It's Next Week!
If you can't come for the week,
come on Sunday, June 5
for the afternoon intro session -
and a cookout and barn dance
Straw Bale Construction Workshop
(This isn't our building; just to show you the process.)
We are ready (well, almost!)
The tin is finished. Tom Temple is framing the windows and doors. Our neighbor Dan Pruscha has dug the clay. Steve and Mollie are packing up to head this way. Our wonderful workshop participants have their list of items to bring. James Stepp of Wichita Buffalo Company is going to see that the buffalo hot dogs get here for Sunday's cookout. Our Oklahoma Food Coop order is already here and we've been cooking for days. The tipi is up (see below.) Tom's also putting up a solar shower (where else can you find an outdoor shower with a prairie view?) Wayne Cantwell is rosining up the bow for the contra dance. We are excited!
Using natural building materials is an age-old practice that is good for the planet and provides beautiful, comfortable, energy-efficient, sound housing.
During this week-long workshop, 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
Mollie 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 2 to 6 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, in a tipi 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.
the contra dance: We've added supper and a barn dance to the
festivities on Sunday evening - because we've discovered how much fun contra dancing is. (Think
Virginia Reel; think Jane Austen's country dances - only in shorts, in a barn on the
Oklahoma prairie.) Wayne Cantwell (the "Flyin' Fiddler") will provide
the music and Scissortail Oklahoma Traditional Dance Society, the callers to lead us through the dances. Beginners are welcome. And it's free!
The foundation is poured.
Composting toilet vault is built.
Post-and-beam framing is finished.
Roof is finished....
The Amazing Days of May
Raw Chef Pepper Hernandez who taught at the women's yoga-raw foods retreat.
Bob Phillips and Tom Temple relaxing after a day of hermitage-building
Norman's Irving Junior High Students learned about raised bed gardening
and a prairie ecosystem (shown in front of an ancient buffalo wallow)
Missouri neighbors Mel and Bill stitched us a tipi and came and showed us how
to put it up
Friends Jane and Jim Bond and interns Jae Clewell and Clayton Taylor
helped us build a Chartres design labyrinth on the prairie
Retreatants walk the prairie labyrinth during our first labyrinth retreat.
Prayer ribbons and cairns were left in the center.
Swarm of honey bees on the driveway.
Ann, Everett and Dorothy after getting the bees safely into new hives. Hail - like we've never seen before.
The garden is in! Chickens did a good job of helping get the soil ready. Guineas are growing. And we have a new rabbit to help feed the red wiggler worms.
Jolie is her name. Thank you Bartley family!
Kildere mamma faking a broken wing to distract us
from noticing her nest full of eggs - right in the driveway. Much is blooming. And the resident Great Blue Herons have been more visible.
Truly, this has been an amazing month.
We didn't exactly plan it this way - everything just culminated at once. Not only has the hermitage progressed to the point that we're ready for the week-long workshop when we'll build the walls with straw bales and then stucco them, we also now have a tipi and a labyrinth! Both have been planned for months and finally happened in the same week.
Mowing the 88-foot-wide labyrinth was a daunting task. But with the help of our friends Jane and Jim Bond and interns Jae Clewell and Clayton Taylor, and Michael Bartley's timely delivery of his family's rabbit and the discovery that he could provide more flags to mark the labyrinth, we managed it very well. It was Clayton's first day as an intern here and he manned the mower and made a perfect path - no small feat, considering the number of turns along the way. Making the labyrinth was a spiritual experience - as was our first walk on our first Labyrinth Retreat. Its location at the top of the prairie amid the wildflowers and birdsong makes the experience even richer.
We are in awe of Mel Morley who stitched us a tipi. She and Bill delivered it one cloudy, cool morning in May and taught us how to set the 24-foot-balsam fir poles and stake the cover. It was an elegant morning and the tipi is a magnificent space in which to relax and rest and be close to the natural world. We are happy to be able to offer that space for interested guests.
Women came to learn about raw food and do yoga early in the month. And 13 wonderful students from Irving Junior High in Norman made a trip here and spent the day learning about gardening and the prairie ecosystem. They remained in our hearts when we realized that evening that they went home to tornadoes in their neighborhood that did much damage. That was the night we got softball-sized hail.
