IIn Partnership with
a 501c3 Not-For-Profit Corporation

Connecting with creation so that creation can heal us
and we can allow creation to heal.

Evening Sun on Oklahoma's Christmas Snow

A Christmas Blizzard

"When you find a place in nature where the mind and heart find rest, then you have discovered a sanctuary for your soul...Perhaps nature senses the longing that is in us, the restlessness that never lets us settle. She takes us into the tranquility of her stillness if we visit her. We slip into her quiet contemplation and inhabit for awhile the depth of her ancient belonging. Somehow we seem to become one with the rhythm of the universe. Our longing is purified, and we gain strength to come back to life refreshed and to refine our ways of belonging in the world. Nature calls us to tranquility and rhythm. When your heart is confused or heavy, a day outside in nature's quiet eternity restores your lost tranquility."

-- John O'Donohue's, Eternal Echoes


In the Beauty of Winter


Billings School children learning about composting; Red-Winged Blackbirds
Thinning Trees in Pecan Grove; Snow Drifts at Farmhouse; Christmas Morning Sun on Icy Pond
Cardinal and Sparrows During Christmas Eve Blizzard

After a long autumn, winter arrived like the winters of old, when snow fences lined the highways. Temperatures plummeted and we've had more than one snowfall. In fact, we had a full-blown blizzard Christmas Eve. Our morning chores have become more important, as we break ice on the water that builds up overnight where the hens, alpacas, cats, dogs and wild birds eat and drink. And we've added ice-chopping and warm-water-carrying to our evening chores as well. There's something deeply satisfying about bundling up and making our way out into the cold to see the animals and birds. The hens are still producing an egg, or two, each day, for which we are grateful. The alpacas' beans, though often frozen to the ground, continue to be a rich source of manure for our wintering gardens. We've enjoyed the discovery that two Cottontail Rabbits come during the night to nibble the birdseed the Cardinals, Sparrows, Mockingbird and Woodpecker leave from their feedings during the day. And we always thrill at the sound of thousands of Red-Winged Blackbirds as their black clouds cascade across the prairie and perch in the hedgerows.

We enjoyed (immensely) time with our family during the holidays. Ann's sons Brok and Ben and our cousin Sid spent a warmer December day with us in the pecan grove thinning pecan trees. (You can read about it on our blog: Holy-Days in the Pecan Grove.) And we made one last visit of the year to the Billings School to talk to our young friends about composting. We are delighted how the elementary students there now understand how composting helps the soil and how healthy soil is essential for their garden, and their own health.

As we look back on 2009, our second year doing workshops and retreats at Turtle Rock Farm, we are grateful for all who have shared time with us here, in workshops and retreats, discussing questions and learning together about sustainability and simple living, sharing stories, gardening, sitting at table and sharing local food, meeting Mr. Darcy and Biak Bay, helping us build the chicken tractor (thanks Debra, for the chickens!), gathering for the first dinner and concert on the prairie, planting trees, taking nature hikes, watching the stars and the moon and the evening and morning sun, sharing spiritually, making the cosmic walk, canoeing and kayaking, porch-sitting... It has been a wonderful year. Thank you all.

And so, as

Our Third Year

we look forward to welcoming old friends and new guests to Turtle Rock Farm Retreat Center. The calendar of workshops and retreats has been updated on our website. January and February events are listed below, in this newsletter. And we are especially excited to announce the details of our first Straw-Bale Construction workshop. Working with Tom Temple, a sustainable designer and builder in Oklahoma City, and Steve Kemble and Molly Curry from MudStrawLove, in Asheville, N.C., we're going to build a hermitage with walls made of clay off the farm and the straw bales from last year's wheat harvest. It will be a community experience as well as an educational workshop. Look below for dates and registration information.

Winter is one of our favorite times for retreats. It brings a beauty all its own. The prairie is resting and yet the wildlife is easier to experience, as birds come closer to feed; rabbits, squirrels, turkey, deer are easier to spot along the creeks where trees stand in silhouette; red-tailed hawks perch on treetops and fence posts and sail across a cloudless sky; coveys of quail and meadowlark scurry across the yard to feed. Too, it is a quiet time, to reflect and renew; bundled up, winter walks are exhilarating; the fire in the fireplace is especially inviting, and, we think, winter is a good time to learn new skills in preparation for the growing season.

We hope to see you this year, in any (or all!) of its beautiful seasons.

In Peace and Beauty,
Pat & Ann


Thank You Volunteers!

