L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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Uncle Sam & Apple Pie

It was a nail biter clear to the final out and we won!  This game was so much fun to watch.  At one point I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  The other team was really good so this one made all of us walk a little taller.   Livie was so awesome.  She hit that ball and she ran.  At our last game she had a tough one.  She was tagged out at third twice and then struck out.  We shed lots of tears.  Daddy worked with her at home some and then she started practicing her batting here at home.  It showed.  All of the girls did a really good job.  Our team will begin tournament play Thursday and we are really starting the gel as a team. 

This week  I have been busy canning.  I have made sweet spear pickles, bread & butter pickles, sweet relish, dilly beans and pickled beets and I am nowhere near finished.   Still have dill pickles and dill relish to go. I am also planning to make ketchup and chili sauce.  I love canning.  That may sound strange, but I do.  It is a lot of work, but I love bringing the textures and flavors of summer together in a way that can be enjoyed all winter long.    

This week on farm I have sweet corn, slicing, cherry and beefsteak tomatoes.  I also have green beans, onions, black berries, and the very first of my Japanese eggplant. 

We are still using our online ordering system, but I have been told by a few customers it is not working.  I am trying to figure out the problem.  If you are interested in sweet corn for the fourth, please give me a call at 785-265-3345.  Until Friday everything is available on farm only. 

Tomorrow is a day worth celebrating.  It is our nation’s birthday.  As we celebrate let us be thankful we live in a country where our individual liberties are protected more than most.  That is a gift that we need to protect.  Happy Fourth of July and enjoy your festivities the fresh and fabulous way.v
 
 

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
 
 

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

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

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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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