L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
[ Member listing ]

See You in the Morning at the Old Cheney!!!!

The past few days have been busy at L’Ecuyer Gardens.  Keeping up is proving difficult.  This week the girls have kept me running with t-ball games and swimming lessons and I have kept busy planting, picking and WEEDING.  We have had several decent rains lately and with the rains have come the weeds!!!!  I did manage to find enough time to get a VERY long overdue haircut. 

This Sunday you will find me at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market from 10:00am to 2:00pm and my car will be very full!!!  I have some beautiful slicing tomatoes, lots and lots of cherry tomatoes of every color, chili peppers, potatoes and blackberries.  Tonight I also picked my first pick of green beans and they are beautiful.   Also in tow zucchini, yellow squash, Swiss chard, collard greens, onions, cabbage, and kale.  I will also have Tabouli kits, hard red winter wheat berries and wheat bouquets.  I will also have eggs.  This week will likely be the last week I will bring bedding plants and I still have several lovely sweet potato vines in all three colors. 

When you stop by you will have to ask me about my laundry soap box.  The box is filled with a very pretty moss that for me holds a lot of history.  I do not know its name but it traces back within my family to my great grandpa’s farm nestled in the Ozark Mountains not too far from Caboul Missouri.  When my great grandparents moved to town they took a little with them and planted it at their home in town.  My grandma has that vine in her flower beds and my mother has it in hers.  I now have it at my farm.  For me the vine is so much more than effective way to carpet an area within a garden.  It is also a way for me to think of people whom I love but are too far way to hug.  It also serves as a gentle reminder that while I do now call the Kansas prairie home at my core I am still a Missouri Hillbilly.  My great grandma was the type of person who always gave you a small gift of some sort when you left her home.  T is very hardy and easy to transplant.  For me this is one way of keeping that tradition alive.  If you would like a cutting just ask. 

I hope you will come by and see me tomorrow.  I have some very nice produce.    If you cannot make remember you can also request a midweek delivery by going to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/ to place yours. The store closes at 5:00 p.m. today and I will begin my deliveries first thing in the morning.v
 
 

New Roads Bring Change

Today is Wednesday and I will be headed to Manhattan to deliver to my drop customers, including People’s Grocery.  I will also hang around at Peoples for the farmers market from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  With me I will have an abundance of summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, potatoes, peas, pole beans, kale, and collard greens and then there are my berries… some sour cherries, choke cherries, gooseberries, wild raspberries, regular and wild black berries and mulberries.  I may have forgotten to mention the tomatoes.  I will have some nice salad tomatoes, orange parchute and I hope to have one full basket of red cherries.  The cherry tomatoes are on their way.  Next week I should have the first of my European Snowberry tomatoes and you have no idea how good a tomato can be until you try one. 

If there is something on this list that sounds really yummy reserving yours is now very easy to do.  You can go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/ and place your order.  Orders are filled in the order they are received.  My new online ordering system will help you and me keep up on availability.  In time I will be able to accept debit and credit cards and will always willingly collect at the time of delivery.  It is a really easy system to use, so go ahead give it a try.    

Tuesday was spent picking berries and I found another new road.  It is a pretty good road and most things are fairly easy to get to.  There are a lot of raspberries and blackberries. The girls and I headed out again Tuesday evening and yes we returned to the sand road.  The girls love that road and tonight busied themselves my making Big Foot tracks in the sand.  It was a little windy and so everything rustled and while we enjoyed our visit we were all ready to leave.  We were all feeling a little vulnerable.

Tom now expects to be finished with wheat harvest today.  This is a very crazy week and between markets and t-ball games Father’s Day is more than full.  The girls and I need to find an opportunity to celebrate before then.   Tom is an awesome daddy and that is something worth celebrating.

My thoughts of gratitude focus on the thankfulness for the road less taken.  Had I not been willing to go down an entirely new road, I never would have met Tom, or would have had my girls.   The woman I was 10 years ago and the woman I am today look similar but I no longer see her in me.  Then I rarely wore jeans or any type of denim, today I rarely wear anything else.  My nails used to be perfect and they are always a wreck anymore.  Then you saw a big smile hiding an incredibly lonely and lost person.  The loneliness has been filled with Tom and the girls and a business that gives me an opportunity to meet so many new people each week.  The road has been bumpy and at times very difficult, but in the end it was the road worth taking and what a difference it has made.  Gratitude!
 
 

The Birds, Bees and Hazards of Wild Fruit

This morning started with a visit to the pea patch.  The current rows are nearly finished.  I sold most of what was picked today already and will hopefully have some for Sunday.  I have two more rows that are just starting to flower and if everything works out, I will have peas for another three weeks. 

Afterwards I decided to go on the hunt for some new mulberry hot spots.  I need a lot of mulberries for tomorrow and it was unlikely my normal route would yield enough.  One of the very best parts of picking wild fruit are the unexpected surprises you will find.  It is still way too early for most of my finds, but this year’s weather is anything but normal.  I first found choke cherries.  I spent most of my life believing they were poisonous.  They are just really sour.  I use them to make pancake syrup and YUM!  The next find was a new mile long stretch of mulberries mixed in with a black berry bramble and an assortment of red and black raspberries.  SCORE!!  It gets better.  Since I moved to Kansas I have been in search of gooseberries.  I have seen evidence of their existence but could never find their window of ripeness.  Today, I hit the window perfectly.  For three years I have promised my grandpa I would make him a batch of mulberry/ gooseberry jam.  This year is the year.  He turned 90 in May so hopefully this will be the perfect late birthday gift.  I hope everyone understands why those berries are not for sale.   

While out I found one more treasure, wild cherries. I also found a few wild black berries.  Tom may be able to cut wheat tomorrow after all.  ;) I noticed the sand plums are out in full force and I found evidence of what may be wild grapes for later this summer.  Wild grapes are almost unheard of anymore so I am particularly interested in seeing if I have truly found Big Foot.  The past few years we have had late May freezes and a lot of the fruit has not materialized.  There is a lot of wild fruit this year.  My jelly making and pie baking customers will be so happy.   

Picking wild fruit is not for sissies.  It can be grueling, even dangerous at times, but I love it.  I wear my wounds with pride.  Things like wild cherries, mulberries and chokecherries offer hazards such as unhappy blue jays and bees protecting what they believe to be theirs.  Bees are a double-edged sword.  I need bees to pollenate my produce, but I am slightly allergic.  With bees the best defense is to walk away for a bit and then come back.  I also avoid wearing colors that are common to flowers and I do not wear perfumes or scented deodorant.  I always ask myself three questions when dealing with bees: 1.) how badly do I want the fruit; 2.) how persistent is the bee; and 3.) do I actually have my cell phone with me.  My dtermination is determined by the answers to those questions. 

Blackberries are thorny and usually in the wild will be along a steep embankments.  I fell today coming down one bank.  I was alone on a road nobody goes down.  Don’t worry I did not land on the fruit.  Gooseberries are more than thorny.  If you were to rake your arm across a gooseberry thorn you would likely walk away with a serious injury.  Black raspberries are a whole other matter…snakes.  I hate snakes but I have found the high pitched scream as you run in the opposite direction technique to work about as well as anything. 

The final hazards lie within the actual roads.  The best fruit can always be found on the worst roads and I am the insane woman traveling down these roads, usually in our sedan.  We are way over due for rain and I was on a SAND road.  Tom has received that call many times over the years.  He is to the point he just expects it.  At one point today my tire sank so deeply into the sand I was about to call.  God found favor on me and I decided after that to find a new road. 

The final rule to always remember ... even the most remote roads will turn into well travel highways at the worst possible moments.  Parking cars on the wrong side of a blind hill is danger waiting to happen.  I have also noticed when Mother Nature calls and I decide I can no longer wait, somebody will come by…Every time. 

This afternoon was spent picking a few tomatoes and what are likely the last of my sour cherries.  I also watered a few things.  While I fixed supper the girls discovered that my blueberry bushes are fruiting.  They looked like gerbils.  These bushes were planted last fall and I will not have any fruit to sell until next summer, but the blue berries are coming. 

When I am alone I pursue some of the more difficult areas and save the easy picks for when my girls are with me.  Tonight Autie went with me while Livie hung out with Tom.  I learn a lot about my girls in moments like these.  We brought our Minnie Mouse scooter with us and yes got it out every time we stopped.  There is a bird that when it sings it sounds remarkably like a kitten crying.  We have had very bad luck with our kittens this year and the yellow kitten has vanished.  We have prayed for yellow kitty's safe return the past few nights.  Autie swore that bird was yellow kitty and she was going to walk through neck high weeds to save it.  I am torn in moments like these.  Tom and I both know that kitten will never come home because it died.  The girls cried so hard when the first two past we could not bring ourselves admit it.  I still don’t know how I manage to coax Autie out of the weeds, but finally we moved on to a new set of trees. 

