Tag Archives: beginning farmers

5 reasons to raise chickens

chicken-profile-pic

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 »

Searching for Runamuk’s forever-farm

landless-farmer

After last year’s “Great Farm Move” you’re probably as tired of hearing about my quest for a forever-farm and home for Runamuk as I am tired of searching. Yet when I left Jim’s farmhouse for Paul’s trailer I knew it could only be a temporary fix─that this would only be a stepping stone to what I really want. And what… 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 »

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

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 »

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 »

Butchering Meat Rabbits

Butchering Meat Rabbits

**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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

New winter market in Madison

madison winter farmers' market

It was a long struggle this summer searching for an indoor venue for the Madison Farmers’ Market to move to once the weather turned cold. This is my third year as manager of our budding market and I’m learning to allow plenty of time for planning and promoting events, so I started on the project back in June, broaching the… 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 »

Working off the farm

It’s a fact that many farmers need to work off the farm to cover their living expenses or to have access to health insurance or other sorts of benefits otherwise not available to them. And while I strive to reach a point where Runamuk is infact a self-sustaining business that pays its farmers’ living expenses, we are not there yet,… 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 »

Advertise with Runamuk and sponsor beginning farmers!

Runamuk invites local and green businesses to advertise with us on this blog-site. This site showcases Runamuk’s agricultural business with info about our farm, gardens, apiary, and beeswax products.  But it also focuses on sustainable living, organic farming and gardening, pollinator and wildlife conservation, beekeeping, even homeschooling and the communities of central Maine.  Therefore we attract a wide variety of… Read more »