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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I Love a Rainy Night

I love a rainy night and since last night we have received a little over three inches.  It has been the slow soaking kind for the most part and WOW is it muddy.  So muddy in fact tonight when I was picking green beans I got so stuck I could not move my legs.  My mucks had suctioned around my feet so tight I could not even pull my feet out.  I fell and landed in the mud.  It took two showers to get rid of all the mud.  They say mud is good for your skin.  I do not know about that, but my husband and I had a good laugh.  Normally, I hate picking in the rain, but I did not mid today.  The rain is simply too late to help Tom and his fall crops, but the timing was perfect for me. 

This week was the first full week of kindergarten and my Livie is pleased to report she received a green dot each day.  We celebrated with some ice cream.  Little sister Autie still misses her sister but she is starting to realize that for the first time in her life she has her parents all to herself quite a bit of the time.  She likes it… at least for now. 

This week we have several new items.  We have bartlet pears, summer apples and Jonathan apples.  We also have lots of peter pan squash and the first of our butternut squash.  We will have more collard greens, baby Swiss chard.  We have a bag of mint, okra, yellow green beans, edamame soybeans, flat Italian style green beans, and tomatoes.  I fear the tomatoes come to an end either this week or next.  My cherry tomatoes are starting to blossom again so who knows.  I hope you will come see me tomorrow at the Old Cheney Road Farmers market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. – to 2:00 p.m.

Due to the muddy conditions I was unable to pick all of the beans that are ready.  If you live nearby and are interested, give me a call this week. 

I spent Thursday helping Tom.  We sold his calves this week and Autie and I helped him and my brother-in-law Joe round everybody up.  I love this time of year.  The light filters through the trees differently.  It makes me think of stained glass. The beauty is incredibly simple, but it is magnificent. I know it is still August but autumn is in the air.  The day my Livie came home from the hospital we had newly weaned calves bawling.  She woke up as I carried her into the house and she looked around.  I told her, those cows were hers and that they would take very good care of her.  She closed her eyes and went back to sleep.  To this day when she hears bawling calves she has a tendency to doze off.  To this day I have a tendency to remember the day I brought my first baby home.  My babies are now little girls and before I realize it, I will be bawling as they leave in search of their life paths in this world.  I need to remind myself of that fact when my patience run thin. 

This week was a busy one in the garden.  I planted more beets, and snap peas.  I also planted a few more rows of lettuce.  I wish I would have worked a little harder in getting a few more things in the ground, but as soon as things dry out a little we will get to work.  Off the farm I finally stole enough time away from the farm to get my hair cut and colored.  I am no longer a blonde, which was not an easy decision to make, but I think I like it.  I will turn 44 this December and at the moment I am struggling with that fact.  I would not go back and relive my twenties for anything in the world, but I wouldn’t mind giving my early thirties another go.  Oh well, age is a number and I am on a mission to defy time.  Wish me luck. 

My thoughts of gratitude focus on friendship… both old and new.  I did something today that I have only done one other time before.  I went shopping with a friend.  I also heard from an old friend.  Good friends are like diamonds.  Their true beauty is in the fact that most precious are rare beyond compare. 

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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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The Blessings of the Week

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

 
 

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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The Summer's Rainbow

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 trying. 

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! 
 
 

Fresh & Fabulous Monday!

It is Monday Morning and the rain missed us!  Neighboring counties to the east received way too much and we received barely a sprinkle.  It is cooler and for that I am grateful.  Yesterday was a very good day at the market for me and everyone seemed to enjoy the cooler temperatures. 

T-ball has come to an end for the summer and now we begin preparing for the first day of kindergarten.  The eye exam is scheduled for next week. 

This week the garden is full bloom and WOW do we have a great selection.  Beautiful peppers of all shapes, sizes and colors.  We also have black beauty, and miniature eggplant in green and black.  Despite the heat our green beans don’t look too bad.  For those wanting to SAVE some money talk to me about our u-pick opportunities to where you can get your beans for as low as a $1.00 a pound.  We also have sweet corn and touchstone gold beets this week.  If you love greens then you will also need to check out our Swiss chard and collard greens.  The okra is starting to kick in and then there is the entire rainbow of tomatoes.  We also have some onions and a few potatoes and sweet potatoes left too! 

This week we are also featuring a new food option.  We call is fresh – fabulous & FAST.  Each week we will offer a take and bake item that will be fully cooked and only needing reheated.  This week we are using a terrific dish straight from the test kitchens of Taste of Home called yellow squash quiche.  It is a great one-dish meal that is perfect for a late night or a good hot meal in a hurry.  Starting this week we are also adding some easy and time-saving recipes to our website to give you some ideas on how to fully take advantage of summer’s goodness. 