Autie is so looking forward to mulberry cereal in the morning.  She worked hard and has earned a few berries.  The most boring of cheerios magically take on a new life with a few mulberries.  I love that kid.  We pulled into the driveway at bedtime and Livie was climbing out of the combine.  Everyone will be crabby in the morning. 

Most of the fruit picked today will delivered to my drop customers and to People’s in Manhattan, KS tomorrow.  I will hang around tomorrow night to sell a little more, plus some romaine lettuce, collard greens, fresh herbs, hanging baskets and bedding plants.  I hope you will stop by.  If you live in Nebraska, it is not too late to add yourself to my delivery list.  My prices are very reasonable and my quality is outstanding.  If you are thinking about it, go ahead and give us a try. 

 
 

The Waiting Game & The Frustrations of Modern Technology

I am frustrated this afternoon.  I have found a handy and inexpensive way to create an online ordering system and the system does not like my name.  I understand, but it is still my name.  I have sent my questions and or comments and I am waiting.  Frustrated!  Technology is a blessing and at the moment I want to throw my computer out the window.  There are more ways than ever to communicate to people and I am trying to use all of them and I cannot afford a smart phone which have been told will simplify my life.  I was told that about email too.  Frustrated.  J

Yesterday was a BIG day and today I am tired.  It started with my market at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE and my tobouli kits were popular.  I sold out and I even sold extra parsley and mint which are typically not easy to sell.  I came very close to selling out of everything which is a good feeling.  Now I just need to bring more. 

My friend Sandi from Filley, NE.  I asked Sandi to design and make a pick apron for me.  She delivered it to the market on Sunday and it is so cool.  It has a set of three pockets that will allow for large picks and prevent crushing.  It also has a wide and padded neck.  I am still fighting my cameras and will post pictures soon, but to my fellow growers who want something that will simply the harvest you will be more than interested.  She also designs purses and is a true whiz at the sewing machine.  She is now offering sewing classes too!

Tom and his brother Joe have been attempting to cut wheat…a little each day but my blackberries simply insist it is not time.  I have one berry starting to slightly turn purple.  My prediction is they will be able to begin cutting Thursday and I will likely begin picking berries the same day.  Tom is amused by my predictions but not convinced.  That’s okay.  I will remind him of my prediction on Thursday. 

Autie had her second blast ball game and she was a little timid and unsure of herself this time.  Usually her big sister is right there bossing her around and she is figuring things out on her own.  She is doing just fine.  Livie had a makeup game and we did not skip around the base line last night, but we casually jogged.  I think some things were said by her team mates because as she fell asleep last night she said she was sorry and would run faster next time.  My heart hurt a little for her.  I know being the big sister hard.  You have to figure out everything yourself.  Livie is like me in that she has to mess it up before she figures things out.  I need to remember how hard that was for me at times.  I will say she has an awesome swing and she knows how to keep the shortstop VERY busy.   That ball is fast and JUST barely inside the line.  She is doing just fine. 

Today I watered everything and began planting a new round of onion sets.  I have sold a lot of onions and would have sold a lot more at this point if more were in the ground.  I also need to find time to get some basil plants in the ground.

The tomatoes are still taking their time, but I am now picking my new red fig which is a cherry-sized heirloom that resembles to yellow pear.   I also see some chocolate cherry cherries starting to blush a little.  My Italian tree tomatoes are starting to ripen too and those are looking like nice tomatoes.  They are bigger than my Stupica tomatoes but still not huge.  I personally think smaller tomatoes have more flavor.  I also see my beefsteak tomatoes are getting close to size and will soon start to blush.  I have gobs of yellow beefsteak, but no signs of ripening so whenever they hit I will have A LOT.  My white, orange, pink and black tomatoes will take a little longer, but will be for sale before you know it.   I also notice my chili peppers are starting to fruit and with a little luck will be ready for Father’s Day weekend.  YEAH!!!!  I will have bell peppers soon after that.  My colored bells, and other peppers will take a little longer. 

If I do not have squash and cucumbers for sale by Wednesday I will definitely have some for sale next Sunday and I am ready.  The green beans are about to flower and my leeks are huge. 

Tonight I will plant a few more strawberry plants for fall fruit and some more leeks, and the last of the eggplant for the season.  I have a short row that at this point is empty and I am looking for some fun new things to try.  I am still looking. 

