Today I’m going to show you how to organize your homestead by maintaining a Homestead Management Binder.
I learned the hard way last year how chaotic an disorganized my home and homestead can be when I fail to keep to my schedule, take necessary notes, record expenses and yields (we didn’t record ANY milk yields since June when our production doubled! I could kick myself!), and make plans. That’s just one of many reasons to keep homestead records!
I’m determined to remedy that and organize my homestead in the process of doing so! My Homemaking Binder has done wonders for helping keep the home. It can’t hurt to try because life felt like anything but simple this past year when I wasn’t maintaining my Homestead Management Binder!
Print out these Homestead Management Binder sheets for your personal use! Download all of them here! Or you can try to create your own.
(Maybe paper records aren’t your thing, homestead management has gone digital and you can use the SmartSteader app to keep track of your homestead! (It’s pretty slick! In fact, it makes keeping records so easy, I’m transitioning over to digital records myself!)
Once they’re all printed and ready to go, here is how you can use them to organize your homestead in the New Year!
How To Use A Homestead Management Binder
Calendars & Note Taking
I’ve included several different calendars in the printable Homestead Management Sheets.
• There are 2 styles of Homestead & Garden Calendars. A traditional “wall” style and a “planner” style, both with a space to jot down weather details for each day as well as notes. From frost dates to due dates. From first and last harvests to when a certain pest showed up in the garden. Keeping notes will help you assess in future years timelines for when you’ll need to have certain tasks done. Let’s take the pest as an example. If cabbage worms started munching on your broccoli on June 3rd, you’ll know to have row covers in place ahead of that date next year, protecting not only your broccoli but also the financial and time investment in the plant!
• There is a “wall” style Home Dairy Calendar with a space for AM & PM milk totals. Observations on body condition, pasture condition, breeding information, and more could be noted for each day as necessary.
• A Yearly Schedule will allow you to plan seasonal tasks that need to be done less than a handful of times each year. We use a deep litter bedding system in our chicken coop for example and my Yearly Schedule notes that it is to be changed in March, June, September, & December. (Learn more about using a Yearly Schedule.)
• Each month also has a Month-At-A-Glance page. At the beginning of each month, I set aside some time to do paperwork, recording monthly totals, changing monthly sheets, and looking over what needs to be done next month so I can prepare and make necessary purchases. Month-At-A-Glance allows you to make note of all these things in one place so you don’t continually need to reference several different pages.
One of the most exciting parts of ending the homestead year is looking back and seeing how much you were able to produce, allowing you to not only see accomplishment but also better plan for the future!
• Included are a Garden Yields sheet for you to make notes of both the current & previous years yields so that you can record the difference. Used in conjunction with your note taking on the calendars, you can see what worked (and what didn’t) in a year and hopefully improve upon it next year.
• The Homestead Yields sheet works the same way and could be used instead of the Garden Yields sheet for those who have more being produced than that which comes from the garden.
• There is a Laying Hens Egg Tally sheet for each month of the year. When eggs are gathered, the quantity is recorded here. Right now this sheet from last year is a real comfort to me in my egg-lessness for I know that the dearth of eggs in our home will soon be coming to an end and the gals will start laying at least an egg or two each day. At the end of the month, I add up the egg totals for the month and transfer them over to a final worksheet that includes all of the monthly final totals for the year.
Counting the Costs
Knowing whether or not your homestead is in the black so to speak is critical to showing where you need to get creative and work to cut costs. Included are expense worksheets for a garden, goats, honeybees, laying hens, rabbits, beef, sheep, meat chickens, hogs, and dairy cows.
Record your final yields, pounds of feed, total expenses, and calculate a price per pound (or gallon).
(Note: I filled in the totals there for the Year-End Laying Hens Expenses, picking random numbers out of the air. Just so you know that we didn’t actually pay $11/dozen for eggs this year.)
Set goals and record the actual quantity of goods you put up in a year with the Pantry Inventory sheet. Knowing this information will help you better plan next year’s food preservation by showing whether you need to grow more or less food. I’ll also make a little note next to the item as to when I ran out. If I put up 20 quarts of tomato sauce and ran out in 6 months, then next year, I guess I oughta put up 40!
I use an incubation chart to help me remember when I started a batch of eggs for hatching. It reminds me of when they need to be turned, as well as what days to STOP turning them (as noted with an “X).
Garden planning is crucial to growing economical produce! With a little foresight and planning your organically grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs could save you a ton of money over market prices!
• A Seed Inventory page will help you when the seed catalogs start rolling in. You will know what you already have on hand and overbuy seeds you don’t really need.
• There is also an Outdoors To-Do List and a sheet of graph paper so you can carefully plot out your garden and get a vision for what it will look like this year. Keeping this diagram in your records will help you remember exactly where you planted each vegetable allowing for companion planting to go more easily.
