• 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 16/Grade 11, 14/Grade 9, and 13/Grade 8.

    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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  • Copyright © 2005-2012 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Early Spring snaps

The only thing green things in my garden (where the snow has melted) — nice young stinkweed. And oh what a healthy crop already. It figures it would be a weed!

The farm team (so called because they’re in their coveralls and tractor dealership gimme caps):

Sadly (ha!), the box of ice skates has been consigned to the storage building until November 2008. I hope.

Hens admiring the view.

The view.

Sometimes it feels as though we’re raising cats rather than cattle (and yes, they each have a name), though they’re certainly earning their keep. Tom says he saw only one mouse running about all winter.

Speaking of chickens, here’s chicken salad. Or rather, fruit salad. This is why we don’t have the chickens or their eggs certified organic; we get several boxes of mostly non-organic supermarket vegetable and fruit trimmings every week. And if the birds aren’t getting 100 percent organic feed, they can’t be organic. To us, it’s more important that they get a varied diet with lots of fresh greens (and reds and yellows and purples). If it was my diet, I’d rather have some non-organic cherries, grapes, watermelon, and lettuce, than a steady supply of 100 percent organic grain. Especially through what can be a very, very long winter before the next blade of green grass appears.

Daniel with one of the new arrivals — the golden boy with the golden calf. I can’t remember what time of day I took this, but it’s all natural light with no help from me, the camera, or iPhoto afterward,

Davy decided to get in on the fun,

Sleeping in the sun,

Finally, a few shots of Easter goodies.

I suprised the kids (and myself, after that flu) with some Bonnat-style Martha Stewart chocolate-filled eggs. Under the weather with limited patience and time spent vertically, I simplified some of MS’s methods. For starters, I made a hole with my small, sharp and pointy cake tester. I enlarged it slowly by chipping away with the tester and didn’t bother with pins, utility knives, or drills. One small “tool” and I was fine. Also, I found I didn’t need to get rid of the eggy inside by blowing with a rubber ear syringe or anything else. Mix up the eggy inside gently, then shake, also gently. Fast and easy. Then, maybe because of our dry Alberta climate, the empty shells didn’t need more than one day to dry completely.

For the chocolate filling, I found some Callebaut chunks at the supermarket and didn’t bother cutting them up any more; I also dispensed with the double boiler, scraping, heating pad, and spreading on a clean smooth work surface. I put the chocolate chunks in a glass bowl and zapped them in the microwave for 30 seconds a shot, two or three times; the Cooking for Engineers website has good information on the whys and hows of tempering chocolate.

I don’t have any clean unused egg cartons, just recycled ones from our eggs, so I set the empty shells in egg cups to fill. It was also how I presented the eggs to the kids, who thought they were getting soft boiled eggs for Easter breakfast. The expressions on their faces were priceless. Mom has almost as magic as the Easter Bunny…

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6 Responses

  1. Wow! Love the pictures and how creative of you to do the chocolate eggs!

  2. Hmph. You adapt recipe like I do! (nah, I don’t need that step…or this one…). Love the pictures of the chicken salad and the calves are beautiful.

  3. Those chocolate eggs are impressive. I’m curious. Are the cats not interested in the hens? Great photos of your guys.

  4. Jacqueline, I have a lot of the raw material around (eggs…), so I thought I’d give it a whirl! I’m nowhere near as crafty or creative as I see you are, from your blog : )

    Kris, when I first moved to the boonies I had to start getting creative with ingredients (and I had to ditch the Gourmet magazine subscription, because there’s no regular supply of lemon grass around here). Then the farming and kids made me, erm, shall we say, refine my methods… There’s nothing more gorgeous this time of year than a healthy newborn calf.

    Mrs. G., the best kind of craft — shockingly easy but pretty impressive looking. Cats not at all interested in the chickens, mainly because the chickens let the cats know about the pecking order early on. And the cats (and I) give a wiiiide berth to the roosters.

  5. Wow Becky, amazing photos – I think the one of the hens watching the cats is worthy of a poster – or at the very least, entry in the county fair’s photo contest…

    Thanks for sharing the joys of spring :)

  6. Thanks, Penny, for the kind words, and you’re very welcome. If I keep saying it’s Spring, it might become more Spring-y around here (we’re expecting some more flakes today, ugh)!

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