Our May-June 2016 Newsletter
Much Ado About Earth




Spring Come Early at Turtle Rock Farm

Our March Newsletter

It was an exciting day
at CommonWealth Urban Farms.
The community prepared
for a special visitor,
spreading wood chips on a muddy path,
sweeping leaves and sticks
from the garden entrance,
filling an Oklahoma-made basket
with tender turnips, radishes, baby carrots,
micro greens and a card
with all our “thank you” messages.
All this
because Thunder player Kyle Singler
was coming to donate
$10,000 to CommonWealth!
He had visited the farm
a few weeks ago
and evidently liked what he saw
because we soon received word
that he had decided to make
a significant donation.
Friends, volunteers,
Closer to Earth youth
and others in the CommonWealth community
greeted this tall, friendly young man
who explained during the presentation ceremony
that friends in his home state of Oregon
were urban farmers
who taught him the value of growing
nutritious food locally, right in the heart
of the city.
We exchanged gifts—
a giant check
and a basket of food—
and toured the garden again,
lush and green
even now, mid-January!
We posed for happy photos
and widened the friendships
and the CommonWealth community.

The funds will be used
to build a hoop house
and improve CommonWealth’s
infrastructure. Kyle noted
that CommonWealth is near “my backyard”
and that he wants to support the community
that supports the Thunder team.
We hope he knows he’ll always
be welcome here.

DSCN9369Awaiting arrival

DSCN9372Friends in CommonWealth community

DSCN9373Closer to Earth youth

DSCN9380The Presentation ceremony

DSCN9401Farm Tour


DSCN9366Lia Woods and Allen Parlier, CommonWealth Urban Farms

More photos here, on The Thunder OKC website.


The New Year at Turtle Rock Farm

Our January 2016 Newsletter

When it came time to get the word out
about CommonWealth Urban Farm’s neighborhood potluck,
a flier was created
and placed on a facebook event page
and emailed to friends. The flier
was also copied
and handed out door-to-door
in a six block area around the urban farm.
It has been a long time
since I went door to door in the city.
It was a very different experience
from inviting facebook friends
by sitting at my laptop in my house,
clicking on their names. I met
new people,
sometimes we chatted awhile;
we smiled and were friendly
with each other. I loved it:
walking the neighborhood
in autumn, beneath golden and copper-colored
trees, greeting people,
inviting them to a potluck picnic
in the garden.

Hurray! It rained most of the day Friday.
Saturday dawned damp, misty, cool.
Still, people came for the Saturday morning
Garden School. They made compost sifters
out of recycled wood and new screen.
It was dry and autumn-cool
when we sat up the tables for lunch,
and neighbors, supportive friends and food
began to arrive. David and Clem Braden
played guitar and mandolin;
David sang. Sweet neighborliness
broke out all over the place. Music, food
conversation. I didn’t see one single cell phone

DSCN8603  DSCN8610
Food and neighbors continued to arrive.
Lia gave a tour of the garden.
Several adults and one child
set out to gather items
during the nature scavenger hunt.
The little girl finished first
and judged the order of when the others
would collect their prizes. Everyone
won that way.


By mid-afternoon,
guests were gone,
tables, chairs put away.
But we who live in the CommonWealth
Urban Farm neighborhood
will for a long time
feel the sweet support
of community.


Our Latest Newsletter
November 2015
Celebratory Days at Turtle Rock Farm

We are not foreign
to harvest machinery breaking down.
It is to be expected
every year
during wheat harvest.
But it never dawned on us
that the pecan harvest might
come to a profound halt
due to equipment failure. It did.

Shaking the first tree of the day

DSCN8297Grands watch their first pecan harvest

Ann’s sons, Brok and Ben,
and their families arrived on Thursday
energized about the celebration
and the good work
that is pecan harvest. Especially
this year, with a bumper crop.
Friday we were in the pecan grove
until nightfall,
shaking trees, collecting pecans in tarps
then hulling and sorting them.
All hands were busy, including three
who figured out the hulling
very quickly. We brought home
1200 pounds of pecans on Friday.




DSCN8313Lunch break
Brok, making a theatrical plea to end lunch break and get back to work

DSCN8344A day’s harvesting

Saturday, everyone was eager
to get back to the grove. That’s
when it happened: something broke
on the tractor’s PTO apparatus
which runs the shaker. We called
a couple of mechanic-minded friends,
but no one could figure how to fix it.
The tractor had to be hauled to Perry
to be diagnosed on Monday. By then
family will have returned to their homes
in Colorado.


Leaving the pecans hanging,
we spent two days, hulling and sorting
the pecans from the husks,
the Kansa from the Pawnee.
We moved the operation
from the grove to Ann’s front yard
and enjoyed the conversation,
the work,
the gorgeous autumn weather,
the light on the pond next to us
and, immensely,
each other.
If love makes pecans taste better,
these will be the best.

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