Tag Archives: how-to

Sprouts: easy DIY winter greens

sprouts-easy-diy-winter-greens

I’ve been eating sprouts during the winter for a number of years now. Sprouts are a quick and easy way to provide the family with fresh veg all year long regardless of where you live. They’re pure, fresh, and nutrient-rich food that can be produced easily whether you’re 3 or 103. I like to use the jar method because I… Read more »

8 tips for growing your own seedlings

tips-for-growing-your-own-seedlings

Growing your own seedlings is not hard to do and opens the door to new opportunities for the home gardener, homesteader or small farmer. You’ll have a vast number of varieties available to choose from, more control over the amount of seed you purchase, and you’ll save money by growing your plants yourself. Starting your own plants gives you the chance… 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 »

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 »

DIY screened bottom board “sticky-stuff”

diy screened bottom board sticky-stuff

The beginning of August signifies the end of the spring nectar flow here in Maine. At this point in the season there is a nectar dearth, meaning we experience a period of time when there is a scarcity of available nectar. In my neck of the woods the dearth usually lasts 2-3 weeks on average. Beekeepers in Maine take advantage… Read more »

Working with beeswax

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 »

How do I afford to keep my farm going?

The Barn

An acquaintance of mine emailed me recently asking how I can afford a farm, and how can you know what to do to be profitable?  Those are two totally separate and totally loaded questions, so I am going to answer the first here, and the second one in  a separate post. Lots of people are drawn to the homesteading and… Read more »

Conducting a SWOT analysis of your farm

SWOT_FI

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 »

Porcupine on the farm

problems with porcupine on the homestead

We have a bit of a problem on our farm. A porcupine problem–to be specific. With an overabundant population they’re devastating the trees of our forest and repeatedly coming into contact with our dogs. But what can you do about porcupine problems on your homestead or farm? Disclaimer: This post contains images that may be too graphic for some readers,… 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 »

Preparing your beehives for winter

Samantha Burns   August 29, 2014   Comments Off on Preparing your beehives for winter
Runamuk Winter Apiary_2014_FI

As the rush of spring and early summer wanes, the beekeepers’ attention turns toward the up-coming cold months.  Getting your honeybee colonies through the winter–especially one such as those we experience here in Maine–is perhaps the second most challenging thing a beekeeper will face (the first being coping with varroa mites).  Wintering beehives is very largely dependent on your location,… Read more »

Bee days

Samantha Burns   August 26, 2014   Comments Off on Bee days
swan's apiary & beekeeping supply

The last few days have been bee-days for me here at Runamuk. I’ve been more hands-off with the bees this year, which is odd for me, but good for the bees I think. However when I began to see bees crawling down the driveway with shriveled and deformed wings, I knew something was wrong in my hives.  Saturday I needed… Read more »

Spring hive management

Spring Beekeeping

Hooray for spring!  Let beekeepers everywhere rejoice!  The sun is shining, and the trees are beginning to bud, it’s warming up and the bees are flying again! How did your bees fare during the long cold winter?  With diligence, and perhaps a little bit of luck–your hives came through the winter, and if you’re anything like me–the long winter months… Read more »

Promoting native pollinators on your farm

Native Bees on Farms

For farmers and homesteaders, it just makes sense to promote the myriad of busy buzzing insects about your farm.  By promoting native bees you’re effectively promoting the overall health of the  ecosystem that you are responsible for as a farmer–since bees are a keystone species and their health and well-being directly impacts plants and animals all the way up the… Read more »

Companion planting made easy

plant companions in the garden

It was my father in-law who first introduced me to the concept of companion planting, as we discussed gardening, and he sagely shared the secret of planting marigolds with tomatoes in order to repel nematodes.  I remember wondering what other plants could be grown among my crops to aid in the health of the garden, and then I wondered why… Read more »

6 tips for handling bees

how to handle your beehive

When I got started with beekeeping, I had spent a year prior to bringing my bees home, just researching and doing my homework.  My dear sister-in-law, who had watched over a hive in her youth, was by my side, and we were so brave and confident in our abilities to tame the stinging bees with our sweet song and beauty,… Read more »

How To Set Up Your First Beehive

how to set up your 1st beehive

Imagine you’re sitting at a four-way intersection, a red stop light hanging above you, while the hum of buzzing comes from a pair of rectangular wooden boxes strapped into the passenger’s seat next to you. The Nuc boxes–or nucleus colonies–contain more than 10,000 bees each.  Bees cling to, and crawl across the wire mesh stapled over the openings that prevents… 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 »

Garden planning for beginners

garden planning for beginners

An expression of art and science, gardening is a practice that dates back to the start of civilization, and is both creative and economical.  With the ever-increasing trend towards green and sustainable living, gardening is enjoying a resurgence–if you’ve been considering taking up the habit, I hope this is your year!  If you’ve been toying with the idea of gardening… Read more »

Establishing a new farm: tools & investments

first farm investments

This is part 2 in our Establishing a New Farm blog-series.  Click here to see part 1: Where to Start & How to Prioritize. When I first started keeping bees I didn’t have many of the tools that I have now.  Hell–I didn’t even have a veil!  Looking back on it now–I really have no idea why I thought I… Read more »

DIY broths from kitchen scraps

finished diy vegetable broth

I’m one of those people who really loves soups and stews.  A good soup simmering on the stove makes a house feel like home, it offers comfort during stressful times, and it warms you through and through when it’s bitterly cold outside.  In addition to all that–soups offer lots of health benefits since they’re typically made with fresh, low-fat ingredients,… Read more »

7 foods you can easily grow indoors this winter

kitchen windowsill herb garden

Now that the balmy days of summer are behind us, and the time to tuck in for the long cold of winter has come–I like to play around with growing different foods inside my house.  The gardening season may be over, but providing fresh and nutritious foods for family meals is a never-ending task, and though I am not yet… Read more »

Dealing with hornworms in the organic garden

tobacco hornworm

I don’t know whether I hadn’t had an infestation of hornworms before, or I just hadn’t noticed them (which seems rather impossible!), but the tobacco hornworms have had a good year this year and there’s no avoiding them.  One day all your beautiful tomato and pepper plants are healthy and fine, and the next–bam! –you’re facing devastation.  My farmer–as I’ve… Read more »

How and why to do mite-tests in your apiary

varroa mite on honeybee

Recently I went around to the various Runamuk apiaries to perform my annual mite-tests, and while the 12 colonies under my care have struggled to produce surplus honey, I am happy to say that compared to last year when mite problems ran rampant throughout the state–and even my own hives–this year mites have posed less of a problem. While I… Read more »

Do NOT buy ladybugs; attract native species to your garden instead

ladybugs as predators

Ladybugs are often touted as a safe solution to aphid problems in the garden because their use doesn’t involve harmful pesticides.  The little spotted beetles are popular all over the world, and in ancient times they were thought to be indicators of good fortune and a bountiful harvest. However commercially available ladybugs are not native to the US, and pose… Read more »