L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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Quality is a Good Thing

Now that my growing season has come to end, I find myself engaged in agriculture in different ways.  I am just now returning from Pennsylvania where I had an opportunity to spend time with a group of individuals with limited exposure to agriculture and farming.  Quite honestly there was a wide-spread and a less than flattering opinion of farmers in the room.  As a former urbanite I was well­ aware of this tendency, but now that I am a full convert I was not amused but offended.  Then I realized we farmers only have ourselves to thank.  I spent the better part of my time engaging people as they asked hundreds of questions about everything from organics to the farm bill.  At the end a few individuals found it necessary to apologize for their early assumptions. Ag America we need to wake up, step up and speak up.  But our message needs to speak a new language… one of quality, innovation, and excellence.

We need to post fewer pictures of cute baby farm animals and 4H pets on Facebook and spend a little more time engaged in discussion on what matters – TO OUR CONSUMERS.  I was the only “farm expert” in the room and my credibility on the farm bill, food safety, and the abilities of the American farmer went unchallenged.  For many I was better than an expert because I was standing right in front of them speaking THEIR language.For many I was better than an expert because I was standing right in front of them speaking THEIR language. 

I was the first person they had EVER heard speak of agriculture using terms THEY UNDERSTOOD.  I learned they care a whole lot LESS about my multi-generational family farm and a whole lot MORE about the fact that our farm held itself accountable to strong financial standards and worried about things like profitability, labor management, and quality control. They were relived!!!

It is time farmers start speaking of our profession as a professional…someone engaged in their occupation and holding themselves accountable to a set of standards… standards of excellence and accountability.  And yet, we are the least likely to talk about ourselves in that way.  Why is that?

 I know far too many farmers to not KNOW that deeply embedded in our DNA is a huge commitment to these types of standards. The very best of us know all about quality, safety, profitability because we live and breathe it every day… so why not talk about it in a way that conveys a message that farming was not the occupation chosen because it was the only thing left after failing at something else?  Why not talk about your moments of excellence and your lessons learned in a way that conveys a message of, “I love what I do, I wake up each morning grateful for one more day… we are so committed to quality and safety that we go above and beyond the industry standards.  Now before you question whether I mean you… I DO.  You are my brother, husband uncle, grandfather, grandmother, mother and friend and I have seen some GREAT stuff.  Own it, celebrate it, and share it. 

A cautionary note …the desire to connect to agriculture is VERY much alive and well.  I cannot tell you how many people made a point to tell me how they owned an acre or two or eight or 100.  They were proud and wanted me to appreciate what they were able to acquire for themselves… as one put it, “If you don’t own land… you don’t own anything that matters.”  These were the words of a former CEO of an AEROSPACE engineering firm.  I talked to others who shared their knowledge of their local farms and even their personal efforts to raise their own garden.   They are sharing their efforts to try and be more like YOU.  THAT my farmer friend is the highest form of flattery.  Own it, celebrate it, and share it. 

v
 
 

Fall Has Arrived

So tomorrow is Veg Fest in Lincoln, Ne and I am VERY excited.  I have been told to expect a lot of people so as I prepare, I am making some change that I hope will simplify tomorrow.  I am pre-weighing things like onions, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce and greens to avoid using my scale.  I am not sure how to price my sweet potatoes but we will figure it out by 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.  J

This week was a little calmer and the girls have enjoyed more time at home.  They were able to enjoy the last few warm days we may likely see for some time with a romp on the trampoline.  We also had time to discover that Mamma Kitty has been hiding a few things from us.. four fat and sassy baby kitties that surprisingly enough are not too terribly wild.  This time the kittens have been hidden REALLY well so with a little luck they will make it.  Reba our red heeler who is a bit rough on kittens even seems to be willing to leave these kittens be.  The girls are thrilled.  This year has been a rough one for baby kitties on our farm. 

If you have not been to Veg Fest, maybe you can check it out tomorrow from 2:00 to 5:30 at Holmes Road Lake Park.  I am not familiar with that part of Lincoln, so before I go to bed I need to spend a little time with MapQuest.  I finally upgraded to a Smart Phone and I have been told there is a turn by turn feature.  I will have to check it out before I leave. 

Despite nearly two months preparation for Veg Fest sadly my snap peas are not ready, and I fear tonight’s wintery blast will end their season along with a lot of BOK Choy that I simply do not have room for.  This has been a rough one to say the least.  Despite that I will have a huge selection of squash, greens, watermelon, pumpkins, birdhouse gourds, my last 8 bars of soap and A LOT MORE.  I hope you will come by and see me.  I will be in D6…. IF THAT HELPS.  Tomorrow you will not find me behind our Husker Red family sedan… I borrowed my father-in-law’s truck!!!!  I have A LOT of stuff… all of it needs good homes.

My thoughts of gratitude are focused on the looks on my girl’s faces when the baby kitties were discovered.  My girls have prayed nightly for a baby cousin who is going through a very rough time and for some new baby kitties.  We are still praying for our cousin, but we were so thankful last night that the other prayer had been answered.   We were so thankful that we decided to pray for our cousin two times.  Not too long ago Livie asked me why we pray for other people, I think this made it easier to understand. 

 

I need to confess.  I did something this week I really wish I hadn’t.  The details are not necessary, but to say that I allowed hurt feelings to cloud my better judgment is probably the most accurate summary I can offer.  I have been there and done that many times in my life and I am sure many of you can relate.  The “shoulda,”” woulda,”” coulda”  will be deviling me for quite some time.  I am still working on some unresolved anger with that particular and tonight I need to focus on this weakness as I pray. 

I need to confess.  I did something this week I really wish I hadn’t.  The details are not necessary, but to say that I allowed hurt feelings to cloud my better judgment is probably the most accurate summary I can offer.  I have been there and done that many times in my life and I am sure many of you can relate.  The “shoulda,”” woulda,”” coulda”  will be deviling me for quite some time.  I am still working on some unresolved anger with that particular and tonight I need to focus on this weakness as I pray.  

Have a fresh and fabulous Saturday and I hope to see you at VEG FEST!!!!

 
 

Here comes October!!!

Wow this was a busy week.  Last Sunday, after OCFM, I rushed home and in record time prepared a birthday dinner for my Autie and our guests.  It was such a frantic rush that I did not even unload my car from the market until Monday morning, but in all my Autie had a fun evening.   I spent the next two days helping a friend with a farm project only to come home and tackle a project of my own.  Livie had dance camp Monday and Thursday, we all had CCD Wednesday where I was a sub for the second grade CCD class and Friday Livie joined her dance  camp team mates on the football field at half time.  She was awesome!!!!  I think she had fun.  I know I did.  Autie and I also found time to deliver to Wilderness Ridge Lodge and hunt down the special black pants needed for the half time show!!!  Autie also pointed out that she is in need of a haircut… she is not alone, but not this week!  We were all tired today. 

Despite being tired we have a very nice selection headed to the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Ne from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  We have two different types of yellow water melon, a few tomatoes… regular, cherry and canners too; yellow green beans, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, white beans, peppers, eggplant, mint, sage, parsley, green tomatoes, LOTS AND LOTS of fall and summer squash, mini pumpkins,  okra, onions, and sweet potatoes.  I will also have a few remaining bars of handmade soap, dried mint, wheat bouquets and hard red winter wheat berries.  My car is FULL.  I would like to go home with it virtually empty! J 

I know this week things are a little short and sweet but I took a break from shelling the white beans to go ahead and post. 

My thoughts of gratitude are a little heavy hearted tonight.  There have been people in my life at various times who believed in me … even when I did not necessarily believe in myself.  That is a wonderful gift to give a person… a reason to dig really deep and find your best effort.  At the moment I could really use any one of them around me as a source of encouragement… helping me to see the possibility in what at the moment only seems impossible.  I am also grateful that as hectic as this week was we actually found time to eat a few meals at home and made from FRESH.  The meals were simple, but everyone made happy plates. 

I hope to see you in the morning!  The produce is very fresh and I promise the conversation will be light and bubbly.  If you ask I will even show you pictures of my half time star.  Stop by and make next week fabulously FRESH. 

v
 
 

The First Day of Fall

It has been awhile since I posted.  To say the least September is a very busy month.  Earlier in the month Livie turned six and today my Autie turned four.  She was born on the first day of fall.  Somewhere in the middle Tom and I celebrated our eighth anniversary.  Tom rounded up and sold his fall calves AND also began fall harvest.  As of Friday we are finished with our corn.  It was not pretty…the drought’s impact was severe… but at least that part is OVER.  This next week Joe will begin cutting soybeans and Tom will start drilling wheat.  Our soybeans should do better and so at least there is a rainbow of hope. 

I have also been very busy.  I took a business trip to Reading, PA and also ripped out most of my tomatoes and began planting my fall and winter high tunnel.  I have been busy planting cherry tomatoes, basil, sorrel, micro greens; rattle snake beans, yard beans, fennel, arugula, and broccoli, red and green cabbage.  Before too much longer I will also plant Red Russian and winterboro kale and several types of head and loose leaf lettuce.  I continue to make weekly deliveries to the Wilderness Ridge Lodge and am busy making some decisions for next spring.  We are planning for some big changes for next year and most of the decisions need to be made now so we can focus our energy properly in the weeks to come. 

Today is a busy day.  I spent the morning focused on picking everything for tomorrow and as soon as I finish this post, I will begin prepping.  My girls who helped carry of the squash to the house demanded I I pay them back by jumping on the trampoline for a little bit.  Tom was so relieved to not be drafted that he announced he would fix lunch and BOLTED into the house.  So yes I did jump on the trampoline and yes it is still standing AND I have all of my bones intact… I may have swallowed my tongue.   Tonight after church we will go out to eat at Autie’s place of choice... probably Chinese and then we will go over to a neighbor’s house for smores!!!!    Tomorrow night after return from Old Cheney we will have everyone over a birthday party.  The meatballs have already been made and the tomato salad will be finished before I go to bed tonight.  I hope I sell A LOT of patty pan squash tomorrow, otherwise I may give them away as party favors!!!! 

