August, when it sizzles...
Tulsa's New Haven United Methodist youth group came to learn about sustainability.
Green Connections Board of Directors tour progress at the hermitage-build...
... and check out the solar outdoor shower.
Board members Corey Williams, executive director of Sustainable Tulsa, and Kay Adair,
founder of the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture,
are undaunted by Oklahoma's August heat.
Our friend Deb Blakley learns about Blue Thumb creek monitoring
and Tanner Bryan helps out with weevil traps in the pecan grove.
Early morning or evening is a beautiful time to walk the labyrinth, as guests discover.
And the pond feels great on a sizzling afternoon.
Clayton spent one of his last days as a summer intern working alongside volunteer Matthew Scala craft the windowseat out of earth plaster in the hermitage, which now has a ceiling.
Retreat guest Chris Hannon also spent some time putting on the final coat of mud plaster, a sort of "mud meditation.
Phillips Theological Seminary Student Senate take a hike on the prairie
and meet Mr. Darcy and Biak Bay
...and there are signs of autumn
Usually, we expect an Oklahoma August to be hot and don't expect many people to come visit the prairie. But this August was different in both respects: it was hotter than usual and lots of people came to the prairie. We welcomed junior high and graduate students and several retreatants; we sat in awe under the swathe of Milky Way and watched the meteors streak across the sky; we hiked the prairie, walked the labyrinth, swam in the big pond.
Tulsa's New Haven United Methodist youth group, unable to make a scheduled mission trip out of the country, instead made a tour of Oklahoma to learn about sustainability. They spent two nights at Turtle Rock Farm, learning about natural building (they mixed the earth plaster with their feet) and organic gardening. Their last evening, they walked the big labyrinth up on the hilltop as night fell. One young man said later, "It healed my soul."
The labyrinth is a unique and meaningful experience for many who came this month for personal retreats. Every experience walking such a big labyrinth on the prairie under the vast sky is different and personal.
The last group to come to the farm and retreat center this month was the Student Senate from Phillips Theological Seminary. The rains had come (for most of the month, the rains missed us; we got the rainbows instead) and the temperature and humidity had dropped dramatically; autumn's clear light had fallen and their day here, walking the prairie, visiting the animals, was a delight.
There is much progress with the hermitage build. We are now applying the last, thinnest, smoothest coat of earth plaster; the ceiling, bathroom/kitchen walls are up; windows and doors are being trimmed. We are eager to finish it this fall so guests can stay here, but we are enjoying the process. Building a house naturally is a wonderful experience not to be rushed. If you want to lend a hand and experience the finishing of the walls, our next group mudding is Saturday, September 4. Let us know you're coming.
One of the highlights here at the farm last year, was our first annual Prairie Dinner and Concert. It was a wonderful evening: an elegant and scrumptious local foods dinner set alongside Doe Creek and an amazing fiddle/violin concert in the barn. Both Chef Kamala Gamble and musician Kyle Dillingham are returning this year for the second annual Prairie Dinner and Concert. It's a fund-raiser for Green Connections, a not-for-profit corporation that supports the work we do here in sustainability education and spirituality. It's Saturday, October 2. See details below.
We give a hug and a thanks to our friend Clayton Miller, who is headed back to Oklahoma City University for his last semester. He served as a summer intern, helping us in a multitude of ways. We know he'll be back for visits and retreats and volunteering, as he has done in the past. And we know he will move into his own programs and projects in sustainability as time goes on.
It seems autumn is coming earlier than usual this year. The Orb Spinners are here; the milkweed is in full bloom and we have an inkling the Monarchs are arriving. We hope you enjoy your autumn and we hope to share some of those lovely fall days with you here on this part of the Great Plains.
In Beauty and Peace,
Pat & Ann
Matthew Scala, from the Tulsa area, spent one Saturday helping us mud the walls on the hermitage. A potter, he did a beautiful job of sculpting the window seat out of earth plaster.
Thank You Volunteers!
Thank you Matthew!
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
September 4 - Mudding the Hermitage
September 11 - Learning to Live More Simply
September 13-14 - Shepherds' Retreat
October 16 - Labyrinth Retreat
October 30 - Military Women Retreat
Green Connections Prairie Dinner
and Concert: Saturday, Oct. 2
To buy your tickets, go to our website
Second Annual Prairie Dinner and Concert
to 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
7ish - Concert in the roundtop barn
Kyle Dillingham will play (fiddle/violin) and sing his way into your heartTickets are $75 until September 10; $85 from Sept. 11-25
Deadline is September 25.
To buy your tickets, go to our website:
www.turtlerockfarmretreat.comIf you would like to help sponsor this event,
call 580.725.3411 or 580.917.6011Turtle Rock Farm retreat center is located about an hour north
of Edmond, Oklahoma, not far off Interstate 35.
We'll send driving directions with confirmation of your ticket purchase (cause Google, Mapquest and GPS takes you the long way 'round.)
Retreats and Workshops
Mudding the Straw Bale Hermitage
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
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
October 16 - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
labyrinth is an ancient, spiritual tool used for centuries as a way
to get in touch with the inner life and inform the outer life. Making
the slow walk of twists and turns toward the center and back out
again is a transformative experience. On this day retreat, we will
look at the history and stories of labyrinths, as well as walk them
and create them.
To register, click here.
Women in the Military Retreat
October 30 - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This retreat is for service women who've been deployed
with Each Other - Enjoy Time in Nature
Walk with us on the
Prairie...Relax on the Porch...Kayak on the Pond...Explore the
Creeks...Do Some Gardening...Feast on Fresh, Home-Grown Food...Visit
with Friends...Relax in the Beautiful Countryside...Spend a Day in
Retreat fee is $10 and includes lunch. To Make a Reservation call 580-725-3411 or 580-917-6011 or
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.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
Next: September 20
"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...
"It was a perfect retreat...New understanding has dawned illuminating my path with added clarity and compassion...The labyrinth was transforming, as was working with the mud in building inside walls of the hermitage. These three days signified family, roots, births, mothers, grandmother and the Great Mother, Earth. Your perspectives added richness to the experience as did Ann's energy kinesiology session. Thank you both for providing a safe, sacred place and opening it to us. Favorite mental image: Grasshopper dancing in the fields!" -- J.S.
"Thank you Pat and Ann for a wonderful stay. Our Creator God blesses us to be a blessing and that's what you're doing with this farm; allowing it to be a blessing to others, so that they may come and rest in God's awesome beauty and presence and love. Peace and Joy." -- C.H.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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, receive an energy kinesiology session, explore nature, walk the labyrinth, feed an alpaca, gather eggs, garden, kayak or swim in the pond, sit at a farm table...alone, with friends, family, or with the community gathered here at the farm.
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
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 are in the process of building the first strawbale and mud hermitage.
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. All gifts, large and small, 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: Kay Adair, 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.