In the garden this week we are busy weeding our bean patch and our fall squash bed.  I also hope to start planting some of my fall tomato plants, dykon radishes and turnips.  I also and order seeds for my fall and winter garden.  This year we plan to harvest something ALL 12 months.  Our big expansion for next year will include a nice assortment of raspberries, black berries, gooseberries and currants.  Most will be in production for the spring.  I need determine how many of each and select my varieties.  I am also going to add some June-bearing strawberries this fall and hopefully will have a crop in April and then again in June. 

At home the girls and I are getting back into our routine. We hope to end the week with a visit to the pool on Friday.  To earn this reward they will have to keep their rooms clean and complete their chore chart posted on our refrigerator.  The chores are simple and appropriate for their age, but also useful to running a busy house and farm.    Tom and I are also getting back into another rhythm.  Starting this Friday we are reopening our back yard Friday night for a taste of Fresh from the grill.  You will be able to try things like grilled eggplant, okra kabobs, and so much more.  You are welcome to stop by and sample.  I will let you know later in the week as to the full featured menu but for Father’s Day the girls and I gave Tom some new heavy duty skewers and I am guessing he will start with kabobs.  Why not? The produce will suit them perfectly.  Our Friday night grills are open to anyone and our FAMILY friendly.  We only ask you let us know are stopping by!    We are pretty laid back and only suggest that you may want to bring your own lawn chair. 

The online store is now open.  Please go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net. To place your order by 5:00 p.m. Wednesday and you order will be delivered Thursday.  Remember when you buy local and support a business like MINE you are buying from a business houses their purchasing power in YOUR community.  Whether it is a tank of gas, a new pair of shoes or a refrigerator we buy from our customers first, our collection of communities second and then elsewhere as needed.  Have a fresh and fabulous week!
 
 

See You in the Morning at the Old Cheney!!!!

The past few days have been busy at L’Ecuyer Gardens.  Keeping up is proving difficult.  This week the girls have kept me running with t-ball games and swimming lessons and I have kept busy planting, picking and WEEDING.  We have had several decent rains lately and with the rains have come the weeds!!!!  I did manage to find enough time to get a VERY long overdue haircut. 

This Sunday you will find me at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market from 10:00am to 2:00pm and my car will be very full!!!  I have some beautiful slicing tomatoes, lots and lots of cherry tomatoes of every color, chili peppers, potatoes and blackberries.  Tonight I also picked my first pick of green beans and they are beautiful.   Also in tow zucchini, yellow squash, Swiss chard, collard greens, onions, cabbage, and kale.  I will also have Tabouli kits, hard red winter wheat berries and wheat bouquets.  I will also have eggs.  This week will likely be the last week I will bring bedding plants and I still have several lovely sweet potato vines in all three colors. 

When you stop by you will have to ask me about my laundry soap box.  The box is filled with a very pretty moss that for me holds a lot of history.  I do not know its name but it traces back within my family to my great grandpa’s farm nestled in the Ozark Mountains not too far from Caboul Missouri.  When my great grandparents moved to town they took a little with them and planted it at their home in town.  My grandma has that vine in her flower beds and my mother has it in hers.  I now have it at my farm.  For me the vine is so much more than effective way to carpet an area within a garden.  It is also a way for me to think of people whom I love but are too far way to hug.  It also serves as a gentle reminder that while I do now call the Kansas prairie home at my core I am still a Missouri Hillbilly.  My great grandma was the type of person who always gave you a small gift of some sort when you left her home.  T is very hardy and easy to transplant.  For me this is one way of keeping that tradition alive.  If you would like a cutting just ask. 

I hope you will come by and see me tomorrow.  I have some very nice produce.    If you cannot make remember you can also request a midweek delivery by going 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.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
 
 

Sweet Rain!!!

It rained last night.  It is still raining.  For those who offered a a prayer for rain, THANK YOU. 
 
 

Monday

Sunday morning Autie woke up at 2:30 a.m. (as I was hoping to finally go to bed) with a fever and throwing up.  With Tom in the midst of wheat harvest I was unable to make it to the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE.  Normally Tom would have the girls spend the day with him in the combine and playing in the fields, but that was not going to work for Autie.  I hate missing my markets, but Autie needed me.  She barely ate anything until 4:00 a.m. this morning when she woke up demanding breakfast.  L So you can imagine I have not had very much sleep the past two days.  On the plus side, for those who live nearby, I have a lot of produce available on farm at really good prices, so stop by. 

Autie is feeling better, but her germs were passed to me.  I can only hope to rebound as quickly as she did. Despite feeling under the weather I did manage to get a few things done today. 

I cleaned up some of my seed trays and added the dead plant material to my current compost pile.  The pile is really growing which is good. We are learning as we go about compost, but are finding the effort to be worthwhile.  We are fairly remote and buying compost is expensive, especially when you factor in transportation.  When you really think about it, there is no need for us to go off farm.  We just need to learn what we need to know.  Who knows in time we may get to the point we have compost for sale.  Building up organic matter is important for produce farms... especially if you are trying to use organic growing practices.  Organic matter provides nutrients; helps retain moisture within the soil, and can also help minimize weeding.  

I checked on my tomatoes and my Orange Parchute and red fig tomatoes are starting to ripen like crazy.  That is GREAT news.  Usually once cherry tomatoes start they fruit like gang busters.  I also expect to have a few red beefsteaks by the weekend.  I see some others that are also starting to ripen as well.  Bring them on.  I also checked on some other things and my green beans have flowers and tiny bean pods on and I will have beans within the next week to 10 days.  The zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers have also kicked into gear.  The sweet corn is tasseling and now it is just a matter of time.  My chili peppers and bell peppers are still growing and I hope to have some by the weekend.  It may or may not happen. 

I also finished my online store and made my updates for the first part of the week.  Now you can go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/ and place your order.  This will make it a lot easier to keep up on availability and help my customers track what they have spent.  In time I will have the ability to accept debit and credit cards and will always willingly collect at the time of delivery.  My online store will work for my mid-week deliveries and for my farm market customers.  A few customers have already placed their weekly order and there is still time for both my Wednesday and Thursday deliveries.  Some items ship very well and now my attention is focusing on how that could work for those who live outside the area. 

Tonight the girls had a slumber party with their Grandma Betty and I am working on paper work and laundry. I also need to clean my kitchen.  I made a batch of tabouli using our hard red winter wheat and yum!  Bulgur wheat is good, but our wheat adds a nutty flavor and since it is our wheat I am a little biased.  I need to check the rules to see if this is something I am able to bring already prepared.  It is good and on a hot day fills you up without the heavy feeling.  The flavor improves the longer it sets in the fridge.  If you make a batch and are not totally impressed you may be astounded to learn what the tiniest amount of salt can do to balance the flavors.  It does not need very much.  I future batches I will add the salt to the water as I cook the wheat berries.

In the morning I hope to feel well enough to go pick wild raspberries, mulberries and gooseberries.  I also need to plant a few more things.  I hope plant the first of my fall squash this week.  Livie has t-ball s Wednesday and Friday and Grandma Carol is planning to come out here to see her game Friday night.  We hope to be able to take her out for supper afterwards.  She is driving more than two hours just to see a t-ball game!!!!  My girls will be thrilled. 

Tom expects to be finished with wheat harvest by Thursday and I can tell he is ready.  Normally wheat harvest is followed by a frenzied period where he plants either soybeans or milo in the wheat fields.  We have fields we planted a few weeks ago when we were expecting rain that has not come up.   We have not received the rain needed.  If it is not going to rain there really is no point.  This is all part of farming, but… we need it to rain.

My thoughts of gratitude focus on finding a few ways to work smarter and not harder.  I am hopeful the online store will make ordering easier for you.  I also hope it will make it easier to keep track of each individual order.  Technology can be frustrating but it is a good thing.v
 
 

The Birds, Bees and Hazards of Wild Fruit

This morning started with a visit to the pea patch.  The current rows are nearly finished.  I sold most of what was picked today already and will hopefully have some for Sunday.  I have two more rows that are just starting to flower and if everything works out, I will have peas for another three weeks. 

Afterwards I decided to go on the hunt for some new mulberry hot spots.  I need a lot of mulberries for tomorrow and it was unlikely my normal route would yield enough.  One of the very best parts of picking wild fruit are the unexpected surprises you will find.  It is still way too early for most of my finds, but this year’s weather is anything but normal.  I first found choke cherries.  I spent most of my life believing they were poisonous.  They are just really sour.  I use them to make pancake syrup and YUM!  The next find was a new mile long stretch of mulberries mixed in with a black berry bramble and an assortment of red and black raspberries.  SCORE!!  It gets better.  Since I moved to Kansas I have been in search of gooseberries.  I have seen evidence of their existence but could never find their window of ripeness.  Today, I hit the window perfectly.  For three years I have promised my grandpa I would make him a batch of mulberry/ gooseberry jam.  This year is the year.  He turned 90 in May so hopefully this will be the perfect late birthday gift.  I hope everyone understands why those berries are not for sale.   

