Author Archives: Samantha Burns

About Samantha Burns

Maine blogger, beekeeper and farmer. Follow along with my many misadventures in the pursuit of a more sustainable life. Find out how I am advocating for local food in my community and working to promote pollinator conservation here in the state of Maine. Every day is an adventure!

5 reasons to raise chickens

chicken-profile-pic

Chickens are often the first livestock to be added to a homestead and have been laughingly referred to as the gateway livestock. However the benefits of adding a flock of chickens to your backyard, homestead, or beginning farm, are no laughing matter. Chickens bring some serious good ju-ju with them and open the door to a number of opportunities for… Read more »

Mink!

Samantha Burns   March 9, 2017   No Comments on Mink!
mink-in-a-trap

WARNING: This post contains images that might be too graphic from some readers… When I constructed my hoop-coop I neglected to protect the foundation of the coop from predators. With the Great Farm Move putting pressure on me to get the thing constructed and birds moved in, at the time I felt like I just didn’t have time to dig… Read more »

Searching for Runamuk’s forever-farm

landless-farmer

After last year’s “Great Farm Move” you’re probably as tired of hearing about my quest for a forever-farm and home for Runamuk as I am tired of searching. Yet when I left Jim’s farmhouse for Paul’s trailer I knew it could only be a temporary fix─that this would only be a stepping stone to what I really want. And what… Read more »

Sprouts: easy DIY winter greens

sprouts-easy-diy-winter-greens

I’ve been eating sprouts during the winter for a number of years now. Sprouts are a quick and easy way to provide the family with fresh veg all year long regardless of where you live. They’re pure, fresh, and nutrient-rich food that can be produced easily whether you’re 3 or 103. I like to use the jar method because I… Read more »

8 tips for growing your own seedlings

tips-for-growing-your-own-seedlings

Growing your own seedlings is not hard to do and opens the door to new opportunities for the home gardener, homesteader or small farmer. You’ll have a vast number of varieties available to choose from, more control over the amount of seed you purchase, and you’ll save money by growing your plants yourself. Starting your own plants gives you the chance… Read more »

Maine Farmers’ Market Convention

maine-farmers-market-convention

Maine is blessed with a robust community of farmers and people that are passionate about local food. Not only do we have MOFGA (the Maine Organic Farmers’ and Gardeners’ Association), the nation’s oldest and largest organic organizations, but we also have the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (MFFM). This was the second year I attended the Maine Farmers’ Market Convention… Read more »

January

Samantha Burns   January 24, 2017   2 Comments on January
january-farm-planning

I got up this morning to 45 degrees. Several times when I’ve gotten home from Johnny’s the thermometer we have tacked to a 2×4 in the kitchen has read 42-degrees. When you’re heating exclusively with wood, if you’re away for 12 hours or you make the choice to get a good night’s sleep rather than get up and down all… Read more »

How to build a temporary chicken coop for a Maine winter; with free printable instructions

temporary-chicken-coop-for-winter

Housing for the chickens was a big concern during Runamuk’s Great Farm Move. It had taken a full year to rebuild the Runamuk flock following my divorce, and I was up to nearly 90 birds in varying stages of production when I made the difficult decision to let go of Jim’s property in Starks. As we build up our apiary… Read more »

Tufflite greenhouse film: tuff stuff!

using-tufflite-greenhouse-film

Two years ago I bought my first roll of Tufflite IV greenhouse film and have since used it in a variety of ways around the Runamuk farm and homestead. As I’ve progressed along my journey towards a sustainable life I’ve looked for ways to extend my growing season, ways to improve upon the things I am already doing, and methods for… Read more »

New pollinator conservation planning services!

bee-habitat-planning

Over the last decade my personal mission in life has slowly evolved into one that is two-fold. One the one hand I’m dedicated to sustainability and all that word encompasses: sustainable energies and industries, sustainable living, sustainable communities─and especially sustainable food systems. On the other hand, and perhaps just a little overzealously─is the part of me which is committed to pollinator… Read more »

2016 Year-End Review

runamuk-apiary-bees-on-a-hive

A full rotation of the Earth around the sun has brought us once again to the end of the calendar year. It’s been a busy year for Runamuk, with some ups and some downs too, and some life altering moments. Before we shift our focus to 2017 and all that the new year may bring our way I’d like to take… Read more »

Winter solstice & dawning realizations

winter-solstice-dawning-realizations

As the Wheel of the Year turns the seasons and we move deeper into the darkest half of the year I want to pause for a moment to reflect on the journey that has brought me to where I am today. I’ve spent a lot of time this fall looking inward, thinking about who I am─the experiences that have shaped… Read more »

Putting the buzz in Johnny’s catalog

2017-johnny's-selected-seeds-catalog

It’s at this time of year─when the growing season for most farmers and gardeners is behind us and the world has become brown and drab, the days are short and the dark of night stretches long as winter descends upon us in full force─that we look forward to receiving all of the vibrant seed catalogs in our mailboxes. Those catalogs generate… Read more »

Vote with your fork to save our broken food system

vote-with-your-fork

The simple desire to feed my family wholesome, nutritious and delicious food was the driving force that led me first to cooking and later into gardening. The more I learned, the more I could do─and wanted to do─for myself. That compulsion led me down the rabbit hole in pursuit of a more sustainable life, and eventually led me to farming… Read more »

DIY mouse-guards: how and when to install them on your beehive

mouse-invasion_fi

Harvest is now past, the leaves are falling from the trees to blanket the Earth as we move deeper into the darker half of the year, and things are cooling down here in Maine. Now that I have 7 seasons of beekeeping behind me I know that I prefer to have all of my winter hive preparations finalized by no later than… Read more »

Announcing our new blog-sponsor!

maria-and-i-at-market

I’ve been working on this project for quite some time, and at long last I am able to share this great news with you─Johnny’s Selected Seeds has signed on as a blog-sponsor with Runamuk Acres! If you’re a follower of the Runamuk blog you’re likely aware of the fact that I’m a beekeeper working to build my apiary into a… Read more »

Success at the Common Ground Fair

honeybee on royal hybrid

Saturday, September 24th, was the day of my big talk over at MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. In the weeks leading up to the fair I’d spent the majority of my time packing, and immediately following the fair I launched into the #greatfarmmove so there really wasn’t time to share the story of that day’s events. However, I… Read more »

Acorns on a tin roof

acorns-on-a-tin-roof

A gust of wind through the towering oak trees above sends down a smattering of acorns, cracking on the tin roof of 26 Goodines’ Way. It’s rainy and dismal on this cool, mid-October day, but the crackling woodstove keeps things warm and cozy inside the homestead, with the makings for chili cooking in the crockot. The property is an understated… Read more »

The great farm move

great farm move

Well we made it. Runamuk has arrived at Paul’s place in Norridgewock. These beginning farmers are now “trailersteading”. The official address is 26 Goodine Way, which is off of Ward Hill and still close to Madison and Anson where I vend and manage the farmers’ market, and where my kids attend school. It’s been one hell of an emotional roller coaster… Read more »

Feeding Bees in the Fall

feeding beehives syrup in the fall

It’s that time of year when beekeepers are ramping up winter preparations for their beehives. We’re inspecting hives for colony strength, putting entrance reducers and mouse-guards on hives, applying mite treatments and feeding to ensure colonies have adequate stores to overwinter on. I have 15 hives going into winter and some of them are incredibly heavy with bees and honey stores,… Read more »

Laying hens for sale

laying hens for sale

As we gear up to move Runamuk from Starks to Norridgewock I’m preparing to construct a temporary hoop-coop for the laying flock, since there isn’t a readily available coop or barn at Paul’s place. I’ll document the whole project for you in an upcoming article, but for now just know that I’ve made my design, and I’m gathering the materials… Read more »

Talking pollinators at the Common Ground Fair

pollinator-conservation-in-agriculturefi

At 2pm on Saturday, September 24th I will be in Unity at MOFGA’s annual Common Ground Fair to give a talk Ive dubbed “Pollinator Conservation through Agriculture”. *Insert excited squeal here.* There’s a decided interest from the public in pollinators, I’m excited to be able to say. You see it in the news, in the increasing numbers of backyard-beekeepers, at… Read more »

Butchering Meat Rabbits

Butchering Meat Rabbits

**WARNING** This article discusses the slaughtering and butchering of livestock. The images below may not be appropriate for all audiences. On principle I firmly believe that as a homesteader and farmer I need to know how to manage my livestock from beginning to end. When my chickens reach the end of their egg-laying life it only makes sense to me that… Read more »

Hey how are ya?

Me n my SonFI

First of all I want to say thanks for stopping by. If you’re just passing though, or if you’re one of my dedicated blog-followers, I can’t express what it means to me that anyone should take the time to read my words. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, lol─writing is something of an obsession of mine; it’s… Read more »