October 2007

There’s something about the prairie across the road.

It is to the east, and so I lay my eyes on it every morning as I reflect on the fact that the earth is rolling over to the place where we can see the sun one more time. The rolling, treeless prairie affords a bare horizon, a soft curve that is exceedingly beautiful. It is so simple, so austere, so open, that it beckons to something deep within me.

Last night the prairie was golden as the dogs and I took off for a walk down the road alongside it about 6:15. The sun in the western sky cast its light on the prairie grasses, now turned from green to tans and reds and purples. And it happened again: there is something thrilling about this prairie that makes my heart sing.

This particular pasture has never been cultivated and I doubt it’s had much, if any, spraying. My dad remembers the prairie dog village there and, as a boy, walking with buckets to fetch water from its natural well. I’ve walked its low hills and gullies many times. It’s easy to remember the buffalo when I’m there.

But I don’t have to be in it to be thrilled by it. Seeing it from afar, taking in its lovely lines, its expanse, the play of light and shadow are what thrill me.

I think that is the case because it connects with something deep inside me – deep inside all of us. I think it is our very soul – like the prairie, expansive, open, light-filled. I think when I look at that vast prairie that I connect with my deepest self; the self that is part of God’s expansive, Light-filling life.

So, I realize, it is true: there is something about the prairie. And this something is no small thing; rather, it is hugely significant – a great, healing gift of Earth. Seeing the prairie, being thrilled by the prairie, makes my heart sing because it connects me to all that we – all God’s creation – are together; to vast, expansive Love.

20 October 2007




There is an orphaned calf here at Turtle Rock Farm. Beautiful; honey-colored. He was older than he should have been before Sid and Guy discovered him. His mamma died evidently from an infection following birth and they didn’t know she had calved. This is not the time of year we normally have calves. But there he was, all alone in the pasture.

We tried to feed him with the milk replacer in the plastic bottle with the giant orange nipple. He was too weak to stand much, so we could stand over him, straddling his back, holding his head, keeping the nipple in his mouth and squeezing it so milk would dribble down his throat. This was a time-consuming project.

The first time Ann fed him, she spent an hour and a half with him, letting him lay down, her sitting beside him, cooing at him, petting him, urging him to swallow the milk. She grew quite fond of him during that process and his life became our project.

Sid and Guy had no hope he would survive and told us so.

Of course the calf knew better than we did: by the time they found him, his stomach had shrunk and he couldn’t eat. His stomach just couldn’t handle much milk; we were horrified to realize we had been force-feeding him.  All four of us took turns trying to feed him more often –  morning, noon and night – content to get little bits into his stomach. He protested with loud “moos.” But he was too weak to resist us much.

One evening, while I straddled him and squeezed milk into his mouth, Ann did some energy work on his stomach.

The next morning, Sid reported that the calf sucked on the nipple himself. I kid you not.

It’s been a glorious week. He quickly increased his intake and started acting like a normal, healthy young calf. When one of us arrives in his pen, he’s there to greet us, mooing loudly, trotting after us to the barn. He keeps mooing while we mix the milk then gobbles the whole bottle. When he’s done, he moves on to our leg or the empty bottle. As we leave, he follows after us, kicking up his heels.

Already, he’s too tall to straddle.

October 2007

Welcome to the Turtle Rock Farm Retreat blog!

Turtle Rock Farm, A Center for Sustainability, Spirituality, and Healing, is located near Red Rock, OK. Turtle Rock Farm is a gift we want to share. While it is still a working agricultural enterprise, it is also a wonderful refuge, with pastures and creeks to hike and explore, wildlife to observe, ponds that contribute to the beauty of this place. Time spent here has always been healing and revitalizing for us, as individuals and as family, and we are happy to offer retreats and classes in this setting – for individuals, families and groups.

We offer three programs at Turtle Rock Farm: Spiritual retreats, A licensed private vocational school for holistic healing arts, Family or group mini-vacations and ecology education.

My sister, Pat, and I, Ann, intend to use this blog to get feedback on ideas to improve our retreat center and to provide information on the programs we offer at Turtle Rock Farm.

We look forward to exciting and educational interactive discussions with our past, present, and future visitors.