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

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

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How I Make Tea

 Caffeine is a food group. Unless someone comes up with something better, I'm gonna stand by this statement. Many years ago, I was listening to all the garbage about how bad caffeine was so I decided to give it up. A couple of years later in January I was downing the asthma meds like it was the middle of July. It occurred to me that I didn't have that much of a problem in January when I was drinking caffeine, so I went back on it and was much better in about 3 weeks. Caffeine doesn't have near the side effects as asthma meds and since then I've found out that before prescription meds were illegal to buy without a prescription, caffeine was the drug of choice among doctors for asthma.

So anyway, I drink LOTS of tea and I am not ashamed :) I really don't care for just plain tea, so I go to my herb garden to give it a little lemony taste during the summer. During the winter, I try to grow a little inside, but  there isn't enough room, so I usually settle for a cap full of concentrated lemon juice if I haven't been to my mom's house in California and brought home fresh lemons!

I start by heating filtered water on the stove. While it is heating, I get my pitchers out and visit my herb garden.

I generally make 2 pitchers at a time. And no I didn't go steal a pitcher from a bar. I bought these at a Good Will store up by Chicago for $3 each.

I go out to my lemon balm patch.

I cut a handful for each pitcher I am making.

Or I might get some lemon grass. Both of these herbs have some powerful antioxidants going on. I use the lemon balm for canker sores and lemon grass is known for it's ability to aide in the shrinking of tumors. Sorry I don't have enough of these marvelous herbs to share. I am working on that for next year.

If I'm using lemon grass. I cut 5 or 6 blades for each pitcher. I decided to use both for this blog post.

I rinse them off in the sink.

Then I get out 7 tea bags for each pitcher. I'm not known for my delicate palate, but I think Aldi's has some pretty good black tea and I'm cheap so that's what I get!

I wrap the tea bags around the herbs.

And place them in the pitchers.

Then I add some hot water to each pitcher and let it steep for about 5 minutes, longer if I get distracted. I've been told that tea gets bitter if you let it steep for more than 5 minutes, but I've never noticed mine doing that unless I'm not using filtered water. 

After it steeps, I fill the pitchers with cool water from the filter and fish out the tea and herbs. I put them in my "compost bucket", which is actually a little bucket that I put kitchen scraps in for the chickens. They love tea leaves! If it is getting near tomato planting time, I will leave them out to dry so I can put a bundle under my tomato plants along with crumbled egg shells. The tomatoes love them too!

Then I pour it into my Grama ba-ba (as Grampa Tom calls it) and sip on it all day long. Hey! I spill it enough with a lid on! 

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

Look what I dug out of my mound garden! They are huge! And this is just one hill! I think next year I will plant them next to a trellis and let them climb. I can probably put more plants in a smaller space that way.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

The apples on the trees that lost all their leaves are starting to turn red, but they are so small!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Processing Weed

Dill that is ;) This is the time of year that I do the final steps to harvest my dill seed. Most of the plants that came up volunteer in the spring are brown and ready to harvest. This is one that I planted.later in the sing. I just now decided to blog about it, so this one is a little green, but you'll get the idea.

I actually had two 4 x8 beds of dill that came up volunteer early this spring. A few weeks ago I pulled them all when they were pretty brown and put them upside down in a barrel lined with a plastic trash sack. I left the sack open and stuck it in the shed to finish drying and forgot about it. A few days ago, Grampa Tom said, "You really need to do something with that dill! It is taking up to much room." 

So I took it out and rubbed the heads in my hand to knock the seeds off. The seeds fell to the bottom of the barrel and I was able to easily remove most of the larger stems.

Of course, it didn't get all of the stems, so I used a screen to sift off most of the stems that were left. I do this several times because it seems there's always some stems that manage to get vertical and go through the screen.the last couple of times I sift, I only do a small amount at at time and I try to pick out what ever few stems that get through. I never manage to get them all, but all in all the seeds come out pretty clean.

Then I package them in baby food jars. I'll probably sell all but one of these at the fall markets. I always like to keep a little back so I can plant a little more dill later in the spring so it will be ready when the cucumbers come on!

By the way, I've only got one baby food jar left! If anyone wants to donate some, I'm in need! Thanks!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bucket Chicken Nest Update

They love them! Yesterday Grampa Tom decided to implement my bucket nest idea. We already had the shelves in the chicken shed (left over from when it was a storage shed), the buckets and some used lumber. All the money Grampa Tom had to spend was for a few nails! Usually, chickens will take a few days to warm up to new nests, but by this afternoon there were eggs in every bucket. 

A couple of days ago, Grampa Tom saw this idea in a magazine. Go figure! I love it!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flower Identification?

Anyone know what kind of flower this is? It is at my farmer's house and he doesn't have a clue. Just curious.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Free Kittens

Grampa Tom says we are using way to much cat food! These little cuties have always lived outside and are great mousers. Barn cats make great pets. I've never brought one in that I had any trouble litter training. They are used to using dirt piles and naturally go for the litter pan as long as you show them where it is. Don't ask me when they were born, I don't know. I think they are about 12-14 weeks old.

Last year we got 3 kittens because in the past we have had a hard time with kittens getting sick and dying on us. I know it sounds heartless, but we have a strict policy of no medical attention for barn cats. That can break you in a hurry. (However, we may need to do some spaying, neutering if these keep producing such strong little offspring.) One of them got run over last fall, but the other two had kittens this year. These have all had the weepy eye distemper type of thing and look wonderful now. There are a few more around that I didn't see while I was out taking pictures. Don't ask me if they are male or female. I haven't paid that much attention.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Grampa Tom can so totally grow awesome cucumbers ... IF HE CAN KEEP THE CHICKENS OUT OF THEM! This one is pecked on the end ... grrrrr ...

God Bless You All! 

~Grama Sue

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are our new crop this year. Grampa Tom and I don't like them, but his mom and our chickens do so when we came across some plants this spring we decided to try them. Did you know they bloom? Pretty flowers! They have spread all over the place. You are supposed to wait until it frosts to harvest them. I hope it doesn't frost to early for them!

Yesterday I planted some more lettuce, arugula, chard, kale and radishes in the garden and several pots of herbs to bring inside this fall. If it doesn't frost early, I might be able to harvest some of the stuff I put in the garden. I do plan to put hoops over my greens and radishes and cover them with plastic when it starts getting a bit colder.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, September 5, 2011

White Rock Chickens

In the last few weeks we've been blessed to find over 90 pullets that are just about ready to lay. These are some that Grampa Tom brought home just recently. The ones I like the best are the White Rocks. We've had White Leghorns. I wasn't terribly impressed with the looks of those, but these birds are impressive! I helped Grampa Tom unload them and they really live up to their name! They are massive, solid and utterly beautiful birds! 

White Rocks are one of the variations of the Plymouth Rock breed which was developed in the North East in the early 19th century. It was a very popular bird because of it's size, egg production, good disposition  and fast growth rate. We've not had them for very long, but I can see why they were so popular!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Garbage Can Garden

Got my garbage can planted. We will see what happens!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue