In Support of
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Deep Ecology
"Deep ecology recognizes that nothing short of a total revolution in consciousness will be of lasting use in preserving the life-support systems of our planet...Humans are not to be viewed as the ultimate measure of value or as the crown of creation. We are but 'a plain member' of the biotic community and our arrogance with respect to this community threatens not only ourselves but all of life...We must come to understand that life-forms do not constitute a pyramid with our species at the apex, but rather a circle where everything is connected to everything else.

We must realize that the environment is not 'out there,' and that when we poison the air or the water or the soil, we poison ourselves because of the vast biological cycles within which we too are inextricably embedded.

This is not to deny our identity as humans but rather...to place this identity within its proper perspective, within the larger perspective of our 'ecological Self.'

                                           -- John Seed, Thinking Like a Mountain
2014 - A Year of Wonder
Taking time to connect with our natural home, be astonished, be inspired to learn to live so that all can thrive.
January is always a busy month at Turtle Rock Farm

 Tulsa's Boston Avenue United Methodist Church Young Adults
meet the alpaca...
...dig potato beds, rebuild a
vermi-composting bin...

...build sixty frames and foundations for beehives...

...make the Cosmic Walk...

...hold great discussions, play games and sing beautiful harmonies.

We look forward to their next visit!

Checking bees...

...during Beekeeping Workshop.

Learning how to maintain hives...

...and keep bees happy.

Living Mindfully in the Presence Retreat...

...includes mindful walking...

... eating mindfully...

...being mindful in nature.

Historically, January (this is our seventh) is a month with many guests. Perhaps, after the holiday season, and with a new year in view, people are ready to get back to the natural world, or learn something new, or spend time together in a quiet place in the country. For whatever reason, we are happy to make a space for renewal, for a change in perspective, for learning sustainability.


Guests withstand cold and wind to spend time outside, walking the prairie, helping feed animals, checking on the bees, helping us with winter projects. Then they come in to a warm fire, warm discussions and evening games. Or they spend quiet time in the warm embrace of the straw bale hermitage. (Really, people often say they feel hugged in that earthy place.)  

Young adults, still home from university, came from Boston Avenue United Methodist in Tulsa, and built a mountain of beehive frames and foundations. They also helped out in the high tunnel, preparing spring beds, and made the Cosmic Walk. Inviting people into an experience of the creation of the universe is central to our work here. Helping people begin to experience a perspective in which we can know human beings are part of the interdependent, miraculously self-organizing web of life is, we think, what will help inspire us to make changes so that all can survive the many challenges the Earth and all life here is experiencing at this time.   


Other sustaining practices we shared with guests in January included beekeeping and living mindfully. As habitat changes drastically for bees, they are disappearing. Learning how to provide habitat for them is essential to humans' food supply as well, since one-third of our food requires pollination.  


Living mindfully is  a way to be in touch with all of life -- our own hearts and minds and bodies, as well as the world and others around us. In such a chaotic time, these ancient spiritual disciplines are being practiced again. And we're glad to offer the space to experience these life-giving practices.


Winter has been much more like the winters we experienced growing up here as children. In those days, snow fences paralleled the highways. Recent winters have been so warm, we've forgotten what winter can be like. Now we are experiencing winter extremes all across the nation. We have had snow and cold temperatures; more is predicted in February. Thankfully, kale still grows in the high tunnel green house, though a well-populated community of field mice have invaded and scarfed up broccoli, lettuces. No growing season is ever the same; every time there are unexpected challenges, and gifts. We, the chickens, guineas and rabbits are enjoying the kale. 


Ann has planted the first vegetable seeds for the spring garden and they are greening under grow lights in the house. Potatoes and greens will be planted in the high tunnel before long. There will be spring!


We look forward to welcoming the Shepherds for their quarterly retreat and joining residents at Oakcreek, a Senior Co-Housing community in Stillwater, for a weekend eco-retreat. Our offerings at the farm in late winter include workshops on Raising Chickens and Beekeeping as well as two new retreats. As we face ecological and related economic stress, anxiety and depression, understandably, seem to be increasing. We have discovered that mindfulness practices are very helpful in moving through depression, so Pat will lead a Mindfulness Practices to Move Through Depression retreat in March. 


Too, we will be offering a retreat for worship committees, clergy and liturgists to learn how to use creation-centered language in liturgy. The language we use matters. Creating prayers and calls to worship using metaphors for the Divine that come from creation rather than solely of human characteristics, help us expand our understanding of our place in creation. 


As always, our hermitage is available for personal retreats. Our weekend workshop and retreat offerings are listed below, and you can register on our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com


Winter or spring, summer or fall, we hope to welcome you in 2014. 




Beauty, Peace,

Ann and Pat


Workshops and Retreats
Shepherds' Retreat
February 10-12
 A 24-hour retreat for United Methodist clergy and lay leaders. Following the Academy for Spiritual Formation model of morning, evening prayer, eucharist, periods of silent reflection on readings and small group discussion and sharing of meals, the retreat is a time for spiritual renewal for church leaders. For more information or to register, email Rev. Susan Ross at ross-susan@sbcglobal.net or Pat Hoerth at pathoerth@gmail.com


To register, go to our calendar:

Raising Chickens
February 22

Would you like to have your own fresh eggs? Raising a few chickens can be a fun, rewarding experience. Come learn about the different kinds of chicken coops, raising chickens from eggs or getting them from the store, what chickens need to survive, predator problems and more. (And we'll introduce you to our flock!) Ann Denney leads this retreat. 


To register, go to our calendar:

Mindfulness Practices to Move Through Depression
March 15

Depression is common for many of us; it's something we deal with off and on. And in these chaotic times, times when we feel overwhelmed by the challenges we face environmentally, economically, we might experience depression even more often; in fact, it can become chronic. This retreat introduces mindfulness practices that actually help us break the thought patterns that increase depression. They are tools that can be used for the rest of our lives and break through the depression. Pat Hoerth leads this retreat. 

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

Beekeeping Workshop
March 22
  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 and what goes on in the bee community during the course of a year. You can sample Turtle Rock Farm honey, which, we think, is the best honey in the world.
To register, go to our calendar:

Creating Creation-Centered Liturgies
March 29

Liturgies tend to use human characteristics to image God. One way to help people come to understand creation as not only centered around human beings, but including all in creation, is to write liturgies using many images from the natural world. This workshop provides training for worship teams and others in faith communities to develop liturgies that include images and metaphors from creation in prayers, calls to worship. The day will include some time observing nature and time writing liturgy pieces that help parishioners begin to see themselves as part of the Great Web of Life. Pat Hoerth leads the workshop.

To register, go to our calendar:

Gardening and Composting
April 5 
We've combined two workshops into one. You can come for a full day and build both a four-by-four foot raised bed with a hoop and a red wiggler vermi-compost home, 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. With this system you can extend your growing season and garden all year. Vermi-compost (composting with worms) is an excellent and easy way to compost. It provides rich nutrients for your garden as well as "compost tea" for all your plants.    
To register, go to our calendar:

To Check Out What Else is Coming Up on our Retreat and Workshop Calendar, Click Here: 

Our Earth Day Festival is Saturday, April 19!


Young Adults from Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, Tulsa.
Digging spring beds in the high tunnel greenhouse.

If you, your group or family is interested in helping out or providing a service learning project at Turtle Rock Farm, let us know. It takes a village!

Scholarships are available for youth to experience nature at Turtle Rock Farm, thanks to a generous grant from the Oklahoma Disciples of Christ Foundation.

Call -- 580.725.3411, 580.917.6011
Or email: annbdenney@gmail.com   pathoerth@gmail.com

How Does One Make Retreat?

 A "retreat" at Turtle Rock Farm is a chance to get away into the quiet and beauty of the prairie.
 It 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, walk the labyrinth, feed an alpaca, gather eggs, garden, kayak or swim in the pond...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.

Turtle Rock Farm on the Road
Making the Cosmic Walk at Camp Egan, near Tahlequah

  We are glad to be able to offer our workshops, retreats and presentations away from our farm. Call or email about a presentation for your group. 

To reserve your individual, family or group retreat...
Or to visit with us about a presentation for your group in another location...
email or call:
pathoerth@gmail.com -- 580.917.6011
annbdenney@gmail.com -- 580.725.3411 
Comments from our wonderful guests...

"The retreat at Turtle Rock was very peaceful and sacred. This retreat helped me to refuel and to center myself. The atmosphere is conducive to learning--gentle knowledge--very inclusive. Thank you." -- M.R.

"So happy to be the first resident of the new year. What a treat for me! I am praying that this retreat with our Young Adults is just the first of many visits to Turtle Rock. I'm so happy to know you're here and not far away. We are kindred spirits and I look forward to much celebration!!" -- Bill Crowell, Tulsa, Boston Avenue UMC

"This is our fourth stay at the hermitage and visit with you. Each time has been a time of renewal. This short visit is no exception. Our conversation, the simplicity of the hermitage, and the stark beauty of the farm and rolling hills blend together to help bring the peacefulness we need." -- Bill and Jeanne Finely, Silver Spring, Md. and Blacksburg, Va.

"This hermitage is a gracious space-as is the whole farm. I leave grateful for everything-deer and wasps, damp 'possum and faithful dog; greedy goats and trumpeting guineas; laid-back alpacas and boisterous roosters. Sun, then storms; mild breezes and sleet. Happy fishing and beautiful lettuce and greens. Surprise wine and a week's worth of soup.
"This place is much like home without the distractions and anxieties. I take from here the resolve to make home more like this week. Thank you Ann and Pat for providing this space, this beauty, this time of rest. May it continue to bless more and more people as you continue your Great Work of caring for Earth and all her inhabitants." -- Jane Balenger, OP, Heartland Farm, Pawnee Rock, KS

"'O God What a Morning' Deer grazing in the north field, a hawk soaring in the west, no doubt looking for breakfast, a full moon setting in a clear sky, and then a bit later-sunrise. What a show. Thanks God." -- Mary Lou B.

"What a wonderful weekend. I needed to get away from the big city life to think, pray, read, meditate. I found the right place for it. This place is good for my soul. I will most certainly return here. Warm blessings." -- Garrick Voth, Oklahoma City

"Strawbale Hermitage must have been a long time dream which called for much hard work as it came to life. Thank you for your great effort. It is a most peace-filled, comfortable and charming place. I am grateful for these three days surrounded by the sounds of nature and covered over by a dome of blue with lazy clouds. God has blessed me here. May God bless you also. Thank you." -- Susan D.

"We enjoyed the pond and watching the stars and I liked catching grasshoppers, kayaking, listening to the sounds of nature." Mason, Maranda, Bryce and Sherri 
"Thank you. I have had a balancing and purifying experience; hoping to take some of it back with me. As Persing said-the zen you find on the mountaintop is the same zen down below. I appreciate the opportunity to live in this special place for awhile." -- J. 

"Thank you so much or making me feel like family during my 2-week WWOOFing stay! I'm so glad I got to know you and learn from all the great projects y'all have going. I've met some incredible people and activists while here, which is a huge inspiration." -- Hannah

"Quiet, restful, beautiful sunset...I could go on and on. thank you for sharing this wonderful retreat with us! The beekeeping seminar was fun and educational too. Wish we could have stayed longer. Good friends, good food, good fellowship-what more could one ask for? Can't wait to come back!" -- Nancy and Steve

"Awoke to a thin covering of snow and brisk cold north wind-the changing of the seasons. Thank you. Thank you for this place of respite, renewal, encouragement!." -M.L.B.

"First glimmers of light
The hoot of an owl
The words of my teacher
This house made of earth
Many things made by loving hands
I am encouraged
To put my hands to work
And to know the work as good,
As enough for today.
Small steps are still steps.

Hearing the owl in this moment-
Is a step, a connection.
Morning arrives and I am awake
The farm offers its gift
And I am here
To receive it
With a grateful hear." - Pat W.

"Thank you for this in-between time, time to sink into solitude -- accentuated by the drumbeats/heartbeats of our friends from the north who are here to practice saying no to violating the earth. I will leave with their music, and the soul-full music of this place, in my spirit..." Susan

"I like feeding the alpaca and playing in the sand." -- Cohen, age 6

"Thank you very much for showing us the farm and taking us on a hike. I really appreciate it." -- Eden, age 9

"This was a great place to stay. I'd give it a 10 out of 10. I learned a lot while having fun. Best Mor-Mor Camp ever!" -- Colton, age 11

"Thank you for giving us your time and energy. You have made an investment in us! We certainly did "praise God under the open skies" in the labyrinth, the fields, the creeks, in our unstructured play and with each other. Hallelujah!" -- Gala, age 67 (aka "Moder")

"Thank you for this in-between time, time to sink into grieving and solitude-accented by the drum beats/heart beats of our friends from the north who are here to practice saying no to violating the earth. I will leave with their music, and the soul-full music of this place, in my spirit..." -- Susan


in support of

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Green Connections' Earth Day Festival 2013
Green Connections is a 501c3 Not-for-Profit corporation committed to helping people connect with Earth and learn to live more sustainably. We welcome the opportunity to bring their programming to Turtle Rock Farm.  



You may send tax deductible donations to Green Connections, 5900 CR 90, Red Rock, OK 74651. Or you can donate on the Green Connections website. Or, go to our website - www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com - and click on Green Connections, and use Paypal to send your donation.  


Meet our board members

Green Connections: Kay Adair, Beverly Alexander (treasurer), Elizabeth Box Price, Dorothy Gray, Pat Hoerth, Ann Denney, Mary Moloney, Claudia Scribner, Shauna Struby, Tom Temple  

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

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