There is so much happening
right now
it’s easy to miss
The end of summer,
beginning of autumn
is less a transition
and more of both
at once.
Among migrating birds
Cedar Wax Wings spent the weekend
at the farm.


Final—??—burst of blooms,
including roses,
Russian Sage.

Ripening fruit
in the city yard—
Asian pears and Jujube,
thanks to the careful gardening
of former Vietnamese residents.

Spider webs
anywhere and everywhere.



What a Summer! at Turtle Rock Farm
Our September Newsletter




Let us pause
for a moment
and take in the sheer relief
and joy of knowing
that in Oklahoma,
where hot and dry are the usual,
there can be those remarkable seasons
of beautiful vegetables.

And let us give thanks
to those who pay attention to
cycles of sun and rain
and who learn
to honor soil
and microbes
to support the natural ways
of growing food.

And may we turn towards
the sun
to cook that food.

DSCN4653Preparing tomatoes in the solar oven, for  September’s guests.

(Shepherds: There will be
Tomato Basil Soup,
with Turtle Rock Farm
tomatoes, basil!)



Our July-August Newsletter
Summer (Sorta) at Turtle Rock Farm


May we
take for granted
the wonder of life
that is an organically-grown,

Thank you, Ann!


Ann’s met
the sometimes overwhelming
tasks of spring
with great energy
and graciousness.


Potato and tomato plants
are blossoming
in the high tunnel greenhouse.
(She’s had to figure out a different
watering system. The pump in the pond
that sends pond water to the garden
is below the water level,
in this extended drought. And with
only light sprinkles now and then,
rain barrels have yet to fill.)

Eleven chicks have been hatched
from the barn nest and incubator
and are about to be returned
to a bigger, safe pen on the outer
edge of the barn.

Buckets with small holes
have been set in place
to slowly water young fruit trees
as summer descends.

Swales and pocket ponds
on the hill below the labyrinth
are greening,
a hopeful sign—
in spite of the drought;
which was the point in creating them!—
for trees planted there late winter.

We are grateful
that Ann meets
with a glad heart
the considerable work
that is required for sustainable living.

Juniper Berries

Backyard Wildlife Garden

Last spring,
when the free-ranging chickens
ate the first plants–tomatoes–
I put in the new garden plot,
(which I had spent 18 months
with compost, alpaca beans, straw,
molasses, bone meal, blood meal,
lava sand, cardboard)
we decided to keep the chickens and guineas
here at the farmhouse
and Ann would raise the vegetables
at the pond house.
So, what to do with this
fertile garden plot?
All last winter, I had enjoyed a pheasant family
coming to eat the wheat grain
out of the straw in the garden.
So I decided I’d add plants
that wildlife enjoy.
I’d already planted asparagus beds,
so they remained
(though not for the wildlife.)
I transplanted some volunteer Lambs Quarter
Ann had removed from her flower beds.
It grew six feet tall over the summer,
surviving giant grasshoppers.
The grasshoppers demolished
some bare root bushes
I had planted.
Many native plants grew in the garden
I let it go natural,
let the grasshoppers have their way
all summer.
There are lots of sunflowers,
now tempting tiny birds
with dried seeds.
The birds hang out
in the Lambs Quarter too.
Wildlife will also come
for the beautiful blue berries
on the old Juniper nearby.
A flock of Cedar Wax Wings
stayed a few hours

Though I sometimes wonder if I’ll
be able to grow vegetables
if I need to someday, for now
Ann’s vegetable growing–
in the high tunnel–is epic.
I can always do as our friends
Bruce and Barbara have done
to save their garden (from grasshoppers):
box the whole thing
with a six-foot tall covering
of bird netting.

This is the moment of truth
for the wildlife garden.
Now that winter days are here
I’m hoping for pheasant,
and maybe–just maybe–
the five deer that take morning strolls
just south of the hermitage,
will make their way up
to their garden.
I’m not intending to eat
wildlife; they are food
for each other, perhaps,
and my soul.