You can find Grama Sue's Rainbow Eggs at:

The Hy Vee on Agency in Burlington, IA


Wednesday - Friday 9am to 1pm at the farm 1/2 mi east of the Nauvoo-Colusa Jr. High then 3/4 mile North on 1050.

Wednesday 3-7 pm at the Painted Corners on HWY 96 in Lomax, IL


7 - 11 am Keokuk Farmer's Market at the mall

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lots and Lots of Chickens!

Well, our egg shortage problem should be over soon. Today we bought 1000, one year old chickens. That's a lot of chickens! We can't keep them all, but we have already found homes for about 300 of them. We would like to sell 150 - 200 more. We have culled out most of our older hens that weren't producing well. These birds are Production Reds, a cross between Leg Horns and Rhode Island Reds. The are about a year old and were laying at a 90% rate before they were moved. 

We were advertising to find some young hens to buy. A man from Iowa called. He was selling 1000 chickens for an Amish farmer. They came out of a cage free operation so they will have to make some adjustments. They will probably slow down or even stop laying for a while. Hopefully it won't be to long. Grampa Tom has been busy picking up eggs all over the place today. It will take them a while to figure out where to lay and how to forage. 

We have already started feeding them hay, but we aren't actively pushing them out on the pasture yet. There's not a lot of grass out there yet and if they stay close they will be less like likely to lay out at the edges of the pasture! The one thing I don't like about them is that their beaks are clipped. But almost all confinement birds have clipped beaks. I'm looking at this as a sort of "rescue". Poor things! 

Once they get into the their spring laying flush, we will have way to many eggs. Last year we gave our excess eggs to the food pantry in Nauvoo. Hopefully we will be able to help 2 or 3 food pantries this year.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dirt Mood Booster!

Maybe this explains why I was absolutely giddy for a week after planting my first mound on the first of February!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, February 6, 2012

Plastic Bottle Greenhouse Start

Here's the start of my plastic bottle greenhouse. It will take me forever to gather enough plastic bottles to make a whole greenhouse, so, I decided to start by making  panels. That way I can lean them against the house or against each other to make cold frames until I can actually build a whole green house.

These are 1 liter bottles. I plan to pass a piece of bailing wire through each stack and wire it to fence stays on each end. the stays are 42 inches long so I'm trying to make the panels 42 x 42. It will take 14 stacks of 7 to make one panel. That's 98 bottles. If I tried to do this with only my bottles, I might never get enough. However, I'll bet lots of people will bring me bottles once I show people what I'm doing at the markets. Hope I have enough for a whole panel by then. I need 50 more. That's almost a whole bottle of club soda a day. Hmmm ... well maybe I can do it. I do like club soda. Plain or with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. I blame my old boss Karen Prewitt. She taught me to drink it.

~God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Spring Prep Expansion

So today I got another hoop covered. I took the soil temp before I covered it - 45 degrees. I was so tempted just to plant it too, but the temps are supposed to dip near the end of the week and I'm not sure if my covers will keep the soil temp up enough to germinate things. I took a peek at the one I planted last week, but I didn't see anything yet. Doesn't mean there's nothing there. It's not likely that anything is peeking out of the ground this early anyway and they still have to push up through my leaf mulch layer too. I'll check it next weekend, along with the soil temp in the mound I covered today. 

I also brought over another table for my south window garden. That expands my plant starting space by about a third. I took one of the full spectrum lamps over home for the winter, but I really think I'm going to bring it back for the spring. I like for Grampa Tom to have the extra light during the dark months, but with as nice as it's been and the days getting longer, he's outside more anyway. 

We had a salad today with a lemon boy tomato! The other tomato plant has several little tomatoes on it. They look like they might be some sort of a roma. We'll see soon!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sheep Herding Rabbit

I love this video my little sis sent me! I want a sheep herding rabbit!


Actually we'd really like to raise rabbits. We tried it once, but the cage method of keeping them safe just wasn't for us. I have a vision for a rabbit house with pastured paddocks that can be covered with bird netting to protect them from predators, but I need more land to implement it. Ahhh... dreams :)

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Feb. 1st and I Planted Garden!

The local news stations are all abuzz about how on February 1st last year we got a big blizzard. Today it was in the 60s and beautiful. I walked by one of my garden beds today and saw this!

I picked a large leaf of red lettuce and ate it. It tasted so good! Since the lettuce thought it was warm enough to rejuvenate itself, I decided to check the soil temp under my covered hoop. It was 50 degrees. Early crops  like lettuce and beets only need 40 degrees to germinate. Looks like we've got a window of a few more days of 50s and 60s and even then the highs are still in the 40s at the end of the 7 day forecast.

When I first moved here 30 years ago, I started working for a very wise old country woman. She always told me, "Sue, plant lettuce the first time it thaws in January. If doesn't make it, you won't be out much. But if it does, you will be SOOO happy!"

So with Lelia's words ringing in my ears, I decided it was time to plant the covered hoop. I put in onions, peas, beets, lettuce, kohlrabi, spinach, radishes and three different types of lettuce. I couldn't find my carrot seed. I thought I had some, but I must have planted it all last year. Gonna have to make a point of getting some for the next time I get a little crazy.

Then later I decided to go for a scavenger hunt to see what else is growing. There's quite a bit of kale coming back from last year.

My blackberries and garlic have never died back and they are on the north side of the house!

Parsley is looking good.

... and so is the thyme.

I found this cilantro under a piece of plastic.

The rosemary on the south side of the house is doing fantastic! Of course, it has had a little bit of help.

I covered the rosemary with some old clear refrigerator  drawers and plastic last fall.

The catnip looks a little nipped, but it's still green.

And there's even a bit of spinach.

Most everything out there is pretty small, but if I needed to, I think I could come up with a good sized salad. Add in a tomato from the indoor garden and we could eat pretty good!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Baby Lambs!

Our first baby lambs of 2012! The white one is a girl and the brown one is a boy. I'm trying to talk Grampa Tom into saving the ewe lambs for breeding this year.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue