A Day in the Life[ Member listing ]
02 Jun · Sat 2012
This post is a little long, but it has beena good week. [Read More]
Tags: pease thyme heirloom nebraska agriculture tabouli rosemary baskets kansas onions cilantro green savory mint parsley squash hanging tarragon bedding tomatoes sage eggs strawberries plants beans mulberries local food foods
Posted by Twilya @ 01:31 PM CDT
24 May · Thu 2012
So this week I have busied myself picking mulberries, picking peas, and enjoying Olivia’s first t-ball game. With the exception of t-ball, there is a fair amount of time to think. When my hands are busy, but my mind free to wonder… all sorts of things are possible. The thoughts are random and usually grand. In those moments I see a crystal clear path for my business’ success. It is not until I am trying to clean my mulberry-stained hands that reality kicks in. I keep dreaming though because one of these times I can’t help but think it will all come together.
As much as my business is struggling at the moment it is better than where I was one year ago. One year ago I was employed full time in a job I knew was coming to an end, trying to grow my business in the hopes of a soft landing…and fighting everyone connected to both. I spent so much energy in the name of helping others… even as it was hurting me and my family and my business…only to have those I was helping betray me. It left me angry and resentful, distrusting, and emotionally exhausted. I am unafraid to say it…. seriously depressed. I am still working on the forgiveness I need to extend others and the only way I will ever get there is on my knees. For those of who are of faith, I could seriously use your prayers to help me find my forgiving heart. The outcome of everything, I now work for L’Ecuyer Gardens/ Farms. The clarity is amazing. The dreams are big. The need is huge… given that, how can this possibly fail?
My garden is in a lull and all I can do is wait for things to begin to ripen. As I wait… I worry. It has not rained in quite some time and the hot dry wind we have experienced also has my husband worried. His crops are not like mine, they cannot be easily watered. Young plants emerging from the ground fail to flourish in the face of these strong, hot dry winds. There is not much he can do. Even with my crops, it has been too windy to effectively water and that is a problem. All of the tender, young plants I planted last week are struggling. We have had chances of rain for several nights and the rains keep skirting up around us.
For many, I know the weather is of little interest, but to a farmer it is both your best friend and your enemy. We have not had anything that resembles normal weather this calendar year and it makes it hard to know what to do. This is clearly one of those give it God and move on scenarios. My Autie has prayed for rain so sweetly the past few nights. As she put it…”God we need some rain. It did not rain today, and it did not rain yesterday or on the third day. We need some rain. Can you send us some?” My prayer is a little different…”Lord please hear my Autie’s prayer.”
I have picked a bunch of mulberries this week and my girls and I will be back at it tomorrow. My hands are stained and so is at least one shirt. You should never pick mulberries wearing white. J I knew better so I can’t complain. Believe it or not my mulberries are a top seller and I know some of you are mystified by that statement. I think it is a simple pleasure. Many of us fondly remember the childhood mulberry tree that was nearby. We were not to go there… but we did every chance we got. The mulberries remind my customers of a time when sneaking mulberries was fun and buying my baskets provides my customers with the simple pleasures of a fond memory and a sweet treat that is actually good for you. I am indulged with a few dollars of income and time as a pick to try and figure out how to create a business that will be a blessing to my family.
Today I have several deliveries and I am trying to decide if an email newsletter would be good for my business. My ability to grow my business depends on more weekly deliveries. As the farmer, marketer and delivery person my time is so seriously divided that I need to find ways to work smarter and not harder. I am interested in your thoughts as to how to make my business easier to connect with.
Part of making this work is making it work for everyone in my house and things like t-ball are as important as anything. I think that is the constant guilt of all mothers. We need/want to work, but we need/want to be there for the important things…like watching my Livie draw figure eights in the dirt at the catchers’ mound last night. She said she feels mean tagging the other girls as they come home. That’s my Livie…a heart of pure gold.
I am sharing my worries with you because many of us are facing similar stresses. Many of us are trying to figure things out as we try to re-find our prosperity. Personally, I think our path back to prosperity is for more of us to get back to what really matters. We need to simplify our lives and take pleasure in simple things...Neighbors who pop in unannounced ... sneaking a fresh picked strawberry from the garden ... or concentrating our energy on how to make ourselves more of a blessing to those who are in our lives. We are ALL going to have to dig deep and blaze new trails, but we can get there. So I have to ask… in what way can I be a blessing to you?v
Tags: cilantro agriculture buy parsley tomatoes petunias chocolate nebraska local onions mint mulberries food baskets simple peas green hanging wheat gifts pleasures prosperity berries kansas strawberries beans heirloom
Posted by Twilya @ 09:09 AM CDT
20 May · Sun 2012
So my Livie lost her tooth and now we must all wait to see if the Toothy Fairy lives up to her promise. Tomorrow she goes for kindergarten round-up. It does not seem possible that my baby will start school this fall. Her birthday is just eight short days past the start deadline and last year I was so convinced she should GO NOW. Now that the time is drawing close, I just want more time. Autie is looking forward to having Grandma all to herself in the morning. Next year Autie will be in preschool without herself. It will be interesting to see how much they miss each other.
Today was a pretty good day at the market, but I sure would love for the produce to kick in! So far it is limping along, but it is on its way. I had a friend of mine stop by for a visit and it was a very nice surprise. She showed me her newest creation. It was a handbag she had made and it was cool. You should have seen the pockets!!!! Sandi Johnson in Beatrice will soon offer sewing classes and it is time Tom and I dust off the sewing machine we bought when first married and actually learn how to use it. If you are interested in learning more about her classes, let me know and I will give you her contact information. I always admire someone who can turn unemployment into a new business venture!!! Go Sandi!
Tonight we are having and odd dinner perhaps, but YUMO. Some of our farm market left-overs will be featured… leeks and yellow snow peas with sweet potato fries and alligator. No the gator was not local and it is a very long story, but YUMO! We will also enjoy tomatoes numbered two and three! I am very close to having tomatoes for sale.
Tomorrow I will finally get the artichokes in the ground along with starting about a dozen different summer squash, tomatillos, red okra plants and etc. Tom spent the day staking my tomatoes and at some point, we will have vines app 10 feet in the air. It will be a sight to be seen for sure.
I am also going to work on my new compost pile. Have I mentioned that at L’Ecuyer Gardens we make our own compost? We are working hard to be more environmentally responsible and it takes a lot of highly fertile soil to keep L’Ecuyer Gardens going.
The rest of the night will be spent hanging out with Tom and the girls. Mulberry season is here and this week we will have to sneak in not just one but two mulberry picking parties. We LOVE picking mulberries. Stay tuned!
Tags: beans chard mojhito orange heirloom jelly green basil thyme arugula swiss food tomatoes herbs eggs plants artichokes radicchio kansas mint orageno kale beet beets agriculture greens leeks peppers collard nebraska
Posted by Twilya @ 05:39 PM CDT
14 May · Mon 2012
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
Tags: orange mulberries craft bok farming mint dill okra bell petunias choy green chili cucumbers agriculture strawberries heirloom soap thyme beans spinach corn artichokes blackberries sweet plant food peppers egg tomatoes
Posted by Twilya @ 10:19 PM CDT
11 May · Fri 2012
Tomorrow is a very busy day for us and hopefully we are on your list of must visit places. Hubby is proudly stating that he is the FTD man for the day and will greet on-farm visitors with a warm smile. Be gentle though because all of the different items, sizes and prices is already stressing him out a little. I do have a list so he seems a little flustered just ask to see it. He does not know the difference between a marigold and a zinnia. I WILL HAVE MY CELL PHONE WITH ME.
While you are here check out the load of rocks in the front yard. It is my Mother's Day gift from Tom and the girls. It is the first installment of my new landscaping project for the front of our house. As Tom put it how do you buy flowers for someone who literally has thousands of them on hand? I love my rocks. This particular load has great color and shape.
While hubby and the girls are greeting people at the farm I will be at the farmers market in Manhattan from 8:00 a.m. to Noon. I will hang around a little later if the crowd holds. I tried to bring a little of everything and hopefully what I brought will NOT come home. I have A LOT of purple flowers in the car... GO WILDCATS.
We had another t-ball practice and today my Livie knocked the snot out of the ball. Go Livie!!!! Autie seeing how pleased I was with my load of rocks busied herself colleting gravel. I tried very hard to be just as excited about the gravel as I was the limestone. I think the other mom's might have thought I was nuts. Sitting next to me was a fellow farm marketer and at least she understood that for some women there will never be a diamond that is big enough to rival a truckload of limestone. If you come tomorrow ask Autie about the nail polish she has all over her leg. It is a nice color BUT....
Please come visit us this weekend. We would love to see you.
Tags: pepper crowns potted tarragon romaine baskets chocolate chamomile bedding plants cilantro heirloom greens tomato asparagus orange sage parsley chard beet strawberries mint swiss artichoke hanging
Posted by Twilya @ 11:48 PM CDT
09 May · Wed 2012
L’Ecuyer Gardens is offering the special Mother’s Day Sale today through Saturday. We have a huge selection of Mother’s Day baskets, containers and bedding plants. While you are here finish your garden with a few tomato, pepper, eggplant, Swiss chard, fresh herb plants. Perhaps you are looking for marigolds, or zinnias… well we have them. While you are here check out the beautiful lettuce and ask about the summer of fresh produce still to come. Hours are Th – 1:00 – 7:00 p.m., Fr – 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. & then by appointment after T-Ball practice and Saturday – 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Call for a special appointment if there is a better time for you. We have unique styles, and great prices!v
Tags: orange thymne petunias chocolate pesto mohjito peas basil peppermint snow mother's garlic plants bedding sorrel mint tomato leaf rosemary eggs spearmint day curry oragano polant heirloom
Posted by Twilya @ 10:58 PM CDT
05 May · Sat 2012
In the morning I am headed to the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market and they are calling for rain. It might rain all day and it might just rain for a little bit… 60%. If it rains it could be torrential downpours. It is moment s like these that can bedevil the farm marketer. The lettuce is picked, prepped, bagged and tagged along with the cilantro, parsley, green onions and chocolate mint. The worry none of it freezes and my family cannot possible eat it all before it turns… and then there are the Mother’s Day baskets that will keep, but… Mother’s Day is next Sunday. Oh did I metioned it also rained through last week's market too. I hope this is not the season's trend to come.
I am not complaining so much a worrying out loud. My only choices are A.) let the worry deprive me of what could be 5 whole hours of sleep before morning OR B.) I can give it to God. I was up at 3:00 a.m. this morning headed for the farmers market in Manhattan and so I choose B. The car is loaded with tables and plants, produce and display materials and as I doze off to sleep tonight my prayer will be that the rain subsides between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Let’s see what the morning brings.v
Tags: plants chives rosemary mixed loose strawberries chart lettuce potted greens marigolds petunias cilantro romain baskets flowers mint zinneas parsley garlic swiss verbina thyme leaf beet hanging soap grass orange
Posted by Twilya @ 11:39 PM CDT
01 May · Tue 2012
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!!!!!
Tags: basil rural heirloom oragano greens parsley eggs t-ball rosemary spinach living garlic collard life orange thyme crook cilantro country asparagus cucumbers mint neck peppers tomatoes pleasures simple kids mohjito squash
Posted by Twilya @ 10:19 PM CDT
28 Apr · Sat 2012
We are super excited that the farm market season isfinally here! We are busy getting things ready for what will prove to be a hectic season to be sure! Tomorrow we are headed to the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and that is just the beginning.[Read More]
Tags: spearmint thyme eggs peppermint spinach moss mint zinneas rose bell lettuce marigolds pepper orange heirloom leaf baskets curry chocolate hanging tomato petunias chili rosemary oragano plants mojito
Posted by Twilya @ 01:07 PM CDT
19 Apr · Thu 2012
My board room is my kitchen table and my shareholders go by Honey, Livie & Autie. Investing in my business is an investment in shoes, T-ball gloves, dance lessons and gallons of milk. It is also an investment in Rural America and its future. I work with and support many other small businesses all with similar hopes of finding their prosperity while preserving Rural America.
Help rural America re-find its prosperity by shopping small businesses like mine. We will pay it forward by investing in your prosperity as well.
Tags: lettuce chili rosemary pepper ipomea chocolate stevia toucan bell bedding orange tomato thynme mint heirloom petunias plants romaine tango
Posted by Twilya @ 09:39 AM CDT
17 Apr · Tue 2012
Take a drive in the country and take home and entire growing season of keepsakes. [Read More]
Tags: mint rosemary cabbage heirloom tomatoes broccoli bell peppers flowers petunias cherokee lettuce osteosperman purple merigolds orange thyme zinnias chili
Posted by Twilya @ 10:57 AM CDT
14 Apr · Sat 2012
Let's create a little Tomatomania in North Central Kansas [Read More]
Tags: heirloom beefsteak thyme mint lettuce snowberry bell orange rosemary swiss chives lemon roma herbs tomatoes peppers european chard boy
Posted by Twilya @ 12:41 AM CDT