healing


In some
cutting edge
ways, it’s not easy being green—
that is, farming—
in the city. The people who live and support
the idea of growing food in the city
in the form of CommonWealth Urban Farms
like plants to grow everywhere—
for food for many
along the food web including insects,
birds,
humans. In this neighborhood
the hope is that
trees and bamboo and flowers
and vegetables are planted
and nurtured in every possible space
instead of growing grass,
which requires mowing,
which means watering it
then cutting it,
watering it,
then cutting it…
It’s a personal preference—
for these Oklahoma City residents,
a preference to grow food
and habitat for pollinators
instead of burning fossil fuel
to keep a lawn of grass
and using water conservatively
through permaculture practices
including heavy mulching
and directing water to each plant.
Oklahoma City recently passed
legislation that supports urban farming.
And this week our Councilman Ed Shadid,
assistant city manager Laura Johnson
and other city staff
made a walk-about with CommonWealth community
residents to further the understanding
of how an urban farm works
and why it looks the way it does.

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We are grateful for their visit
and their interest
as together we all do the cutting edge work
of leading Oklahoma City into the global movement
of urban agriculture—
of growing food right in our city yards.

No one better than Maizey
exemplified
the hospitality
we hoped our guests experienced
at Turtle Rock Farm. She never met
a stranger she didn’t want to pet her.
She would raise that right foot
to gently get your attention,
to silently ask for your hand on her head
and then stand—interminably—to receive
your warm pats and scratches.
When her son Joe was still alive,
she would offer him the same
kindness,
licking his ears.

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We don’t know how old she was.
She was dropped at the farm
before Ann or I moved back. We think
she was somewhere between 15 and 18 years old.
She grew grayer with each year
and  a few years ago
we noticed she had become stone deaf.
Eventually, she went blind in her right eye.
Three years ago,
she didn’t hear the electric cart
she was sleeping under
begin to move
and received a deep wound
that put her in Frank’s vet clinic
for most of that very hot summer.
But she did recover. That winter
I enticed her into the house
for the first time
and that has been her home base
ever since.

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By then, she wasn’t leading our long walks
across the prairie,
but she still went along,
barking for me to wait
when I got too far ahead of her.
She still strolled around
the fields on her own
and whenever my car
went north and turned into Ann’s driveway
she would walk that half mile,
trotting, tail wagging, until she made her way.
She developed some dementia,
which made her confused about where
she was, sometimes. And one day a few months ago
her legs didn’t work anymore. I carried her
in and out of the house that day, and
the next day, she surprised us,
back to her regular self. She was a trooper.
She loved her life on the farm.
But Tuesday she took a turn,
couldn’t walk again,
and died last night.

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Maizey brought love to the world,
insistently.
Simply, she was love.
Now, that’s up to us.
Thank you, dear Maizey.

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Glorious Summer Days at Turtle Rock Farm
Our July 2015 Newsletter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Elm Dance, During a Past Earth Day Celebration

 

Last-minute surprises
for the Green Connections’ Earth Day celebration
tomorrow at Turtle Rock Farm.
Matthew Hill, who we got to know
while he was helping Tom Temple
frame the strawbale hermitage,
is also a fiddler. (Some nights,
during those building days, he
and Tom and Bob Powell, also
a carpenter-musician, made great music
during evening jams.)
Matthew has arranged for his friends
Bill and Patty Cummings,
from Flagstaff, Arizona,
to play music tomorrow at the Earth Day
celebration. Bill is a fiddler extraordinaire,
Matthew raves. Patty plays guitar
and Matthew will join them on the fiddle,
playing Celtic and traditional American music.
We are glad they happened
into Oklahoma this weekend!

And,
we learn this morning,
Bill McClelland, from Green Country Sierra Club,
is bringing Loblolly Pine seedlings
to share!

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
at Turtle Rock Farm. (Directions.)
1 p.m. —Earth Drum Circle with Dave Conrad,
followed by Thanking the Earth Ceremony
3 p.m. —Cookout, with Wichita Buffalo Company hot dogs
and Corn on the Cob
On-going:
make gifts out of natural materials with TransitionOKC
alpaca fiber spinning and fiber arts with Lisa Piccolo
make your own toothpaste
build a wild bee home
energy demonstration with Bruce Johnson and Barbara Hagan
tour the strawbale hermitage
Cosmic Walk
Prairie Labyrinth
High Tunnel garden

And Music!
Trees!

Let us know you’re coming.
It’s going to be a lovely day
to be together,
make music,
love and celebrate Earth,
and let Earth
heal us,
guide us toward sustainability—
toward respectful life
for all species.

Picking Up Compostables at Whole FoodsGathering Compostables at Whole Foods

Drive along NW Shartel
between 30th and 33rd Streets
in Oklahoma City
and suddenly it seems very green.
Trees and plants
gush, filling the meridians.
That’s because in 2007
the Central Park Neighborhood Association,
in partnership with Harding Fine Arts Academy,
started a youth group called Closer to Earth.
This neighborhood non-profit youth program
supports at-risk youth to help themselves
and their community make healthier choices
and become environmental advocates.
In the meridians and 10 once-vacant lots,
the youth tend organic green spaces,
using compost they make in a large composting operation which,
since Whole Foods opened in 2010,
includes waste from their produce section.
The compost they create
also is used in the CommonWealth Urban Farm.

On Wednesday,
5 percent of all sales at the Whole Foods Market
in Oklahoma City
will go to Closer to Earth Youth Gardens.

I’ve met two of these young people—
one, a student now at OSU-OKC
studying horticulture; another,
a high school student
who plans to study agriculture.
They are working environmental advocates,
steeped in green life.

I encourage you to shop for
Whole Foods on Wednesday
and support this wonderful program,
these amazing youth,
and the future health of the planet.
It’s a great way to begin Earth Month!

Whole Foods OKC is
at 6100 N. Western.

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Our next Simpler Living Retreat
is Saturday, March 28.
It may seem a drop in the bucket
these days
to consider that any one of us
living more simply
could help each other, all Earth life.
But imagine what would happen
if each of us started with one change,
and then many of us kept making the changes
that come from caring about healthy life
for all living beings on the planet.
Living Systems Theory
describes the dynamic operating in systems:
all the parts respond to each other
as all the parts do what they do
from the values they contribute
and that’s what results
in the next change in the system.
Imagine that not using paper napkins
and paper towels
and using cloth instead
(yes, I know, they must be washed—
in cold water, with biodegradable soap,
and hung up to dry and folded
without ironing) or
hanging the clothes out to dry,
could make a difference,
but it does—
in several ways.
Saves trees,
which absorb carbon dioxide
and create oxygen;
create beauty
and clouds. Drying the cloths
on the clothesline
uses less fossil fuel,
creates less carbon dioxide
and does my soul good—
and my heart, being outdoors,
watching them flap
gently in the air,
smelling the freshness of the air
on bed sheets and towels…
Every little bit matters
in very many ways,
not the least of which
is adding another smidgeon
of the value of care
into Earth’s living system.

During the retreat,
we’ll consider the causes of our consumptive lifestyles,
take a reflective time to consider shifting priorities,
take inventory about what changes we want to make
next
and enlist the support of others
simplifying their lives.
It’s always an uplifting day.

To register, go to the calendar page
on our website.

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