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And its work with

"...the storm brought me into a state of awe, an emotion that, psychologists are coming to understand, can have profoundly positive effects on people. It happens when people encounter a vast and unexpected stimulus, something that makes them feel small and forces them to revise their mental models of what's possible in the world. In its wake, people act more generously and ethically, think more critically when encountering persuasive stimuli, like arguments or advertisements, and often feel a deeper connection to others and the world in general. Awe prompts people to redirect concern away from the self and toward everything else. And about three-quarters of the time, it's elicited by nature."

2015 - A Time to Engage
Taking time to connect with our natural home, be in awe and inspired to have the courage to live sustainably, so that all can thrive.

As 2014 - a Year of Wonder - comes to an end

Pelicans came to the Big Pond...
...and fished for a week.

Perkins United Methodist Women...
...walking the prairie labyrinth...
          ...exploring along Doe Creek... 
...and meeting the alpacas.
Tulsa's Undercroft Montessori Junior High  
students, outside the strawbale hermitage...

...moving brush, as a service project...  
            ...learning about beehive making...

...preparing meals...

...kayaking on the Big Pond.

At  a rally for a healthy planet...

...with friends in downtown Oklahoma City.
              In the Pecan Grove...
...celebrating with family.

Leading a Contemplation in Nature Retreat
with Deaconesses, Home Missioners and Home Missionaries...

...and releasing emerged
Painted Lady Butterflies
at Lake Junaluska, N.C.

First snow--November 15!...

...as winter companions return.  

Warm conversation and friendship...

...at last Shepherds' Retreat of the year.

And 2015 - a time to engage - begins...


The autumn of 2014 speaks to our time, and our task: to stand in wonder, amid climate change, valuing our life on the planet and figuring out what we can do to preserve life for all. It is daunting, sobering, overwhelming and discouraging on some days; and yet, the opportunities to contribute to healthy life for all are deeply promising.   


We are glad for every person who comes to--every creature who lives at--Turtle Rock Farm; out here, on the prairie of north central Oklahoma. Following Green Connections' Prairie Dinner and Concert (we reported on it in our last newsletter) (more photos on our website), we welcomed the Perkins United Methodist Women, junior high students from Undercroft Montessori School in Tulsa (on their second visit,) and our dear friends who make the quarterly Shepherds' Retreats. Watching people--young and older--walk the prairie, focus a jeweler's loupe on a hedge apple or a lichen, learn about bees, experience the wide earth and grass and air and sky on the prairie labyrinth, spend time with the alpaca, enjoy conversation about life's meaning and where we go from here...these are the reasons we offer time, space and community at Turtle Rock Farm.


More and more, our work is expanding outward as well. Pat led a workshop on contemplation in nature in a quiet native garden at Lake Junaluska, N.C., during the National Association of Deaconesses (of which she is one), Home Missioners and Home Missionaries convocation. At a rally in downtown Oklahoma City, she joined with others who are concerned about global warming, climate change and its causes, and presented the United Methodist Church's Social Principles on the Natural World

It was with great delight that we welcomed the first of the next generation--Ann's children's children--to the farm this autumn. They were born--twin girls and a boy--within weeks of each other and traveled together for their first stay at the farm. We celebrated with three picnics on sunny afternoons in the pecan and walnut groves that their great grandfather planted for them some 20 years ago. Dad, Mom, Emma Grace, we wish you could have been there too.

The weather at the farm this autumn speaks to the altered patterns, yet again. We are still in a long-running drought, with small amounts of rain that do nothing to resolve the deep dryness. Hundreds of beautiful pelicans came to the Big Pond and stayed for a week, feasting easily on young fish in the pond's shallow water. It snowed two to three inches on Nov. 15! Temperatures since then have been above normal, and the first few days of December have been foggy.

Now, we rest a moment...and prepare for another circle around the sun. We can imagine, following our focus in 2014--the Year of Wonder--that 2015 could be a Year of Engagement. Always, we will encourage, need and enjoy taking the time daily to stand in awe and wonder. This is basic to life; necessary, sustaining. It is also time--high time--that we stand together with all as we figure out how to live now, at this time, on this threatened planet in ways that will promote life for all. To that end, we offer as we have the last seven years, workshops, retreats and space on the prairie. Our calendar for the next year is on our website. We will continue to update it, so, watch that space. Below, you will find our calendar for the beginning of 2015. As the year progresses, you will find some of the same opportunities we offer each year, as well as some new offerings--both at the farm and at Turtle Rock Farm in the City. More to come on that development, soon.

As the year 2014--our Year of Wonder--moves into its final days, may you take the opportunity to be in awe of the natural world, of this amazing, beautiful, wondrous life: the morning sun, a loved one's hand, a spider's web, a Chickadee's quick bite at the feeder, the clear winter night sky...


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




Beauty, Peace, Wonder, 

Ann and Pat


and Retreats

Meditation Retreat
January 3





Meditation is one of the oldest spiritual practices. There are many forms of meditation from many traditions. On this day-long retreat, led by spiritual director Pat Hoerth, participants will have the opportunity to learn and practice several kinds of meditation,
including centering prayer, breath prayer, guided meditations, walking meditation. This retreat is for both beginners and those who've been practicing, but want to deepen their practice. It's a chance to start or re-commit to a meditation practice in the new year.


9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. $75 fee includes lunch.

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

To register, go to our calendar: 

Beekeeping Workshop
January 17





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!


10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $75 fee includes lunch.

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

To register, go to our calendar: 

Living Mindfully Retreat
January 31





Living Mindfully is a way of life. The mindfulness teachings of several traditions are especially helpful in our culture, where we are multi-tasking, always available for interruptions and eager to push a button to find out the next good thing. 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 wonder of Life, even amidst our daily life. 

9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. $75 fee includes lunch.

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

To register, go to our calendar: 

Raising Chickens Workshop
February 21





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!)


10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $75 retreat fee includes lunch.

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

To register, go to our calendar: 

The Work that Reconnects Retreat
February 28



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 choose 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.


9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. $75 fee includes lunch. 

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

To register, go to our calendar:

Shepherds' Retreat
March 2-3

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 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

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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, Vicki Rose (treasurer), Elizabeth Box Price, Dorothy Gray, Pat Hoerth, Ann Denney, Mary Moloney, 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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5900 CR 90, Red Rock, OK 74651 580.725.3411