Category Archives: Featured Posts

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 »

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 »

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 »

Working with beeswax

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working with beeswax

Carol Cottrill is a former president of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association and has held a number of other positions within Maine’s beekeeping community, including president of the Western Maine Beekeepers’ Association. She’s been beekeeping for years and has dedicated a fair amount of time over the years to sharing her knowledge with other beekeepers. I’ve invited Carol over to the… Read more »

Maine beekeepers State of the State Address

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maine apiaries

Every year at the annual meeting of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association our state apiarist, Anthony (Tony) Jadczak talks about the condition of our bees throughout the course of the year. We all laughingly refer to it as Tony’s “State of the State Address”, but it really is important information to relay to the body of Maine beekeepers. Staying aware… Read more »

Honeybees and the landscape

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runamuk honeybee forage map

Studying under Professor Frank Drummond at the University of Maine, Brianne Du Clos is a PhD candidate studying how bees use the landscape and what types of land offer good forage resources. She also happens to be a beekeeper and a member of the Knox-Lincoln County Beekeepers group, and she presented her research to the beekeepers at the November 2015… Read more »

Keeping honeybees in frozen North America

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mike palmer

According to Mike Palmer of French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans Vermont, success in the apiary is dependent upon two things: colonies that can grow large populations, and then─intelligent management of those populations. Mike took the stage at the 2015 annual meeting of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association and proceeded to tell the audience about his colony management plan. Regional… 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 »

Establishing a new farm: Where to start & how to prioritize

establishing a new farm

These days nothing is more enticing than the concept of living a life sustained by the land and nature.  Folks from all walks are turning away from the mainstream and it’s commercialized lifestyle.  For some it is a mission to provide a healthy atmosphere for raising their family; for others a desire to live more lightly upon the Earth–to protect… Read more »

How to make your own laundry soap

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diy laundry soap

If you’ve never made your own laundry soap you don’t know what you’re missing.  The laundry soaps that are available commercially are expensive, and filled with ingredients that I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce. This laundry soap is very economical and simple to make.  It works just as well as anything you’ll buy at the store, with the… Read more »