Category Archives: Local

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 »

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 »

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 »

Maine’s Artisan Bread Fair

hootenanny bread

This past weekend was the 10th anniversary of the Maine Grain Alliance’s Kneading Conference and Artisan Bread Fair. I’ve always admired the local food movement that has been created in Skowhegan and have longed to attend the bread fair, but in previous years I had not been able to make it to the event. This year I had Saturday open so I invited… Read more »

Teaching kids to tolerate insects

Thank you card

I was invited to speak with the children participating in the Solon Summer-Rec program yesterday, so I pulled a couple of frames of bees and their Queen from a hive and put them into the observation hive and my younger son and I went off to talk about bees. Teaching folks about the importance of pollinators is one of the… Read more »

Bee-school crash course

basic beekeeping crash course

I’ll be at the Somerset County Cooperative Extension in Skowhegan this Saturday giving my annual bee-school. This will be my 5th year teaching the course as president of the Somerset Beekeepers and I’m looking forward to spending a day talking with folks about bees. It’s lots of fun helping prospective new beekeepers to learn how to get started with their… Read more »

Celebrating the harvest

raffle winner

Yesterday was the Madison Farmers’ Market’s “Autumn Harvest Celebration” and though the day was not bright and sunny, the event turned out well. We saw a good turn-out, many of the market’s devoted followers came out-along with a number of tourists. We had a couple of different agricultural presentations, food, games, and music–and aside from a couple of brief misty-drizzles–the… Read more »

Maine’s local food movement

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 »

Bring your leaves to Runamuk!

runamuk wants your leaves

  Mulching is a key aspect of our organic gardening practices here at Runamuk. Mulch helps to keep the weeds at bay, maintain moisture within the soil, which reduces the need to water, and can contribute valuable organic matter and nutrients, too. Inspired by Maine farming legend Tom Roberts over at Snakeroot Farm in Pittsfield, Keith and I have decided… Read more »

Beekeepers swarm to the annual meeting

maine state beekeepers annual meeting

    I’m still coming down from the high that the annual meeting gives me.  I love the atmosphere, I love learning new things and meeting new people.  And when all of that involves talking about bees I am on cloud-9. To show my support for the Pensobscot County Beekeepers and their northerly venue at the Hampden Academy, I volunteered… Read more »

Getting ready for the state beekeepers’ conference

msba annual convention

You’d think I’d be over it by now–all the excitement I feel over the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association’s annual conference.  Like a kid at Christmas I wait all year for the day to arrive when I can make the pilgrimage to the meeting location. And in the vast state of Maine where cities and towns are spread far apart, separated… Read more »

Opening day at market

Samantha Burns   May 6, 2014   Comments Off on Opening day at market
temporary summer coop

Sunday was the first market of the season for our local Madison Farmers’ Market–Runamuk was there with 4 other vendors, and also the local boy scout group was there with us.  It was a big improvement from last year when it was just myself and 85 year-old Thelma Lawrence of Hawley’s Little Acre in Madison.  After all my work promoting… Read more »

Join the Runamuk team and help create something amazing!

Samantha Burns   April 1, 2014   Comments Off on Join the Runamuk team and help create something amazing!
raising funds for runamuk

We’re gearing up to get underway here at Runamuk, we’ve got animals lined up to come to the farm (you know–as soon as the snow melts so that we can build shelters for them!), we’ve arranged for a neighbor with a tractor to come till the new gardens, and the bees are flying!  I’m so excited to finally be able… Read more »

Sustainable beekeeping at the state beekeepers’ conference

deborah delaney ude scientist at msba

I love the assortment of people who are drawn to beekeeping.  Young and old, eccentric and conservative, financially solvent–and bootstrappers like me–those who make do with less.  People from all over the state come together for the annual Maine State Beekeepers’ conference to join together in the spirit of learning; to bask in the feeling of community generated by a… 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 »

The war for labeling of GM-crops battles on

Anyone who follows this blog on a regular basis is probably aware of my personal opposition to genetically modified organisms, also known as GMOs.  Back in Novemeber of 2012 I wrote a series of posts regarding the issues surrounding GMOs as we watched California gearing up to vote on Proposition 37 (here is their website).  I did extensive research, reading… Read more »

Talking pollinators with the Somerset master gardeners

Last night I had the privilege of speaking to a group of my peers, the master gardeners of Somerset County.  It was an informal pot-luck dinner for the alumni that the folks at the extension office organized to thank those who gathered for their time and dedication.  I was honored that Kathy Hopkins and Tom Goodspeed would think of me… Read more »

Basic beekeeping with the Somerset Beekeepers

kennebec-somerset open-hive

It’s getting to be that time of year again–the Somerset Beekeepers are planning their annual bee-school for the communities of Somerset County, here in Maine.  And I’m thrilled to be teaching the course again. As president of the Somerset Beekeepers it is my duty and privilege to teach new beekeepers the basics.  To be able to connect with people, to… Read more »