Beth, Ann, Debra and Karen mudding the dining area wall...
with a little help from young hands.
Paul and Julie and their young helper sifting sand and clay
for the last, finer coat of earth plaster.
Visitors from the city Thanksgiving Weekend mixed mud...
...and put it on the wall.
Hot Soup and Little Red Hen's Quiche hit the spot for mudders
during an autumn picnic
The Hermitage kitchen cabinets are tiled, cellulose insulates the ceiling;
the concrete floor is stained and sealed. Visitors enjoy seeing the turtle
on the northwest corner wall.
Young visitors to Turtle Rock Farm enjoy playing in the sand we use to make mud for the hermitage walls and, as always, feeding the alpaca boys, Darcy and Biak.
|Time to Reflect|
When we decided three years ago to devote ourselves to creating a place of retreat on our family farm in the great plains of north central Oklahoma, we had in mind that we would schedule retreats so that people could enjoy this expansive and beautiful place in nature that had been our family's home for more than a hundred years. We scheduled a series of spiritual retreats, in the firm belief that if people spent time in nature, they would remember their connection to Earth, get to know it better and be healed from the ills of our intensely hectic postmodern society. It wasn't long, as we began to spend more time in nature ourselves, that we realized the planet does teach us and heal us and that we needed to learn how to live more carefully, more lightly, more simply. Soon, our purpose, our mission, deepened and widened and Turtle Rock Farm became a Center for Sustainability, Spirituality and Healing.
We continue to offer programmed retreats. Some are spiritually based and offer time and tools for more conscious connection with the Ground of Being, Creator,
Holy as we spend time together in creation. Some are workshops that help us learn to live more sustainably. All seem to help both humans and Earth heal. In 2010, we added a prairie labyrinth, a tipi, and, our biggest project so far, the natural building of a straw bale and mud hermitage for our guests. At the retreat center, we now have bees, rabbits, chickens and guineas in addition to alpaca and red wiggler worms!
In 2011, you will see in our newsletter, on our website and in our blog some of the same retreats and workshops we've offered in the last three years. In the next few weeks you will also see some new offerings that we think will expand awareness, sustainability skills, deeper understanding of our home on this beautiful planet, as well as the connection we have with the Divine. Too, we will be announcing our monthly book study and re-establishing our monthly Sabbath get-togethers.
The best part of the dream that we now share here at Turtle Rock Farm, is something we had hoped for and that we are beginning to see develop. It is community. This month alone, we have shared time mudding the hermitage with people spanning the generations and from various cities and towns. We sat at table with many people who have helped with the hermitage build, and Thanksgiving Weekend, especially enjoyed a picnic on the farmhouse lawn with several families from the city who brought their children for a day on the farm. We have walked the labyrinth with dear, old friends (once last month, in only the light of the full moon) and with new. We have watched children feed alpaca, pet rather large rabbits, meet guineas and hens, gather eggs. Never is there a more important moment than the one last month when a girl, tenderly holding a brown egg with awe and reverence, asked the question: "Which animal made this egg?" And, "Why is it brown instead of white?"
And so, as our third year as a retreat center comes to a close, we give thanks: for this beautiful and sacred place; for the chance to share it; for all those who have come to connect with something important to believe in; for the chance to learn together how to live more intentionally and caringly on this good Earth, and for every healing.
We look forward, with great gladness, to the time we will share in the new year: learning how to keep bees and chickens, raise our own food and build soil; walk the prairie, taking in the sun, moon, stars; learnings about ecosystems and conservation and the natural world; work we do together, including those great cooking moments in the kitchen; conversation and laughter at table; meditation and other spiritual practices, morning prayers in the tipi, and the deep rest that country quiet and a good, sound many-hands-made straw bale and mud building provide.
In beauty and peace,
Pat & Ann
Consider Green Connections, the not-for-profit corporation
that supports the mission of Turtle Rock Farm,
in your end-of-year-giving.
(Find the PayPal donate button below
or send your donation to Green Connections
at 5900 CR 90, Red Rock, OK 74651)
Thank You Volunteers!
Thank you Paul!
Want to be a Turtle Rock Farm Volunteer?
Have we got a deal for you!
a day at Turtle Rock Farm (on us)
for 3 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 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
Simpler Living Retreat
Living in the Moment Retreat
February: Our Raised Bed and Composting Workshops Begin
Watch our website for updates to our 2011 calendar of retreats & workshops:
Retreats and Workshops
For United Methodist Lay and Clergy
A 24-hour retreat modeled on the Spiritual Academy with cycles of holy reading, silence, group sharing. The retreat begins and ends with Eucharist and includes Morning Prayer.
For questions and to register, email Rev. Susan Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or Pat at email@example.com
January 8, 2011
In this day-long workshop, participants will learn about the fascinating lives of bees, the importance of bees in our ecosystems and for our food supply. Ann, who is the beekeeper at Turtle Rock Farm, will teach how to put together a beehive, how to make candy boards for the winter and what goes on in the bee community during the course of a year. She might even give you a sample of Turtle Rock Farm honey, which, we think, is the best honey in the world.
To register, go to our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
January 15, 2011
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 more simply. 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 we want to make next and experience the support of others simplifying their lives.
To register, go to our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
Living in the Moment Retreat
Or...How to put spiritual practice back into your
multi-tasking, multi-messaging life
January 22, 2011
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 about all the things you have to get done?
Learning to live in the moment is an ancient spiritual practice that has been rediscovered for our multi-tasking, multi-messaging culture. Learning to live in the moment is indeed a great stress-reducer. And it is so much more. It helps us find our deepest, truest selves and the Source of life and love. On this retreat you will learn how to live in the present moment, which is the only time the spiritual life can be lived, the only time we are open to experience the touch of Divinity.
To register, go to our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; 580.917.6011
or email@example.com; 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 and Healing
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.