Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness

Gratitude for random acts of kindness swelled within me, as I sat scribbling by candlelight in the wee-hours of the morning. The storm had subsided, but I could hear Gilman Stream’s roaring, even through the closed window of my little farm-office. Aside from the loss of power and communications, we fared well enough in the face of Monday’s storm. Though Gilman Pond and the aforementioned Gilman Stream are just a stone’s throw away, Runamuk sits high enough and far enough away that we are not at risk. Instead, my mind was filled with the many blessings that have allowed this farm to grow and thrive.


I was on Mom-duty last week, with a couple of doctor’s appointments for BraeTek. Nothing serious, just your usual well-child check-up and an eye-exam. I also went to see my PCP to ensure my injured foot is healing properly following the frozen-turkey incident. With little to no mechanized equipment here at Runamuk, my feet─indeed my entire body─are crucial to my work. There’s still some bruising and bump, but Doc says everything looks good.

Lamb is Back!

On Tuesday I trucked over to Charleston to retrieve our processed lamb. They do a great job at Maple Lane Farms. With the cuts and the packaging, then carefully deep-freezing the meat to ensure longevity. It was incredibly satisfying to fill the chest freezer out in the barn.

The next morning I sent out an email to our CSA members to begin the process of distributing the lamb. Members placed orders through a Google form I’d put together, noting their priority-cuts. With only 6 critters to share between 40 households, I couldn’t guarantee that everyone would get everything they wanted. But, I could make sure they got what they wanted most. Between Wednesday and Sunday, CSA members stopped by during scheduled time-slots to retrieve their share of lamb.

I admit that it’s hard to let any of it go. I could eat lamb every night of the week and not get sick of it. What’s more, it’s a wonderfully secure feeling to have a freezer full of meat. Especially when it’s meat you’ve produced with your own blood, sweat and tears.

Seeing how excited my CSA members were to receive even a taste of Runamuk’s grass-fed, lovingly-tended lamb, took some of the sting out of having to share the harvest, lol. They all recognized how fortunate their households are to have access to a local source of quality lamb.

NOTE: Because we are such a small farm with such a small sheep-harvest, we have very limited amounts of lamb and only harvest once a year. This year, the harvest went to CSA members. Next year, however, we will not have a CSA program and the 2024 lamb-harvest will be available to the local community direct from our farmstand-on-the-porch. Stay tuned, my friends!

Random Acts of Kindness

random acts of kindness
Christening the new stove with chocolate-chip pancakes, pumpkin-spice pancakes, and scrambled eggs for farmstay guests!

We’d been getting by with a faulty stove-top on our kitchen range for a month or so here. The range that came with the house had a glass-top, which does not allow for replacement of burners, so we made do. It wasn’t ideal, but not impossible. Business to the farmstay is quiet here, between the end of leaf-peeping season and the start of ski season, so the demand was low. Now, with the busy ski season just around the corner, I really need a working stovetop to be able to cook all my fabulous farm-to-table breakfasts.

I put an APB out to my community on facebook, just to see if anyone I knew happened to have a used model they’d upgraded from. A second-hand range was about all my budget could afford, and so long as it worked, then I could work.

It was a wonderful surprise when friends from my farmers’ market days reached out to me to say they wanted to help. Would it be okay if they bought us a new stove? And was a basic model okay?

……………………………….Friends, I am continually humbled by the generosity and support shown me by the communities this farm serves. Overwhelmed with gratitude, my mission─my life’s purpose─are continually reaffirmed by such random acts of kindness. How could I possibly be on the wrong path when such blessings just fall into place?

Of course, I work my butt off trying to grow this farm of mine─this ecological reserve. People see those labors for what they are. They value and appreciate that level of effort and dedication. For me, it is a self-perpetuating cycle. The more blessings I am given, the harder I’m going to work to make sure I’m earning those gifts and that respect from my community.

I thank you. With all my heart and everything that I am, I thank you all for your kindnesses and support over the years. It really does make a difference and I’m grateful for it.

“Try the Breakfast!”

farm-to-table breakfast
The new stove arrived just in time to feed some hungry skiers!

Amid the flurry of appointments, the lamb-distribution, and swapping the old range for the new, we were also gearing up for incoming guests to our farmstay. This involves prepping the guest room, de-cluttering and cleaning the common spaces. Making sure the litter box is fresh, the toilet has been scrubbed and the floors have been swept and mopped.

In Runamuk’s airbnb listing, I’m very upfront about the fact that this is a working farm. I go to great lengths to ensure visitors are coming into a clean space, even after I’ve been moving sheep on the field, or digging in the garden all day. That doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional bucket of ice thawing off to one side. Or a few tools that made it into the house in my pockets, now waiting in a pile on the dryer for me to cart them back to the barn or garage.

I like to think that adds to the authenticity of the experience, though─like my giant chalkboard to-do list on the dining room wall. The farmstand on the porch, where visitors like to snag bread and cookies. And the affections of Kyo, the orange tabby, or Murphy, my elderly lab (I can’t believe I’m referring to Murph as elderly…sob! at 10, I’m hoping he has a good many years yet, even if he is somewhat slower in his advancing age.). It’s all part of the farm-experience.

Generally, guests must agree about our authenticity, because Runamuk’s farmstay has a 4.88 rating out of possible 5 stars on Airbnb. Looking through our Guest Book, pretty much every group raves about and writes: “Try the breakfast!” A recent group from Ontario made it a point to tell me that the even guard at the border crossing had heard of Runamuk Acres! How cool is that!?

New Substack

Pleased with myself for the consistency I’ve shown in my writing lately, I’ve published another piece over at Substack entitled: “Embracing the Symphony of Existence”. So far, I am just writing what comes naturally at Substack, with the hope that my words might inspire others. Mostly I am practicing my own authenticity─for me─allowing my voice the freedom of expression and exploring this new version of Sam. Sam the Writer. Oh, the places she’ll go!

The Storm

It was a low-pressure system that raced from Florida to Maine in 36 hours. Fueled by subtropical humidity from the Atlantic, the storm dumped unprecedented amounts of rain across the state. Rivers and streams flooded their banks, washing out roads and bridges. Gusting winds toppled trees and downed power lines to more than 400,000 households, including ours.

Thanks to my trusty Coleman camp-stove, we are still able to cook food and heat water during power-outages.

To the south of us, the mighty Kennebec has submerged roads and the Madison-Anson bridge has been closed by DOT engineers. It will remain closed for a couple days yet as we wait for the waters to subside.

To the west of us, the shallow Sandy River became a torrential force that took out a bridge over in Strong, and temporarily cutting off access to Farmington.

Then, to the north of us in Kingfield and Carrabassett Valley, up near Sugarloaf, the mountain-fed Carrabassett River swallowed route 16, sweeping away a section of road.

Gilman Pond and it’s tributary, Gilman Stream, which feeds into the Carrabasset River about a mile south-east of the farm are the nearest waterways to the Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm. The stream, normally a shallow, slow-moving and rather mucky tributary, lies some 400-600 yards east of us─across the road and just beyond the neighbors’ house. Here the landscape drops sharply, the hillside diving into a little gorge cut by the stream over the eons.

Safe from the danger of flooding, and with no large trees within the vicinity of the house and outbuildings, the only real threat we face is the loss of power and communication systems. Normally when this happens during the winter, the concern is for frozen pipes (and people). This time, however, temperatures were mild enough that hasn’t been a concern. My only real issue in this storm was that I’ve allowed my supply of mini propane tanks to dwindle, putting me at risk of not being able to heat water for coffee.

When that’s your only concern, you really can’t complain, lol.

Nonplussed, I heated a can of baked beans and a hot dog on my Coleman camp-stove Monday night. I ate my dinner by romantic candlelight, enjoying a good book, something I do far too infrequently. The following morning, with the power still out, I heated water and made my coffee with the French press─another thing I do far too infrequently.

These instances force you to take a step back. It’s as if life is paused─just for one night. While Mother Nature is having her moment, there’s nothing much that can be done. The best thing is to take cover and shelter in place until her rage has subsided. For those without generators, that one night feels like stepping back in time. We burn candles, cook food differently (if we cook at all), and break out neglected books and forgotten board games. Without the constant distraction of modern electronics we find connection in each other. And in ourselves.

In this regard, modern technology has been both a blessing and a curse. For, while we can predict storms and save lives, we are losing the very essence of our humanity to these hypnotizing screens.

This Week

  • Farmstand baking: There will be holiday cookies, frozen breads and fresh pea shoots available on the farmstand this holiday weekend. And maybe lamb, if I can bear to part with any more of it.
  • Surviving the storm: We are still waiting on a desperately needed delivery of heating fuel. Once the bridges and roads are passable again, I’m sure we’ll see that big truck roll up. In the meanwhile, I’ll haul fuel 5 gallons at a time.
  • Holiday prep: The usual wrapping of gifts and making of treats.
  • Secret projects: I like to make at least one homemade thing for each of my family members. I’m down to the wire this year finishing these gifts.
  • BraeTek is away: Spending the Solstice with his Dad this year, BraeTek won’t return to the farm until Christmas Eve. I have mixed feelings about the peace and quiet that has descended upon the farmhouse, lol.

Happy Winter Solstice!

When I write to you next, dear farm-friends, it will be after both Winter Solstice and Christmas have passed. So I will take this opportunity to thank you, as always, for reading and following along with the story of this farm and it’s lady-farmer.

I thank the people this farm serves: the communities of New Portland, Kingfield and Carrabassett Valley, Anson, Madison, Embden and Solon. I thank every local person, or traveling visitor who has ever stopped by our little farmstand or farmstay. To every person who has ever read anything I’ve ever written. And a special thank you for the many wonderful random acts of kindness that have made this farm possible. My heart is full with gratitude and love, for the opportunity to do this work and to fulfill purpose here on Earth.

From all of us here at the Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm, wishing the Happiest of Winter Solstices and Merriest of Christmases to you and yours. Much love always, 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