Love Notes

I often find love notes in the cash box here at Runamuk Acres, and it never fails to make my day. It’s inspiring, and motiviating for this farmer, and I am grateful for it. Farming is not easy work, nor is it an easy lifestyle, but I sure love it and the appreciation folks show for it makes it worth every hardship. It’s been one hellova growing season here at the Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm─with the usual ups and downs. I invite you to get yourself a cuppa, and join this farmer for a seasonal update.

Love-note found in the cashbox at the Runamuk farmstand!

Runamuk has grown quite a lot this season─both literally and figuratively, lol. Having the farmstand open consistently has increased our presence within the community. We are selling more food to more households than ever before. People rave about the quality of our vegetables compared to that found at the local grocery store. They love my handmade bread, and stop into the farmstand in hopes of finding a loaf of Cinnamon-Swirl. With summer winding to a close, our list of available products shifts. I am spending more time in the kitchen again, baking all those seasonal favorites we love to eat when the weather turns cold. In addition, we’ll have microgreens available soon, with the pork and lamb harvest soon to be available.

The idea to do without housemates, however, set me back financially and I am still recovering. I guess it was a rather preposterous notion─to think I could scrape by without that extra income stream. I need to let the house work for me─to be able to live and farm here on my own.

AirBnB Farmstays

One of my CSA members had been a guest to the farm a few years back, when I was still doing AirBnB farmstays. Lindsay Currier, with her little daughter, Saffron, stayed at Runamuk on their first foray into the area, and absolutely loved it. When they moved to Kingfield a short time later, they became one of the farm’s founding CSA members. They’ve been staunch allies ever since. For some time now, Lindsay has been gently encouraging me to make a return to hosting for AirBnB.

Shameless plug! Lindsay is an avid biker and just started her own guiding service. Check out www.stillpeaking.com for more info!

Then, I was into the Farmington Farmers’ Union a couple months back, when I chanced an encounter with another former guest. He told me he had also settled in the area after a stay at Runamuk! The encounter made a big impression on me, and I began to see the ripple effects that this farm has on the community. It was a pretty humbling realization, which led me to reconsider my position on letting space in my home. At length, I decided to return to AirBnB with at least one of the guest rooms.

Guest room #2 at Runamuk’s AirBnB farmstay.

Early in September, I listed the second-floor guest room on AirBnB─no breakfasts this time around, due to the insurmountable demands upon this farmer’s time. Yet, guests are welcome to purchase from the farmstand, where I often have breads, muffins, and other baked goods, in addition to whatever vegetables and meats are in-season.

Already we’ve welcomed several visitors to our farmstay, and Runamuk is receiving regular bookings. For the most part, the Runamuk farmstay attracts folks who are farm-curious, people who are in the area for myriad outdoor adventures, and those who seek a chance to find peace in nature. The vibe these folks bring with them is a breath of fresh air in my overworked and overwhelmed state. Seeing the farm through their eyes, reminds me of just how far my farm-journey has brought me. And how much I have to be thankful for.

Find our listing here on AirBnB to check it out. You can support this farm just by telling friends and family about our fabulous farmstay. Runamuk lives at the foot of Maine’s Western Mountain Region, where outdoor activities abound. Adventure awaits!

Ups & Downs

The Field: In other areas of the farm, I had some great success stories this growing season. The 10 acre field out back looked absolutely fantastic. The different forbes and grasses have benefited from the practice of rotational grazing that I’ve employed these last 4 years. The growth is lush and rich, teaming with a diverse array of wildlife, from tiny invertebrate insects, to numerous bird populations, and even a few resident deer. All coexisting on that field with the milling sheep, and their resident guard dog.

The Gardens: The smaller of the 2 vegetable gardens, I’ve managed to reign in, laying commercial-grade weed barrier over beds and pathways to combat weed-pressure. We’ve put a lot of work into amending the soil in this garden, resulting in some very robust crops there this season. Garden 1 gave us a bounty of broccoli, cabbages, zucchini, onions, big fat scallions, and seemingly unending cucumbers.

The Tractor: In the larger, 1-acre market garden, yours truly cover cropped half the garden with a combination of peas and oats. I had about two-thirds of the other half of the garden planted before the season began to unravel on me. It was at that point, when it was time to till in the cover crop and plant a fall cover, that my tractor went down. Before I could get the thing repaired, the window of opportunity passed me by. Crops will only hold in the field for so long…sigh.

If you’ve been following along with my story, you may recall how I sold my prized Farmall tractor to buy the smaller Bolens lawn tractor. I had decided that the Farmall was just too big for what I was trying to do. Unfortunately, after using the Bolens this spring, I’ve come to the conclusion that this machine is too small and under-powered for the kind of work I am trying to do with it. I’m at a loss. I don’t know what Runamuk needs to fill this gap, the finances are not available to support investment in another tractor─and I don’t want to be tilling anyway! I throw my hands up in frustration.

Saying goodbye to Big Man and Junior.

The Sheep: Meanwhile, I sold 6 lambs over the summer, sending my babies off to start new flocks on new homesteads near and far. The flock grew to more than 20 mouths this spring, making this farmer acutely aware of the fact that winter stores will only last so long. Runamuk can only feasibly support 10-12 sheep through the winter months. Sacrifices are a harsh reality in farming. 6 lambs went to new homes─including Big Man─the bottle baby who followed me around this spring, melting hearts everywhere we went. 6 sheep will go to freezer camp come November. Deciding who will stay, and who will go, is one of the hardest decisions I have to make as a farmer. Executing that plan is harder still, but lambing season 2023 is my consolation.

Spoils-to-Soils: The scraps collected through Runamuk’s Spoils-to-Soils program last winter yielded about 3 yards of beautiful compost. Unfortunately, I’ve had to disband the program due to the fact that I do not yet have an outdoor set-up for year-round use. Washing the 5-gallon buckets after we’ve emptied them of compost was a bit of an issue. Try as I might to prevent it, there was still quite a lot of fat, grease, and debris that accumulated in the pipes here. The gunk eventually caused a blockage, which resulted in a messy and disgusting repair job for poor Deron. We can still take any kitchen scraps or yard waste that locals would like to drop off, but─to keep my utilities working properly in the farmhouse─I am no longer washing and exchanging buckets.

The Orchard: Earlier in the spring, I managed to make time for pruning and training the 3 and 4-year old fruit trees that make up Runamuk’s little orchard. Then, I took the tiller between the rows in the front orchard to sow low-growing clover with the notion of creating a living mulch. I left it all season, avoiding mowing in order to give the clover a chance to take root, but grasses have come up, overgrowing the clover and now the whole thing looks like a hay-field. At the moment, I’m not sure if it’s worth it to try to hack it back. Perhaps I’ll let the winter snow pack it down to create a mulch layer, which would almost certainly benefit the poor soils there.

Season Extension: While I was able to invest in the supplies to erect a smallish caterpillar tunnel, and I did indeed get the ribs of the structure up, time got away from me. Weeds overtook the ground where I put my tunnel, making it a big job to reclaim the space. Big jobs take time that I do not have at the moment, which means that this project has once again been shunted to the back burner. It’s a disappointment, but you can bet that I will try again next season. Runamuk must have a way to extend it’s growing season if this farm is to feed it’s community year-round.

The Water Project: When I bought the property, the former owners had already pipes running to the pond. There was an existing electric pump and a blue pressure tank to feed water to the small garden. Try as I might, I could never get the pump to run. Eventually, the conclusion was that the thing had sat out in the elements for too long. As a result, we’ve been solely reliant on water from the farmhouse for irrigation and livestock. Town water─for which I am dearly paying. With local water authorities threatening to restrict water-usage, getting a secondary water-source up and running is a high priority for the farm. Yet, current finances do not allow for investment in a replacement pump to draw the pond-water. Thinking this was going to be another of 2022’s missed opportunities, it was a surprise when Deron’s eldest brother donated a pump and pressure tank to the farm. He had upgraded the system in his home, and no longer needed the older model. Come the 2023 growing season, we’ll be all set and ready to tackle this pivotal project.

My Book: It’s embarrassing to admit that I just could not make the time to gain headway on the book I’d announced at the start of the season. Between the demands of this farm, mothering and educating my teenaged son, going back and forth between the farm and Deron’s home in Solon─as well as working through some deeply personal issues─it was all I could do sometimes to write at all. Let alone write anything worth sharing.

All too often, we let talent fizzle as we age. We let go of the passions held so tightly in our youths, in order to meet the demands of adulthood. Time and energy are finite resources. We prioritize how we spend such precious assets, abandoning some dreams out of necessity. While I have sacrificed other dreams to be able to farm, I can not─in good conscience─ignore the call to write. I am afraid that if I were to give up on writing, I will lose a part of myself. I’m even more afraid that when I come to the end of my days, I will regret that I didn’t keep trying. So bear with me, if you will─keep checking in for farm-updates, and potential book releases. You can bet that I will make it happen. Some how, some way.

Love Notes

Your friendly neighborhood farmer!

Farming is not easy work, and I’m certainly not making big bucks doing it, lol. Yet, I do it for love. It’s a blessing, I know, to be able to do all things with and for love. Different notes of love have guided my actions throughout life. Love has brought me here, to this scrappy patch of Earth. It brought me to this place where I get to live, eat, breathe, and work in all forms of love.

It’s curious─fascinating even─to watch the effect of that love rippling out over the community that Runamuk has built for itself. Kind words of encouragement, admiration, and love go such a long way in feeding the soul. You nourish me. Whether it’s a note on a CSA order, a comment on an Instagram post, or a love-note on the farmstand, you are fortifying and inspiring this farmer to keep working hard, so that─in turn─I might nourish and inspire you, too. Whether it is my wholesome, hand-made and hand-grown, local foods, or my authenticity that inspires you, lol, I am truly grateful for the appreciation. Thank you so much for the love notes!!!

Thank you for following along with the story of this female-farmer! It truly is my privilege to be able to live this life, serve my family and community, and protect wildlife through agricultural conservation. Check back soon for more updates from the farm, and be sure to follow @RunamukAcres on Instagram or Facebook! Much love to you and yours, my friends!

Growing Food and Community at Runamuk

farm delivery program reviews

Over the course of the winter months, this farmer has been hyper-focused on growing food and community here at Runamuk. I spent the winter just doing the work─getting my affairs in order so that Runamuk can have a successful 2020 growing season. As a result, things on the blog-front have been fairly quiet. I wouldn’t presume to think that my mundane blog-posts have been missed by anyone out there, but I have certainly missed writing during these last few months. Sometimes it is necessary though, to take a step back to focus on what’s really important, and I’m glad I did─there have been some positive developments here at Runamuk.

runamuk farmhouse
The Runamuk Acres farmhouse earlier in the winter.

It’ll be 2 years come July since Runamuk landed in the obscure village of New Portland, Maine. I’m not too proud to admit that it was a big leap for this farmer, and my first year was quite a struggle. Bootstrapping my way to farm-ownership meant I came here with zero-savings, and what little capital I had was eaten up by investments in infrastructure during my first year. November and December were pretty dicey─financially speaking─but once this region got its’ first big snowstorm, this farm became host to a good many skiers to Sugarloaf. I was able to regain my footing, and even get ahead a little.

The FarmstayBnB & Farm-Fresh Breakfasts

The 2 guest rooms here are listed with AirBnB as a “farmstayBnB”. Accommodations are pretty simple. I don’t have much to offer in the way of luxury. Guests get an immaculately clean room with a ready-made bed, and a farm-fresh breakfast made-to-order, for the affordable rate of $50 a night.

airbnb review
Review on AirBnB for Runamuk’s farmstayBnB.

I’m very up front about this being a working farm as opposed to a hobby-farm or a gentleman’s farm. The farming must go on even when guests are on-site. Even with an honest description on AirBnB, there have been some guests who did not realize what they were signing on for. It dawns on them about the time they walk into the dinning room. There, my giant chalkboard is mounted to the wall, with an extensive to-do list for each aspect of the farm: livestock, apiary, garden, homestead, etc. That’s when they realize that this is a real farm, and I am 100% serious about my work.

Most folks were intrigued by the farming and I believe they took away a new appreciation for life on small farms. A few were less than impressed with what I had to offer. Yet, I always do my best to make folks feel welcomed and comfortable while they’re here. I know full well my lifestyle isn’t for everyone, so I don’t take it personally when guests prefer accommodations with a private bathroom, or a TV in their room. For the most part though, I think even those guests who were less than impressed with the accommodations left with a favorable impression following my fabulous, farm-fresh breakfasts. Good food can win over even the most stubborn hearts.

Growing Food & Community Through Delivery

With the farmstayBnB covering the bills, I’ve been able to focus on growing food and community through Runamuk’s delivery service. Despite the fact that Runamuk does not yet have the capacity to grow vegetables year-round─or even to extend our season for vegetable production─I’ve offered my community the things I can produce in the depths of winter: eggs, pea shoots, bread and other baked goods. I still have beeswax soap available too.

farm delivery program reviews
Just 2 of the glowing reviews Runamuk has received for it’s weekly delivery program!

The delivery program helped to maintain the momentum I gained last summer at the Kingfield Farmers’ Market. This has allowed me to grow the farm’s income even during the hardest part of the year: winter. Each week I post the list of available products from Runamuk to our facebook page. I also email the list to customers who have subscribed to the Runamuk mailing list. Sometimes I post the list to the community pages for the towns I serve─just to remind folks that we are here offering fresh, locally produced foods and products.

The bread was a huge hit, and muffins and cookies are always popular. I gained lots of new customers over the course of the winter, and even managed to turn a few households on to pea shoots. In Kingfield, I picked up a couple of commercial accounts with local restaurants: the Orange Cat Cafe loves my Honey-Pecan granola, and the Kingfield Woodsman raves about my breads.

It got to be that I was baking twice a week. Some of those sessions became 36 or 48-hour marathons with little sleep and a frenzied attempt to keep my delivery schedule. During one such marathon, I realized the baking was going to be too much time in the kitchen once the growing season got underway.

CSA Farm-Share Program

Ultimately, my goal is to feed families and community-members high-quality, nutritious foods─mostly vegetables. I believe the pathway to a healthier lifestyle and a healthier global ecosystem is a diet that is largely plant-based. In light of that revelation, I opted to limit acces to my baked goods and to grow my community through Runamuk’s CSA Farm-Share Program.

oatmeal bread
My oatmeal bread is hugely popular with local customers!

Access to my handmade bread, baked fresh each week has become one of the biggest perks of becoming a supporting member of this farm. Several of my dedicated patrons have enrolled just so they can continue to receive their weekly bread deliveries. Other CSA-members are holding out for the fresh vegetables that will be available once the growing season gets underway.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many direct-to-consumer farmers (farmers like myself) are seeing an increase in sales. I have also welcomed a number of new customers and CSA-members to the farm. To better meet the needs of my community during this difficult time, I’ve extended the deadline for enrollment for my CSA Farm-Share program to the end of April. I’m offering flexible payment options for my low-income community members. Just ask.

Click here to learn more about Runamuk’s CSA Farm-Shares
or to enroll via payment through PayPal.

Farm Stand Open Every Saturday

With local food in such high demand, I’ve decided to open my farm stand early this season. Beginning this Saturday, April 11th, Runamuk’s self-service farm stand will be open every Saturday from 8-2. I’m still working to get things organized, but the farm stand is set up on the enclosed front porch of the farmhouse. I managed to trade farm-credit for a small refrigerator/freezer that I’ve stocked with eggs and breads and pea shoots. In a few more weeks vegetables will be available there too.

I want to encourage the local community to visit the farm─not only to pick up fresh foods and products produced locally─but to connect with the farm that is producing their food. The animals here are all super-friendly and love visitors. During the growing season the gardens and the apiary are fascinating places for observation. Soon I will even have several newly constructed picnic tables on-site.

What’s more, this property boasts a half-mile trail (1 mile round-trip) that runs through the 10-acre pasture behind the farmhouse, into the forest to a secluded wetland area that I have dubbed the “Enchanted Wetland”. I have maps and scavenger hunts available, and the trail is clearly marked. It is my hope that locals will take the opportunity to immerse themselves in nature even for a short time. It’s hugely important for our children to learn more about this natural world around us. We really are all connected on this incredible planet we call home.

Stay Tuned for Up-Coming Stories!

lambs at runamuk
Stay tuned for the up-coming story of my first-ever lambs!

I took the winter off from blogging to better focus on doing the work here to prepare Runamuk for a successful 2020 season. I’m glad I did too, however, the writer in me is ready to once again share stories about farm-life and my journey as a woman who farms. Stay tuned for up-coming stories including (but not limited to) the story of my first-ever lambing-season!!

Thanks for following along with the story of the Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm! Subscribe by email to receive the latest blog-posts directly to your inbox. OR follow @RunamukAcres on Instagram for a glimpse at life on this bee-friendly Maine farm!

The Threat of Snow

threat of snow

October is a tricky month for farmers. One day it’s mild and beautiful─you take pause to admire the spectacle of Maine’s glorious fall foliage; the next day the temperature plunges, the wind picks up, and the threat of snow looms in the forecast. For the last few weeks I’ve been walking this line between preparing for winter and still trying to make the most of what’s left of the season, but with Samhain just days away, and Thanksgiving not far off─this is really it. The end of the 2018 growing season.

Winter Preparations

If I’ve learned anything about living and farming in Maine over the course of my 38 years, it’s that you don’t want to be caught unprepared when winter sets in. My personal deadline for all farm and household winterizations is Thanksgiving; experience has taught me that by the third Thursday of November, generally the weather is too cold and windy for much in the way of outdoor work, the ground is frozen, and the threat of snow is in the forecast. Having the apiary put to bed, critters snuggly and protected from the elements, and all equipment stowed away puts this farmers’ mind at ease and allows me to immerse myself in the festivities that come with the Persephone Period and the Dark Days of the Year.

closing in the chicken coop
Closing in the 3-sided shed that’s attached to the garage.

Winter livestock preparations have been the main focus here at Runamuk throughout September and October, but with more urgency as we’ve moved further into October.

The shed attached to the garage, which already had chain-link fencing covering the long wall, I converted into a Winter Coop for the chickens. On the open end I built a wall to close it in, then covered it with chicken wire. Roosts were assembled, along with a set of “Deluxe Nesting Boxes”─only the best for my ladies, I tell them!

The weather in early October was still mild however, and I really wanted to run the flock across the plot where I intend to plant perennial fruit trees next spring─so I held off on moving the girls into their winter digs.

winter chicken coop
Just add plastic (but only if it’s 6mil greenhouse film)!

Sheep: Free to Good Home

In the meanwhile, Runamuk was offered a pair of sheep. Yes! For reals! Beautiful purebred Romney sheep─free, and so sweet and sociable they’re sure to melt hearts.

Lily and Miracle were offered to us by friends we know through the local 4H group we were once a part of. Nina Blauvelt reached out to me to say that this had been her daughter Emily’s last year at the fair, as she is now a senior with a job and looking at colleges for next year. They’re downsizing their sheep herd, but these 2 in particular are very special to Emily, and she didn’t have the heart to send them to auction. The Blauvelts were looking for a good home for the pair and naturally they thought of me with my new #foreverfarm; was I interested?

Initially, I said no. Four years ago I had a not-so-great experience with free sheep that made a lasting impression (check out: Sheep in the Garden to learn the whole story!); ultimately it was a valuable lesson in the importance of proper farm infrastructure. That same year taught me to be careful not to take on more than I can handle─and I’ve been very mindful of that concept as I’ve been settling Runamuk in here. My hands are already full. I’ve been out straight all summer (and loving every minute of it! don’t get me wrong) but sheep were no longer part of the plan for Runamuk.

The next morning, as I was driving eastward toward Fairfield and the office at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, the sunrise painted vibrant shades of crimson and yellow across the sky, while the radio playing only my favorite songs─it hit me all of a sudden that I really wanted to be the one to give Emily’s beloved sheep a good home. With 13 acres of grass to my name, and fencing materials already on hand, I really had no reason not to take them. What’s more, grass-eating sheep would fill a gap in my farm and homestead operations that would be too beneficial to pass up: namely, added grass management, another source of manure for the gardens, and a red meat option for my family. Plus, sheep would add a definitive cute-and-cuddly feature to Runamuk; as much as I love them, bees and chickens are not necessarily the most endearing of creatures when it comes to marketing.

Right then and there I pulled over into the break-down lane to send Nina a message as cars and tractor-trailor trucks zoomed past me on Route 201A.

I wasn’t sure how soon the newcomers would arrive, so in case it was sooner rather than later, I put together a slick little moveable sheep-shelter the very next day. It’s similar to the chicken tractors, but without the nesting boxes and the roosts, which makes the structure light as a feather.

portable sheep shelter
Moveable sheep-shelter (for summer-use only!). Note to self: Next year anchor it with cement blocks!

I was pretty pleased with the thing, and it looked great set up in the pasture with the electric net sheep-fencing. A few days later however, autumn turned on it’s heel, wind and rain rolled in, the temperatures plunged, and that lightweight summer-shelter was literally blown away. I found pieces of it strewn across the yard; wryly, I decided that the time for temporary shelters was over, and set myself to work on a sheep-shed that would serve through our rugged Maine winters.

A Mom Win

Meanwhile, with temperatures plunging at night, and some pretty intense winds, I decided it was time to move the flock into the Winter Coop. My chicken-tractors are only meant to be used through the summer months, and as such are open at either end. I was increasingly worried about the flock suffering at night, so I made the final preparations to the Winter Coop (a door lol) and the boys helped me move the birds in.

With a child on the Autism spectrum, and having faced divorce and come out on the other side, being a mom and a farmer at the same time has not easy for me (that’s a whole post in and of itself!). Yet that evening I felt like maybe─just maybe─I’m an OK mom.

Bundled against the cold and whipping wind, headlamps strapped to our heads as we traipsed back and forth across the lawn in the dark, carrying bird after bird─my boys performed like true farm-kids. I demonstrated with the first chicken how I wanted the birds to be held as they carried them across the yard, and how to settle each bird onto a roost inside the coop. They did a great job of it, and with 63 birds it was no small task. When it was finished I felt a sense of relief for the chickens, along with this immense feeling of fulfillment. Afterall, it was for my children that I became a farmer in the first place, and to be able to impart some of these skills upon them is hugely important to me. In that moment it really felt like I might actually be doing an OK job of it.

inside the winter coopdeluxe nesting boxeschickens inside the winter coopPreparing for Sheep

With the chickens taken care of, I could turn my attention back to preparing for the arrival of sheep to Runamuk. Wanting to keep all the livestock fairly close to the house for the winter, I decided to build the Sheep-Shed off the backside of the garage using schedule 40 PVC conduit, and some wooden platforms that the previous owners had left behind. I covered the whole thing in Tufflite Greenhouse Film (I use this stuff for everything! it’s the best!) that I bought at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and voila!─Winter Sheep-Shed!

finished sheep-shed
Finished sheep-shed!

Having both chickens and sheep based off the garage, meant that I only needed to rig up one electric fence charger to energize fencing for both species. It felt good to be able to make use of one of the chargers I inherited from James Murphy during my tenure at his farm in Starks. That man did a lot for me in his afterlife, and even though I didn’t end up at his farm permanently, I’m beholden to Jim for the lessons learned there, and for the tools, equipment, books and furniture that I inherited from him. I’ll be forever grateful, and I’m still glad that I chose to name my dog after the man.

electric fence charger
I was pretty ecstatic when I managed to rig up my own electric fence charger WITHOUT electrocuting myself! Yes, Sam─you ARE a farmer!

Sheep Delivery!

The Blauvelts came last Monday evening to deliver Lily and Miracle to me. I gave them the grand tour:  Runamuk’s #foreverfarm and my great big house (aka – “my castle”). Nina, her husband Gordon, and their daughter Emily, have followed my journey to farm ownership since our days in 4H, and they’ve watched my progress this summer on Instagram. As farmers themselves, they could see right away the potential this property has for me and for Runamuk. I think they felt really good about leaving their beloved sheep with me.

emily w her sheep
Emily Blauvelt with Lily and Miracle.

Emily led her 2 prized ewes: Lily and Miracle, across the yard to the paddock I’d created around the Sheep-Shed and the backside of the garage with my electric net fencing. This area had not been touched by the chickens, and despite the cold and the decreasing day-light hours, there’s still some lush grass in that spot; the 2 sheep were eager to graze when they saw it.

I got a quick download on sheep-care from the Blauvelts as Lily and Miracle checked out their new accommodations, along with the promise of help should the need ever arise, then they bade us all farewell. And so now I have sheep!

lily and miracle
Sheep at Runamuk! Lily on the left, and Miracle on the right.

Threat of Snow in the Forecast

We’ve already had a couple of snow-squalls here in the mountains of western Maine, and the threat of snow is in the forecast again this weekend. Typically these threats don’t amount to much in October, and, because the ground is not yet frozen, we generally don’t see any accumulation until around Thanksgiving─hence my Thanksgiving deadline for winter preparations. The window is fast closing and I know it. Every day I’m checking chores off my list one at a time, so that when Thanksgiving rolls around I can hunker down inside my house and just enjoy the season to come.

birdhouse in snowstorm
Snow magic. I’m in love!

There’s something magical about winter─maybe it’s just winter in Maine? or maybe I’m the only one in the world who feels this way, lol. Regardless, I find snowstorms absolutely enchanting: the way the snowflakes cascade from the sky and the stillness of the world around you. I revel in the energy of storms; the power of wind and the might of nature beyond our control reminding me that there are greater forces at work here. Sunrises after an ice storm are enough to bring tears to my eyes (and not because they’re blinding!); I adore the way trees’ limbs and branches are coated with ice, and how the brilliant pink and orange hues of the sunrise glint off them. And I love, love, love the way a power outage can draw the family together; playing boardgames by candlelight is a special kind of magic.

Once I loathed the Dark Days; it’s easy to feel isolated and to slip into the winter-blues at this time of the year. I’ve learned to take this as a time for self-reflection, a time for honoring the ancestors through tradition, and a time to be with family and friends. Mostly though, I think I’ve learned to see the good and bad in everything─the seasons, people, animals…even the slimy and the scary ones. I’ve learned to appreciate life for whatever it is, to accept it for what it isn’t, and to just be grateful that I’m here to experience anything at all.

Our world is a beautiful place when we chose to embrace it, and life really can be what we make of it. If we would only try: one foot in front of the other; one day at a time─there will be inevitable failures and set backs, but if we keep moving forward in the direction of our goals and dreams─there will certainly be progress too. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the way we look at something. <3

Thanks for following along with my farming journey!!! You can support bee-friendly farming simply by buying our products; check out our online farm-store to get yourself something nice today! Subscribe by email to receive the latest updates directly to your in-box. OR follow @RunamukAcres on Instagram for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the day-to-day happenings on this Maine farm!