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 21, 2013

Apple Peel Jelly

Woohoo! I seem to be among the living today :) Woke up at 10:30 this morning. Can't remember the last time I slept that late. Really needed it! Did a sleeping around job last weekend. I'm not used to it anymore and it has taken all week to recover from the jet lag.

(For those who may be new to this blog, I spend nights with elderly people who need help from time to time and I like to mess with people's minds.)

Was planning to post on apple peel jelly last weekend, but I've been in a bad brain fog. Better late than never huh? It's only been 3 weeks since I started drying apples and told you all I was planning to make apple peel jelly so here goes:

To start with I saved the peels and cores from my dried apple project.

I boiled them for about an hour and then strained them through a tea towel.

The red from the apple peels made the towel look yucky, but it made the prettiest juice!

Then I measured out 4 cups of juice and 2 cups of honey. The recipe I found called for equal parts of juice and sugar, but honey is about twice as sweet as sugar so I reduced the 1:1 ratio to 2:1. 

I cooked the juice/honey mixture down for about an hour because honey doesn't set up as easily as sugar. Then I brought the mixture up to 220 degrees by bringing it to a rolling boil for several minutes while stirring constantly.

 Then I poured it in jars.

And put hot lids and rims on. Yes! Those are Tattler lids there :) I finally took the plunge. This was my first time trying them out. They didn't seal with the first batch. I think I may have tipped them bringing them out of the canner so some of the jelly got under the lid, but the second batch did fine. I'm so excited to have reusable lids for my personal stash! They cost too much to use if I may not get them back, so for gifts and markets, I'll continue to use the metal one-time lids.

After a 5 minute boiling water bath, I started hearing pop, pop, pop! What a beautiful sound! 

Guess what people are getting for Christmas this year?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Friday, December 6, 2013

Aloe Vera Cream

This is the mamma that started it all. Years ago, my friend Gwen gave me a tiny Aloe Vera plant from her gigantic one. This grand lady is prolific and so are her offspring. I've sold literally hundreds of babies at the markets and this winter, as usual, I've got a farm in my window waiting for the spring markets to start.

Today, as I was tending to my little Aloe farm, I pruned several leaves. I've been wanting to make some moisturizing cream forever now, so I decided this would be the day.

I looked up several sites about how to make your own creams and lotions and set to work. I was a little skeptical about how it would turn out, but I persevered! 

The first step was to harvest the Aloe gel. To do this you first cut along the side of the leaf with a sharpe knife. 

Then open the leaf to expose the soft jelly inside.

Use the back side of the knife to scrape the jelly-like substance off the green part of the leaf.

Once I had this egg white consistancy substance gathered into a container, I tried to pick out most of the green leaf that was left. It's about as easy as getting broken egg shell out of an egg white. I gave up at one point and decided just to forge ahead. It was an experiment after all!

Then I made a double broiler of sorts with an old pan and a jar. I didn't want to use anything good because I was a little afraid of the wax I'd be adding to it, but it turned out not to be a problem.

I added an equal amount of coconut oil and a little bit of shaved beeswax and boiled it all until it was all liquid. 

Once everything was melted, I removed the jar from the boiling water and used my stick wand on it as it cooled. I was a little afraid of adding to much beeswax, so I had only added a small amount. It didn't set up very well, so I added more and returned it to the boiling water. I probably ended up using a 2 or 3 tablespoons full of shaved wax by the time I was done, but I didn't measure cause that's how I roll. 

I couldn't be more pleased with the result of this "experiment". I wound up with a beautifully creamy substance that feels just awesome! It's probably a little to greasy feeling for Grampa Tom, but I love it!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dired Apples And Apple Peel Jelly

Got up at 6am on Saturday morning and started working on apples. I made applesauce, dried apples and apple peel juice for apple peel jelly. I wanted to do this on Friday because I generally need 2 days in a row to finish applesauce, but Grampa Tom got all excited because I told him I was going to get rid of the ancient desk top computer when the copier from my assessing job went bye-bye.

He asked what I was going to do with the computer desk it was on. He wanted it for his TV in the man cave. This sent me on a major excavation detour. First, I had to gather up and transport all the assessing files, equipment and supplies. Next, I had to unload the computer desk and clear out the corner in the TV room where the computer table would be going to. Then I had to clear out the hall where my grandfather's desk had been stuck years ago in order to get it out to the living room to replace the computer table ... My whole house wound up looking like this:

I left the picture blurry on purpose. It depicts my feelings about the entire mess and the clear picture would be just too scary! But I did wind up with a nice functional workspace that even has a home for my sewing machine that has been homeless for more than a year!

To bad there are still 3 big piles of stuff I need to go through! My goals for next week? Find the futon, the couch and my kitchen table and finish the apples ... Oh, apples ... that's where I was going with this wasn't it?
See how badly I can get distracted? It's all Grampa Tom's fault.

So I got my applesauce in the roaster and 3 dryers full of apple slices done. Yes, the little dryer does have duct tape on it :)

I also fixed lunch and put 6 butternut squashes in the freezer. Grampa Tom came in from his early winter nap at about 3 pm and claimed to have done the dishes that morning ... Hmft! No trace of evidence that any such thing had happened in my kitchen!

It's 9pm on Sunday as I write this. The apples have dried. The applesauce is still in the fridge waiting to be smushed. The apple peels are also there, draining their juice into a pan for jelly. There is still about a bushel of apples left to go. 

I've never heard of apple peel jelly before, but I've been running across posts about it lately, so I thought I'd try it. I'll do a post later to let you know how it turned out. I did a post on making applesauce a couple of years ago. You can check it out here: Making Applesauce

Until I can sneak in another post in the midst of this chaos! 

God Bless You All!

Grama Sue

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hanging It Up For The Season

Good morning everyone :)  I was going to keep going at Lomax until just before Christmas, but ... Grampa Tom tells me it's time to hang it up for the season :(  So, this will be my last day in Lomax until spring.

I'm having so much fun there, but I'm only making enough to cover my expenses and there is so much that needs to be done at home. I've got 4-5 months to butcher chickens, write about chickens, herbs, cooking, eggs, Mary Lou's shop in town, proof-read and edit 3 books, over see some building projects, babysit the grandkids and maybe even clean my house.

I'll be there today from 9am-3pm. I have pies, cookies, fudge, candies, pumpkin bread, squash, potatoes, gourds, dried herbs, onions, turnips, radishes and more up there. I'll be serving soup made from our potatoes and tomatoes and real turkey and roast beef sandwiches from 11-2.

Come see me if you can!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Deep Freeze Survivors

They made it! 

I have another bed of kale and a bed of spinach that are under plastic. I wasn't to concerned about them, but I didn't have enough plastic to cover these beds. The blankets and sheets on these didn't quite cover them so I wasn't so sure. 

I'm a happy camper!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

12 Degrees????

Saturday evening, when I looked at the forecast, I was surprised to see 2 nights of 20 degree lows. Sunday and yesterday I worked furiously to get the garden ready for it. I would just let it go, but it's going to warm right back up. A lot of times, kale spinach and lettuce will survive fine for a couple of cold nights if they are covered. But 12 degrees this morning? Really? 12 degrees??? We'll see.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, November 11, 2013

Freeze Dip

It's gonna be a crazy day! For the next 2 nights, it's supposed to get down to 20 degrees. That means I have to get out as soon as the sun comes up and start working! I have to get the rest of the squash, gourds, radishes and turnips picked over at our remote garden. At home, I need to mulch and cover, mulch and cover ... Then, I need to go up to Lomax, pack up everything I have in the garage and put it inside. Grampa Tom is in the fields, but I'll have my 3 y/o grandson who is a big helper and my heart son Karson there to give me a hand at least part of the day :)  So glad I got to sleep early last night!

Here comes the sun! Gotta go!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lunch is Served!

So the markets were all done, but I've got quite a bit of squash left, whole patches of radishes, lettuce, chard, kale and herbs, lots of potatoes, gourds and pumpkins, a few watermelon ... What am I going to do with all this? I decided to ask Dave (the owner of the Painted Corners) if I could sit there for a couple of weeks and try to sell some. He suggested that I make some pies and cookies. I reluctantly agreed. I tend to eat way to much sweets when I do that, but I couldn't talk Kay into supplying them, so what do you do?

Then you know how things kinda evolve ... I thought, "We've got a whole lot of potatoes yet. Why don't I just see if I can sell soup and sandwiches for lunch on Friday and Saturday." Put out my shingle today thinking if I got 2 customers over the 2 days, it would be worth persuing until Christmas.

I had 8 customers! Woohoo!

Six of them were a group of bicyclists who were biking from Wisconsin down to the Gulf Coast. They were pretty impressed that the potatoes, lettuce and apples were all grown by us :) They wolfed down 2 whole pies after they ate their lunches. They also got a really big kick out of my grandson who very stealthly snuck up to their table and stole a cookie. They were laughing so hard, I couldn't even dicipline him :)

Tomorrow, I'll have:
     Potato Soup                          $1.50
     Sandwiches                          $2.00
          PB & J
     Pie Slice                                $2.00
     Home Made Ice Cream         $1.00/scoop
     Pop, Water, Lemonade         $1.00
           or Green Tea   
    Cookies                                  50 cents each

Whole pies and plates of cookies and fresh veggies will also be available!

Come see me! Lunch wil be served from 11 am - 2 pm . Baked goods and produce will be available from 10 am to 5 pm at The Painted Corners in Lomax, IL!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Changing Locations

This will be the last week we do open air markets for the season. We will be in Burlington at the Port on Thursday the 31st  from 4:30 - 6:30. On Friday Nov. 1st wee in Nauvoo at the Sinclair Station by Ducks from 11am-4pm.

We still have lots of squash, turnips, radishes, herbs, lettuce and other goodies so we will be setting up 4 days a week at the Painted Corners across from the Pink in Lomax, IL starting next week. Our hours will be:
Wed & Thurs 2 - 6 pm
Fri 10 am - 6 pm
and Sat. 9 am - 2 pm

Stop by and see what we have!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, October 28, 2013

Late Potato Update

Today is the first day in nearly two months that my knee hasn't hurt. It's been a real struggle just to get my dishes done and get to the markets, so extra projects like making covers to put over my late potato garden experiment have gone by the way side. Alas! the frost hit before I felt up to dealing with it.

I thought about digging it up and just harvesting whatever might be there, but a couple of years ago I had potatoes at the very first market because I had missed some deep potatoes in a bed the year before. My brain has been concocting a plan.

These weren't planted very deep at all. Plan A had been to cover them with soil from the idle bed beside it as they grew and then return that soil on top of quite a bit of compost when I pulled the potatoes, but a certian body part was not co-operative. 

Potatoes grow on the stems, and if you bury the stems as they grow, you'll get a much bigger harvest.Since plan A was a bust, I decided to try to recreate my surprise harvest a couple of springs ago. 

Plan B is really a lot more fun anyway, given the cute help I had today!

First we went out to the compost pile so we could put another layer of compost on the garden.

Then like any good grama, I buried my help multiple times.

He was a little confused at first, but soon caught on to the fun! 

We had all sorts of fun jumping in the piles and throwing leaves into the garden until it was full. I still have ambitions to make hoop covers for it and cover this garden with plastic, but my help fell asleep and I need to follow :)

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Friday, October 25, 2013

Candle Powered Heater Comes in Handy

On Thursday's, I usually pick up a few things from my friend Seth at the Burlington Market because it is difficult for us to produce enough for the demand we have in Nauvoo and then still make the Saturday market.

Last night was going to be Seth's last night there for the season so he offered me all that he had left over for a really good price. Then he stuffed my truck :) He and his wife have a FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Huizenga-Family-Farm/111793305589433 if you want to check them out.

It was supposed to get down to 24 degrees last night. Having all that stuff on the truck when it was supposed to get that cold worried me, but instead of unloading it all and bringing it in, I put the candle powered emergency heater in amongst the melons.

Nothing is frozen! ... Now to find people to buy all this stuff! I'll be in Nauvoo today from 11 am to 5 pm and in Keokuk tomorrow from 8 am to noon. Come see me!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Have a Dream

My dream is of 40 or more acres of gently rolling ground with a barn or two, a pond or a stream that runs year round, an orchard, 10-20 acres suitable for row crops, ample garden space, 10-15 acres of pasture, some timber, a milk cow, some sheep, some goats, maybe a pig or two, some geese and ducks and turkey along with my chickens and a house with a greenhouse, back on a lane that can't be seen from the road, or at least a place like that for us to put our trailer on. I like my trailer, and I have a fantasic plan to put a new roof on it and add a greenhouse. It doesn't have to be just exactly like that, close would be OK.

Grampa Tom and I are 55 years old with no savings and we live hand-to-mouth. It's an impossible dream, but I have a God for whom the impossible is nothing. Sarah went 90 years without bearing a child, menopause had come and gone, yet God gave her a baby and she called his name Isaac. Isaac means "Laughter". God is able, and when it comes, this farm will be called Isaac Hills. God is able!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Candle Powered Heater

A few weeks ago, my son (who is currently in Afghanistan) sent us a link for an emergency heater made with clay pots and powered by a candle. Grampa Tom thought it was interesting and decided to try it.

