A Farm Girl’s Guidebook

My oldest turned 21 this year. She’s going to college, working 2 jobs and raising animals to sell at the market. She’s been pretty busy lately. I’m shocked & thrilled that she still makes time to read!

I try to make my kids a few homemade gifts every year for Christmas. I wanted to make something for Cait that would combine her love for reading & animals. I love, love, love my 3-ring binders. I have one for household papers, one for my garden, one for animals, one for my 4-H leader papers & one for the Farm Market. I change my mind a lot & 3-ring binders are easy to change out & modify as I need to.

I decided Cait was old enough to appreciate my crazy obsession with 3-ring organization, so I made her one for Christmas. I titled it “The Domestication of Cattle Cait” because that’s her blog title. I started with a 1-inch binder & it was quickly replaced with a 2-inch. Cait has been adding to and editing her binder often. She even mentioned the need for a “volume 2″!

I have 3 more kids. This binder was such a hit, I’ll probably make one for each of them. For those of us who can’t afford to buy our kids (or nieces) a brand new car, these binders would make wonderful, personalized graduation gifts.


  • 3-ring binder
  • dividers
  • plastic sleeves
  • blank notebook paper
  • old  magazines or lots of Internet research
  • 3-hole punch
  • for the cover – old magazines, scissors, glue, paper, markers

I chose a binder with extra pockets so she could add brochures, handouts from seminars & advertisements.

For the innards: I tend to hoard magazines. I have magazines over 10 years old. It was time to weed them out. So, that’s where I started. I ripped out good articles, trimmed the edges & 3-hole punched them. If I couldn’t find what I needed in magazines, I went to the Internet. I found websites related to all of Cait’s interests & printed all of the relevant information I could find.

Then, I sorted all of the papers into categories. I used the dividers between categories, but I left the tabs blank, so she could title them any way she felt comfortable.

Farm Belle’s Categories

Budget: Yep, I put the money right up front. Dream Big Girl! There are plenty of good websites out there for planning a budget. I found an Excel budgeting spreadsheet at ChristianPF.com.

Record Keeping: I added this section for her farm and animal records. Breeding, selling, medical treatments for the animals, etc. I found some good articles here… Farm Business Records PDF from Washington State University.

More farm records from the MSU Extension

Cooking: For learning basics skills, measurements and recipes.

Home: I included topics like family & emergency numbers, organizing and cleaning. I really like iheartorganizing for all of her FREE printables.

Crafts: Cait is learning to appreciate domestic crafts like knitting, sewing & soap making. Most of these pages i found in my Grit and Hobby Farm magazines. Lionbrand.com has a whole ton of info for people just learning to knit and crochet.

Livestock: Cait is addicted to choosing the most rare & exotic livestock. If it’s impossible to find a breeder, she wants that animal. I added a printout from the – ALBC to this section, since their goal is “Ensuring the future of agriculture through the genetic conservation and promotion of endangered breeds of livestock and poultry.

I also added pages for feed, diseases and animal housing.

Philosophy: She added this section on her own. I told ya she loved to read. She made a list of books inside her book!

Gardening: Again, I added mostly magazine articles here. I found some great articles for Building Healthy Soil from Virginia Tech

Medicine: Another section custom added by the recipient. See how easy it is to change it up & personalize! She filled this section with info on herbs and traditional medicines. 

 I added a plastic sleeve to every section for receipts and other small papers. At the end, I stuck in a stack of blank notebook paper. She can take notes, doodle, cut & paste, whatever she feels. It is her notebook after all. I had a lot of fun with the scissors & glue making a collage for the cover. I actually had fun creating the whole book. It took about a month, but I like crafty messes, so that’s ok. I kept the secret well though. She was truly surprised when she opened it. If not, she’s a very good actress. I’m sure she was hoping for a new car, but I think she still likes her life lesson 3-ring binder.

cattlecait binder

Posted in Gluten Free Mom.