• About Farm School

    "There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
    James Adams, from his essay "To 'Be' or to 'Do': A Note on American Education", 1929

    We're a Canadian family of five, farming and home schooling. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 17/Grade 12, 15/Grade 10, and 13/Grade 9.

    Contact me at becky.farmschool@gmail.com

  • Notable Quotables

    "If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

    "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men’s hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
    Clarence Day

    "Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing."
    Cicero

    "Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtile; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."
    Sir Francis Bacon, "Essays"

    "The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning."
    Gilbert Highet, "The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning"

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
    Walter Wriston

    "I'd like to give you a piece of my mind."
    "Oh, I couldn't take the last piece."
    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

    "No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem."
    Booker T. Washington

    "Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

    "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth

    "If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, we feel all our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
    Jean Hagen as "Lina Lamont" in "Singin' in the Rain" (1952)
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Poetry Friday and Big Birthday Bash week #2: George Washington

A letter and a poem written in 1775 or 1776 to General George Washington (born on this date in 1732) from Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784):

To His Excellency
George Washington

Sir,
I have taken the freedom to address your Excellency in the enclosed poem, and entreat your acceptance, though I am not insensible of its inaccuracies. Your being appointed by the Grand Continental Congress to be Generalissimo of the armies of North America, together with the fame of your virtues, excite sensations not easy to suppress. Your generosity, therefore, I presume, will pardon the attempt. Wishing your Excellency all possible success in the great cause you are so generously engaged in. I am,

Your Excellency’s most obedient humble servant,
Phillis Wheatley

Celestial choir! enthron’d in realms of light,
Columbia’s scenes of glorious toils I write.
While freedom’s cause her anxious breast alarms,
She flashes dreadful in refulgent arms.
See mother earth her offspring’s fate bemoan,
And nations gaze at scenes before unknown!
See the bright beams of heaven’s revolving light
Involved in sorrows and veil of night! The goddess comes, she moves divinely fair,
Olive and laurel bind her golden hair:
Wherever shines this native of the skies,
Unnumber’d charms and recent graces rise.

Muse! bow propitious while my pen relates
How pour her armies through a thousand gates,
As when Eolus heaven’s fair face deforms,
Enwrapp’d in tempest and a night of storms;
Astonish’d ocean feels the wild uproar,
The refluent surges beat the sounding shore;
Or thick as leaves in Autumn’s golden reign,
Such, and so many, moves the warrior’s train.
In bright array they seek the work of war,
Where high unfurl’d the ensign waves in air.
Shall I to Washington their praise recite?
Enough thou knw’st them in the fields of fight.
Thee, first in peace and honours,—we demand
The grace and glory of thy martial band.
Fam’d for thy valour, for thy virtues more,
Hear every tongue thy guardian aid implore!

One century scarce perform’d its destined round,
When Gallic powers Columbia’s fury found;
And so may you, whoever dares disgrace
The land of freedom’s heaven-defended race!
Fix’d are the eyes of nations on the scales,
For in their hopes Columbia’s arm prevails.
Anon Britannia droops the pensive head,
While round increase the rising hills of dead.
Ah! cruel blindness to Columbia’s state!
Lament thy thirst of boundless power too late.

Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side,
Thy ev’ry action let the goddess guide.
A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine,
With gold unfading, WASHINGTON! be thine.

* * *

George Washington’s letter in reply to Miss Wheatley:

Cambridge, February 28, 1776.

Miss Phillis,
Your favour of the 26th of October did not reach my hands ’till the middle of December. Time enough, you will say, to have given an answer ere this. Granted. But a variety of important occurrences, continually interposing to distract the mind and withdraw the attention, I hope will apologize for the delay, and plead my excuse for the seeming, but not real neglect.

I thank you most sincerely for your polite notice of me, in the elegant Lines you enclosed; and however undeserving I may be of such encomium and panegyrick, the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your great poetical Talents. In honour of which, and as a tribute justly due to you, I would have published the Poem, had I not been apprehensive, that, while I only meant to give the World this new instance of your genius, I might have incurred the imputation of Vanity. This and nothing else, determined me not to give it place in the public Prints.

If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near Head Quarters, I shall be happy to see a person so favoured by the Muses, and to whom Nature has been so liberal and beneficent in her dispensations.

I am, with great Respect, etc.

* * *

For more Poetry Friday, head over to Kelly Herold’s Big A little a, where you’ll find today’s Round Up.

Sorry this is so brief and rushed. It’s been another busy week, with more 4H public speaking (tonight) to prepare for, and especially the bathroom project which began on Sunday night and has seen us travel twice already to the little city for supplies. What was going to be a fairly simple remodeling effort, mostly replacing the plastic tub surround with ceramic tiles, and also the (pink and gray — ugh) linoleum, turned a little more exciting on Monday as the tub went sailing through the kitchen that morning. We have fairly hard water here on the farm, and Tom found that the tub bottom was getting quite rusty. And then we found a very reasonably priced new toilet to go with the new tub. Tom and the junior work crew have been going great guns: the new (neutral!) flooring is in, so is the tub, and the new concrete board for the tiles is up and joint-filled. Tiles to come later today and tomorrow, tomorrow we paint, and then the new toilet goes in. I’ve been taking pictures and might have some up over the weekend.

Off to listen to Laura one more time…

2 Responses

  1. Don’t you love bathroom renovations? (shrill and hysterical laughter ensues)

    I do, now that I’m on the other side of it. We redid our bathroom when we moved into this house, last March, mostly because it was, err, grossly decorated and I have trouble bathing in 40 year old bathtubs…(I know, SO hard to get along with).

    Now I love our bathroom. I love it so much I wouldn’t let my boys pee in it for the first month.

    Good luck with yours!

  2. I do, she said honestly — much better than kitchen remodels, especially because we have another bathroom (and only one kitchen!). And it helps that my husband is a carpenter who usually does this for others; the kids are thrilled to be able to help, and all were pounding nails in for the new plywood subfloor the other night :). The worst part is waiting for the painting to be done (after today’s tiling) before installing the new toilet. I’m just not used to walking downstairs late at night or first thing in the morning, and having to remember my glasses, too.

    Also made more easy by the fact that we’re just updating what my husband did 14 years ago, when it was a gross and disgusting 40yo bathroom. And one of these I will tell you about the hole in the kitchen wall, where the giant dogs in the house 20 years ago chewed through trying to get to their food. Or the disgusting unfinished basement from which my husband removed several dumpsters worth of junk. I don’t think I would have agreed to live in this house if I had seen it “Before”.

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