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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31st, 2011

What a beautiful end of the year! Spent most of the day working in the garden. I'm gonna be hurting tomorrow, but how could I resist! Over the last few days, I've managed to clean up most of this year's crops and get the mulching done for next year. I'm having a philosophical problem with pulling up the green stuff that is  STILL producing! If I get all the mounds dug that I want to finish this year, before they really die, I'll have to suck it up and pull the kale, chard, spinach, lettuce and arugula. I need to cover the beds with leaves or straw for the winter, but how can I? I'm telling myself the critters need some food. If I had chickens over at my farmer's, I'd put the electric netting around it and let them polish it off!

I put in a little winter onion patch back between the trees this week and today I dug a new mound. You can see both in this picture. I want to build 2 more mounds on this end of the garden and two more at the other end. 
Grampa Tom and I spent a little time planning where to put new gardens and measuring them out the other day. I've been spending my evenings drawing them on graph paper so I can get busy planning next year's gardens. I've been studying companion planting this fall, so Grampa has put me in charge of all garden planning. We will probably double our garden space again next year. 

2012 promises to be an interesting year with all the gloom and doom out there. I don't for a minute believe the end of the world is at hand, but I'm concerned that some of this could become self-fulfilling and make things rough on everyone. Hopefully, all the hype will turn out to be just that. But, if worse comes to worse, I'm glad I'm a country girl. Grampa and I at least have half a chance at being able to produce our own food!

In any case, we are in God's capable hands! I'm concerned yes, but not afraid. We've been through rough times before and God was faithful to see us through. If you are afraid, God wants to put His arms around you. He loves you so much He sent Jesus to die for you. Seek Him and you too will find a peace that it beyond all understanding. 

May God Bless You All in 2012!

~Grama Sue

Friday, December 30, 2011

Snowman Pee

This is my itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny, little baby boy, Jesse, all 5" 10", 200 lbs of him. I love Jesse. He was even less planned than his older brother and sister. In fact, I'm pretty sure his was an act of God. The older two were destined to trot the globe when they flew the coop, but this one is a farmer like his daddy, so I get to keep him. God knew we would need him, in spite of the fact that we considered our family complete.

He lives about 10 miles from here with his beautiful wife and wonderful son. He holds down a full time job and helps us out when we need it, especially when we are gone. While we were out east visiting his brother, he was here at home working 40 hours a week at his farm hand job, dealing with vehicle problems and doing all of our chores!

Jesse is a lot like his dad. Like his dad, he doesn't mind snowman pee. When I got home, my kitchen was covered with these strange white streaks and spots.

It's really not as gross as it looks. When we wash our eggs, we mix a white powder sanitizer in the water. If you splash the water (which can't be helped) it will look just like regular water until it dries. Then the white powder will be left. If you don't wipe the counters and the cabinets, you wind up with snowman pee. When I am home, it gets cleaned up on a regular basis, but after a week, it builds up!

I really don't mind. It cleans up very easily and to have my super busy son take the time to help us out by doing our chores ... well I can handle a little snowman pee!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Market Pictures

Hi Folks! I've taken the last couple of weeks off to concentrate on Christmas and family. We just got back from seeing our east coast kids and grandkids. Lots of fun, but now it's time for my other fun, gearing up for next year. It's so awesome to love what you do!

Our last market of the year was Thursday December 15th at the Port in Burlington. We will miss all these people, but we're ready for the break. Thought I'd take a few pictures of our fellow vendors so here's the line up!

Next to us was Sly Fox Art & Woodworking. They make some pretty cool wooden puzzles and toys. You can reach them at 319-457-3228 or at facebook.com/slyfoxartandwoodwork

This is Kay Young. She is an awesome baker who loves to do special stuff for every holiday, even the ones most people don't know about! Stopping by her booth is always an education! Kay is a retired teacher. She  sits next to Grampa Tom at the Keokuk Market and comes to the Lomax Market too. Her phone # is 630-281-0117

Aunt Terri's Kitchen is a newcomer at the market this fall. Aunt Terri has a bakes and she has Gluten-Free yummies as well! Call her at 319-371-1959!

This is Wilma Hemphill. She and her husband Steve are long time vendors at the Riverfront market, and one of my biggest competitors. They have eggs, produce, honey and baked goods. I always tell them to sell out of eggs early ;) I really think our eggs are better, but theirs are cheaper :(  So ... most days they have to sell out before we get much business. We don't mind, we have enough trouble keeping up with our store sales most of the year!  You can reach them at 319-985-2111

This is Steve's dad, George Hemphill. He's also a long time Riverfront vendor and a local legend as well. George has had many newspaper write ups about his beekeeping activities and loves to educate everyone about bees and honey. When we first started, we bought some bees. George was a valuable resource! Unfortunately, Grampa Tom seems to be allergic to bee stings, so I get most of my honey from George now.
You can reach George at 310-752-8037.

This is our fearless leader. She hates being in pictures. I insisted so she consented on the stipulation that I not name her. Don't you think she is beautiful??? She is the one who does all the organizing, advertising and so forth for the market. If you are interested in being a vendor, let me know, I'll pass her info on to you. 

This is Chris Gehringer, another long time Riverfront vendor and big competitor. She has  eggs, baked goods and lots of produce. She is another mentor. We have learned so much from our farmer's market competitors. You would think competitors would be just that, but there's no better people than farmer's market vendors! They are always willing to help and educate. No wonder people love to shop at the markets. Chris' number is 319-752-7608

The Community of Christ has been running a food booth at the River Front forever! Contact the church at 319-752-6426 or Dawn Durgin at 319-752-9825. Come for supper, enjoy a tenderloin, a barbecued sandwich or soup, enjoy the local entertainment provided by talented artists like George Vineyard (below) and fill your shopping bags with good food for the rest of the week. We will be back at the Port come May!


God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mini Willow Bench

Finally! I have time for my other love! Finding awesome things that I think might sell on E-Bay. This is my latest find:

Found this at a local thrift store. It needed a little fixing, but it is beautiful now! 

Here's the E-Bay link:

Check it out!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Last Harvest 2011

Tomorrow is the last market of the season at the Port in Burlington from 4-6pm and the last market we will be going to until next spring. I was trying to keep the garden going until now. It's amazing! I succeeded, even after a few nights of single digit temps in the last week!

I took a few pictures of my garden beds after I cut them. A lot of the greens were frost bit, but there was enough good stuff to take to the market tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be able to sell most of it.

I had covered the beds with sheets close to the ground and then covered them with another layer up on the hoops. They say you can grow greens all winter long with a high tunnel over low tunnels. I'm pretty confident they are right!

Hopefully soon we will be able to get one!

It was raining today so I left the covers in the garden. I'll roll them up later this week when they dry up.

And here's part of the harvest. I had already taken some of the lettuce and herbs in before I thought about taking pictures.

Here's the haul all bagged up.

One bag each of Italian Flat Leafed Parsley, Curled Parsley, and Rosemary: two bags each of Holy Basil, Salad Mix, Spinach and Iceberg Lettuce: three bags of Dill, four bags of Chard, five bags of Golden Rings ... no, no, no, slipped off into a Christmas Song there, sorry, that should have been Kale. 

I also found a few radishes that I missed last week. We have some radishes and carrots left from last week yet as well as a few potatoes, squash and  jars of dried herbs. 

Come by tomorrow, that is Thursday December 15th  from 4-6pm at the Port in Burlington!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last Market Tonight

Don't miss it! The last farmer's market of the season is tonight from 4-6pm at the Port in Burlington!

We will have fresh  Italian Flat Leafed Parsley, Curled Parsley, and Rosemary, Holy Basil, Salad Mix, Spinach and Iceberg Lettuce: three bags of Dill, four bags of Chard, five bags of Kale, Radishes, Carrots, Potatoes, Squash, Noodles, Apple Butters with honey or stevia, plus lots of crafts from my daughter, owner of LiviLou and Co. http://www.etsy.com/shop/livilouandco?ref=top_trail

There are other vendors as well. The people next to us have awesome wooden puzzles that they make, there's honey, eggs, tomatoes, and all sorts of yummy baked goods!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Egg Nativity

Here's a cute little nativity video made with eggs. I should do this. I've got the blown eggs ... if only I had time! If anyone would like to buy some, they are $4/doz!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Sue Bee Success (indoor tomato)

My bee playing is a success! I've got two of these little sweeties forming!

I was hoping to have some Cherokee Purples ripening in time for the December markets, but with the whole cucumber vs. tomato war thing (see my last post), that is not to be :'(  However, these will probably usher in the New Year so I am excited. I have no idea what type they are. There were some volunteers in the concrete beds at home that Grampa Tom wanted me to keep. I picked the two biggest plants. It will be interesting to find out. They are probably a hybrid of some sort. We had Early Girls, Brandywines, Cherokee Purples and a cherry tomato there last year. Will keep you updated!

God Bless You All!
~Grama Sue

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cucumbers and Tomatoes Only Mix in the Salad Bowl

Note to self: Check companion planting charts before planting. 

Neither my tomato or my cucumber were doing very well. I figured maybe they were suffering from my compost/straw made up potting mix, but today I was looking through a companion planting list. It said tomatoes and cucumbers aren't good for each other. 

No wonder! They were fighting! The tomato was winning, but since I have 2 other tomato plants, I tore it out. I left the cucumber since it had one leaf, but  I'll plant a couple more seeds just in case it doesn't recover. Might have cucumbers before spring! Will keep you updated!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I've still got lots of radishes! The kind I have are Crimson Giants. They are huge, but great tasting. Check out this video about the nutritional benefits of radishes.


Thursday, November 10, 2011


So why the picture of sticks? Last week, we went to the Small Farm Conference in Columbia, MO. While there we met a man that raises elderberries, he also buys them and pays what we thought was a pretty good price for them. We talked a lot with him about how to grow them, what kind of yields to expect and so on. The picture is of the elderberry starts that we bought. He said if you put them in water, they will grow roots and leaves. In the spring we will plant them in the ground. 

The guy we talked to said he started out with 16 sticks and now has 32 acres of elderberries. We bought 8. He also gave us a couple of smaller sticks. And, when I got home, I found out that a neighbor is planning to cut down one of his elderberry bushes, so we'll have all sorts of sticks to start off of that. We thought we'd plant some in the front yard at our place this year just to see what we can do. Then if all goes well, we will start putting them up at our son's place in Dallas next year. 

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue


So why the picture of sticks? Last week, we went to the Small Farm Conference in Columbia, MO. While there we met a man that raises elderberries, he also buys them and pays what we thought was a pretty good price for them. We talked a lot with him about how to grow them, what kind of yields to expect and so on. The picture is of the elderberry starts that we bought. He said if you put them in water, they will grow roots and leaves. In the spring we will plant them in the ground. 

The guy we talked to said he started out with 16 sticks and now has 32 acres of elderberries. We bought 8. He also gave us a couple of smaller sticks. And, when I got home, I found out that a neighbor is planning to cut down one of his elderberry bushes, so we'll have all sorts of sticks to start off of that. We thought we'd plant some in the front yard at our place this year just to see what we can do. Then if all goes well, we will start putting them up at our son's place in Dallas next year. 

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stevia Apple Butter

Last spring while browsing through the plants at Farm and Home, I came across a stevia plant. On impulse, I bought it. When I got it home, I put it in a pot and placed it in the garden. A few days later, it DIED. I mean DEAD, no leaves, stem disintegrated, nothing left DEAD! I didn't have anything else to put in that pot, so I just left it there. Almost 3 months later, I looked in the pot and saw something growing. It didn't look like any weed I was familiar with, so I decided to let it grow. After a few weeks, I got brave and tasted one of the leaves. Sure enough! It was my stevia plant back from the dead!

Yesterday, I thought it had grown enough that I could steal a handful of leaves from it without much harm. I picked up some apples and experimented with making apple butter with fresh stevia instead of sugar. I'm not a big fan of stevia extract. I think it's got a funny aftertaste, but my apple butter is nice and sweet, with no aftertaste that I can tell! I'm so excited! I'm going to take some to the market in Burlington tomorrow. Come tell me what you think!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Garden

Amazing! It's November 8th and I've still got lots of garden out there! Here's a few pictures:

There's lettuce, parsley, thyme, chard and kale in this bed.

There's kale, chard and radishes uncovered here. Under the plastic is a tomato plant and some basil believe it or not.

This is my peppermint.

There's spinach, lettuce, beets, carrots and radishes in this bed. And some very overgrown arugula on the right side with more kale and chard behind it.

Still have all sorts of radishes, as well as some younger arugula and iceberg lettuce here. 

I put my marjoram under a clear refrigerator drawer. It seems to like it! The sheet to the left is covering my dill.

My rosemary is also under some refrigerator drawers. The sheet on the right is another picture of my dill. and the plastic on the left is covering some tomatoes.

They really are doing quite well yet. Pretty slow ripening and they aren't as sweet as a summer tomato, but hey! It's November!

Here's my cherry tomato bed.

And my indoor garden!

I didn't think to take pictures of Grampa Tom's peas. He's got a few beets left too. We've got potatoes, squash and egg plants in storage that still look pretty good. I've also got sage, oregano and lemon grass that are thriving.  Maybe a few other things too. I always forget at least one!  It's supposed to get down to 27 tomorrow night. We are going to work on covering the rest of the gardens tomorrow.  We'll see what happens!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, October 31, 2011

After the Frost

So much to do at the end of the season! I've been busy putting up tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, apples ... and trying to keep things alive through the chilly nights we've had. We've still got plenty of greens and radishes. Some of my tomato plants have made it through and all of my herbs are thriving so far. Unless this weather pattern really breaks, I can see having tomatoes well into November and cool weather crops into December.  We have been doing 4 markets a week through most of October, but next month we will cut it down to just Burlington and possibly Nauvoo if we have enough to make it worthwhile. The Burlington market runs almost until Christmas and the Nauvoo market can run as long as I go.

I told Grampa Tom I'd like to make row covers for all the mounds in my mound garden so I could get an early start next year. I hope to have a good variety early in the spring to take to Nauvoo before any of the other markets start.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, October 24, 2011

There Ain't Nothin' Richer - A Corn Picking Adventure

You can have your six-figure salaries, your multi-million dollar houses, all the fame in the world. There's just nothing richer than the way we live!

Today Grampa Tom and I got to thrill the hearts of a two year old and an old farmer. The guy Grampa Tom helps in the spring and the fall left a row of corn at the edge of a field. Today we went out to pick it for our sheep. Payton got to ride in the back of the pick up truck and my old farmer insisted on getting out to help. We had a wonderful time in the warm October sunshine!  

It just doesn't get any better than this!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indoor Garden Moved In!

It's supposed to be very windy and cold for the next couple of nights so I brought the garden in. I planted a couple more cucumber seeds in it. I sprayed the cucumber plant late in the afternoon a couple of days ago. I think it got to cold because it doesn't look very good. Don't know if it will make it.

God Bless You All! 

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sore Hands

Sorry, I haven't been posting much. My hands are very sore from all the cutting I've been doing to put up end of season produce. Typing makes it worse. But oh, the applesauce, tomatoes, squash, etc. we will enjoy this winter!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Indoor Garden Preperations

Life gets kind of crazy on the farm this time of year. Grampa Tom has been in the fields helping a neighbor get his crops out so I've been doing my work plus some of his. But! Life is good! I'm still eating out of my garden and I'm finally back in my jeans! And I hope to continue even after the snow flies.

It has been wonderfully warm here, but it's supposed to start cooling down so yesterday I rearranged the living room at my farmer's house so I could quickly pull things in when I need to.

It was cloudy out yesterday when I did this. This room is usually much brighter, but I have some lamps that will help on cloudy days. I plan to put the garbage can garden on the left and the other plants on the table. I bought the wire shelves the other day. I can fit 3 more so I will buy them the next time I am in town.

My garbage can garden is doing great. Can you see the little cucumber at the base of the plant? I had a  problem with powdery mildew a few days ago so I got on the internet and found a baking soda remedy for it. There are only a few spots left. Isn't the internet wonderful?

There's a lot of other stuff waiting to come in too. The first plant is my lemon balm, then some holy basil, and a couple of big pots of rosemary. 

There are several little pots of sweet basil, cilantro, dill and lemon grass. There's also a big pot of aloe behind the tomato plant.

Grampa Tom had a couple of volunteer tomato plants that he saved for me so I'm gonna have lots of tomatoes. The little pots on the left are cilantro. The big orange pot is lemon grass and the grey pot is a mixture of different herbs for winter cooking.

Most of the herbs are for the winter market in Burlington. The cilantro and the dill will probably poop out before it is over, but I hope to keep the basil going all winter and dry it so I have some dried basil when the markets start again in the spring. Oh! I've also got a stevia plant sitting next to the porch on the ground that I didn't get a picture of. I don't know how big they get. If it really bushes out, I may have some stevia at the market too.

The next problem will be how to start plants in the spring. Don't know if I'll have room. I'm not going to start them as soon as I did last year. God will show me. He's got till the end of February! 

I really can't wait to take fresh picked tomatoes and cucumbers to the market in December. Won't have very many, but it will make an impression!

The other day, Grampa Tom came over to my mound garden and told me he thinks he ought to leave the gardening to me and go do something else. Now THAT is the ultimate compliment!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shucking Corn

My sis sent this to me. FBers, sorry about the double post! I posted it there then thought, "Duh! Not everybody is on FB! Anyway, it looks pretty cool.


God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cocks Comb

Aren't these beautiful? They are called "Cocks Comb". Grampa Tom brought these home from the market the other day. He says we are going to grow them next year. The people he bought them from say that once they start to dry up a little, we should hang them upside down so the seeds (on the backs of the flowers) dry. They also said if you spray them with hairspray, they will look like this indefinitely! I can't wait to have a big patch of my own to play with!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Radishes

Look at all the radishes I picked yesterday! We got 18 big bunches out of them. Grampa Tom sold some of them at the market last night and then took the rest to Tom's Market in Burlington. I'm not a radish eater, but my in-laws and my husband said they are perfect - a little bite, not to much, just like a radish ought to be. 

I'll probably pick more tonight for tomorrow's market.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, September 26, 2011

Making Applesauce

Growing up, my mom used to go to the store and buy huge jars or cans of applesauce for our large family which we kids slurped right down. I loved it, I mean applesauce is wonderful stuff right? Then I married into a family that had apple trees. My mother-in-law showed me how to make applesauce and well ... How in the world do those commercial applesauce makers manage to take all the flavor out of applesauce??????? They must juice it first and then use the leftovers to make it. One taste of real applesauce and you'll never go back!

Start with real apples. Green or yellow apples generally make the best applesauce if you follow my method. The skins contribute their color to the applesauce. If you are making apple butter or want to go through all the work of peeling the apples, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference. At least that's my opinion. Martha Stewart might disagree, but I'm a country girl, not a gourmet chef.

Wash your whole apples and then cut them in half.

Remove the stems and the blossom ends. I'm told they make the applesauce bitter, though I've never tried it. Sounds reasonable so I'll accept this bit of passed down wisdom!

Remove any bruised or bad spots.

And two year old bites :)  Actually I was surprised. I only found bites on this one red apple that he picked up first. I was really having to keep after him not to bite any other apples. There have been years when I've had to remove a multitude of two year old bites. They will typically take one bite out of any they can get their hands on.

Actually, you wouldn't even have to cut the apples in half if it weren't for the fact that every now and then you will run across an apple that a bug has penetrated. In that case just quarter it and cut out the core. Otherwise it isn't necessary to core the apples. 

I always like to save some of the seeds. Last year I wound up with a lot of bleeding due to fibroid tumors. According to all the research I've done, fibroids are pretty common for women my age and most of them clear up on their own within 2 or 3 years. Apple seeds contain B17.   B17 is very good for any type of tumor. I've been eating a few apple seeds every day since I learned about it. As long as I don't forget for days on end, I don't have problems with unusual bleeding. Amazing!

An electric roaster is a pretty good fit for a 5 gallon bucket of apples. You can use a smaller pan on the stove if you don't have a huge amount of apples.

Fill the pan and add enough water to cover about 2/3 of the apples. Cover and cook until the apples are soft. If you can be right there to stir often, turn up the heat. That will make the process faster.

When the apples are soft, uncover and cook off the water until the applesauce is the desired consistency. This will be about 1/2 the original volume.

Now you will need a colander. This is my favorite one. It has a handle that turns around while the metal piece pushes the applesauce through the holes, leaving the skins, core and seeds behind.

This is the one my kids grew up with. You place it in a big bowl and use the wooden plunger to push the applesauce through the holes. It works OK, but it is harder to handle. Not to mention that it is really easy for  ambitious energetic children to splash applesauce on the ceiling with it.

Spoon the cooked apples into the colander and push it through. With this one you need to turn it clockwise several times and then do a quick counter-clockwise or two when it gets clogged up. If you are using a cone-type colander, you have to stop every now and then and scrape it with a spatula. 

You can empty the colander when you think you've got most of the saucy part in the bowl or you can just keep adding more apples until you are done. With this colander, I'm prone to keep adding, but the cone type tends to get a little hard to handle if you don't empty it now and then.

This is what I have left over from my 5 gallon bucket of apples. It will go to my chickens. They love it!

I don't have a big enough bowl to put all the applesauce in at once, so I do have to stop and put it into containers 2 or 3 times during the straining process. If the apples are somewhat tart, you can stir in honey or sugar or whatever sweetener you prefer to taste. I like to use my big yogurt containers or plastic peanut butter jars. When I'm deciding what containers to use, I choose a container that is a size we will eat in one or two meals. It also has to have a wide mouth. If you don't have a wide mouth to serve it partially thawed. There's just nothing better than frozen applesauce! It makes great popsicles too! I use masking tape to label and date my containers and  put it in the freezer for later.

I have canned applesauce if it looks like I'm going to run out of freezer space. There are glass jars that are made for the freezer. I only have a few of these jars. This is one I use for bacon drippings, but I'd love to have a bunch of them for applesauce. You could can lots of shelves full and put one or 2 in the freezer at a time. 

I got about 15 pounds of applesauce out of my 5 gallon bucket of apples and an ice cream bucket of scraps for my chickens! Mmmm good!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue