• 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.

Combining combining and pirates

We started combining the crops, wheat and barley, today. And I understand tomorrow is supposed to be Talk Like a Pirate Day.

I’m not the first person to notice that combines look rather like ships, sailing steadily and majestically through waves of grain. And while you wait on the truck, or run up the combine ladder to check how the wheat is coming in, and the warm wind blows through your hair, you do feel as if you could be on a ship or even up the mast, especially when you scan the horizon to see if you can spot your neighbors in their combine.

So for all the western Canadian pirates out there, I offer hearty harvest wishes, and the words of this little ditty, written and performed by the Canadian musical comedy group The Arrogant Worms; and also performed lustily by the Edmonton band Captain Tractor (you can’t combine farming and sailing any better than with that moniker):

The Last Saskatchewan Pirate

Well, I used to be a farmer and I made a living fine,
I had a little stretch of land along the CP line.
But times got tough, and though I tried, the money wasn’t there.
The bankers came and took my land and told me, “Fair is fair”/
I looked for every kind of job, the answer always no.
“Hire you now?” they’d always laugh, “We just let twenty go!” (Ha ha!)
The government, they promised me a measly little sum,
But I’ve got too much pride to end up just another bum.

Then I thought, who gives a damn if all the jobs are gone,
I’m gonna be a pirate on the River Saskatchewan! (Arr!)

And it’s a heave (ho!) hi (ho!), coming down the plains,
Stealing wheat and barley and all the other grains,
And it’s a ho (hey!) hi (hey!), farmers bar yer doors
When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores.

Well, you’d think the local farmers would know that I’m at large
But just the other day I found an unprotected barge.
I snuck up right behind them and they were none the wiser.
I rammed the ship and sank it and I stole the fertilizer.
Bridge outside of Moose Jaw spans a mighty river
Farmers cross in so much fear, their stomach’s are a-quiver
‘Cause they know that Captain Tractor’s hiding in the bay.
I’ll jump the bridge, and knock ’em cold, and sail off with their hay.

And it’s a heave (ho!) hi (ho!), coming down the plains,
Stealing wheat and barley and all the other grains,
And it’s a ho (hey!) hi (hey!), farmers bar yer doors
When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores.

Well, Mountie Bob he chased me, he was always at my throat,
He’d follow on the shoreline ’cause he didn’t own a boat.
But the cutbacks were a-comin’ and the Mountie lost his job,
So now he’s sailing with me and we call him Salty Bob.
A swingin’ sword, a skull-and-bones, and pleasant company,
I never pay my income tax and screw the GST (Screw it!).
Prince Albert down to Saskatoon, the terror of the sea,
If you wanna reach the co-op, boy, you gotta get by me! (Arr!)

And it’s a heave (ho!) hi (ho!), coming down the plains,
Stealing wheat and barley and all the other grains,
And it’s a ho (hey!) hi (hey!), farmers bar yer doors
When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores.

Well, the pirate life’s appealing but you don’t just find it here,
I hear in north Alberta there’s a band of buccaneers.
They roam the Athabasca from Smith to Fort MacKay,
And you’re gonna lose your Stetson if you have to pass their way.
Well, winter is a-comin’ and a chill is in the breeze,
My pirate days are over once the river starts to freeze.
I’ll be back in springtime, but now I’ve got to go,
I hear there’s lots of plunderin’ down in New Mexico.

And it’s a heave (ho!) hi (ho!), coming down the plains,
Stealing wheat and barley and all the other grains,
And it’s a ho (hey!) hi (hey!), farmers bar yer doors
When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores.

When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores!
When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina’s mighty shores!

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