A Day in the Life
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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
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.
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
Posted by Twilya
@ 03:18 PM CDT
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!
Posted by Twilya
@ 12:28 AM CDT
It is already 1:00 a.m. and I have to get up extra early in
the morning so this will be short and sweet.
Tonight was our last t-ball game of the year. We did not win, but we worked pretty well as
a team throughout the game. My Livie
will miss her favorite part which is the line where everyone shakes everyone’s
hand. I love that kid. My Autie will miss her new friends (the
younger siblings of other teammates) too.
Tom and I are exhausted, relieved and already talking about next
year. We work all of the time and t-ball
while at times difficult to juggle in terms of scheduling, gave us an escape. We need to find a new one. As a family we spend a lot of time together already, but with t-ball we spent a portion of that time socializing with other families and making new friends... something we do not do enough of.
In the morning I hope to see you at the Old Cheney Road
Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The weather should be much cooler and I think
that is worth a celebration in itself. I
will have a ton of stuff available: SWEET
CORN, green beans, snap peas, okra, slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and an entire
rainbow of heirloom slicers. I will also
have some eggplant, peppers, onions, Tabouli kits, potatoes and lots of
cucumbers, zucchini, and yellow squash. I
will also have a few blackberries.
If you have not yet said your prayers, pray for rain. As much as I am counting on selling what I bring, we need the rain MORE.
produce is fresh and ready for you. I
hope to see you there!!! Good
Posted by Twilya
@ 01:16 AM CDT
It rained and they say more is coming. Tom is relieved … so am I. It came softly and the clouds moved in and so
most of it is soaking in. We still need
more but this was as close to a perfect rain as it probably gets. For now the stress over our fall crops has
The last few days have been busy. Wednesday and Thursday was spent making
deliveries and on my way home Thursday I bought a whicker desk from a customer having
a moving sale. Livie is starting kindergarten
this fall and I thought it was a perfect gift.
She had a small one and she gave it to Autie. Livie has filled the drawer with crayons and
paper and moved her lamp to the desk.
She has a place to work on her drawings and in time her homework. She is very smart and I want her to WANT to
do well. Her life path is her own, but experience
has taught me very well you never really know when you will need to reinvent
yourself. A solid education and a love
for learning are more than a little helpful in that situation.
I have a young man helping me this summer who came out for
the first time Friday. He is taking Drivers
Ed at school and in a few weeks will have his learners permit. In past years he has walked milo fields for Tom
so I know he will work hard. He spent
the day helping me trim back my tomato plants and fertilize them. I picked blackberries, tomatoes, cucumbers
Last night the girls and I took Tom to see Madagascar III. WE ALL LOVED IT. As an early Father’s Day we also gave him his
new BBQ U guide and some new grill tools then celebrated with Chinese food. Sunday the girls will grill hot dogs and take
Tom fishing while I am at the Old Cheney Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from
10:0 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
This morning Tom and the girls planted the last of my fall
squash and pumpkins and I cleaned out my lettuce bed and planted strawberries,
leeks, lavender, basil and sorrel. I
also weeded my strawberry beds and picked beets and radishes for tomorrow. After lunch I will sow another cilantro bed
and plant some late tomatoes. I will
also check on my peppers to see if anything is ready. We are at least close. Tonight is church followed by a frenzied last
dash until dark to pick what I can… likely the kale, Swiss chard, onions and possibly
strawberries. With the rain has come WEEDS
and next week promises to keep us all very busy. For the first time in several weeks we will
need to mow. We mowed three times and
April and not once in May. Strange year…
With the rain came what is likely the end of the wild fruit. Most of my best roads will not be passable in
our car for several days and by then will likely over ripened. That is the ecstasy and agony of wild
fruit. The fruit is free to those who
crave it, but it sometimes it can be just out of reach. Don’t worry as soon as the roads are good I
will at least go check. On some of my
roads I found another truly coveted find… elderberries. I love it all, but I do not have ANY picked
and I am compelled to at least try. If
we miss the elderberries we still need to come back for sand plums later this
fall and then there is always the possibility of wild grapes.
The good news is this week will likely be my bumper crop of
blackberries here at the farm. I have
picked a bunch and they will be waiting for you along with cabbage, hopefully
some green beans, potatoes, tabouli kits, tomatoes, kale, collard greens and
still some more things yet to be found. It
will be a late night I am sure, but I am glad there is finally enough to pick. Come by and visit my booth tomorrow and let
me know what you think. For those who cannot make to Old Cheney tomorrow,
you also have the option for a mid-week delivery by using my online store at http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/. The store will be update Monday and in the
weeks to come there will be lots of changes and additions to the store.
My statement of gratitude is for the wonderful rain and for
a husband who in my opinion is the WORLD’S BEST DADDY.
