Category Archives: Updates From the Farm

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

What’s next for Runamuk?

paul-smith-runamuk-apiary

It’s taken me a while to come to terms with the idea of walking away from Jim’s farm, and I fully admit that some days it’s still a struggle to accept defeat. As a beginning farmer, it’s already been a long journey with many twists and turns in the road, obstacles overcome and fears faced along the way, and this… Read more »

No honey to sell….again

honeybee on royal hybrid

It’s difficult to be at market and have to tell customers that I’m not going to have any honey this year, but that’s the state of things at the Runamuk Apiary. Two years in a row and no honey to sell. The reason for this honey-shortage is largely related to the fact that we’re still building up the Runamuk Apiary… 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 »

Moving beehives

Hives on the truck

The sky was just beginning to lighten Saturday morning as I went out to the apiary with scissors and a wet sponge. The bees were not yet active so it was an ideal time to close up hives in preparation for moving. I manage a few hives for Ernie and Gwen Hilton of Hyl-Tun Farm in Starks; just as mine… 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 »

Gaining perspective

Atop Pleasant Pond Mtn_Selfie

Murphy and I, along with a good friend of mine, climbed Pleasant Pond Mountain in Caratunk on Friday, reconnecting with another passion of mine: hiking and climbing mountains. Not the scaling rock kind of mountain-climbing where you need harnesses and specialty rope─noooo, I’m not that coordinated, lol. But the Appalachian-Trail kind of hiking and mountain climbing for sure. I’ve even toyed with… Read more »

Garden Update

Blanching Peas_FI

With the sowing of green beans on Friday, the garden is finally complete. If I weren’t moving this fall it wouldn’t be “done”, I would continue with succession sowings, planning for fall crops and cold-frames to carry us into the winter with hardy greens. But things being what they are, the green beans are it for this year. The garden… Read more »

Farm vs lifestyle

jim's barn

I’m not perfect. Nobody is. I have flaws and weaknesses─many flaws and many weaknesses, lol. This post is about 2 of them; I am a dreamer, and I have a deep love for beautiful things. Sometimes these weaknesses are a huge asset. Other times they’re a giant hindrance. Since I was young I dreamed of the picturesque farmhouse. It took… Read more »

Swarm!

Samantha Burns   June 17, 2016   1 Comment on Swarm!
honeybee swarm

A swarm of bees is a beautiful thing. A veritable cloud of bees all flying in every direction as they search for a pace to land their Queen. They choose a spot and form a protective ball around Her; a mass of bees with only one goal in mind: finding a new home. I didn’t even see the swarm until… Read more »

Kitten

Samantha Burns   June 7, 2016   No Comments on Kitten

My finger is sore, tender and slightly inflammed from the bite I received from a terrified kitten in fear for it’s life. But it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. It happened as I was leaving work at Johnny’s Selected Seeds last night…. I was glad to be done with the phones and happy to be free… Read more »

Even more bees!

new bees 2016

I got the call last week from the local beekeeper I’d ordered nucs with; they were ready. I was at Johnny’s at the time and could not contain myself─everyone around me knew my enthusiam and excitement. Yay bees! That moment of elation was quickly followed by a moment of panic. The loan I had applied for had not yet come… Read more »

Feeding ourselves

Bass FI

The season is well underway here at Runamuk, much as it is on farms across Maine. Trees are budding, pastures are greening up, and I am lulled to sleep each night by a chorus of randy frog-song out my window. And now that the dandelion bloom is underway, I can breathe a sigh of relief and count my blessings; four… Read more »

Market season underway

Harvest Bucks in Action

It was cool and overcast Sunday as the Madison Farmers’ Market came together at the Main Street Park in Madison. Fine friends I had scarcely seen since our last winter market back in December, cars and trucks loaded with wares, gear and market-equipment, some with their children in tow. Winter is finally over and spring has come to our part… Read more »

Growing season

2016 Spring Apiary_sm

It’s been a long few months leading up to spring and the start of the growing season. Temperatures have fluctuated unpredicatably from one week to the next, sunny and warm one week and frigid and snowing the next. But at last the weather pattern is smoothing out. I can hear the peepers in the pond at night, new shoots are poking up… Read more »