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, January 31, 2013

Double Duty Heat

Brrrrrr! It's cold out there! The high today was 22 degrees. That happened this morning and it went down from there. Supposed to get all the way to 0 degrees tonight! Whenever the thermometer takes a nose dive, I start looking for ways to make all that energy I'm using go a little bit further. Here's a list of 25 things to do on super cold days that heat up the house. If you like to stay warm activities like these will help you feel like you are burning money with nothing to show for it!

1. In the summer, I cut the stems and bad spots out of my excess tomatoes and throw them into gallon zip lock bags and into the freezer. Then on super cold days, I pull them out. When they are partially thawed the skins just slip right off of them. Then I heat up the kitchen canning them.

2. Make a big batch of chili from scratch.

3. Bean soup! Make plenty, it's a wonderful thing to pull out of the freezer on a busy day.

4. Make spaghetti sauce. Can or freeze for spaghetti, lasagna, and pizzas later.

5. Bake bread.

6. Cookies

7. Lots of pancakes. Put them in the freezer. The pop them in the toaster for a quick breakfast next week when it warms up!

8. Potato Soup - tomorrow I'm planning to make some with ham and broccoli. This freezes well, so I'll make lots. Will post pictures and instructions next week.

9. Pull out the fruit you stuck in the freezer last summer and make pies.

10. or Jams

11. or Jelly

12. or Syrup

13. Bake a bunch of potatoes, cut them in half, scoop out the insides and mix with ham, cheese, spices, whatever and refill the skins. Have a few for supper and put the rest in the freezer for later.

14. Make lasagna. Make a big batch. Let it cool and then put it in to smaller foil containers once it has cooled. Lasagna is always better after it's spent a little time in the freezer.

15. Roast a Turkey

16. Slow cook a roast or ribs.

17. Dry some jerky in your oven.

18. Dry fruit leathers in the oven.

19. Heat your dishwater on the stove instead of running the hot water. This not only heats the house, it humidifies the air too!

20. Make candles.

21. Make hot cocoa.

23. Wash and dry clothes, linens, blankets, curtains and rugs.

24. Make soap.

25. Have a party! Body heat is an amazing thing!

Do you have other ideas? I'd love to hear about them!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Education Myths

Homeschooling has been and still is a big part of life here at Grama Sue's Rainbow Farm. It's a lifestyle we got into when our children started school. We homeschooled all 3 of our children and I wound up teaching several area kids as well. Right now, I am writing a book on how to give your kids a quality education for almost nothing. The following is an excerpt from my book. Most of us go through life with ideas about education that we learned from our own school experience. There is a proverb that says, "Every story sounds true until you hear the other side." How many of these myths have you believed?


1. Homeschooling is illegal or there are impossible requirements to meet.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, but the requirements are different in each state. Being a certified teacher is not required in any state. If you are considering homeschooling the first thing you need to do is contact your state homeschooling association. They can give you a copy of the law for your particular state and help you understand how to comply with those laws. They will also be able to connect you with other homeschoolers in your state. The support and encouragement you will get from them will be invaluable.

Do not contact your local school or state Department of Education until you know what is required. It is rare that they actually know what the law requires for homeschoolers and even if they do, they loose money if your child doesn't attend their schools so they aren't likely to give you the whole truth. It is rare that you will get good info from them.

2. The state has a responsibility to educate my children. That is why there are laws that force children to go to school.

Fact: Parents are responsible to see that children are educated. Children who do not have a high level of parental involvement in their education are unlikely to receive a good education.

Compulsory education laws were enacted because some children and teenagers were on the streets committing crimes. People thought if they could compel children to go to school, this would solve the problem. It has not. Juvenile crime has steadily increased. In fact, in every state, the juvenile crime rate is highest among males who are in their last year of compulsory education. In addition, the illiteracy rates in the US have plummeted from near 0% among the educated population* in the 1850’s to 17% among high school graduates today.

*This consisted of white males. It was not considered economical and/or proper to educate girls and children of color.

3. Making sure that children get a good education is such a complicated process that only highly educated people are qualified to oversee this process.

Fact: Numerous studies show that homeschooled students score 20% to 30% higher for their grade and age level on standardized tests than public schooled students. When parental education levels are recorded, no appreciable difference can be found between homeschooling parents who did not complete high school and those who have college degrees. (http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200410250.asp)

4. A teacher’s certificate ensures that a person is qualified to teach.

Fact: If you have had a public school education, you know this one is not true. While most certified teachers love children do their best to meet their students needs, there are  certified teachers who are incompetent, neglectful and even abusive. Just listen to the news. How long has it been since a teacher sex scandal has been reported?

5. I’m not educated enough to teach my children at any level.

Fact: The only qualification parents need to teach their children is a commitment to do whatever it takes to ensure their children get a good education. Homeschooling parents typically learn right along with their children. There are ample resources from which parents can learn what they need to teach their children, teachers manuals, Internet sites and homeschool support groups are just a few.

6. Parents cannot educate at the high school level children unless they have a good grasp on high level subjects such as calculus or chemistry.

Fact: One of the basic tenants of homeschooling is teaching children to seek out information so they can learn independently. To have one’s children pass you up in their knowledge of certain subjects is a goal every parent should strive for. This can be accomplished through independent study, correspondence courses, community college classes and apprenticeships. It is not unusual for homeschooled students to begin taking community college classes at the age of 15 or 16.

7. Children with learning disabilities cannot be homeschooled.

Fact: Children with learning disabilities who are homeschooled receive 5 times more teacher/student interaction time than traditionally schooled students. They are also not segregated in the home as they have to be in traditional school systems. As a result, homeschooled students with disabilities have a comparatively higher rate of success, just as the homeschool population in general. There are organizations devoted exclusively to homeschooling learning disabled students from which parents can learn and share educational strategies.

8.Homeschooling takes a lot of money.

Fact: Homeschooling families spend an average of $500/year on curriculum, field trips and other educational expenses. By taking advantage of used curriculum, libraries and Internet sites, many families whittle their educational expenses to less than they would typically spend on book rentals and activity fees if they sent their children to public school.

9. Homeschooling takes a huge time commitment from parents.

Fact: Parents of children who are doing well in public school typically invest as many or more hours supervising homework, getting their children ready for school, and transporting their children to and from school and extra-curricular activities as most homeschooling parents. Several years ago a time study was done in Illinois of the 880 hours the state requires for a public school to receive state accreditation. 539 of these hours were spent waiting on the teacher, talking with other students, waiting in line, lunch, recess, going to the bathroom, ect. It takes much less time to teach a few children than a class of 20 or 30. Most homeschooled students accomplish in 2-3 hours a day what takes 6 hours plus homework time for traditionally schooled students.

10. Working parents can’t homeschool.

Fact: Working and single parents are successfully homeschooling across the US. Some have home businesses, others have baby-sitters, family or other homeschoolers take care of their children while they work and homeschool during their off hours. Many working parents who homeschool find themselves spending equal or less time than their public school counterparts participating in educational activities and they do not have to deal with the negative social aspects of public school.

11. Homeschooled students will have a hard time getting into college or the military because they won’t get a diploma from an accredited high school.

Fact: Colleges are actively recruiting homeschooled students because they are typically better prepared for adult life and study. Homeschooled students typically present a portfolio of their work to 4 year universities or start college at community colleges and then transfer to a 4 year university.

Successfully completing one year of college negates the requirement for an accredited high school diploma in nearly any situation. Many homeschooled students are able to start taking classes at community colleges or online schools while in highschool and have their first year completed by the time they “graduate”.

Another avenue for students wanting to join the military is to enroll in an accredited online or correspondence highschool program. There are even some free ones out there.

12. Homeschooled children aren’t eligible for scholarships.

Fact: There are all kinds of scholarships out there that are available to homeschoolers. Some even are available exclusively to homeschoolers.

13. Homeschooled children miss out on dealing with others the same age so they cannot develop healthy social skills.

Fact: Children will imitate those they are around most. If we want our children to grow up to be adults, who do we want them to be around most? Children or adults?

Traditional schools have an artificial social structure that does not in any way reflect the real world. They actually foster unhealthy age discrimination and negative peer pressure. Families are set up with God’s wisdom in mind. Older children imitate their parents, younger children imitate their older siblings and older children learn to teach and have responsibility by caring for younger children.

It is the rare homeschool parent who isolates their children. Most are involved in church, clubs, home business and other activities which expose the children to a wide variety of people of all ages while giving the parent the opportunity to closely supervise and correct the child's social behaviors.

Statistics show homeschooled adults outshine traditionally schooled adults in the area of socialization. They have better self esteem. They are more likely to be involved in government, volunteer work and own their own businesses. Among homeschooled adults the rates of drug use, suicide, depression, crime and illegitimate pregnancy are significantly lower. The results speak for themselves.

