The Open Gate Farm
269 Russell Road
Camano Island, WA
May 24, 2011
Fences and Gates at The Open Gate Farm
Kale. That magical green that halts and some times cures macular degeneration of the eye will be available once again this weekend. And for those who live on the edge, we will have some white Russian kale which has a pretty strong flavor, but tastes like it has more health per bite than anything we’ve chewed on in a long time.
If you want to have any of the items below delivered to the Snow Goose Bookstore in Stanwood for pickup Saturdays after 10 a.m., call, write, or stop by our web page store http://www.shop.theopengatefarm.com and we’ll show you how this can be a regular thing for you! It’s our spin on the CSA programs that are making the rounds.
Don’t forget the free movie! “A Sea Change” which looks at what we are doing to the oceans will be June 3rd at the Blackbird and June 11th at the Snow Goose Bookstore in our new Second Saturday At Snow Goose Series. This will be in addition to, not instead of, the First Fridays at the Blackbird. Email us back to make your reservations for the movies and what you would like from the list below to pick up on Saturday morning in town or here at the farm!
|Bakery||Garden Center||The Farm Store|
|Huge Cinnamon Rolls @ $3.50||Italian Oregano @ $1.50||Book – “Dear Friends” $14|
|Petite Cinnamon Rolls @ $1.75||Nootka Rose @ $10||Greeting Cards 5 / $7.50|
|Breads @ $6||Pacific 9 Bark @ $10||Farm T-Shirt @ $12|
|Thursday – Oatmeal Molasses||Evergreen Huckleberry @ $5|
|Friday – Challah||Paper Birch @ $10||Produce|
|Saturday – Baker’s Choice!||Mock Orange @ $10||Rhubarb @ $2.50 / lb|
|Snickerdoodle Cookies @ $1||High Bush Cranberry @ $10||Lettuce @ $2.50 / head|
|Wild Lupine $5||Canasta (green leafed)|
|Bacopa $2.50||Oscarde (red leafed)|
|Day Lilies $3||4 Seasons (butterhead)|
|And more, lots more!!!||Kale @ $2.50 / bunch|
The American Poet Laureate, Robert Frost, once wrote that “good fences make good neighbors.” He wrote of annually walking a New England stone fence with his neighbor and replacing stones knocked off by winter storms. They might exchange a few comments, but the symbolism of the fence kept them apart; it kept them from creating community as well.
Fences are useful and do produce interesting results. Here at The Open Gate Farm, when we got up the fence along Lake Grove Road, our happy farm dog was much happier. He finally understood he was no longer responsible for all those people and dogs who walk along what he thought was his road. Now he just yells at them to be careful in the traffic and to invite them to come in to his yard and buy some flowers. His job is now to protect our yard and anyone in it and he does that quite well. Even bald eagles take a sharp turn and glide away when he chases them from 50 feet below.
The best fences, however, have gates in them. And that is the most important part of any fence. It is where the hard wall stops and movement between two lives can happen. It is where control occurs. It is where signals are sent and who we are inside show the world who we really are. If we live with our gates open, we are strong enough to trust anyone who would enter our lives. When we keep the gates closed, we say we are not. An open gate is a statement of knowing we have enough to share, whether it is lettuce or love, berries or beauty, peonies or peace. An open gate is a symbol of a confident bounty within. There is plenty…even enough to share.
The hardest part to build in any fence is the gate. From setting the posts in cement to making the right hinges and latch, it takes a lot longer to build a 4 foot wide gate than to put up 4 feet of wall. It takes a lot more thought too. After all, what is the purpose of the gate? Here on our farm, we try to make them all about 4 feet wide so a wheelbarrow can go through without scraping our knuckles. And put the bottom close enough to the ground that the ducks can’t scoot under. But we also want to be able to see what is on the other side so we don’t open it into a flock of chickens sunning themselves in the dirt.
Our gate is a signal to the world of whom we really are inside. Is it a welcoming gate? Does it make an approaching visitor want to open it, confident that goodness lies inside? Does it open easily with a light latch and easy swinging hinges? Does the gate hint at the beauty behind it, of the special surprises waiting if you just press on the latch and push a bit? Or is it like an accordion wire junkyard gate we saw in a big city which said, “Only trouble lives here.”? Whether it is a gate to our property or a gate to our hearts, making sure it works for both us and those who approach it is the key.
Without a gate that opens however, we are isolated. We’ve seen gates in old fences so rusted from lack of opening it takes a lot of forcing to swing them wide enough to enter the neglected garden within. We’ve seen those same gates in the hearts of people. It’s been the neglect of loving neighbors perhaps that has kept those gates closed. Or possibly the pain of past heartbreaks which has left the latches unlifted. We must remember though, that we should not fault the owners for the rust. We all are doing the best we can and besides, sometimes it’s hard to find the oil and paint.
But whenever someone does pry open their gate a wee bit and whisper to the world that they are lonely or afraid or in pain, we must be ready to respond with the oil cans of love and tenderness and patience which can get those hinges moving again. We’ve seen it done in our lives, in our families, and heard it in stories you bring to our produce stand. It is always a beautiful story when it happens. Your stories make it all worth the waiting, worth the time we take with each of you as you select your lettuces and leeks and cookies and head out to pour more of your oil on the rusty hinges you encounter. And by the way, a cookie can make a pretty good oil can at times like that.
In closing, we would like to pass along a poem by Charles Edwin Markham which your farmer memorized in the 9th grade back in Saginaw, Michigan. He memorized it not because he had to, but because it made sense.
“He built a wall that shut me out.
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win.
We drew a circle that took him in.”
So keep those oilcans handy, tell any barking dogs you see that you are their friend and come visit us our farm where the gates swing easy and the latches are light.
Jon and Elaine, The Open Gate farmers, Snickers the gate watching dog, Mystery the swinging cat, Harley and his gate blocking sunshine girls, and the Parson Dudley Brown and his flock of gate scooting ducks, all of whom live in peace at
The Open Gate Farm
269 Russell Road
Camano Island, WA 98282-8512
Farm Store: http://www.shop.theopengatefarm.com
Facebook: The Open Gate Farm