• 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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Poetry Friday I: The Griffin Prize for Excellence in Poetry

It’s not often I get to report poetry news, and glamorous poetry news at that. Yesterday came the announcement that

“Kamau Brathwaite and Sylvia Legris are the International and Canadian winners of the sixth annual Griffin Poetry Prize. [Legris won for Nerve Squall and Brathwaite for Born to Slow Horses.] The C$100,000 Griffin Poetry Prize, the richest prize in the world for a single volume of poetry, is divided between the two winners. The prize is for first edition books of poetry, including translations, published in English in 2005, and submitted from anywhere in the world. …

“More than 400 guests celebrated the awards, including former Governor-General, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, acclaimed Canadian actors Albert Schultz and Sarah Polley, Senator Jerry Grafstein and his wife Carol, among others. In addition, poets, publishers and other literary luminaries attended the celebration.

The evening’s theme was Shangri-La and featured a silk route marketplace replete with banners of fuschia, purple and gold. Hundreds of pigmy orchids and butterflies in a dizzying array of colours adorned the room. The event, which took place at The Stone Distillery in Toronto, offered up a menu of decidedly Asian fusion cuisine. Appetizers included mango and Thai basil sushi rolls, deep-fried plantain, sweet corn tamales, crab cakes on a bed of remoulade, and a sweet potato and jicama salad. The main course featured seared strip loin of beef with a mini risotto wild rice pancake and for dessert, a chocolate fountain with assorted sweets.”

And a tidbit even more interesting than the mango and Thai basil sushi rolls: “As in past years, copies of the submitted poetry books are being donated to Corrections Canada.”

Griffin Poetry Prize Trustees include Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, and the Griffin Trust was created to serve and encourage excellence in poetry written in English anywhere in the world.

Believe it or not, tickets for the Griffin Poetry Prize short-list readings this past Wednesday were sold out. The Griffin website has a number of nice features, including “See and Hear Poetry” from Griffin shortlists and winners; a selection of poets’ blogs; and a long list of related links.


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