Saturday Mudders working on inside walls
Doug Sander making a Turtle Rock turtle on the northwest corner outside
South wall of hermitage before and after lime plastering
July rain and summer's bountiful wildflowers in the labyrinth
Yellow Swallowtail Butterflies feeding on Button Bushes
along Doe Creek during our monthly Blue Thumb stream monitoring
Earth dinner harvested from our gardens
Jae finished her internship (but we're hoping she'll be back one day)
and intern Clayton finished the pond off the farmhouse porch
We say goodbye to our good buddy, Kye
and welcome several litters of kittens
In this time of instant everything, building a straw bale house and mudding the walls with earthen plaster (on the inside) and lime plaster (on the outside) becomes an exercise in slowing down, savoring the process and the moment and it becomes an exercise in community life. Ann, Pat and interns Jae and Clayton work on the walls before it's very hot many mornings. Then sometimes on Saturdays, friends from the Straw Bale Workshop arrive, along with spouses and others who are interested in learning about natural building, and we make mud and lime plaster and add another layer to another section of the walls. With practice, we've improved our technique and the walls are turning out to be quite beautiful. We spray the freshest lime walls with water two or three times a day to help with the curing process. It turns out, there is great value in slow, steady work: the community builds, the walls cure, the beauty expands and deepens and our respect for the natural materials grows.
One of these days we'll be adding pigment to the final layer and the hermitage will take on its finished color. We have scheduled mudding Saturdays for August 7 and September 4. Call us first if you're coming. 580.725.3411 and 580.917.6011.
This is the time of year when our work helping people understand that what we eat and how we grow what we eat has a great deal to do with our health and the health of the planet is especially meaningful because we can go out to the garden and pick the food for the meals we make during the workshop. July's Earth Dinner workshop was delicious (think peach sorbet, Greek cucumber, wheat salad, quiche, roasted green bean and purple potato salad) and great fun. Another is scheduled for August.
We had to say goodbye for now to our first intern, Jae Clewell. She was a delight to live with for three months and she was a huge help - with everything from weeding to beekeeping to making onion tarts to tending guinea keets and packing up alpaca wool and mudding the hermitage. Her sense of beauty, profound care for the environment and artistic talent graced our lives and the projects here in many ways. We miss you Jae, wish you well in your next adventure and hope to see you again soon. You will always be a part of Turtle Rock Farm.
The gifts of summer are abundant in many ways. The weather has brought many beautiful rains and skies. The fruit harvest is abundant, as are many crops in the garden. We enjoyed our monthly trip to Doe Creek to monitor the water there, especially because the water was warm and the Yellow Swallowtail Butterflies were feeding on the Button Bushes at creekside.
In the hot weather, taking care of the animals becomes a special part of our work. Several litters of kittens are growing, three guineas have taken to harvesting the grasshoppers around the place and the paca boys (Darcy and Biak) love the summer weather now that they get showers twice a day. The hens continue to give us eggs, though a black one had to have a little surgery (thank you, Frank) to correct an impacted crop and the speckled hen has been ostracized by the red hens.
Very hard for us, Kye, the Husky/Malumet who has lived with Pat for many years, developed a tick disease from a bite earlier in the summer. We doctored him and took care of him until in the middle of the night he called out to her and took his last breath with her by his side. We buried him near the hermitage, with Jae and friends Connie and Doug helping us celebrate his life as a gentle rain fell. He is deeply missed.
Sometimes August turns out to be a cooler month than July. Some groups are willing to take the risk and have scheduled retreats during August and we've scheduled some of our favorite retreats: another Earth Dinner and the Earth Plunge. Too, we'd love for you to join us for the annual August Perseids Meteor Shower. We break out the blankets (and the essential oils to ward off bugs) and watch the light streak across the black sky. If you want to sleep over - in our tipi, the houses, or your own tent - just let us know so we can reserve a bed, cot or spot for you.
We hope you can take some time this beautiful time of year to get to know more closely some part of this amazing planet and be inspired to live in a way that more and more sustains all life.
In Beauty and Peace,
Ann & Pat
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
August 7 - Mudding the Hermitage
August 12 - Perseids Meteor Shower
Earth Plunge for Families
Dinner - How to Cook to Save Earth
September 4 - Mudding the Hermitage
September 11 - Learning to Live More Simply
September 13-14 - Shepherds' Retreat
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
August 7 and September 4
Come one Saturday, or both. We'll be adding mud to the straw bale hermitage walls. We'll show you how to stomp the mud and apply it 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 or email@example.com
Because Turtle Rock Farm is out in the country, we can see lots of stars. It has become a tradition in early August to go out on the night of the Perseids meteor shower and watch the lights streak the sky. The best viewing this year will be in the hours after midnight, but we start watching when it gets good and dark. This year the moon sets around 10 p.m.
Call us to let us know you're coming and whether you'll be camping out, lodging in one of our houses or the tipi. Our fees for lodging and meals are on our website. Click on rate information.
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
Earth Dinner: How to Cook to Save the Planet
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
It's been a wonderful surprise to discover that every time we take another step toward simpler living, we find great joy in it. It turns out that living more simply is not only a more sustainable way of life, it's more satisfying as well. We know this from experiencing our own lifestyle changes as well as those who've come to Turtle Rock Farm to learn how they want to simplify their lives.
This retreat helps participants realize the causes of our consumptive, busy lifestyles, be inspired to shift priorities, learn ways to simplify, take inventory about what changes we want to make next and experience the community support of others living a more simple, meaningful life.
As for any of our retreats, you are welcome to stay overnight before or after the retreat. To register, click here.
For United Methodist Lay and Clergy
A 24-hour retreat modeled on the Spiritual Academy cycles of holy reading, silence, group sharing. The retreat begins and ends with Eucharist and includes Morning Prayer.
To register, email Rev. Susan Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pat at email@example.com
And coming up in October:
350.org's 10/10/10 global action day: fruit-tree
plantings and dedication of our new hermitage
Labyrinth Retreat - October 16
Military Women - October 23
Newest Workshop: Beekeeping - October 30
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
August 16, September 13
"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.
Second Annual Prairie Dinner and Concertto benefit Green ConnectionsSaturday, October 2 3 p.m. - Visit and tour the farm and retreat center
5 p.m. - Local Foods Dinner, alongside Doe Creek
7 p.m. - Concert in the roundtop barn
"We felt renewed and relaxed (yes, even at the same time!) by the sense of community we experienced. Preparing the healthy and spiritual food was calming and centering for us both. I will always remember watching the momma cat affectionately loving on her white litter of kittens. The afternoon rainstorm was just what the land, and the soul needed! Thank you both!" Raven Crowl
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.