Good news can be hard to believe. Tomorrow is February 1st and according to the sign hanging on our fence by the road, we are re-opening! The vacation was great but the return is greater. We left, we saw, we returned changed forever, but not so much we are throwing the horse out with the saddle, so to speak. And we return excited about our future together.
In honor of the month of love and hearts and red roses and promises of eternal affection, we are planning some special treats at the stand. Stay tuned as we pull them from the oven and slide them into the case up in the little yellow house by the side of the road.
But now, here are a few of the first changes…
Cookie sales – all the proceeds from them during the month of February will go to our new friends at Agua de Vida (Water of Life) Orphanage in Ciudad Morelos, Mexico. Come by and we’ll tell you the story. “Cookies for Kids” – a way we all can help!
Cinnamon Rolls – the most lost day of our lives is the day we don’t get an Open Gate Farm Classic Cinnamon Roll. Yes, folks, they will be back and at the same price.
Breads – we have toured some classy bakeries in our travels and are filled with more ideas than shelf space. So be ready for some nutty breads, some forms and shapes not seen on the island ever before, and maybe even some new sweet breads! Recipes are in beta testing so stand ready with your tables set. Until then, our favorites will still be marching out there…White on Wednesdays, Oatmeal Molasses on Thursdays, Braided Challah on Fridays (and some whole wheat too), and Whole Wheat on Saturdays. And yes, Virginia, there will be olive cheese boats on Saturdays too and special orders happily baked.
Once the growing season is going well, we are planning to open up our produce market on Saturdays to backyard gardeners in the Triangle Cove area…if you can see or smell the cove you’re probably qualified. We are going to call it, “The Triangle Cove Farmer’s Market” and neighbors may be here with their specialities and fun. No one is good at growing everything. We struggle with potatoes for some reason. But our friend up the street can grow them by the bushel, so Tim, bring on the spuds! And don’t forget your raspberries!
We’ll start next week with the chart of what is available when, but now…it’s off to the kitchen to check on Maxine’s cookies. Do we need to get more butter? They’ll be out there tomorrow!
Good news can be hard to believe. Take our poultry for example. The fence around the big garden has been pulled open for three weeks and only now do we see them in there gobbling slugs and cleaning up pest nests. We saw footprints of an occasional foray taken into what they thought was forbidden land when they knew we were not home. But this morning at last they are starting in one corner and working their way through it all. Ben, the red rooster, tells us they hope to be done in about 2 weeks. That’s good news because that is when we need to close the fence and start transplanting the lettuce we seeded in the hotbeds back in the middle of November.
It is odd how news is always about change. There is the good news of a raise or the bad news of a job loss. We’ve all known people who are news junkies, up on the latest implication which a hangnail in Havana has for us. They feed upon change. So long as it is in the lives of others. The change they cherish in others is what gives meaning and direction to their lives. Isn’t it odd that they embrace changes in the lives of others without making any in their own? It seems they grab onto the changes they see around the world as hard as they reject the smallest change in their own lives.
And yet, when we look at the world around us, “static” is a passing thought. Permanence in this world appears an illusion. Oh the mountains may last my lifetime but they do erode into the plains that feed us. Leaves bud out, break the case, grow cell by complex cell, and eventually die and fall. We too are born, we live, we die. To say, “That’s life” really means, “That’s life and death.” Death is the child of life and like the old song said about romance…”Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. You can’t have one without the other.”
And now, in this February, the month of forever promises, we discover that which looks like a forever thing really is only temporary when we pull back to a longer perspective in time. For some, to take the longer view is frightening, so we hug our TV’s close and cling to the moment and avoid our own mortality, lost in the stories of the short lives of others. The pain of parting, of seeing the green leaves of our own lives become the brown of autumn to land on life’s forest floor is an experience we spend great effort to avoid. And yet, it happens.
The chickens and ducks are loving their time in the big garden, digging where they’ve only dreamed of scratching for long months. But soon, we who know more and limit the activities of their lives, we will reinstall the fence and these special friends will once again be reduced to racing for worms in the acre available to them. It is for the better for the grand scheme of things around here. However, for them it will be a tragedy to talk about in the shade of the grape vine when the hot sun bakes the soil and the worms head down deep, burrowing for China.
We know that we are not unlike the chickens and that for us in a larger plan than we can see now, we will someday be kept out of our gardens of delight where the digging is easy, the worms fat, and the slugs delicious. We can dwell on that far away moment when the fence in our lives will go back up and our future is sadly changed. Or we can, like the chickens and ducks, not worry about what we cannot control and instead celebrate with each other the great life we have here now; we can try synchronized scratching (team projects), group gobbling (potlucks), slug slurping (coffee and cookies around the kitchen tables), and realize that those memorable experiences in the moment, in the here and now, are what give the best meaning to life. Fear of the future never brought a smile, a rose, a promise of forever love. Fear does not bring healthy living.
So when someone comes at you with the latest book filled with dire predictions of destruction and disaster, let’s invite them into our gardens, into our lives and show them how we keep the future in its proper place by filling our lives now with joy. The place of the future is in the future, not in the present. The future can gum up the now to the point we lose our perspective and sitting too close to the TV we can get poisoned by the breathless concerns of some newscaster over the liposuction and nail polish of the stars. Let’s remember the real stars, the ones worth watching, are those who will join us in our now, in our present, in living together the lives of love we are capable of living. And those you won’t find on any television or computer in the country. Look up. Look around. Look with love in your eyes and you will see them clearly.
It can be summed up by suggesting we all eat slowly, eat well, eat together. When we do, we will break a chain of fear, a fear of change.
Jon and Elaine, the ever changing farmers, Snickers the coat changing dog, Mystery the chair changing cat, Ben and his flock of unchained chickens, and the Parson Dudley Brown and his flock of change challenging ducks, all of whom live joyfully at The Open Gate Farm.