Making Books at The Open Gate Farm
Dear Friends of the Farm:
Gosh we wish we’d planted more lettuce as summer was slowing down! We could sure use it now, with the response to our “box” program! It’s growing faster than the produce. In fact, the beets have said they want to take a couple weeks off to see if they can put on more weight, the carrots have just about given their all and the dinosaur kale has gone into hibernation. The leeks finally decided to join the produce parade and are a great addition to soups or sliced on salads. At least the bakery can chug on through the winter months! So here’s what we have available this week:
|From the Bakery:||Price||Qty||From the Garden:||Price||Qty|
|Cheese Loaf||$5.00||Romaine – Star (limited)||$2.00|
|Olive Loaf||$5.00||Buttercrisp – 4 Seasons||$2.00|
|Cinnamon Rolls (In multiples of 6)||Green Leaf – Bergam’s||$2.00|
From the Store:
Books: “Dear Friends – Letters From The Farm 2009” $14.00 plus tax ($15.20 total in WA) and $5.00 packing and shipping = $19.00 or $21.20 in Washington
Well. We’ve gone and done it. It is scary as the dickens and leaves us weak in the knees, but the big day has finally arrived. We have signed off on the final proof and “the book” is into production with delivery of ready to sell copies due just after Thanksgiving. And for that we are thankful. And scared. There is a lot of money hanging out on this project. A lot of lettuce, so to speak.
Over the years, a number of you have asked us to pull together these newsletters into a book which you could purchase to give to friends and relations. So we did. It is called “Dear Friends – Letters From The Farm 2009” and includes all the newsletters we sent out that year. We edited them a bit…just a word here and there to clarify a point or correct a punctuation mark. Even put photos in it for each chapter!
Then some really nice people gave their time to us to look it over and correct the grammar it so it should be pretty proper looking. And the printer down in Centralia has designed a beautiful cover that captures the heart of the words inside. If you want to see the cover, you can go to our web site www.theopengatefarm.com and click on the Farm Store page. We hope to get it set up with PayPal shortly so it can be ordered directly from there too.
You can advance order this 158 page beauty for $14.00 plus tax ($15.20 total in the state of Washington) per copy by dropping us an email or calling. Let us know if you want them autographed or “to” someone special. We’ll have to charge $5 per order for shipping and handling too, unless you pick it up here at the farm on a Saturday morning. Five books ship for the shipping costs of one for now.
Or, if you are in the party mood, come to Snow Goose Books in Stanwood on Saturday, December 4th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for our book launch party! Your farmer and his wife will be there with pen in hand to autograph them for you. It is going to great fun and if all goes well, one of the ducks will join us to sign books too. Snickers is working on teaching them how to use a ball point pen, soon as he finds an opposable thumb on his paw.
You may recall that last week your farmer wrote about hiking a snow covered trail in southern Alaska. It was on the Kenai Peninsula, just north of Seward. By the way, if you think traffic is getting bad around here, imagine living in a town of 3,000 souls during the winter which on 4th of July weekend will host 50,000 guests. It’s nuts.
But the paths all those guests take to get there bring us back to one of the trails your farmer hiked and what he saw. What he did not see was anything breathing except his buddy. No rabbits, no grouse, no squirrels, no moose, nothing. But he saw where they had been. He saw tracks in the snow. Lots of them. And they were not really old ones. Almost no fresh snow filling in the holes meant someone in a white coat had been there recently. It looked like the rabbits were holding a convention. They had more roads than Italy.
But it was the bear tracks which caught his eye. A set of big ones and a set of smaller ones beside it. Momma was taking her kid to a log to teach it how to hibernate we figured. Seems black bears don’t need a den. They’ll just lay down by a log and let the snow cover them and let their breath make their den for them. Kind of a slowly made igloo thing. Their footprints sank through the snow but you didn’t even need to squint to see the claw marks at the leading edge of the print. That kept us looking around. Our friend had all the requisite bear protection equipment ranging from an air horn to pepper spray to a .44 caliber pistol with the meanest looking bullets. None of them were needed, but it was nice to know they were there. Farmers can get grumpy when interrupted on their way to bed and bears may not be that different.
There were squirrel tracks, little dainty things. If you followed them along, they seemed to always have a pile of pine cone shavings beside them at some point. Easy to figure out what their dinners had been. And some footprints of what might have been a young moose. And dog-like ones which had a long stride to them. Wolves? Who knows? It is Alaska, after all!
Ready to go home, we turned around and saw the fresh footprints of your farmer and his friend. No worry about getting lost! Just turn around and follow our own trail back to the car. There’s a lesson in there, somewhere. When we get lost in life, maybe all we need to do is turn around and follow our own trail back a ways and start over. We could see where we had stopped on the way in to look fruitlessly for grouse in the trees and over there at the cool bear tracks. But the footprints we had made were the ones which led us safely back to warmth and comfort.
The nice thing about footprints in the snow is that it helps us remember we are leaving footprints in our lives. We leave them all over the place, don’t we? Even when we head to a log where we’ll hibernate for the winter. Or a bookstore where the trails of a previous year can be seen once more. We leave traces of our passing, of our moments of our presence in the lives of those we meet as well the footprints of others in our own. Folks can see where we paused to think, where we stopped to help someone who has lost their way, where we have decided to spend our time and our lives. Even when we hibernate.
So make some lovely tracks and we’ll see you down the trail at The Open Gate Farm on a Saturday morning or Snow Goose Books on the 4th of December.
Jon and Elaine, the happy writing farmers, Snickers the chief editor dog, Mystery the listening cat, Harley with his flock of word-smithing hens, and Pastor Dudley Brown and his flock of publishing ducks, all of whom live in harmony at…
The Open Gate Farm