Monday, May 30, 2011
Book Review: Dear Friends
Jon Stevens’ Dear Friends: Letters from the Farm - 2009 touches the hearts of people striving to live wholesome, meaningful lives.
Stevens began writing newsletters six years ago to customers and anyone else interested in hearing about life on their productive 2-acre farm on Camano Island. Encouraged by enthusiastic response, Stevens compiled a year’s worth of newsletters and published this charming book.
More than just growing produce for their own consumption and for their produce stand, Jon and Elaine Stevens share a way of life. Dear Friends not only describes the daily routine of producing food, it describes the essence of living close to the earth.
Stevens gives voice to their chickens and ducks who play vital roles in food production with fresh eggs, eating bugs and slugs, and providing laughs. As the calendar year begins, the book shows only monthly newsletters, but as spring begins to produce, so does the frequency of the newsletters. The farmer’s life rotates from mending fences, to poring over seed catalogs, tilling the soil, planting seed and finally harvesting. When you read the accounting of all that, you realize how complicated it really is, this simple farming lifestyle.
For Stevens, life is more than growing good food, even Certified Naturally Grown food. He is enthusiastic about sharing gardening tips for food, flowers and shrubs. Dear Friends teems with information about how to make even a small farm sustainable. In addition to practical advice, humor and a deep faith shine through these pages.
Whether readers are interested in growing their own food, or interested in how others do it, or perhaps seeking a dream to follow, Dear Friends is a treasure. With humor and infectious enthusiasm, Jon Stevens imparts a love for people, for the land and for good honest work. His weekly journal is a passionate book borne of embracing life to the fullest.
For more information about Dear Friends and Stevens’ piece of paradise, The Open Gate Farm, visit www.theopengatefarm.com and click on “Visit Our Farm Store.”