Goose Eggs and Garden

Spring is springing! At least for a few days! The robins have invaded our yard in earnest and the temps have been above freezing for a few days. That will probably change of course. It’s the Midwest you know!

Grampa has been busy planting lettuce, onions, kale, spinach, peas and radishes. Our gardens are set up so we can put a green house over each one, but we are missing the tubing we need to do this so we just put plastic on the soil for now.


Our biggest problem is keeping the chickens from scratching up all the seed. They love to scratch around in the loose dirt and find all the goodies we don’t want them to find. We are trying to figure out how to fence the gardens in this year since we haven’t had much luck fencing the chickens in the pasture.


We were discussing the noise the guinea fowl make the other day. Grampa hates it. I pointed out that the sheep are actually louder. He told me the sheep make money. He doesn’t know how to make money with guineas. He was telling me he didn’t want to listen to anything that didn’t make him money. “Shoot,” he exclaimed (with a great big mischievous grin), “I wouldn’t even keep you around if I didn’t think you were worth something. You make me dinner every now and then (and then he said some other things that can’t be repeated in polite company)” Don’t worry, I did hit him! Good thing I know he loves me. I just have to apologize to my daughters-in-love. Devan and Tristina, it’s genetic. When your husbands are stupid, just take into account where they come from 😉

So … guinea fowl anyone? Grampa says he will sell them at the Burlington Pigeon Swap if we’ve still got them by then.

I have nearly 50 hand-blown goose eggs ready to decorate and available for Easter. We have been getting 2 ever other day so I will have a few more by Easter. They have just one small hole on the large end. There are several simple crafts you can do with your kids that are really pretty.


Of course you’ve seen my golden goose eggs – very simple, just spray paint them gold and put them in a basket! I have golden goose eggs and smaller “nest eggs” in this basket.



Last night I used a glue gun to attach some sparkly cording to these eggs and then spray painted them with glitter spray. I’ve also rolled eggs in glue and then in glitter for a stronger sparkle effect.


Some sites that look interesting are:

http://www.allfreecrafts.com/easter/ribbon-eggs.shtml

http://freestuff4kids.net/2008/03/06/13-creative-ways-to-dye-and-decorate-easter-eggs/

http://www.ehow.com/how_2163885_decorate-easter-eggs-tissue-paper.html

http://crafts.kaboose.com/oil-and-food-coloring-marbled-eggs.html

I’ve got some chicken eggs that I’ve blown too. Here’s a picture of them with a goose egg.


I don’t have to many chicken eggs blown and on hand, but it wouldn’t take long to get a batch together! Thought I’d take the biggest and the littlest chicken egg in this picture and put them beside a tape measure so you can get an idea of their sizes. The little one is a pullet egg ( from a hen that has just started laying). We should be getting lots of these in browns, blues and greens soon. The large one was a double yolker. They are fairly rare.


This next picture is of a typical sized chicken egg next to a goose egg.


Goose eggs are not only bigger than chicken eggs, they are also much thicker. They still break, but not as easily. This makes them easier to work with for crafts.


If you are interested they are 75 cents each plus shipping. Call or e-mail to order.

I’m taking a goose egg pie to a sick friend this afternoon.

Recipe:

2 goose eggs (or 4 chicken eggs)
1/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp natural sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced ham or bacon
1/8 tsp garlic
1/8 tsp chili pepper
1 cup grated cheese

Whip eggs and milk until well mixed. Add all remaining ingredients except 1/2 cup cheese.
Pour into oiled pie plate. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Then cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm. Add the remaining 1/2 cup cheese to the top about 5 minutes before it is done.

This recipe freezes well. Just put the uncooked mixture on a level place in the freezer. Then thaw in refrigerator before cooking.

God Bless You All! ~Grama Sue

Spring’s a Peeking!

Spring is teasing us! We have a few days of warm temps then we plunge back down! All the sheep but 3 have lambed. We have 24 little ones so far!


The geese are loving this weather and giving us eggs. I have a supply of blown goose eggs if anyone is interested! $0.75 each plus shipping.


Our chickens have gone off strike status. We are getting around 20 dozen a week now. We are also getting a few pullet eggs from the chicks we bought last fall. By next month we should have 40 to 50 dozen a week. Still not enough to fill the orders we have, but getting closer. We have ordered another 150 chicks, but it will be late October before they start laying.


I wanted to show you all some of the variety we have in egg colors. When I took them outside so I could get a good picture this little hen was very interested!

