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 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.
Posted by Twilya
@ 07:32 AM CDT
I spent most of the day in the Masonic Temple Parking Lot in
Marysville, KS and it was an okay day despite the heat. Tom and the girls surprised me with a visit
and yes I had both girls out waiving to cars for a short period of time. Again I am running low on quarters, but that
is a good problem to have.
This week has had many great moments. My nephew Lane came to visit for a few
days. He will be a senior in high school
this year and he is becoming a fine young man.
He was an awesome kid and I loved watching him play with my girls. He has been gone for a day and a half and my
girls REALLY MISS him. I do too. My
brother’s kids are pretty awesome too and would love it if they could come
visit for a few days too!!!!! I LOVE AND
MISS YOU GUYS ALL THE TIME.
I also learned I have a fan. Tish introduced herself as someone who has
been following me this season and today we met.
I never thought of my blog as something interesting enough to be worth
following. I only hope she enjoys the cantaloupe. I am flattered.
I still have several very nice cantaloupe ready to sell and
there will be many more by the weekend.
I am also running long on cucumbers, squash and canning tomatoes. My slicing tomatoes looked really good today. The heat has been rough on everything so I am
grateful to be able to still offer some nice big juicy slicing tomatoes. My sweet corn is dwindling and the preorders
I have in place may very well end my season.
We do have one batch that was planted quite a bit later, but we need the
heat to ease up for it to have a chance.
For Thursday, along with the cantaloupe, I will also have
yellow slicing tomatoes and several really nice beefsteak, eggplant, okra and
lots and lots of peppers. If you are
looking for something truly wonderful, you need to ask me about my strawberry
crabapples. They are golden with a
slight blush. Unlike most crabapples,
these are tart but sweet apples are wonderful fresh. They would make an outstanding cobbler or pie
and just the thought of it sounds so good I may make one for Tom and the girls
this weekend. My peaches are starting to
ripen and so I should have some with me at Old Cheney this weekend. Before too much longer I will have Colorado
peaches and apples.
Don’t tell Livie and Autie but my friend Sandy from Filley,
NE is making them princess costumes.
They will serve as the first installment to their dress up box and this
year’s Halloween costumes. Livie has
never been able to wear the princess dress in the toy isle…they are just too
small. This dress will be made to fit
her. She loves to dress up and I hope
this will be an extra special surprise for her.
I am now in search of long satin gloves, crowns and princess
slippers. I am also in search of a trunk
to warehouse everything. Livie’s will be
pink and purple and will look a lot like Cinderella. Autie’s is yellow and orange and will look a
lot like Bell’s. Sandi is also working
on a custom handbag for me. I have
enjoyed the first bag so much that as I move into fall I want another. She is working on a design that will also
double as computer case for a laptop or tablet.
When finished I will have a one-of-a-kind bag that will be made to meet
my specific needs. In the end it will
likely not cost much more than a better case from Staples. The difference is that mine will make its
own unique statement and will be mistakenly MINE.
The weather remains difficult for us all and your prayers
for rain are needed more than ever. In
addition to a prayer for rain, I also ask you petition for cooler
temperatures. We all need it. As a farmer the weather is your friend and it
is also your enemy, but there are an awful lot of people who are severely
impacted by our current weather patterns.
The store is open until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. To order, please go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/weblog
and make your selections. I hope you will
give me a try. The quality is very
high. The prices a reasonable and it
will be delivered right to your door for you to enjoy.
My thoughts of gratitude today are focused on people who find something worth following in the ramblings of a Kansas produce
farmer. Thank you Tish!!!!! Have a fresh and fabulous rest of the
week. ave Ha
Posted by Twilya
@ 08:55 PM CDT
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
Posted by Twilya
@ 08:35 PM CDT
This week has been much
calmer. T-ball has ended for the summer
and we have enjoyed a little more time at home.
Tom and I are both homebodies but I think we are raising two little
socialites. Finding the right balance is
a trick at our house. But we keep
Our big outing for the week is the county fair for
Jefferson County Nebraska and last night was spent enjoying the rides. This particular fair is good for us because
most of the rides are for younger kids.
Each girl had their favorite.
Livie loved the hot air bounce so much she had to do it twice and my
Autie loves the carousel but I think the flying elephant ride actually topped
it a little bit last night. We ran into
their cousin Adam and he took the girls to the sheep barn where their family
had several entries. He girls would love
to have some at our house but Tom is reluctant.
Honestly, so am I. Animals are a
lot of work and we already have our hands full in that department. Today Livie has a birthday party and Tom and Autie are going to run some errands.
On the farm we are trying to get
caught up on weeding and watering. I
will soon be planting fall peas, fall green beans, fall cabbages and lettuces,
spinach and some late tomatoes. This
week I think is the tomato bumper crop. Last night we held our first Fresh and Fabulous Friday patio grillers. The turnout was low, butt he food was awesome. Tom grilled burgers, sweet potatoes, onions and zuchinni. I sliced a big plate of tomatoes and yes we enjoyed a rainbow platter. Last year Autie would not even try a tomato. This year she gobbles them up faster than anyone. She likes it when I offer her the different colors.
I have spent the last two days
getting ready for tomorrow. I will be at
the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Nebraska from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00
p.m. In tow will be a huge assortment of
fresh from the farm goodness that I hope you will let us help you complete your dinner
table for the week ahead.
This week the colors, textures
and flavors continue to change. I have
an entire rainbow of cherry tomatoes AND slicers. You name it I have it... the shooting star, yellow
pear, red fig, juliette red, chocolate cherry, snowberry, white rabbit, and the Stupice in the cherry
and plum division. In the slicer
division I will feature the Nebraska wedding tomato, the Great White, orange and
yellow ox heart, yellow beefsteak, Black from Tula, Black Krim, Japanese Black
Trieffle, Paul Robeson, the Raspberry Lyanna, Juane Flemme’ and several
others. I will also have Jet Star. I will also have some canning tomatoes with me for those lookign for a larger volume.
Other items this week will
feature a nice selection of peppers. I
have some beautiful yellow bells and Italian peppers. In the smaller range I will have green and
yellow bells, gypsy, and chili and jalapeno peppers. Later on I will have some pimento peppers and
both large and small red bell peppers. I
also have a nice selection of eggplant – little fingers in green and black,
black beauty, and a smaller variety of the black beauty.
I will also have two types of
crabapples, potatoes, okra, onions, leeks, collard greens, Swiss chard, parsley
bunches, mint, bunches, cucumbers, zucchini and several types of summer
squash. Throw in some hard red winter wheat berries, Tabouli kits,
sweet corn and farm fresh eggs.
There are scores of possible decisions to make,
but you could easily fix an entire week of meals from fresh. I hope you will stop by and discover how
beautiful a week of fresh from the garden flavors can be. Have a fresh and fabulous weekend!
Posted by Twilya
@ 01:18 PM 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
here is to busy days, late nights and early mornings! See you at the market in the morning!!!! [Read More
Posted by Twilya
@ 12:58 AM 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
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