Category Archives: Farming

5 reasons to raise chickens

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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 »

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 »

2016 Year-End Review

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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

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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 »

Butchering Meat Rabbits

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**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 »

What do farmers at Johnny’s Seeds say are the biggest challenges facing farmers today?

challenges facing farmers

Though farmers in general are a dedicated lot, farming has never been easy and today’s beginning farmers face numerous obstacles. There’s a steep learning curve to growing produce and raising livestock for food production. A farmer has to wear many hats and have a broad spectrum of knowledge and skillsets. There are regulations and legalities to be adhered to and… Read more »

Resources recommended by Johnny’s Seeds farmers

recommended resources for beginning farmers

Beginning farmers face a myriad of challenges and obstacles along their chosen career path. Operating and owning a farm has become much more difficult since the advent of the industrialized agriculture system. New farmers today face a steep learning curve, expensive prices for farmland, and high start-up costs. Despite all that, statistics from the USDA’s Agricultural Census indicate that─especially here in… Read more »

Favorite things from the farmers and gardeners at Johnny’s Seeds

How could any beginning farmer go into a company like Johnny’s Selected Seeds, find themselves surrounded by a spectrum of farmers and gardeners and not want to pick their brains for useful bits of information? I already knew what I wanted to ask when I finally bucked up the nerve to approach colleagues at work for this series of articles. And… Read more »

How do you know what to do to be a profitable farm?

small farm

Let me say first and foremost that Runamuk is not what I would yet consider a “profitable” farm, lol. Runamuk does contribute to the rent and to the purchasing of feed, equipment, supplies, and livestock─but a large part of our income is supplemented by my off-farm employment.  Our finances here are tight, and as I’ve mentioned previously, I make a… Read more »

Maine’s local food movement

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maine local food movement

The Madison Farmers’ Market, held a meeting Saturday evening at the Old Point School in Madison, to finalize plans for our upcoming 2015 market season. I volunteer my time and efforts as the market manager, organizing, planning and promoting our young little market, and working to both serve local agriculture, farmers and farming in Madison and the surrounding areas. The… Read more »

SWOT analysis of Runamuk

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runamuk's swot analysis

Business planning and annual reviews are an important aspect of any business–big or small–even agricultural businesses. Typically most farmers spend time during the quieter winter months planning and preparing for the next season, and I may be a little late getting to it this year due to the disarray my life currently faces, but I have been reviewing Runamuk’s farming… Read more »

Conducting a SWOT analysis of your farm

No one gets into farming because they want to get rich, lol. But at the same time a farm is still a business, and a business needs to at least break even–if not earn a profit. Conducting a SWOT analysis of your farm-business annually can help you to determine what’s working for you and what’s not.   What is SWOT?… Read more »

Winterizing the farm — with free printable checklist

winterizing the farm

Cold weather is once again on our doorstep. Farmers and homesteaders alike are racing to finish their winter preparations before the first snowflakes fly. We have gardens to put to bed, livestock to prepare and equipment to get ready for the long season ahead of us. If you’re new to farming or homesteading, the list of chores for winterization can… Read more »

Why support native bees on your farm?

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farming for native bees

Until recently, native and feral bee populations met all of a farmers’ pollination needs.  Farms were smaller, and closer to natural areas where native bee populations could easily recolonize a farm should an insecticide application kill resident bees. But with the advent of the industrial farm, habitat for pollinators has been drastically reduced–today, many of our agricultural landscapes are vast… Read more »