Wheat harvest is all but here so I plan to cut a few bundles of wheat in its stalks to sell as dried flowers for my markets this week.  I love wheat.  It is so pretty when it is green but as it ripens it is breathtaking.  The colors range from like gold/ almost white to dark bronze.  I fell in love with Tom and the life he offered me as a farm wife during wheat harvest.  Nearly nine years later I still love wheat harvest… and Tom.  We have brothers, cousins, friends, sometimes strangers… they all want to pitch in.  Some take vacation time to come work for free.   We are talking some seriously long hours.  There is something truly romantic about this time of the year.   I think it is partly the beauty but also the camaraderie.  The banter and yes sometimes the episodes of Tom and Joe rolling around in the parking lot biting each other’s ear because neither has slept much in days and are a little crabby.  I am not making any of that up.  At 42 and 45 they still fight like kid brothers.  Anybody who has ever worked closely with family instinctively understands how animated these fights can be.  They also understand there is only one rule.  Be mad if you like but get over it because you will sit across from that ugly mug at the next family gathering.    

In the morning I will pick peas and mulberries and the girls and I will likely pick more mulberries tomorrow night.  I have several large orders to fill for the week and it takes A LOT of mulberries to get anywhere.  Mulberries remain a very popular item. 

My words of gratitude focus on the importance of family.  My brother in law is a maddening person to be around, but he has also pulled me out of a ditch, repaired multiple flat tires and is good with my girls …so maybe he is not so bad.  I am also grateful for patient customers who are also waiting for the tomato bumper crop.v
 
 

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend was nice.  I did not go to my markets.  The crowds are usually low and my produce was not quite there.  This was our chance to have a little calm before the summer madness. 

Livie’s big news we have now lost our second tooth on the bottom and she whistles a little when she talks.  The second tooth broke a little as it came out and the Tooth Fairy missed the broken piece? And yes Livie was just fine with that because she figured out all she had to do was put it under her pillow and enjoy a two for one!!!  I am proud of my daughter’s entrepreneurial instincts but I need to have a chat with the Tooth Fairy.  ;) The two new teeth are coming through and she has been a little crabby lately.  I am reminded of when her first set came in.  That was rough on everyone!  This time a little crabby is much easier. 

For lunch we enjoyed a meal from our own efforts…  steak with creamed peas and potatoes, salad and yes we enjoyed it with vine ripened tomatoes, radishes, green onions.  I love it when I can put a meal in front of my family knowing exactly where it came from - US.  Love it!  We even enjoyed a few fresh strawberries for dessert.  It is a strange year.  I am serving the first of our peas and potatoes AND the first of our garden fresh, vine ripened tomatoes of the season in the same meal.  I did not know that was possible.  We tried a new radish last night called a Zlata radish.  It is pale yellow and do not let that fool you.  It was HOT.  Yumo!

Autie had her first blast ball practice last night and she LOVED it.  All the way there she said over and over, “now you can watch me!”  If Livie knocked the snot out of her first ball then my Autie will be crowned Chief Knock a Homer!  That ball flew.  If you ever want to thoroughly enjoy youth sports and giggle shamelessly you should watch 3 and 4 year olds play t-ball…The tears, the running, the shrieks of joy.  I the parents had a blast.  Tom and I sure did.

We came home last night and did something a little overdue.  We cleaned.  Tom tackled the kitchen, the girls worked on their rooms and then volunteered to vacuum the living room (like I am going to say no) and I battled both bathrooms and put laundry away.  We have brown carpeting – who knew?  Livie and Autie promised to keep it clean (we will see) and we celebrated with some popcorn I bought from by vendor neighbor at the Old Cheney Farmers Market.  It was red kernel corn and tasty! 

Today was spent putting in a second row each of zucchini and yellow squash and sweet potatoes.  I am trying something new this year in an effort to reduce the presence of the squash beetle I am planting sweet potatoes with my squash plants.  I figure if it works this could be a really good deal since it will yield two different crops throughout the season.  The girls spent the day with their Grandma Betty so Tom and I had a date for lunch.  It was nice to be able to have an entire conversation.  J  Tonight I will lay down another couple of rows of mulch and either plant honey dew melon or leeks.  In the morning I begin preparing for my Wednesday deliveries and the farmers market in Manhattan, Kansas.  My deliveries are starting to pick up and I am very happy about that.  In a perfect world I could have enough deliveries lined up between Wednesday and Thursday that I can go to Livie’s t-ball game.  If it does not work out I will be at the Friday game with bells on. 