After being gone for a few weeks I will be back at the Old Cheney Road Farmers market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The only change is that for at least this next week, I will be in a different stall.  I will be beside the Parthenon, which is up in the main part of the market.   I will have an odd combination of items tomorrow, but they should ALL be really yummy.  I will have my patty pan squash as well as acorn and butternut squash.  I will also have mini orange, white and spotted mini pumpkins as well as bird house gourds.  I will have a nice selection of eggplant, peppers, cherry and beefsteak tomatoes, hard red winter wheat berries, sage, red-veined sorrel, chocolate mint, and sage.  We will also have red and yellow onions, ornamental okra, and moon and stars yellow watermelons.  The yellow is a beautiful melon that tastes wonderful.  I need to check but I think we will also have a few honey dew melons.  Finally our greens have kicked in.  Tomorrow we will have spinach, red and purple Bok Choy, red sails lettuce, Chinese cabbage, miniature purple cabbage, beet greens and baby Swiss Chard.  I have no idea how I am going to get all of this into my car. 

I hope to see you the Old Cheney Road Farmers market tomorrow in Lincoln, NE.  I promise to have fresh and fabulous produce at terrific prices and a fair amount of light banter.  My thoughts of gratitude today are focused on cooler temperatures and two little girls who still manage to con their mom into bouncing around on their trampoline as if I were also a little girl. 

 
 

It is Now September

The weeks are rolling by and our summer is nearly over.  This week Livie came home from school each day excited but tired.  Autie waited eagerly each day for her big sister and best friend to come play with her.  Autie finally asked if she could start school soon.  Tom and I both want to send her to preschool, but at the moment it’s not in our budget.  We are working with her on the things she needs to learn, but she misses having friends to play with.  We are trying to figure this part out as we speak.  Autie’s personality is changing so much right now.  She is a crazy kid.  Last Sunday while I was at market Daddy took the girls to Orshleans (our favorite store in the whole wide world!!!!!!).  The girls came home with some new rain/work boots.  Autie’s had horses on them and she wears them EVERYWHERE we will allow her to wear them… including the bathtub and bed.  Livie likes hers, but not with same intensity. 

If you were to come visit our farm this weekend, you would see my girls in their cutoff shorts, tank tops that do not match, a headband with a big bow for a little style, and their boots.  They will be working a 'project" that will require at least three visits to daddy’s junk pile and will have two chairs  and a small wrought iron patio table they have cabbaged onto on the stoop of our front steps.  I have finally found all of the plant markers that disappeared this spring… they are tools, credit cards, and othe essential items for their “project.”  If they happen to have a pair of their daddy’s gloves on … not to worry they have switched “projets” and will be trying to catch our only remaining kitten and he is WILD.  The gloves are for a little protection from the scratches.  The kitten is so WILD I think they actually need hazmat suits so the entire body is protected.  You may also find them on their trampoline where they may be jumping, but they may also be playing school with our red heeler Reba.  Reba is a very good student.  My girls are wild, crazy and scream with pure excitement whenever there is a visitor!!!!  If you are looking for yellow green beans, Romano-style flat green beans or a good deal on canning tomatoes you will find not only great produce but also quality entertainment offered by my girls. 

This week we made another delivery to Wilderness Lodge and while at our market last week met an independent chef who does quite a bit of catering.  I hope to be working on with him on an up-coming event.  We also have been very busy selling apples, a last batch of sweet corn and lots of jalapeno peppers. 

Next week we will rip out all but one row of tomatoes in the high tunnel so we can begin planting pole beans, more zucchini, broccoli, three types of cabbage and a whole LOT more!!!!  In the weeks to come we will have pumpkins, yellow moon & star watermelons, patty pan squash, spinach, salad greens, more cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and a huge assortment of fall greens, cabbages, beets.  Summer may be coming to an end, but in many ways the garden is just getting primed for the second half of the growing season.  We are also making some changes for next year.  This fall we are adding a bed of fennel and we are re-sowing our beds of parsley and cilantro.  I am also looking for a good place to add a bed of fern dill and a bed of sage.  We are making some big changes for next year.  Just you wait and see!!!!    

Tomorrow, you need to stop by.  We will have a huge supply of yellow green beans, a few Romano-style beans, edamame soybeans, summer apples, Jonathon apples, a few pears, patty pan squash, butternut squash, some gorgeous red slicing tomatoes, a few cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, and okra.  We will also have beet greens, collard greens and baby Swiss chard.  We will be at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The produce will be very fresh, the conversation friendly, and my thankfulness overflowing! 

My thoughts of gratitude for the week is focused on the gift of a happy marriage.  This summer has been rough for most of us.  The lack of rain and intense heat is wearing on everyone.  It is summers like these that bring out the worst in everyone and I have not been at my best.   My hubby faces it all  with an easy smile, a reassuring “I love you,” and a drive to keep going in the hopes of a better day.  There are a LOT of single women in my county most of whom never gave my husband a second look and yet wonder why they are still single.  To them I smile and say THANK YOU.  Depending on the weather, Tom hopes to start fall harvest this next week as well.  Fall harvest has a tendency to drag on a bit but due to the drought this year will be fairly short, but lacking the light-hearted banter that tends to come with it.  This year is a hard one and harvest will not end on a positive note.  I hope Tom will lean on me the way I have leaned on him all summer.  Hopefully my reassuring “I love you and gentle kiss will encourage a smile that I know he will struggle to find.  This is farming and years like these are to be expected, but expecting them and living them are two different realities. 

