L'Ecuyer Gardens

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

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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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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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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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