January 2015


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Owl sleeps,
standing,
all day.
At night,
flown from the barn,
it’s closer:
in the old Juniper
next to the house.
I hear its rich,
haunting
call
when I go out
to look at the stars.

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Keeping chickens
is one of the funnest
things we do
at Turtle Rock Farm.
We love their beauty,
their personalities,
their interaction with each other
(who knew there were community
dynamics in a chicken flock!)
and those fresh eggs. Last year,
we brought in the gorgeous Chinese Cochins.
The Cochin hen inspired
a couple of other hens
and they hatched chicks
in the barn
for the first time! At her Raising Chicken Workshop,
Ann tells the stories
and teaches everything we know
about keeping chickens
(guinea fowl too!)
It’s Saturday, February 21,
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Register
here.

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A walk down the road
during the golden hour,
my eyes focused on the western
horizon, I watched Earth roll up,
sun disappear,
the clouds above sky turn gold
and orange.

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Neighbors stopped
to chat as they drove by, warning
that my walk home
would be chilly. The day had been
on the verge of warm. The wind
still,
all day.
And all day,
winter sunshine.

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I turned towards home then
and the clouds turned from orange
to pink,
pinker still. A bank of clouds
stretched across the northern sky
and everything,
even the brawny grass
took on a tinge of pink.

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Then the pink drained away
and clouds turned gray.

How could I have missed it?
Me, out there awash
in the sky, the light…
Already
high in the sky,
waning,
moon.
Tickled me pink.

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Five Oklahoma groups
working toward an improved
food system
were recently awarded places
in the first annual Good Food Org Guide.
The James Beard Foundation
and Food Tank launched the guide,
a resource that lists
over 500 US groups.

This definitive Guide highlights nonprofit organizations that are doing exemplary work in the United States in the areas of food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice. Only nonprofit, scholarly, and municipal initiatives have been selected in order to spotlight efforts that are focused on community building and engagement, advocacy, and service.

Congratulations to our friends
at CommonWealth Urban Farm,
the Oklahoma Food Co-op
and Oklahoma Farm to School.
Also awarded a place in the guide
are Oklahoma Farm and Food Alliance
and Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Association.

Here’s a bit from Food Tank
about the good work
each of these groups is doing
in Oklahoma.

CommonWealth Urban Farms takes vacant lots in Oklahoma City, that are in need of attention and creates urban gardens. CommonWealth also provides training to active urban gardeners, turns local waste into compost, and connects communities and neighborhoods around food and food waste issues.

The Oklahoma Food Co-op, the first local food co-op in the United States, connects Oklahoma farmers and producers to consumers through its online shopping and volunteer delivery system. The co-op sells more than 4,000 products and has been in operation since 2003.

Oklahoma Farm to School provides the connection between farmers looking to sell their product and schools seeking to create healthier meals for their students. In Oklahoma, only 16 percent of school kids eat five or six servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Oklahoma Farm to School works to address this gap.

Oklahoma Farm and Food Alliance is a coalition of local food producers, distributors, restaurants, customers, and health groups. The Alliance works to increase access to locally-grown foods through education and outreach.

Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Association (OFRA) supports socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma who are attempting to achieve success on their farm or ranch. OFRA emphasizes the economic success of sustainable agriculture as they provide skills training to the public.

 

Let’s support them
in every way we can
as they support a sustainable future
for all.

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Morning sunlight reflecting
off frosty dried prairie grasses
sent a gauzy cast
across the swell on the horizon.

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The white breasts
of three Red-tailed Hawks
shown in the sunshine
as they perched facing east
in the trees along Doe Creek.
Soon the sparkling grasses
would dry, the spell
a moment’s mystical memory.

On the way back to the house,
I stepped quietly
into the round-topped barn,
just in case.
Recently, I had discovered
how Barn Owl’s feathers blend
with the color of the barn’s rafters.
Now, I knew better how to spot
Owl. But it was not camouflaged
this morning. Right there in a corner,
it stood. I swallowed my delight,
watched, moved closer,
slowly. I couldn’t tell if the slits of black
were closed or open. It never blinked,
never moved. I don’t know
if it was asleep
or if it was giving me permission
to stare into its heart-shaped face.

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It’s quiet on the prairie.
Breezes.
Overcast days,
until just before the sun appears
or disappears—
then pinks, oranges, reds
more vibrant
than the usually beautiful
morning,
evening skies.
On clear nights
the depth to which
we can see stars
is wildly breathtaking.
Red-winged Blackbirds,
atop trees,
seem louder in the winter quiet.

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Red-tailed Hawks
glide silently over the prairie,
red tails aglow
as they dip toward the sunshine.
There are lots of hawks now. So many,
flying low across the land.
A friend tells me she’s seen a couple
hit by cars on the highway. I hear
their searing calls
and spot several to the mile,
on tree tops,
fence posts,
watching—for mice,
I hope, for there are so many.
I discover those tiny bodies
floating in water buckets at the barn,
see them scurry across the country roads,
find them here and there,
obviously a cat’s catch.
I trust that the hawk population
has increased
as the mouse population
exploded
and that they will come into
balance
before Ann plants the spring garden
in the high tunnel greenhouse. She’s still
not in the mood
for the tiny mouse teeth
to chew her tender sprouts!

DSCN2745Living Mindfully Retreat, January 2014

 

I’m so glad we offer the
Living Mindfully in the Presence retreat
regularly.
And I’m glad I get to facilitate.
Because
I need it!
I appreciate the chance to share
(and doing so deepens my own practice)
the great teachings from many spiritual traditions
about living in the moment,
living mindfully in the moment.
Mindfulness practice
(there’s a reason we call it
“practice,”)
is a tool
to touch,
open to,
connect with
the force of life,
the activating agent—
life—
in this moment.
It’s a wondrous thing.

Join us for the day
Saturday, January 31.
More information
and registration here.

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