This next week is also a BIG week for us in other ways.  I cannot go into details, but to say the least it has the potential to be life-changing for my family... in a good way.  If you are a person of faith, please pray that the changes offered are real, and will bring my family the type of blessing we are able to pay forward 10 times over.  

Have a fresh and fabulous holiday weekend and I ave hhhhhhhhhhhhhope to see you in the morning!!!!

v
 
 

I Love a Rainy Night

I love a rainy night and since last night we have received a little over three inches.  It has been the slow soaking kind for the most part and WOW is it muddy.  So muddy in fact tonight when I was picking green beans I got so stuck I could not move my legs.  My mucks had suctioned around my feet so tight I could not even pull my feet out.  I fell and landed in the mud.  It took two showers to get rid of all the mud.  They say mud is good for your skin.  I do not know about that, but my husband and I had a good laugh.  Normally, I hate picking in the rain, but I did not mid today.  The rain is simply too late to help Tom and his fall crops, but the timing was perfect for me. 

This week was the first full week of kindergarten and my Livie is pleased to report she received a green dot each day.  We celebrated with some ice cream.  Little sister Autie still misses her sister but she is starting to realize that for the first time in her life she has her parents all to herself quite a bit of the time.  She likes it… at least for now. 

This week we have several new items.  We have bartlet pears, summer apples and Jonathan apples.  We also have lots of peter pan squash and the first of our butternut squash.  We will have more collard greens, baby Swiss chard.  We have a bag of mint, okra, yellow green beans, edamame soybeans, flat Italian style green beans, and tomatoes.  I fear the tomatoes come to an end either this week or next.  My cherry tomatoes are starting to blossom again so who knows.  I hope you will come see me tomorrow at the Old Cheney Road Farmers market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. – to 2:00 p.m.

Due to the muddy conditions I was unable to pick all of the beans that are ready.  If you live nearby and are interested, give me a call this week. 

I spent Thursday helping Tom.  We sold his calves this week and Autie and I helped him and my brother-in-law Joe round everybody up.  I love this time of year.  The light filters through the trees differently.  It makes me think of stained glass. The beauty is incredibly simple, but it is magnificent. I know it is still August but autumn is in the air.  The day my Livie came home from the hospital we had newly weaned calves bawling.  She woke up as I carried her into the house and she looked around.  I told her, those cows were hers and that they would take very good care of her.  She closed her eyes and went back to sleep.  To this day when she hears bawling calves she has a tendency to doze off.  To this day I have a tendency to remember the day I brought my first baby home.  My babies are now little girls and before I realize it, I will be bawling as they leave in search of their life paths in this world.  I need to remind myself of that fact when my patience run thin. 

This week was a busy one in the garden.  I planted more beets, and snap peas.  I also planted a few more rows of lettuce.  I wish I would have worked a little harder in getting a few more things in the ground, but as soon as things dry out a little we will get to work.  Off the farm I finally stole enough time away from the farm to get my hair cut and colored.  I am no longer a blonde, which was not an easy decision to make, but I think I like it.  I will turn 44 this December and at the moment I am struggling with that fact.  I would not go back and relive my twenties for anything in the world, but I wouldn’t mind giving my early thirties another go.  Oh well, age is a number and I am on a mission to defy time.  Wish me luck. 

My thoughts of gratitude focus on friendship… both old and new.  I did something today that I have only done one other time before.  I went shopping with a friend.  I also heard from an old friend.  Good friends are like diamonds.  Their true beauty is in the fact that most precious are rare beyond compare. 

v
 
 

The August Rushes in Big Changes For Our Home

My Livie started kindergarten Friday.  I was supposed to take her, but the bus pulled up in our yard and she was so excited.  My baby girl tolerated her picture being taken and then waved goodbye.  Tom and I both had tears in our eyes.  It was a half day so when she came home we had a picnic lunch in the back yard.  Everyone is excited about her teacher and Livie cheerfully announced she knew most of her classmates.  She is SO excited about the promise of music class.  She also thought an awful lot of the school assembly where the principal spoke to all of the kids.  He made a very strong impression.  My Autie missed her sister.  There was nobody to play with and both Tom and I were busy with work.  She really missed her big sister.  while I fixed lunch we got out her new preschool readyness book and worked on a few pages.  She was a little happier.  All weekend she wanted Livie to play school with her. 