• The Plant Summary is where you will record all of the observations you made for a particular plant. Rather having to flip through page after page of calendars next year or the year after, when the season ends you can record a review of it on this page. From type of seed to supplier, actual sowing date, quantity, actual germination days, companions, antagonists, diseases, pests, yields, and first harvest date, you’ll no longer have to try and remember all these plant details
• Last, but most certainly not least, I have included an Excel file to calculate your seed sowing dates! It allows you to enter your first and last frost dates then generate custom spring and fall seed sowing dates. It includes dates for hardening off, germination timeline, and days to maturity!! If you find your favorite variety doesn’t quite match up to the average, you can edit the formula to reflect your observations.
2018 HOMESTEAD MANAGMENT PRINTABLES INCLUDE
❁ HOMESTEAD YIELDS- Record & compare previous & current year production totals and see the difference in your yields every year!
❁ VEGETABLE GARDEN YIELDS- Same as the “Homestead Yields” but tailored for the backyard or urban gardener.
❁ SEED STARTING CALCULATOR (Excel document)- Enter your first and last frost dates to get specific seed sowing dates, including hardening off, transplanting, direct sowing, germination times, days to maturity, fall sowing dates (if applicable), and a section for notes. Calculators for spring & fall sowing as well as for herbs.
❁ PLANT GROWING SUMMARY- Record your growing observation and take notes for cultivating specific plants.
❁ SEED INVENTORY- Take stock of your seeds and record what is in your inventory, year purchased and from whom, and make a note of whether you need to purchase new seed for this year.
❁ VEGETABLE GARDEN PLANNER GRAPH PAPER
❁ HOMESTEAD & GARDEN CALENDAR WITH NOTES- A 2018 planner-type calendar sheet for each month with a section on each date for notes and weather observations.
❁ YEARLY SCHEDULE- Make a list of what tasks need to be done on a monthly basis. For example, we change our deep litter chicken bedding in March, June, September, and December and keep track of that here.
❁ THIS MONTH AT A GLANCE- Like a monthly to-do list, spend a few moments at the beginning of the month and go over what you need to accomplish each month for sowing, harvesting, preserving, in the barnyard, or in the home.
❁ OUTDOOR TO-DO LIST
❁ EXPENSE RECORDS for the Garden, Bees, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Beef, Dairy, Layers, Broilers, Ducks, Turkeys, Fiber, Cut Flowers, Quail, Rabbits, General- Record your expenses, suppliers, unit price, as well as transfer over your yields to record the cost per pound of production.
❁ INCUBATION CHART- Keep track of whether you remembered to turn your hatching eggs, the day you started incubating, expected hatch date, and average hatching times for various poultry.
❁ MONTHLY EGG TALLY CHARTS with a YEAR END EGG TOTALS CHART- Record your laying hen’s egg totals each day and then rather than keeping each page in your permanent record, transfer the month-end amount to the Year End Chart for easy total egg production each year.
❁ YEAR-END COST ANALYSIS- The top page of my records for past years. This quickly shows each area of production, yields, cost, and the price per pound. Seeing this all laid out neatly encourages me to improve yields and reduce cost each year.
❁ FREEZER AND PANTRY INVENTORIES- Keep records of your freezer and pantry stockpiles.
❁ FOOD PRESERVATION WORKSHEET- Set goals and record your food preservation accomplishments for the year.
❁ 2018 HOMESTEAD AND GARDEN CALENDAR- A 2017 wall-type calendar sheet for each month for homestead and garden use. Take notes and record weather conditions for each day of the month.
❁ 2018 HOME DAIRY CALENDAR- A 2016 wall-type calendar sheet for each month. Use daily to take notes or observations of your dairy animals including space for recording AM & PM production totals. Make note of heat cycles, medications administered, changes in weather or diet that could affect production, etc…
❁ YEAR-END DAIRY PRODUCTION RECORDS- One for goats and one for cows record the final dairy totals at the end of each month and then tally them up for a year-end figure. Also, record key notes about your animal’s reproductive year.
❁ RABBIT PRODUCTIONS- Track your rabbit breeding program. Print a sheet for each of your does to see how they add to your enterprise and who is the biggest asset.
❁ HONEY & BEEKEEPING- Record your observations during visits to your hives. Record total production yields, costs, and profitability.
❁ HOMESTEAD EARNINGS- If you are able to make an income from your homestead, keep track of those additions and see how they add up.
❁ BUTCHERING RECORDS
❁ ANIMAL MEDICAL RECORDS
❁ WEEKLY PLANNER
❁ CUT FLOWER PLANNER
❁ INDOOR SEED STARTING RECORDS
❁ CURING RECORDS
❁ HOMEBREW RECORDS
❁ LIVESTOCK GESTATION CALCULATOR
❁ SYRUP PRODUCTION RECORDS
❁ HERBAL INVENTORY CHECKLIST
I hope you’ve found some useful tools here that will help you get yourself organized in the new year!