin, my pizza cutter, a large spatula and my flour sifter full of flour. I take a small piece of cold dough, roll it into a ball and roll it in the flour.

Then through a process of flattening, flouring, turning, and rolling, I take this small piece and roll it out into a very thin sheet.

Next, I use a pizza cutter to cut the thin sheets into strips which I lay out on screens, racks, pans and cookie sheets to dry.

I find this faster and less messy than hanging them on the backs of chairs or on rods. They then go in my warm oven or over a fan to dry.

I let them dry at least overnight and then package them in zippies with my cute little labels!

All together, it takes about 2 hours to roll out and package 6 of my small packages. At $2.25 and $2.50, that's not quite minimum wage ... and then you figure in the cost of materials ... but if they keep selling like they have been, I might be able to work the price up to a respectable wage! I just have to have something to do with the weak shelled and odd shaped eggs that we can't sell. I also make banana and other egg rich breads that freeze well with them.

Well, that's about it! Now that you've seen much more than you wanted to -