I made my second deliver to Wilderness Lodge this week and the news is out here at home. J   I am relieved to finally have an opportunity to work with a restaurant.  As I prepare for fall, I find myself making some little changes that will hopefully be more appealing to similar customers.  I spent quite a bit of time this week getting some things planted.  I planted around 50 broccoli plants and before long I will plant many, MANY more.  I also planted leeks, beets, lettuce, Pac Choy, spinach, snap peas.  I also started pulling out some of my tomatoes plant to make room for the next crop…. pole beans, squash and a last round of tomatoes and basil.  Next week I will continue cleaning out the old and planting the new.  I hope to have a really good fall garden.  While picking peter pan squash I inventoried my other plans and found several sugar pumpkins and Hubbard squash on the vine already.  There is a lot more still to come. We are still in great need of rain, but the cooler temperatures have been a welcome change. 

Tomorrow I will be at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 to 2:00.  With me is a LOT of great produce.  I will of course have tomatoes and eggplant, but I will also have Italian broad beans, yellow beans, okra, more edamame soybeans, onions, parsley, peter pan squash, hard red winter wheat berries.  My mint is bolting so I will also have my standard mint and parsley bundles, but I will also have bulk bags.  For the serious dessert maker you need to stop by.  I will also have LOTS of collard greens, some Swiss Chard and an entire rainbow of peppers.  I also have some dried chilies and of course eggs. 

I hope you will stop by and take advantage of what is to be a beautiful day. 

My thoughts of gratitude for the week are focused on the fine young women my little girls are becoming.  We have had lots of problems lately with our girls getting into things they shouldn’t.  My girls are unhappy with their parents at the moment, but I wouldn’t trade either girl for anything in the world.  Tonight my Autie learned a valuable lesson about asking before you help yourself.  I had a tray of newly picked peppers on the back porch and she decided to give one a try…jalapeno.  There were lots of tears.  But when she went to sleep tonight she told that next time she ask if the pepper was sweet.  I am grateful that his lesson was learned with a pepper instead of something far more dangerous. 

v
 
 

A Week Focused on the Family

The past week has been action packed!  I am exhausted but also excited.  On Monday we took Livie into Washington and registered her for Kindergarten.  She is very excited about her teacher, her classroom and especially the promise of music class.  Tom and voted with advanced ballots for our county primaries, delivered some produce and headed out of town for a few days…. Nothing too exciting just some back-to-school shopping and a few nights at a hotel with a swimming pool.  I will not give you the day-by-day, but we had a blast, the Lincoln Children’s Museum , the Lincoln Zoo, Ice Age III and the ultimate lunch at Chucky Cheese… “Where a Kid Can Be a Kid.” 

We came home Thursday and I spent the afternoon and evening preparing for my first produce delivery at Wilderness Ridge Lodge in South Lincoln.  I was so nervous delivering mky produce.  I hope they liked... I only wish I had more tome left on my tomatoes.  I have spent my time since getting ready for tomorrow.  This week is going to be a difficult week, but I think all of us are in a similar boat.  My tomatoes are on the verge konking out.  My yellow slicers are all but finished and my red slicers will not be too far behind.  Most of my heirlooms will go again, but there will not be very many for several weeks.  My cherry tomatoes are re-blooming as our most of my heirlooms and I am trying to decide if ripping out and moving on into fall crops is a better alternative to waiting the plants out.  I am in a similar situation with my cucumbers. My green beans are rejoicing with the cooler temperatures and I hope this time next week we will find green beans ready to pick.  In the morning I WILL have a few slicing tomatoes, several types of bell, sweet and spicy peppers; eggplant, edamame soybeans, hard red winter wheat berries, onions, potatoes, cantaloupe and eggs.  I have a lot that will be planted this week and I hope to be able to tread water for a few weeks until my fall garden starts producing.  I will also have Tabouli kits and some hedge apples. 

Tonight at church my girls clung to me… that doesn’t happen very often anymore.  At dinner they both told me I was the most beautiful mommy ever.  I know it isn’t true, but I love them for saying such a sweet thing to me.  After church Livie even cleaned her room without being told!  I am not sure what has gotten into them but whatever it is, it must be made of pure sugar. 

My thoughts of gratitude are focused those moments when people show their natural goodness.  Twice on our trip I managed to leave something in a restaurant.  The first was my camera at the McDonald’s on West O Street and the second was my purse at Ruby Tuesdays… Anybody who knows me will tell you I do this A LOT.  The gratitude is for the fact both items were found and waiting for me, completely intact.  Thank you to the individuals who not only helped me manage my personal items, but also helped me to remember the basic decency that is second nature in most of us!!!  Gratitude. 

I hope to see you tomorrow morning from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE.  Have a Fresh & Fabulous Sunday.  Goodnight! 

v
 
 

The Sweetest Rain!!

It has been a very busy week and as I prepare for tomorrow at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Lincoln, Nebraska to say I am a motivated seller is an understatement.  The colors and textures are changing a little this week.  I have A LOT of tomatoes and cucumbers. 

