L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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The Waiting Game & The Frustrations of Modern Technology

I am frustrated this afternoon.  I have found a handy and inexpensive way to create an online ordering system and the system does not like my name.  I understand, but it is still my name.  I have sent my questions and or comments and I am waiting.  Frustrated!  Technology is a blessing and at the moment I want to throw my computer out the window.  There are more ways than ever to communicate to people and I am trying to use all of them and I cannot afford a smart phone which have been told will simplify my life.  I was told that about email too.  Frustrated.  J

Yesterday was a BIG day and today I am tired.  It started with my market at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE and my tobouli kits were popular.  I sold out and I even sold extra parsley and mint which are typically not easy to sell.  I came very close to selling out of everything which is a good feeling.  Now I just need to bring more. 

My friend Sandi from Filley, NE.  I asked Sandi to design and make a pick apron for me.  She delivered it to the market on Sunday and it is so cool.  It has a set of three pockets that will allow for large picks and prevent crushing.  It also has a wide and padded neck.  I am still fighting my cameras and will post pictures soon, but to my fellow growers who want something that will simply the harvest you will be more than interested.  She also designs purses and is a true whiz at the sewing machine.  She is now offering sewing classes too!

Tom and his brother Joe have been attempting to cut wheat…a little each day but my blackberries simply insist it is not time.  I have one berry starting to slightly turn purple.  My prediction is they will be able to begin cutting Thursday and I will likely begin picking berries the same day.  Tom is amused by my predictions but not convinced.  That’s okay.  I will remind him of my prediction on Thursday. 

Autie had her second blast ball game and she was a little timid and unsure of herself this time.  Usually her big sister is right there bossing her around and she is figuring things out on her own.  She is doing just fine.  Livie had a makeup game and we did not skip around the base line last night, but we casually jogged.  I think some things were said by her team mates because as she fell asleep last night she said she was sorry and would run faster next time.  My heart hurt a little for her.  I know being the big sister hard.  You have to figure out everything yourself.  Livie is like me in that she has to mess it up before she figures things out.  I need to remember how hard that was for me at times.  I will say she has an awesome swing and she knows how to keep the shortstop VERY busy.   That ball is fast and JUST barely inside the line.  She is doing just fine. 

Today I watered everything and began planting a new round of onion sets.  I have sold a lot of onions and would have sold a lot more at this point if more were in the ground.  I also need to find time to get some basil plants in the ground.

The tomatoes are still taking their time, but I am now picking my new red fig which is a cherry-sized heirloom that resembles to yellow pear.   I also see some chocolate cherry cherries starting to blush a little.  My Italian tree tomatoes are starting to ripen too and those are looking like nice tomatoes.  They are bigger than my Stupica tomatoes but still not huge.  I personally think smaller tomatoes have more flavor.  I also see my beefsteak tomatoes are getting close to size and will soon start to blush.  I have gobs of yellow beefsteak, but no signs of ripening so whenever they hit I will have A LOT.  My white, orange, pink and black tomatoes will take a little longer, but will be for sale before you know it.   I also notice my chili peppers are starting to fruit and with a little luck will be ready for Father’s Day weekend.  YEAH!!!!  I will have bell peppers soon after that.  My colored bells, and other peppers will take a little longer. 

If I do not have squash and cucumbers for sale by Wednesday I will definitely have some for sale next Sunday and I am ready.  The green beans are about to flower and my leeks are huge. 

Tonight I will plant a few more strawberry plants for fall fruit and some more leeks, and the last of the eggplant for the season.  I have a short row that at this point is empty and I am looking for some fun new things to try.  I am still looking. 

Wheat harvest is all but here so I plan to cut a few bundles of wheat in its stalks to sell as dried flowers for my markets this week.  I love wheat.  It is so pretty when it is green but as it ripens it is breathtaking.  The colors range from like gold/ almost white to dark bronze.  I fell in love with Tom and the life he offered me as a farm wife during wheat harvest.  Nearly nine years later I still love wheat harvest… and Tom.  We have brothers, cousins, friends, sometimes strangers… they all want to pitch in.  Some take vacation time to come work for free.   We are talking some seriously long hours.  There is something truly romantic about this time of the year.   I think it is partly the beauty but also the camaraderie.  The banter and yes sometimes the episodes of Tom and Joe rolling around in the parking lot biting each other’s ear because neither has slept much in days and are a little crabby.  I am not making any of that up.  At 42 and 45 they still fight like kid brothers.  Anybody who has ever worked closely with family instinctively understands how animated these fights can be.  They also understand there is only one rule.  Be mad if you like but get over it because you will sit across from that ugly mug at the next family gathering.    

In the morning I will pick peas and mulberries and the girls and I will likely pick more mulberries tomorrow night.  I have several large orders to fill for the week and it takes A LOT of mulberries to get anywhere.  Mulberries remain a very popular item. 

My words of gratitude focus on the importance of family.  My brother in law is a maddening person to be around, but he has also pulled me out of a ditch, repaired multiple flat tires and is good with my girls …so maybe he is not so bad.  I am also grateful for patient customers who are also waiting for the tomato bumper crop.v
 
 

It is Now June

This post is a little long, but it has beena good week.   [Read More]
 
 

The Mind Wonders at the Mulberry Tree

So this week I have busied myself picking mulberries, picking peas, and enjoying Olivia’s first t-ball game.  With the exception of t-ball, there is a fair amount of time to think.  When my hands are busy, but my mind free to wonder… all sorts of things are possible.  The thoughts are random and usually grand.  In those moments I see a crystal clear path for my business’ success. It is not until I am trying to clean my mulberry-stained hands that reality kicks in.  I keep dreaming though because one of these times I can’t help but think it will all come together. 