Posted by Twilya
@ 01:54 PM CDT
Sunday morning Autie woke up at 2:30 a.m. (as I was hoping
to finally go to bed) with a fever and throwing up. With Tom in the midst of wheat harvest I was
unable to make it to the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE. Normally Tom would have the girls spend the
day with him in the combine and playing in the fields, but that was not going to work for Autie. I hate missing my markets, but Autie needed
me. She barely ate anything until 4:00
a.m. this morning when she woke up demanding breakfast. L
So you can imagine I have not had very much sleep the past two days. On the plus side, for those who live nearby,
I have a lot of produce available on farm at really good prices, so stop by.
Autie is feeling better, but her germs were passed to
me. I can only hope to rebound as
quickly as she did. Despite feeling under the weather I did manage to get a few
things done today.
I cleaned up some of my seed trays and added the dead plant
material to my current compost pile. The
pile is really growing which is good. We are learning as we go about
compost, but are finding the effort to be worthwhile. We are fairly remote and buying compost is expensive,
especially when you factor in transportation.
When you really think about it, there is no need for us to go off
farm. We just need to learn what we need
to know. Who knows in time we may get to
the point we have compost for sale.
Building up organic matter is important for produce farms... especially if you are trying to use organic growing practices. Organic matter provides nutrients; helps
retain moisture within the soil, and can also help minimize weeding.
I checked on my tomatoes and my Orange Parchute and red fig
tomatoes are starting to ripen like crazy.
That is GREAT news. Usually once
cherry tomatoes start they fruit like gang busters. I also expect to have a few red beefsteaks by
the weekend. I see some others that are
also starting to ripen as well. Bring
them on. I also checked on some other things
and my green beans have flowers and tiny bean pods on and I will have
beans within the next week to 10 days.
The zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers have also kicked into
gear. The sweet corn is tasseling and now
it is just a matter of time. My chili
peppers and bell peppers are still growing and I hope to have some by the
weekend. It may or may not happen.
I also finished my online store and made my updates for the
first part of the week. Now you can go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/
and place your order. This will make it
a lot easier to keep up on availability and help my customers track what they
have spent. In time I will have the
ability to accept debit and credit cards and will always willingly collect at
the time of delivery. My online store
will work for my mid-week deliveries and for my farm market customers. A few customers have already placed their
weekly order and there is still time for both my Wednesday and Thursday
deliveries. Some items ship very well
and now my attention is focusing on how that could work for those who live
outside the area.
Tonight the girls had a slumber party with their Grandma
Betty and I am working on paper work and laundry. I also need to clean my
kitchen. I made a batch of tabouli using
our hard red winter wheat and yum!
Bulgur wheat is good, but our wheat adds a nutty flavor and since it is
our wheat I am a little biased. I need
to check the rules to see if this is something I am able to bring already
prepared. It is good and on a hot day
fills you up without the heavy feeling.
The flavor improves the longer it sets in the fridge. If you make a batch and are not totally impressed you may be astounded to learn what the tiniest amount of salt can do to balance the flavors. It does not need very much. I future batches I will add the salt to the water as I cook the wheat berries.
In the morning I hope to feel well enough to go pick wild
raspberries, mulberries and gooseberries.
I also need to plant a few more things.
I hope plant the first of my fall squash this week. Livie has t-ball s Wednesday and Friday and Grandma
Carol is planning to come out here to see her game Friday night. We hope to be able to take her out for
supper afterwards. She is driving more
than two hours just to see a t-ball game!!!!
My girls will be thrilled.
Tom expects to be finished with wheat harvest by Thursday and
I can tell he is ready. Normally wheat
harvest is followed by a frenzied period where he plants either soybeans or
milo in the wheat fields. We have fields
we planted a few weeks ago when we were expecting rain that has not come up. We
have not received the rain needed. If it
is not going to rain there really is no point.
This is all part of farming, but… we need it to rain.
My thoughts of gratitude focus on finding a few
ways to work smarter and not harder. I
am hopeful the online store will make ordering easier for you. I also hope it will make it easier to keep
track of each individual order. Technology can be frustrating but it is a good
Posted by Twilya
@ 09:10 PM CDT
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
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
Posted by Twilya
@ 04:45 PM CDT
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
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
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.
Posted by Twilya
@ 10:19 PM CDT
Cinco De Mayo is a day to celebrate with L'Ecuyer Gardens. Get your bedding plants and hanging baskets. On farm visitors will SAVE BIG TIME!!!!!
Posted by Twilya
@ 10:19 PM CDT
My board room is my kitchen table and my shareholders go by Honey, Livie and Autie. Doing business with L'Ecuyer Gardens is an investment in gallons of milk, t-ball gloves and the hope opf a college education for our girls. We love growing food and we love feeding you! We hope we can share our passion with your family. [Read More
Posted by Twilya
@ 08:53 PM CDT
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