L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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Caught in a Whirlwind!

This week has been a whirlwind.  We forgot that swim lessons started this week so there has been a mad dash to modify our schedule.  I nearly drowned when I was Autie’s age so for me swim lessons are mandatory.  At the pool I was able to make about a dozen phone calls and visit with some of the other moms.  We all had stories that I am sure you can relate to too about how we want our kids to be involved BUT they/ we are also overloaded.  None of us know how to navigate that water.  I for one am of the opinion that time at home working on family priorities NEEDS to be inked into the schedule.  I say that and admit this week is not proof of that belief.  We are ALL overloaded.  Despite that we owe it to ourselves to find ways to bring back some simple pleasure and in my opinion a nice meal made from fresh ingredients is a GREAT way to start. 

We enjoyed BLTs last night with zucchini chips and coleslaw.  After dinner, Livie went to plant soybeans with Tom last night and Autie spent the evening with me.  We took a bubble bath, cleaned the kitchen and washed our game uniforms.  Liv was so tired that she curled up with our puppy Reba and they both napped in the tractor.  Autie was so tired she couldn’t sleep and talked like a freight train ALL night.  She has the gift of gab!!!  

It was so windy it was too hard to work outside so I decided it was time to focus on things inside.  We have enjoyed very strong, hot, dry winds for several days and everyone is crabby and exhausted.  Kansas is upholding its reputation.  For those who are not close the feeling of this wind is like a blow dryer powered by a jet engine blowing straight into your face… non-stop.  Every so often the blow dryer blows sand or dirt into your face and you only hope you were not smiling or yawning in that moment.  I do not enjoy being sand blasted.    

After I dropped the girls off I made a mad dash to the grocery store and then came home with a full to do list.  I spent the morning picking blackberries and tomatoes and my surprises for the day are that my YELLOW beefsteak and my WHITE slicing tomatoes are starting to turn.  I also found a few more Juane Flemme’ orange plum tomatoes and my NEW Indigo Rose tomato is nearly ready to pick.  The Indigo Rose is a blue tomato and I will keep you posted.  BLUE!!!

I had a customer ask why I grew so many weird tomatoes/ things.  I LOVE tomatoes.  I love them so much that I am a SNOB.  I want them MY way and will do without unless that can be.  I also know there are a LOT of tomato snobs out there and they want them THEIR way.  I UNDERSTAND and I try to accommodate everyone.   My girls are young and most kids their age will not eat fresh veggies, BUT mine do willingly… most of the time.  Livie can’t decide if her favorite veggie is kale or broccoli and I am just so happy to know that I willingly fix both so she can continue to fine tune her list of favorites.  Autie is pickier and I have to work harder.  For HER I grow a lot of things that are ORANGE because it is her favorite color.  SHE always likes it when she can eat her favorite color.  She also likes yellow.  My girls eat eggplant not the big black ugly ones as Livie puts it but the little purple ones.  She eats the others too, but only after trying the others.  They also eat okra, cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, beets, beet greens, zucchini and squash.  Sometimes it is all in the marketing.  When you buy from me you will find an awful lot of kid friendly choices.   My kids also know the difference between fresh and store bought and they prefer fresh.  It will be interesting to see how many times Livie wants to pack her lunch next year.   

Here in a bit I will pick squash, peas and maybe some green beans and then we will begin the mad dash for tonight.  Livie has t-ball tonight and we are expecting rain.  We do not look forward to rescheduling another game BUT bring it on!!!!  We have another game Friday night and I have A LOT to get ready for Sunday’s market.  We could all handle a night watching our current favorite movie Chestnut and a big bowl of popcorn.  Bring on the rain!!!!  J

Swim lessons are forcing me to alter my schedule slightly for the next two weeks.  I will make ALL of my deliveries on Thursday.  Hopefully that will work for everyone.  The plus side is that I was able to give everyone more time to place their orders.  Please go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/ to place yours. The store closes at 5:00 p.m. today and I will begin my deliveries first thing in the morning.  I still have plenty of squash, cucumbers, zucchini, slicing and cherry tomatoes.  I also have cabbage, Swiss chard, Tabouli kits, potatoes, black berries and collard greens.

My statement of gratitude is focused on the promise of rain and an end to our wind storm. 

v
 
 

The Lost Tooth and Fresh Produce

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!

 

 
 

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. 

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Saturday - Mother's Day is One Day Away

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.

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Mother's Day Weekend Sale

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! 

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They Are Calling for Rain

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. 

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Cinco De Mayo

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!!!!!

 

 

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The Farm Market Season is Now Underway!!!!

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. 

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It is Time to Get in the Garden!

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.

 

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Flowers, Herbs, & Vegetable Plants on Sale Now!

Take a drive in the country and take home and entire growing season of keepsakes.   [Read More]
 
 

Tomato Plants, Pepper Plants, Herbs Plants, & Petunias Oh My!

Let's create a little Tomatomania in North Central Kansas  [Read More]
 
 

Welcome to Spring!!!!

Heirloom tomatoes are ready and waiting for new homes.  Get Yours TODAY.  Most are in very limited run and will not last long!    [Read More]
 
 
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