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A 501c3 Corporation


Canada Geese at the Close of Day 



 Honoring all that was in 2011  

        Bald Eagle over the Big Pond.      The Sallie McFague Strawbale Hermitage

           Snow Drifts and Warm Retreat Inside the Hermitage   


       The Garden in April; Undercroft Montessori School Students Exploring the Prairie

Earth Day Celebration: music, alpaca shearing, solar oven making, wheat weaving, hermitage dedication, alpaca fleece spinning, cookout, contra dancing.



Members of the TRF Family (We miss you Red.)







Some of our fabulous guests, workshop participants, retreatants.   





The results of a drought; the Big Pond dry, for the first time.
After three months of dry, hot weather, there comes a 3.6-inch rain
and the Big Pond begins to fill again.





Changes at TRF: solar panels and wood stoves for the pond house and farm house.


Special thanks to our 2011 interns, Alyssa Armstrong, Beau Lacefield and David Walton.

The Third Annual Green Connections (local foods) Prairie Dinner and Concert,
the most magical night of the year.  

Looking Forward to 2012  


We came into the year 2011 with all the excitement that seeing a Bald Eagle fly over the Big Pond and try to catch a Canada Goose (the goose survived) could bring; with all the excitement that opening a hermitage made with our hands (and the hands of many friends) from wheat straw and mud right off our farm could bring. 


We leave the year 2011 with awe and gratitude and many lessons learned about how to respect and live sustainably on this magnificent planet.


Winter was a record-breaker-blizzards, and extremes: minus-25 degrees followed by 80 degrees a week later. In Spring we had a beautiful garden growing (great potato crop) but the spring rains never came and we plunged into a record-breaking summer -50-plus days of triple-digit temperatures and no rains. Our Big Pond went dry and all the fish died; the birds and amphibians moved on; as did the beavers on Doe Creek. Gardens were abandoned.
But Autumn came relatively early, cooled down fairly quickly and rains did come at last. The Big Pond is now filling.

We're not complaining about the weather - well, yes, we do - but we pay special attention to it because these sort of changes are predicted, the very definition of global climate change, and we know we must pay attention: not only so we will be motivated to make the radical changes necessary to cut carbon emissions and CO2 in the atmosphere, but also to learn how to live more sustainably in the natural world. 


It is a challenging time, to be sure. But the lessons of 2011 are exciting as well: there are solutions in the challenges. For one thing, the gardeners we know in Oklahoma are now looking toward fall-through-spring growing instead of the traditional spring-to-fall growing season. Those days may be over (there was even too much sun some days for photosynthesis) and we are learning how to grow vegetables in the shade and in colder months.    


For another, we have connected with many others who care about the planet and are making changes in their lives and in their communities to live with care so that all may thrive.

So we look ahead into 2012 with renewed stamina (cool temperatures and rain have helped tremendously), commitment, the strength of community, and lots of ideas to explore and try.  


We are in our fourth year as a retreat center dedicated to sustainability, spirituality and healing. We started with a yearning to offer this farm, this particular part of this magnificent planet, as a place for people to get away, get back in touch with the beauty, intricacy, complexity and healing power of the natural world. Within that first year, we learned something that had never been part of our awareness or original purpose: that we needed to model and teach how to live more sustainably on the planet.


Once you get to know the place, the problems it's having, you want to do something to help it, care with it, save it. We had begun to learn from this place: that beavers are great hydrologists, creating wetlands; that the prairie's cycle is drought and flood and that it's best suited for growing native grasses; that we need to grow vegetables from fall into late spring rather than summer; that animals can teach us about ourselves; that we are community and we need to learn how to live as one biological, interdependent community.