At the founding of our country, only a small minority of people received a formal education and even then it was usually only for 2-5 years in multi-aged classrooms. If grouping children in classes of people all the same age for 13 years is necessary for proper socialization, producing men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and all who helped to found our country would have been impossible.

14. Homeschooled children cannot participate in organized sports.

Traditional schools are not the only place where organized sports are played. There are YMCA’s, churches, summer baseball, private leagues and homeschool groups to name a few. Many public schools also make accommodations for home and private schooled students to play on their teams.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Homemade Toothpaste

Over the past couple of weeks, I've seen several recipes for homemade tooth paste so I thought I'd try my hand at it.

There are several recipes out there that vary here and there, but the basic recipe seems to consist of 3 parts egg shell powder or baking soda to 4 parts coconut oil and 10-15 drops of essential oils. 

A while back, I read about making your own calcium supplement from egg shells so I had some egg shell powder around. To make it I washed several empty egg shells and then dried them in the oven on the lowest temperature for 2 hours. Then I ground them in my coffee grinder. The toothpaste I made with the egg shell seemed pretty gritty, so I tried the baking soda recipe. It's much better. 

I decided to use Thieves Oil from Young Living for my essential oil since it did such a good job on the sinus infection I had the other day. I thought if I use it on a regular basis, I might have a chance at preventing one. If you missed the post and are interested click here

The coconut oil you see there isn't actually the brand I use. Back when I first started using coconut oil, I bought the el cheapo brand from Wal-Mart and saved all the containers. Then I bought a 5 pound bucket from Tropical Traditions last year and filled the containers with their oil so I could store some in the freezer just in case I didn't use it fast enough. I shouldn't have worried. I love the stuff and find all kinds of uses for it :)

It's pretty easy to mix the ingredients together. I decided right away that the blender wand was pretty much over kill and switched to a fork. It's not something you need a lot of power for. 

I'm happy with the final product. It is different than commercial toothpaste, but my 3 y/o grandson used it and didn't spit it out!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Passive Solar Floor Plan

This week's home is a 2009 square foot passive solar home with a large sunroom, a root cellar and a high-tunnel type green house. Jump on over to my Floor Plan Play Land and check it out.

Come on! Dream with me! And be sure to let me know what you think!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, January 28, 2013

Our Best New Enrollment Offer Ever - Young Living Essential Oils

Our Best New Enrollment Offer Ever

New members get a certificate for $40 worth of free products!The minimum sign up fee for Young Living is $40! This is almost like signing up for free! And there's only a $50 yearly minimum purchase to qualify as an active distributor. If you sign up, use my member  #1356352 GRAMA SUES FARM (GRAMASUES) Thanks! 

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

DIY Cedar Moth Deterent

Ever have problems with moths getting into your clothes and putting holes in them? I sure do! But I've come up with a cheap, easy way to combat them that involves cedar trees. Cedar wood is prized for it's ability to repel moths. Cedar chests and cedar closet liners are expensive because of this quality. But my method doesn't even involve carpenter skills!

First, you've got to find yourself a cedar tree to take some trimmings off of. Fortunately, back when people were settling this part of the country, one of the requirements for homesteading a place on the prairie was to plant trees. The people who originally homesteaded this place before my husband's great grandfather bought it in 1913 planted so many cedar trees that they named the farm Cedar Grove. They are an easy tree to grow in this part of the country. So much so that I consider them something of a weed. But on to the moth deterrent ...

You will need a branch of cedar, a pair of clippers, some socks that the dryer has eaten the mate of, and clothes pins.

Cut the cedar branch into small pieces.

Stuff the needles into the socks. You might want gloves to do this. The needles can be kind of prickly.

When they are full, clip the socks somewhere in your closet.

If the bar is too big, clip them to a hanger or two,

If you want to use them in a chest or a dresser, just clip them shut and place them in the bottom.

This will last for about 6 months. It's a good idea to mark down when you last made them so you can redo them before the moths invade again and you get holes in your brand new clothes again.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My First Exposure to Essential Oils

In the 60s and 70s when I grew up, science, technology and all the new medicines and chemicals were exalted as the answer to all the world's problems. Herbs were relegated to cooking and alternative medicine was vilified as quackery.

