A Day in the Life
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It is just past midnight and everything except for a few
very last minute picks everything has been picked, washed, bagged tagged and packed. I don’t think my car has ever been fuller. We are still looking for a van that is within
our price range so for now our family mid-sized car remains part family car and part truck. I am still unsure how I managed to get
everything in but TA DAA!!! It
fit. I have always enjoyed puzzles and
in school I struggled in math but found geometry easy. Who knew that I would put the skills
developed to use in my mid-life career change!!! LOL
Seriously¸ tomorrow I will be at the Old Cheney Road Farmer’s
Market in Lincoln, NE from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. I will have with me sugar snap peas, green
beans, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, cabbage, potatoes,
tomatoes, blackberries, parsley bunches, mint bunches, Tabouli kits ,onions,
hard red winter wheat berries and the farm market queen SWEET CORN!!! I almost forgot I will also have a few crabapples.
Tom is in charge of the sweet corn and I am not sure I have
shared this with you before but when it comes to his crops Tom is a
perfectionist. He was born a farmer and
growing the best possible crop is deep within his DNA. He babies our sweet corn from seed selection
to harvest. The end result is a
beautiful, bug-free ear of corn with tender sweet kernels that all but melt in
your mouth. We do not grow A LOT of
sweet corn, but I have never had better… please do not share that part with my
grandma. After church we took the girls
out for a bite to eat and made it home by 8:00 p.m. Tom picked it, cleaned it and packed it
in coolers so that tomorrow you will have the opportunity to enjoy his absolute
On the rest I tried something new this week in attempt to
bring a better product to you with the rest of my availability. With my berries, cherry tomatoes, green beans
and peas instead of just rinsing them in water as normal, I mixed a water and
vinegar solution as a final rinse. The
rinse should not distort the taste but should help the produce hold up better
in the heat of the day. My friend Sandi
Johnson from Filley, NE shared this tip with me. Tom is not the only person on a farm who
works hard to bring you our very best.
This week was yet another whirlwind. This was the last week of swim lessons and
both girls passed to the next level. We
had a t-ball practice Wednesday and a game Friday night. Grandma Carol from St. Joseph came to the
game and then we all went out for pizza.
My girls enjoyed their visit so much they are now planning their next
trip to go see her!!! Thursday
deliveries increased a bunch this week and I am really glad about that! I meet so many interesting a nd wonderful people
on my route and at the market. I enjoy gardening but I have
to admit I enjoy visiting with everyone MORE.
When I get home tomorrow night we are taking the girls to go
see BRAVE. I hope this is a good
one. It is not very often you find shows
featuring princesses with red hard. As
the mother of two princesses with red hair IT IS ABOUT TIME!!!!
I hope you will come by tomorrow. We have a lot of great produce and I think
you will find our prices are reasonable.
See you in the morning!
Posted by Twilya
@ 12:35 AM CDT
We ENJOYED our first beefsteak tomato of the season. It was big enough one tomato was all we
needed. It was good, full of flavor and
just the right amount of acidity. I have
several more that are available now and several more that will be ready by the
weekend. If you are one who has lost a
little faith in the flavor of tomatoes – this one will give you hope.
Also available this week … the sweetest snap peas I think I
have ever eaten and I have A LOT of them.
If you have not had a chance to make creamed peas and potatoes, I have
everything you need. My green beans are
also starting to kick in and the beans are tender, stingless and full of flavor. Of course the zucchini and yellow squash are
coming on in full force and my cucumbers while only starting are off to a
prolific start. I have a few heads of
cabbage and am patiently waiting for the next round. This week I have touchstone gold beets and
they are beautiful. I love the
touchstone because they are so sweet and yet don’t taste like dirt. I have a few red baby beets and am hoping to
roast some one night this week. By the weekend I will have the first of the
sweet corn and the peppers are starting to go to town. There are
more things on their way so the colors, flavors and textures will continue to
change. The produce has kicked in. You could shop me for a new and very
different flavor for every night this week.
This is my favorite time of the year, when there are so many tasty
options that making a decision can prove impossible. We work so hard for this brief moment when
the garden becomes our grocery store and we would just love it, if our garden
could become yours. I also have canning
tomatoes available. If you want these,
please call me directly. They will not
be listed in our online store.
There is still time to reserve your order for Thursday
delivery. The store will close tomorrow
at 5:00 p.m. Simply go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/
and select your favorites. The online
store is easy to use and helps both of us keep track of availability. I hope you will give us a try.
