On April 22, 1970,
the first U.S. Earth Day,
20 million people rallied
across the country
in support of a healthy planet.
Founded by Gaylord Nelson,
a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin,
following a massive oil spill
in Santa Barbara, California in 1969,
Earth Day’s massive public display
of concern
resulted in the creation
of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
the passage of the Clean Air Act,
the Clean Water Act
and the Endangered Species Act.
Twenty years later,
on Earth Day 1990,
the celebration went global,
with 200 million people rallying
in 141 countries around their concern
for the environment all around the planet.

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We’re still rallying for Earth—
at two events this week.
On Earth Day,
Wednesday, April 22,
we’ll join the Earth Walk around the campus
of Oklahoma City University.
We’ll carry the Earth flag
and the Turtle Rock Farm banner
on the community walk. It begins
at 6 p.m., at the United Methodist
Conference Ministry Center,
NW 24th and McKinley
(southeast corner of the OCU campus.)
Bring the children, leashed pets,
the whole family.
Carry banners, pictures of places
you love on the planet
to celebrate our amazing home.

Then, on Saturday, come out to Turtle Rock Farm,
for the fifth annual Green Connections Earth Day festival.
We’ll continue the celebration—
and learn some things about living
sustainably, so that all life
may be sustained.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Check for the details on our fb page.

DSCN7230Biak Bay, William and Mr. Darcy, before their cuts

Alpaca shearing day
is a festive day
for us humans—
a group effort
as Marty Hoffman
and at least some of his children
Not so festive for the alpaca:
When we halter them
they immediately they begin humming
their anxiety.

DSCN7234Trizah, Kezziah, Ezekiel, Lazarus





Marty and the children
lay Biak to the mat first
and as Marty wields the shears,
the children hold Biak’s head
and keep the rope tight on his
stretched legs.

Ann scoops up the soft wool,
a year’s growth,
still warm from Biak’s body temperature,
and keeps the three grades separate
in marked bags.

When Biak is shorn,
it’s William’s turn. He also
gets a tooth-trimming.
But it is Mr. Darcy,
the youngest, who will undergo
the greatest shedding this year—
not only his fleece;
today is his gelding day.
It is Frank’s (he is a vet)
first alpaca gelding.
We are all a little nervous,
sad. We’ve avoided this surgery,
but Darcy has become very rambunctious
when anyone besides Ann, Frank or I
come into or near the pen. He bucks and
kicks and rears up in a show of his dominance.
It started a couple of years ago,
just with young males. But now,
any visitor stands the chance
to witness or experience
Darcy’s display of alpha-ness.
It was unavoidable
if we wanted to be able to
bring people into the alpaca pen.
Frank performed the surgery
carefully and efficiently
and Darcy immediately
stood as if it was simply
shearing day.

20150416_192906Biak, shorn

20150416_194330Biak and William roll in the grass after shearing

20150416_195521Mr. Darcy, after his ordeal

We expected he might spit
at us, but he didn’t.
We hope that he is less
but as curious and approachable
as he has always been.



Seems a tiny effort,
setting aside one day
to celebrate Earth,
our home.
Clouds hang low—
there has been rain!—
over greening grass and trees,
so newly green,
many gorgeous shades,
that celebration rises
from within. Iris
are fully opened,
stunning in their colors,
and tiny, white star-shaped flowers
pop up in the grass. Mockingbird
and Kildeer and Cardinal
and dear Phoebe
are fully voiced. Tiny frogs
serenade into the night. Why wouldn’t we
join in the celebration—
to moment—
for an official Earth Day:
Saturday, April 25
at Turtle Rock Farm?
It’s the fifth year Green Connections
has sponsored the party
and the education. Besides food
(free Wichita Buffalo Company hot dogs
and corn on the cob—cookout at 3 p.m.)
and music,
we will gather round at 1 p.m. for the Earth Drum Circle,
led by Dave Conrad,
and then officially thank the Earth in a brief ceremony.
From 11 a.m. there will be activities….
the Cosmic Walk
solar demonstration
make your own toothpaste
make a wild bee house
visit animals
tour the strawbale hermitage
see the high tunnel garden
walk the prairie labyrinth
sit on the farmhouse front porch
make gifts from natural materials
with the TransitionOKC team.
It’s always (this is the fifth year)
a gentle time…
time to be on the prairie,
visit with folks…
spend the day outdoors
on this glorious planet.