 This year, we have opened the strawbale and mud hermitage for retreatants and have enjoyed how very much they enjoy staying in it. People tell us how embraced, deeply quiet  and connected they feel; how glad they are to be able to experience being in a natural building. We began studying permaculture and look forward to learning more, making changes within its principles of care of earth, care of people and returning excess to care of earth and people. We are especially proud to be growing some of our own food, buying food from the Oklahoma Food Coop and at farmer's markets, tending four bee hives, and adding woodstoves, solar panels and a solar attic fan to our houses.


 We are struck by the people who come to visit, to participate in workshops, make retreats and by school children who come to see a farm and learn about sustainability; that they care about Earth as we do and want to make changes in their lives to care for the natural world that is our home. We are struck by how even a short time here reminds them of other times when they have been more connected to the natural world and how soul-nurturing, soul-healing those times are. Notable is the magic that happens on the afternoon and evening we host the Green Connections Prairie Dinner and Concert. When we gather as community, eating local food alongside Doe Creek, celebrating Earth with excellent company, food and music, something happens that is indescribable and makes us want to continue to do the work and care that allows us to be together on this great planet.


In 2012, we will again offer our core workshops and retreats, make a welcoming place for those on retreat and give tours and nature hikes. We are adding some new workshops and retreats and welcoming some new facilitators. Last year, Jeanne Martin came from Massachusetts and led a haiku retreat that was a wonderful way to get to know more closely the wonders of the natural world. We look forward to her coming again in the fall (October 20) to lead another haiku retreat. Dave Conrad will be coming to lead drumming circles for our Earth Day celebration and the Military Women Retreat (and probably some other times as well.) Steve Wooley, who helped us build the strawbale hermitage, will lead an overnight retreat that teaches aboriginal skills. There are other new possibilities in the works. Keep an eye on our website, blog and this newsletter. If the last four years are any indication, there are surprises ahead for all of us. And, to reiterate, one valuable lesson we've learned from our permaculture classes is that it is often in the challenges where we find the solutions.


We look forward to all that 2012 brings. We continue in confidence that every moment we spend in the natural world and every effort we make for our planet, is critical. We are grateful for all who have come to Turtle Rock Farm. We know it takes the entire "village" and we hope to get to see you sometime during the year.




In beauty and peace,

Ann and Pat 

Thank You Volunteers!

Thank you Beau Lacefield!

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.

Keep an eye on this space. Next spring, we'll be offering
a day at Turtle Rock Farm, including lunch, for four hours' labor. 




January 7
Simpler Living Retreat

January 10
Sustainability Book Discussion

January 14
Beekeeping Workshop

February 11
Gardening Workshop

February 18
Living in the Moment Retreat

February 25
Talking and Listening Deeply Workshop

February 27-28
Shepherds' Retreat

Our 2012 calendar is on our website

Turtle Rock Farm Retreat Center is Eco-Certified Platinum







Keep Up with Us Daily on our Blog
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Retreats and Workshops

Monthly Sustainability Book Discussiom


10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.


January 10      



 We'll discuss the book, Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough. It explores the way we make things and proposes an environmentally intelligent way of designing goods that generate economic, social and environmental value.  


The book discussions are held normally on the third Monday of the month. Let us know you're coming. 



Simpler Living Retreat


January 7   




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 in simpler ways that bring meaning back into their lives. 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    


Beekeeping Workshop

January 14


In this day-long workshop, participants will learn about the fascinating lives of bees and 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, what equipment you need to get started, where to get bees, 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       



Gardening Workshop 


February 11





What a joy (and how healthy) it is to eat fresh vegetables out of your own garden. Too, as we become aware of how much of our food costs come from the oil it takes to transport them across several states, we have one more reason to grow some of our own food. It's fun and wondrous to watch those tiny seeds turn into large plants with an abundance of produce. Learn how to build a 4 X 4 foot raised bed garden complete with hoop house to extend the growing season and a drip irrigation system. This type of garden has few weeds and requires a minimal amount of work. Also learn how to start your own seeds so you can garden year round.    

To register, go to our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com        



Living in the Moment Retreat           

February 18




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? On this retreat you will learn how to live in the moment.

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  



Talking and Listening Deeply to Each Other


February 25  







We all know how to talk and we all know how to listen. But to listen deeply, compassionately and to express our feelings and desires are sometimes not easy to do. To communicate with loving kindness is key to our relationships, both personal and in all aspects of our lives. During this day retreat, we will explore several tools that help widen, deepen and heal our relationships. Participants will experience take-home methods from the teachings on mindfulness and non-violent communication of Thich Nhat Hanh and Marshall Rosenberg, as well as the circle process of Just Peace.   



To register, go to our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com    


Shepherds' Retreat

February 27-28 





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 and Evening Prayer. From 5 p.m. Monday to 3 p.m. Tuesday 


For questions and to register, email Rev. Susan Ross at ross-susan@sbcglobal.net or Pat at pathoerth@gmail.com


To see what's happening in the coming months,
check out our calendar



Comments from our wonderful guests...


"So incredible to see this place finished. I'll never forget all of the bales that were stacked and cob that was stomped. It was worth it, because this dwelling is a vehicle for absolute bliss. I'll remember it, and its creators, dearly. We'll be back."
-- Steven Wooley

"This place is so beautiful and peaceful. It felt like home the second we walked in. Thank you so much for your hospitality. We have plans to visit again next year."
-- Shauna

"Thank you, thank you, thank you for seeing the gifts in this place and sharing them so generously. The hermitage is lovely and the weather has been amazing but your hospitality has made it great. I greatly appreciate your sharing your farm fresh eggs and other items with me, and thank you for allowing me to help with the animals. As a city girl, my experience with farms is minimal to say the least, but you both made me welcome from the very start. As a Deaconess sister and fellow Christian on the journey, blessings to you and on this place; that it will thrive and continue to impact many lives with its offerings of peace, spiritual renewal and connections with God's creation."
-- Deaconess Mandy Caruso
Kansas City, Mo.

" Thank you for a wonderful respite of peace and solitude. I needed that!"
-- Janet Barrow
Dover, Ak.

"I came here tired and soul-weary from the chaos, noise and clutter of city life. I leave renewed and at peace. Thank you for that gift. I thank God for the beauty and simplicity of pastures, animals and sunsets. May God bless you and this place!"
-- Dawn Richards

"The inspiration of your hearts has created a glorious place for retreat and renewal. Your warmth blesses us all. Your peacefulness transfers to each of us who visit. Thank you for creating this comforting place to renew and refresh our spirits. Great blessings shower down on you for all your days. The God in me honors the God in you."
-- Linda Puckett

"Came to help little brother and found a unique farmhouse that we really enjoyed. Keep up the good work." - V. & G.

"Thank you so much for your kindness and hospitality during our time of need. You and your hermitage are a gift from God. We cannot express how thankful we are that you opened your home and hearts to us." - T. and S.

"My stay in this hermitage has been the capstone experience to an amazing week. I came jut yesterday directly from a three-day workshop on the ecology of the North Canadian River watershed conducted by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission. I find great inspiration from those who are living and working to protect and educate others in awareness and harmonic living within our dynamic ecosystem. Perhaps God is reaching out to us in a silent yet profound conversation as we become more 'in tune' with natural systems. I am thankful for this experience. Peace." -- S.C.

"Turtle Rock Farm experiences are for people who care about the environment now and for future generations. We need to treat our world and others with more respect. (Important vocabulary: we, our, together.)" -- M.A. R.

"Peace on the prairie
In my soul I will carry.
To share and to live
Is the gift I will give."
-- L.A.

"What a treat to be able to stay in the straw bale/adobe hermitage. It reminded me of 'home' in New Mexico! We are looking forward to collecting fish from Doe Creek. May the Lord continue to bless you." -- Jean Lemmon

"A perfect place! Thank you for this sacred space - and for all those sister travelers who have stayed here. Blessings." -- Jeannie Martin

"Thanks to God and to you who have provided this place of rest and reflection. We are blessed by your hospitality. May peace, hope and joy come to all who linger here."
-- Danny and Joyce

"Thank you for letting me stay the night. I liked it. I loved the prairie and I loved all the animals. Most of all I liked spending time with you. Love, E.M."

"Earth Plunge-a great experience and opportunity. Many thanks for this place." -- M.L.

"Earth Day and Good Friday. An inspiring, relaxed sharing, praying and playing together; to shear alpacas-and have the fleece spun and plied into yarn!; to bless this hermitage, where I am privileged to stay tonight; to share a simple yet delicious meal, and finish off the evening with music and dancing! What a blessed day! Thank you so very much!" -- Sr. Terry

"It's been a very quiet couple of days for me to do some deep and difficult psychological work. I benefited greatly from the energy kinesiology session, the massage, the crickets, Joe the Dog and the quiet." -- A.V.

"Played my flute in the teepee with the wind keeping time by flapping the canvas. Pounded my djembe within these thick walls {at the hermitage} and absorbed the solid, solitude, solidarity. Strummed my ukulele and was softened by the timbre of the taut, short strings. And sang in a voice only God heard. Thanks." -- D.C.

"We really enjoyed the Taize service as well as the quiet and peaceful evening and walks outdoors (although the wind was brisk and a little cool!) -- Maribeth and Greg

"Woke to coyotes howling and geese honking-it couldn't be better. An oasis for a weary soul! Thank you. Blessings." -- N.

"To a beautiful planet! Thank you, Ann and Pat, for great food and a peaceful time."
--Tina, Christopher and Ila

"Thanks so much for your hospitality and great food. We've all enjoyed our time together immensely. This is a ministry of blessing which you so generously share with others." -- Loma Sullivan

"If you want or need a serene, spiritual place to go, Turtle Rock is perfect for prayer and reflection. It has all the elements you need to find God and yourself."
 -- Cindy Bullen, Wickline UMC

"If you are looking for the opportunity to slow down so you can think, you will find it at Turtle Rock Farm. The Simpler Living Retreat gave lots of food for thought and helped me to find a focus from it that I can take home and apply to 'real life.' Your life will be impacted in ways unexpected. I feel like I not only gained more ideas for simpler living, but also acquired realistic ideas to coping with and sorting out various areas of stress in day-to-day life. Choose one small positive change you want to work on, commit to it, focus and anything is possible. Thank you Turtle Rock Farm!" -- Michelle Hamilton

"Turtle Rock Farm is a wonderful place to come and be refreshed. To relax with nature surrounding you. To come away a stronger person - more able to cope with all the pressures of our modern lifestyle. I would highly encourage people to 'escape' to Turtle Rock Farm."
-- L.D., Kansas

"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.

"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 all 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

"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

"'Unless 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?

A "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.
A 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 pathoerth@gmail.com; 580.917.6011
or annmcferron@hotmail.com; 580.725.3411
our partnership

with GreenConnections...

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 through its programming, our dream is to build a retreat center and hermitages with sustainable building methods, including straw bale construction.  


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: 


alpaca with GC board members

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, Claudia Scribner, Alan Ware (president.)  

Turtle Rock Farm Advisory Council: Barbara Hagan, Bruce Johnson, Tom Temple, Corey Williams 

We Support the Buy Fresh Buy Local Movement
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

Turtle Rock Farm LLC:

A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality and Healing

Mission Statement

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.

Morning Over the Prairie - 30 September 2009

Thanks Mom and Dad


onsider giving a retreat at Turtle Rock Farm as a gift for a friend or loved one. Perhaps a weekend getaway or one of our scheduled retreats or workshops. Email us at pathoerth@gmail.com or annmcferron@hotmail.com. Or call 580.725.3411 or 580.917.6011.

Turtle Rock Farm LLC
5900 CR 90
Red Rock, OK 74651