• 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, home schooling, and building our own house. I'm nowhere near as regular a blogger as I used to be.

    The kids are 18/Grade 12, 16/Grade 11, and 14/Grade 10.

    Contact me at becky(dot)farmschool(at)gmail(dot)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"

    "‘Never look at an ugly thing twice. It is fatally easy to get accustomed to corrupting influences."
    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

    "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."

    "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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Pass the Bean Dip, er, Cookies

I came across the recipe below in a current farm publication; it’s from a fairly new cookbook, Grazing: Portable Snacks and Finger Foods for Anytime, Anywhere by Julie Van Rosendaal, published last November. Tom proclaims it an abomination and a dreadful thing to do to chocolate chips, pecans, and dried cranberries (he does have a point, especially when it comes to the chocolate), and has forbidden me to give it a go.

But part of me is perverse and wants to know just how bean-y the cookies would taste. I may have to sneak them by the family, just as an experiment. Yes, I am a sneaky mom, and because of that my kids eat pretty well — not because I make a habit of sneaking healthy foods past their lips (grated zucchini and carrots in the meatloaves and tomato sauces) but because they are so young that basic child psychology, and some of the nifty reverse variety, work painfully easily on them. Davy loves beans. Why? Because his sneaky mom told the boy who wants to be a cattle baron when he grows up that cowboys love beans. Adore beans. And now he does, too. Laura covets my calamari when we go out to eat, and even knows that it’s Italian for squid. Why? Because I told her calamari is really much too sophisticated for children, and she relishes the look on surprise on the waiter’s face (there’s always a look of surprise!) when she orders it for herself. Of course, they may all end up in therapy when they find out that mommy put beans in the cookies. And if you decide to sneak them by your family, come up with a different name for them.

Breakfast Bean Cookies (makes 2 dozen)

2 cups oats
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
14 oz. can of white kidney, navy, or cannellini beans
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the oats in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse flour. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and process until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.

Put the beans into the food processor and pulse until roughly pureed. Add butter and process until well blended. Add the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Pour the bean mixture [a phrase Tom says does not belong in any cookie recipe] into the oat mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add the chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, and flaxseed and stir until just blended.

Drop large spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray [I prefer parchment paper], and flatten each one a little with your hand; this works best if hand is dampened first. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until pale golden around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

By the way, coincidence or not that Stephanie/Lynx over at Poppins’ blog gave her secret sneaky recipe for including black beans (and a zucchini) with a box of brownie mix? That would definitely take a bigger leap of faith for me, what with all the chocolate involved.

Bean Appetit, she chortled.

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