A Table to Share

TableThe last dining room table we had was 100 years old. Over the years the extra leaves were lost and to top finally glued together. All but 4 of the chairs had disappeared along the way as well. So many meals were share at that table over the last century, countless stories told, some filled with roaring laughter and others tears. That is the beauty of a table and a meal. Our table sat 4 comfortably, there were times that we had at least double that squished around there. A rouge elbow may have ended up in someone’s mashed potatoes every now and then, but we were together.

It never mattered who showed up at the door, hungry or not a place was set and they ate.

Two years ago I received a chop saw for my birthday, with it I proceeded to build a book shelf in the living room. I admit it wasn’t the smartest place for a construction project but it turned out nice. Kind of a crate/pallet style shelf you could say. After that I was on a roll.

It was time for a new dining room table. I had always envisioned a long farmhouse style table with benches (it’s easier to squeeze more people at the table on a bench than with chairs). I searched online for plans that were simple enough for my amazing carpentry skills. I found the perfect ones and it was complete an extension on each end in case extra space is needed. I measured the floor and “Yep, it will fit perfect”.

I showed the plans to my husband and he reluctantly said “ok”. As he looked over the plans and questioned whether or not it would fit, I brought him the tape measure and told him he could check but I’m pretty sure it will fit.

“I think we should shorten these plans, by about 2 feet and we can think about the extensions when the time comes. I will give you a hand with this.”

Knowing how my impressive carpentry skills are I decided to follow his advice. The next day he left me the truck and to the lumber yard I went. Picked up all the wood for the project.

When Mike got home he checked over my purchase and gave it a rather… um… disapproving and funny look.

“What?”

“You bought stud grade lumber. Some of this has holes and deep knots. This one even has a slight twist.”

“And?”

“Nothing.” as he shook his head and sighed.

We started cutting pieces and screwing them together. Each piece he let me inspect to see which had “prettier” knots and which end they should go on. Slowly we got the table and benches assembled.

table

I sanded off the “stud grade” stamps and smoothed out the rough spots. On two sides I burned “Give us this day our daily bread”. A simple reminder that today we only need enough for today. Tomorrow we can again ask for enough to get us through the day. I should have put a “fishes and loaves” inscription on there. The amount of times I have prayed for one of those miracles is… well… plenty.

Let me explain. There is a story in the bible where Jesus feeds a thousand people with a few fish and a couple loaves of bread. I would think they had to be small whales and huge loaves of bread but the little sketches only show tiny little fish. So now when we keep adding a place at the table and I’m not sure if we will have enough to fill everyone I ask for a “fishes and loaves” miracle. Every time, everyone goes away full.

The table was stained, sealed and moved into the dining room. Good thing we went with Mike’s measurements rather than mine. It fit perfect, any bigger and we would have been sitting in the living room too.

Bench

When we bought the farm, we were worried that the table wouldn’t fit in the dining room again. There was talk of taking it apart and shortening it. Considering I had planned to make it two feet longer and with extensions I wasn’t too fond of the shortening idea. But I would rather that, than the scrap the table all together. It was only a few months old. Again, it fit. It’s a little tighter fit than the last house; any longer and one end would be eating in the bathroom and the other in the living room.

“Can I get the mashed potatoes down here?”

“What do you need toilet paper for?”

“Mashed Potatoes not chicken!”

“Will tissue work?”

So the room isn’t that big but you can see the problems that could occur.

It doesn’t seem to matter what size table we have, it always gets filled. There is somehow always enough food to go around and enough people to squish onto the benches and leave me searching for more chairs. I find great joy in setting a meal of any sort on the table surrounded by friends and family. Some nights the stories start flowing and laughter rolling. Other nights it’s a smaller crowd with a quiet meal after an exhausting day of setting fence posts or baling hay. We have already had so many great memories sitting at the table and I know there are many more to come. It really is a wonderful blessing to have and share a spot at the table.

Table

Tales of the Pregnant Farmer- The Passing of the Pitch Fork

Pitch forkWell, it’s official. I have taken a temporary “leave of absence” from barn chores. My hard working husband now has to work even harder for a little while. It has been a little over a week now. He is doing a great job; not that there was any doubt. I did the chores as long as I could but with only a couple weeks left it was time.

The other day he cleaned the barn out really good. When he was done he came to the house to have me come out and see. It was so nice outside! He let me put the fresh straw down for the cows. That was nice. I got to feel like I helped a little, even if it is a job that our little boy could handle.

We took a walk out in the corral and checked out the herd; all three of them. Everyone is doing well there.

Mike cleaned the chicken coop too. The girls are all looking good and happy too. They were lined up for a dust bath outside.

Now we are just waiting…

Caramelized Onion Pierogies

I admit I had never had a pierogie until I met my husband. In fact I had never heard of them until then. After having the store-bought ones I was on a mission to make my own. They couldn’t be that hard. It’s basically a mashed potato filled ravioli. I can make ravioli. When they are homemade there are many more filling options too.

Perogie1

I began working on what I would call a traditional filling; onion and cheddar. It was good. Nothing too exciting. Then I moved to this one. It is still in the traditional realm, but has a little more flavor as far as I am concerned. Since then I have made them with blue cheese and bacon instead of the onions. I also tried one with some spinach and chevre cheese too. Both were delicious! I measured nothing in those recipes, so the next time I make them, if I remember to measure, I can share those filling recipes too.

The filling recipe below is double what is needed for the dough listed. I did this for a few reasons:
1. It is easier to work with a medium sized batch when you are learning something new. Too small can be less forgiving and too big, well who needs that much on hand.
2. I like to make the pierogies, but I also like to use the filling in a few other things. It works well in a pot pie recipe I came up with, as well as making potato patties.

Perogie2

When I make pierogies, I use my pasta roller to roll the dough and my ravioli cutter to seal and cut them. This means mine are square not the traditional half circle shape. They do sell these, what look to be handy, little pierogie cutter/maker/press things. It would require rolling the dough, cutting it into circles, placing one circle on the “press” at a time, filling the circle and pressing. I won’t say I don’t want one, because I do. But in a time sense of things, the ravioli cutter is much faster. I only have to roll dough once, because there is no extra scrap to reuse. I can also fill all 40 pierogies at one time.

Once they are all filled and ready for cooking, they can be cooked right away and eaten or froze raw to be cooked later.

Caramelized Onion Pierogies
Makes approximately 40 pierogies with filling to spare

Filling
1 ea.        Yellow Onion, medium sized and chopped
4 ea.        Garlic Clove, minced
1-2 tbsp.  Olive Oil
1 1/2 lb.   Potatoes, pealed, cooked and mashed
2 ea.        Eggs
1/2 c.       Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt

In a medium sauce pan, warm the oil. Sauté the onion until it has just started to caramelize. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onion is fully caramelized.
Place the finished onions in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the remaining ingredients.
Whip the filling until everything is well incorporated and the potatoes are not lumpy.

Pasta
2 c.       All-Purpose Flour
1 c.       Dark Whole Wheat flour
1 tsp.    Fine Sea Salt
2 tbsp.  Butter or Lard, melted
1 c.       Water
2 ea.    Eggs

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the water, eggs and butter. Add the flour and knead until smooth. This will be a soft but stiff dough. Set the dough aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Assembly
Divide the dough into two. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough “pasta” thin. One piece will make the tops and one for the bottoms. I like to use my pasta roller for this. The settings on mine are 1-6. One is the widest setting. I start with one and quit on 3.
Once the dough has been rolled thin place about a tablespoon or so of filling on one of the halves. Space the filling evenly.
Place the second piece of dough on top. Using a ravioli cutter and cut each pierogie.
If you space the filling carefully there will be minimal trimming, leaving next to no extra. This way you don’t need to re-roll any dough.

Cooking
Mike is usually the one in charge of cooking the pierogies. I tend to have them burnt on one side and ok on the other or under done or any combination of. But he warms a sauté pan and add a little butter; enough to coat the bottom of the pan and keep them from sticking. Place the pierogies in the preheated pan and sauté until they are golden brown on each side.

Serving
We always accompany these with sour cream (and hot sauce).

Perogie3

Notes on This Recipe
*When making the filling, make sure everything is room-temperature. If the potatoes or onions are too hot, they may cook the eggs. Not good.
*The filling can be made days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.
*The filling recipe listed makes twice the amount needed for the dough recipe.
* The flour can be all all-purpose flour or all whole wheat if you choose. You will need to adjust the water accordingly.

You’re Not Supposed to Swear on Sunday

If you really want to get into it, you’re not supposed to swear at all but it seems worse on a Sunday. One Sunday however, I made an exception… It’s supposed to be a day of rest and that already went out the window. I had a barn to clean, a coop to clean, the house to clean, baking to do, this list went on. Little by little I was making some progress.

FlourMill1

I was into the “kitchen” portion of my list, the room was a disaster as I had chicken bricks mixed up, little boy lunch going, my husbands lunch going, bread to start and so on. I ran downstairs to get the flour mill going, because of course I had ran out of flour. Filled the hopper with grain, plugged it in and ran back up to the kitchen.

A short while later, this horrible smell started to waft through the house.

My first thought ” why does my coffee taste bad all of a sudden?”

I went down to check on my flour and then the explicits started to fly. My flour mill was radiating the stench that was filling my house and ruining my coffee. Not only that but it was smoking, not because it was grinding wheat super fast. Nope. It was not doing anything but smoking and stinking.

Why not add a little fuel to the fire…

After I unplugged the mill, I tried to remove the grain filled hopper, carefully. That went well. I had grain everywhere…

Oh what a beautiful day it was.

Now, that little mill is as old as the hills. It’s got a well seasoned mill stone and the rest is heavy cast iron. It worked so well and I loved it. I used it a lot. To replace it would cost at least $700. You know, pocket change. Ha! To have it fixed may not be worth it though either. Then the thought of replacing it, if I’m going to spend the money, I want something of the same “hundred year” quality, but with a bigger capacity. For how often I use this one, something a little bigger (twice the size) would be really nice.

(sigh)

I think I will be adding a mill to the “Save For” want list. Until then, I have some plans to make a hand mill, not that I want to use one of those frequently. It may be time to give making one of those a try.

That’s what I get for working on a Sunday…

FlourMill2

Chocolate Cake Done Right

The animals are all doing fine and I am almost ready to give Mike the joy of doing all the chores. I just can’t quite get myself to stop yet. I still have 4 weeks until the baby is due so I am trying to “take it easy”. So for the next little while I suppose I will do some baking and get some meals in the freezer so after baby is here I won’t have to do much cooking for a little while. Not that cake is a meal or will end up in the freezer, but it’s a good place to start.

I know what you’re thinking, pregnancy craving and your favorite version of chocolate cake. Well, your wrong about the craving, if anything I would like a cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, with a big hot cup of coffee and not having to share either one. (The little boy seems to like coffee and doughnuts just as much as I do these days. It’s our Sunday treat.) As far as your favorite chocolate cake this probably isn’t it but it just might change your mind.

Choc Cake Done Right

This is a simple, super moist, super soft, chocolate cake that is best left iced in a basic chocolate buttercreme and of course topped with rainbow sprinkles.

Choc Cake Done Right

Nothing fancy.

Choc Cake Done Right

A little old fashioned.

Choc Cake Done Right5Absolutely delicious!

Choc Cake Done Right4

Chocolate Cake

3 1/3 c.     All-Purpose Flour
3 3/4 c.     Sugar
1 1/2 c.     Cocoa Powder
3 1/2 tsp.  Baking Soda
2 tsp.        Baking Powder
2 tsp.        Kosher Salt
2 c.           Buttermilk
3/4 c.        Vegetable Oil
4 ea.         Eggs
2 tsp.        Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 c.     Coffee

Sift together all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine all the liquids. Then add the liquid to the dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth.
Divide the batter between two, 8 inch cake pans that have been greased.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or so. (Until done)
Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing them from the pans.
** It is very important that all of the liquids are the same temperature!**

Chocolate Buttercreme Icing

1 lb.           Butter
2 lb.           Powdered Sugar
1/2 c.         Cocoa Powder
1/4c-1/3c.  Heavy Cream
dash of Kosher Salt
dash of Vanilla Extract

Combine everything in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until smooth.

Homemade Egg Noodles in Chicken Soup

It has been so cold and windy lately. Perfect weather for bone broth and soup. I have been making chicken broth regularly this winter. The little boy and I drink it like tea on these cold days. I have been wanting to make some homemade noodles lately, but then what to do with them? It’s time for some hearty Chicken Noodle Soup.

First things first; I put Lola in the craft room. One, I needed the counter space for making noodles and two, I didn’t want her to see me thaw and boil a chicken.

I don’t like to use chemicals in the house, usually I don’t find the need for something so harsh. In the event that the kitchen counter or other room in the house is used for an animal operating room or something of the sort, I bust out the bleach and give everything a good scrubbing before continuing. I don’t need scratch grains or pin feathers in the noodles.

Semolina Flour Egg Noodles

Semolina Flour Egg Noodles

Then it was on to making the noodles. I have a few different noodle/pasta recipes that I use depending on what I am doing with them. For soup I like egg noodles made with semolina flour. It’s a more course flour; about the texture of a fine table salt, not as thick as cornmeal.

For the soup itself, I start by making a simple bone broth using the whole chicken, skin meat, bones, the whole nine yards, toss in some carrots, celery, onions, garlic and salt. I let this simmer for a few hours at least. I then strip the meat from the bones and put that in my soup pot.

Chx Soup1

I strain the broth and put about 1 quart in the soup pot with the meat and reserve the rest for later use. You can use all the broth if you wish. I only use a portion because we won’t eat a batch of soup that big and I don’t like to can it once there are noodles in it- they get too mushy.

I then add fresh chopped carrots, celery, onions, parsley and a bay leaf or two. Bring this to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft but not mush. Add the noodles and simmer for about 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Chx Soup3

You may have noticed I didn’t give any amounts for anything except the quart of broth. It’s soup. I measure a lot of things but what goes in soup is not one of them. This I find to be personal preference. Some like all sorts of chunks and some like mostly broth. If you like chunks add lots of vegetables and meat if you don’t, use less. A little common sense and it will turn out just fine.

This is not some fancy sort of soup. It is good old fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup. When cooking with a real bone broth rather than bullion or something similar there really doesn’t seem to be a need to get crazy fancy. It will have great flavor as is. Too often any more, people are wanting to put their mark on something that has been done a million times over. It is not always necessary. Let the darn soup just be the classic goodness it already is!

Chx Soup2

The Day of (the) Rest

On the Seventh day you are to rest. It is a day of worship and family time. This is what the bible says and what the church teaches. For some reason I always add “the” before “rest”. Sunday has turned into a day of early church, then pick up any groceries or farm supplies and then home.

Once at home I begin my day of (the) rest. The rest of the laundry, the rest of the cleaning, the rest of the “to do” list from the week prior; usually consisting of cleaning the chicken coop, a deep clean of the cow barn, and various outside projects that are long over-due, and finish (or begin) the weeks baking and then some.

It is not at all what I ever envision for my Sunday. I love to think that Sunday, we will go to church and spend the day doing something fun, such as fishing or having a picnic or maybe taking a long nap. Instead my “Seventh day” comes every few months, usually on a Wednesday or Thursday, when I get the animal chores done and the little boy fed and that’s it for the day. We spend the majority of the day reading stories or playing trucks on the floor. No dishes get done, or laundry, or cleaning, or “real” meals made. I just hit a wall and crash for a day.

Years ago when I had the bakery, I learned very quickly not to bake on Sunday. Whatever was made on a Sunday never, ever, turned out. Too hard, too soft, too dry, too burnt. Nothing. Even now, getting baking, other than that for brunch, to turn out well is iffy at best; not that I don’t still attempt it. It’s nice to start the week with sandwich bread on hand and some sort of breakfast baked good too.

Some how I need to find the self discipline to just not do anything on Sunday. I have yet to figure out why “just stopping” is so hard. It’s the same when family comes to stay though too. After the little boy was born, my parents came and stayed with us for a week. They had planned to just help out around the house, make meals and let me get some rest. It worked… kinda. I was very grateful that they made the trip and were so willing to help, but I couldn’t just sit and let them do the all cooking, cleaning and laundry. I still tried to get in there and do my share. There is no taking a nap when company comes, even if that’s the sole reason they are there, to watch the baby so I can sleep without worry.

Last summer my husband and I put the little boy to bed and decided to have a beer on the  deck. It was a beautiful night to sit and look out onto the lake. We got the “fancy” lawn chairs out, grabbed the baby monitor and a beer. We just sat, looking out over the lake. It was such a relaxing 20 minutes. Then I went and got the ladder and he got the chain saw and we began trimming trees and hauling limbs to the fire pit. That was how we spent our nice relaxing evening.

Yesterday was another below zero day, but the sun was shining. My parents and brother came over and spent most of the helping us haul firewood from the barn to the basement. We were so thankful for the help. Again, it was Sunday, the day we should have been just enjoying family time not working like crazy to get more done for the week.

The plan is some day I will have all my “to do” lists done and I can then just sit and relax… and probably tip over.

Pregnant and Waiting…Impatiently Waiting…

Lucy and Elvis

Lucy and Elvis

Elvis is here. Lucy is producing milk. I could be milking her. I have been dying to have fresh milk on the farm since Lucy first arrived. Actually since before she arrived, but once she got here there was a real possibility of having milk. I got her all halter broke again and she is very used to me handling her and being around her. Yet here I sit, next to Lola the chicken in the kitchen, during the early morning hours before chores when I could be milking a cow.

I have been told by multiple people- Husband, Dad, Mom, friends… that I should/need to wait until after I have the baby to begin the cow milking. I know they are just trying to keep us safe. I am trying to be an obedient wife, daughter and friend, but that doesn’t mean I am any less impatient when it comes to something as exciting as milking a cow.

Waiting is not an ability I am very good at when it comes an activity that I am so excited about. However, they all know that unless I lock the cow or calf outside the barn for the night, I have no way of keeping them separate for a morning milking. They also know that for how cold it has been there is no way I would be able to put one or the other out for the night. I have thought about putting the calf in the meat bird side of the chicken coop. He would stay plenty warm and safe and it won’t be in use until spring again.

You see the problem is I have saved up the money to get the panels for the calf pen and what I will need to put together a make-shift milking stall but I can’t go get them. Well, I could go get them hope that the nice gentlemen working would load them for me but then there they will sit; in the trailer or truck bed. A load of water to the barn and tossing down a few hay bales has already made me wonder if the baby was going to come while I’m mid-chores in the barn. As much as I want to start milking the cow I don’t want the baby to come too early either. Seeing as though my panel unloading help thinks I should be waiting to get kicked milking the cow for a few more weeks, there the panels would sit, just tormenting me.

In the mean time I’ve been trying to think of different indoor projects to work on. Winter is usually the season I’m creating all sorts for things in the comfort of the house. At this point they idea list I have came up with looks like this:

1. Work on the next cookbook(s).
2.Make hard cheese.
3. Carve a butter press.
4. Make cottage cheese.
5. Mend jeans that should have been done months ago.
6. Organize the basement.
7. Make butter.
8. Start a new sewing project.
9. Finish knitting the sweater.

So far the most appealing things on the list require me to milk the cow first. I have been doing some work on the cookbooks, but still. Mending jeans, although it needs to be done is not something I am interested in at the moment. I could plan the 2016 garden because I don’t know how much we are actually going to plant this year. I have been doing my pig and peacock research so this spring I will be all set to get started on those projects. For now everything just seems to revolve around the cows and dealing with the little chicken issues that have been arising.

Hey Ma, There’s a Chicken in the Kitchen

I had hoped to sit down tonight and relax (ha!) and maybe write about the cows or the latest batch of chocolate croissants and muffins that came out of the oven. It’s been a long time since I’ve mentioned gardening and this is the time of year I usually start my preaching about it. But once again the chickens have managed to steal the show.

The Coop

The Coop

I was in the coop this evening doing the usual night chores and checking on the girls. We sprayed a few with Blue-Kote again the other day and it looks like there are a few tail feathers starting to grow. Yay! So there I am gathering the last of the eggs for the day, it’s well below zero outside and a balmy 40 degrees inside. All I really want to do is shut the barn door and go to the house for the night.

There’s Lola, getting pecked, pretty good too. She was even doing a little pecking on her behind. And blood.

Sigh.

I have mentioned plenty of times previously, blood on a chicken is a leap towards being pecked to death. I have never had a need to keep chicken bands (like chicken ankle bracelets) on hand, so naturally I didn’t have any when we initially sprayed chicken butts and found the couple birds with sizeable gashes on their sides, hidden under their wing. It would have been nice to have been able to band them so I could make sure they were continuing to heal without having to try to catch every bird again until we found the right ones. I would then know if Lola was one with a previous injury or if this is a new one.

It’s not a matter of too many birds in the coop, I do know that. For the size of the birds and the size of the coop I could easily put another ten in there without over crowding. No, this is just a very rowdy bunch for whatever reason. It doesn’t help that they haven’t been able to go outside the last couple days. That was making a noticeable difference, when the “antsy” birds where able to burn off some extra steam outside. With the temperatures so low and the lack of tail feathers there is a very good chance of frostbite. Not something I want to add to my list of things to take care of at this time. It should be noted that frostbite is very possible even when they are in the coop if it gets too cold and humid in there. So far both temperature and humidity have been in check.

As I was saying, Lola. For being injured, she was still quite a challenge to catch. With Mike gone fishing, I had to catch her on my own or sit in the house worrying about her until he got home and who knows how late that will be. Lucky for me it was night chores, so I was dressed for the day. Without the restriction of coveralls, I was able to bust out my best chicken catching moves. One time I’m glad there’s no camera in the coop. It took a great deal of effort and some fancy moves but I finally got her. (see the previous post about my chicken catching moves here.)

Now what to do with her. Everything in the feed room freezes this time of year, which means the little bit of animal first aid supplies I do have on hand are in the house not the coop.

So there I stand, freezing in the feed room, holding a chicken that is in need of an ambulance. Hmm. Ok, so she wasn’t “ambulance bad” but it’s definitely not a little wound and is in need of some serious attention. Well as luck would have it, the dog kennel I had put together for Wilma was still in the feed room. Some fresh bedding and a little hay (to keep the bedding from sticking to the wound) and in she went. Of course I couldn’t leave her in the feed room or she would surely freeze to death, as it is supposed to get even colder throughout the night. Again, lucky for Lola, I was just getting home from work and my warm car was parked outside the coop.

“Your chariot awaits my dear chicken.”

Lola on the Kitchen Counter

Lola on the Kitchen Counter

I brought the kennel inside and the little boy bends down and peeks in…Buck, buck, buck. He was so excited. I’m sure if he could he would let the world know he has a chicken in his kitchen. Instead it was time for bed.

So here we sit, together at the kitchen island. Her in her kennel, me typing away on my stool and a dog keeping watch. If only he were actually keeping watch and not trying to plot his next chicken dinner.