Autie had her last blast ball game of the season Sunday and
Livie has practice tomorrow and her last regular game Friday. We are hoping Grandma Carol will be able to
come watch it. This week has been a busy
one with the second week of swim lessons and a feeble attempt to get caught up
Yesterday we had some visitors from Salina stop by to tour
the farm and my girls loved it. While I
visited with the adults, the girls gave their son the full tour which included
baby kitties, snake skins and a little hide-n-seek. We love on farm visitors and from now until
the end of the season we are opening our doors by appointment on Mondays and
Tuesday for those who want to save some money.
Farm market leftovers from Sunday will be half price to ALL on-farm
visitors. The produce is just as good as
it was the day before, but we need to make room for the bounty for the week
ahead. We are adult and kid friendly
and so make it a family outing. We
promise are more than a little weedy, but the produce is fresh and
fabulous. The view is breathtaking and
we offer you a chance to enjoy a little simplicity in the midst of a hectic
world. That is what our farm is for us
anyway… a small oasis from the world’s insanity.
morning I am going to go out to see what wild fruit is still available and I
will spend part of the day picking peas and green beans for my Thursday
Posted by Twilya
@ 08:26 PM CDT
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
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
Posted by Twilya
@ 10:25 PM CDT
This week has been a whirlwind. We forgot that swim lessons started this week
so there has been a mad dash to modify our schedule. I nearly drowned when I was Autie’s age so
for me swim lessons are mandatory. At
the pool I was able to make about a dozen phone calls and visit with some of
the other moms. We all had stories that
I am sure you can relate to too about how we want our kids to be involved BUT
they/ we are also overloaded. None of us
know how to navigate that water. I for
one am of the opinion that time at home working on family priorities NEEDS to be
inked into the schedule. I say that and admit
this week is not proof of that belief.
We are ALL overloaded. Despite
that we owe it to ourselves to find ways to bring back some simple pleasure and
in my opinion a nice meal made from fresh ingredients is a GREAT way to
We enjoyed BLTs last night with zucchini chips and coleslaw. After dinner, Livie went to plant soybeans
with Tom last night and Autie spent the evening with me. We took a bubble bath, cleaned the kitchen
and washed our game uniforms. Liv was so
tired that she curled up with our puppy Reba and they both napped in the
tractor. Autie was so tired she couldn’t
sleep and talked like a freight train ALL night. She has the gift of gab!!!
It was so windy it was too hard to work outside so I decided
it was time to focus on things inside. We
have enjoyed very strong, hot, dry winds for several days and everyone is
crabby and exhausted. Kansas is upholding
its reputation. For those who are not
close the feeling of this wind is like a blow dryer powered by a jet engine
blowing straight into your face… non-stop.
Every so often the blow dryer blows sand or dirt into your face and you
only hope you were not smiling or yawning in that moment. I do not enjoy being sand blasted.
After I dropped the girls off I made a mad dash to the
grocery store and then came home with a full to do list. I spent the morning picking blackberries and
tomatoes and my surprises for the day are that my YELLOW beefsteak and my WHITE
slicing tomatoes are starting to turn. I
also found a few more Juane Flemme’ orange plum tomatoes and my NEW Indigo Rose
tomato is nearly ready to pick. The
Indigo Rose is a blue tomato and I will keep you posted. BLUE!!!
I had a customer ask why I grew so many weird tomatoes/
things. I LOVE tomatoes. I love them so much that I am a SNOB. I want them MY way and will do without unless
that can be. I also know there are a LOT
of tomato snobs out there and they want them THEIR way. I UNDERSTAND and I try to accommodate everyone. My
girls are young and most kids their age will not eat fresh veggies, BUT mine do
willingly… most of the time. Livie can’t
decide if her favorite veggie is kale or broccoli and I am just so happy to
know that I willingly fix both so she can continue to fine tune her list of
favorites. Autie is pickier and I have
to work harder. For HER I grow a lot of
things that are ORANGE because it is her favorite color. SHE always likes it when she can eat her
favorite color. She also likes
yellow. My girls eat eggplant not the
big black ugly ones as Livie puts it but the little purple ones. She eats the others too, but only after
trying the others. They also eat okra,
cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, beets, beet greens, zucchini and squash. Sometimes it is all in the marketing. When you buy from me you will find an awful
lot of kid friendly choices. My kids
also know the difference between fresh and store bought and they prefer
fresh. It will be interesting to see how
many times Livie wants to pack her lunch next year.
Here in a bit I will pick squash, peas and maybe some green beans
and then we will begin the mad dash for tonight. Livie has t-ball tonight and we are expecting
rain. We do not look forward to
rescheduling another game BUT bring it on!!!!
We have another game Friday night and I have A LOT to get ready for
Sunday’s market. We could all handle a
night watching our current favorite movie Chestnut and a big bowl of
popcorn. Bring on the rain!!!! J
Swim lessons are forcing me to alter my schedule slightly for
the next two weeks. I will make ALL of
my deliveries on Thursday. Hopefully
that will work for everyone. The plus side
is that I was able to give everyone more time to place their orders. Please go 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. I still have
plenty of squash, cucumbers, zucchini, slicing and cherry tomatoes. I also have cabbage, Swiss chard, Tabouli kits,
potatoes, black berries and collard greens.
My statement of gratitude is focused on the promise of rain
and an end to our wind storm.
Posted by Twilya
@ 10:40 AM CDT
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
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
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.
Posted by Twilya
@ 01:54 PM CDT
It rained last night. It is still raining. For those who offered a a prayer for rain, THANK YOU.
Posted by Twilya
@ 07:05 AM CDT
Today is Wednesday and I will be headed to Manhattan to
deliver to my drop customers, including People’s Grocery. I will also hang around at Peoples for the
farmers market from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
With me I will have an abundance of summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli,
potatoes, peas, pole beans, kale, and collard greens and then there are my
berries… some sour cherries, choke cherries, gooseberries, wild raspberries,
regular and wild black berries and mulberries.
I may have forgotten to mention the tomatoes. I will have some nice salad tomatoes, orange
parchute and I hope to have one full basket of red cherries. The cherry tomatoes are on their way. Next week I should have the first of my European Snowberry tomatoes and you have no idea how good a tomato can be until you try one.
If there is something on this list that sounds really yummy
reserving yours is now very easy to do.
You can go to http://lecuyergardens.locallygrown.net/
and place your order. Orders are filled
in the order they are received. My new
online ordering system will help you and me keep up on availability. In time I will be able to accept debit and
credit cards and will always willingly collect at the time of delivery. It is a really easy system to use, so go ahead give it
Tuesday was spent picking berries and I found another new
road. It is a pretty good road and most
things are fairly easy to get to. There
are a lot of raspberries and blackberries. The girls and I headed out
again Tuesday evening and yes we returned to the sand road. The girls love that road and tonight busied
themselves my making Big Foot tracks in the sand. It was a little windy and so everything rustled
and while we enjoyed our visit we were all ready to leave. We were all feeling a little vulnerable.
Tom now expects to be finished with wheat harvest today. This is a very crazy week and between markets
and t-ball games Father’s Day is more than full. The girls and I need to find an opportunity
to celebrate before then. Tom is an awesome daddy and that is something worth
My thoughts of gratitude focus on the thankfulness
for the road less taken. Had I not been
willing to go down an entirely new road, I never would have met Tom, or would
have had my girls. The woman I was 10 years ago and the woman I
am today look similar but I no longer see her in me. Then I rarely wore jeans or any type of
denim, today I rarely wear anything else.
My nails used to be perfect and they are always a wreck anymore. Then you saw a big smile hiding an incredibly
lonely and lost person. The loneliness
has been filled with Tom and the girls and a business that gives me an
opportunity to meet so many new people each week. The road has been bumpy and at times very
difficult, but in the end it was the road worth taking and what a difference it
has made. Gratitude!
Posted by Twilya
@ 12:26 AM CDT
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
Posted by Twilya
@ 09:10 PM CDT
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.
Posted by Twilya
@ 12:19 AM CDT
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.
Posted by Twilya
@ 11:45 PM CDT
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
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
Posted by Twilya
@ 04:45 PM CDT
This post is a little long, but it has beena good week. [Read More
Posted by Twilya
@ 01:31 PM CDT
Memorial Day weekend was nice. I did not go to my markets. The crowds are usually low and my produce was
not quite there. This was our chance to
have a little calm before the summer madness.
Livie’s big news we have now lost our second tooth on the
bottom and she whistles a little when she talks. The second tooth broke a little as it came
out and the Tooth Fairy missed the broken piece? And yes Livie was just fine
with that because she figured out all she had to do was put it under her pillow
and enjoy a two for one!!! I am proud of
my daughter’s entrepreneurial instincts but I need to have a chat with the
Tooth Fairy. The two new teeth are
coming through and she has been a little crabby lately. I am reminded of when her first set came
in. That was rough on everyone! This time a little crabby is much
For lunch we enjoyed a meal from our own efforts… steak with creamed peas and potatoes, salad
and yes we enjoyed it with vine ripened tomatoes, radishes, green onions. I love it when I can put a meal in front of
my family knowing exactly where it came from - US. Love it!
We even enjoyed a few fresh strawberries for dessert. It is a strange year. I am serving the first of our peas and
potatoes AND the first of our garden fresh, vine ripened tomatoes of the season
in the same meal. I did not know that
was possible. We tried a new radish last
night called a Zlata radish. It is pale
yellow and do not let that fool you. It
was HOT. Yumo!
Autie had her first blast ball practice last night and she
LOVED it. All the way there she said
over and over, “now you can watch me!”
If Livie knocked the snot out of her first ball then my Autie will be
crowned Chief Knock a Homer! That ball
flew. If you ever want to thoroughly
enjoy youth sports and giggle shamelessly you should watch 3 and 4 year olds
play t-ball…The tears, the running, the shrieks of joy. I the parents had a blast. Tom and I sure did.
We came home last night and did something a little
overdue. We cleaned. Tom tackled the kitchen, the girls worked on
their rooms and then volunteered to vacuum the living room (like I am going to
say no) and I battled both bathrooms and put laundry away. We have brown carpeting – who knew? Livie and Autie promised to keep it clean (we
will see) and we celebrated with some popcorn I bought from by vendor neighbor
at the Old Cheney Farmers Market. It was
red kernel corn and tasty!
Today was spent putting in a second row each of zucchini and
yellow squash and sweet potatoes. I am
trying something new this year in an effort to reduce the presence of the
squash beetle I am planting sweet potatoes with my squash plants. I figure if it works this could be a really
good deal since it will yield two different crops throughout the season. The girls spent the day with their Grandma
Betty so Tom and I had a date for lunch.
It was nice to be able to have an entire conversation. J Tonight I will lay down another couple of
rows of mulch and either plant honey dew melon or leeks. In the morning I begin preparing for my
Wednesday deliveries and the farmers market in Manhattan, Kansas. My deliveries are starting to pick up and I
am very happy about that. In a perfect
world I could have enough deliveries lined up between Wednesday and Thursday
that I can go to Livie’s t-ball game. If
it does not work out I will be at the Friday game with bells on.
If you are thinking about giving us a try, you should. Call, email, or find me on Facebook and if
you are along one of my delivery routes I will gladly stop by. If you are a little out of route call anyway
because you never know… otherwise I hope to see you either Wednesday night at
the Manhattan City Farmers Market at Cico Park, Manhattan, KS or on Sunday at
the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, NE. We also have on-farm hours and make ourselves
available at other times by appointment so we are pretty convenient. We have great produce and great prices. The standard for quality… I raise it for you and
package it for you as if I will actually feed it to my family and that is a VERY
My thoughts of gratitude today... are of first thankfulness
that the hot dry winds seem to have dwindled.
We are still in great need of rain but the week to come promises cooler
weather is greatly appreciated. I am
also grateful for the kind words some of my customers have taken time to write
on my Facebook business page. Gratitude!
Posted by Twilya
@ 05:39 PM CDT
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
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
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?
Posted by Twilya
@ 09:09 AM CDT
Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader
So my Livie lost her tooth and now we must all wait to see
if the Toothy Fairy lives up to her promise.
Tomorrow she goes for kindergarten round-up. It does not seem possible that my baby will
start school this fall. Her birthday is
just eight short days past the start deadline and last year I was so convinced
she should GO NOW. Now that the time is
drawing close, I just want more time. Autie
is looking forward to having Grandma all to herself in the morning. Next year Autie will be in preschool without herself. It will be interesting to see how much they miss each other.
Today was a pretty good day at the market, but I sure would
love for the produce to kick in! So far
it is limping along, but it is on its way.
I had a friend of mine stop by for a visit and it was a very nice
surprise. She showed me her newest
creation. It was a handbag she had made
and it was cool. You should have seen
the pockets!!!! Sandi Johnson in
Beatrice will soon offer sewing classes and it is time Tom and I dust off the sewing
machine we bought when first married and actually learn how to use it. If you are interested in learning more about
her classes, let me know and I will give you her contact information. I always admire someone who can turn unemployment
into a new business venture!!! Go Sandi!
Tonight we are having and odd dinner perhaps, but YUMO. Some of our farm market left-overs will be
featured… leeks and yellow snow peas with sweet potato fries and alligator. No the gator was not local and it is a very long
story, but YUMO! We will also enjoy tomatoes numbered two and three! I am very close to having tomatoes for
Tomorrow I will finally get the artichokes in the ground
along with starting about a dozen different summer squash, tomatillos, red okra
plants and etc. Tom spent the day staking my
tomatoes and at some point, we will have vines app 10 feet in the air. It will be a sight to be seen for sure.
I am also going to work on my new compost pile. Have I mentioned that at L’Ecuyer Gardens we
make our own compost? We are working
hard to be more environmentally responsible and it takes a lot of highly
fertile soil to keep L’Ecuyer Gardens going.
The rest of the night will be spent hanging out
with Tom and the girls. Mulberry season
is here and this week we will have to sneak in not just one but two mulberry
picking parties. We LOVE picking
mulberries. Stay tuned!
Posted by Twilya
@ 05:39 PM CDT