L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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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. 

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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. 

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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! 

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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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