• 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.

Carnival of Homeschooling, Schoolhouse Rock edition

Melissa at The Lilting House rocks, and so does the latest edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling.

I may not have the time to read through the Carnival right now, but I know what I’ll be humming under my breath all through the fair! Thanks, Melissa!

Even more sporadic blogging ahead

The fair starts on Thursday with the big parade and runs through Saturday at midnight; the kids and I will be there for most of it, from riding on the museum’s parade float to the fireworks that will celebrate our town’s and the fair’s centennials. Tomorrow I’m helping at the exhibit hall to accept entries (including our own, which fill half a dozen boxes — the most unwieldy items are the 16 pint sealers of threshed grains and the 14 sheaves of wheat, barley, alfalfa, etc. — currently taking up space on my kitchen floor) through lunchtime. Then I’ll pick up the kids at a friend’s, head home to pick up our rooster and four of his harem, and return to town to deliver them to the fairgrounds. While there, we’ll probably help Tom set up the museum’s display of vintage farming machinery, and help arrange the big display case.

We had a much appreciated half an hour of thundershowers the night before last, and for now at least everything is showered and dusted off. Not enough rain for the crops, but enough to keep the garden and our trees going for a bit longer before we need to water them again. And the forecast is predicting more clouds and lower temperatures for the end of the week, which would be nice as long as it doesn’t get in the way of our day at the midway; the kids are particularly excited because two of them won free ride bracelets in the draw at the work bee on Saturday (they’re not nearly as excited as their parents, who have to shell out only $25 x 1 this year).

I may not make it to Poetry Friday this week, so just in case I’ll send you to Poetry Thursday on Tuesday for something new and different.

Time to relax with the fifth Carnival of Children’s Literature

Kelly at Big A little a has done a wonderful witchy job getting the latest Carnival of Children’s Literature ready. In keeping with her witchy theme, Kelly quotes the witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

Oh, well done!
I commend your pains
And everyone shall share in the gains.
And now about the cauldron sing,
Like elves and fairies in a ring,
Enchanting all that you put in.

Well done, indeed! And could that be any more appropriate for a carnival? Thanks, Kelly.

The next Carnival of Children’s Literature will be hosted at Castle of the Immaculate on August 6th. Previous carnivals:

First Carnival of Children’s Literature at Here in the Bonny Glen
No. 2: A Coney Island Adventure at Chicken Spaghetti
The Third Carnival of Children’s Literature at Semicolon
The Broken Toe Edition (No. 4) at Here in the Bonny Glen

Warm work bee

The Saturday before the fair is always the big work bee at the fairgrounds. The sheep folks ready the sheep barns, the horse folks horse barns, and this year the beef folks were helping to put up new, large cattle barn. Of course, it had to be 35 degrees Celsius yesterday while they were putting the new metal roofing on. Other jobs to do included laying sod around the new grandstand, followed by copious watering; giving bleachers a new lick of white paint; setting out, and lining, all of the trash barrels and pop can/bottle recycling barrels; hauling the small square straw bales and bags of cedar shavings into Old MacDonald’s barn, home of the petting zoo; stocking all of the bathrooms with adequate supplies of toilet paper and pink liquid soap. The kids stayed busy with the last two jobs, riding around from job to job, and enjoying the breeze, in the back of a pickup truck. The Ag Society takes good care of volunteers, most of whom are friends and neighbors (and, in small-town Canada, family more often than not), providing a big lunch at noon as well as a fellow who spent all day driving from site to site in a truck loaded with big Rubbermaid tubs containing ice and a variety of cold drinks.

By about three o’clock, I figured it was time to get the kids inside and out of the sun, and also check on our various babies at home to make sure everyone was cool enough and well-watered. At home, we also looked in on Tom, who has rarely missed a work bee but yesterday stayed home to work on a special project requested by the Ag Society, a shadow box/display case for memorabilia from the past 99 years of the fair, to help celebrate this year’s centennial. It’s about 6′ by 6′, and in the shape of a barn; the barn “door” and “hay loft” function as display shelves. Pretty nifty.

At six o’clock, we headed back to town for dinner with our friends who are moving in a couple of weeks. After dinner we headed outside to sit on the front step and eat Popsicles while the kids biked around the empty streets; our friends live, for the next little while at least, in one of the oldest parts of town, with tall shade trees along the sidewalks, and it was so green and quiet and peaceful and almost cool. There’s something nice about a place, whether it’s Manhattan or this little town, when just about everyone else has cleared out, to the cabin or cottage or beach or lake, leaving the rest for the rest of us.

Today is a tidying, catching up day. We had a much appreciated thundershower this morning, not nearly enough to save the crops but enough to be refreshing and wash away the dust on the trucks, the roads. I’m doing some laundry, the kids are helping Tom finish up the display case, and later I’ll get rid of the only dud duck egg and wash out the incubator, and spend some more time in the garden, where the red poppies have now burst into bloom, taller than the peony they were seeded around. My new hollyhocks are just about ready to burst their buttons, too, and will be a dark, rosy pink. I can see I need some more yellows in the garden — something to remember for next year — because for the most part there are blues, purples, pinks, and whites. The only yellows have come from the still smallish Stella d’Oro daylily and the three lupines, and it doesn’t seem to be quite enough; maybe some yellow California poppies next spring.

Poetry Friday

For my footsore boys and girl enjoying long summer evenings…

No Bed
by Walter de la Mare

No bed! No bed! we shouted,
And wheeled our eyes from home
To where the green and golden woods
Cried, Come!

Wild sang the evening birds,
The sun-clouds shone in our eyes,
A silver snippet of moon hung low
In the skies.

We ran, we leapt, we sang,
We yodelled loud and shrill,
Chased Nobody through the valley and
Up the hill.

We laughed, we quarrelled, we drank
The cool sweet of the dew,
Beading on bud and leaf the dim
Woods through.

We stayed, we listened, we looked —
Now dark was on the prowl!
Too-whit-a-woo, from its hollow called
An owl…

O Sleep, at last to slide
Into eyes made drunk with light;
Call in thy footsore boys to harmless

Now it’s Cool Boys for a hot summer’s day…

reading on the hammock, with a glass of lemonade perched precariously on your stomach.

Jen Robinson at her Book Page, who took on the masterful job of compiling a list of 200 Cool Girls of Children’s Literature, has now turned her attention to Cool Boys. Check out the lists so far (here and here), from Tom Sawyer and Peter Pan to the Bad Hat, and send in any suggestions you might have to help the Boys reach 200, too (the count stands at about 126).

And don’t forget Jen’s Growing Bookworms site, an index of all her reviews, which in my summer haze I had nearly forgotten!

Some answers, kind of sort of

The kids found the body of my little grayling kitten after supper in the bale yard, and it’s likely he met his end via the fanbelt in the truck. The kids have each offered to share their kittens with me.

The ducklings are probably pintails. No more hatched since this morning, but we still have two more than we thought we would.

And, in the best news of the day, thanks to advice from a dear friend of ours, an 82-year-old naturalist as well as the father of Tom’s best friend since grade 1, the kildeer and her brood are probably safe and sound and just on their way. The young are pretty “precocious,” he explained, and the birds like to get a move on right after hatching. I can certainly live with that.