Spring is in the air

It’s that time of year when we’re all sick of winter and looking ahead to spring. Winter is worn and tired and every living thing is waiting with baited breath for the warmth and rebirth that comes with spring. But it’s not here yet, and most of us are frustrated with waiting and sitting on our hands watching more snow and cold roll through the Northeast.

I however–am not sitting on my hands. For me–an approaching spring means that all of the preparation for spring has already commenced, and I am right out straight trying to manage all of the different aspects of all of the different projects that I oversee–and this year I have the demand of a full-time job added into the equation. Spring my not be here yet, but the rush of spring has come into my life with a storm of demands and claims upon my time. Everything wants to be done and now.

Bee-school is currently underway and I am scheduled to be at the Somerset County Cooperative extension every Saturday evening following a day spent working for Johnny. I trek in there with my laptop, handouts and equipment to teach a series of 4 classes, sharing with the 2-dozen prospective beekeepers the basics of the craft, with anecdotes of my own experiences and mistakes thrown in for good humor.

In addition to Bee-School I need to spend some time recruiting speakers to come present to the Somerset Beekeepers over the course of the next year, organize workshops and figure out what kind of investments into supplies our group needs to continue educating area beekeepers.

But even more pressing is the BeeLine.

Back in November I took over as editor of the BeeLine, which is the bi-monthly newsletter distributed by the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association. It is a 17-page newspaper that includes articles, current events, up-coming events, resources, and advertizements. And as editor it’s up to me to collect all of these materials and organize them into a computer file that will allow the newsletter to be printed at the local print-shop. In order to even begin serving this position, I first had to learn to use design software–something I had never done before.

Being a fan of freeware, I found the Scribus program had good reviews and I downloaded it and spent a month learning to use it on the go (with some help from the former editor, who–as it turns out–is also a graphic artist by trade) as I assembled my first-ever BeeLine issue, which was published and sent out to MBSA members at the beginning of February. Now it’s time to put together the next issue and get it to the printer’s pronto. I spent my two days off from Johnny’s working on that.

Then–as the manager of the Madison Farmers’ Market–I’m working to promote our local market and recruit new vendors. This involves issuing press releases, posting to various social media, creating fliers and distributing them, as well as accepting phone calls and responding to emails from potential vendors to the market.

And finally–there’s Runamuk. Things are quiet for Runamuk–I’ve ordered 5 nucleus colonies for this spring, and I’m working to set aside a few hundred dollars to purchase soaping ingredients and tins for my beeswax products. The urge to sow seeds and tend seedlings is overpowering, but this year I will be purchasing my seedlings from my farming-friends at my farmers’ market.

That just leaves the blog. Now that I am finally beginning to get my life back together–now that I’ve figured out a new way forward for Runamuk–I am once again feeling the urge to write come flooding back to me. I do have a couple of articles that I’d like to write up for the blog, and a number of posts I’d like to share, but I have to fit this in between all of these other pressing matters.

In the past, the number of extra-curricular projects that I’d taken on was a lot of work even as a farmer who did not have to leave the farm to work. Now–under the circumstances–I’m thankful to have my job with Johnny’s Selected Seeds, but working off-farm severely restricts the amount of time I have to dedicate to these projects. I have a payment for the Subaru Outback that I financed recently, and living expenses to keep on top of. Above all, it is imperative that I keep up with my finances and maintain a VERY good credit score if I stand a chance at ever financing a mortgage on a farm of my own. And that is the ultimate goal, folks–a farm of my very own. One that will never be at-risk of being lost to me ever again.

So it’s a lot of work and things are certainly overwhelming right now–but it feels good to maintain these projects that have made up my life in the past. They provide a sense of continuity–reminding me that even while both Runamuk and I are changing and evolving through my divorce–a large part of who I was remains. My work for the community has played a huge role in what Runamuk has become, and it’s important to me to maintain that service even through these uncertain and difficult times. And so I will continue to wear my many hats, and continue to juggle the multitude of projects that give me purpose. Hopefully those I serve will be patient and understanding!

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