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

Monday, December 20, 2010

How to Hypnotize a Chicken

OK, so this is just way to funny!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Farm Humor

Things are a little slow this time of the year on the farm so how about a joke?

After pulling a farmer over for speeding, a state trooper
started to lecture him about his speed, pompously
implying that the farmer didn't know any better and
trying to make him feel as uncomfortable as possible.

He finally started writing out the ticket, but had to keep
swatting at some flies buzzing around his head. The
farmer said, "Having some problems with circle flies
there are ya?"

The trooper paused to take another swat and said,
"Well, yes, if that's what they are. I've never heard of
circle flies."

The farmer was pleased to enlighten the cop. "Circle
flies are common on farms. They're called circle flies
because you almost always find them circling the
back end of a horse."

The trooper continues writing for a moment, then says,
"Hey, are you trying to call me a horse's behind?"

"Oh no, officer." The farmer replies. "I have too much
respect for law enforcement and police officers for

"That's a good thing," the officer says rudely, then
goes back to writing the ticket.

After a long pause, the farmer added, "Hard to fool
them flies, though."

Know any good farm jokes? Pass them on.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Young Uns

Grampa went out to do chores this morning. I watched him head out through the window. Suddenly he dropped the buckets he was carrying and started moving pretty fast toward the house. I knew something was up! Grampa doesn't run because of a bad knee and he almost never moves fast. He opened up the door and hollared, "I see a baby!" The man never wanted many of the human kind, but he's a sucker for little things that run around ;)

We have a pair of twins, girl and boy. Momma was off to get a bite to eat in this picture while the herd "mamma" is taking care of the kids. They are pretty dirty yet, but by this evening they will be all clean and pretty! 

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nauvoo Christmas Walk Tomorrow 9am - 4pm

Been baking and making all week long. I've got muffins, breads, pies, cookies, noodles, finger jingles, chocolate wands, chocolate coated candies, angel hoops, gourd birdhouses ... probably lots of other things!


Friday, November 26, 2010

How Not to Make Mini Greenhouses

 So Grampa thought the mini greenhouses would be fine in the wind without rocks to hold them down. I had my doubts, so I suggested we just do 2 of the gardens that way and wait for a big wind to test them out before we did the others. No, he didn't want to do that because we'd probably not get a big wind till it snowed and we'd be out there covering the gardens in 20 degree weather. "OK" I said (rolling my eyes). Well, we got two big winds this week:

I covered my herb gardens and used rocks to hold the plastic down. Poor Grampa! He still has issues with rocks :( 

Will we ever get the 1,400 acre grain farm out of him?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mini Green Houses

Looky! Looky! We got our raised beds under plastic today! Here's to the beginning of our mini-greenhouse adventure.

When we first decided to go into this business, Grampa decided to go to a trade show he saw in the Small Farm Today Magazine  http://www.smallfarmtoday.com/   He met a man there who was promoting the raised concrete block gardens we use. We went to a workshop at his farm http://gardeningrevolution.com/ to learn about how to make them and have been absolutely thrilled with them. One of the benefits of this type of garden is that they can easily be turned into mini-greenhouses, however we have never gotten around to buying the plastic water pipe Len uses to frame them. This summer, I was looking at the concrete re-enforcing wire tomato cages (another thing we learned from Len) and suggested we double duty them by using them as hoops to put plastic over. We are fastening the plastic to the hoops with clothes pins and holding down the ends with rocks. We discussed making some smaller hoops to put under the tomato cages to make a double plastic layer, but decided to stick with one layer for this year. One layer of plastic will allow us to start our garden a month early. Two layers would extend the gardens up to two months. 

We also bought some re-enforcing wire to put over the gardens that we built outside of the fence this summer to protect them from chickens. We just put chicken wire over the ends, but I'd really like to cover them completely. By the end of the summer the chickens figured out they could get through the holes in the re-enforcing wire.  :(

I used the ends that were left over from that project to create some mini hoops to put over my herb garden. They kept the chickens out and kept the dogs from laying on my herbs. I put plastic over them yesterday. I'm hoping it will be enough to keep my lemon grass and rosemary from dying over the winter. In any case, I'm sure it will give my perennial herbs a head start next spring. 

