L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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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!!!!

 
 

Uncle Sam & Apple Pie

It was a nail biter clear to the final out and we won!  This game was so much fun to watch.  At one point I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  The other team was really good so this one made all of us walk a little taller.   Livie was so awesome.  She hit that ball and she ran.  At our last game she had a tough one.  She was tagged out at third twice and then struck out.  We shed lots of tears.  Daddy worked with her at home some and then she started practicing her batting here at home.  It showed.  All of the girls did a really good job.  Our team will begin tournament play Thursday and we are really starting the gel as a team. 

This week  I have been busy canning.  I have made sweet spear pickles, bread & butter pickles, sweet relish, dilly beans and pickled beets and I am nowhere near finished.   Still have dill pickles and dill relish to go. I am also planning to make ketchup and chili sauce.  I love canning.  That may sound strange, but I do.  It is a lot of work, but I love bringing the textures and flavors of summer together in a way that can be enjoyed all winter long.    

This week on farm I have sweet corn, slicing, cherry and beefsteak tomatoes.  I also have green beans, onions, black berries, and the very first of my Japanese eggplant. 

We are still using our online ordering system, but I have been told by a few customers it is not working.  I am trying to figure out the problem.  If you are interested in sweet corn for the fourth, please give me a call at 785-265-3345.  Until Friday everything is available on farm only. 

Tomorrow is a day worth celebrating.  It is our nation’s birthday.  As we celebrate let us be thankful we live in a country where our individual liberties are protected more than most.  That is a gift that we need to protect.  Happy Fourth of July and enjoy your festivities the fresh and fabulous way.v
 
 

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
 
 

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
 
 
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