It's taken a while for me to get where I am, but today I turn to prayer first, then natural remedies such as herbs and essential oils first, and then to practitioners in alternative medicine such a chiropractors. The only time I turn to modern medicine is for emergencies such as broken bones that need to be splinted and life or death situations.

Several years ago, Grampa Tom and I were at the Small Farm Trade Show and Conference put on by the Small Farm Today Magazine that takes place every year in Columbia, MO. My husband's aunt had given me a beautiful long coat just before that trip and since it was cold, I wore it down there.

Unfortunately, she had some sort of perfume on it that wasn't agreeing with me so I was dealing with asthma the whole trip. It was either asthma or freeze. I should have known better. I've always steered away from perfumes, potpourris and other strong scents because of this problem.

While we were there, I came across a booth that was selling essential oils. One of the oils they were selling was marjoram oil. The sign in front of it said it was used to relieve allergies, asthma and respiratory problems. I was skeptical. The first day, I avoided even going near, but the second day I stopped to talk with ladies. They opened a jar of marjoram oil and invited me to just try breathing in the vapors for a few minutes. WOW! It worked! Needless to say, I bought a jar.

I still rely on marjoram oil a lot, but I also have a roll on product called Breathe Again, that is a combination of several oils that I love too!

When I was at the same conference a couple of years ago, there was a Young Living booth. At the time, I was having some severe pain in my neck. I've had some stiffness in my neck since a car accident I had several years ago (while going all of 5 miles an hour), but that day it was actually hurt! I was talking with the ladies at the booth and I happened to mention the pain in my neck. One of the ladies did something strange (Which I believe had something to do with the "Raindrop Technique" that Young Living teaches - I haven't had the chance to study it yet.)  Then she took some black pepper oil and rubbed it on my neck. It didn't get rid of the problem totally, but it sure did help!

A few months later, my daughter signed up as a distributor and started giving me oils. Last fall, I finally took the plunge and became a distributor myself.

There is a spiritual component to the company that makes me uncomfortable. It seems to me that much of the material tends to "worship" the herbs and the oils. Over the years, I've heard many herbalists and natural healers talk about how the "herbs" seem to talk to them. They rely a lot on "feelings" and "dreams". From what little I've heard about this "Raindrop Technique", it seems very similar. When I was a new Christian, there were folks I respected who said that anyone who uses herbs for healing or incense of any type was dealing in witchcraft.

I'm just not willing to throw the baby out with the bath water. God made all these things. When people don't understand how they work, they tend to spiritualize them. When I am seeking healing. The first thing I do is pray! God rarely gives me miracles. He usually gives me solutions and often times the knowledge comes in the form of a "hunch" or a dream. Who's to say that God in His mercy isn't responding to those who don't know Christ yet in the same way?  If it works, I'm going to use it and bring my Christian perspective into it unless God specifically tells me not to.

I'm just learning about all this. If you are interested in essential oils or if you've got questions, please ask me! I may not know the answers, but I've always learned best when I'm helping others learn what they need to know!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Saturday, January 26, 2013

6 Days of Creation

God created man in His image. Did you know that every one of us is creative? I used to think I wasn't very creative because I couldn't draw or sing, but that is just plain wrong. The way I  read it, God spent 6 days creating and then spent the 7th reviewing all that He had made. . So, on Saturday's I post some of the things that I created the previous week.

Here goes:

Sunday : Two new floor plans. Posted one already, a smaller home that wraps around a large sun room . The other is an L shaped home with a sun room that will be coming this week. Both are close to 2000 square foot of living space with 2 bedrooms and lots of kitchen storage space. They are also passive solar homes with rocket fired stoves and heat pumps.

Monday: Yum! Lasagna! Made enough for a few meals. Lasagna is always better after it's been frozen and cooked a second time.

Tuesday: I created a Twitter account! If you tweet, connect with me! I'm gramasuesrainbo@twitter.com!

Wednesday: Nothing unusual, I made a mess. The dog seems to have brought in some fleas so I dusted everything with DE and left it until Thursday.

Thursday: Made some cedar moth repellent for my closets for almost nothing. Post coming this week.

Friday: The freshly created chocolate chip cookies I made created cute little smiles on 2 little boys! Double creation!

So what did you create?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Favorites

There are so many wonderful blogs and websites out there in cyber land that bless me! In the spotlight this week is a "new to me" blog that I just discovered. I cook from scratch and I'm always interested in how to save a buck or two by doing it myself. And I love big families! Jennifer has so many great ideas on upcycling, homemade products and cooking. I think what hooked me was her tutorial on homemade school glue. I need to go make some now!

