Runamuk’s 1st-Ever Open Farm Day!

open farm day

This past Sunday Runamuk participated in it’s 1st-ever Maine Open Farm Day. This was Maine’s 30th annual Open Farm Day, which gives the public the opportunity to meet their local farmers and support agricultural businesses across the state. Runamuk invited it’s local community to stop by the farm, offering tours, the chance to pet the sheep and meet the chickens, or to have pictures taken atop Walter, our antique tractor. It was a very rewarding day on the farm.

open farm day_2019

Quality vs Quantity

Honestly, I didn’t promote Runamuk’s participation in Open Farm Day very loudly; in fact, I just sort of whispered it. This season has been so hectic as Runamuk seeks to establish itself here, and I’ve been coping with some seasonal farm-overwhelm as I try to keep up with it all (more about that in an upcoming post!), so I just wasn’t able to give much energy to the event. Even still, I was happy with the handful of people who stopped by that morning: quality vs quantity.

open farm day_billiejo and easton
My neighbor, Billie Jo, and her grandson, Easton, at Runamuk on Open Farm Day.
open farm day_2019
The neighbors brought their grandson, Easton, to pet the lambs!
open farm day_2019_local family
The lambs loved a visit from Benjamin and his family!

Every Day is Open Farm Day at Runamuk

Later that evening I saw a few remarks on facebook from local folks who said they would have gone if they’d known, so I’d like to take this opportunity to say that every day is Open Farm Day at Runamuk. The public is always welcome to stop by for a tour, take a walk through the pollinator meadow, or find out what we have available for veggies and farm-products. We’re open every Saturday from 8 to 4, but I would happily coordinate tours any other day of the week, and of course, we accept drop-ins too.

Runamuk is a community farm─as in, we exist to serve our community. Yet, Runamuk is more than just another small farm; Runamuk Acres is an education center for nature and agriculture. We want to inspire people to value and protect the natural world. We also seek to inspire other farmers to use the forces of nature to their advantage and farm for climate action.

And so we invite the public in. Come see us!

The People’s Farm

I feel very strongly about sharing the farm with the people in this way. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the support of our community, both locally and online. What’s more, to buy Runamuk’s forever-farm I took advantage of government programs funded by tax-payer monies. This farm belongs to the people; I’m just fortunate enough to be it’s Steward.

If you’ve been following my story for a long time (thank you!), you likely already know what I have in mind. But for those who might be new here: imagine a series of trails winding through Runamuk’s 53 acres of fields and forest, beckoning the people to take a stroll. There will be several picnic tables for families or class field trips to use to eat their lunch outdoors. I’ll host workshops and fun events on-farm to promote education on a wide range of topics.

Luckily there is an existing trail on the property, so I can build on that, and even without picnic tables, Runamuk is a lovely setting for a picnic lunch. I’m stoked, that a couple of local schools have already inquired about field trips.

open farm day
Benjamin has fun with Walter, Runamuk’s ’51 Farmall tractor.

Next Year

There’s always next year, to get out and participate in Maine’s annual Open Farm Day. Runamuk will definitely sign up again next year, and the years following that, since I plan to be here doing this work on this scrappy piece of Earth for the rest of my life. With any luck, by this time next year things will be running more smoothly here, and I’ll be able to give the event more time and energy.

Thanks for following along! Be sure to subscribe by email to keep up with the latest from Runamuk Acres; OR follow us on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the day to day workings of this bee-friendly Maine farm!

Luce’s saphouse preserves Maine’s heritage

Every year many of the locals from this area venture out to Pease Hill here in Anson to visit Luce’s Saphouse.  This year, the 30th annual Maine Maple Sunday was no different.

luce's saphouse from the road Read more

Owls at the Library

On Tuesday the boys and I went to the Madison Public Library to participate in the second session of their Summer Reading program.  They’ve put together a really great line-up this year, which includes craft-sessions, a balloon demonstration–and a presentation called “Owls of Maine”.  Winter has long been fascinated by owls–all animals really, but a special interest in owls, so of coarse we had to attend and listen to Jessica from the Chewonki Traveling Natural History Program tell us more about the owls who live in Maine. Read more

Our field trip to the Maine Wildlife Park

painted turtles
We save all our change for our homeschool field trips.  It’s gotten to the point where Summer will fish the coins straight out of his Daddy’s pockets to put in the pickle jar that now serves as a coin-bank.  Papa saves his change for the boys too; and between the two jars I rolled a total of $53 Sunday to fund our field trip to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray.
From Anson it was 88 miles, mostly on the highway, and it took us an hour and forty minutes.  The kids were super excited, and surprisingly well behaved.  The park charges $7 for adults, $5 for children, but we had a coupon so we only ended up paying for the adults.  
Check it out:

 This is in front of the Eagle habitat; I couldn’t get a good picture of the birds through the glass–but they were beautiful and awe-inspiring.  A woman who was there with her own kids told us that if we were from the area we could see an eagle over in Windham, and I relayed that we were from “up-North” and we actually have several nesting along the Kennebec.  Bald Eagles have made a good come-back in Maine.

 This wild turkey seemed to like the camera and the attention.

The park has numerous display cases like this set up throughout the park, each one corresponds with the animal habitat you are about to enter, and hosts little mini-exhibits, with animal bones, feathers, nests, egg-shells, and facts about the animal you will see.  This was the display for the turtle exhibit, so it held several turtle shells and fragments of turtle eggs.

Painted turtles are quite common in Maine, but we also have Snapping turtles, Spotted turtles, Wood turtles, Blandings turtles, Musk turtles, and Box turtles. And turtle sculptures.

This is part of the wetland habitat; there were several trails through their wetland, and numerous birdhouses of varying sizes to suit different types of birds, as well as a bat house, and owl house, and a wood duck house.  And obviously birds are not the only creatures that live here, there was a nice little stream that we speculated could be a place where a raccoon might stop to wash his food.

Just beyond the wetlands habitat there was the fish hatchery (sorry-no pics!); where we saw Brown Trout in various stages of growth, and even got to feed a ravenous school of trout.

After hiking down to the lower end of the park, we returned to the picnic area for a cold treat from their snack shack–and a picture.
Then we went into the Visitor’s Center, where it was shady, to play with some interactive exhibits about Maine’s animals and their habitats.  This one was about the different types of tracks you might see when walking the Maine woods.  Winter couldn’t resist making “Winter Tracks”.
This was a sorting puzzle where you had to match the animals to one of four habitats.
 When Winter had finished, Summer took a turn.

After that nice respite, and after we’d refilled our water bottles, we walked through the woodland trail to check out various native trees to Maine woods, we solved all the riddles posted along the trail, and when we came to the end–we saw THIS!
You may not know this about me–but I’m a moose fanatic.  I think they are just magnificent, and I love their big, clumsy yet graceful style.  They remind me of creatures of the ancient world, like the Mammoth-all of which fascinates me–go figure!

Unfortunately I didn’t get very good pictures–and, while we were standing there observing him he chose to relive himself.  It was very rank–which made it a very memorable experience–to say the least!

Summer had been looking forward to the deer habitat; most of the deer were laying down during the heat of mid-day, but we did get to feed this little doe.  She was so sweet!

We saw the raccoon and watched him eat his lunch.

The fisher.  And their old Albino Porcupine (he was hot too! though I think porcupines are largely nocturnal).

It was feeding time, so I didn’t get very good pictures of the lynx–with the exception for this one below–eating what the animal keepers told us was chicken and rabbit.

The website for the Maine Wildlife Park offers a number of printable educational resources, including a map of the park, animal descriptions, an observational checklist, a scavenger hunt, and more.  It was a wonderful experience, not expensive, and one that I would highly recommend to any family who loves nature and animals and Maine!  But you don’t have to take my word for it–go to Gray and see for yourself!