We planted a thermometer in the soil in one of the gardens we covered. I'll try to keep you informed about the temp through the winter!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Approaching Winter

Greetings from Uptown French Town! The pictures below are from my house, but alas, I am back to sleeping around! A friend of the family is a home health care nurse. She asked my MIL to help take care of an ailing neighbor and since I have helped her with every other client she's had, I naturally wound up helping with this case. We started out just going to get our neighbor meals, but now we are staying with him 24/7. We take turns staying anywhere from 24 hours to 4 days at a time, whatever works. Our client is a sweet man who isn't high maintenance, he just needs someone there to help when he needs it. 

This is working out great for me. He only lives about 2 mile from me and loves to go for rides, so if I need to go gather eggs or get something from home he is ready to roll. The family has also told me to go ahead and do whatever I would at home, so I have done lots of canning and crafts. I will also be able to do the paperwork for my winter assessing job from here. I have a couple of deputies who can go out and do most of the field work, so I should ave no trouble handling that job as well.

 As you can see the garden is done for the year. We had a great year! The garden made over $2500, not to bad for less than 1/2 an acre. So far the chickens have brought in almost $6,000 and all the other miscellaneous endeavors ( bake sale, farm crop, sheep, etc.) brought in more than $14,500. Again we've done quite a bit of investing so we have our net down to around $7,000 at this point. We have a few deductions I haven't figured in yet, but I'm pretty sure when we send in our income tax statement we will have to pay some taxes. When we went into this expecting to possibly show a profit by the 5th year so we are 2 years ahead of schedule!

Grampa keeps shaking his head and muttering, "I can't believe we've made all this money on less than 12 acres!" He is used to making about 4 or 5 hundred from an acre of corn or beans on the 1,400 acres he used to farm. Right now we are averaging about $2,000/acre and we really haven't even touched the potential. We expect to double our egg sales next year and if we can get into gardening under high tunnels and get some better equipment, we ought to be able to increase the garden output to $20 or $30k per year, more if we hire help.

I know, that doesn't seem like a lot to some of you, but we don't have a lot of expenses. Our house and vehicles are paid for, most of our vehicle costs are deductible, and quite a bit of our food is free. We eat what we can't sell!  We really only need about $25,000/year to live well. I've been in the homes of some very rich people and I can tell you, the view from my window is way better! Doing what you love makes all the difference in the world.

This next year, we plan to invest in a nice new chicken house and work on getting some implements for our tiny tractor that will make it easier for us to plant and cultivate the gardens. We'd also like to buy a cargo trailer to take stuff to markets. So often this year, we didn't have room to put everything we wanted to take. 

We are going to put some low tunnels over our raised bed gardens this winter so we can get an early start next spring, but eventually we want to get several high tunnels. High tunnels are like a greenhouse, but instead of planting stuff in containers you plant things directly in the dirt. This allows you to get about a month head start in the spring and extend the season by a month or so in the fall. During the summer, the sides are rolled up so the plants don't get to hot. This system also allows you to control the water better. This year with all the rain, the only people who were able to grow tomatoes well were the people who had high tunnels. Our friends who have high tunnels say they generally are able to grow $6,000 to $7,000 worth of veggies in each one per year.

Another awesome thing that surprised us this year was how much easier things seemed to be! The last 2 years, both Grampa and I worked from sun up until 11 or 12pm almost every day all summer. This year, I worked at other jobs quite a bit of the summer and yet Grampa was able to do a pretty good job keeping up on his own. We've got a little better equipment and our systems are improving as we learn. We expect to continue to be able to produce more with basically the same amount of effort each year. I can't wait until this business produces enough income that I don't have to work off the farm. It will come!

Well, hopefully it won't be so long till the next time!

God Bless You All!

Grama Sue

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rice Crispy Treat and Egg Fans

There is a little girl who comes to the farmers' market in Burlington with her mom, her grandma and her little brother just for the purpose of getting a rice crispy treat from Grama Sue. Last week I was so busy that I didn't get any made. When I had to admit that I didn't have any I got "the look" and what a look it was! I don't ever want to go through that again! OUCH!

Anyway, I got lunch all ready to cook today when I suddenly realized I still needed to make rice crispy treats and we have to leave for the market in 3 hours! So, I put lunch off and made rice crispy treats. Little Rice Crispy Treat Girl, I don't know your name, but you will have your cookie today!