She seemed to be asking, “What are you doing with my eggs?”


I bred some blue roosters to my brown egg layers last year. I am so pleased with the khaki color that resulted! It is fitting for a mom that has 2 kids who are full time military! If you look carefully, the egg on the upper right is two toned. We’ve been getting one like this almost every day.

I have updated my Beyond the Paycheck intro on the right side of the blog website. The first two paragraphs are the same, but I changed the end. If you get this by e-mail and would like to check it out you’ll have to go to the website.

I’m thinking I probably ought to do this monthly during the winter. Come summer though, I hope to have at least a menu of what we available on a weekly basis so local folks can order home delivery.

God Bless You All!

~Grama Sue

State of the Projects Report

Here’s the state of the projects report! We haven’t reached my goal of 30 by a long shot, but we have found some things that work and some that haven’t.

Plans for next year:
1. I’m planning to offer home delivery of produce and eggs.
2. We plan to continue to going to farmer’s markets.
3. We’d like to establish our own roadside stand.
4. I’m exploring the idea of providing a welcome service for this area.

We’d like to produce pastured turkeys, chickens and rabbits for meat sales, but we haven’t quite figured out the logistics of pasture areas and butchering yet. We hope to do a little of this for ourselves this year just to get a feel for it. Maybe next year we’ll offer some for sale.

We are also very interested in breeding chickens for hatching eggs. We have to figure out how to keep them seperate in order to do this. We can’t keep the chickens we have in the pasture right now. They roam the yard, the garden and the surrounding fields at will right now. Once we figure out how to contain them, maybe we can work on breeding.

1.The garage sale

Bit the dust. We have such a big demand for eggs. We had to have more room for chickens. So now the all the feed and equipment is in the garage instead of in the feed shed.


2.Pastured raised eggs

Wow! There is a huge market for these out there! Hy-Vee in Macomb wants 60 dozen a week, Ducks in Nauvoo goes through 3-7 doz a week, we can sell 15 to 20 dozen a week at farmer’s markets and we have several people and offices that have expressed an interest in having eggs delivered. We’ve only just begun to tap the tip of this iceburg. Naturally, a great deal of our efforts are being focused here. We have ordered 125 more chicks to fill the feed shed with.


3.Sheep

Hair sheep are incredibly good mamas. It has been so cold and they are popping out babies with no problems. But the chickens are making us more money. We plan to downsize the herd to only 4 or 5 ewes and a ram.

4.Cows

Don’t have any at the moment, but Grampa would really love to have a milk cow or two. We have bought bottle calves to raise and sell for several years, but we’re not sure we’ll be able to do that this year. Chickens are going to be top priority! Grampa says he wants to be the chicken king of Hancock county first. To be truthful, I think he probably already is. There just aren’t many egg producers around here.

5.Egg noodles

We are working on our taxes. It is amazing, but we sold almost as many dollars worth of noodles as we did eggs last year. I’ve managed to start making some noodles for the markets this year. I could have sold more, but didn’t have the time to make them.

6.Natural and recycled crafts and craft supplies

My golden goose eggs and blown eggs were a hit. Not as big a hit as the noodles, but we’ll be doing this again.

7.Great Pyrenees dogs

Haven’t seen Pinky for quite some time. She disappeared at the same time our mutt came home with a huge wound on his back. A couple of weeks later the cat came home with a very similar wound. We really loved this breed though. We would still like to breed these dogs, but we’ll have to wait for a while.


8.Honey bees

It is amazing, but we still have one hive alive after the ice storms. Grampa had a bad reaction after being stung several times. I won’t let him work the hives anymore. I’m not crazy about taking care of them myself. I’ll do what needs to be done to utilize the 4 hives we have, but this won’t be a big money maker for us.

9.Avon

Have just started to push this. I’ve made the 30% level. I’d like to get to the Unit Leader minimum and then focus on recruiting.

10.Farm crops from the 10 acres we own with our son

Fairly good year, considering the fact that the company that was supposed to spray the weeds was really late getting it done. We will be converting a couple of acres of it to sweet corn this year.

11.Garden produce

Didn’t produce nearly enough! Trying to figure out how to do more this year.

12. Affiliate marketing

No income yet, but I haven’t given up hope. Just got to figure this one out. Remember, you can help me out by ordering your vitamins through the ad on the right column of my blog!

13. Building low maintenance gardens

No time! Maybe someday.

Here’s a picture of the latest species addition to our farm, guinea fowl. What are we going to do with them? I have no clue! They were given to us with a bunch of chickens.

