In Support of
 GC logo

And its work with

Sky, and Prairie in "The House"

"Science is subversive. It challenges us to perceive the world in new ways. More than other scientific disciplies, ecology and the environmental sciences turn conventional human perception upside down. They challenge our human assumptions of being separate or apart from the rest of creation. Too many modern people assume that a great divide exists between humanity and nature, as if we did not depend upon the oikos {Greek for 'house'}, or that human actions could not seriously harm creation and ultimately ourselves. The science of ecology helps us recognize that humans are fully a part of creation, and that to believe we could ever live apart from it would be folly. The environmental sciences invite us to pay attention to our fundamental interdependence upon--and integration with--the oikos. Our human fate is inextricably bound to that of creation."

--Ilia Delio, Keith Douglass Warmer, Pamela Wood.
Care for Creation. A Franciscan Spirituality of the Earth

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.


First tomatoes were gorgeous, delicious--
thanks to Ann's garden in the high tunnel,
where she could plant early in the season.

Chris Hannon came on retreat in the
Straw Bale Hermitage, and spent some of his
time helping weed the high tunnel garden.

The first hens to ever hatch chicks (seven)
shared a nest.

Ann as she prepared to spray the pecan grove
for the first time with compost tea.

United Methodist Women from Albright UMC in Ponca City made their fourth annual retreat.
They began with the Cosmic Walk...

..the story of the creation of the cosmos..
...and then entered into a discussion on how the new story impacts our lives.
We visited Commonwealth Garden, an urban farm in Oklahoma City. It will be featured on the urban farm tour during OKC Urban Ag Week.

Despite cooler and wetter than normal summer weather, grasshoppers are legion.

Roses are exquisite.

We especially enjoy the hot water from the outdoor solar shower on muggy days...
..and the cool breeze in the shade on one of our few-so-far 90-plus days.
Jeannie Martin, here on our Ginko Walk, led the Haiku nature poem retreat.
Participants read, studied, then wrote Haiku, indoors...
...and out...

Pat (center) at the Sisters of Earth conference...
...where she was kissed by not one, but two turtles.

Summer in Oklahoma is often uncomfortable, especially in recent years, with the drought and record days of record high temperature. This year, mild rains have come intermittently and the temperature is at record lows for July! Weather-weary we are--so that, while relishing these beautiful days and the moisture, there is a discomfiting feeling: we are experiencing nothing normal, the predicted extremes, the predictable unpredictability of climate change due to global warming. 


The building a couple of years ago of the high tunnel (the large unheated greenhouse, with sides that roll up and down, shade cloth for the summer, a solar fan and gravity-fed irrigation from rain barrels) was meant to provide better opportunity for gardening success in times of great changes in weather. In the summers when the sun was so intense photosynthesis stopped, the shade cloth allowed protection for the plants. And with milder winters (and extra row covering cloth) Ann could grow vegetables all year in the high tunnel. This year is different, once again. But in the high tunnel, she was able to plant tomato plants early and by mid-June we were eating gorgeous tomatoes. The grasshoppers have found their way in, but keeping the sides up a little higher seems to prevent most from flinging themselves over. Peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, okra, basil are all doing well. We are grateful that this experiment is beneficial. And we're coming to recognize in these times of great change, that pretty much everything is an experiment! Actually, it's a good approach to hold in times when resilience and adaptability are called for.


It was thrilling to watch and support two hens brood and hatch seven chicks--the first hens to be successful since we have been raising them. The desire to brood has been bred out of many breeds, so farmers are raising heritage breeds who still know how to brood. When time came close, we moved them and their eggs into a nursery and the two hens sat together in the same nest, and kept the babes together there.  


Another first this year: Ann and Frank have rigged a spraying system on the tractor and are making compost tea from alpaca manure to spray on the pecan trees in the grove. This is fertilizer as well as natural discouragement for insects that might harm the fruit. We heard about this five or more years ago and we are very glad to be able to bring this practice to the young pecan grove. The work of sustainability is steady and sure, but takes great patience and determination to make the step-by-step progress. 


We welcomed in June, for the fourth year, the United Methodist Women of Albright United Methodist Church in Ponca City. It was a great pleasure to be with them again, and to offer the cosmic walk and to help them begin to think in terms of evolutionary process and the spiritual depths and understanding that this awareness brings to us. Sometimes in Oklahoma we get discouraged when we come up against fear-based thinking and it is a great joy to be with the women of Albright who are open to new thoughts, who are aware of great injustices and have compassion for others, and for all in the natural world. 


Jeannie Martin returned for the third time to present haiku poems as a way to be in touch with the great and small surprises and wonders of the natural world. A wonderfully diverse group gathered and fell under the spell of Jeannie's passion for haiku--the gentleness, spiritualness, the humor, wonder. As we all shared the little nature poems we observed and wrote during the day, it occurred to us that there is hope for the world when farmers are writing haiku.


Too, great hope there is for the world, in communities and networks like Sisters of the Earth--a twenty-year-old network of women committed to raising consciousness around evolutionary thought and environmental justice. Pat attended the biannual conference this year and found great support in the connections, many helpful resources and great inspiration in the work shared. Affirmation as well, as Turtle Rock Farm extends its offerings into urban areas and Green Connections' programming with Transition OKC.

Turtle Rock Farm is helping sponsor Howard Garret, "The Dirt Doctor," who will make presentations during Oklahoma City Urban Ag Coalition's first Urban Ag Week. Pat will offer a workshop on Nature and the City during Urban Ag Week. Green Connections will sponsor a reception following the showing of the documentary "Symphony of the Soil," during a film series leading up to Urban Ag Week. Details are below.    

Workshops and retreats are scheduled at Turtle Rock Farm through the remaining months of 2014. Check the ones coming up, below, and the full calendar on our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com Also, you can reserve your place at the table for Green Connections' sixth annual Prairie Dinner and Concert. It's October 12. Here's the direct link: Green Connections' Prairie Dinner and Concert.


We hope to see you soon! 




Beauty, Peace, Wonder, 

Ann and Pat


and Retreats
Raising Chickens Workshop
August 16

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 flocks!)

To register, go to our calendar:

Living in the Moment Retreat
August 16

Living Mindfully in the Presence is a way of life. Using mindfulness practices as well as other spiritual teachings and meditations, spiritual director Pat Hoerth will lead participants toward a more integrated daily life, in which we are more authentically present to our truest selves, each other, the natural world and the Source of Life.

To register, go to our calendar:

OKC Urban Ag Coalition
and Transition OKC's
Film Series
and Urban Ag Week

Films (receptions following films) 
August 8 at 7 p.m. in Myriad Botanical Gardens, "More Than Honey."  
August 22 at 7 p.m. in Myriad Botanical Gardens, "Symphony of the Soil."
Join us for a reception following the film, sponsored by Green Connections.  
September 4 at 7 p.m. in Myriad Botanical Gardens, "Growing Cities."

Urban Ag Week--September 3-7  
Dirt Doctor Evening Lecture
Wednesday, September 3, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Myriad Botanical Gardens 

Howard Garrett, aka The Dirt Doctor, presents his recommendations for organic methods for landscaping and backyard gardens. Reception to follow. (Turtle Rock Farm is helping sponsor this event.)

Dirt Doctor Fall Gardening Workshop
Thursday, September 4, 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Myriad Botanical Gardens
Howard Garrett, aka The Dirt Doctor, discusses the benefits and methods for growing food in the fall in Oklahoma.  A tree planting demonstration will be included.
Urban Ag Edible Farm and Garden Tour
Saturday, September 6  
Oklahoma City metropolitan area 
Discover a beautiful array of edible landscapes, urban farms and gardens, and backyard gardens here in Oklahoma City!   

Nature and the City Workshop: Exploring a Sense of Place
Sunday, September 7 

A workshop to help us pull back our view of the city and see it situated in the natural world. We will begin to get reacquainted with our bioregion, deepen our sense of place by visiting a couple of sites, exploring our natural history and mapping our "home." Pat Hoerth, of Turtle Rock Farm Retreat Center, will lead the workshop.

Ticket information and more details will be forthcoming on the Urban Ag Coalition website. 


Shepherds' Retreat
September 8-9

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


Beekeeping Workshop
September 13

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. Participants will "suit up" and visit the apiary--and sample Turtle Rock Farm honey, which, we think, is the best honey in the world!

To register, go to our calendar:

Green Connections' 
Sixth Annual 
Prairie Dinner and Concert 
October 4 
at Turtle Rock Farm  
3 p.m. Enjoy an afternoon on the farm. Meet animals, tour straw bale hermitage, walk the prairie labyrinth, visit the garden, sit on the farmhouse front porch....


5 p.m. Five-course Local Food Dinner by Chef Barb from Kam's Kookery. Beside lovely Doe Creek.

7 (or so) We'll stroll over to the round-top barn
for a concert by Kyle Dillingham 

And Afterward... Viewing of our home: The Milky Way 


To reserve your place at the table: www.greenconnectionsok.org 

To Learn More about Turtle Rock Farm


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

GC logo

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, Vicki Rose (treasurer), Elizabeth Box Price, Dorothy Gray, Pat Hoerth, Ann Denney, Mary Moloney, Claudia Scribner, Shauna Struby (president,) Tom Temple   


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



Transition OKC is a program of Green Connections. Find out more about its work on its website: goinglocalOKC.com

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