• 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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Weekend report

Nothing fancy and no links right now, just a quick report.

Friday: We got a bit of a late start to Edmonton because Tom had to set up his apprentice for some tile work in the bathroom of the big supermarket remodeling project. So he was rather concerned that he’d miss the lot with the mini Komatsu trackhoe, and so the kids and I missed getting dropped off at the museum in Edmonton proper and were whisked away to the auction sale just beyond the city’s western border. Four hours later — fortunately, I had brought a book and packed lunch along with various treats and snacks, and the kids had stuffed their backpacks with things to color and read, and were happy exploring the grounds with Tom — the lot finally came up, but the trackhoe sold for $4,000 more than the $10,000 limit Tom had set for himself. Great disappointment all round, especially because all three kids had hatched a plan to add a mini loader and mini tractor to the proposed purchase, so that they’d each have something to drive around. Though I don’t think the plan included money to buy these things…
Followed by a bit of shopping where I found birthday presents for a niece and nephew and a wedding shower gift for next month, and a tasty dinner near the Coliseum where the Oilers play.

Saturday: The museum cleaning took only about three hours with some determined effort. Laura got points before we even left the house for suggesting that we bring extra dustcloths, and Daniel wrestled our vacuum cleaner into the back of the truck. One of the other board members cleaned all the windows and glass display cases, Tom vacuumed and cleaned a couple of the outdoor display buildings (holding antique and vintage farm machinery), the officially hired cleaner for the day did a bit of everything and mopped floors, and the kids and I dusted. They very much enjoyed the officially sanctioned chance to handle things ordinarily marked with “Do Not Touch” signs. The other board member even allowed the boys to try on a c1930 Boy Scout brown felt hat with wide brim, and Laura a couple of millinery confections from the 1920s. And when they finished work, as expected, they disappeared to “play store” and “play school” in the two displays.

After a quick picnic lunch on the grounds and a change of clothes, we headed to the high school for the Beckie Scott rally. She was her usual gracious self for adults, and charmed the kids. Unfortunately, though the event was held at the local high school, few kids over the age of 12 in attendance. After the presentations and speeches, Beckie sat a table in the foyer and signed autographs and gave everyone a chance to feel her gold and silver medals. The kids obviously dazzled and pooped on the way out.

Sunday: Tree planting goes much more easily and quickly with a mechanized tree planter than a shovel. Fortunately, at lunchtime yesterday, we got word that we could have the tree planter, and zipped over to collect it. It hitches on to the back of a small tractor, with two old tractor seats mounted behind two wells for storing the trees, and has a disc and plow for making a furrow, and while it makes the furrow it makes another impression for planting the tree and then covers it up and tamps down the soil. Tom’s dad drove the tractor, I teased apart roots and handed trees over one by one, and Tom stuck them in the ground. The kids alternated riding on the back with a shovel (the tractor was going about a mile an hour) and would hop off when directed to right a tree or fill in a spot where we missed on. Tom’s mother and two other kids walked along behind making sure everything was okay and keeping pace in the pickup truck with all the other trees, bundled in water in five gallon plastic pails. In the end, we managed to plant a shelterbelt around the perimeter of two fields, a large one where until last year we had a tired stand of alfalfa, and a smaller one where we plant potatoes and would like to build a new house when the time comes.

Most of the little saplings don’t look like much, especially the lilac, larch, and chokecherries, which resemble nothing more than twigs stuck in the ground. But the white spruce and Scotch pine are beautiful, tall and green and surprisingly bushy. After a quick late dinner at home, the kids and I helped Tom water trees until about 9 pm. Then my MacGyver-like husband rigged up a “watering arm” on the back of the water tank trailer: he attached a two-by-four with two clamps, replaced the regular long hose with a shorter length and tied it to the two-by-four with some wire, and off he went on his own while I got everyone clean and ready for a well-deserved sleep. Best of all, it’s cloudy this morning with rain in the forecast for later on. Keep your fingers crossed.

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