Feeding Nine on a Dime!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Trees From Seeds

This winter I am experimenting with growing trees from seeds. The internet has all kinds of wonderful sites explaining just how to grow trees from seeds. Just google the kind of tree you want to grow along with the words "grow from seed". The basic formula for growing trees that grow in temperate climates like my zone 5 is to plant them in moist soil and freeze for 2 to 10 weeks. 

I'm doing that with these peach and Canadian Hemlock trees, but I thought I might as well try just putting some right in the ground. After all that is what putting the seeds in freezer is supposed to imitate!

In this little plot I have, English walnut, cherry, oak and pear trees. The little flags are where I planted the seed. If they come up, I'll move them to permanent locations with plenty of space between them.

The other tree project I'm experimenting with is a bonsai weeping willow. I love weeping willows, but Grampa Tom thinks they are nothing but a nuisance tree because they tend to loose branches in wind storms.  He won't let me have one, so I decided to try my hand at bonsai. I don't have any of those cute rectangular bonsai containers yet, but I planted this weeping willow in a pot and I'm leaving it outside. Not sure if it will survive the winter, but none of the bonsai sites mentioned anything about bringing the trees in for the winter. It still looks like it's living, so we will see.

If only I could come up with an easy willow branch project that would make money. Then maybe Grampa Tom would let me plant one for real. Anyone got any suggestions?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ham and Bean Soup -

Yesterday, I was trying to think about what to blog about. The other day I told you all about what we do on a 50 degree days in January, so I thought maybe I ought to tell you about what I do on  a  9 degree day in January. Was that only 4 days ago? I had decided to make a pot of bean soup to make the gas I was burning to heat the house do double duty. 

At one point, I had started putting some of the recipes I post on this blog on another page called Grama Sue's Recipes. I decided to resurrect that page as well. Click on the name to hop on over there!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This Week's Floor Plan

I've been working on floor plans again. Actually came up with two this week, but I'm only posting one. This home is 2025 square feet and wraps around a sun room/ greenhouse. Check it out at Grama Sue's Floor Plan Play Land. Let me know what you think!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thieves Essential Oil

Several months ago, when I went to my daughter's house, I found the most heavenly smelling soap in her bathroom. And it had the most interesting name! I had to know where she go it from. She told me she had signed up with a company called Young Living. The Thieves® brand was created by Young Living based on research about four thieves in France who covered themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims. They claimed wearing their blend of perfume protected them against the plague. The Thieves® formula was studied at Weber State University in 1997. The studies showed the antibacterial effectiveness of this blend against airborne microorganisms to have a 99.6 percent kill rate against airborne bacteria. 

Interesting huh? So when I signed up as a Young Living distributor, it was one of the first things that I ordered. This month I got the essential oil itself.

It has so many interesting uses! If you google it, several sites have lists of 100 or more medicinal and household cleaning uses. It is even more effective against mold than bleach! 

I used one drop on my toothbrush the other day and WOW! I don't think my mouth has ever felt that clean ... and the feeling lasted for hours! 

Then Friday morning I woke up with a horrible sinus headache. I knew it was coming, I had a cold earlier in the week and blew my nose to hard One of the uses I had found was to put a drop on the roof of your mouth every few hours for headache. I decided to try it. By afternoon I could hear that crackling that comes when the thing finally starts breaking up, and before I went to bed that thing was beat! It usually takes a couple of weeks of saline spray to conquer a sinus infection! Next time I have a cold, I'm going to use it right away. Maybe it will help with that too. 

One of the stranger uses I read about was putting a drop one each big toe before bed to help with vision. My eyes used to be sharper than sharp. I could see things most people didn't even realize were there.When I was in my late 20s, I even read a small print Bible 5 times by the light of a 4 watt night light. But when I turned 47, I suddenly started having problems switching focus from near to far. Now I have to wear reading glasses almost all every time I try to read something. I think I'll try the drop on the big toe thing for a while and see what happens. Can't hurt! I'll let you know if it works :)

If you are interested in essential oils or have questions about them, please leave me a comment! I'm really just learning about all of this, but I know people who know a whole lot more, so we can get educated together!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Sunday, January 20, 2013


What do you do on a 50 degree day in January? Scoop poop of course! 

