What better way to celebrate
Earth
than to enjoy it.
And we did,
last Saturday—
a beautiful,
clear,
warm,
yes, breezy,
Oklahoma April day.
We learned about bees and other pollinators,
took the Cosmic Walk,
made seed bombs,
spun silky alpaca wool,
cooked in solar ovens,
discovered Smart Pots,
toured the house made of straw and mud,
walked the prairie labyrinth,
watched the goats and alpaca,
led children on a nature scavenger hunt,
climbed old Junipers,
danced, hilariously, to sweet fiddle music,
picnicked on grilled corn and bison hot dogs,
and thanked the Earth.

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May we be so attentive,
so appreciative,
so thoughtful about living our lives
with this magnificent planet
every
day.

It rained before dawn;
cloudy, sprinkles still,
early morning. The big garden
at CommonWealth Urban Farms
is quiet and, seemingly,
greener
when I take my pail of kitchen scraps
to the compost bin in there.
The more I get to know this farm,
the people who tend it—
constantly—
the more I love the place,
the people,
the mission,
the beauty.

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It is not always easy for some
to see
the deep significance for the planet
and all Earth life
in this garden
and the many plots
of an urban farm. But stopping
on a cool (it’s 62 by mid-morning)
August day
to take in,
savor,
value deeply
the growth here
is to be moved to beg
Earth herself
to help us
find our way
to support growing food
in the city—
in every space possible.
(Yes, we can live—
well, beautifully—
without grass!)
It won’t look like what we’ve
perceived as a beautifully landscaped
neighborhood. It will be beautiful
in a different way.
There will be composting areas
which means there will be
rich, organic soil.
Rows of squash plants
may be covered now and then
with a cloth covering
to keep the cabbage worms
out. This sort of method,
as well as others, means there will not
be toxic chemicals in the soil,
air, water,
in the food.
With deep mulching
and permaculture practices,
there will be growth
without the use of so much water.
There will be fruit and nut trees
in a forest
rather than large lawns of grass
that has to be watered,
mowed,
watered,
mowed,
watered,
mowed…
The air will be cleaner.
There will be more birds
living in trees and thickets.
There will be pollinating insects,
including bees and butterflies.
There will be supportive
community
to get all the work done.
Youth and children
will learn how to grow
their own food.
There will be healthy, fresh food
right at your front and/or back door.

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For the planet’s sake;
indeed, for our sake as well,
we must learn to see differently.
We must learn to redefine beauty
and then we’ll see
infinite beauty—
the deep, quiet,
lush, verdant, nourishing beauty
of a vegetable farm
in the heart of the city.

The idea that people could
use the energy provided by their feet—
instead of burning fossil fuel—
to propel them up the street
proved to be a popular one
yesterday afternoon,
as hundreds of people
walked NW 23rd street,
enjoying sunshine,
community,
and all sorts of educational
and health-related
(health of people and planet)
activities.
Open Streets OKC
an alliance of several groups
working for a healthier community—
held the first annual
event to give people the opportunity
to enjoy city streets
blocked off from traffic.
A people-mover
powered by people pedaling
was great fun. On board,
as they pedaled,
there was community
sing-alongs
and not only enough energy
to move them up the street,
but also to make smoothies!

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Our friends with Transition OKC
helped gobs of people
make seed bombs,
to provide food and habitat
for bees and butterflies,
who provide necessary pollination
for people food.

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We set up the Cosmic Walk
right there on the street
and invited people to walk
the story of the creation of the universe.
It was a thrill to see parents
reading the story to the youngest ones,
older children making the walk through time
on their own
and so many people enjoying
this experiential way to learn
our expanding universe story.
It’s the kind of experience
that can lead to a change in perspective
and changes in the way we live
together on the planet.

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Seeing people happily
walk right down the middle of the wide street,
enjoying the beautiful day,
each other
and eagerly participating in new learning experiences
gives a friendly new meaning
to the phrase
“take to the streets!”
Thank you Oklahoma City.

Workshop Participants Building Hives

At least 50 percent of our food
has to be pollinated.
And, with monocultures
and heavy use of pesticides,
(and, in Oklahoma this year,
extreme weather conditions)
the number of pollinators are drastically diminishing.
Keeping bees
in your orchard or backyard
is a delightful way
to help.
At this workshop,
Ann, our beekeeper,
shares her passion for beekeeping.
She describes the fascinating lives of bees,
and gives an introduction to beekeeping
that will allow participants to make their start.
You’ll build a hive,
inspect the bee hives at Turtle Rock Farm,
and learn about the care
and importance
of these amazing creatures.
Participants from past workshops
report how they enjoy
living with bees.

It’s Saturday, September 10
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To register, go to
www.turtlerockfarmretreat.com.

(Wait until you taste the honey
from Turtle Rock Farm bees!
It’s the best.)

Workshop Participants Checking Hives