New offerings will include two items I am especially proud of:  The first is my edamame soy beans and the second is my little finger eggplant…  I have had a few each week but this week I am finally starting to get some volume. I will also have 1 honey dew melon and sadly I think it will be the only one I have this season. I will also have an entire rainbow of tomatoes.  You really owe it to yourself to try our Great White Beefsteak or maybe a Nebraska Wedding Tomato. There is also my Black Krim, my orange Moon Glow, and my pink Raspberry Lyeanna and a few Japanese Black Trieffle.  The cherry tomatoes are still going strong, but I see the end of the road ahead… at the most I will have three more weeks.  Other items will include large and small black beauty eggplant, green bell peppers, dulche peppers, jalapeno peppers, chili peppers, okra, Tabouli kits, mint, parsley, sweet corn and a few cantaloupes.  I will also have red and yellow onions and I am down to about 10 pounds of potatoes.  I almost forgot the cucumbers, and a few assorted summer squash and eggs.   I had someone stop by last Sunday looking for cucumbers to pickle.  If you are still looking, please visit me tomorrow. 

I am trying something new this week.  I will bring with me a recipe card for a one-skillet dish my family enjoys that goes from fresh to Yum in about 30 minutes.  It is called Cowboy Stir-fry.   It is one that is great as a vegetarian dish.  It also jumps to life with about any meat option.  It will feature many of the items I will have for sale.  If I have time I will put together a second dish we like a lot that has more of an Italian flair.  I have lots of 30 minute meal options so when you visit me me ask and I will offer how this busy mom finds time to cook fresh and please the hungry natives at my house! :)  

The water ban was put into effect and since God has given us 4 inches of rain.  If you ever wonder who you should put your faith in … government or God… I have unmistakable evidence to support the later.  We are a long way from the drought being over but we will take what has been given and say THANK YOU.   

I still have some big decisions to make regarding my fall and winter gardens and we are also setting up our game plan for 2013.  We need to make some big changes for next yearand we hope we will learn what you would like to have available. In order for my business to ever get to a point that it provides income for my family it has to have MORE customers so we are pretty willing to consider your needs as we make our decisions.

I have some huge news...  The week of August 14, my produce will be featured on the menu of one of the most upscale restaurants in all of Lincoln.  I will share more about this in the near future.  The Lincoln Journal Star has also talked about my produce in one of their feature stories covering the Lincoln farmers markets.  Both have made that decision based upon my quality, my selection and my price… despite what has been an extremely difficult growing year.  The North Central Kansas Regional Planning Commission featured me in their newsletter this summer and I have heard from several of my customers that I provided them with their BEST tomato plants AND that I sell the BEST tomatoes at OCFM. I have had visitors to my farm from Salina, Colby and Missouri because they have been told I am a MUST visit farm.  I am thrilled, honored, PROUD, and GREATEFUL but in order for my business to survive I need YOU!  

Livie is now riding her bike without training wheels.  She actually removed them herself.  My Autie has decided she wants to learn how to tie her shoes.  She is not yet 4, but she does not want to be outdone by her sister.  We also spent the week getting Livie’s immunization records up to date for kindergarten and getting some of the necessary doctor visits out of the way. 

Next week we have a few fun days planned.  We have back to school shopping and a trip to the Lincoln Zoo and the Lincoln Children’s Museum scheduled.  Because we are making the back to school scramble we WILL NOT DELIVER THIS week and the following week Livie starts Kindergarten.  I have decided that week will be devoted to my girls and getting our house ready for back to school.  We will be available for on-farm sales by appointment.  You will also find us covering our Sunday market at Old Cheney.   I hope everyone can understand the Mom in me needs to invest in my girls as this summer draws to a close. 

My thoughts of gratitude for the week are focused on the sweet rain and the cooler temperatures.  We will be headed to church in a few hours and I will generously offer my prayers of gratitude.  I am grateful for my farmer hubby who to date is my best handy man, and best customer.  I am also grateful for my two giggly girls who stole what few strawberries I had to pick and put them in their PLAY refrigerator.  I am also grateful that I was able to find the amusement offered by the discovery of the mess created.  Finally I am grateful for my loyal customers who visit or order from me each week.  I have two gentlemen whose tomatoes will be waiting for them tomorrow morning because I know they will be there first thing!  GRATITUDE.  J

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The Dawn of a New Week

This past week was a rough one for L’Ecuyer Gardens.  On Thursday we received notification we are to no longer use rural water to water our garden.  This request is a result of the current drought conditions.  We do have a private well, but it will not meet our current needs and so some things will be touch and go.  Saturday night we did receive a surprise rain which was WONDERFUL, but at this point 1 inch will not change much.  I am tired and worried.   

I have lots of tomatoes and cantaloupe, zucchini and yellow squash.  I also have some beautiful leeks.  We have LOTS of canning tomatoes and we have now opened what is left of our sweet corn up for u-pick.  It you want to save big, jump in!!!!  while you are here, pick up some canning tomatoes, cucumbers and whatever else you cannot resist. 

I am also busy trying to make plans for our fall garden.  I am concerned about the water issue so I am trying to think through my options before I make decisions, but the time is upon us.  I am also trying to make plans for next summer.  For my loyal customer chance, s this is the time to offer you thoughts on what you want to have available.  I will start buying my seeds in November and so let me know.  MY garden is your garden!  It is my hope you will be able to find everything you need. 

Despite the heat in the near future I will have Brussels sprouts and possibly some green beans and cabbage. 

Tomorrow will be dedicated to dehydrating corn and freezing peppers and some other canning. 

For now we still have great selection.  If you are looking for canning tomatoes, let me know!!!!  I have a lot of tomatoes at the moment.  The online store is now open.  Please go to:  http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/weblog and view our availability and make your selections by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.  Give us a chance.  Our selection is good, our quality is very high and our prices are reasonable. 

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The Blessings of the Week

I spent most of the day in the Masonic Temple Parking Lot in Marysville, KS and it was an okay day despite the heat.  Tom and the girls surprised me with a visit and yes I had both girls out waiving to cars for a short period of time.  Again I am running low on quarters, but that is a good problem to have.

This week has had many great moments.  My nephew Lane came to visit for a few days.  He will be a senior in high school this year and he is becoming a fine young man.  He was an awesome kid and I loved watching him play with my girls.  He has been gone for a day and a half and my girls REALLY MISS him. I do too.  My brother’s kids are pretty awesome too and would love it if they could come visit for a few days too!!!!!  I LOVE AND MISS YOU GUYS ALL THE TIME. 

I also learned I have a fan.  Tish introduced herself as someone who has been following me this season and today we met.  I never thought of my blog as something interesting enough to be worth following.  I only hope she enjoys the cantaloupe.  I am flattered. 

I still have several very nice cantaloupe ready to sell and there will be many more by the weekend.  I am also running long on cucumbers, squash and canning tomatoes.  My slicing tomatoes looked really good today.  The heat has been rough on everything so I am grateful to be able to still offer some nice big juicy slicing tomatoes.  My sweet corn is dwindling and the preorders I have in place may very well end my season.  We do have one batch that was planted quite a bit later, but we need the heat to ease up for it to have a chance. 

For Thursday, along with the cantaloupe, I will also have yellow slicing tomatoes and several really nice beefsteak, eggplant, okra and lots and lots of peppers.  If you are looking for something truly wonderful, you need to ask me about my strawberry crabapples.  They are golden with a slight blush.  Unlike most crabapples, these are tart but sweet apples are wonderful fresh.  They would make an outstanding cobbler or pie and just the thought of it sounds so good I may make one for Tom and the girls this weekend.  My peaches are starting to ripen and so I should have some with me at Old Cheney this weekend.  Before too much longer I will have Colorado peaches and apples. 

Don’t tell Livie and Autie but my friend Sandy from Filley, NE is making them princess costumes.  They will serve as the first installment to their dress up box and this year’s Halloween costumes.  Livie has never been able to wear the princess dress in the toy isle…they are just too small.  This dress will be made to fit her.  She loves to dress up and I hope this will be an extra special surprise for her.  I am now in search of long satin gloves, crowns and princess slippers.  I am also in search of a trunk to warehouse everything.  Livie’s will be pink and purple and will look a lot like Cinderella.  Autie’s is yellow and orange and will look a lot like Bell’s.  Sandi is also working on a custom handbag for me.  I have enjoyed the first bag so much that as I move into fall I want another.  She is working on a design that will also double as computer case for a laptop or tablet.  When finished I will have a one-of-a-kind bag that will be made to meet my specific needs.  In the end it will likely not cost much more than a better case from Staples.   The difference is that mine will make its own unique statement and will be mistakenly MINE. 

The weather remains difficult for us all and your prayers for rain are needed more than ever.  In addition to a prayer for rain, I also ask you petition for cooler temperatures.  We all need it.  As a farmer the weather is your friend and it is also your enemy, but there are an awful lot of people who are severely impacted by our current weather patterns.

The store is open until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.  To order, please go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/weblog and make your selections.  I hope you will give me a try.  The quality is very high.  The prices a reasonable and it will be delivered right to your door for you to enjoy. 

My thoughts of gratitude today are focused on people who find something worth following in the ramblings of a Kansas produce farmer.   Thank you Tish!!!!!   Have a fresh and fabulous rest of the week.  ave Ha

 
 

We Are Packed and Ready to GO!!!!

This week has been yet another whirlwind.  We have been very busy selling sweet corn, meeting with potential wholesale customers and picking cantaloupe, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and so much more.  My nephew Lane from Missouri came to spend a few days.  He is not 17 and in so many ways he is a grown man.  I still remember him as a baby and have enjoyed catching up with him.  He will come with me tomorrow to the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

This week I have begun working on my newest project.  I am working on a line of take and bake family dinners made from mostly fresh ingredients.  I have several recipes that I am taste testing. This project is more for this fall and then if it works out I would like to offer each week through my online store and farmers markets.  If you have a good recipe that you think would make a great take and bake, I would love to give it a try. 

This week we will have a nice selection of tomatoes red and yellow slicing tomatoes as well as some beautiful heirlooms.  I have several nice beefsteak and my great whites look wonderful.  We will also have sweet corn, leeks, mint, parsley, and Tabouli kits. 

I hope to see you in the morning at Old Cheney!

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Ears and Ears of Sweet Corn!

We have sweet corn running out our ears… literally.  It is cross-pollinated between Peaches & Cream and Ambrosia and it is so good.  There is a lot of sweet corn out there but do not be fooled.  Ours is better.  Livie and I spent the morning and most of the afternoon pedaling sweet corn and we will have gobs of it for sale Thursday.  You should have seen my Livie today!  She stood near the turn off for our spot and held our sign and waived customers in.  She was a little half-hearted until the first car pulled in then she kicked it into high gear.  I paid her a quarter per car.  I am out of quarters.  LOL.  We were so hot on the ride home that neither of us felt too well but we had corn so we had to make several stops on the way home to off-load the rest.  It must be really hard to tell her know because she sold A LOT of corn today.   I am excited because I had several people express interest in my online store and I hope they will place orders for Thursday.  One already has!!!!  This year has been slow to build, but hopefully it will continue.  I made my first delivery to the Haddam café with some of my farm market Sunday leftovers and my tomatoes will be a part of their taco night tonight!!!! 

We were so hot when we finally came home; we just sat in the living room for a bit.  It was so hot out there today, but that is part of the joy of living in Kansas.  I will take the heat, but we are in still great need of rain.  Your continued prayers are again requested. 

While at the market we had a lot of time to talk and I faced some difficult questions about death and when I will die.  My daughter is worried she may lose me before she is finished being a little girl.  All I could say was that God was in charge of that decision and that I pray it is his plan that I die a very old lady.  She seemed comforted, but I wonder why she worries about such a thing.  There are plenty of other things for a five-year-old little girl to worry about.  It is moments like these that make me feel completely incompetent as a parent. 

Autie spent the day with Daddy and the girls who were good as gold the entire day by themselves were fighting within minutes of coming home.  I think they missed each other.  LOL

Because we have so much corn, I have added new increments for sweet corn to our online store.  I have it by the ear, half dozen and five dozen.   I also forgot to mention I will have a few cantaloupe this week.  They will sell FAST so JUMP in if you want one!!!! 

Tonight for dinner we enjoyed yet another one-pan meal that was pulled together based on our farm market extras.   It was a little bit of ground hamburger, a few sliced okra a few snap peas, a small amount of corn and macaroni with mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning.  We also enjoyed another Great White tomato.  You have no idea what you are missing out on.  These tomatoes are so sweet you should probably consider them dessert.  Both of my girls LOVE them.  We had a huge plate of tomatoes… some were pink, others brown… some were white and then there were orange and yellow.  Each one has a different flavor but because they are heirloom varieties ALL had flavor.  We are eating a lot of tomatoes right now and it makes it more fun when we offer several colors at each meal.  There are even a few left over for my lunch tomorrow. 

The L’Ecuyer Gardens online store is open until 5:00 p.m. Wednesday.  Ordering is easy all you need to do is go to  http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net.  I will deliver to your home an office on Thursday.  I hope you had a fresh and fabulous Tuesday and I also hope to visit you with a bursting bag of fresh produce on Thursday.  Take care. 

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We Are Up and Running Again

It is Monday evening and I am finally updating my online store for the week.  I am sorry for being so tardy, but today was BUSY.  Livie and I both had eye exams and I am now at that point in my life where I need bifocals.  I am not excited… especially when you factor in the cost of the new lenses.  Better news Livie’s eyes are in great shape for the first day of Kindergarten.  Autie spent the afternoon with Grandma Betty and she enjoyed being the only one with Grandma. 

Yesterday I had a wonderful thing happen, I met the executive chef of an upscale restaurant in Lincoln and he was in love with MY tomatoes!  That is wonderful news.  I am estatic at the possibility of selling to them.  Today I also visited with the cook at a local café who will feature my produce in her weekly menu in the weeks to come.  She is one of two people today to take advantage of my fresh from the farm Mondays where I offer everyone a chance to buy Sunday leftovers at significantly reduced prices.  For those who love fresh produce but would like to save some money, you need to stop by on Mondays. 

This week I have plenty of peppers, eggplant, TOMATOES, sweet corn, peaches and crabapples.  I will double check on Wednesday but at the moment I will not have green beans, but more are coming.  

In the weeks to come I will have several types of watermelon, honey dew and Crenshaw melons. 

The heat has set in and it has been difficult to get very much done.  Before I plant much it really does need to cool down.  We are also in desperate need of rain and once again ask each of you to take a moment and offer a silent prayer.  The lack of rain is becoming serious and the high temps are making the situation worse.  Our pastures are running out of grass and the ponds and creeks and each are also starting to dry up.  Our corn crop is already gone and our soybeans are in trouble.  We have only out up a third of the hay that will be needed this fall and winter and that is scary.  Please pray for rain and pray for all farmers to receive the needed rain. 

My girls are busy enjoying their trampoline.  The temps are a little cooler and the sun has gone down enough to offer a little relief.  From my computer I can watch them play and I love watching them when they do not realize I am there.  My girls are crazy and a lot of fun to watch. 

The store will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday.  Ordering is easy all you need to do is go to  http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net.  I will deliver to your home an office on Thursday.  v
 
 
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