As much as my business is struggling at the moment it is better than where I was one year ago.  One year ago I was employed full time in a job I knew was coming to an end, trying to grow my business in the hopes of a soft landing…and fighting everyone connected to both.  I spent so much energy in the name of helping others… even as it was hurting me and my family and my business…only to have those I was helping betray me.  It left me angry and resentful, distrusting, and emotionally exhausted.   I am unafraid to say it…. seriously depressed.  I am still working on the forgiveness I need to extend others and the only way I will ever get there is on my knees.  For those of who are of faith, I could seriously use your prayers to help me find my forgiving heart.  The outcome of everything, I now work for L’Ecuyer Gardens/ Farms.  The clarity is amazing.   The dreams are big.  The need is huge… given that, how can this possibly fail? 

My garden is in a lull and all I can do is wait for things to begin to ripen.  As I wait… I worry.  It has not rained in quite some time and the hot dry wind we have experienced also has my husband worried.  His crops are not like mine, they cannot be easily watered.  Young plants emerging from the ground fail to flourish in the face of these strong, hot dry winds.  There is not much he can do.  Even with my crops, it has been too windy to effectively water and that is a problem.  All of the tender, young plants I planted last week are struggling.  We have had chances of rain for several nights and the rains keep skirting up around us. 

For many, I know the weather is of little interest, but to a farmer it is both your best friend and your enemy.  We have not had anything that resembles normal weather this calendar year and it makes it hard to know what to do.  This is clearly one of those give it God and move on scenarios.  My Autie has prayed for rain so sweetly the past few nights.  As she put it…”God we need some rain.  It did not rain today, and it did not rain yesterday or on the third day.  We need some rain.  Can you send us some?”  My prayer is a little different…”Lord please hear my Autie’s prayer.”

I have picked a bunch of mulberries this week and my girls and I will be back at it tomorrow.  My hands are stained and so is at least one shirt.  You should never pick mulberries wearing white. J I knew better so I can’t complain.  Believe it or not my mulberries are a top seller and I know some of you are mystified by that statement.  I think it is a simple pleasure.  Many of us fondly remember the childhood mulberry tree that was nearby.  We were not to go there… but we did every chance we got.  The mulberries remind my customers of a time when sneaking mulberries was fun and buying my baskets provides my customers with the simple pleasures of a fond memory and a sweet treat that is actually good for you.  I am indulged with a few dollars of income and time as a pick to try and figure out how to create a business that will be a blessing to my family. 

Today I have several deliveries and I am trying to decide if an email newsletter would be good for my business.  My ability to grow my business depends on more weekly deliveries.  As the farmer, marketer and delivery person my time is so seriously divided that I need to find ways to work smarter and not harder.  I am interested in your thoughts as to how to make my business easier to connect with.    

Part of making this work is making it work for everyone in my house and things like t-ball are as important as anything.  I think that is the constant guilt of all mothers.  We need/want to work, but we need/want to be there for the important things…like watching my Livie draw figure eights in the dirt at the catchers’ mound last night.  She said she feels mean tagging the other girls as they come home.  That’s my Livie…a heart of pure gold. 

I am sharing my worries with you because many of us are facing similar stresses.  Many of us are trying to figure things out as we try to re-find our prosperity.  Personally, I think our path back to prosperity is for more of us to get back to what really matters.  We need to simplify our lives and take pleasure in simple things...Neighbors who pop in unannounced ... sneaking a fresh picked strawberry from the garden ... or concentrating our energy on how to make ourselves more of a blessing to those who are in our lives.  We are ALL going to have to dig deep and blaze new trails, but we can get there.  So I have to ask… in what way can I be a blessing to you? 

v
 
 

Late Nights & Early Mornings

here is to busy days, late nights and early mornings! See you at the market in the morning!!!!   [Read More]
 
 

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

v
 
 

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.

v

 
 

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. 

v
 
 

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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Great Tomato Days - Day 2

Day 1 was a GREAT day to visit L'Ecuyer Gardens.  If you missed it we are still offering our plants today until 7:00 p.m. and tomorrow until 4:00 p.m.  Great selection!  Don't miss out! 
 
 

Join Us For Our Special Sale

The weather is perfect and our gardens are screaming at us begging for plants to be put in the ground.  Today was dedicated to Alpine White strawberries, broccoli romanesco, purple broccoli and broccoli raab.  I am also thinning my strawberry tubs and adding a few new beds from my Ozark Beauty and Seebring beds.  Before it is said and done I will have some more plants for sale and it is not too late. 

This weekend we are having the great tomato plant sale at L’Ecuyer Gardens.  Beefsteak, white rabbit , Juan Flemme’, Stupice, Golden Jubilee, European Snowberry, chocolate cherry, Cherokee purple, yellow pear, red fig and MANY more.  We guarantee you will NOT find our selection in heirloom tomatoes anywhere else.

We will also have a nice selection of fresh herbs, pepper plants and yes there are a few petunias and other flowers are at long last available.  We will hold our sale Thursday through Saturday.  Feel free to contact us for directions and more information.    

We have great variety and reasonable prices too!  We are well worth the drive and hope to see you!  March came in like a lamb and it appears it will go out like one too.  Take advantage of what is turning out to be a terrific spring! 

v
 
 

Visitors Are Welcome!!!!

Today is a great day to visit and get an early start on your garden.   [Read More]
 
 

We Were Expecting Rain

Early plantings for early crops ... peas, potatoes, onions, and MORE.   [Read More]
 
 
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