Being the cheap people that we are, we went to the locally famous fall rummage sale at the Sts. Peter and Paul School in Nauvoo and bought some old pots and a candle in a jar. This weekend, Grampa got around to building it. The instructions said to surround the candle with some jars and put the pots on them, but if you want to stablize it more, to put the whole contraption in a pot. Since we don't have much room and things get knocked down easily here anyway, we decided to do that. 

It took a long time for it to heat up. We lit it around 6 in the evening and the pots were just starting to warm up at 10 when we went to bed. We have it in the TV room. We are currently being cheap (as usual) and heating the house by canning, drying foods, etc. so at night the house is getting pretty cool. We shut the TV room door and have been heating it with the candle heater. That room is running about 4 degrees warmer than the rest of the house. The approximate square footage is about 150 feet. 

Grampa Tom and my boy think it would probably heat better if the clay pots were elevated above the cooking pot. We're thinking about putting several inches of gravel in the cooking pot to elevate them. Grampa also has an idea for some "legs" to set the whole thing in to stablize it.

It's a work in progress. After Grampa Tom gets out of the fields, he will tinker with it more. He's thinking he may make some that look better and sell them at the markets, so be in anticipation!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, October 14, 2013

God is Able!

For the past 30 years, I've been bucking the status quo, choosing to rely on God rather than government for my provision, my health care, my children's education, whatever. And I have seen Him do some miraculous things! He turned my knee so I can walk straight. I believe He removed a 3 pound tumor from my belly in a dream one night many years ago. He's miraculously put food in a cupboard that wasn't there a few hours before. He's given me beautiful clothing and houses when there was no way in the natural. My kids didn't have a lot when they were growing up, but I honestly don't think we'd have the relationship we do now had I sent them to school. It was rough and there were days when I wondered why I was doing it, but I firmly believed it was God's will for my children. I've seen so much and yet ...

Recently, I've been seriously considering giving in. Our row crops failed, the markets have been down, our chickens haven't been laying well, old health issues as well as new ones have reared their ugly heads. Grampa Tom has been in a panic. I've been feeling so much pressure to just give up, get a real job, sign up for government healthcare and just be "normal". After all, this dream that I believe is from God looks incredibly foolish right now.

But, I've been here before and God has come through. I can't do what I believe God has called me to do and hold down a real job. Earlier today it occurred to me that if I don't have faith enough to keep going now, what will happen if they come to take me to prison or to torture me or kill me because of my faith in Christ? I had to admit it. I don't have that kind of faith. But it's not about me or what I can do anyway. It's about Him and what He can do through me. So I asked, "LORD, please help my unbelief!" And He has! God is able!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Roof Plans for Trailer

It's been a busy summer, but I finally added a new post to Grama Sue's Floor Plan Play Land .

For those of you who may not know, one of my hobbies is creating floor plans for working/country families. I love looking at floor plans, but they rarely have the features that Grampa Tom and I think ought to be in a home, like large mudrooms and master bedrooms that are away from the main living spaces.

The designs are, for the most part, dreams that we will never build, but I'd sure like to see some of them exist outside of my mind and my computer so I created a blog to show them to the world.

My most recent post though, is something Grampa Tom and I are actually planning to do :) Trailer roofs are notorious for leaking and ours is no exception. We often have to get up there to paint and fill the cracks that inevitably occur when a thin metal roof is blown around by the wind. We have often talked about putting a pole building roof over it, but not seriously, until one day a few weeks ago when Grampa Tom happened to mention our ideas to a couple of friends of ours who got all excited about it and told him they were going to help him.

This plan includes not only a roof, but a greenhouse designed for passive solar heating and cooling, a cold room for our veggies and lots of extra storage. Check it out at Grama Sue's Floor Plan Play Land

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sweet Annie

My Sweet Annie is ready!

Grampa Tom used to kill this stuff all the time. Then, one day a lady who grows it came to my garage sale. She was oohing and awing over it. She said she grows it in her garden on purpose and sells it in bundles for people to use in flower arrangements, wreaths and potpourri. 

Sweet Annie grows in our fence lines naturally and this year we have an extra abundant harvest because we don't have any sheep. Sheep really love this stuff! Fortunately, we have a friend who does the Spoon River Drive the first weekend in October. He said he'd love to sell it for us there.

According to WebMD, Sweet Annie is used medicinally for malaria. It has a chemical in it that drug companies concentrate to make malaria drugs. It is also used for  "colds, dysentery, diarrhea, indigestion, flatulence, heat stroke, tuberculosis and as a poultice on abscesses. Often used to treat night sweats. Can be used both topically and internally for bacterial and fungal infections." It is a member of the wormwood family (caution is advised) and should not be over used or taken by people using anti seizure medicines.

That's good to know. If you are inclined to use it medicinally, do some research. I'm not a doctor :)

So now you've probably learned something. One of the homeschooling groups I have been involved with had a rule, "Learn something every day." It's a good rule. You can go back to bed now :)

God Bless You All! 

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Young Living's Valor for Arthritis

I gotta show you something!

This is often difficult if not impossible for me to do at 4 in the afternoon. I bought some Valor because it has frankincense in it. Straight frankincense is really expensive. 

I have been having some dark spots growing into moles around where my bra was tight. I quit wearing a bra and have been using Young Living's Melaluca on those spots. It has been doing an awesome job! ALL of those spots are at least 50% smaller than they were before I started using it, but there is one that was particularity large to begin with. I read that frankincense was really potent for this use, but since I had other priorities for my money, I went with Valor instead just for some extra umph!

One of the suggestions for Valor is to put it on your wrists and your neck. I thought, since I had it, I might as well. I was hoping it would alleviate the problems I've had for years with my hands falling asleep while I was sleeping. Within a couple of nights, I noticed a real improvement in this area. Then this morning, I woke up and was able to make a tight fist! I wasn't even expecting that!

By the way, I am not a doctor. I'm just sharing what has worked for me. Check with yours before using this. There may be reasons why you shouldn't. And do your own research!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Ahhhhh ... rain!

Grampa Tom says we got a half inch! The last rain we got was on July 30th. Thank God it was 3 inches then, but even 3 inches of rain tends to dry out after a while. It has been hot for the last couple of weeks on top of that. 

Grampa Tom and I have been rather depressed lately. My knee has been out of wack, so Grampa Tom is having to do double duty. The chickens aren't laying and veggie production has really slowed down. We've been worried about our wheat/beans. Hopefully this rain isn't to late to save them. We haven't seen any bees in weeks, but there's a lot of them in the garden this morning :) It's hard to trust when nothing seems to be going right. But God is able even when we can't see His plan!

I've been working on setting up a blog, Facebook page and Pinterest site for the Art and Needlework shop in town. Mary Lou saw the post I did about it and hired me to enhance her internet presence. I'm hoping to get it up and generating more sales for her soon. It's a lot of fun. I will post links when I think they are presentable :) Hopefully it will make her a lot of money and she will be really thankful ;)

That's it for today folks! Gotta get to the market in Burlington. Come see me! It's at the Port from 5 - 7:30 tonight!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, September 2, 2013

Good Morning Cyber World!

Oh how I have missed you!  I have survived my lack of internet access! It was difficult, given the fact that my knee is sprained and I can't do much in the garden, but I did it.

I read a real book, printed on that old fashioned stuff they call paper. 

I spent a good deal of time creating a plan for roof, shed and greenhouse for my trailer that I think we just might do. 

I watched the Red Green show and more TV than I've watched in years.

I snapped a lot of green beans.

Took care of short people

and slept a lot.

The real world is a wonderful place, but it's nice to be able to look up how to make a fruit fly trap when you are being overrun, price things you need to plan for, post prayer requests and get the latest important news like your great-niece's first steps, and all those hilarious stories about my friend's and family's daily life.

Please let me know what I have missed!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Art and Needlework Shop in Nauvoo, IL

This is where I've been spending my Monday afternoons this summer. The owner of this unassuming looking little shop is my neighbor, Mary Lou. Her family and my husband's family have been neighbors for 5 generations.

You will find the kind of things here that you'd expect from the name, but there's so much more!

You'll find lots of Nauvoo souvenirs.

Hair hats

Ready made pioneer clothing

Lots of pretty dolls

more stuff you'd expect to see in an art and needlework shop

There's a selection of basic Avon items and you can order from the Avon book here.

Need a pillow tie for that traveling man of yours?

T-shirts or bonnets?

Kids toys? 
It's also the only place in town where you can buy sweats. She made a ton of money when it was cold in July for the Pagent.

I'm tired of loading pictures! No way I could give you an inventory of what all is here.Truth is, behind this tiny looking shop front there are 3 very full rooms in which you can get lost. I've been working here all summer and I'm still discovering things! Mary Lou and her husband Jock have spent DECADES going to auctions and garage sales buying and collecting. There's jewelery, ready made quilts, antiques ... You name it, it is probably here.  So, if you're in town, stop by, tell Mary Lou, "Hi", and have fun exploring this awesome little Nauvoo treasure.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue