• 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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Possibly a vg thing

I’ve been annoyed for a few weeks now after finding out (thanks to AustenBlog) that Helen Fielding’s new Bridget Jones’s Diary in The Independent is a subscriber-only perk at the website. Bloody cheek. (Though why is it I don’t seem to have a problem with the idea of paying for plane tickets to have Colin Firth serve me free-trade coffee? Serve me anything, for that matter.)

I wanted to see for myself if the Third Coming (er, Bridget’s, that is) is a good idea or not. I found both books literally laugh-out-loud funny, very embarrassing because Tom would ask what was so funny, and then I’d try to read aloud a passage only to dissolve in more choking, snorting, weeping laughter so that I looked like a even more of a dolt, leaving Tom even more confused (about the source of the humor and his choice of wife) than before.

I’m not thrilled to hear that Bridget is still dithering between Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy, but then again, I’m not surprised either. After all, she is Bridget Jones and this isn’t the Great Books we’re talking about. The first column contained this glimmer of hope, which I was able to find excerpted online elsewhere for free: “Really wanted a little baby to love: though not, obviously, weekend nanny to shag ex-husband.” And, after the London bombings, “[I have] pride at how well am personally handling the crisis. Not entirely sure where pride comes from as have not exactly done anything except resolving to take trainers to work when wearing unsuitable shoes. But still.”

Caryn James in her New York Times* article yesterday hit the genre on the head, writing,

Still vacillating between Mark and Daniel, today’s Bridget has not yet escaped her own shadow. But there is something better at work here. The new column is a reminder that Ms. Fielding is above all a social satirist, whose up-to-the-minute skewerings and sly literary voice are especially suited to the quick turnaround of a serial. The three diary entries that have appeared so far have become increasingly sharp, as she has addressed cultural issues central to our time: Jude Law’s nanny problem, Madonna’s tumble off a horse, terrorism.

Ms. Fielding’s apparently offhand observations are crucial to the literary version of Bridget. It’s not terrorism that Ms. Fielding sends up, but the clichéd responses to it. Bridget’s mother, having just come from her neighbor’s brunchtime karaoke, says: “You have to carry on as normal don’t you? Otherwise the bombers will have won.”

The books – “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” – may be short on novelistic structure, but Ms. Fielding’s literary voice makes them more satisfying than the movie versions, and infinitely superior to her many chick-lit imitators.

In the meantime, I’m sitting tight with my Chardonnay (alright, my Merlot) for BJ3 or until some public-spirited blogger decides to share more snippets.

*you have to register, but registration is free, and you get those nifty recipes on Wednesdays, and Verlyn Klinkenborg’s columns among many other nice things, though not (grumble, grumble) the new crossworld puzzles. Just the old — or Classic, as the Times prefers to market them — ones.

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