L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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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!

v
 
 

Saturday

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 subsided. 

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 and squash. 

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. 

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!

 
 

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and while we have had several beautiful baskets and planters leave, we have many more still available.  Tomorrow we will be at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 until 2:00 p.m.  We also have several different smaller plants that you can use to design your own planters, planters and homemade soaps that are an olive oil and lye base. 

Fresh herbs from curry leaf and orange mint plants to sage and cilantro and several types of basil, fern dill will all be in tow.  We still have beefsteak and lemon boy tomato plants.  I will also have two baby silver maple trees that are for sale.  As far as fresh produce I will have a few bags of loose leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, radicchio, and arugula.  I also have one bag of odds and ends that will taste good and give the wallet a break.  WE will also have beet greens and Swiss Chard for sale.  Fresh herbs including tarragon, chamomile, chocolate mint, cilantro, parsley and sage will also be available.  I also have two nice tower pots… one filled with strawberries and flowers and the other a nice assortment of herbs.  One of the herb pot has a unique Asian flair and will be somebody’s pride and joy. 

We had a very full day but we got most of it in.  For me the day started at 4:00 a.m. and an hour and half drive to Manhattan, KS where I battled wind in rain AGAIN for the first hour or so of the market.  Toward the end it was better and the customers swooped in at the end which was nice.  I got home in time to unload the car and get ready for church and my niece Katie’s graduation party.  She will be off to college next year.  She is a beautiful and very sweet girl and I know she will do wonderful things in time. 

We did not get home in time to go to our neighbor’s fish fry and I hated that.  I sure hope they had a nice turnout.  The one thing I dislike the most about being a farm marketer is that we miss a lot of things like this during the summer, but that is part of it.  I spent the evening picking strawberries and arugula.  I also saved some rhubarb seeds that will become future plants.  Some will be for sale and some will be used to expand my current bed.  Tom planted watermelon and put some finishing touches on my irrigation system.  I cannot put into words how much time that system will save.  Most of our garden will be self-watering AND mulched in to prevent weed growth.  All I will have to do is turn the water on and walk away…. But must remember to come back. J

Tom planted four types of watermelon and tomorrow will plant Crenshaw melons, cannallini beans and two types of pole beans.  He is also laying the ground work for what will eventually be my fall pumpkin patch and winter squash bed.  Today he was my FTD guy and tomorrow he is my “hired man.”  Have I mentioned before he is a real keeper?    

While in Manhattan today I had a customer buy some fresh chocolate mint for a pickled relish she is making.  Lucky for me she kindly sent me the recipe.  I will try it and let you know what my family thinks.  I have A LOT of chocolate mint so this one is one I hope turns out really well. 

After picking strawberries I sorted and cleaned.  I have one variety called the mignonette.  It is a small pastry berry and it is the ugliest berry I have ever seen, but WOW they are sweet.  I cannot bring myself to pack them along but WOW are they sweet.  Last year all of them ended up in my jelly and while they look a LOT better this year, I fear they are destined for jelly again this year.  We eat a lot of ugly things at our house. We enjoy the less than perfectly beautifuls.  We know they still taste great, but like us have some warts and wrinkles we hope those who love us look past. 

I hope you will come see us tomorrow at the market.  If you would prefer to check out the baskets at the farm that I could not fit into the car, give Tom a call.   I posted his cell phone number on my L’Ecuyer Gardens Facebook page. He will be around but not necessarily at the house so a call would be appreciated.  Otherwise, bring your mom to the market tomorrow.  A mom’s greatest gift received is simple time.  Time with you  We let the girls stay up later than normal tonight and right at dark we had to take a break from the prep work and play a game of family freeze tag… in the dark and yes girls it is date.  Tomorrow night you are both IT.  I can’t wait!!! e will be runniHe he wilH

v
 
 
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