L'Ecuyer Gardens

  (Morrowville, Kansas)
A Day in the Life
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The First Day of Fall

It has been awhile since I posted.  To say the least September is a very busy month.  Earlier in the month Livie turned six and today my Autie turned four.  She was born on the first day of fall.  Somewhere in the middle Tom and I celebrated our eighth anniversary.  Tom rounded up and sold his fall calves AND also began fall harvest.  As of Friday we are finished with our corn.  It was not pretty…the drought’s impact was severe… but at least that part is OVER.  This next week Joe will begin cutting soybeans and Tom will start drilling wheat.  Our soybeans should do better and so at least there is a rainbow of hope. 

I have also been very busy.  I took a business trip to Reading, PA and also ripped out most of my tomatoes and began planting my fall and winter high tunnel.  I have been busy planting cherry tomatoes, basil, sorrel, micro greens; rattle snake beans, yard beans, fennel, arugula, and broccoli, red and green cabbage.  Before too much longer I will also plant Red Russian and winterboro kale and several types of head and loose leaf lettuce.  I continue to make weekly deliveries to the Wilderness Ridge Lodge and am busy making some decisions for next spring.  We are planning for some big changes for next year and most of the decisions need to be made now so we can focus our energy properly in the weeks to come. 

Today is a busy day.  I spent the morning focused on picking everything for tomorrow and as soon as I finish this post, I will begin prepping.  My girls who helped carry of the squash to the house demanded I I pay them back by jumping on the trampoline for a little bit.  Tom was so relieved to not be drafted that he announced he would fix lunch and BOLTED into the house.  So yes I did jump on the trampoline and yes it is still standing AND I have all of my bones intact… I may have swallowed my tongue.   Tonight after church we will go out to eat at Autie’s place of choice... probably Chinese and then we will go over to a neighbor’s house for smores!!!!    Tomorrow night after return from Old Cheney we will have everyone over a birthday party.  The meatballs have already been made and the tomato salad will be finished before I go to bed tonight.  I hope I sell A LOT of patty pan squash tomorrow, otherwise I may give them away as party favors!!!! 

After being gone for a few weeks I will be back at the Old Cheney Road Farmers market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  The only change is that for at least this next week, I will be in a different stall.  I will be beside the Parthenon, which is up in the main part of the market.   I will have an odd combination of items tomorrow, but they should ALL be really yummy.  I will have my patty pan squash as well as acorn and butternut squash.  I will also have mini orange, white and spotted mini pumpkins as well as bird house gourds.  I will have a nice selection of eggplant, peppers, cherry and beefsteak tomatoes, hard red winter wheat berries, sage, red-veined sorrel, chocolate mint, and sage.  We will also have red and yellow onions, ornamental okra, and moon and stars yellow watermelons.  The yellow is a beautiful melon that tastes wonderful.  I need to check but I think we will also have a few honey dew melons.  Finally our greens have kicked in.  Tomorrow we will have spinach, red and purple Bok Choy, red sails lettuce, Chinese cabbage, miniature purple cabbage, beet greens and baby Swiss Chard.  I have no idea how I am going to get all of this into my car. 

I hope to see you the Old Cheney Road Farmers market tomorrow in Lincoln, NE.  I promise to have fresh and fabulous produce at terrific prices and a fair amount of light banter.  My thoughts of gratitude today are focused on cooler temperatures and two little girls who still manage to con their mom into bouncing around on their trampoline as if I were also a little girl. 

 
 

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
 
 

The Preparation continues

It is approximately midnight and in seven hours I will be on my way to the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE.  In tow is a lot of hard work and if I don’t day some great produce. 

The girls and I spent the last two days picking wild berries and so the items I am most proud of include gooseberries, wild raspberries and choke cherries.  I will also have the very last of this year’s sour cherries, the first of this year’s blackberries and some mulberries.  This may not sound like a lot, but believe me it felt like a lot.  Yesterday I took the girls down my sand road for the first time.  Tom not sure it was a good idea allowed me to have the pick up for the morning and demanded I take along our dogs Fatty and Reba and my cell phone power cord.  Everyone except Fatty enjoyed the field trip and the girls loved the sand road so much they are demanding we go back but with shovels and buckets next time. 

Livie is taking this all in.  I am so pleased with my gooseberries and wild raspberries and she has cooed and clucked over all of them.  As a sign of support she decided the sand in the road was “wild” sand.  As she put it, “it’s so much softer than our sand.”  She is right it is very soft.  Spotting a locust tree she immediately announced we have also found Meer cat food and we had to pick some.  I am not up on my Meer cats but I am not as convinced as she is that this is proof of their presence in North Central Kansas.  Tom is doing his best to hold his tongue on the fact that the locust trees are an unwelcomed addition to our farm. 

For the entire outing, Autumn was still tormented by the bird that sounds like a kitten crying, but was more accepting that yellow kitty was not in the weeds.  While on our field trip today everyone had to stop and allow the box turtle to safely cross the road.  It was in a hurry but you know how turtles are.  Tonight Autie is not feeling very well and I hope a good night’s rest will help. 

It is days like today when my girls and I are able to share something we all love… exploring the untamed, that fills me with intense joy.   I am blessed to have girls who not only indulge my passion, but who also seem to enjoy it.  They busy themselves with their own searches and as a result have developed some of the wildest imaginations you will ever find.  I cannot help but wonder… Will they remember days like these when it is their turn to be the Mommy?   What will be their special times be like?  Will they call me to tell me about it?  While out we talked a lot about babies and each girl wanted to hear their story of what life was like for them when the lived in my tummy.  We also faced some tough questions about the birds and the bees.  Yes girls the order is high school, college, job/ business, MARRIAGE then babies.  We practiced this part together OUT LOUD. 

I know I have talked a lot about wild fruit lately, but the produce is also starting to kick in.   I will bring the first of my summer squash and cucumbers, mint and parsley, potatoes, peas, kale, broccoli, collard greens, some tomatoes, bags of hard red winter wheat berries and more tabouli kits.  This week’s kit will not use bulgur, but the hard red winter wheat.  I will also have a few onions and radishes and of course eggs.  I almost forgot the rhubarb and wheat bouquets.   I do not have a lot of anyone thing, but hopefully enough different things to make everything work. 

Tom has been busy cutting wheat and it is a disappointing crop.  It is not yielding.  He is especially quiet  when he comes home and I am trying to keep things on an even keel in the name of moral support.  It is not enough that the wheat crop is doing poorly but we are to the point with our corn and beans that a good rain just will not be enough.  We are also not putting up as much hay as we should for this winter and that will prve to be a problem.    We have never had a year where we were looking at crop failure for EVERYTHING.  The only reason I have a garden to harvest from is because we have the well at our home and at some point we may have to choose my garden or the livestock.  We will choose the livestock. 

This is part of farming, but knowing that does little to reduce the stress level in my home at the moment.  We continue to pray for rain and we would love for you to pray on our behalf.  We are hardly the only farmers in need of it.  Praying for rain would be a meaningful and powerful show of support for thousands of farmers between Colorado and Indiana.  We all need rain.  This is your food we are raising and our livelihood all rolled into one interdependent ball of twine.  We ALL need rain. 

My statement of gratitude focuses on two giggly, red-headed little girls with brown eyes and beautiful smiles.  What would I do without you?  It has been a GREAT couple of days. 

 
 

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]
 
 

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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