May in Oklahoma is usually memorable. There's the inevitability of violent weather, but there is also much beauty in the natural world. Ann corralled not one but two swarms of honey bees - in a single afternoon - and with the help of her mentor and friend Everett Taylor and Green Connections board member and friend Dorothy Gray, who happened along, Ann now tends not two beehives but six! The flowers are remarkable. Trees are filled with fruit (the hail only knocked a few off their branches, amazingly.) We have been very aware of bird activity: pair of scissor-tailed flycatchers diving for bugs on the pond at twilight and building a nest in the farmhouse pecan tree; Great Blue Heron couple soaring and squawking about the same time, and, most engaging of all, a mamma Kildere has built a nest and filled it with eggs right in the middle of the pond house driveway. We've been driving around her for three weeks now and are hoping to see the babes soon.
And now comes June
We have been planning for months the week-long straw bale workshop June 6-12 (see above.) And we will have a Retreat on the Prairie for Women June 18-19. You can lodge in the house - or now, a tipi. Renee Hoover, a wonderful Cherokee basket weaver, will teach us how to weave baskets in the Cherokee tradition. We'll take a "cosmic walk," learn about a prairie ecosystem - our "home" in the natural world. We'll watch Earth roll up and the sun disappear and the prairie come alive at first light in the morning.
With school out, June affords time to rest and be together as well. We have open dates for individuals, families, groups, couples who want to spend vacation, retreat and restoration time on the prairie to witness all the beautiful surprises of summer.
In Peace and Beauty,
Ann and Pat
P.S. Save the date: Green Connections' fabulous Prairie Dinner
and Concert is October 2. Kamala Gamble will be chef of our local foods dinner and Kyle Dillingham, famed Oklahoma fiddler, will be in concert.
Thank You Volunteers!
Green Connections Board Member
and volunteer extraordinaire
Dorothy Gray helping with the bees
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 580.917.6011 or email email@example.com
A QUICK LOOK AT RETREAT DATES
Straw Bale Construction Workshop
(Intro session and barn dance
(including Cherokee Basket Weaving)
Earth Dinner: How to Cook to Save the Planet
Green Connections Prairie Dinner
and Concert: Saturday, Oct. 2
Register for Retreats and Workshops at
Retreats and Workshops
Straw Bale Construction Workshop
See details above.
register, click here: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
Prairie Retreat for Women
Much of Oklahoma was native prairie, part of The Great Plains. This retreat will take us back to the prairie, where we will learn its history (from its ancient beginnings as an ocean) and its ecosystem. We will spend time on the prairie noticing the grasses, birds and wildlife - the prairie community.
Too, we will take a "cosmic walk" and Cherokee basket weaver Renee Hoover will teach us how to make a basket the Cherokee way. We will come away, having experienced more intimately the prairie ecosystem of which we are a part, with the wisdom that only the prairie can offer, and a deeper understanding of how to live in harmony with the natural world.
This is an overnight retreat, beginning Friday even at 7 p.m. You are welcome to bring a tent and camp out on the prairie or sleep in our tipi or lodge in our house
register, click here: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
Earth Dinner: How to Cook to Save the Planet
Decisions we make about the food we eat not only impact our health, but also the health of the planet. On this retreat, participants will learn how food impacts global climate change, why what we eat matters and what we can do: where to get food, what kind of food to get and how to cook it. We'll learn about cooking local, fresh food using methods that are simple and create delicious meals. Half the day will be spent in the kitchen, cooking together. The retreat ends with supper and a reminder of the joy of sitting at table together.
