July 2014



CommonWealth Urban Farm

Some far-sighted,
committed people
we work with in Oklahoma City
are working together
as the OKC Urban Ag Coalition.
Transition OKC,
a program of Green Connections,
is at the forefront of this movement.

Transition OKC and its partners CommonWealth Urban Farms, Closer to Earth, TLC Garden Centers, OSU-OKC and Myriad Botanical Gardens have formed a new coalition dedicated to helping urban agriculture thrive in OKC. We envision our friends and neighbors enjoying urban farms and gardens, edible landscaping, and permaculture while contributing to the health and well-being of our communities and planet.

We sponsor educational and inspirational projects and programs designed to raise public awareness of the benefits of urban ag and help OKC grow food while saving water and preserving biodiversity.

The first week of September,
the coalition is presenting Oklahoma City’s first
Urban Farm Week,
to teach the values of urban farms and gardens.
Timing of the week-long series of events
is to underscore the fact that now, in Oklahoma,
fall is an opportune time to grow food.
(We’ll be sharing more event details soon.)

Leading up to Urban Farm Week
September 3-7,
is a film series,
held in the Terrace Room
at the Oklahoma City Myriad Botanical Gardens,
7-10 p.m. A reception will follow each film.
Tickets for films are $5 and may be purchased
at the link above to the Myriad’s website.

August 8
is a film about collapse of bee colonies
More Than Honey
explores the reasons
that 50 to 90 percent of local colonies
(depending on the region)
are disappearing
and underscores the threat this is
to humans’ food supply:
no pollinators,
no fruits and vegetables,
no humans.
Noting the symbiosis between
bees and humans, Albert Einstein
predicted, “If bees were to disappear from the globe,
mankind would only have four years left to live.”
Currently, in China,
fruit trees are pollinated
by human hands.


August 22,
Green Connections is proud to sponsor
the reception
following showing of the film
Symphony of the Soil.
Our favorite local foods chef,
Kamala Gamble, who caters the annual
Prairie Dinner and Concert,
is catering the reception.
This beautiful film speaks to the life
we all have because of soil:
“The living skin of the earth.”
“We don’t grow plants, we grow soil and soil grows plants.”
“If we have declared a war against the soil itself then we are literally committing a species-level suicide.”


September 4
the final film of the series, Growing Cities,
will be shown during Urban Farm Week.
This is an exciting road trip around the U.S.
showing so many city gardening spaces.
It brings home the message
that ever since there have been cities,
for 12,000 years,
there have been people growing food
right where they are.

So very glad
for people committed
to permanent



Let us not
let this day go by without noticing,
lingering in,
taking in,
lest we not appreciate,
so we can remember
some July 30 when it’s 110 degrees:
Camelot on the Oklahoma prairie—
a day when it rained
all day,
at the end of July.

Barely a breeze,
and damp.
Soft rain.
Hear the steady drip,
the bird chirps.
Smell the earth,
the faintest sweetness
released from a blossom
in the rain.
Notice the plants,
the earth
Cast your eyes long
on green.

and humid
and welcome moisture
not withstanding,
the long, long drought
is not ended
by gracious summers as this.
An inch into the soil,
it is parched.
Still, the rains have come often enough
this summer,
the temperatures have stayed low enough,
that the land is green.
Savoring this,
remembering this
won’t change the conditions
that are causing global warming,
or its effects,
but it gives life here a break
and the beauty that comes with rain
may inspire us
to change what we must
so that beautiful Earth lives on.


Every evening that I gather eggs,
shepherd in the guineas,
feed and water
the alpacas, goats, guineas, chickens, rabbits,
the cat,
I talk to the barn community
as I close the last gates:
“Thanks for the eggs.
Look out for each other.
Be nice to each other.
Take care of each other.
Have a good night.
Sleep well.”
I don’t know when I started this.
It’s as natural now
as every other part of the nightly
But I’ve noticed lately
that I really do care about them;
that I do feel part of their community;
that they are so used to me,
they come running when they see me
and it’s time to be fed,
and they ignore me as I walk close to them
any other time—trusting completely
my footsteps.

The other company
I keep
is the community of stars and planets.
Sometime every evening,
at least once,
I go to see them—
see what is where,
how many I can see,
which is red, blue, yellow,
bigger, more brilliant,
Those nights they are brilliant
and many,
the sky clear and black,
something glad happens deep inside me
and I have to catch a deep breath.
Lately, the great swathe—
the other 100 billion stars
in the Milky Way—
are showing
and there is a sweet familiarity,
a quiet welcoming,
as if they’re/I’m coming home. Stars feel like
always have.

How is it possible?
That though I’ve treated the stars,
the animals who live here,
like company,
I know:
they are.

10557160_10203890552378674_8023954093810462506_n“Landscape of the Heart”
A Watercolor by Mary Tevington

Supper was light and cool—
gazpacho with homegrown tomatoes,
black bean salad, humus…
together, we cut up a cantaloupe,
a perfectly ripe watermelon and made smoothies.
It was 7 or so,
the breeze had cooled,
when we set out on the road
walking to the labyrinth.
Conversation was effortless.

We stopped to notice a zillion grasshoppers,
one swimming in the creek;
Indian Blanket, Hollyhock, Flax blooming
on the pond dam.
At the labyrinth we stood amazed
at the beauty there, atop the prairie.
360 degrees of soft green,
in late July
in Oklahoma.


Earth would move up in front of the sun
soon. We walked our intentions around
the outside of the labyrinth,
then each entered.
Grass wall is thigh-high;
white flowers too.
Small pink-lavender ones
shorter, in the short grass.

Each at our own pace,
in silence,
we follow our feet around curves
and switchbacks, passing
one another, into the center,
under a wide, wide, wide bowl of sky,
in the middle of a circle of prairie,
tree-lined creek, cattle
silence still,
golden light.
Silence still
going out,
back toward the reasons
we came here
to seek solace,


Watching the sun disappear then,
light shimmer on the pond,
Nighthawk squawk and swoop,
it was good to be together,


As we walked down, back,
we stopped to watch 10 white cranes
take places for the night
in the Cypress trees
on the islands in the pond.
And then we noticed
a dark hunch
in a dead tree,
its back to us,
but no doubt:
a Bald Eagle.


It was dark by the time
we made it back to the front porch
of the farm house.
They gathered their things
and left for their homes.


We have hot days now—
days of cool food
and summer’s oven.
Thermostat at 85,
shades drawn in mid-day,
fans stirring the air,
solar panels collecting rays…
no way am I heating the kitchen,
cooking those beans
with electricity.

for the solar oven,
set on the grass
in the backyard,
wide open to the sun,
with only a few minor moves
as Earth does.

By suppertime,
perfectly cooked,
zero carbon footprint



Summer seems
so quiet.
The breeze has calmed,
catching the wind chime only
now and then
instead of constantly.
Birds chirp
rather than sing.
There is quite a lot of silent
motion: butterflies, wasps, dragonflies flit.
Now a hen lets out a string
of cackles,
there is a hush
before the breeze stirs
and chimes ring
a guinea
Cicadeas’ sizzle
starts. A rooster
out back
But even the sounds—
the chirps,
the squawks,
the chimes,
the cicadeas—
seem quiet.


Evening is quieter
still. Air hangs
Motionless, silent cranes
An orb spinner is so still
I bash into its web reaching
for a tomato.
In the night,
fireflies glow greenish yellow
all around the yard,
in trees. Stars keep company
in silence.
Where is that
mockingbird and why has he stopped
singing all night?



Our July-August Newsletter
Summer (Sorta) at Turtle Rock Farm

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