My farm is a wondrous and enchanting place that has fast become my magical talisman. Like a romantic fantasy-land come to life, complete with bewitching fawna, otherworldly creatures and an energy running through it that both captivates and mesmerizes. She is beautiful, so vibrant and full of life. With every caress of wind on my skin, every soothing rain shower, each misty morning and the constant trilling song of crickets, She has seduced me.
Maine’s Bigelow Mountain Range lies just outside my backdoor, and Black Hill looms out the front. Runamuk’s forever-farm lays in a valley that Gilman Stream runs through on it’s way to meet the scenic Carrabassett River─maybe a mile away as the crow flies. Numerous white-tailed deer and a flock of wild turkeys frequent the back field, and I’ve seen turkey vultures, eagles, hawks and a variety of songbirds on the property too. This part of Maine is decidedly more rural than the southern and eastern part of the state; vast swaths of wilderness still exist here and it makes my heart sing to be immersed in such a wonderland.
As a single woman, the sense of permanence and security that comes with home-ownership is tremendously liberating. I feel as though a huge weight has been lifted from me; finally I have the chance to be the master of my own life, Queen of my own empire. I have been waiting my whole life for this chance, and now that it’s here I am giving myself over to it wholeheartedly.
Something has shifted inside me─the old sense of sad longing has gone, replaced by nothing more than simple, unadulterated happiness. What’s more, my confidence level has been boosted. I accomplished this monumental thing, and while I had help along the way, it’s my name and mine alone on that FSA mortgage. Happy + Confident: that’s a powerful combination that I fully intend to make use of. Watch out world! Here comes Sam!
I’m Writing a Book!
It’s been a month since my last post. Life is a little hectic; I feel as though I am always running from one project or activity to the next (that’s not a complaint-I absolutely love having projects to do). Not only am I busy settling Runamuk in here: establishing next year’s garden, building compost bins, setting up work-spaces, and constructing a winter chicken coop. I’m also working on─not 1, but 3 books!
That’s right! I’m super inspired, and with my talisman and this newfound sense of security I’m more motivated and determined than ever to take the next step as a writer. This fall is all about cranking out the words, so if you see me posting a little less, know that everything is going well; I’m just dedicating more time to writing these stories that I want to share with the world.
And because I know you’re curious lol, I’ll even tell you what I’m working on….
Book #1: Memoirs of a Landless Farmer
At first I was apprehensive about the idea of writing a memoir─no one wants to come off as conceited. Yet this is the story I’m most inspired to write and it’s my own story of how I became a farmer and the journey my life took to make my own dream of farm-ownership come true. You may have followed the blog the whole way, but this book will be much more in depth and personal. I’ve been reviewing my old journals (I knew I kept them all these years for a reason!!!) and mapping out the storyline, researching how to write a good memoir and how to make it really meaningful and compelling for readers.
It’s definitely scary to think about sharing the full story behind some of my experiences and to reveal how they shaped my farming journey. I’ll be brave though, and put it into words because I truly believe this story will inspire others to either: a) follow my lead and take up an agrarian lifestyle in some form or fashion, or b) follow their hearts to pursue their dreams in spite of the obstacles in their way. Both of which I believe we need more of in this world.
The ultimate goal for this book is to have it professionally published by Chelsea Green, an American publishing company which specializes in non-fiction books on progressive politics and sustainable living. I’m planning to have the first draft of this manuscript finished by New Years’.
Book #2: How to Buy a Farm With the FSA
After going through the process of buying a farm using the FSA’s loan programs for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, it only makes sense that I should share that experience and all that I learned through that process. In hopes of helping other beginning farmers find their way to farm-ownership, this will be a non-fiction, how-to eBook covering topics like:
- Benefits & disadvantages of working with the FSA.
- Building your income from farming (in order to justify investment in real estate).
- Preparations: recordkeeping, taxes, writing a business plan, etc.
- The Farm-Search: things to consider and look for in your potential farm-property.
- Making an Offer: getting the landowner on-board.
- Working with the FSA: the loan application, forms, and the lengthy process.
This one won’t be finished til sometime next year. It will be available as an eBook for purchase at Amazon.com, and here on the Runamuk website as well.
Note: I’m looking for a few farmers who have also purchased their farms using the FSA’s farm-loan programs. If you or someone you know went that route and would like to be interviewed to be included in this book, feel free to reach out to me by email or by direct message on social media.
Book #3: Farmer-Smut Story
Long-time followers might remember the “So You Think You Can Write” contest I entered back in 2014. If you’re new here─I was a top 25 finalist is Harlequin’s international writing competition that year, but because my father died in the midst of the competition I didn’t finish the manuscript and I definitely didn’t win the prize. *If you’re interested you can check out the story of “Sheep in the Garden & a Writing Contest” here.
Yup! I write fictional romance stories. Not just any romance─but agricultural and environmentally themed romance. My girlfriends and I have laughingly dubbed this the “Farmer-Smut” genre.
That aspect of my writing life has been sitting on the back burner while I’ve been focused on gaining farm-ownership these last few years. Now that I have some stability in my life, and this amazing muse in the form of my very own farm to inspire me─the ideas and possibilities are flowing and I am once again inspired to write about love and farming, nature and environmental stewardship.
It’s always been a fantasy of mine to have one of my romance stories published by Harlequin. 70% of romance stories are now sold as eBooks, so I’m leaning towards self-publishing in electronic format initially, in hopes that my story will get picked up later on by a professional publishing house like Harlequin, who wants to put it into print. I plan to have a manuscript ready within the next 2 years.
Check Back Soon!
Right now it’s the farm that’s taking up the majority of my time, but I’ve managed to make time for writing by burning the candle at both ends: up by 3:30 or 4
each day most days, and working til 10 or 11 writing at night. I’m really excited about publishing my first book, but I definitely have some articles in the works for the blog. I intend to bring back the Winter Growing Challenge too, so check back here soon! Jf you’re really missing me however (that’s really sweet of you by the way), you should follow our Instagram feed. I’ve been making a point to post there daily, sometimes multiple times a day, with glimpses into what #farmlife looks like at Runamuk now that we have a #foreverfarm home. Check it out!
Thanks so much for following along! I hope you’ll continue to join me on this new leg of our farming-journey! Be sure to subscribe to receive the latest posts from Runamuk directly to your in-box!