The second in Oklahoma City Urban Ag Coalition’s
film series is this Friday, August 22.
Symphony of the Soil is beautifully filmed,
globally, showing the intricate connections
between soil, water, the atmosphere,
plants, animals, people.

The New York Times:
Unfolding with gentle joy and an unexpected beauty, this ode to the miracle of the Earth’s topmost layer gives us a new-found respect for the ground beneath our feet.
The film is sponsored by TLC Garden Centers
and Transition OKC. Green Connections
sponsors the free reception
following the film. Kam’s Kookery
Chef Barb, of our Prairie Dinner fame,
will dish up treats
that make those intricate connections
Doors to the Terrace Room
(follow the signs)
at Myriad Botanical Gardens
open at 6:30 p.m. Film starts
at 7. (All seats were taken at thefirst film.)
Reception follows.
Reserve tickets here.
Join us!

In the cool days
of mid-May
I was sitting on the front porch
when a couple of Barn Swallows
flew up next to me
and tried to land on a piece of wire
hanging from the porch wall.
I was surprised
my presence didn’t startle them.
But they flew back and forth
for awhile.
Days later, I noticed them again
and eventually they began bringing
little balls of mud
and attaching it to the wire
and the wall.



Despite my frequent presence
they continued making trips,
bringing mud
and finished building the nest.
But it seemed very small.
And though they visited it
from time to time,
they never used it.

A couple of weeks ago
a little Wren
visited it. She has returned
now and then,
seemingly cleaning it.


She seems to fit better.
there will be baby birds
on the porch.

During an evening walk
I have to keep my mind clear,
my eyes scanning
the landscape
or I’d miss
the Great Blue Heron


Stepping onto the front porch
in the golden hour,
I have to be going out
to look,
or I’d miss the three Cottontails
seemingly in a stand-down.
It’s a wonder I didn’t scare them off
when I let the screen door


facing east
I am watching
for Super Moon Rise.
There is a bank of clouds
along the horizon,
so it is late
Instead, I am surprised
by two flocks of white cranes
flying overhead,
on their way
to roost for the night in the Cypress trees
on the islands in the Big Pond.
They glow against the
blue and pink sky.

I stand up to check on the colors
developing in the western sky
and when I turn back East
there is moon.
Turns out,
I had positioned myself
so that a tree blocked my view
and Super Moon rises
above the clouds


And we thought
we were the center
of the universe.

I say it every time a group of children
come to Turtle Rock Farm:
The moments we stand watching
children freely explore in the natural world
are the most joyous.
Everything we do matters
if it leads to children
getting comfortable in,
getting to know
their home.
Words fail to describe
the deep satisfaction
of watching them pick tomatoes,
catch frogs,
find a turtle,
discover sticky green Hedge Apples,
get spat upon by an alpaca,
watch an Orb Weaver (“It looks like a spider
with high heels.”)



DSCN4718Looking Closely at  a Hedge Apple


Words fail to express
the profound, fervent, tremulous hope
that they will fall in love,
connect again and again and again
with a jillion points of life,
and care deeply about all
life on the planet.

Thank you Rev. Diana Pruitt
and thank you Oklahoma Disciples of Christ Foundation
for the grant that allows groups like
the families of New Hope United Methodist Church
to spend a day in nature at Turtle Rock Farm.
If you would like to bring children and teens
for a day in nature, let us know!


Let us pause
for a moment
and take in the sheer relief
and joy of knowing
that in Oklahoma,
where hot and dry are the usual,
there can be those remarkable seasons
of beautiful vegetables.

And let us give thanks
to those who pay attention to
cycles of sun and rain
and who learn
to honor soil
and microbes
to support the natural ways
of growing food.

And may we turn towards
the sun
to cook that food.

DSCN4653Preparing tomatoes in the solar oven, for  September’s guests.

(Shepherds: There will be
Tomato Basil Soup,
with Turtle Rock Farm
tomatoes, basil!)

Teenaged Chickens Scratching for Corn in Barn

Two hens
who hatched babes in the barn
in early summer,
have snuggled down again
in the nests.
A third hen has joined them.
They allow other hens to lay,
adding more eggs to their stash
and making it impossible for us to know
which eggs are freshly-laid
and which are already on their way
to becoming chicks.
It’s been close to three weeks now.
No telling how many eggs
are under them.
So, we wait, watch; soon
we will move them to a birthing center.
Then we’ll have to deal with their continuous
brooding; too many eggs go uneaten,
The hens’ first children
are now teenagers and old enough
to venture outdoors. Every morning
we move the goats into the alpaca pen
and open a chicken barn door
so the teenagers can go into the goat pen.
This keeps them safer and gives them a chance
to learn
where to go into the barn at night.
The goats and alpaca seem baffled
about why they’re locked out of the goat pen.


That’s not the only thing that’s changed.
Goats and alpaca still have access during the day
to the corral. But normally,
by now,
sunflowers would be over their heads
and blossoming.


Sunflowers in the Corral Last Summer

DSCN4654The Corral this Summer

There are no sunflowers
where they should be
(which is, everywhere.)
No human has done anything
to stop the annual sunflower event;
they simply haven’t grown this cooler,
The few we see,
here and there,
are short!

So, I’m thinking (ahead:)
where am I going to find sunflowers
to place on the table
at the Prairie Dinner
in October?
It’s tradition. A six year tradition.
It’s our “look.” Our natural prairie


Change is the word here.
Hens that don’t brood,
then won’t stop.
Sunflowers that
Perhaps experiencing
and observing the effects of climate change
helps us understand a basic reality
in such dramatic ways
that we can’t ignore it any more:
change is happening every moment.
And has been for 14 billion years.
This is the basic nature
of life.
And it’s not something to fear.
It’s exciting: The universe is expanding.
We are—
or could be—

Can’t wait to see
what we find for the tables
come October!


We always possess the potential to make a leap forward, to liberate our lives from the inertia of the past, to add something new and novel to the march of history, but not discard it completely. We have a tremendous capacity to mold and shape the future, but not to magically erase what has come before…Evolutionaries must find their way to a deep optimism, grounded in realism. We must steer between a cynical conservatism on one hand, which tells us ‘there is nothing new under the sun,’ and a naive romantic idealism on the other, which tells us that ‘anything at all is immediately possible.’ Both are untrue, both deny the actual processes of evolution, and both ultimately impede our capacity to respond effectively to the demands of the world…

…So many people today have lost faith in the power of deep thinking, in the ability of novel insights and emerging truths to change our hearts and minds, to freshly inspire and radically reorganize our categories of consciousness. And they are often convinced that when it comes to the problems of our global society, fundamentally we already have the answers. All we lack, they feel, are the practical resources, the institutions, or the collective will and political power to apply them. I understand the frustration, but I would suggest that theirs is the frustration of a static worldview—one that does not allow for the possibility of genuine evolution, either in the world they are seeing or, more important, in the lens through which they are seeing it.


Carter Phipps, Evolutionaries.
Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea


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