• 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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  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig (belatedly)

We’ve been home now for nearly a week, since Sunday night. The bags are unpacked, the laundry is washed (but not all folded and put away), children reunited with favorite toys and books, our own beds collapsed in, and old daily rhythms rewelcomed.

We had a wonderful time with my parents and had a chance to visit with old friends and make some new ones; Laura discovered the local Brownie troop and, wearing her Canadian uniform complete with badge sash, was invited to make Valentine’s crafts with the girls one afternoon. We went to favorite old places — the calm beach with perfect sand for building castles, the rocky beach with all the conch shells, the noisy beach with the coral reef just off shore, the Friday night chicken and ribs barbecue sponsored by the local Water Department (to raise money to support their cricket team). The kids became part fish again, and we all enjoyed a new style of living and eating. Some of us, including the very youngest (ahem), developed a fondness for pina coladas, even with the rum; we’re doing our darndest to continue the cocktail hour tradition in the evenings, but for a disconcerting absence of Coco Lopez from local store shelves. We just may have to ask the supermarket to bring in a case, just for us.

And Laura, with her grandfather’s help and genes inherited from her grandmother, was able to indulge her growing love of luxury and dining out. Our farewell dinner was enjoyed at the Four Seasons seafood buffet on the beach, where we all stuffed ourselves with lobsters, shrimp, mussels, oysters, and crab legs — happily, the kids weren’t at all interested in the hamburgers or hotdogs made available to keep resort kiddie guests happy — and then moved on to the dessert table, where my youngest discovered “Mom, I think it’s drunken pineapple” (it was marinated in rum) and Daniel had four helpings of the chocolate sponge cake rolled up with chocolate icing and a banana in the middle.

And Tom was his usual productive self.

He spent most of his days, from 7:30 in the morning until 6 in the evening, in the guesthouse, which later this year should become the home for my parents’ gardener and his family, he built back in 2003 — this time, Tom built large closets in all of the bedrooms, cut out the openings for the kitchen sink and taps, installed the guttering outside, made and installed several lattice windows (the largest one is visible on the far right, bottom/basement level), and built two gorgeous bookcases, one extra deep to serve as master bathroom linen storage, out of Caribbean cedar. My started taking measurements in the main house, thinking that in future Tom could build another one or even two, and a few friends were wishing they could have placed orders. Maybe next time…

And this morning I’m home alone, savoring our house — well, maybe not the unusually loud noises coming from the basement deep freeze on its last legs — and even the winter scene outdoors. Laura is at her Brownies sleepover, happily postponed from earlier in the month, and this morning Tom asked the boys if they wanted to come along on the current building project, a shop for their uncle on his new property. I’ll pick Laura up in a few hours, throw in another load of laundry, and put the wooden skewers into soak (dinner will be grilled garlic shrimp, with rice and maybe some broccoli). It is good to be home.

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