Well, that's what Grampa Tom does anyway. Long ago, I memorized Proverbs 14:4. The version I had at the time said, "An empty  barn is easy to clean, but there is no profit in it." Don't know what version that was, because I've never seen it translated just that way again, but it really stuck with me. I tell my kids and other people all the time that if you've got lots of poop to scoop, you've either neglected it for a long time or there's lots of profit coming :)

I love the division of labor on this farm! My priority was to plant a January salad bed :)

I mixed together several different kinds of lettuce seed and some chard seed.

Worked up the old sand box that I made into a garden many years ago and raked the seed around.

Then I covered it with plastic!

Back when I first moved over here, I had an elderly friend who would always tell me, "Sue, get out there on that first January thaw and plant some lettuce. It might come up and it might not. But if it does you will be mighty happy!" 

What do you do on a 50 degree day in January?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Saturday, January 19, 2013

6 Days of Creation

God created man in His image. Did you know that every one of us is creative? I used to think I wasn't very creative because I couldn't draw or sing, but that is just plain wrong. The way I  read it, God spent 6 days creating and then spent the 7th reviewing all that He had made.  I'm thinking it would be good to do the same. So, on Saturday's I'm planning to post some of the things that I created the previous week.

Here goes!

Sunday I pruned all my plants and gave them a good soaking with Miracle Grow laced water. - Created happy plants!

Monday my granddaughter was really catching on to the finger math I have been teaching her. She is so cute! She bounces up and down whenever she is excited! It is fun to see kids get excited about math. Since I flunked out of math when I was in high school, it's a real blessing to me to be able to create math excitement.

On Tuesday I had a conversation with a person who seemed angry because a family member was rejecting them because they weren't "good enough". In talking with this person, I found out that the relative had been abused as a child. I was able to help them understand that their relative's behavior had nothing to do with them, but had everything to do with the relative's pain. The abuse created an unhealthy sense of shame that manifested itself as rejection of family members that don't keep up with the Jonses. Creating that understanding freed them from a lot of the pain they were feeling from the rejection.

Wednesday I created a filing system for this year's assessing work. I hate filing ... this one is a real miracle. I think it will work well.

Thursday I created lots of smiles in a 3 y/o when I spent a whole 75 cents on a DVD full of fire trucks, ambulances and first responder vehicles :)

And on Friday, I created this blog post so that I can take the day off on Saturday!

What did you create this week?

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Fun Time

The internet is such a wonderful place! Some people play games for fun, but my fun is growing and creating things and learning and the internet is full of great ideas! So on Friday's I want to share just some of the fun blogs and web sites I've come across so you can have fun learning too!

This week's site is Homestead Survival. These people spend hours and hours every day combing the web for great sites that educate about all things related to homesteading. I've learned so much from this site. A lot of what I've learned I would have never thought to look up, like how to make a calcium supplement out of egg shells. Click on the name and wander on over there! I'm sure you find something you always wanted to know or never even imagined!

Tell 'em I sent you!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Grama Sue's Floor Plan Play Land

I'm reintroducing my floor plan blog. Several years ago, Grampa Tom bought me a floor plan design program because I love to sit around and design houses. Over the years, I've developed quite a collection of original designs. My program is pretty basic. Can't do blue prints or create curved walls with it, but it's fun. Someday I want to buy a pro version and really develop them for sale, but a couple of years ago I kept having this nagging thought that I ought to just start putting them on the internet and see what happens.

I managed to post 10 plans and then got so busy with my jobs that I didn't have time to post.  I forgot about it until about 6 months ago. Decided to check to see if it even still existed and found out that it was still getting hits! On a daily basis!

I've been dragging my feet about getting going with it again for fear that I'd get to busy again, but I keep looking at this thing and thinking it could actually turn into something!

For the most part, my homes are on the smaller side with features Grampa Tom and I think are important, many of which are hard to find in your run of the mill floor plan sites - things like mud rooms, walk-in showers, pantries and multi-generational accommodations.

If any of this interests you or if you like to name things (I am at a loss as to what to name these homes.) I invite you to bop on over and take a gander at my play land: http://gramasuesfloorplans.blogspot.com/

God Bless You All! 

~Grama Sue

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Apple Butter Secret

Been re-canning all my apple butter. 

