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William in center, Darcy to left and Biak at right—
corralled for shearing those heavy winter coats

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First up: Mr. Darcy. Frank, Ann, Marty, Eric and Boaz at work.

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Marty giving Darcy his “do” with help from Eric and, holding the line, Boaz

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William is next, and calmer with Boaz sitting gently on his neck

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Darcy checking on Biak

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Darcy kisses for Eric

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Thinner, cooler

Yesterday was alpaca shearing day!
It’s a festive day on the farm—
for humans,
and, when it’s done,
for alpacas too.
They will be much cooler
without their thick fleeces
come those sizzling days of summer.
But getting it off is no fun for them.
Marty and Eric,
shearers extraordinare,
brought Marty’s son Boaz with them
this year. Boaz is four
and already learning about caring
with animals. He helps set
and release the ropes. Then,
once Marty has skilfully
sheared one side of the alpaca,
and flipped him to his second side,
Boaz takes his place,
gently sitting on the animal’s neck,
to calm him.
Boaz seems to recognize at some level
the privilege of his position
and takes the opportunity to tentatively,
respectfully,
wiggle his tiny finger
into the thick hair atop the alpaca’s head.

Darcy, the ungelded one,
is most energized through this process—
spitting at and swift-kicking us as we comb him
before the shearing,
checking on Biak
as he is laid down,
then, when all are shorn,
first confronting Eric,
before exchanging kisses.
Biak—He Who Will Not Be Touched—
is most violated
by the ordeal, whimpering
the entire time anyone is being sheared.
He’s last
and once finished,
stands up calmly, quiet now.
William, the oldest, is most laid-back.
He and Darcy take turns rolling in hay
and then the three
take to the pasture,
their silky fleece
soon to warm
someone else.

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Because Green Connections’ Earth Day Festival
is on Saturday, April 19,
you have another opportunity—
on the official Earth Day,
Tuesday, April 22—
to plan to attend
an Earth Day Rally
for Climate Change Action.
Sponsored by our friends
at The Peace House,
Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign,
Citizens Climate Lobby,
and Peace Education Institute,
it’s at the Oklahoma State Capitol’s South Plaza,
5:30 to 7 p.m.

Earth Day week
is a fitting time to consider
what actions, changes
in your life you will take
this year
to help create a sustainable life
for all.
Here’s a list to consider,
provided by Nathaniel Batchelder,
director of the Peace House
in Oklahoma City:

- Ask a minister/priest/rabbi for a message on Harmony with Nature/Earth
- Write a brief  “Letter To the Editor”
- Contact a Congress Member and communicate:
“GlobalWarming is Real & Man-Made. Do Something!”
- Challenge a house-of-worship and/or school to adopt a “Green” practice
- Check out the website:  <350.org>
- Lead a discussion on Global Climate Change (Or ask us at Turtle Rock Farm to help with that.)
- Switch to LED light bulbs – more efficient than compact flourescent bulbs… and they last much longer.
- Plant trees, bushes, or ground-cover not needing to be mowed
- Plant a vegetable garden.  Conserves lots of energy.
- Consider Vegetarianism
Conserves lots of energy.   Contact Vegetarian Society of OK http://vegok.org/ for a presentation
- Recycle what you can. (Home recycling in OKC is less than 20%)
Conserves natural resources. Saves energy. Reduces pollution.
- Join SIERRA CLUB
Oklahoma Sierra Club http://oklahoma2.sierraclub.org/
Okla. City Sierra Club—http://oklahoma.sierraclub.org/cimarron/

 

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We also encourage
composting,
water conservation,
solar cooking,
spending time in nature,
giving children a chance to lead exploration
in nature.
Find a “Sit Spot”—
a place you can go to daily
to watch what’s happening
in the “neighborhood.”
Learn about your bioregion.
Take a hike or walk weekly,
observing the natural world.
Take a workshop at Turtle Rock Farm
or ask us to present a program or retreat
for your group.
Every day
is Earth Day.

 

Sunday mid-afternoon,
temperature dropped from 83
to 65
and storm clouds darkened
as I drove west,
towards home.
Rain and hail pummeled
all for miles.
At home,
I emptied only three drops
from the gauge.
Monday morning,
snow blew almost horizontally
from the north
for a couple of hours.

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A sunny close to the day that began with two hours of snow, falling almost horizontally

Early Monday evening,
we covered all blossoms
and tender plants
that we could
and set an alarm for 2 a.m.
to watch the lunar eclipse.

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The full moon rose pink
just as sun was disappearing
in the west.
In the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday,
it turned orange
as it moved in
and out
of Earth’s shadow
during a complete eclipse.

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DSCN3461Temperature dropped to 26
Tuesday morning,
as Robin sang atop the pecan tree,
and Yellow-Headed Blackbirds
had breakfast in the sun.
Busy days,
these,
simply observing!

 

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It’s this Saturday—
the day each year
we spend the day together
learning more about the planet,
more ways to live sustainably;
saying thank you
and celebrating
our amazing home
at the Green Connections Earth Day Festival.
This Saturday,
April 19,
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Earth Drum Circle with Dave Conrad
Cherokee Weaving with Renee Hoover
Alpaca wool Spinning and Felting with Lisa Piccolo
Solar Demonstration with Bruce Johnson
Seed Bombs with Transition OKC
Swing Music with George Davis and Friends
Cosmic Walk
Tour of Straw Bale Hermitage
Tour of High Tunnel Garden
Labyrinth
Meet the Alpaca and Goats
Thanking the Earth Ceremony

It’s all free.
Let us know you’re coming so we have a buffalo hot dog
and corn on the cob at the grill for you for lunch! — and
so we can send driving directions.
Email us at annbdenney@gmail.com
or pathoerth@gmail.com

 

 

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Fossilized mud flats, from the last time the prairie at Turtle Rock Farm was an ocean.

…We’re really conservative as a species. We don’t like change. This is true at the level of self, relationships and social systems. If we can avoid evolving, we will. And it’s killing us, quite literally. We’re on the brink of another economic crisis, and yet we refuse, because of ideology, to allow our economic system to evolve. We’re on the brink of ecological destruction, and yet we refuse to make the shift to a green economy, fund research and development for new technology, consider alternative manufacturing models, and then, as consumers, actually take a chance, for example, on an electric car…The crisis we are facing is nature’s way of helping us step outside of how embedded we are in the social, political, economic and self-systems that do not have sufficient complexity to help us take our next evolutionary step…

..Everything in the universe is caught up in an impulse to transcend itself. This is simply a condition of the universe, and since you are the universe having a human experience, you are the part of the universe that is able to consciously engage in the project of self-transcendence. That’s what your freedom is for. That’s what God wants of you. Become a better, fuller, freer, more loving expression of yourself (in community with others) and thereby serve the evolution of the universe…

—Bruce Sanguin
The Advance of Love. Reading the Bible
with an Evolutionary Heart

After winter’s confinement
in the barn,
safe from predators,
chickens and guineas
are now free-ranging
across the Home Place—
scratching and pecking
in grass,
treating themselves
to the wild bird food,
digging in the dirt
to settle themselves.
Evening’s guinea roundups
have begun again.
The lone cat on the place
is the one that runs with chickens.
She’s lived with them all winter,
climbing in and out of the barn
at her pleasure.
Now she runs alongside them,
rubbing up against the hens
when they stand still.

Chickens out from winter confinement

Chickens out from winter confinement

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Cat still runs with chickens

Cat still runs with chickens

Hen helping herself to birds' food

Hen helping herself to birds’ food

Red-winged Blackbird taking to higher ground now that chickens our out

Red-winged Blackbird taking to higher ground now that chickens are out

DSCN3299Hens nestled into the cool soil

Hen Tail Feathers

Hen Tail Feathers

Rooster Tail Feathers

Rooster Tail Feathers

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The shy ones,
the Cochin couple,
have finally ventured
out of their small pen
and into the larger fowl community
in the barn.
Ann and Frank
have done spring cleaning in the barn,
distributing cartloads of chicken droppings
and straw to the gardens;
lifting winter’s curtains
and opening up the barn to spring air.
The Cochins have yet to find their way
outdoors. We expect they will,
eventually.
She’s laying eggs now,
he’s making them fertile.
All grown up
and beautiful.

Cochins in the barn

Cochins in the barn

Cochin Rooster

Cochin Rooster

Cochin Hen

Cochin Hen

 

Two Oikos scholars
and their faculty sponsor
spent Sunday afternoon
with us.
Oikos (the Greek word for house)
is a program at Oklahoma City University
that aspires to prepare students
to engage in lives of social
and ecological responsibility.
Joe Meinhart brought
Collin and Zander,
amazing young men
well on their way
to living lives,
doing work,
that engenders care
and sustainability.
Exploring the prairie
on a cloudy, almost-chilly
April afternoon,
they discovered a couple of Baltimore Oriole’s nests,
a wasp nest with a wasp larva (though dead)
still in one of the cells.

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Standing at a buffalo wallow,
they reflected on the great prairie hydrology system
that existed when 60 million buffalo
existed on the prairie
(plus nature’s other prairie hydrologists:
prairie dogs, and beavers.)
They were enthralled watching bees
at the apiary,
where they wondered why a pollen-laden bee
was walking in the grass
and observed the clever placement
of a spider web between two hive boxes.

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They met the alpaca boys
and the goats;
toured the straw bale hermitage,
the high tunnel’s year-round garden.
And finally, they made the cosmic walk.

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Eyes asparkle,
they tried to grasp more deeply
that they are made of stardust.
Not hard for us to see!

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