To register, click here: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
Aug 7 - Making a Raised Bed and/or Tumbling Composter
Aug 14 - Earth Plunge for Families
Aug 20-21 - Earth Dinner
Aug 28 - Learning to Live in the Moment
For details or to register, click here:
for spiritual renewal
and sustainable learning (& living)
second monday is
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
monthly book discussion
June 21, July 12
"Rob Hopkins has written the most thorough description so far of how we
get from the present chaos of cities and towns that are killing the
planet and the people in them, to viable new ecologically sustainable
urban and rural systems. This is more than a theoretical how-to manual;
it is based on his own team's ground-breaking work, engaging whole
communities in a transformative process that accepts the crucial need
to reverse course, and has succeeded in doing so. The book is a great
guide for how we must live in a future world where the limits of nature
are honoured, but so are the basic comforts and joys of communities
coming together in a great common cause. There is no more important
book than this one for any community seeking change toward ecological
-- Jerry Mander, founder/director of the International Forum on Globalization and author of In the Absence of the Sacred
We will meet 9:30 to 11 a.m. Cost is $15. Call or email if you're interested: firstname.lastname@example.org. 580.917.6011.
Comments from our guests...
View of Morning Sun from Farmhouse Porch
"Have you ever felt as if you could see the world in every direction? The labyrinth at Turtle Rock Farm is perched on top of a rolling hill, surrounded by wildflowers and prairie grasses and as you walk the sacred path, you can see beauty in every direction. Come and see." -- Jeni Markham Clewell
"What an amazing experience! Thank you ladies for sharing your love and land with us all. The labyrinth retreat is a must for anyone seeking to dive deeper into themselves." -- Shela and Kiran, Tulsa
"When you come to Turtle Rock, the world changes. There is an intentional connection to Earth, to the past, to the present, to the future. Turtle rock is a place of incredible grace, a place of peace." -- Paul Calkin
"Thank you for your hospitality and your spirit of love and grace. May the Lord continue to call hearts apart to rest in this place." -- Ursula L.
"Awakened to a world washed clean from thundershowers. The birds are cheerful and greet us with morning song. A lovely retreat to enjoy the wonders of creation! My only sadness - it was much too brief. Eager to return." -- Shelley R.
"Thank you so much for your hospitality and generosity. Our kids had such a blast feeding the animals and using the kayaks and canoe. The fresh eggs were delicious and your home was so cozy and comfortable. We enjoyed being out in nature and being together as a family. The kids LOVED it all!" -- Lisa, Madi and Christian
"Thank you for these great times of our lives. I'm sure we'll come back soon." -- Bethany
"Thank you so very much for giving us this amazing opportunity. Our children have experienced such wonderful, memorable things that we will cherish for a lifetime. What a beautiful home and farm. Thank you so much for sharing it with us." --Dana, Evan, Bethany and Olivia
"A blizzard on the first day of spring. I should be worried about getting home, but I can't find it in myself. There's such peace here. Thank you for a quiet place to rest with God." -- Sara Marie Bodenstein
"We came for a gardening workshop and found so much more. We treasured our time here due to the incredible scenery and lovely people. We felt welcomed and at home. These days helped us rekindle our love and commitment to Earth. Thank you for sharing your land, passion and talents." -- Wendy
"This retreat is a great idea. Women who are military can get together to bond, share their stories and life with others who have the same experience. It is a 'happy' place." -- J
"Just knowing we, the women of the United States military are not alone is beautiful. Thank you to Turtle Rock."
-- Max, US Army"This retreat provided an excellent opportunity to network experience comaraderie with other women veterans and to relax and enjoy the day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!" -- Barbara Curry, USAF retired
"I loved camping on the hill - beautiful views of the Oklahoma prairie. Beautiful place - thanks for sharing." - M.C.
"Wow! What a peaceful, lovely place. Thank you for your hospitality. Looking forward to future visits and more peace..." -- Molly Helm
you find belonging in your solitude, your external longing will remain
needy and driven.' Thanks again for your hospitality in this Sacred
Space. Gracias! Blessings! Namaste!" -- Mary Lou Bender
"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?
"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.
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 email@example.com; 580.917.6011
or firstname.lastname@example.org; 580.725.3411
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.
We are seeking sponsors...
...for the Straw Bale Workshop. Considering being a sponsor of this educational event in the amount of $2,000, $1,000, $500, $250 or less.
...for the Prairie Dinner and Concert.
And we are seeking grants and donations for the building of a retreat center.
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:
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, Corey Williams
|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
We Support the Buy Fresh Buy Local Movement
Turtle Rock Farm LLC:
A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality
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.