Visit our fb event page and let us know
you’re coming
so we have a hot dog at the grill
for you!


DSCN7184The Mirror Walk


The class, “Creation Spirituality,”
cast within a retreat setting,
gave seminarians
from Philips Theological Seminary
(my alma mater)
the opportunity to explore
the thought of Judy Cannato,
and the teachings of Thomas Berry
around the critical idea
that the whole planet is One—
one living organism,
one system in which humans
are interdependent with all of creation.
Creation as evolutionary process—
and what that means for spirituality,

Thomas Berry, who I read my last semester
at PTS, urges—in his little book,
Creative Energy. Bearing Witness for the Earth—
seminaries to move beyond
a curriculum of redemption:

Such a situation cannot long endure…since a new sense of the earth and its revelatory import is arising in the believing community. The earth will not be ignored, nor will it long endure being despised, neglected, or mistreated. The dynamics of creation are demanding attention once more…

Every being has its own interior, its self, its mystery, its numinous aspect. To deprive any being of this sacred quality is to disrupt the larger order of the universe. Reverence will be total or it will not be at all.


PTS seminarians are familiar
with the discomfort
of asking the hard questions,
exploring the edges of belief.
And so they engaged,
with nature,
with each other,
with the frontiers of cosmic spirituality.

The Cosmic Walk

It was a great time
of exploring,
a great time
in sacred community.

Seventh Generation Exercise


Who knows where it will lead.
My hope: Toward conscious awareness
of life on Earth as one living,
needless to say, spiritual,
in which we all continue
to figure out how to live
so that all can be held
in reverence.


Thank you all!


It rained in the night—
two inches,
which is a lot
lately; lately
being in the last couple of years.
Must have been more rain upstream
because Doe Creek,
which has been “bone dry,” as we
say around here,
was out of its banks by daylight.
It was a thrilling day.
Rain gushed through outlets
into the Big Pond.
The forecast is for big promises
of rain,
all week. Sadie,
who has been walking across the pond,
may be in for a surprise!

That strip of orange beneath the horizon…that’s water!

By evening,
the orange and pink sky
reflected brightly in standing water
along Doe Creek.
And the little peeper frogs
had come up from the dry places
to sing.


The prairie grass is greening,
trees along the creek are leafing.
The first greens
are vibrant.
All looks well,
on the prairie.
All that new, tender green—
there seems to be water,

The prairie is
like that—
an ecosystem
where plants and grasses adapt
to the cycle of floods and droughts.
During the dry decades, the native species
transfer their sugars and proteins
from their leaves to their deep roots and rhizomes
and live frugally
With a little rain now and then,
there is greening above the soil.

It’s where humans have inserted ourselves
that we feel the drought:
we plant crops,
build ponds. These are not part
of the natural prairie system,
though essential to our ways.
A glance
at the greening,
at water still shimmering
in some ponds,
and drought conditions
might not be so apparent.
But some ponds are dry,
And look closely at the pond banks
where there still is some water,
and those banks have grown
This drought is a long one.
The Big Pond our father built
after the dust bowl days
went dry in July 2011,
for five months. After a few
three-inch rains it filled again.
But we haven’t had a three-inch rain
in a couple of years. We didn’t swim
in the pond last summer,
it was so low. The banks
are rapidly growing wider, drier.
And then one day last week
Ann looked out
and saw Sadie walking
through the water
from one island to another.
She walked across the pond
without getting her back

air after a warm day
doves’ coos
wind chimes, soprano and baritone
first Hackberry leaves
peach sky

tiny white flowers in the greening grass
Meadowlarks’ high-pitched whistles
Mockingbird’s fresh song
night breeze through open window
peach moon


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