Carpe Diem: 2014; Moving forward with our farm expansion

Carpe Diem: 2014; Moving forward with our farm expansion

We’re finally moved in at the new homestead and the family is settling back into our familiar routines.  With my kitchen unpacked, I am at long last able to get back to my typical Sunday baking habit–admittedly, homemaking (cooking, baking, cleaning, etc.) is not my most favorite of activities, but baking my own breads really seems to make a place feel like home–I had not realized how much I missed it.

Home for the solstice

solstice gifts from santamaine ice storm 2013


We were able to celebrate the Winter Solstice here, and we’ve enjoyed 2 snow storms and an ice storm since we moved in.  The hillside and the forest is serene with it’s blanket of white, and the coating of glistening ice sparkles in the sunlight.  I am happy and content, feeling complete once again.


trees in icespruce in iceThe only thing that was missing was a connection to the outside world.  A brand new home needs a brand new installation of phone lines, and with so many storms in the forecast, our phone company couldn’t get to us for 2 weeks.  Yesterday they finally made it out here, and now I am able to take phone calls again on a secure land-line, respond to emails, and return to blogging in full-force.

A faux farmer

maine ice storm 2013_hives in ice


For years I have been practicing living sustainably, micro-farming on our 1-acre leased lot in-town, keeping bees on other farmers’ property–I was farming in practice, but I felt like a fake.  Now that we are finally living in our own home on our own land, I can feel like a real farmer.  It is our property to do with what we please.

A New Years’ theme

I’ve mentioned before my practice of assigning a theme to each year, rather than abiding by the traditional practice of  setting New Years’ resolutions that will ultimately fail–I think long and hard about all of the things that I want to accomplish in the up-coming year, and try to determine what all those goals and aspirations have in common.  To me, even the simplest word can have power if you can identify with it on a personal level, and that can give you strength and courage to sustain yourself throughout the year.  At least–that’s how I see it, and it works for me.

Sometimes it takes me weeks or months to determine the best word or phrase for my up-coming year.  I start thinking about this stuff well in advance of the new year.  But this year, my theme came to me without struggle or delay.  In fact, before Thanksgiving I already knew what my theme for 2014 would be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA phineas and ferb gingerbread house







It’s the same theme that we used for our gingerbread house in the Madison Holiday Gingerbread Competition.  A theme that has surfaced throughout 2013 on several occasions, and it only seems fitting that we use it to propel us forward into 2014 as we set to work expanding our farm.

Carpe diem is Latin for “Seize the Day”.  And that is absolutely what I intend to do.

Goals for 2014

We have a long list of projects to get done this first year–whereas before when we lived out here, we were adrift, unsure of our paths in life, now Keith and I know what we want, where we are going, and we are determined to see it through.  Runamuk is a dream–a farm and lifestyle that will sustain our lives, and that of our children, with the notion that when they are grown with families of their own we will have something significant, something meaningful to leave them–this farm and all that it stands for is our legacy, our gift to future generations of Burnses.

Some of the projects for this year include:

  • old apple orchardReclaiming the old apple orchard.
  • Cleaning up the property.
  • Build housing for goats, chickens, and rabbits.
  • Construct summer shelters for pigs and broiler birds.
  • Erecting fencing for livestock.
  • Install a water collection system.
  • Create a cold-storage facility for food preservation.
  • Establish 2 new gardens–one of which will be cover cropped this first year.
  • Put up a mini high-tunnel for seedling propagation–sell seedlings at farmers’ market to fund expansion of farm.
  • Locate and map wild edibles on the property.
  • Assess wildlife populations.
  • Build a solar dehydrator to assist in food preservation.
  • Put up a clothesline.
  • Make and/or invest in signage (a farm sign at the end of the road, magnetic signs for the RUnamuk truck, t-shirts)
  • Launch Kickstarter campaign to fund the investment in a tractor.

And of course, there’s the continued expansion of the apiary–this year I hope to reach 18 hives, and I’m hoping that having this brand new kitchen, complete with dishwasher, will allow me to get a home processor’s license for honey processing in the summer and fall.

Funding our farm expansion

Just because all of these things are on the list, does not mean they will be accomplished, I accept that fact and look at the list as more of a goal for the year.  It all comes down to time and money.  In addition to sales at farmers’ market and on the farm, we will have about $2000 out of our tax return to invest in Runamuk, so now that I am back online I am looking into grants for beginning farmers and for women farmers–I’ll keep you posted on that.  😉

Let’s get started!

I have a great list of blog-posts to work through–now that we are here and I’m online again–preparations for the up-coming bee-school I will be teaching on behalf of the Somerset Beekeepers, and planning for the 2014 Madison Farmers’ Market.  So much to do, and I am eager to get started!

Happy New Years!

Share your thoughts, comments or questions!

Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm