• 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."
    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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Eight is great!

Happy birthday, babycakes. How you went from being a tiny little thing in my arms to the long-legged, horseback-riding, swims like a fish, history-mad child with such eclectic tastes (Tchaikovsky, the Beatles, rhubarb, ancient Greece, Ukrainian dance, Milton Meltzer, “O Brother Where Art Thou”) still mystifies Daddy and me :).

This with candles, and this, are for you, sweet pea:

Chocolate Whipped Cream Cake
(adapted from Country Living magazine, May 2005; originally titled Gianna’s Chocolate Whipped Cream Cake)

Cake:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt (the original recipe calls for 1 tsp. salt)
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
[2 tbsp. anisette liqueur — I omit this because in this household it would defeat the purpose of a lovely chocolate cake; however, I think 1 tsp. of real almond extract in addition to the vanilla would be very nice]
1 cup boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9″ round cake pans. Set aside.

2. Bring a small saucepan with at least one cup of water to boil, and maintain boil.

3. In a large bowl of a mixmaster, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, balking powder, and baking soda and whisk together. Beat in oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla and, with the mixer set on medium speed beat for 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add 1 cup boiling water.

4. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Unmold the cakes and return to the wire rack until completely cool.

Frosting:
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, cold
1-1/2 tsp. confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat the heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold in granulated sugar and cocoa until combined.

To assemble cake: place one layer on cake plate. Spread a third of frosting over the layer. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips. Top with the remaining layer and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Top with candles and serve, at the end of a long day of fun with family and friends, with sliced strawberries, a heap of birthday presents and lots of love.

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