If you are thinking about giving us a try, you should.  Call, email, or find me on Facebook and if you are along one of my delivery routes I will gladly stop by.  If you are a little out of route call anyway because you never know… otherwise I hope to see you either Wednesday night at the Manhattan City Farmers Market at Cico Park, Manhattan, KS or on Sunday at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE.  We also have on-farm hours and make ourselves available at other times by appointment so we are pretty convenient.  We have great produce and great prices.  The standard for quality… I raise it for you and package it for you as if I will actually feed it to my family and that is a VERY high standard. 

My thoughts of gratitude today... are of first thankfulness that the hot dry winds seem to have dwindled.  We are still in great need of rain but the week to come promises cooler weather is greatly appreciated.  I am also grateful for the kind words some of my customers have taken time to write on my Facebook business page.  Gratitude!

 
 

The Connectedness of Wheat and Blackberries

I know you are probably wondering what I am drinking, but the two have beautiful relationship on our farm.  We are usually offering predictions for the first day of wheat harvest beginning in early June and don’t start cutting until the end of the month.  If we are lucky we are finished in time to enjoy the Fourth of July.  The black berries begin to flower about the same time we are making our first predictions and usually have ripened and run their course by the end of harvest.  This holds true not only for the berries we raise commercially but also the berries we find in the wild.  Every year wheat harvest may be off by a week or more one way or the other and every year the blackberries seem to know. 

This year is no exception and it is one worth pausing for, you see it is May 13 and we have been offering wheat harvest predictions for nearly three weeks and my bushes are loaded with flowers and green berries.  Today I noticed some of them are slightly red.  I will be picking blackberries in two weeks.  The fields of wheat have been beautiful seas of green and last night on my way to my pasture picnic, I noticed it is starting to turn a light golden color.  I predict we will start harvest on or before June 1 (almost an entire month early).  Even this year the wheat and blackberries have synchronized their internal clocks. 

Blackberry cobbler is heavenly and my reasoning is because they are so closely connected and to me this relationship is the story of hubby and me.  Other than a short stint in college, Tom has lived his entire life on this farm.  He is a true country boy in every way.  Tom farms conventionally.  He is the type of farmer too many try to cast in an ugly light because he has worked hard and figured out how make farming his career.  He raises cattle and corn, wheat and soy beans.  He is an honest man and if you were ever stranded in a dark alley late at night he is the guy you hope will come by.  He has a gentle smile and a voice that always manages to calm my inner worries.  He knows who he his only want is for a happy and healthy family.  It is very easy to please him. 

I am a city gal and as a young child and again later in my early adult years I moved a lot.  My dad hit the bricks when I was young and I was in my teens before there was an adult man in my life who treated me as a daughter.  That gap created an insecure person.  I always assume that there is something about me that is repulsive to the world.  I have always had major trust issues with all people, but men especially.  I know at times I am a difficult person to want to love, but Tom makes it look easy.  For that I am grateful.  I used to live in an urban/ suburban area and enjoyed a career and a life that did not involve dirt, cows, or the late night four-legged visitor.  I enjoyed the frequent purchase of new clothes and new shoes and my idea of farming was 5 tomato plants and a honeysuckle bush.  Since moving to Kansas I have tried to be a farmer.  I love playing in the dirt but must confess I don’t always know what I am doing.  Tom is the one who helps me figure things out and at times does the work I am physically unable to do.    He makes it look easy. 

At first glance you could assume that Tom and I could not possibly have any common ground and yet the only thing that has made since in my life since we first met was making sure I am next to him.  There has been a connectedness between us that is hard to put into words, but somehow belongs together.  We are wheat and blackberries.  For that I am grateful. 

Today I cleaned all bedding plants from my tunnel and I hope within the next few weeks most will find new homes.  If not, they will end up in my compost pile.  Today we put down mulch eight new rows and tomorrow I will begin planting… bell peppers, chili peppers, eggplant, artichokes, Asian cucumbers, okra, cabbage, and lettuce.  Tom also planted a few rows of cannellini beans.  Wednesday is t-ball practice for Livie, grocery store and drop box deliveries and my farmer’s market night in Manhattan.  Thursday, I will make deliveries to Beatrice and will help my girl’s preschool plant their summer garden.   Friday the girls and I will go check for mulberries and hopefully will SCORE.  There is lots of good stuff that will come from L’Ecuyer Gardens.  Check back with us to find out what type of goodness is waiting for you. 

v
 
 
RSS feed for L Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader

Calendar


Search


Navigation


Topics


Feeds


BlogRoll