Tag Archives: new 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 »

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 »

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 »

Friends at Johnny’s Selected Seeds

johnnys selected seeds

I’ve been back to work at Johnny’s Selected Seeds since the start of the new year, and while it’s always a little bittersweet to have to work off the farm, I’m really very happy to be able to work for this company. This is my 2nd year working in their Call Center in Fairfield, Maine. I answer the phone, take… 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 »

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 »

The fall garden

fall turnips

I excused myself from the farmers’ market yesterday to spend some quality time with the farm. Perhaps that sounds funny, but to this farmer there is a very real need to spend time outside in nature, working the land that I have devoted myself to. Having to work off the farm means that there are a number of chores that… Read more »

Digging in

ireses around the well

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been more than two weeks since Runamuk and I became residents of Starks. This was our third move in the last six months, and like all of the other moves there has been a period where I was once again without internet access. That, coupled with the business of settling into the farmhouse, getting… Read more »

Yes, Samantha, you ARE a farmer

jim's farmhouse_fi

I have to admit, I was getting more than just a little discouraged. After coming from a farm in the middle of the woods, living on a small lot alongside a busy road–while being a step up from the apartment in-town–was still a bit of a shock to my system. But the rent was low and the landladies lovely to… 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 »

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 »

Every farm needs a tractor

every farm needs a tractor

This old 1950s Farmall tractor was donated to our farm–it took us a while to find someone to help us move it to the farm, but last Sunday it finally arrived! The tractor came with a number of attachments–including a plow, which I am ecstatic to say will help us keep our 200-yard driveway clear this winter (and also means… 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 »

Goats on the farm!

Samantha Burns   June 11, 2014   Comments Off on Goats on the farm!
goats at work

Yesterday as I was preparing to head down to the field to work in the garden, I received a phone call–some locals over in Madison had seen my advertisement in Uncle Henry’s (the ad basically says that we’re looking for livestock in our area), and were we interested in a couple of goats? Goats are at the top of our… Read more »

Market garden in progress

Samantha Burns   June 9, 2014   Comments Off on Market garden in progress
Onions 2014

My farmers’ tan is a testament to the amount of time I’ve been spending in the market garden lately, working long hours in the sun and in drizzling rain to get crops in the ground.  It’s an on-going process, and there’s also successive sowings to think about–and the fall crops to keep in mind. So far I’ve managed to get… Read more »

Taking it as it comes, rolling with the punches

Samantha Burns   June 4, 2014   Comments Off on Taking it as it comes, rolling with the punches
working in the hoop-house

Things are not going exactly how I’d hoped.  The meager savings Keith and I had managed to set aside have been spent–already invested into the farm.  Despite the fact that I ran an 11-family CSA 2 years ago, we were not able to attract the number of CSA subscribers we’d hoped for–having to skip a year last summer because of… Read more »

New market garden is in!

Samantha Burns   May 16, 2014   Comments Off on New market garden is in!
tilling the new garden

Is it strange to be so excited–so ecstatic–over the establishment of new garden plots? Perhaps this is something that only fellow gardeners, homesteaders, and farmers can understand–and if that is the the case–then I imagine that I am in good company. The lingering winter delayed our farm expansion quite a bit, but now that the snow is gone and mud-season… Read more »

First livestock arrives at Runamuk

livestock at runamuk acres

Thanks to the lingering winter-weather, we’re experiencing some frustrating delays in production.  New livestock shelters and gardens cannot be constructed until the snow has melted, and the mud has firmed up at least some.  However, despite the delay–I have managed to bring a few new critters to the farm. Willow I’m sure you all remember Willow–our great pyrenees/anatolian mix livestock… Read more »

Runamuk’s Indiegogo Campaign is now live

runamuk indiegogo campaign

My first attempt at making video for the internet is–well–not great, but it’s not completely horrible either. Honestly, I’m just not comfortable in front of a camera. But I did it, and I added it to our Indiegogo campaign page and with a deep breath I went live with our fundraising campaign. I’ve got all kinds of great promotions coming… 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 »

Challenges new farmers face

overcoming the challenges of establishing a new farm

“Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.”  –Denis Waitley. Farmers are a ruggedly determined lot.  The farmers whom I know personally, are full of vim and vigor, and while obstacles may sometimes get them down on occasion, typically these challenges do not hold them back for long. Even so, farming… 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 »

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 »