A Home for Runamuk

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I am ecstatic–I am ridiculously exuberant and utterly over-joyed.  We have a home for Runamuk–a place where we will be able to expand our business and our efforts to lead a more self-sustaining life.  A place where we can truly be ourselves.

It is the old Burns-family farm-land, just five miles outside of Anson on Rt 158-west.  This is the same place we once lived, raising our babies in the woods without plumbing–and I am so happy to be able to return there.  For a time we thought it wasn’t possible–unfeasible–and perhaps there are still paths that would be easier.  But we could never completely let go the dream of that place–it was already part of who we’d become.  And so with the blessing of Keith’s parents, we will have 50-acres to work with.  It’s a huge responsibility, and one that we do not take lightly–and it means everything that the Burnses would put their faith and trust in us–because that land means so much to the entire family.  It has been passed down from generation to generation–Keith’s grandfather–the man we named our eldest son for–William Burns–once farmed there with his own family.  It is the place where my father in-law grew up, and even my own husband lived there as a baby for a short time.

The farm is all grown up now.  The forests have grown where once pasture used to be.  The farmhouse is derelict and collapsing in upon itself; it will have to be taken down.  The only evidence of the old barn is the stone foundation where it once sat.

We will be starting at Square One.  A well and septic-system, and the foundation for a house are necessities.  After that we need to have a hoop-house–preferably two–to be able to start the seedling-production aspect of our business.  Livestock is going to be a necessity in reclaiming the old pastures for farming and gardening.  There’s a lot to be done, but at least we’ve been given the opportunity to spend our lives doing it.

Next Tuesday I have a meeting with the Farm Service Agency.  We’re going to need financing to make this dream a reality–and the FSA has a loan-guarantee program, as well as programs and services for beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers (like women), and I’m hoping that the folks there will be an ally as I strive to move Runamuk where it belongs.

So follow along with us as we expand from a “micro-farm” into a full-fledged farm, protecting and promoting pollinators, raising our family in the woods and striving for a sustainable existence.

About Samantha Burns

Sam(antha) Burns is a farmer and beekeeper at the Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm in Maine. She has spent more than 20 years gardening and writing, has kept bees for more than a decade, and worked 4 years in the Call Center at Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Sam uses methods of regenerative agriculture and bee-friendly farming on her 53-acre farm, and is a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation─especially pollinators. In her spare time she enjoys writing, and tormenting her 2 teenaged sons with her banjo-playing!

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