L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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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? 

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Late Nights & Early Mornings

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

An Anticipated Visit From the Tooth Fairy and Great Produce Too!

Great produce at great prices and yes we still have bedding plants and hanging baskets.   [Read More]
 
 

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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Mother's Day Sale - Come Check Us Out!

It is a beautiful day! You need to come see us. The birds are singing and the sky is blue. The weather promises a mild day. The flowers are freshly watered and the tomato, pepper, eggplant and Swiss chard plants are all needing new homes. Your mother if like me has always loved growing things...that is why she took such good care of you over the years. Treat her to a bar of hand-crafted soap, a beautiful hanging basket or a nice supply of bedding plants. While you are here find something for yourself too! Tom has been busy planting a few more rows of green beans and I think there are plans for a few early watermelons.

My girls and I will be her until 4:00 p.m. today when we leave for t-ball practice but Tom will be her, just give a call on his cell phone so he will be looking for you! 785-527-0178.

We will be open with Saturday with two locations. We will be open on farm from 9:00 am. - 2:00 p.m. Tom and the girls will show you what we have for sale and just ask Livie about our stevia plants!!! You will also find us are the Manhattan Farmers Market at 5th & Humboldt in Manhattan Kansas from 8:00 am. - Noon.

On Sunday you will find us at the Old Cheney Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. I bet if you called Tom he would meet you at the farm then too!

Regardless of the day you come out I will warn you that Autie's new fun thing is to wear two socks that do not match and she is an ace at finding the best dirt spots on the farm. She is a crazy little thing. Livie is now combing her own hair and it is a little wild. My girls are too funny!

I have to share one more thing.  Our wild Momma Cat had her kittens in the chicken coup in one of the nesters…everybody gets along.  They are up and walking now and my girls were concerned for the kittens’ safety.  Chickens can be quite aggressive.  They had to “save” them last night and put them in a pet carrier for their WILD mother to raise them in.  Last night when the girls went to bed I returned them to their mother and while she is still very wild she seems to know I am looking out for her girls too! She will not let me pet her, but she will bring her babies to me if she thinks they need help.  Good Momma Cat. 

My statement of gratitude for the day is for the sunshine and cool breeze. I am thankful for two little girls who are a little grumpy this morning but able to hang out with me today! I am thankful for the smiles I cannot hide every time I see Autie with her green boots, dirty face and miss matched socks. Livie makes me smile with her wild and crazy hair and her ability to look at the simplest of things on this farm with complete wonderment.

I am also thankful for the customers who will stop by this weekend and thankful for a mother who as we speak is on her way to Graceland. I trip I wish I could have made with her. Happy Mother's Day Mom.

 
 

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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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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The Blessings of an Early Spring!

My board room is my kitchen table and my shareholders go by Honey, Livie and Autie.  Doing business with L'Ecuyer Gardens is an investment in gallons of milk, t-ball gloves and the hope opf a college education for our girls.  We love growing food and we love feeding you!  We hope we can share our passion with your family.   [Read More]
 
 

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]
 
 

Great Tomato Plant Sale Days - Day 3

We sold A LOT of plants yesterday but we still have plenty left. Some varieties are becoming limited. If you are ready to get a jumpstart on spring and love unique varieties and flavors then you owe it to yourself to stop by today and check out our availability.  If you would like to meet my sales staff check out our Facebook page at L’Ecuyer Gardens. 

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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! 

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Happy St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day

Tomorrow will be dedicated to planting a new bed of leeks and onions.  If there is time I will likely add a few more rows of peas.  Today has been spent potting flowers and hanging baskets.  I love flowers and we have a beautiful assortment of beautiful colors waiting for our on farm and farm market customers.  From petunias and osteospurnam to juncos twister, rose moss and a huge assortment of succulents… we will have several unique ideas that will combine flowers with edibles and create a full season of flowering beauty. 

This weekend we are offering our on-farm visitors a special treat.  We are offering special deals on our asparagus crowns and strawberry plants.  Now is the perfect time to plant both for a great start to the season.  Visitors to the farm will be treated to a special thank you… a free Toucan Tango… a lovely delicate flower with beautiful lavender petals and a bright green center.  The toucan tango is so pretty and unique it is worth the trip all by itself.  While you are here you can take a sneak peak at the many hanging basket designs we will offer this spring. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and fair warning my girls will pinch you if you forget to wear your green! 

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