God Bless You All!

~ Grama Sue

Buy Local

INTERESTING STATFrom: Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Shereports “If every US citizen would eat just 1 meal a week (any meal) composed of only locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil per week. Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just need to start with a good breakfast.”GRAMA’S TREASURES!Wow! We had a great hatch! Hatching 50% of the eggs you put in an incubator is considered good. We have 33 out of 48. That’s almost 70%! I’m happy! Most of the eggs I put in the incubator were blue and green in hopes that I will get more hens that lay blue and green eggs. I plan to do this at least 2 or 3 more times this summer. If you’d like to help me fill the incubator again, I plan to have an official fill the incubator day once a month. The first one will be this Saturday at 10:30 am. If you need chicks, I am willing to sell a few at $2.35 each.THE FARMER’S MARKETGrampa Tom went to both the Keokuk and the Carthage Farmers’ Market by himself this week. I went to the Hamilton Farmers’ Market this afternoon. That was a bust. Nobody there but me. I’d like to go to all of the markets, but I’m really not needed most days and there’s plenty to do here. So far, we’re not making oodles of money, but we come home with more than we spent to go. It’s a start!

One of the things we’ve been selling is egg noodles. I got a noodle maker thinking it would speed up my egg noodle production time. It doesn’t take anywhere near as much strength, but I’m not seeing the time savings I was hoping for. I was hoping to be able to sell my noodles at farmers’ markets for $1.25/bag but it just isn’t going to happen for less than $2 and even then I’m not making minimum wage – it is just something to do with unused eggs. I told Grampa if we can’t sell them, we’ll just have to give them to charity.

E-BAY

Neither of my items on E-Bay sold L! But I got lots of lookers for the bag. Decided not to re-list it because Grampa Tom hasn’t managed to get another one done and he wants to take it to the farmers’ markets. I did re-list the Epson T060120 black ink. It didn’t sell, but it might have helped if I hadn’t made a typo in the id#! So far this week I have 3 watchers on it. If you’d like to bid, you can find my stuff at
http://myworld.ebay.com/gramasues

ON THE CRAFT TABLE

The rug is coming along. I’ve got several feet braided, but I’ve got no idea how big this thing will be! It’s an adventure.

Grampa Tom suggested that I do a golden egg with IOWA painted in black. I think I can do that. Then I thought I could probably even do a Deere egg in green and yellow. Grampa isn’t an Iowa fan, but we sure do like John Deere.

THE GARDEN

We are still finishing the construction and planting like mad. This week we planted musk melon, garlic, basil, winter onions and more yellow onions, cilantro, marjoram, cucumbers and dill. We also transplanted quite a few petunias and marigolds.

We took the first harvest from our spinach and green onions this week. I also harvested and sold some fresh oregano. The broccoli plants that we put in last week is already putting on a head. I can’t wait! We love broccoli!

The potatoes look wonderful, but the poor beans! They’ve suffered from chickens scratching in them and my “other dog/lawn mower” (pet lamb) eating all the leaves off them! Here’s a picture.

If you come, be sure to ask to see our new raised bed gardens. We are following Len Pense’s plans:

http://www.gardeningrevolution.com/index.html

They take a lot of work to build, but once they are done, they are a breeze to care for. We’d love to build one for you or teach you how to do it yourself!

GRAMA’S WISDOM
(tips, recipes and ideas for saving money)

How to Clean a Microwave

This is one I learned from my daughter when I was over 40. Some of you young pups may think that’s disgusting, but bear in mind the fact that there were no such things when I was young. OK, OK, so I used a microwave for 20 years before I learned how to clean one! I’m not the only one! Almost everyone I share this secret with has never heard of it.

Put a bowl of soapy water in microwave and run for 5 minutes. Even the most stuck on stuff will come off! It is amazing.

GRAMA RECOMENDS

Great Chiropractors!

It is so awesome to sleep next to my husband again! For years, Grampa Tom has been severely overweight. This obstructed his breathing so much that he had to sleep sitting up so he slept in his big chair on the other end of the house. He also fell asleep quite often during the day and snored loudly all the time. He finally went to the Rexroth Clinic in West Burlington. They gave him some adjustments and some supplements to help kick start his metabolism again. He’s lost several inches off his tummy, sleeps in our bed and stays awake all day! The only problem now is that I can’t keep up with the guy!

Check them out! http://rexrothchiropractic.com/index.php

God Bless You All!