August 2014

Two hens
that had been brooding—
on an increasingly large
nest of eggs,
have now hatched three chicks.
That makes eight chicks
hatched by hens
in the barn.
This is the first year
hens here
have done that.
the Guinea Fowl,
which did hatch keets in the barn
the last two years,
have not sat on a nest at all this year.
The two hens
who seem to prefer to brood
all the time,
will not get the chance now—
at least not for awhile,
and at least not on other hens’ eggs.
We will keep them separate
from the rest of the hens.
We don’t need more chickens
right now. And we do want the eggs,
which we couldn’t gather from under the hens
because we didn’t know which ones
had already begun to become

The babes—two brown
and one black—
are already pecking and scratching in the dirt.
Their five older half-brothers and sisters,
are young adults now,
with free range.

So far, that we know of,
none of the new ones
are roosters. The two beautiful adult roosters
are still with us because
they are not aggressive,
most of the time.


At the moment,
life in the multi-generational,
fowl community
seems stable.


Sometimes people say to us,
“I’m so glad you all are out there
doing what you do at Turtle Rock Farm!”
We are always a little taken-aback
by that kind of response. Glad
to be appreciated, certainly—
and glad to have the opportunity to respond
with something like: “Sustainable practices
are for everyone, everywhere—not only out here
in the country, on a farm.”

So it is with hope and excitement
that we support the great work of the people
in the Oklahoma City Urban Ag Coalition,
including Transition OKC,
who are offering educational events
at the first OKC Urban Ag Week.
We’ll be helping out, leading a workshop too.Here’s the line-up.

Join us!


Container Growing Vegetables: The container makes a difference 

Tues. Sept. 2

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Whiskey Cake, 1845 NW Expressway, OKC

$5 ticket includes serving of whiskey cake

Call 405-582-2263 to register







Kurt Reiger, President of Smart Pot, a locally owned and operated Oklahoma City business, presents a lunch-and-learn class on the national movement of container-growing vegetables. Smart Pot gardening containers provide an excellent balance of water retention, drainage and breathability — perfect for vegetables. Come early (doors open at 11:00 a.m.) to order lunch from Whiskey Cake’s locally-sourced menu!

The Pollinator Pocket: Attracting Bees to Benefit Edible Gardens

Tues. Sept. 2

7 – 8 p.m.

Plenty Mercantile Rooftop, 807 N. Broadway Ave., OKC

To get your ticket click here — tickets $5








Join Oklahoma’s own Jamie Csizmadia, Landscape Architect and Owner of Olthia Urban Prairie Garden Design, as she discusses the importance of native habitats adjacent to home edible gardens. Participants will learn why the presence of wild bees improves food production. Learn how to attract and keep beneficial pollinators, including the best indigenous plants for the job. Attendees will take home a classic layout for a front yard Pollinator Pocket + Edible Garden design geared toward the typical OKC residential lot.


Organic Gardening Simplified with Howard Garrett, the Dirt Doctor | Sponsored by Smart Pot

Wed. Sept. 3

7 – 9 p.m.

Terrace Room at Myriad Botanical Gardens, OKC

To get your ticket click here — $5 tickets






Nationally acclaimed author and radio host Howard Garrett, a.k.a. The Dirt Doctor, presents his recommendations for organic methods for landscaping and backyard gardens. Book signing and free reception sponsored by Smart Pot to follow.


Autumn Gardening Workshop with Howard Garrett | Sponsored by Smart Pot

Thurs. Sept. 4

11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Myriad Botanical Gardens, Conference Room, OKC

Tickets $12 / $10 Members 

Nationally acclaimed author and radio host Howard Garrett, a.k.a. The Dirt Doctor, discusses the benefits and methods for growing a bounty of food in the fall in Oklahoma. A tree-planting demonstration will be included. Attendees will receive Howard’s Basic Organic Program Handout and will have a chance to win books and natural organic products.


Growing Cities film screening | Sponsored by TLC Gardens | With support from Myriad Botanical Gardens and Transition OKC

Thurs. Sept. 4

7 – 10 p.m.

Terrace Room at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, OKC

Tickets $5


Growing Cities is a brand-new documentary which examines the role of urban farming in America. This inspiring film asks the question: How much power does urban farming have to revitalize our cities and change where we grow food and the way we eat.

Special free reception sponsored by Kam’s Kookery and Guilford Gardens following the screening.

Lunch & Learn: Community Gardens and the New Oklahoma City Urban Agriculture Ordinance

Fri. Sept. 5

Noon – 1 p.m.