Plotting a Chicken Dinner

Plotting a Chicken Dinner

Her wound was given a dose of peroxide and hopefully she will begin to heal quickly. Assuming she is done pecking at herself. Tomorrow after church we will be making a stop to pick up some chicken bands and another batch of Chicken Bricks will need to be made.

Keeping Records on the Farm

Downloadable Record Keeping Sheets

Free Printable Record Keeping Sheets

I have a touch of OCD every now and then and record keeping is one of my issues I suppose. It’s important to keep certain records especially when dealing with livestock. Knowing breed, birthdays, registration numbers, breeding records, any veterinary work that was done and so on. I go the extra few miles and like to record the amount of eggs laid each day, the amount of milk collected each day, birds hatched or purchased from who and when, what feed was bought from who for what, what was planted in the garden, how many plants, started indoors or not, season notes, harvest yields, how many jars of beans I canned. The recording goes on and on. I admit not all of it is necessary but I still like to be able to look at years past and see what was done.

I find spring to be the start of the year on the farm rather than January. It is typically when all the new life begins; babies born, chicks hatched, plants sprouting. But for the sake of my need to record I tend to start new sheets in January. This year was the first year with new land and I was quite unorganized. I had record sheets here and there, online and in notebooks, tucked in seed catalogues and on the fridge. It was a mess; almost enough to give me a permanent twitch. I have since “cleaned up” the records. I scraped a few and added a bunch. The super exciting part is that I now have everything in one well labeled binder.

I didn’t go back and organize this years garden records. Most of them would say “Sprouted. Drowned. No Harvest”. Last winter I put together a Vegetable Gardening 101 series. In it I made mention that records should be kept. It’s true. To keep your soil healthy it is good to know what was planted where in the last couple years so that crops, even small garden crops, can be rotated properly. It is also nice to know if you added compost to any garden plot, what type and when. The same goes for field management it’s just a larger plot. Next year I will be ready, I have my sheets printed and in the binder.

Record Keeping Binder

I have already received the first few seeds catalogues for the season and at this point I would usually have started making my lists of what I have and what I need to order so I can start drawing my garden plan for the year. This season we are not going to plant a full garden (or even half as of now). I didn’t take the time last year to properly prepare the garden plot. Between my impatience and the cold, wet weather, the garden was a huge waste last year. So this year we are going to do things right. Condition the soil with manure and work it a few times through out the summer. Just liven it back up. Which is exciting and disappointing all at the same time. I can’t wait for the following summer when I can get back to planting as usual. It’s just a whole growing season away and that’s a long time!

I did go back to last spring and record all the birds that were brought home, price, number, breed etc. Then the cows. Everybody has a sheet so I can keep track of what goes on with who. I put the egg records that I had on the fridge onto a nice sheet in the binder and am all caught up.

Below you can find a link to each of my record sheets and they are Free!
They are all pretty basic, easy to use and not calendar specific so you can start recording during any month with wasting pages! If there is a page that I don’t have but would be useful please let me know!

FREE RECORDS SHEET DOWNLOAD includes:
Animal Records- I use these for the 4 legged animals
Breeding Records – Again 4 legged animals
Poultry Record- Breed, amount, layer, butcher etc.
Egg Production- Number of eggs collected each day
Milk Production- Amount of Milk collected each day
Feed Purchase Records- From, For, Amount, Cost
Standing Egg Orders – Here I can keep track of people that have set up regular egg orders
Butcher Bird Orders- Keeps track of who purchased butcher poultry
Big Project To Do List – For projects like dig a well by the barn and such
Wish List – So I’ve got a list of things to save for besides the Big Projects
Next Year Don’t Forget To…
Field Records – Harvest Yield, Crop, Amendments and so on
Garden Records- What was planted, how much, harvest date
Seed Records- Seeds saved, Seeds to order, Amount
Canning Records- What was harvested, how much and how was it preserved
Season Notes – For things that seem to need to be recorded about the growing season
Notes- I have one of these after almost every category there is always some extra I need to record