• 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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Ups and downs

Ups: our first trip to the beach this trip. The kids had all but forgotten about it until our beachside visit to Four Seasons for lunch on Sunday, but since then having been begging for more. The beach I chose — near the house of our gardener, to whom we gave a lift on the way — isn’t one of the best ones, not a lot of sand above the high tide mark and no shells for gathering, but nice and private and surrounded by a coral reef which makes for some excitement. The kids had a wonderful time digging canals (“just like in Holland” called out Laura, remembering some of our SOTW3 reading), and then she started collecting coconut husks “for a palisade,” she told the boys. Then the boys realized that instead of shells, they could collect bits of coral, some of them quite large, all broken off by the waves from the reef offshore.

I reminded the kids that the ocean, even on the considerably calmer Caribbean side (the Atlantic side is so rough few dare to go in), isn’t as safe as the pool and to be careful. When I mentioned the tide and the undertow, five-year-old Davy looked around rather panicked, and then I realized he thought I was talking some animal-like being that might grab him. So I had to explain that I was talking about the force of the water, and he relaxed, but not too much (which is good).

When the tide finally claimed the last bit of beach, and the kids were thorougly breaded with sand like little Wiener schnitzels, we headed home, where the kids showered all together and my wonderful husband made pina coladas, virgin and rum-laden, for each of us.

Downs: the pina coladas were followed by our French fairy godfather cooking French sausages — andouilles — for about the fifth night in a row. Even Daniel, who’s quite fond of sausages, stood by Tom at the barbecue tonight and whispered, “Sausages? Again? Why can’t we just have steak?” And the particular sausages tonight were particularly unappealing, essentially sausage casing around sliced tripe, which was just too much for my mother, who has been known to eat and like tripe. Not quite “Fear Factor” territory, though I did think of that scene in “Alien” when, rather disconcerted, I had cut into my sausage only to have the contents spill out in innardlike fashion. To their credit, the kids have been doing a dandy job of dealing with the gourmet concoctions, even without the reward tonight of fancy chocolates at the end; though to be on the safe side tonight, I set a tiny little metal condiment dish full of ketchup next to each of their plates.

Tomorrow is his birthday, for which he’s cooking duck breast, accompanied by what he called “my recipe” of sauteed cabbage, which I apparently made last year. I can’t recall either the occasion or the recipe, but I found it in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. Just heat some olive oil (or sesame oil) and garlic, and cook cabbage, and had some hot chili pepper to taste. I hope that’s what he’s expecting. And my parents and I are hoping that the duck breasts, which he brought with him a week ago and refused to store in the freezer, a) won’t be past their “best by” date and b) won’t be served rare, just in case.

Another up: we’re concerned enough about food poisoning and the possible surprise of yet more sausages that we’re not even going to bother with the State of the Union address. Hey, are there any more pina coladas?

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