Empty Nests at The Open Gate Farm
Thank you for a wonderful Harvest Jubilee last Saturday! We saw so many of you old friends and made a bunch of new ones. Welcome to all you new subscribers to this newsletter. We hope you find it pleasant, useful, and something to send along to friends and relations around the world. If we got your name wrong, please let us know! And let us know what you are doing in the world of gardens and farming. It is always a joy to hear from our friends.
It’s the time of year we begin planning the end. For weeks folks have asked us how much longer will we be open this fall. We’ve laughingly responded, “As long as folks keep coming and buying we can afford to be open!” So far so good. But between the shorter days and this thing called rain, we’re taking it a week at a time. Will we keep the bakery going over the winter? Not sure yet, though a holiday season opening of the bakery does make sense. So stay tuned and keep an eye out for our road signs. Long as they are up, so are we. Until they go away, here’s what’s ready for you:
|Farmer’s Produce Market||Farm Bakery|
|Lettuce $2.50||Cinnamon Rolls $3.50|
|Green Leaf (Bergam’s)||Oatmeal Scotchies Cookies $1.00|
|Red Leaf (Biscia Rosa)||Breads: $6|
|Romaine (Star)||Wednesday – Cheese Rings and Loaves|
|Red Leaf (Divina)||Thursday – Oatmeal / Molasses|
|Spaghetti Squash $1.50 / lb.||Friday – Challah $8|
|Zucchini! $1.00 / lb.||Saturday –|
|Kale $2.50||Whole Wheat & Olive / Cheese Boats $2|
|Russian||Sweet Blackberry Scones $1.50|
|Scotch||Sourdough every day|
|Dinosaur||Sticky buns and Sticky Babies!|
|Basil Bunches $2.50||Farm Nursery|
|Garlic – braids and bulbs||Rock Rose|
|Butterfly Bush – purple|
|The Farm Store||Red Osier Dogwood|
|Rain City Crunch $6.50/ bag||High Bush Cranberry|
|Lavender Soaps and more!||Herbs for your windowsill|
|Cool! Our Own Farm T-shirts!||Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate|
|Black Swan Coffee! Smooth…|
It has gotten quiet here at The Open Gate Farm. We moved Margaret, the Muscovy duck, from her hen house nest to the little red barn where she could sit on her 4 eggs in peace and quiet and not chase the other ducks around the yard with screams and hisses. While we caught her and moved her, the others stood around and watched with compassion and appreciation and when we were finished gave us a quack of thanks and took long, peaceful drinks of water. Safe from Margaret’s chasings, they began to relax. So did we.
Tuesday morning, after visiting the Washington State University Organic Farm Program in Pullman on the other side of the state, we put our dear WWOOFer, Anna, on a plane to head to her next adventure. She will be in Chapel Hill, NC, interning in a horticulture therapy program there. She was as sweet as Margaret had been mean but still, the car was quiet for a long time as we remembered her and our special times together.
Wednesday morning our lovely Kathryn, who had been house sitting with Snickers and the gang while we took our quick trip east, loaded her car with our love and a couple cinnamon rolls and headed to her Mom’s place over in Arlington. After she left, your farmers walked the farm together and talked about the tasks remaining and noted how quiet it was now with no young folks here with their questions and energy.
One thing about youth these days is they are not afraid to ask questions. Or to start a conversation with, “I have some bad news for you.” It might be anything from a duck in the rhubarb field to mold on some lettuce to Snickers needing a bath. They also asked why we do things the way we do and not in what to them seemed a more efficient way. They were wonderful! It got us reviewing just about everything around here and really helped tighten up our processes. Processes that now run in peaceful silence.
Margaret got bored. She ignored her nest and flew over the fence to be with the others and never went back to sitting. We picked the eggs up and “floated” them in a bowl in the mud room sink. Two sank and were fine. The other two floated meaning gas had formed in them and they should be tossed out. But she had gotten the need to nest out of her system and was forgiven by the rest of the flock. So they all spent Wednesday grazing on the bugs in the lawn together again and without fear of one another.
It is odd that Margaret’s boredom brought peace and our wwoofer’s hard questions chased away wasted effort. It calls to mind advice from your farmer’s father that noise is a sign of inefficiency, of something wrong. Noise might mean a bearing is wearing out or that two pieces of metal are out of alignment. Margaret sure was out of alignment when she was noisily chasing the rest of the ducks before we moved her nest. But she’s running straight and true now as she quietly takes her place in line when they all head back to their pool for a drink and a break from work.
The same can be true in relationships. When a relationship is full of noise and static, it may need an adjustment. A good relationship will be filled with quiet, with gentleness, with kindness, and with compassion. Compassion is a great word that encompasses empathy and forgiveness. We see that a lot here. The Parson Dudley Brown and his little flock showed compassion to Margaret in giving her another chance to be part of the flock after she had been so mean to them. They understood that her chasing them had not been part of her better nature and that by letting bygones be bygones they were helping her become a better duck. A duck that now can laugh at her mistakes and toss down a beak full of water with them and enjoy the quiet of the farm on a warm fall day.
As we walked past them when we were looking over the farm, they asked us to let you know about this. They said it might be helpful if folks were reminded to be compassionate so they could live gentle, quiet lives. Margaret added that it’s not always a bad thing when a nest gets empty. It makes room for sweet, peaceful quiet.
Jon and Elaine, the quiet farmers, Snickers the darling dog, Mystery the contemplative cat, Ben and his flock of contented hens, and the Parson Dudley Brown and his flock of friendly ducks, all of whom live joyfully at
The Open Gate Farm
269 Russell Road,
Camano Island, WA 98282-8512
Open now until the end of October or longer, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 to 5 or by appointment.