For the last 30 years, I've been making apple butter following my mother-in-love's recipe - Make applesauce by cooking down apples, putting them through a colander and then sweetening to taste. Then put the applesauce back on the heat, simmer it down to about half the volume, add cinnamon to taste, then can in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

This fall, my friend Peggy gave me a jar of her apple butter. My apple butter is good, but her's was just heaven! I asked what she put in it. The difference? Orange Zest! Since I already had all my apple butter canned and the markets were pretty much over, I decided I would wait till it was cold and redo any apple butter that I had left. Yum!

I'll have it at the markets next spring!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Germination Tests

So yesterday after school the kids and I started doing some germination tests on my old seeds. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a 3 y/o to count out only 10 seeds? I think I'm just plain crazy.

The object of germination tests is to see what percentage of your old seeds will sprout. That way you can decide how thickly to plant them. If 90% sprout, you should plant them as directed on the package. If it's less, you can still use the old seed. You'll just need to plant them thicker. 

To do this, you wrap 10 of whatever seed you are testing in wet paper. For the next several days, keep the paper wet, checking to see if any have sprouted in a week or two depending on how long that particular seed takes to sprout. If only five or less sprout, you probably ought to throw the seed out and get some new seed. If 7 sprout, you ought to plant them a little thicker than recommended because you are only getting a 70% germination rate. 

My biggest problem with this project is finding flat surfaces to place my specimens on. I so need a heated greenhouse! 

We also ate some oranges. They had seeds. Kathy thought we ought to plant those seeds so we did. My brother did that when he was young. My mom had an orange tree growing in her living room for years. It didn't have a pollinator so it never put on any oranges, but she just couldn't bring herself to kill it. After all, Scott had planted that tree! Of course she had a 12 foot ceiling with 10 foot south and east facing windows in a living room that was about as big as my whole house! I really need a great big heated greenhouse!

Speaking of greenhouses. I gave up on the pop bottle greenhouse. Just couldn't get enough donations. At the rate I was getting them, it would have been 10 years before I'd have enough to make even a small greenhouse. People who go to farmer's markets are just to health conscious to consume a significant amount of soda :)

The other night, I went to hear Tom Stamman preach. You can check him out at:  http://www.tstamman.com/  After the service, he prayed over me. He asked if I had ever raised any livestock. My girlfriend and I laughed. Only chickens, sheep, goats, cows ... I replied. Then he went on to tell me I really needed a greenhouse and that God was going to get me one. I receive that!

Today, I decided to check to see if I had made any money with the ads that appear under my posts. The last time I checked, I hadn't made a thing. Now I've made $3.62. Wo- hoo! Unfortunately, they won't cut you a check unless you've earned $100 So if the ads here interest you, please click on them! And if something on I talk about interests you or tickles your funny bone, please share it with your friends!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

Monday, January 14, 2013


There comes a time when you have to quit hem-hawing around and just do it.

When I was a little girl, I fell in love with reading and wanted to be a writer myself. Then I got into typing class. The teacher felt sorry for me, She gave me a D so that I could graduate from high school. Since typing ability was a must for anyone wanting to write professionally, I sadly put that dream away.

Then came computers! I was still slow, but gallons of white out on every page were no longer a stumbling block and I slowly regained hope. Since then, I've dabbled here and there, but never really took the plunge. Writing (for me) takes tons of time and there were kids to raise and bills to pay.

There are still kids to raise and bills to pay, but hey, I'm 54. I had told my hubby that someday when I wasn't the assessor, I was going to become a professional blogger. I'm still assessing, but I've already got all the drive-by photo shooting done for this year and in the 2 1/2 months since my old farmer went to Heaven, I've only had a handful of days when I've worked in eldercare.

One of my favorite preachers is always talking about how you need cows.Cows are different from jobs. Jobs take all day long every day to bring home that paycheck.  Cows take a lot of investment up front, but eventually they produce income on a regular basis with only a small amount of time and effort on the farmer's part every day. She says to ask God for cows that you can develop. Blogging and the books God has given me to write that are still in my heart are some of the cows I need to work on.

 It's time. I've been putting it off for fear someone will hire me full-time and I won't have time to write again, but the desire to write keeps growing by leaps and bounds. What if? What if? What if? What if no one ever hires me again and I've never developed my cows. It's time.

Not only that, but I got this really comfy chair right after Christmas! It deserves to be used for a great purpose!

So expect to be hearing a lot more from me ... and do me a favor will you? Please share my blog with all your friends! I'll be talking about gardens, livestock, alternative medicine, my floor plan blog, cooking, creativity, God, great blogs and websites and more!

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue