Marshmallow World

Marshmallow World

We woke to a marshmallow world on Monday, farm and landscape blanketed in white. The cold and snow of winter fully upon us now. These are the Darkest Days of the year stretching out ahead and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad to be sequestered in the kitchen. In spite of a Thanksgiving-related injury, I cranked out a full gamut of baked goods last week, opening the farmstand for locals for the first time since earlier in the summer. Our newest addition to the farm had his Big Day, and BraeTek and I undertook the annual tree jaunt, kicking off a season of festivities here at Runamuk Acres. Read on to get the full story…

marshmallow world
It’s a Marshmallow World in the Winter!

The Turkey That Fought Back

At first, I couldn’t even remember what I’d done to my poor foot. A little on the clumsy side and usually rather distracted with everything I have going on, I’m forever giving myself minor injuries. Usually, they’re just bumps and bruises─or the occasional smashed thumb─but this one was a bone-deep bruise that was slowly spreading and growing ever darker. The spot was beyond tender to touch, but I could walk on it okay…till that dreaded “Day 3”.

It seems to me that the third day of any illness or injury is always the worst, but after that the healing process takes over and things start to go the other way. Of course, I wasn’t going to let a silly old bruise stop me from working─there’s too much to be done! However, when I was 18 I fractured the bones in my left foot in 5 places during basic training for the Army. Then, I ran and marched on it for a week not realizing it was damaged until I couldn’t put my combat boot on.

You’d think you’d know when your bones are broken, but experience has taught me that’s not always the case. So, when working became too painful, I decided I’d better take myself off to the ER to make sure nothing was broken.

I wracked my brain, trying to remember what I’d done to myself and it finally dawned on me that I’d dropped a frozen turkey on my foot last Tuesday! It was such a nasty blow that it took a couple of days to set in. With all of the commotion of Thanksgiving, I completely forgot about it. But there was no ignoring it now, so I drove the 40 minutes to the Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington to have it x-rayed. If I had fractured or broken any bones, I didn’t want to be doing more damage to it than I already had.

The same hospital where I gave birth to each of my 2 sons, the staff at Franklin Memorial x-rayed the offending foot and we all laughed at the irony of the situation. That I should be called to the ER, not by some serious farming-related injury, but by a Thanksgiving turkey of all things.

Thankfully, it turned out that nothing was broken, though I did have a severe contusion. I was advised to “stay off it for a while”…another laughable irony in my world.

Farmstand is Open!

winter farmstand hours
Winter farmstand hours: Fri-Sun 8-6 thru New Years’!

I may not be able to stay off it entirely, but I can take it easy on my poor foot and be mindful of how I’m using it. Putting myself on kitchen-duty seemed like the best option for this workaholic. Plus, this is my favorite time of year to bake.

With the garden under a blanket of snow and cold weather having set in, the lure of the outside world is lessened and I am content to be in the kitchen. It’s a place where I make magic happen and I love it. Food has this amazing ability to bring magic to any event or occasion. You can make the most ordinary of day special just by bringing food to the table. Food brings people together.

That is my gift to the community I serve. Let me help you bring your friends and family together this holiday season.

Now through New Years’, the farmstand will be open on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8am-6pm) with whatever I have to offer. If you’re a local, be sure to stop by and see us! If you’re from away, passing through on your way to Sugarloaf, be sure to stop by and see us! We’re just a stone’s throw off route 16 in New Portland.

Winter Snow-Tires

winter snowtires
Keepin’ it safe with winter snowtires.

Since mid-summer, I’ve been driving around on bald-tires, waiting for finances to improve so that I could replace them. Having lived in Maine my whole life, I’ve been through enough winters to know that your vehicle’s tires make all the difference in snowy conditions. With all-wheel drive, my Subaru goes like a tank in even the most treacherous of conditions─if she has good tires.

Typically, I like to buy new tires in October, just ahead of the snowy months to come. Finances being what they are, however, I held off a bit this year. When we got further into November I decided I’d better pull the trigger regardless and asked Jeremy at Big Ugly’s Auto Werks over in Bingham to set me up with a set of used snow-tires.

A former member of Runamuk’s disbanded CSA program, I’ve known Jeremy a long time. Since my days at North Star Orchards where I used to work with his mom, Vicky. Thankfully, Jeremy was able to get me a great deal on a set of used studded-snows. 5 tires with plenty of remaining tred for $160! I don’t travel very far anymore, preferring to stay close to the farm, so these will certainly last me till next fall.

Kyo’s Big Day

It seems I’ve developed a habit of bringing new pets home following a breakup. There’s something about a new furry love that eases heartache. Murphy was a break-up baby I brought home from the Franklin County Animal Shelter almost 10 years ago, and now I have Kyo.

Kyo is an orange kitten whose name comes from the Fruits Basket anime series, after a character with bright orange hair and a fiery temper. While my Kyo is a fairly mellow guy, he does share the same bright orange hair as his namesake.

4 seems like a fair number of cats for a small farm and that is my limit. With 3 already, plus regular visits from the neighbor’s cat, I held off a long time on number 4. That spot was reserved for my orange kitty, and I wasn’t doing that until I was able to get Beebe spayed, something that’s still waiting for the funds to materialize. I’ve done well to abide by that decision, too, in the 3 years since I brought home my livestock guardian. Until now…

It was shortly after my breakup when I came across the post on a local facebook group. In the next town over someone had a pair of orange kittens they were looking to place. That day also happened to be the first anniversary of the passing of my sister’s beloved australian shepherd, Avriik. I’m sure you can guess the rest, lol.

I brought home the 2 kittens that day. One for me and the other for my sister. I don’t regret it one bit, either. Having a new baby in the house has been a balm to my wounded heart and a source of joy for our household. Kyo is a sweet and affectionate kitty, with a striking swirl-pattern to his orange coat. It’s wonderful to see the way BraeTek dotes on him. Guests to the farmstay have adored his fuzzy kitten antics, and I have a new purring, white-noise machine lulling me to sleep every night. He’s a great addition to the farm.

It was all chance and happenstance that I found the details for an upcoming low-income spay/neuter clinic in my area. I called right away and was able to secure one of the limited spots for Kyo. For just $10, he was given a round of shots, a flea treatment, and the all-important castration operation. Much like good old, Bob Barker from the Price is Right, I firmly believe in spaying and neutering my pets. There are far too many stray cats and dogs in this world and this is the one thing I can do about it.

Opting to wait the 3 hours in town, rather than haul back and forth to the farm, I spent the morning writing at the Skowhegan Public Library.


If you’ve been following for a while, you’ll know that expanding my writing career is important to me. It was one of the things I wanted to give more time to and part of the reason for letting go of my CSA program. I want to be a legitimate writer, a published author earning an income from a skill I’ve spent so long honing. If I can make the seemingly impossible dream of farm-ownership a reality, I know I can make this dream a reality, also.

writer selfie
A writer’s selfie…

Long-time readers might not see much activity on the blog, but I assure you I am up at 3 almost every day to write. I have a couple of works-in-progress─novels that I’ve been pecking away at during these early morning hours in the office.

At the moment, though, I am feeling more inspired to write at Substack. These essays and stories from my farm-life are what I most love to write, and I believe I can do it even better with more time and dedication. I have these burning truths within me─lessons I’ve learned throughout my life─and I want to share them. At Substack, I can grow my audience and build my reputation as a writer, which will aid me in my mission to become more than just a hobby-blogger.

If you’re not familiar with it, Substack is a publishing platform for writers (say whaaaaaaaaat!?). It’s true! A community of writers and aspiring authors, where they can publish their work and have it reviewed by a community of their peers. Substack offers writers an easy way to monetize and earn an income from their writing (because the founders of Substack believe that good writing is worth paying for─and I agree!). I’d never heard of it till a month or so ago when a favorite author of mine moved her blog there. Now I’m totally hooked.

With that, I’d like to announce that I am starting my own Substack column, entitled “Sparkling Audacity”. I’ll still write and maintain Runamuk’s farm-blog, but Substack offers the opportunity to explore and expand my writing. I’d like to write more as Samantha Burns and less as “Mrs. Runamuk”, if you know what I mean… It’s an investment in myself and my future, and I hope you will join me there.

Click here to find “Sparkling Audacity” on Substack. Subscribe for free to follow!

Annual “Tree-Jaunt”

We rounded out the week here with our annual “Tree-Jaunt” on Sunday. In which we take a stroll, a hike, or a “jaunt” through the back 40 in search of the season’s Solstice tree (we favor the Winter Solstice over Christmas in this house).

junior farmer
BraeTek, my junior farmer, and the annual Solstice tree.

This was partially intended to appease BraeTek after we had to cancel this month’s D&D session due to the impending snowstorm. The other reason was because─if we got the tree before the 9-inches of snow was dumped on us─I could use the car to eliminate half the work. Whereas, if we’d waited, I wouldn’t have been able to get the car across the field, and dragging a 10-foot tree half a mile back to the farmhouse with chainsaw in tow, while not impossible, does makes the task more onerous.

It almost chokes me up to think my youngest will be 17 in just a couple of months. I’m so proud of the young man he is becoming. I wish he would let me take more pictures to show him off, but he staunchly refuses. He told me when was younger, he and his friends took turns looking each other up online. He was embarrassed when they discovered he had so many pictures there (because of my blog and online promotion of the farm).

Mostly, I try to respect his wishes, but it’s a mother’s privilege to document her child’s progress and to shower them with love and affection. Sometimes, I can’t help myself, lol, and the phone-camera comes out anyway. If he catches me, he always flips me off to prevent me from sharing them. Usually, I refrain…but not always.


On the list for this week:

  • Digging out after our first big storm of the season.
  • Another round of baking for the farmstand.
  • Lesson planning for our homeschool efforts.
  • Decorating the tree and farmhouse for the Solstice.
  • Put plastic on the oldest windows in the farmhouse.

Marshmallow World

My heart sang as I stepped out my door into the wintery wonderland on Monday morning. A thick blanket of snow lay on the ground, on the rooftops and on the trees─on everything! 9-inches we’d gotten overnight and it continued to snow, even as I began the task of cleaning it up.

Undaunted, my heart thrilled to see the farm engulfed in such beauty. Even over the sound of the snowblower, I could hear Dean Martin’s Marshmallow World playing in my head and I drank in the sight of it all. It’s a marvel to see the landscape so drastically altered in the course of a single night.

Gone is the drab brown world of late fall. Here is Old Man Winter, resplendent in all his dazzling finery, come to cloak the land in soft white─glittering and bright.

When you live in such a pristine paradise, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed with gratitude for such blessings. Even with driveways to clear and paths to shovel, it is a blessing to live and work in such a beautiful part of Maine. It’s a blessing to have this farm, to have heat in my house, good tires on my car─and to be able to live this life that I love so much─even if the Thanksgiving turkey does fight back on occasion, lol.

Much love to you and yours, my friends!

Thank you for following along with the story of this lady-farmer! It is truly a privilege to live this life serving my family and community, while protecting wildlife through agricultural conservation. Check back soon for more updates from the farm, and be sure to follow @RunamukAcres on Instagram or Facebook!

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Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm