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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Red Neck Success

My friends Tom and Barb sent me this picture from the day Shorty and I went visiting. Thought you might enjoy it. Shorty really loved Barb!

We practice intensive rotational grazing for our sheep. We usually have 3 or 4 areas that we fence off and let grow for awhile. This allows us to run a lot of sheep on our tiny farm. BTW, we are taking orders for 1/2 or whole lambs at $4.00/lb. They should be ready in the next month or 2. A dressed lamb usually yields around 60 lbs of meat. We will have it processed and packaged at Webber meats, but you must come to the farm to pick it up.

They tell me you might be a red neck if you have ever used your front yard to graze livestock. We are getting ready to do that now. In the next day or two we will turn the sheep out in our front yard. After a week or two it will be nicely mowed like this:

We were concerned about the economy over the winter. Will people still pay a premium price for our produce and eggs? We just weren't sure there would still be a market. So far this year, we have doubled our egg production and raised the price, but we are still selling out and our income from the farmer's markets has more than doubled! Thank you to all of you who support us local farmers!

It looks like the guineas might stay. The guinea eggs I blew for crafts aren't selling, but I'm hearing enough interest in them that I think I'll try selling a few fresh ones as a novelty egg. They have a very dark yoke so they should be very good. I'm going to have Grampa Tom (the picky eater and egg lover of the family) do a taste test in the next couple of days.

Here's a picture of the eggs for those of you who haven't seen them before. I threw a couple of normal sized chicken eggs in just for comparison. They are a small speckled egg with a very hard shell. Grampa says if I can make money with them, he'll put up with listening to them :)

Jesus was very fond of using common every day things to explain spiritual concepts. This week, I believe He shared 2 of these with me. They blessed me. Perhaps they will bless you too!

1. As I was harvesting lettuce on Thursday, I was finding myself breaking off and throwing away quite a bit of "stemmy" growth. I thought to myself, "There sure is a lot of waste in gardening." Then I realized it wasn't really wasted because I was going to feed it to the chickens, who in turn would make it into eggs and manure for next year's crop. "Waste" is really a poverty mindset born out of fear. "Waste", whether it's a thing, an event or even a seemingly wasted life can be redeemed! In God's economy there is no waste. He takes those things we see as "waste" and uses them for another harvest. Instead of bemoaning the "waste" we see, we should be asking God how He wants to use it.

2. A couple of weeks ago, the rugs at my back door were getting really nasty. I didn't have the time to deal with them, so I threw them out on the garden fence. Today, after they've gone through a couple of rain storms, quite a bit of wind and some beautiful sunshiny days, they were actually clean enough that I thought I could bring them back in. So ... if you're going through some storms and don't feel like you are where you ought to be, thank God! You may just be out on the fence getting the dirt knocked off of you.

God Bless You All!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grama Sue's Typical Day

Aren't these gardens looking nice? We have been able to get most of the big garden planted, but it doesn't look like much more than a dirt patch right now.

Thought I'd give you a run down of what a typical day looks like for me. It sounds like I'm doing a lot, but if you wrote down everything you did in a day, you'd probably see that you do the same.

Here goes:

5:30 am - Awake. It still amazes me. I used to be awake at this time of the morning all the time. Course I was considering going to bed in an hour or two.

5:30 - 6 am - Make tea, check e-mail

6-7 am - Attend prayer meeting in Texas via gloryofzion.org. Isn't the internet amazing!
Danced with the new worship hoop I made this week.

It is called "The Covenant of Healing". It is a prayer in art that declares I Peter 2:24 "by whose stripes you were healed". There are 39 yellow ribbons with clear beads that represent the 39 stripes that were laid on Jesus' back with a whip that was enhanced with shards of bone and metal. These "stripes" rest on a background of red mylar to symbolize His Blood. I love making these. I've done several different designs in the past. Haven't had much time for it lately. Someone asked me to make this one so I made the time. It is so much fun!

7-7:30 am - Finished checking e-mail and ordered some fence for Grampa

7:30-8:30 am - Dishes. Yes, I'm one of those horrible people who don't clean up the dishes after every meal. And even worse, I don't have a dishwasher to hide them in like the rest of you all! Yesterday, I spent all day outside and making noodles so there was quite the pile.

8:30 9 am - Finally getting around to breakfast.

9 - 11:30 am - Computer work. Updated the check books and our business books. Also did some comparison shopping for egg cartons.

11:30 -12:00pm - Cook and eat lunch.

12:00 - 1:00 pm - Work on Avon business

1:00 pm - Finally change out of my jammies. It looked like it was going to be an all day jammie thing, but I decided I needed to go outside for a bit so I put on a skirt and a cami.

1:15 - 1:30 pm - Take a few pictures and get some things out of the freezer in the garage. Took some pictures of the chicken feet I have hanging in the garage to dry for doggie treats. Was going to post them, but they are just too gross. Say, "Thank you Grama Sue!"

1:30 - 2 pm - Put away laundry from yesterday.

2 pm - Take a few minutes to listen to the rain and thank God for our sweet corn that needed just a little more moisture to help it make a good stand!

2:15 pm - Sun shining. Thought maybe there'd be a rainbow, but I was wrong. I always have to stop and look for rainbows!

2:20 pm - Make ice. I go through a whole lot of ice all by myself. It is one of my bigger daily chores.

2:30 - 3:30 pm - Put away dried noodles from yesterday and do dishes again. Talk to a couple of friends and my DIL on the phone as I'm working. Wally is 9 lbs, 9 oz already!

3:30 - 4 pm - Checked email again. Did you know that the Illinois govenor has proposed a budget that will increase the average person's income tax by 50%??? They are voting on it this week. Made a few phone calls to govenor, represenative and state senator, then forwarded the e-mail to some people I thought might want to know.

4 - 5:30 pm - Assessing work

5:30 - 7:30 pm - Supper with visiting family over at Mom's. Cool! Didn't have to cook!

7:30 - 9 pm - Writing blog. Having trouple getting pics to load. I don't type very fast either.

I still need to wash eggs and work on designing a new menu board for the farmer's markets. Might get to bed by 11pm

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This Week's Farmer's Market Menu

Spinach 1/2 lb bag $2.50

Lettuce, Bib & Romaine 1/2lb bag $1.00

Green Onions 10 cents each or $1.00/doz

Chives and Fresh Lemon Balm 25 cents/bundle

Dried Peppers and Lemon Balm 25 cents/ bag

Rainbow Eggs 1 dozen $2.50

Goose Eggs 6-pack $3.50

Hand Blown Eggs $0.50 each

Decorated Eggs $2.00 each

Mini Banana Loaf $0.75

Grandma Whitson's Cookies $2.50

Grama Sue's Home Made Noodles
(Made with whole wheat or unbleached
flour, pasture raised eggs, olive oil and
natural sea salt)

Whole Wheat sm/ $2.25 lg/ $4.50

Unbleached Flour sm/ $2.00 lg/ $4.00

Possibly Swiss Chard and Radishes

We are taking orders for locally grown lamb:
Whole or 1/2 bundles - $4.00/lb
You must come to the farm to pick your bundle up.
1/2 lamb is usually 25 to 30 lbs. of meat.

We also have locally grown chicken in our freezer
for $1.75/lb. This must also be picked up at the farm.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kitties, Easter Dog, Preserving Chives and Loving Mutant Chickens

We have 2 new little kittens, their names are Bear and Honey. The kids who own the mother named them. We were told that Bear (the black kitten) was a boy, but (after confirmation by my cat expert brother and sister-in-law), it seems we have 2 little girls. That's OK with me, Hopefully we'll have plenty of mousers around for generations!

The Easter Dog lives at my house! We've been finding eggs buried in the gardens all spring. I thought dogs were color blind, but all the eggs we've found are either guinea eggs or blue.

Here's a great way to preserve chives, green onions and many herbs. Fill a plastic egg carton with the chives or herbs. Cover them with a small amount of water. Place in freezer. When solid, put into plastic bags. To use, just throw in soups or other recipes as desired.

We butchered some of the mutant chickens today. WOW! I can understand why the big processors love this bird. Not only do they grow faster, produce more meat and consume less feed, they are incredibly easy to pluck and gut! Grampa wants to get more and put them on pasture next time. I could learn to love a mutant chicken :) After all, I've always had a soft heart for underdogs. That was actually my favorite cartoon as a child, "Under Dog". How many of you have seen that cartoon?

So, we are asking $1.75/pound if you are interested! We have 15 ready to pack tomorrow and will have about 45 available for sale within the next 2 weeks. Give me a call 309-221-0785.

God Bless You All!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


So I'm making up for all those missed posts this winter! I know it's only been a few days, but there's so much going on here today!

Grampa wanted me to show you all what he's been doing all day. He's been cleaning out the barn:

There's a Proverb in the Bible that says "An empty barn is easy to clean, but there's no profit in it." I think we've got a lot of profit going on here! Can't wait till it shows up in our bank accounts!

And that's just one stall in our barn. Can you see the difference in the ground level? It is amazing how much can accumulate over the winter! We will use this composted bedding and manure mix to fertilize our gardens and the field we have up at Jesse's place. That's my dog Blue in the foreground and the guineas going into the barn.

This is my new herb garden - filled with "profit" ;)

A few pictures of the other raised bed gardens:

We haven't been able to get into the traditional row garden yet! So glad we have these! I really like our new fencing to keep the chickens out too. If my 4 legged grandchildren behave themselves when they come to visit and don't dig in the gardens, I might just have a place where they can play without having to worry about them running off!

Grandpa and I have been debating whether or not we have any bees left for a couple of months now. I was pretty sure we did and he didn't think so. He went to move this hive so he could plant some red rasberry plants we had been given and found out different. I tried so hard to bite my tongue, but it slipped out anyway, "I told you so!" So glad he didn't get stung!

My rock pile:

It's an adjustment going from farming 1400 acres with a 12 row planter to gardening. Rocks were always an enemy to Grampa. They tear up that expensive equipment right quick! Grampa always resented my rocks and when he came home to work, one of the first things he wanted to do was get rid of my rock and brick collection. I wouldn't let him. They just come in too handy when you want to cover gardens and in lots of other ways too!

I think he's finally getting the hang of this :)

The hair sheep are looking rather scruffy this time of year.

They spend a lot of time rubbing against fences to get rid of their winter growth.

Our ram just loves to have us pull the hair off his back!

Shorty is having lots of fun running around with the rest of the sheep all day. We bring her in to the garage at night just to make sure she doesn't get too cold, but I don't know how long we'll be able to do that. Tonight, she ran from me even though I had a bottle for her. Hunger finally wore her down and when she latched on to the bottle, I grabbed her and took her in. Independent little squirt!

It's midnight. We just got done processing the eggs and eating supper. Better go to bed. Tomorrow will be another big day!

God Bless You All!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mushrooms and Wings

We went mushroom hunting today. All we found was this lone mushroom and a stem ... Grampa found them. I'm not known for my mushroom hunting prowess, but Grampa usually finds a few. I don't know if we were to early or to late. Whenever I've been mushroom hunting, I've managed to find lots of toad stools and other non-edible mushrooms, but today we didn't see much of them either. For those of you that don't know, this is a morel mushroom. They are very easy to distinguish from other mushrooms so that makes them very popular here. You don't have to worry about accidentally cooking up a poisonous one!

We also gave all the chickens a haircut this week. We have 168 producing hens and 3 roosters. Yeah, I know, we tried to get rid of all the roosters, but then we were given some chickens with a couple of roosters and one of the pullet chicks turned out to be a boy. It is hard to sex those things when they are little. We decided it would probably be a good idea to keep a few roosters around just in case something happened that would keep us from being able to get chicks through mail order.

Apparently some animal rights groups think chicks shipped through the mail are starved in the process. Not true at all. Just before a chick hatches, the stomach muscles form around the yoke sack. This gives the baby chick a good three days worth of food and water. God created them this way because chickens tend to hatch over a period of 3 days. This way, the mother doesn't have to leave the nest until they are all hatched. She can keep the early hatchers there until everyone is ready to go out and find food. Chicks are shipped priority and generally arrive to their destination within 2 days, most of the time overnight. They do not starve!

Anyway .... rant over ... here's the mess from our barber work.
We cut one wing so they can't fly over the fence and into the garden. It's like a haircut. It doesn't hurt the chickens, just keeps them at ground level. Some of you may think that chicken's can't fly. They actually do a little. They only go up around 5 or 6 feet, but they do fly.

My census job ended yesterday. It was supposed to last 14 weeks. They lied. There was no more work for anyone as of today. Oh well! It was fun while it lasted. The farmer's markets will be in full force in a couple of weeks. I'm planning to spend the summer baking and making noodles unless something else comes up.

We will have chives, lemon balm, radishes, eggs, noodles, some dried herbs and peppers from last year and banana bread to take to the farmer's market in Burlington this week - maybe some green onions and lettuce, but they are a little on the small side as of today. We'll see.

I sold all but 5 of my blown goose eggs. Would have sold them too, but I had hidden them and Grampa didn't see them when the last lady came to buy. Oh well, I need a few to decorate myself. I also have a bunch of blown guinea eggs. They are smaller than chicken eggs. You'd think they'd break easier, but those things are tough little critters. They should be really good for crafts.

I was looking at my herb garden today. I have some cilantro and basil coming up! I took my chicken guard off it a couple of weeks ago so I was wondering if they would devour the seedlings as they sprouted. So far the chickens don't seem to enthused about cilantro or basil. That's OK with me!

On a side note ... the birds are building a new nest in my stove vent. I guess we just have to keep chasing them out.

Well, as usual, the fonts on this post seem all messed up. I really need to take some time and figure out what I'm doing to them, but that's low on the priority list. You all will just have to put up with me.

God Bless You All!