Then, just as we sat down for dinner, the phone rang. The man on the line said he was from Macomb and he was calling to tell us how much he loves our eggs! What a sweetheart! This is why we love what we do!


God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Skinning Tomatoes

Now why didn't someone tell me this 30 years ago? Today I'm reading a post from Food In Jars on Facebook and someone is asking about blanching times for tomatoes. One person responds they never blanch, just put the tomatoes whole into bags and stick in the bag. When you start to thaw them, put them in cold water and the skins will fall right off! I usually freeze my tomatoes and make things like chili and spaghetti sauce during the winter when I'm in the house all day and I want the heat. I've spent countless hours sweating over a pan of boiling water skinning tomatoes. Turns out it just wasn't needed! I used to have a list of things I learned after I turned 40, looks like I'm need to make one for things I've learned after 50!

God Bless!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Garden Musings

Got to blog, got to blog, my mother is counting on it ... Oh! Am I here? Yes! This computer has been difficult to work with lately. I need to sit down and reformat it I guess, but who's got time? Anyway, here's me selling my weed at the farmers' market! This is Sweet Annie. It is a weed that grows along our fences. Grampa used to kill it, but then he found out we could sell it for $3 a bundle so now he lets it grow. You should hear all the comments we get, but I assure you, it's perfectly legal to sell this weed at the farmers' markets.

The summer is winding down. I love this time of year! Every meal is loaded with fresh veggies from the garden and Grandma Whitson and I are busy putting up jams, tomatoes and all kinds of apple stuff like applesauce, pie filling and apple butter. I usually try to put up about 50 quarts of chili, some spaghetti, goulash sauce and salsa, but I'm not sure if I'll get enough tomatoes this year. We are finally starting to get green beans. I doubt if there will be enough to put up, but that's OK, I still have plenty left from last year. I've started making jams with honey instead of sugar. I've even ventured into some interesting ingredients. Ever tried cucumber/apple or orange/cantaloupe jam? They are really good. We've been letting people sample at the markets so come on down.

The chickens are starting to come back into production and the baby chicks are starting to lay. Pretty soon we should have 250 to 300 eggs a day. I've been doing some elder care on weekends, but my client is going to a nursing home soon. I hate that he has to go, but I'm going to need my weekends to get out to the stores and sell eggs!

The corn and bean fields are starting to turn. Grampa will be in the fields soon. I'm going to continue doing the markets until the first part of October. The Burlington market goes through October, but I plan to quit all but that one soon. Gotta get my house cleaned and get a jump on the reassessment year for my tax assessing job. 

It's been a wet year. The geese have loved it even if our garden hasn't. I'll leave you with a video of my back yard in the morning ... I'm so rich!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Braided Rug

Some of you may remember the rug I started back in 2008 (June 11th post). I got sidetracked for a couple of years, but I finally finished it! I've been helping a sick neighbor a few days a week. There's not a whole lot to do there, so I dug this project out. It is now in front of my kitchen sink and boy does it feel nice! Not the best rug in the world, it has a few puckers and the stitching isn't terribly uniform, but for a first try, I'm pleased. Thought you'd like to see it.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes


Possibly the best tomato on the planet! At least the best one I've tasted so far. We've grown Brandywines for years and just love them, but this year Grampa got adventurous and decided to branch out into more heritage tomatoes. This one doesn't even look like it is ripe, but ohhhh! What a flavor! Heritage tomatoes tend to split and develop spots easier, so most commercial growers stick with the hybrids, but what they lack in looks is made up for in taste!  

Kinda like people ... those who aren't the prettiest outside often are the sweetest inside!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Wow! I'm finally back! Got really busy doing another round of Census work and then my satellite internet got hit by lightening again. My cell phone company finally has internet, so I decided to switch. Now I have internet on a cool new Android phone and I can attach it to my other computers and get internet anywhere I go. To some of you city dwellers that may seem like an expensive route to go, but it is actually $5 a month cheaper than what I had before. Not many choices out here in the boonies for internet. It took me awhile to figure out how to use it, but I'm getting there! 

Remember the little geese? They've all got feathers now. Had some predator problems a few weeks ago so we've only got 5 of the babies left, but they are coming in the chicken pen at night now. We close the lot gate at night and let them out in the morning so they should be safe now.

We are getting melons now. Not as many on the vines as we had hoped for, but everyone else seems to be having the same problem so it is probably not a problem with our beds.

We had a little volunteer plant that looked like some kind of a squash come up in my garlic bed so we decided to let it grow. It has turned into a monster that is trying to take over everything!

No kidding, this is ONE vine! 

We finally found out what it was, it's a goosenecked gourd. Hopefully it puts on more than one of these!

Our thorn-less blackberries did really well this year. Decided to plant some more, so I am using some of the containers that Grampa finds so useless to root them in. Good thing I wouldn't let him burn this stuff!

The chickens have gone on strike with this hot weather. We were getting 130-150 eggs a day, but now we are down to around 70 most days. The little chicks are starting to lay some. We had over a dozen pullet eggs yesterday. If you are looking for our eggs in the stores or at the markets and their aren't any, please be patient! We'll be back up to full production and more in a few weeks. This is a problem with not stockpiling, but when you can get our eggs, you know they are fresh! 

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Practicing Medicine Without a License

When Grampa brought these two little ones in yesterday morning they were almost dead. They had gotten separated from their parents during a bad rain storm and were covered with mud and cold. I put them in a warm water bath till they warmed up a bit. Then we blow dried them and put them in this box on top of a heating pad. Within a few hours they were just fine and back with their parents.

Growing up a city girl, I had the impression that farmers weren't real smart people. Nothing could be further from the truth. A good farmer must have and extensive knowledge of medicine as well as genetics, accounting, mechanics, construction, nutrition and a host of other subjects. Grampa may not read Shakespeare, but he is one of the smartest people I know!

God Bless You all!

~Grama Sue 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What I Did on the 4th of July

After sleeping in to a luxurious 7:30am, I headed for the computer and worked on my latest spiritual endeavor: inserting the meanings of the names in the Bible into the text. This project will probably take the rest of my life unless other people step up to help, but it has been a desire of mine for several years and this week, I decided I'd better get busy with it. If you'd like to check it out, I'm blogging it. http://thenametranslationbible.blogspot.com/

Around 9:30 or so I cooked a big breakfast for Grampa and I as we watched a John Wayne movie. I washed the dishes  and made up some noodle dough.  I had some dried herbs I needed to put in jars, so I did that. Then Grampa brought me a bucket of eggs to wash. I was just about to start working on the noodles when Grampa came in to ask if I could help him a mulch and put cages on all of the tomatoes.

By the time we were done, it was time to gather and wash eggs again, so I did that and packed 24 dozen eggs to take to Quincy tomorrow. I'm doing a promotion at the Broadway Hy-Vee from 10am -2pm. Come see me!

Finally I was able to get busy with noodles. I rolled noodles for about 3 hours, filling every available screen, cookie sheet and tray in the house and I still had to leave some on the counter! I'm going back to work for the Census this week so I'm trying to stock up.

We just got done with supper. It's almost 10pm, 'bout par for this time of year! I'm gonna go jump in the shower and lay my head down real soon!

We've decided our garden needs a rest and so do we, so we aren't going to open up on the farm tomorrow night. I'll probably wind up spending the evening making noodles anyway! Hope you had a good 4th! I did. I spent it doing all the things I love to do! It's an awesome way to live!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, June 28, 2010

On the Farm Mondays!

Make your Mondays a little brighter. Pick up the kids (or the kid in you) after work and head out to the farm to visit with us! We'll show you our gardens, how eggs are candled, the chickens, the baby geese and pick fresh veggies and herbs for you while you visit!

Today we still have some tomatoes and sweet corn from our friends up river, and of course we always have eggs, muffins, cookies and noodles! Grandma Whitson says she'll have some fresh pies (probably still to hot) and we have peas, beets, kohlrabi, lettuce, zucchini, dill, basil, cilantro, oregano, sage, parsley, thyme, garlic, and turnips ready to pick!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Economic Realities

We probably lost a customer this week. A lady had seen a movie in which a large hatchery disposed of baby roosters in a gruesome way. She asked if we hatched our own chicks. We don't. We order from a hatchery and we order female chicks, probably contributing to this gruesome problem.

We would love to hatch our own chicks and grow all the roosters up to edible size … but there's this big problem … OUR GOVERNMENT WON'T LET US! In order to sell chicken in stores across state lines, we have to have them processed at a USDA plant. The closest one is more than 200 miles away. To sell chicken in state, we have to have a set up comparable to a USDA plant minus the full-time USDA inspector.

This would be no problem if we knew we had the capacity to sell enough birds to make the trip or build our own set up, but 1000 birds at a time would be about the break even point. That's not including our labor. We are a small farm. We don't have the capacity to run that many birds and even if we did, it would take time to build up enough of a market to get them sold.

We need 300 new hens a year. We would have to hatch a minimum of 650 birds a year to ensure that we have enough hens. That would leave us with at least 300 roosters in our freezer a year. We like chicken, but not that much! We need to be able to sell at least 150-200 birds every year to be able to hatch our own.

I've been researching how to set up a USDA plant here because I hear so many people requesting free-range chicken. So far, I just haven't been able to come up with a feasible plan. The really sad thing is that it is OK for a “good” poultry processing plant to sell contaminated poultry. See: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-05-11-safechicken11_ST_N.htm

I've seen how chicken's are processed in those plants and although I've never tested the chickens I process, I'd bet they'd beat any plant processed bird hands down. A small farmer who is doing his own processing is far more likely to care enough about his end product to do a good job than someone employed by a large company. Everything the small farmer owns and has worked for is at stake. At worst, the employee might loose his job and get unemployment for a while till he finds another job.

OK! Rant over. Talk to your representatives about this!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Baby Geese!

We have baby geese today! They took 5 out for a walk earlier. I have a video of that but can't get it to play on Blogger for some reason. I went out later and she was back on the nest. The five they had taken on a walk were hiding behind the tire and there were 2 more in the nest. I think she's still hatching!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Home Place Hours!

You are invited! Grampa and I decided we should have a few market hours at the home place, so we will be opening a farm stand in our garage on Mondays from 4-7pm. Go to the Nauvoo-Colusa Jr. High on HWY 96 and follow the signs!

I told Grampa I was going to announce our new little store to the world today. Please be sure to tell him you saw this when you come from New Zealand or wherever!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Friday, June 11, 2010

At Hy Vee Tomorrow

Will be doing a promotion at Hy Vee in Macomb tomorrow! Come see me!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, May 31, 2010

Cow Girl

Well, we don't have any cows yet, but my sweet DIL thought this hat would attract customers at the farmer's markets. Sorry Tristina, I didn't wear it long. Hats are just to durn hot!

I haven't been at many of the markets because I've been doing Census work. There's about another week left of that and then I need to spend another week or two drumming up business for our eggs in stores. Our feed supplier changed his ration and we've gone from 70 to 110 eggs a day. That's wonderful, but we need another store or two.

Grampa Tom has been doing most of the markets, but this day he was in the fields so I played hooky from my government job to run the stand at the Burlington Farmer's Market.

We've been doing 3 markets a week, but this week the market at Baxter's Winery in Nauvoo starts so we will be at 4. The garden isn't producing enough quite yet for us to handle to much so we will wait on the Hamilton market till I have a little more time to bake or the garden really gets going, whichever is first.

It has gone from drizzly cold a little over a week ago to muggy hot. Great for growing most things. My spinach is bolting. Tuesday will be the last of it. We do have baby swiss chard now though, better than spinach and it grows all summer.

I've added dried herbs to the menu we sell. If anyone has small food jars they'd like to donate, I need a bunch!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, May 24, 2010

Great Grandma's Rose

Well, this picture didn't come out as well as I thought it would, but Grampa Tom's great grandmother's rose bush is still blooming! We think it will die every year, but it keeps coming back. This plant is probably 70 to 90 years old. Amazing.

We'll be at the State Park in Nauvoo tomorrow from 4-7 as long as it's not thundering and lightening! Hope it doesn't rain, but a little rain won't keep us away. Come see us!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Burlington Farmer's Market

Rain, rain go away, at least by 5 o'clock today!

That's market time at the Riverfront in Burlington. We'd think about staying home today, but we've promised people we'd pick up some of Inechens fabulous tomatoes. They grow them in dirt in a greenhouse near the Quad Cities and pick them when they are ripe on the vine. Burlington is as far south as they go, but we think people in Nauvoo, Hamilton and Keokuk deserve this incredible early crop too.

We'll have to take the tent sides and pull the tables inside. There won't be to many people there tonight, but thankfully there are some really faithful people who will come to the market no matter what the weather.

Here's the menu for tonight!

Herbs - Fresh & Dried
Whole Wheat All Natural Muffins
Grandma Whitson's Addictive Cookies
Crispy Rice Treats
All Natural Egg Noodles
Grama Sue's Rainbow Eggs

God Bless! ~Grama Sue

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hamilton Farmer's Market

Grampa Tom will be at the Hamilton City Park from 3-5pm today.
Greenhouse tomatoes grown in dirt.
Herbs - Fresh & Dried
Whole Wheat All Natural Muffins
Grandma Whitson's Addictive Cookies
Crispy Rice Treats
All Natural Egg Noodles
Grama Sue's Rainbow Eggs

Monday, May 17, 2010


We had a leghorn that kept getting into our garden. Yesterday she tore up a bunch of our peas. I stalked her until I caught her and now she's in my pressure cooker.

Here's a couple of the eggs I found inside of her. There were a few more tiny tiny yolks, but they broke when I tried to pick them out. Thought you might like to see them.

God Bless You All!
~Grama Sue

Friday, May 14, 2010

Farmer's Market Schedule for the Remainder of May

We are back at the markets! For the rest of May we plan to be at:

Tuesdays - Nauvoo Bounty Farmer's Market
4-7pm at the State Park on Hwy 96

Thursdays - Burlington Riverfront Farmer's Market
5-7:30m at the Port by the bridge

Saturdays - Keokuk Farmer's Market
6:30-11am at the mall

We also might show up at the Hamilton Farmer's Market at the city park on Wednesdays from 3-5pm if we have enough stuff.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Got to go play in the dirt this morning! When I was a teen, I absolutely hated garden work, but now weeding is such a joy. Who woulda thunk? I weeded all my herb beds this morning and planted some cilantro and marjoram. I really need to plant some more basil and dill, just need to find a place! This is my perennial bed with a few self re-seeders and a few annuals to fill in the empty spaces till the perennials take over.

This year I should have:
Lemon Balm
And probably one or more that I am forgetting.

That's all for now folks!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Apple Trees A-Blooming!

Well, it doesn't look like I'll be making it to the Hamilton market today. Been down for a couple of weeks now. Doc says it's nothing to serious. Got some meds yesterday to try to get me going, but I just have to take it easy for a while longer. Next week, I start working for the Census. It's a flexible hours type job, but the first week is training that isn't flexible, so I won't be able to make the market then either. I am hoping to feel enough better by tonight that I can put out my garage sale signs. I haven't put stuff away yet from a couple of weeks ago so that shouldn't be to much work.

Here's my apple trees. Aren't they pretty?

My bees would love them, but they didn't make it through the winter. That's OK. I wasn't crazy about them anyway. Anyone want to buy some hives? We have 4 for sale.

At least the chickens are happy! Hope you can see this micro length video! It's proof that roosters don't crow only at dawn.

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Farmer's Markets Starting Soon!

We are gearing up! The Hamilton Farmer's Market sign is up. I'm going to try to get there this week. Will have spinach, fresh chives, lemon balm, noodles, eggs and muffins at least. Might get Mom to bake a pie or two and some cookies, who knows! The Burlington Market starts May 4th so we will be sure to be there!

We have most of the raised bed gardens planted. We built two more this spring. Grampa planted onions, kohlrabi, spinach, swiss chard, beets, peas, cucumbers, turnips, kale, lettuce, zucchini and probably a few things I'm forgetting about.

We were surprised with spinach in one of the raised beds when the snow melted. We planted it late last summer hoping for a fall crop, but it didn't do anything. When we took the plastic off, it was ready and raring to go! Our strawberries are looking pretty good too. No blooms yet, but the apple trees are covered with flowers.

I've been thinking I ought to try to take a picture and post at least one sentence 3 or 4 times a week. Maybe I'll take a picture of the apple trees later this week.

We have all kinds of new baby chicks! There's 200 in this building that are about 3 weeks old.

Our new farm hand's job is to love on them! This is my granddaughter. She is coming over a couple of times a week while her folks work. Her mom and I are starting to homeschool her. I've missed having kids around!

