Miyazaki Marathon

Miyazaki Marathon

Rounding out the week with a Miyazaki Marathon on Sunday afternoon, I’m decidedly grateful for having made the most of these last few weeks. The quiet time between the end of one growing season and the start of the next is a much-needed time of rest and reflection. I feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for the work that lies ahead. It’s a good thing too, because back-to-back snow storms have kept me on my toes. The weather brings guests to the farmstay, which means more fabulous farm-to-table breakfasts, but it also means a lot of extra work in clean-up. And in between all of that, I prepare for lambing and seed-starting seasons. Join me for a cuppa and get the latest update from the farm…

miyazaki marathon
Photo credit: @animenewscentre

Wonderful Neighbors

Geared up in my insulated bibs, I felt pretty good about myself as I waded through knee-high snow on Wednesday morning. It was barely 6:30am and there was just the slightest hint of brightening on the horizon of the black sky. The forecast called for the falling snow to switch over to rain later in the morning. I knew once it did I would have no chance of moving so much snow with my snowblower, so I wanted to get an early start. By 7, however, it was already raining and my hopes of moving the mess on my own were drowned.

Fortunately, I have been blessed with some really wonderful neighbors on all sides of the farm. Mike came from across the road with his tractor to clear out both ends of our U-shaped driveway, and Alex came from the garage in the former-school next door to clear the rest. Whenever I get in over my head my neighbors are always willing to come to my rescue and for that, I am supremely grateful.

I’m always going to try to manage my business on my own─this farm was my choice. It’s my responsibility and mine alone. It wouldn’t be fair for me to expect others to carry the weight of this farm. As a single woman and solo-farmer, however, it’s hugely comforting to know that I have a few people looking out for me.

Shoveling Snow in the Rain

BraeTek, who turns 17 in less than a month (gasp!), came out to join me, and together we spent the next 2 hours shoveling snow in the rain. He cleared walkways to make hauling hay bales and buckets of water an easier chore. While I pulled snow off the roofs of the 3 livestock houses and shoveled a little yard in front of each of them. The sheep in particular do not like to wade through deep snow.

As I stood there in the pouring rain pulling snow off the ram’s little pallet-shed, it occurred to me that it was all rather paradoxical.

Because my body was so thoroughly heated from the intensive labor that my head was too hot to wear the winter hat, I’d stuffed it into the pouch of the hoodie. My hair hung like a wet mop about my head, rivulets of water streamed from the loose tendrils and I found myself uncertain whether to laugh or cry.

This is January in Maine? Whatever is going on with the climate─whatever we’ve done or haven’t done─there’s no denying that it’s different. Things have changed and we have no choice but to adapt as best we can.

Snow is good for business, however, and the farmstay has been mercifully busy. This is good, as I am trying to keep fuel in the tanks to run the furnace, and it would be nice to pay some bills.


The day after that particular storm dawned bright and sunny, and by midday it was comfortable enough to work outside in just my bibs and a hoodie. Reveling in the sun and fresh air, I installed the new “baby-gate” I’d made for the Nursery: a square section of cattle panel framed by wood with a swath of mill-felt tacked to it to block the wind. We’ll use it to contain the flock for their vaccinations and such. Then, it will already be in place to contain ewes with their lambs to the shed at night.

I also relocated the security camera to get a better view of activity, moved the supplement dispenser, and modified the hay manger in the lambing pens. There are a few improvements yet to come, but I’m pleased as punch with the progress and feeling really good about my efforts to ensure the survival of this year’s new lambs. Yay me!

Check out the ladies!

Subscription Page

There are a surprising number of behind-the-scenes tasks that happen at this time of the year, which set any farm up for the growing season ahead. Updating the farm website is one such project, and with some help from Emily Wolf of Emily Wolf Designs, this week’s big accomplishment was the new Support My Work page. I designed the page and Emily set up the subscription widget. There is also a new page for the Farmstand. Wooooooooooo!

Please do NOT panic, dear readers. This does NOT mean you have to pay to read the farm-blog. As I mentioned in my last post, the Runamuk blog will always be free to the public.

What it does mean, is that I now feel worthy and justified in asking to be paid for my work. I’ve spent years honing these skills as a wordsmith. I know there’s value in what I’m offering to the world, and I’m diligently working to bring more value to the table.

Please, if you enjoy reading my work, and IF you have the means and are so inclined, your voluntary payment would make a big difference here at Runamuk Acres. You can make a one-time donation, set up a recurring monthly or annual payment, or even click over to Sparkling Audacity at Substack and subscribe there instead─to ensure you’ll always have access to all of my work.

I thank you for your kindly consideration.

On the Chalkboard This Week

  • Vax Day: Tuesday
  • Pantry stock-up
  • Reign in the Propagation Room
  • 2 new writing pieces in progress

Sunday Afternoon

It’s not that I’m a workaholic, per se… It’s more that I enjoy my work immensely, so it’s not often I feel the need to take time away from it. Driven by a strong sense of purpose, I am fulfilled in my mission, content in my own company and in this existence I lead on the farm. I’m not hanging out with friends. I’m not dating. I don’t feel the urge to seek anything more. I’m just doing my own thing and loving it.

I call it my Me-Phase. My “Era of Solitariness”.

That being said, I do like to take time for myself on Sundays. This is the one day a week when I’ll make it a priority to do something just for me. When I saw the news about Hayao Miyazaki’s recent wins, I knew exactly how I wanted to spend my Sunday afternoon this week.

Miyazaki Marathon

celebrating hayao miyazaki
Photo credit: Instagram

I’m sure I’ve mentioned him before, and certainly if you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen re-shares related to his work. But for those who are not familiar with the name, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator who creates these character-rich and thought-provoking Earth-centric films in partnership with Studio Ghibli. Perhaps you’ve heard of Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, or Ponyo? There are many more.

My sister is an avid anime fan and introduced me to Miyazaki’s work 2 decades ago. We even have matching Ghibli-tattoos, lol. We’re serious fans, lol.

When I saw that Miyazaki had won the Best International Filmmaker award AND his first Golden Globe award for The Boy and the Heron, I knew that warranted a Miyazaki Marathon. After I’d finished with my chores for the day, I hunkered down on the couch with Murphy and a bowl of popcorn. We started with Howl’s Moving Castle, then moved onto Laputa. What a great way to end one week and usher in the next! 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, and 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