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

Little Heathens and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in The Christian Science Monitor

From today’s Christian Science Monitor, from Marilyn Gardner’s column, “A harvest of virtues as well as sustenance”, with the subtitle, “Two new books remind readers how closely most Americans used to be connected to the land”:

If spring is the season when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love, summer is the time when a former Midwesterner’s heart fills with a different kind of affection — a romance with the land.For some of us, that romance is three-pronged. First, there is the love of the landscape itself: The way the horizon stretches endlessly, stitching together blue sky and black soil. The way silver silos glint in the sun. The way dairy cows graze in velvet pastures.

Then there is the romance with the bounty of that land, as reflected in the proverbial fruited plain and amber waves of grain. This is the month when the corn is supposed to be knee-high by the Fourth of July, and next month as high as an elephant’s eye, at least in the view of Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Finally, there are the bedrock values that spring from this fertile land, beginning with the virtues of hard work and cooperation that are required to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops, fruits, and vegetables.

This summer two authors offer reminders of those virtues. In “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life,” Barbara Kingsolver describes her family’s year-long experiment in self-sufficiency. Their locus is Appalachia, not the Midwest, but the values are the same. …

For Mildred Armstrong Kalish, author of “Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression,” rural life brought other lessons. …

As Americans have moved from farms to cities, two profound changes have occurred. Younger generations have little knowledge of where food comes from. Many people have also lost an understanding of – and an appreciation for – hard physical labor. The poetic description of the Midwest as the nation’s bread basket masks the intense labor and economic uncertainties farmers face. …

Kingsolver knows that most families cannot replicate her family’s experiment in self-reliance. Likewise, Kalish is not sentimental about the economic strains her family faced.

They understand that there is obviously no going back to a more rural way of life. But both books suggest an intriguing question: In a sophisticated urban and suburban culture, built on the premise of bigger, better, faster, and more expensive, is there value in encouraging a greater appreciation for simpler living, closer to families and the land when possible?

Kingsolver and Kalish both make eloquent, persuasive cases for answering in the affirmative. Sustenance, after all, comes in many forms.

Read the rest here.

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