There came a community
to build a straw bale hermitage
Steve and Mollie of MudStrawLove give an introductory session
Cookout on the farmhouse lawn
Contra Dancing in and outside the old roundtop barn,
thanks to callers and musicians from the Oklahoma City Traditional Music Association.
The hermitage, day one, with just post and beam and roof.
Stacking the straw bales.
Stomping clay, sand, straw and water in the mud pit to make cob
which is then applied to all spaces in the bale walls.
Lime plastering the outside walls
and applying earthen plaster to the inside walls.
Mollie and Steve next to a niche in the inside wall.
The team gathered for supper every evening.
The best straw bale and mudding team ever assembled. (Back row from left) Tom, Linda, Scott, Clayton, Steven, Gardner, George, Alice, Jim, Terry, Doug, Steve, James. (Front row) Nelda, Marissa, Cass, Ann, Pat, Mollie, Tori, Jae (Denise, Dorothy and Lonnie not pictured.)
It was a remarkable week, the week we came together to set the bales and begin mudding the hermitage. It was remarkable for several reasons: the weather was predicted to be very hot and, instead, we had a mild week with early-morning storms and rain which didn't slow us down for long. Remarkably too, in only one week, we got all the walls up and a good start on the plastering. But most remarkably, doing this good work together and reflecting on it together each morning before we started again and taking our healthy meals together at one long table and dancing and playing music together in the evening, we became a little community.
It was indeed remarkable that strangers could work together so well as we learned how to do what we were doing. Of course, we had a great sustainable designer and builder in Tom Temple and great teachers in Steve Kemble and Mollie Curry. Ann and I had great support from our interns Clayton and Jae. But I think it was mostly what we were doing that made the work and the community remarkable. We were all aware all week that a group of people who care about Earth so much that they are willing to make the sacrifices (and have the fun!) of building out of natural materials - wheat straw off the farm, mud from out in front of the hermitage - is the best way to build.
There is still mudding to do, so if you want to join in the fun and the learning, let us know. We've scheduled mudding days the first three Saturdays in July - July 3, 10 and 17. Just call or email us to let us know you're coming. Come get a feel for the great work of building naturally. We're at 580.725.3411 and 580.917.6011. firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
We extend our deep and enduring gratitude to the wonderful people who spent a week of their lives here with us working on the hermitage. And we hope to be able to help them when they build their straw bale and mud projects.
Read about the daily
progress of the week of June 6-12 on our blog www.turtlerockfarm.wordpress.com and see lots more photos
Also in June....June is a beautiful month in north central Oklahoma. Everything is vibrant green, the wildflowers are blooming on the prairie and the fruits and first vegetables maturing. We have had an abundant crop of strawberries, mulberries and apricots (oh my, the apricot sorbet is good!) There is harvesting in the garden now.
Women on the Prairie Retreat
...took the Cosmic Walk and watched the sun go out of view...
...hiked along Doe Creek learning about prairie habitat...
...and learned how to make Cherokee double-walled baskets
thanks to our great teacher, Renee Hoover.
The harvest began in June: here, mulberries, apricots and potatoes
Too, we're happy to report that the kildere who were being hatched in the middle of the pondhouse driveway did indeed hatch and some little ones have been spotted rushing around on their tiny little legs. Sadly, we must also report that our first batch of guineas did not fare well when they met up with Joe, one of our dogs. A friend has brought three mature guineas who are now safely acclimating to the farm. We hope to be able to protect them well. The hens are still producing eggs and enjoying some roaming time outside their chicken tractor. Mr. Darcy, who, unlike Biak Bay, did not like the pellet treats we offered every day, is now loving them. He's also enjoying cooling his heels in the water tank. There is constant change.
Besides the mudding in July, we will be offering the Earth Dinner Retreat, which is a great experience because most of the day is spent cooking fresh food from the garden - and learning how to cook in a way that is healthy for people and Earth. In August, we will offer another Earth Dinner as well as a workshop in which you can learn to make a raised bed garden and/or a turnable composter and grow some of your own food. Too, there will be an Earth Plunge, when families can spend one last weekend on the farm before school starts and, at the end of the month, a Living in the Moment Retreat. The practices experienced in that retreat are helpful in our hectic, multi-tasking, constantly stimulated lives.
