Category Archives: Environment

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 »

Climate change & Maine bees at MSBA

unloading the tractor at runamuk

Former president of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association and retired state of Maine acquatic biologist, Matt Scott gave a presentation at this year’s annual conference entitled: “Climate Change and Habitat Fragmentation to Honey Bees in Maine”. Scott acknowledged that climate change is something of a controversial topic, but admits that at his age he is less constrained by society’s rules…. Read more »

UMaine studies how to enhance native pollinator habitat

dr hanes & eric venturini

At the August meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers, we hosted two of UMaine’s academics who have been actively researching native bees in Maine and in the agricultural system.  Dr. Sam Hanes’ is an anthropologist studying the perceptions growers have relating to the benefits of incorporating native pollinators into their farming efforts, and the methods they are using to do so… Read more »

Maine promotes native pollinators

somerset beekeepers

Tuesday night the Somerset Beekeepers met for their monthly meeting, and were joined by a number of the county’s master gardeners in welcoming Dr. Sam Hanes and Eric Venturini, a masters degree student, both of whom came over from the University of Maine at Orono to speak with us. I’ve mentioned before the good work Maine’s academics are doing in… Read more »

Do NOT buy ladybugs; attract native species to your garden instead

ladybugs as predators

Ladybugs are often touted as a safe solution to aphid problems in the garden because their use doesn’t involve harmful pesticides.  The little spotted beetles are popular all over the world, and in ancient times they were thought to be indicators of good fortune and a bountiful harvest. However commercially available ladybugs are not native to the US, and pose… Read more »

Monday’s Musings: On appreciating nature

wasp

Monday’s Musings is a new weekly theme I’m working to establish here on the blog (along with Sustainable Saturday–so be looking for that). I have a hard time posting regularly, mainly due to the fact that my life is generally hectic and sometimes unpredictable, what with garden, apiary, household up-keep, child-rearing and homeschooling to tend to–along with my responsibilities as… Read more »

Home gardeners beware of pesticides in potting soils & nursery plants

This past Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers, we hosted Gary Fish from the Maine Board of Pesticide Control to talk with us about “Pesticides and Pollinators”.  We are a small group, so I’m always grateful that any knowledgeable speaker should come to Skowhegan to share their knowledge with us, and I know that our beekeepers are… Read more »

Saving the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee

Bumblebees are the gentle giants of the pollinator world, so big and fuzzy and mellow that you just want to pick one up and give it a big hug! Like other pollinators, bumble bees are in trouble.  According to recent surveys, populations of bumbles have sharply declined since 1997, and none are so rare as the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee. The Xerces… Read more »

“Wings of Life” mesmerizes and inspires

We received the “Wings of Life” documentary on Saturday, I ordered it from Amazon and had it shipped here by mail, but I couldn’t even begin to think about writing a review of the film until just the other day–so mesmerized by the vivid depiction of the one thing that I prize above all others on this planet. The relationship… Read more »

Take action this Earth Day

At Runamuk Earth Day is a big event.  Any significant event celebrating nature is a big event here because we make it so, the Winter Solstice, Mid-Summer’s Eve, the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes, Arbor Day, Pollinator Week, Compost Awareness Week, just to name a few.  Keith and I are both nature lovers, passionate about embracing nature, preserving and protecting life,… Read more »

Help Runamuk do more for pollinator conservation!

I’ve been presented with an exciting new opportunity–stumbled into it, really. Our core group of Somerset Beekeepers is made up of members who have been at it for 2 or more years now, and we are ready for some more advanced beekeeping topics–so I’ve been emailing various academics and beekeepers across the state trying to enlist guest speakers.  When I… Read more »

Pollinator decline threatens agriculture

sichuan china

As president of the Somerset Beekeepers, people often ask me if it is only the honeybees who are in trouble, or is it all bees? Not only is it all bees–it’s all of our pollinators, too!  Everything from bees to beetles and butterflies, even flies–are all at risk.  And a new study that was recently published in the scientific journal… Read more »

Designing a sustainable future with permaculture principles

permaculture design principles

When the idea of Runamuk first began to form in my mind, I envisioned a future for my family that revolved around living in harmony with the land.  I imagined that we would cultivate, nurture and protect the land, and the land in turn would support and nurture our family for generations to come.  I pictured a farm where the… Read more »

10 tips to help you stretch your meat-budget

dried beans

Previously I ranted about budget-meat versus local and sustainably raised meats.  I’m not going to rehash the topic–but you can read that post here if you are so inclined.  Basically my point was that if you’re truly committed to avoiding the factory farmed meats offered at the grocery store, there are ways to eat sustainably produced meats with a clear… Read more »

What really demonizes Monsanto

It was brought to my attention recently that Monsanto is not bad–it’s just a corporation looking to make money.  At the recent MSBA meeting Monsanto affiliate Jerry Hayes spoke about the company’s desire for sustainable agriculture (you can read that post here), but if that is true then there are some seriously misguided people leading that corporate entity.  In my… Read more »

What’s the problem with GMOs?

MaizeFI

October is GMO awareness month.  In order to raise awareness of GMOs and in participation of Non-GMO Awareness month, I’ve put together a series of blog-posts to help inform those who may not know why this is such a big deal. What is GMO? GMO stands for genetically modified organisms, and they are plants that have had foreign genes from… Read more »

Bees have been good to me

So what if I’m quickly becoming known as the local “Bee-lady”–that’s not so bad (better than being the crazy cat-lady, if you ask me). Bees have been very good to me. In the three years since I brought home my first colony, my life has changed dramatically–in a very positive way. I did not expect to be so taken with… Read more »

Pollinator Conservation at MOFGA

hoverfly

Keith said I had a glazed look in my eyes as we sat in the conference room at the MOFGA educational facility in Unity yesterday. I was high on the excitement and pure joy of participating in the Pollinator Conservation Planning Short-Course offered by the Xerces Society. I first learned about the course last year when I was up to… Read more »

Certified pollinator friendly!

asters for bees

Runamuk Acres is now officially certified as pollinator friendly! A passion for bugs I couldn’t say why exactly I became so passionate about bees and pollinators–when I was younger I was like many other folks with an aversion to bugs-but I married an insect-lover who made me see that insects are beautiful in their own way.  That’s right, Keith is… Read more »

Wildlife in the backyard

maine moose

A large part of our plan for the Runamuk farm revolve around wildlife.  In our home we love to watch the wildlife in our backyard: birds, bats, squirrels, butterflies and other insects–and so we garden with animals in mind.  After we’ve moved into our new home, I’m looking forward to increasing our efforts to invite nature to share our space. … Read more »

Successful first-ever meeting of Somerset beekeepers

  It was originally scheduled to meet last Wednesday night, the 12th of January, but because of a messy Nor’easter last week I had to postpone the first meeting of Somerset Beekeepers to Monday, the 17th. So Monday night we all gathered at the Somerset County University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Skowhegan to establish the newest chapter of the… Read more »

Great Migrations on National Geographic Television

As the Scientific Homeschool we love our science channels. We watch Mythbusters, How It’s Made, Planet Earth, Destroyed in Seconds (is that really science? or just the male desire for destruction?), Dirty Jobs, Bugging Out, Head Rush, Meteorite Men, Through the Wormhole, even “Punkin Chunkin” and more.  I even consider watching “Phineas and Ferb” on the Disney channel fair learning… Read more »