The Redneck’s Garden

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the redneck's garden

It’s with a bit of self-debasement that I’ve ruefully dubbed this year’s garden “the Redneck’s Garden.” Having been born and raised in the backwoods of Maine, rarely venturing farther than Augusta─forever in jeans, boots and flannel─arriving at parties with my trusted PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon beer) and preferring a campfire with friends to the crowded club─I am quite nearly the… Read more »

Agribon in the Garden

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Farmers and gardeners are discovering the benefits of using agribon in the garden. Also known as “row-cover”, this lightweight fabric is the key to extending your growing season and protecting crops from insects. I’ve used it in the past on brassicas to deter the cabbage loopers and had great success. This year I am using row cover on my cucurbit-family… Read more »

Making the most of it as a land-less farmer

spring hives 2017

One of the great things about beekeeping is that I can do it from anywhere. Everyone wants beehives on their property, especially if someone else is going to do the work and all the land-owner has to do is sit back and enjoy the bees. I’ve had so many offers for apiary locations that I’ve lost count. Even if I… Read more »

Fedco’s Tree Sale: a Maine Adventure

me at fedco tree sale

Yesterday was my first-ever visit to the annual Fedco Tree Sale and what an adventure it was! An event the reminded me of Black Friday─but instead of sales on electronics, toys, and household gadgets people were lining up to take advantage on huge savings on trees and plants. Maine’s longstanding agricultural heritage and community of trend-setting farmers has spurred the… Read more »

Installing Packaged Bees

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packages waiting installation

This past Saturday I installed packaged bees into the existing equipment of my recently deceased hives in the Runamuk apiary. In my 7 years of beekeeping, this was a first for me; I’ve always bought locally raised nucleus colonies with hardy overwintered Queens. With so much comb and honey and pollen stores available following winter losses, and the promise of… Read more »

My Real Food Challenge

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Buying and eating real food is a challenge for low-income families like mine; for people who struggle to make ends meet, food isn’t always a priority. Yet I get this sick sense of satisfaction whenever I am able to put before my family a meal made up of real and local foods. Food is just one of the many ways… Read more »

Fast Growing Garden Vegetables

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fast-growing-vegetables

Following the long winter, as my stores of vegetables dwindle and I am once again reduced to buying Olivia’s spinach at the grocery store, cringing over the kale and lettuce there which never compares to the quality of my own home-grown produce─I am all too eager to get seeds in the ground to grow my own vegetables as fast as… Read more »

3 Reasons To Go Foundationless In Your Langstroth Beehive

3 reasons to go foundationless in your langstroth beehive

When I began keeping bees, I managed my hives in the mainstream fashion.  I fed them sugar-syrup, I painted my boxes, and I used foundation in my frames.  As I’ve learned more about bees and how to take care of them, some of my methods have changed.  I’m much more reluctant to feed my bees sugar, I stopped painting my… Read more »

How To Make Pollen Patties

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pollen-patties-for-beehives

Not every beekeeper needs to use pollen patties on their hives. Here in Maine there is an abundant supply of pollen in the fall and our bees are able to store enough for the colony’s purposes through the winter, until fresh pollen is again available in the spring. Unless you’re planning to make early season splits or raise your own… Read more »

Garden help

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peppers-at-runamuk

Honestly I wonder sometimes which I really love more: beekeeping or gardening? Working with the soil and helping plants to grow is an intoxicating drug for me and one I could easily spend all day stoned on. But at the same time, the bees are my zen. When I’m working with bees I’m thinking about nothing else; hours slip away… Read more »

Big news at Madison Farmers’ Market!

fun-and-games-at-market

This will be the Madison Farmers’ Market’s 5th season and what a season it is shaping up to be! I’m so excited and so proud that I’m fairly bursting! We have some big changes planned and despite the snow in our local forecast, the days are getting longer and I have faith that spring will soon be here and I… Read more »

April apiary update

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March is always a dirty month. As the snow melts all of winters dirty secrets are revealed. The snow banks along the roadside created by the municipal plows are coated with dirt while frost heaves and pot-holes in secondary roads can make for treacherous driving. Trash that had been buried under a blanket of snow now litters the landscape, and… Read more »

Introducing Rootsy!

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I’m taking a moment today to introduce Runamuk’s new affiliation with Rootsy. I’m really excited about this because the Rootsy network is made up of some of my very favorite sustainable-lifestyle bloggers and gathers into one place some of the best and most reliable information about homesteading, gardening, livestock, cooking, preparedness, herbalism and simple living that you’ll find on the… Read more »

How To Set Up Your First Beehive

how to set up your 1st beehive

Imagine you’re sitting at a four-way intersection, a red stop light hanging above you, while the hum of buzzing comes from a pair of rectangular wooden boxes strapped into the passenger’s seat next to you. The Nuc boxes–or nucleus colonies–contain more than 10,000 bees each.  Bees cling to, and crawl across the wire mesh stapled over the openings that prevents… Read more »