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