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Taken by Voyager 1 spacecraft at a distance of 3.7 billion miles away. The spacecraft had completed its primary mission and was passing Saturn, hurtling through space at 40,000 mph, when Carl Sagan asked the astronauts to look back and take a photo of Earth.

"The Pale Blue Dot." Earth, our home.

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

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.

It's summer now!

Families from New Hope United Methodist Church in Enid spent the day at the farm.
Feeding alpaca...

Making discoveries as they walked on the prairie, along the creek (a "Hedge Apple" from an Osage Orange Tree)...
...and tiny frogs in the big pond.
Silent walk, paying attention to life on the prairie.
Picking tomatoes in the high tunnel
green house.

This year's record-breaking honey harvest. Checking the hives, removing a super from each of the 10 hives.
Bringing in the supers, to extract, filter and bottle the honey. (We left plenty for the bees to eat during the winter.)
Uncapping the comb, and the honey flowed!

As we gathered in the Pond House
for the Living Mindfully Retreat...

we spotted through the big window,
a Road Runner on a patio table !

We took its advice: "Hey, you people racing around, multi-tasking...

Take some advice from me: Stop!" 

Overnight guests enjoyed feeding the alpacas breakfast.
And a few Darcy kisses.
Preparing some of this year's bumper crop of tomatoes, in the solar oven.
Green Connections sponsored the reception following the showing of the film 
Symphony of the Soil at Myriad Gardens.
What a Great Summer!

The weather has continued to be unseasonable. We have had a few days of triple-digit temperatures, but only a few. And rains have continued to fall. Though not more than half-an-inch, we are glad for every drop. The garden is still producing and, with cooler temps, guests have continued to arrive.


It was a joy to spend the day with families from New Hope United Methodist Church in Enid. Watching children catch tiny frogs, hold them gently to watch their hearts throb...look through a jeweler's loupe to explore the detail of a hedge apple and a blade of grass...engage with the alpaca and goats...walk the prairie and make discoveries along the creek...this is the reason we are here: to watch people of all ages connect with the natural world that is our home and get to know it more intimately, more deeply.


And what a heart-stopping surprise to see a Road Runner hop atop a table on the patio just outside the window where we had settled in to introduce ourselves during the Living Mindfully in the Presence retreat! The bird stayed put for a long time and we began to wonder...why? It set the tone for the day, as we took very seriously the impacts of our hurried, multi-tasking, road-runner lifestyle and learned ways to live so that we can really "live" each moment.


Green Connections and its program Transition OKC helped with the OKC Urban Ag Coalition's film series. The last film is this week--Thursday, 7 p.m. at the Myriad Gardens. It is Growing Cities and shows cities across the country that are supporting and encouraging and creating urban farms and gardens. Tickets are $5 at the door.  


Turtle Rock Farm is helping support Dirt Doctor Howard Garrett's presentation Wednesday evening. These events are during Oklahoma City's first Urgan Ag Week. There's a farm and garden tour on Saturday, and Sunday morning Pat will lead a multi-site workshop: "A Sense of Place: The City is Nature Too."  For more details about the week's events, see below or click here: https://www.facebook.com/UrbanAgOKC   


Turtle Rock Farm also endorses the People's Climate March in Oklahoma City, September 21. People from all over the US are joining a march in New York City and locations all around the country that day as world leaders convene for an emergency UN summit on the climate crisis. We will be marching in Oklahoma City to add our voices to the greatest urgency of our time, declaring that climate change and global warming are real, human activity contributes greatly to climate change, and everyone must engage in lowering the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Let us know you're coming on the OKC People's Climate March fb page. Bring your group's banner, posters, a carpool-load of friends. 2 p.m. at the East Lawn of the Municpal building, Hudson and Park Avenue. The march is about a mile long.  


One of our favorite events of the year is coming up. The Sixth Annual Prairie Dinner and Concert is Saturday, October 4. This year, Kyle Dillingham returns to wow us with his astounding music and Chef Barb from Kam's Kookery will whip up another deliciously memorable local foods dinner, served with all the gentleness and elegance of an evening on the prairie alongside Doe Creek. See below for details and a link for reservations. 


Besides the workshops and retreats scheduled at Turtle Rock Farm through the remaining months of 2014, (see our full calendar on our website: www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com) we are looking forward to the Prairie Festival at The Land Institute and pecan harvest here at the farm later in October!


Join us when you can. We hope to see you soon! 




Beauty, Peace, Wonder, 

Ann and Pat


and Retreats

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

Final Film (reception following film) 
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 - 9 a.m. to noon   

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. Meet on Ann Arbor Street, half a block south of 39th Expressway in Oklahoma City. There will be maps to other sites. Most of the morning will be spent along Deep Fork Creek at the northeast corner Zachary Taylor Park, 633 NW 52nd Street.


Reserve tickets ($5) here: http://turtlerockfarmretreat.com/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 

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:

People's Climate March
in Oklahoma City
September 21
2 p.m. East Lawn of Municipal
Building, Hudson and Park.

Join with hundreds of thousands gathering in New York City and around the country to give voice to our concern for the planet as world leaders gather for a UN emergency summit on the climate crisis. A one-mile walk that declares climate change is real, humans contribute greatly to global warming and all humans must engage to lower the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Bring your group's banner, posters and a carpool-full of marchers. Let us know you're coming on our fb page. 

Active Hope: The Work
that Reconnects Retreat
October 18



Some days the state of the world can overwhelm us. Despite our intentions, our hopes, our work, we sometimes find that the environmental and economic problems are mounting. Using experiential exercises developed over 40 years by Joanna Macy, an eco-philosopher, teacher and author, The Work That Reconnects helps us look deeply at the graces of life on the planet, face our feelings about the rapid worsening of the environment, begin to develop a vision that will carry us forward, and the practical steps we can take to bring about change so that all on the planet can thrive. Pat will lead the group through the spiral that helps us develop a supportive community as well as gather strength, meaning and purpose for our lives at this critical time.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. $75 retreat fee includes lunch.  

To register, go to our calendar:

To Learn More about Turtle Rock Farm


Leslie Harrison helping with the honey harvest.
And Elena Height, who helped in the high tunnel.

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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