We still have dates open during the week for summer mini-vacations, group and individual retreats. We can offer great hikes on the prairie, kayaking, labyrinth walking, great summer food and a quiet, beautiful place to reconnect with nature.
In Peace and Beauty,
Pat & Ann
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. You can buy your tickets now, on the home page of our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
Paul Caulkin and Jeni Markham Clewell brought homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast during the Straw Bale Workshop and stayed to cook a delicious stew for lunch!
Thank You Volunteers!Thank you Jeni and Paul!
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
July 3 - Mudding the Hermitage
July 10 - Mudding the Hermitage
July 17 - Mudding the Hermitage
Earth Dinner: How to Cook to Save the Planet
Building your own Raised Bed Garden and/or Turnable Composter
Earth Plunge for Families
Dinner - How to Cook to Save the Earth
Learning to Live in the Moment
Green Connections Prairie Dinner
and Concert: Saturday, Oct. 2
To buy your tickets, go to our website
Retreats and Workshops
Mudding the Straw Bale Hermitage
July 3, July 10, July 17
Come one Saturday, or as many as you want. We'll be adding mud to the straw bale hermitage walls. We'll show you how to stomp the mud and apply to the walls. It's fun. And it's free. Call or email to reserve your spot. 580.725.3411 or 580.917.6011 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.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
Gardening: Build a Raised Bed Garden
and/or a Turnable Composter
You can come for
a full day and build both a four-by-four foot raised bed with a hoop
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.
register, click here: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
Earth Plunge for Families
family to the country for a night and a day in nature. Give your
children a chance to take a plunge into nature -
in a pasture, discover plant life, canoe, explore along a creek,
breathe fresh country air, run freely across the prairie. This retreat offers your children a safe day
exploring in nature, which experts say is essential for healthy
development. We'll provide some activities for experiencing nature, but
there will be family free time time as well.
retreat is scheduled as an overnight retreat, so that families can
watch Earth roll up and the sun go out of view, observe the night sky
(it's dark enough here to see jillions of stars) and (depending on the
conditions) sit around a bonfire. You can lodge indoors or in our tent or in our tipi.
register, click here: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
See description above.
Learning to Live in the Moment
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
about 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.
register, click here: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
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
July 12, August 16
"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.
Next Shepherds' Retreat
(for United Methodist lay and clergy)
Comments from our guests...
"It's been rewarding and inspiring to be with people that love and care about life so much. Thanks for teaching me so many different things." Denise Bertoncino
"What fun, what joy, what a solid experience. To see all of us join together to create the hermitage was inspiring. This will continue to inspire me into building my own dwelling. Thank you!!!" Cassandra Bachrad
"I feel so blessed to have known you both, Pat & Ann. Thank you for the great food and hospitality. You are truly beautiful. Hope to see you again soon." Marissa
"What a privilege, what a blessing to be part of building the first retreat building on your beautiful property. May the love spread through all who come to experience peace in creation at its best." George Kilmer
"It has been a beautiful experience learning about beautiful buildings that help save the Earth and meeting such wonderful people in such a beautiful setting. Thank you all." Jim McKinney
"Thanks for the straw bale workshop - a wonderful learning experience! I look forward to seeing you for at least one completion weekend." Alice
"What a wonderful piece of Oklahoma! I have very much enjoyed the time I have been here and enjoyed the spirit of this place. I wish peace for all who come here. Thanks." Scott Jordan
"Your kindness and the community that has formed here make me fall in love with Oklahoma ll over again. I feel so thankful for the old, open wisdom that has been shared. So many wonderful lives. Love it!" Steven Wooley
"It's been a very interesting learning experience and mostly fun. The people were all pleasant and good to work with. The food was fabulous. I'll be anxious to come back and help with/see the finished house." Nelda Sander
"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 comeraderie 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 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.