While out I found one more treasure, wild cherries. I also found a few wild black berries.  Tom may be able to cut wheat tomorrow after all.  ;) I noticed the sand plums are out in full force and I found evidence of what may be wild grapes for later this summer.  Wild grapes are almost unheard of anymore so I am particularly interested in seeing if I have truly found Big Foot.  The past few years we have had late May freezes and a lot of the fruit has not materialized.  There is a lot of wild fruit this year.  My jelly making and pie baking customers will be so happy.   

Picking wild fruit is not for sissies.  It can be grueling, even dangerous at times, but I love it.  I wear my wounds with pride.  Things like wild cherries, mulberries and chokecherries offer hazards such as unhappy blue jays and bees protecting what they believe to be theirs.  Bees are a double-edged sword.  I need bees to pollenate my produce, but I am slightly allergic.  With bees the best defense is to walk away for a bit and then come back.  I also avoid wearing colors that are common to flowers and I do not wear perfumes or scented deodorant.  I always ask myself three questions when dealing with bees: 1.) how badly do I want the fruit; 2.) how persistent is the bee; and 3.) do I actually have my cell phone with me.  My dtermination is determined by the answers to those questions. 

Blackberries are thorny and usually in the wild will be along a steep embankments.  I fell today coming down one bank.  I was alone on a road nobody goes down.  Don’t worry I did not land on the fruit.  Gooseberries are more than thorny.  If you were to rake your arm across a gooseberry thorn you would likely walk away with a serious injury.  Black raspberries are a whole other matter…snakes.  I hate snakes but I have found the high pitched scream as you run in the opposite direction technique to work about as well as anything. 

The final hazards lie within the actual roads.  The best fruit can always be found on the worst roads and I am the insane woman traveling down these roads, usually in our sedan.  We are way over due for rain and I was on a SAND road.  Tom has received that call many times over the years.  He is to the point he just expects it.  At one point today my tire sank so deeply into the sand I was about to call.  God found favor on me and I decided after that to find a new road. 

The final rule to always remember ... even the most remote roads will turn into well travel highways at the worst possible moments.  Parking cars on the wrong side of a blind hill is danger waiting to happen.  I have also noticed when Mother Nature calls and I decide I can no longer wait, somebody will come by…Every time. 

This afternoon was spent picking a few tomatoes and what are likely the last of my sour cherries.  I also watered a few things.  While I fixed supper the girls discovered that my blueberry bushes are fruiting.  They looked like gerbils.  These bushes were planted last fall and I will not have any fruit to sell until next summer, but the blue berries are coming. 

When I am alone I pursue some of the more difficult areas and save the easy picks for when my girls are with me.  Tonight Autie went with me while Livie hung out with Tom.  I learn a lot about my girls in moments like these.  We brought our Minnie Mouse scooter with us and yes got it out every time we stopped.  There is a bird that when it sings it sounds remarkably like a kitten crying.  We have had very bad luck with our kittens this year and the yellow kitten has vanished.  We have prayed for yellow kitty's safe return the past few nights.  Autie swore that bird was yellow kitty and she was going to walk through neck high weeds to save it.  I am torn in moments like these.  Tom and I both know that kitten will never come home because it died.  The girls cried so hard when the first two past we could not bring ourselves admit it.  I still don’t know how I manage to coax Autie out of the weeds, but finally we moved on to a new set of trees. 

Autie is so looking forward to mulberry cereal in the morning.  She worked hard and has earned a few berries.  The most boring of cheerios magically take on a new life with a few mulberries.  I love that kid.  We pulled into the driveway at bedtime and Livie was climbing out of the combine.  Everyone will be crabby in the morning. 

Most of the fruit picked today will delivered to my drop customers and to People’s in Manhattan, KS tomorrow.  I will hang around tomorrow night to sell a little more, plus some romaine lettuce, collard greens, fresh herbs, hanging baskets and bedding plants.  I hope you will stop by.  If you live in Nebraska, it is not too late to add yourself to my delivery list.  My prices are very reasonable and my quality is outstanding.  If you are thinking about it, go ahead and give us a try. 

 
 
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