Paramount Screening room @ 701 W. Sheridan, OKC

Free — please RSVP by calling 405-297-3692 or e-mailing

Learn about the landmark City of Oklahoma City ordinance adopted in 2014 which supports and encourages composting, rainwater harvesting, and other activities on a variety of garden types. Find out how this could benefit existing urban agriculture efforts in Oklahoma City and share ideas for a future community garden program.

Whole Foods Fall Gardening Workshop, Cooking Demo & Fun for Kids

Fri. Sept 5

10 – 11 a.m.

Whole Foods, 6001 N. Western Ave., OKC

Free to attend — register at

Discover an easier way to garden in this free workshop at Whole Foods Oklahoma City. A range of nutritious greens and vegetables can be grown in our climate through the fall and even the winter – with less watering, weeding, and work.


Urban Farm and Garden Tour

Sat. Sept. 6

8 a.m. – Noon

Advance tickets available at Whiskey Cake at 1845 NW Expressway, OKC

Tickets $5 available the day of the tour at select tour locations








Journey deeper into the natural wonder and abundance of urban farm and gardening sites — 14 in all — throughout Oklahoma City! On the day of the tour, you’ll pick up a site brochure with addresses, descriptions, and a map to enable you to visit as many sites as you wish at your own pace. Discover the beautiful and inspiring array of edible landscapes, urban farms, and community, school and home gardens thriving in Oklahoma City in this informative self-guided tour.

Volunteer to help with the tour here, and score a free organic cotton T-shirt and 2 comp tickets!


Exploring a Sense of Place: The City as Nature

Sun. September 7

9 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Tickets $5


“You can’t know who you are until you know where you are.”
—Wendell Berry

Basic to human existence is our life in the natural world. We are part of an interdependent, living organism we call planet Earth. In the city and in a technologically-focused society, it is easy to feel separated from the natural world that is our home and on which we depend. Learning to grow our own food puts us in touch with this amazing planet in a more intimate way. How does this happen, right here on the streets and in the neighborhoods of a city? The city is in nature too.

This workshop will help us pull back our view of the city and see it situated in the natural world. We will begin to get reacquainted with our bioregion, deepen our sense of place by visiting a couple of sites along Deep Fork Creek, exploring our natural history and mapping our “home.”

Meet at 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. at the Head Waters of Deep Fork Creek—Ann Arbor, half a block south of 39th Expressway. Park in apartment complex parking lot, east side of Ann Arbor. You will be given a map of the stops. Most of the morning will be spent at Zachary Taylor Park, 633 NW 52nd. Come to the northeast end of the park.

Pat Hoerth, of Turtle Rock Farm, will lead the workshop. For questions, call 580.917.6011.



We gathered
to learn about
and practice
Living Mindfully in the Presence.
Gathered in a circle,
inside the pond house,
the morning growing bright
through the plate glass windows
that look out onto the patio,
the Big Pond,
the prairie beyond…..

Many of us strangers,
we were introducing ourselves
to each other
when a Road Runner
hopped up on a table on the patio.

We were all excited.
It sat there,
looking around
for a long time.
And we began to wonder
this Road Runner
had something to teach

Once, long ago,
a Road Runner came to the bathroom window
at the farmhouse
and stared at me for a long time.
It was a time of great movement
in my life.

But for this group
on this day
in this context—
Living in the Moment—
what were we to make
of Road Runner’s dramatic

By morning,
there was some insight:
perhaps Road Runner
shows us ourselves,
even Road Runner


Honey harvest
started shortly after
the sun appeared,
before the heat settled.

A WOOFER—Leslie Harrison—
came to help,
and Frank’s son, Will.

The bees’ efforts
were substantial.
We harvested honey
early enough that they can replenish
and left plenty of honey for their
winter (Too, Ann will keep an eye
on their supply, feeding them
if they need more.)


Some of the boxes
weighed 50 pounds.
We uncapped the comb,
honey oozing. Spun
the frames to extract
every drop, filled
six five gallon buckets
with the sweet, liquid, gold
of a delicious mix of flowers.


By bottling time,
we were in a festive mood.
And grateful for a
wondrous gift of nature—
the dedicated life
of honey bees.



Two weeks
without posting on the blog.
Now that’s walking
my talk—finally,
after almost seven years!

Life observed…


DSCN4843  DSCN4818
Three new members of our family.


Art and Nature: Dale Chihuly at the Denver Botanical Gardens

The Rockies in Colorado


Hot Days Back Home



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.

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