Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Record Keeping


Once upon a time ...
very long ago when I was a little girl...
my Dad raised laying hens to make ends meet.
I grew up on three acres and there was a small barn that was the size of an average tool shed.
By the time my memories begin it was emptied of lay hens and a new barn was constructed to grow broiler chickens.

The point is... I lived on a lay hen farm when I was born.
Who knew then...
that I would live on a lay hen farm again years later?

I remember how my Dad worked full time for the Department of Highways during the day and would come home eat supper and then go into the barn to do chores.
I have no recollection of my Dad sitting inside in the evenings watching TV.
On the weekends...my Dad worked outside in the barn and that is how they made their living to feed a family of five.


It was a simpler life back then making a living in agriculture.
There was not the knowledge then nor the equipment to notice the difference that so many factors make in record keeping.
Farmers cared for their flocks but most of the attention in making sure there was water, feed and ventilation.
Chicks arrived..were put in a warm bed of shavings with brooders overhead.
They had fresh water to drink and I spent many hours following my mother around as she walked the barn with a stick in hand to clear the shavings out of the water troughs that the birds would kick up in their travels.
The chicks had a constant source of food and with proper ventilation, those chicks would grow and soon a large truck would come to haul them all away.
On those nights...
I spent wasted time asking to join the boys in catching chickens.
In the end...I was paid to stay inside.
My Dad...was protective..
bless his heart.



After that...the cheque would arrive and he would drive straight to the feed company to pay the large bill and then the barn would be cleaned out and fresh shavings would be blown in and the cycle would repeat itself.
The year I married...
my parents noticed they had an empty nest...
sold the farm to my brother..
and moved to town.

I did not marry a farmer.
I didn't plan not to marry a farmer...
I married a grocery clerk..
and  mighty fine one at that.

He had a dream to live on a farm and after we were blessed beyond our dreams with an auntie and uncle who loaned us part of the down payment..
we found ourselves on a farm with two teenage boys and lots of work to be done.
It was..
the perfect combination.

While he continued to work full time as a grocery clerk..
I gathered eggs in the morning and the boys gathered eggs in the afternoon.
On the weekends...
we all gathered eggs to make the work go faster.

As in my childhood...
I was once again noticing the Dad spending evenings working in the barn.
When you are in the middle of your dream..
you don't mind these things and the benefit of the lifestyle was such a blessing that we gratefully continued in this way until the boys were finished with university.

Once the boys were out of the house and married..
the grocery clerk said goodbye to his day job and stayed home with me.



By now you are wondering what all the photos and the title of this post are about.
Okay then..

Yesterday I observed my beloved go through his second audit of record keeping.
Farming has changed since those years I watched my Dad silently keep the farm afloat.

Much has been discovered in the past years about animal husbandry and as more is learned there are more checks and balances to be sure that the food we grow is safe.
Part of that is keeping very specific records of everything from the temperature in the barn to the temperature in the egg cooler.
Feed consumption and water consumption and even dirty egg trays are noted.



Anyways...all this to say my beloved farmer passed his record keeping audit again.
You can't imagine how happy that makes me.

Not all of you will have an appreciation of this post..
but other farmers that strive to produce healthy and safe food will nod their heads and be happy with us...
that the audit is over for four more years.

If you are interested to know more about Egg Farmers in Canada..
visit our website here....there are recipes. =)

all for now...


10 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, it's all very interesting to me. I did not know how you and your beloved came to be farmers. :) You have a beautiful setting for your farm, would love to come back and explore it some more.

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  2. Oh that's a load off the shoulders for sure. So glad the audit is over and that he passed!! No small fete.

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  3. How odd! I decided to make my egg salad sandwich and then read blogs while I munched away. Here I am finishing it up and reading this and, yes, I do think food safety is very important. Yay for an excellent audit and yay for living the dream, making it pay, and providing such good food for so many. Very well done!

    Now I'm off to see if there's a good egg salad recipe...

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  4. I love hearing about your farm and congratulations for the good audit.
    Farm Gal in VA (cattle and formerly sheep also)

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  5. Oh boy, I sure can relate to this!! I used to do all the records but now since we just do cash cropping, the farmer looks after it - well sort of - you should see our office desk right now! I think I need to start organizing again!
    Good job on the audit - what would we do without good farmers to feed us safe and healthy food???

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  6. Whew. I'm relieved with you...that another audit is behind you. Glad you had all your 'chicks in a row':)

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  7. Oh Judy...chicks in a row.
    It would be interesting to know what the first required record was and chart the progress of addition requirements. Surely they are all necessary?

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  8. This was so fun to hear the history of farming in your family!!!! You know I would want tours if I lived closeby. i have always been interested in farming and how it all works. Maybe because I was born in the heart of Vermont? Your husband is an example of diligence and hard work! Congratulations on passing the audit!

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  9. You know what's neat about this post...both of you are living your dreams and better yet, you both support each other in their dreams.
    I totally agree that farming has become a big time business. Lots' of paper work...
    Next time I'm dying to see your results!!!!

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  10. Your story is so similar to my parents but their farming included cattle and my Dad went off to work in the plaster and stucco business. As a sideline they raised turkeys every year to sell fresh at Thanksgiving - 300 of them!! We raised 300 chickens this year to sell locally to friends and family. The things we do to continue farming - which has definitely changed so much in 50 years! Thanks for sharing your story.

    And I want to ask if you and your cookbook team are coming to Alberta someday!

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Thank you!