The hens are having lots of fun with all this green grass! Their yolks are getting darker again too.

Last weekend I had a garage sale. I put out my egg yolk demonstration and added one of my white eggs to the display. Both days I cracked one of our white eggs, one of our brown eggs and of course a typical store bought egg. Both days the darkest yolk was from a white egg! Pretty cool to see. I'm going to continue to do that at the farmer's markets this summer. Come by and see!

These are some of our Cornish Cross chickens out sunbathing. They don't have a lot of feathers and they seem to be somewhat sun burnt, but it doesn't seem to bother them.

Our dogs have been working hard all night every night chasing off coyotes. They laze around all day.

If'n ya got a hankering for fresh spinach, herbs or noodles, come to the Hamilton city park Wednesday afternoon or just give me a call and swing by my place! 309-221-0785

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Wow! What a week!

We bought all these 3 week old chicks for 2/3 of the price we would have spent on day old chicks.

Then Grampa bought a hog for $100. We butchered it and ended up with 125 pounds of meat and a fantastic feast for the dogs and the chickens!

...Then, Grampa took some lambs to market yesterday. They wound up weighing a lot more than what he thought they would so he came home with a check that was about 50% more than he expected.

We went out for supper last night!

Now, if only we could get the garden planted. We are excited about the spinach that made it through the winter. At least we'll have something green to sell at the markets.

I also think I may have found a USDA plant that processes chickens this weekend. That means we'll be able to sell fryers and broilers at farmers markets and stores soon! We've had so many people request them, but we've been restricted to selling them from the farm only.

Oh, oh, oh! We are also buying 4 more adult geese from a neighbor.

I'm so excited! The last couple of years have been pretty rough, but slowly things have opened up for us and the prospects for this year look really good!

God Bless You All!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This winter we have had the longest continuous freeze I can remember for quite a while! About a week ago our garden was covered with several inches of snow. It's quite a change, but some things are coming to life! Spring has sprung!

Late last fall, we planted some spinach. It didn't do much last fall, but it looks good now!

I peaked into the garden we kept under plastic last winter.

Swiss chard under plastic:

My garlic is starting to come up:

I checked out the bees. One of the two hives made it through the winter, but it seems pretty weak. I'll feed it and see if I can nurse it back. The other hive had a little honey left. I brought the frames in and have been working on draining them. It looks like I'll get about a quart. I don't have an extractor, but I cut the combs open and am draining them into a bucket.

After they drip for awhile, I separate the honey from the wax by straining through a colander.

I think I'm going to get about a quart from these 2 frames. It is taking quite a while. Hope the ants don't wake up and invade my house before I'm done!

We were blessed with 50 more adult hens! Farmer's markets are coming up. We were having problems keeping up with the demand at the stores so they are greatly needed.

The assessing is already done for the year. That's like a miracle! I have a little time, so, I am working on budgets and financing while waiting for things to dry up. Thank You LORD for computers! Grampa Tom hates them, but they make life so much easier. I've been able to learn so much, shop for supplies and do my own book work for the most part. Not only that, but I get to communicate with all of you! What a blessing!

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blessed Woman

Back in action! I've been lazing around doing boring stuff like assessing for the last couple of months ... no markets, but last weekend I had the opportunity to set up at the WIU Farm Expo! I had such a great time! Got to meet with so many great people. Many were excited to discover that free range eggs were available at Hy-Vee. Occasionally someone would recognize our egg carton. It is so satisfying to have someone be excited to meet the real "Grama Sue"! Makes me feel like a celebrity! Thank you!

We got our taxes done. When we started this, we did not expect to show a profit for at least 3-5 years. After all our deductions and everything, we wound up with a loss of only$55! Last year it was -$8,000 some. We will need to do some more investing this year in buildings, land and equipment, but it won't be long till we have to pay some taxes on the business. I'm looking forward to it :) It's not like we haven't paid any taxes. We did pay taxes on our off farm part-time jobs. And ... when you figure deductions we were able to take that we would have had to pay tax on if we had not been self-employed, we are doing OK!

Last year, eggs, baked goods and produce were our big income makers. We plan to continue to expand in these areas. I am working to develop a craft market and Grampa would like to create a pastured poultry meat market and start milking miniature cattle. We need more ground and a processing plant. We exploring ways to do this.