Clayton Mowing

Want to be a Turtle Rock Farm Volunteer?
Have we got a deal for you!

a 24-hour stay (on us)
for 4 hours of labor (yours)

As we grow and expand our offerings and our facility, we couldn't get along without the wonderful people who volunteer at Turtle Rock Farm. They have become a cherished part of our community.
If you're interested in helping out, let us know. We'll work together and you can have some retreat time, a good night's rest and some community time around a table set with home-cooked fresh food.

Note: This offer does not pertain to our programmed workshops and retreats.

Call us at 580.725.3411 or email annmcferron@hotmail.com; 580.917.6011 or email pathoerth@hotmail.com



January 9
Unplug, Unwind, Recharge: An after-the-holidays Retreat

January 16
Gardening: Build Your Own Raised Bed and/or Turnable Composter

January 18
Simpler Living Book Discussion

January 23
Living Simply: Making a Move from Consumerism to the Joys of Simple Things

February 1-2
Shepherd's Retreat

February 6
Gardening: Build Your Own Raised Bed and/or Turnable Composter

February 15
Simpler Living Book Discussion

February 20
Top Ten Pain Releasers

February 27
Living in the Moment

Straw Bale Construction Workshop

Keep Up with Us Daily

on our Blog

Read about our Beekeeping, Creek Monitoring, Porch Sitting, Observations on the Prairie...

Find out what we're reading, what the Alpacas are doing...

There's a Sabbath Meditation each Sunday, a little prose and lots of photos...



Retreats and Workshops

Unplug, Unwind, Recharge:

After-the-Holidays Retreat

January 9

At the first of the year, after the holidays, is an opportune time for a retreat; a time to come apart, clear the mind, gain perspective, renew the spirit and body. If you've never made a retreat and are a bit intimidated about what to do with an entire day of quiet, we'll make it as safe and user-friendly as possible. We'll structure your retreat to fit you. Possibilities include walking in and observing nature, meditation 101 (or advanced), journaling, making art or poetry, listening to music, napping, journaling, spiritual reading, spiritual direction.

If you want to come on Friday evening and/or stay overnight Saturday, that can be arranged too. Let us help you enjoy a country respite and introduce you to ways to deepen your spiritual life. 

To register for this retreat, call us at 580.725.3411 or 580.917.6011. 

Gardening: Build a Raised Bed Garden and/or a

Turnable Composter

January 16

We've combined two workshops into one. You can come for a full day and build both a four-foot-by-four-foot raised bed and a turnable composter, or come half a day and build one or the other. With a growing awareness of the value to our health and the health of the planet, more and more people are growing some of their own food. In addition to going home with tools to garden and compost, you'll get information about growing vegetables and composting. We'll show you our gardens and composting projects.

To register, go to our website - www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com- and click on Workshops and Retreats.

Simpler Living

January 23

It's been a wonderful surprise to discover that every time we choose to take another step toward simpler living, we find great joy in it. It turns out that living more simply is a more joyful way to live. We know this from our own lifestyle changes and from those who've come to Turtle Rock Farm to learn how they want to simplify their lives. The reports we get back are stories of happy success at living in simpler ways that bring meaning back into their lives. The changes toward simpler living turn out to be not challenging at all and, indeed, are fun and fulfilling.

This retreat helps participants realize the causes of our consumptive lifestyles, be inspired to shift priorities, learn ways to simplify, take inventory about what changes they want to make next and experience the support of others simplifying their lives.

To register, go to our website - www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com- and click on Workshops and Retreats.

Gardening: Build a Raised Bed Garden and/or a

Turnable Composter

February 6

See above (January 16) for a description and registration information. 

Top Ten Pain Releasers

February 20

Pain is a clear message that we need to pay attention to our bodies. Led by energy kinesiologist Ann McFerron, The Top Ten Pain Releasers is a fun, hands-on workshop for reducing stress and pain that integrates massage, energy work, kinesiology, polarity, acupressure and various reflex techniques. You will learn a wide variety of simple and highly effective self-help skills to benefit yourself and your family.

To register, go to our website - www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com- and click on Workshops and Retreats.

Living in the Moment Retreat

February 27

Do you have trouble quieting your mind? Are you constantly thinking about what you have to do in the future - later today, or tomorrow, or next week? Are you missing the graces of this day by worrying abaout all the things you have to get done? On this retreat you will learn how to live in the moment.

Spiritual director and retreat leader, Pat Hoerth, will lead you through several spiritual exercises that will allow you to experience the beauty and peace of what you are doing at the moment. You will learn things you can do to continue this practice in your daily lives.

Participants who have made this retreat say they value coming on Friday evening to relax so that they have a full day Saturday to take advantage of the Living in the Moment exercises.

To register, go to our website - www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com- and click on Workshops and Retreats.

  Straw Bale Construction Workshop

6-12 June 2010

A week-long workshop during which participants will learn how to build a building with stuccoed straw bale walls. Led by Tom Temple, a sustainable designer and builder, and MudStrawLove's Molly Curry and Steve Kemble, of Ashville, N.C., this workshop will include classroom instruction as well as hands-on experience. During this week, we will stack the bales and apply the first coat of mud on a small hermitage at Turtle Rock Farm.

We will be using clay found on the farm, as well as straw bales from last year's wheat harvest.

For those who want a shorter workshop, Molly and Steve will lead a Straw-Bale Introduction class from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, 6 June, which week-long participants will also join. Fee for the Sunday afternoon workshop only is $25.

Not only educational about natural building methods, this workshop will help build community - and be a whole lot of fun! Participants will be lodged at one of the houses at Turtle Rock Farm or may camp out. Meals will be provided by Turtle Rock Farm staff and shared by the community.

Fee for the week of instruction, lodging and meals is $425. Couples, $375 each. Instruction, meals and camping, $375.  Deposit to hold your space is $150. Spaces for this retreat will be limited. For more information, give us a call, at 580.725.3411 or 580.917.6011. To register, go to our website, www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com.


unique opportunities

for spiritual renewal

and sustainable living

in 2010...

shepherds' retreat

for Oklahoma United Methodist clergy


The first 2010 retreats: February 1-2 and April 19-20

Picking Apples During Shepherd's Retreat

A 24-hour spiritual growth retreat for clergy and now laity, modeled after the Upper Room's spiritual academy retreats. Beginning with Eucharist on Monday evening, followed by supper, a reading (from Kathleen Norris' book Amazing Grace,) period of silence and group sharing, plus time in God's good creation. That pattern is kept the second day and the retreat ends with the Eucharist in mid-afternoon. It's a lovely retreat, giving time for clergy and laity to support each other in much-needed, much-longed-for spiritual renewal and community-building.

To register, contact Rev. Susan Ross at ross-susan@sbcglobal.net or call Pat Hoerth at 580.917.6011, pathoerth@hotmail.com.

second monday is

get-away day

Every Second Monday of the month is Get-Away Day at Turtle Rock Farm. Come for an unprogrammed day of quiet, walking, writing, making art, reading, napping, gardening; just being in the country. To schedule, call 580.917.6011 or email pathoerth@hotmail or go to www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com

third monday morning

simpler living book discussion

"Lasting change happens when people see for themselves that a different way of life is more fulfilling than their present one."
                                                   -- Eknath Easwaran, quoted in The Overview
                                                                 Simpler Living, Compassionate Life

We find it's easier to change our lifestyles to simpler living if we have community support. So, we meet in the morning on the third Monday of the month to discuss the book Simpler Living, Compassionate Life. Nineteen writers, including Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Wendell Berry, John Cobb Jr., Frederick Buechner, Cecile Andrews, Bill McKibben, discuss various aspects of voluntary simpler, more abundant living. Topics include food, time, money, community.

Reading and discussing this book together not only gives us the understanding and ideas that inspire our efforts to live more sustainably, but we find the kind of community support that's helpful as we make lifestyle changes.

We will meet 9:30 to 11 a.m. Cost is $15. Call or email if you're interested: pathoerth@hotmail.com. 580.917.6011.


Comments from our guests...

"Wow. What a peaceful, lovely place. Thank you for your hospitality. Looking forward to future visits and more peace..."                                                               -- Molly Helm

"My body was nourished by good food and fresh air. My spirit was renewed by the peace and hospitality that fill this place. Thank you, Ann and Pat, for your ministry to us two-legged creatures and the rest of creation! I'll be spreading the word - the gospel - about Turtle Rock Farm."
-- Peace to you,
Carol Waters

"Thank you so much for allowing us to have this beautiful weekend of peace and sharing it with us! Your homes are beautiful and what you do with them is even more so. I've had fun this weekend spending time and getting to know the cats, canoeing and kayaking, kissing the Alpacas and practicing yoga under the stars and in the sunshine of the pond! I've also enjoyed getting to know you two.

"...If it weren't for you both I'd be home sitting on my bed wishing my 'life situations' were different. I know to you it might just be another weekend with strange people, but I personally really appreciated it. What you all do for people is quite incredible! So full of service. 'When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God.' I truly believe that and I think the things you all do are just amazing! Thank you so much!"
---With love, light and gratitude,
Katie Elliott
Women's Yoga Retreat

"Sunrise (Thanksgiving Day) - This place grants me thankfulness and gratitude at a whole new level. The Alpacas are sleeping in their pasture, next to each other, one facing east and the other, west. There is a bird here who sings long notes, like a flute - I heard him at sunset and sunrise. I believe that God guided me here in my time of need.

"Ann and Pat, what a concept! You have created a space for teaching us to know our planet and allow us to renew our spirit. 'Lord willing and the creek don't rise,' I shall return."
-- Mary Andrews


"Retreat is neither whim nor luxury nor self-indulgence, but a rock-bottom staple of a healthy life. We need retreat as surely as we need oxygen or protein. While any given retreat may start out as a joyride - a few days away from spouse, kids or job; a chance to spread one's wings, loosen one's belt, kick up one's heels - it always winds up as a pilgrimage. We start to look for what really counts." -- Philip Zaleski, The Recollected Heart

How does one 'do' a Retreat?

A "retreat" at Turtle Rock Farm is a chance to get away into the quiet and beauty of the prairie. But not everyone is used to the quiet and find the idea a bit intimidating, even if they know they long for it.
A retreat can be a time when you sleep, listen to music, read, walk, visit, play musical instruments, do art, bask in silence, get a therapeutic massage, sit in a rocking chair on the porch, visit with a spiritual director, explore nature...alone, with friends, family.

It can be what you need and what you want it to be. We are happy to guide and assist, or give you solitude.

To reserve your individual, group, couple or family retreat:
email or phone pathoerth@hotmail.com; 580.917.6011
or annmcferron@hotmail.com; 580.725.3411
our partnership

with GreenConnections...

Photo by Candace Krebs

The First Annual Green Connections
Dinner on the Prairie - October 2009

Green Connections is a 501c3 Not-for-Profit corporation committed to helping people connect with Earth, be healed in it and learn to live more sustainably. In addition to supporting the mission of Turtle Rock Farm, our dream is to build a retreat center and hermitages with sustainable building methods, including straw bale construction. We now have straw bales in the barn! And, thanks to those who came to our Dinner and Concert on the Prairie, as well as other supporters, we are on our way.

If you believe in the work of Green Connections, please consider gifting us with your supportive wishes and hopes, with your volunteer labor, and with your dollars. Even a small amount now and then would be appreciated. If you have questions, please call 580.725.3411 or 580.917.6011.

You may send tax deductible donations to Green Connections, 5900 CR 90, Red Rock, OK 74651. Or, go to our website - www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com - and click on Green Connections Partner, and use Paypal to send your donation. Or, click here:


alpaca with GC board members

Green Connection Board members meet the Alpaca

Meet our board members:

Green Connections: Beverly Alexander (treasurer), Elizabeth Box Price, Dorothy Gray, Pat Hoerth, Stephanie Jordan, Ann McFerron, Mary Moloney, Alan Ware (president.)

Turtle Rock Farm Advisory Council: Barbara Hagan, Bruce Johnson, Tom Temple

We Support the Buy Fresh Buy Local Movement
Buying locally-grown food saves fossil fuel, supports our local growers and provides fresher and more nutritious food. What food you can't grow yourself, consider buying directly from a producer/farmer, a farmer's market or the Oklahoma Food Coop. To find out about becoming a member of the Oklahoma Food Coop, go to: www.oklahomafood.coop. Information about the work of the Oklahoma Chapter of Buy Fresh Buy Local (including food guides and reasons to buy local) is at: www.buyfreshbuylocalok.com

Turtle Rock Farm LLC:
A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality
 and Healing

Mission Statement

Connecting with the Natural World
We believe that Earth - part of the Creator's good creation - has intrinsic value.
We believe that human beings are interdependent with all of creation and that the Creator is calling humans to re-connect with creation, with Earth,
and participate more consciously in the web of life. We want to provide
opportunities for people to experience our connectedness with creation
in three distinct ways:

+ organizing and leading retreats that afford people the experience of our
connection and interdependence with the web of life: all of creation, each other and the Divine.

+ promote healing - of Earth, creation and humans, through connecting with
Earth which, we believe, can heal us - as well as through the various modalities of holistic health care including Energy Kinesiology.

Learning to Live Sustainably

+ living sustainably and teaching and supporting others in their efforts to live sustainably. By sustainability, we mean honoring, bringing, enabling life rather than harming and disposing of life; learning practical things to do to sustain life on Earth. Because we believe this is done in community, we hope to promote community life.


Morning Over the Prairie - 30 September 2009

Thanks Mom and Dad


onsider giving a retreat at Turtle Rock Farm as a gift for a friend or loved one. Perhaps a weekend getaway or one of our scheduled retreats or workshops. Email us at pathoerth@hotmail.com or annmcferron@hotmail.com. Or call 580.725.3411 or 580.917.6011.

Turtle Rock Farm LLC
5900 CR 90
Red Rock, Oklahoma 74651