sustainability


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.

There was a time
when I visited rural Wisconsin
in the summers—August,
actually; a good time to leave Oklahoma heat
and travel north.
The farms there were picturesque—
red barns seemingly freshly painted,
manicured homesteads. I marveled
how much tidier they look
than some of our Oklahoma farms,
including ours. Different ethics, I suppose.
And while I love looking at the beautiful
Wisconsin farms, I can’t bring myself
to apply that ethic
here.
We patch and mend
old barns
that lean more each year
and drip during rains.

An old shed in the corral
was beyond mending.
Half its replaced roof lay in the pasture
for a couple of years now.
Finally, someone showed up
to take the old shed,
from our grandparents’ era,
down. The next issue—one
that paralyzed me for too long—
was what to do with the pieces.
Haul them several miles to a landfill,
burn them and haul some,
or bury everything.
Pollution, every which way you look.
As we know,
when throwing things away,
there is no “away.”
Letting it sit on the prairie,
leaning, flying in the wind,
avoided the “away” issue.
But eventually, the issue had to be faced
and last week a new member of our community
(Ironically, he moved to Oklahoma because
environmental regulations in California
were so costly.)
brought his big machinery,
ripped the old shed down
in less than an hour,
then dug a hole
and buried the whole lot,
including a pile of broken concrete
that had been sitting in the pasture for years.
I have no idea where it came from,
or why the pasture was its
throwing-“away” place.
There it all is now,
in the good earth,
forever.

We repaired the fence that one end of the barn
was holding up. Now the alpacas
have a clear view to the west,
cattle will have to find shelter
along the tree-lined creek
and the eyesore—
save for one old pole that stands
next to a water hydrant—
has gone away.
Well,
at least we can’t see it.

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The world is all brand new
these days…

Canola fields in full bloom.

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The sky in a puddle.

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Raindrops on Iris.

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Alpacas all sprucey
in their summer
dos.

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And, in the evening,
little frogs,
emerged from the long-dry creek bed,
singing into the night
along the muddy waters.

Too, in the night,
that smell…
of earth
and moisture,
sublime.

deer sculpture

Celebrate,
thank,
listen to,
be healed by,
dance with…

The sky is specatacular
here
these days.
Morning and evening,
and in between—
and during:
the sun shone brilliantly
while it was raining
one morning. Thus,
a short-lived rainbow.
There’s still a chance to see
a young moon and Venus
in the western sky,
early evening. It will leave
you
breathless.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYoung Moon and Venus, western sky, early evening

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On April 22, 1970,
the first U.S. Earth Day,
20 million people rallied
across the country
in support of a healthy planet.
Founded by Gaylord Nelson,
a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin,
following a massive oil spill
in Santa Barbara, California in 1969,
Earth Day’s massive public display
of concern
resulted in the creation
of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
the passage of the Clean Air Act,
the Clean Water Act
and the Endangered Species Act.
Twenty years later,
on Earth Day 1990,
the celebration went global,
with 200 million people rallying
in 141 countries around their concern
for the environment all around the planet.

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We’re still rallying for Earth—
at two events this week.
On Earth Day,
Wednesday, April 22,
we’ll join the Earth Walk around the campus
of Oklahoma City University.
We’ll carry the Earth flag
and the Turtle Rock Farm banner
on the community walk. It begins
at 6 p.m., at the United Methodist
Conference Ministry Center,
NW 24th and McKinley
(southeast corner of the OCU campus.)
Bring the children, leashed pets,
the whole family.
Carry banners, pictures of places
you love on the planet
to celebrate our amazing home.

Then, on Saturday, come out to Turtle Rock Farm,
for the fifth annual Green Connections Earth Day festival.
We’ll continue the celebration—
and learn some things about living
sustainably, so that all life
may be sustained.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Check for the details on our fb page.

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DSCN7230Biak Bay, William and Mr. Darcy, before their cuts

Alpaca shearing day
is a festive day
for us humans—
a group effort
as Marty Hoffman
and at least some of his children
arrive.
Not so festive for the alpaca:
When we halter them
they immediately they begin humming
their anxiety.

DSCN7234Trizah, Kezziah, Ezekiel, Lazarus

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Marty and the children
lay Biak to the mat first
and as Marty wields the shears,
the children hold Biak’s head
and keep the rope tight on his
stretched legs.

Ann scoops up the soft wool,
a year’s growth,
still warm from Biak’s body temperature,
and keeps the three grades separate
in marked bags.

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When Biak is shorn,
it’s William’s turn. He also
gets a tooth-trimming.
But it is Mr. Darcy,
the youngest, who will undergo
the greatest shedding this year—
not only his fleece;
today is his gelding day.
It is Frank’s (he is a vet)
first alpaca gelding.
We are all a little nervous,
sad. We’ve avoided this surgery,
but Darcy has become very rambunctious
when anyone besides Ann, Frank or I
come into or near the pen. He bucks and
kicks and rears up in a show of his dominance.
It started a couple of years ago,
just with young males. But now,
any visitor stands the chance
to witness or experience
Darcy’s display of alpha-ness.
It was unavoidable
if we wanted to be able to
bring people into the alpaca pen.
Frank performed the surgery
carefully and efficiently
and Darcy immediately
stood as if it was simply
shearing day.

20150416_192906Biak, shorn

20150416_194330Biak and William roll in the grass after shearing

20150416_195521Mr. Darcy, after his ordeal

We expected he might spit
at us, but he didn’t.
We hope that he is less
rambunctious,
but as curious and approachable
as he has always been.


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