Last month, we talked with a small business advisor. Dan Voorhis gave us lots of good info. I would recommend this type of service to anyone in business. The WIU site is: http://www.wiusbdc.org/ It is a service of our local state university. If you aren't from around here, there's probably a similar program near you.

As I was headed for Macomb on Friday, I was marveling at how awesome my life is! Between assessing and the spring and fall work Grampa gets, we have enough to pay our basic expenses and whatever we make on the farm can be plowed right back into it. It is very rare that I have to get up to an alarm clock and for the most part, I love what I am doing! Not many people are able to live the way I do. I do not have a six figure income or a big bank account, but I am a blessed woman! Many people who have these things don't live as richly as I do!

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Macomb Farm Show Even If You Are Not a Farmer

2010 WIU Farm Expo - Feb. 27 9-5 and Feb 28 10-4


#10 Great big equipment! Look at, ,marvel at, and climb up into huge combines, tractors and other big machines. Totally worth it if you have kids or are a big kid!

#9 Door Prizes! Sign up for sign up for gift certificates, savings bonds, Grama Sue’s Noodles, water and air filters and more!

#8 Big craft show upstairs on the North Concourse (Grama Sue will be there!)

#7 Huge toy show! Close to every farm toy ever produced! South Concourse.

#6 Garden deals! Tools, ponds, landscaping, fertilizers and more.

#5 Kids tractor pull – several times a day! Bring your camera!

#4 Free pens, pencils, magnets and free samples!

#3 Lots of free education! Many exhibits aimed at children and families.

#2 Big variety of home improvement deals. Builders, windows, filters and more!

#1 Come see Grama Sue! You know you’ve been missing her! Get some noodles, pies, cookies, glory hoops, finger jingles or decorated light bulbs and see her egg demonstration! She’ll be upstairs in the North Concourse about in the middle on the south side. See you there!

Monday, January 18, 2010

EBay Etsy & WIU Ag Expo

Today's lamb count: 12 with lots more ready to pop!

So, what does Grama Sue do in January? Tax assessing (yuck), EBay sales, making noodles and crafts!

We are supposed to get our books and cards for assessing January 27th. This will be the first time we've got them before summer in 3 years. There's not a tremendous amount to do this year so I'm hoping I can get it done by sometime in March. Grampa and I have been out taking some pictures and measurements. We should have that about done by the end of the month so it should be pretty easy to finish up. I'm not going to know how to do that when I haven't already put in a full day in the garden and at the markets!

Sold the corral to a really neat guy in Missouri and I've been trying to keep something on EBAy all the time just for a few extra bucks. I've also been doing a little crafting and have managed to figure out how to sell on Etsy. Be sure to check out my links to EBay and Etsy in the right hand column!

Here's a couple of things I've made:

Native Wedding Prayer Hoop

Recycled Light Bulb Ornament

At the end of February, I am going to be doing a big show out in Macomb. The WIU Ag Club does a huge farm show every year and they have a craft section. I'm taking my noodles and crafts. I figure I need about 10 Avon boxes full of noodles for this event, but I'm not sure I'll be able to do that. The cold snap has our chickens down to about 1/2 production. They are picking up a little now, but we need a lot of eggs! We had been selling about 50 dozen a week. Now we're only producing about 35 dozen a week.

Want to come see my stuff? I'll be at Western Hall upstairs in the craft section (the north concourse). My booth will be about in the middle on the south side. It's Saturday, Feb 27th 9am-5pm and Sunday Feb28th 10am-4pm. You can get all the details at:

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Global Freezing anyone? We've had 6 lambs in this deep freeze! The kids are here for the weekend. They braved the 10 degree weather to feed the sheep and get a picture. Poor little Tristan was so cold! He was trying to snuggle his face on the lamb!

Earlier in the day, I thought I'd try to get a picture of the lambs. All the sheep came out to see me, but when they figured out I didn't have any food for them, they turned around and headed for the barn.

I ventured out to where only dogs had trod since the snowstorm. The snowdrifts are protecting the beehives from the worst of the wind.

There's a garden under there somewhere!

The chickens have slowed down on their laying. They don't like this weather much. We haven't even bothered to open the chicken shed door for the last few days. They won't come out anyway.

We're hunkered down here! Stay warm everyone!

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue