• 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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Dessert time

For Karen, because it’s chocolate, it’s as easy as a boxed mix, and a six-and-a-half year-old can make it (also a mother with a head cold and cough who needs to put dessert on the table for company now):

Wacky Cake (from The New York Times, sometime in the early 1990s…)

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla
⅔ cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a 9-by-13-inch cake pan [I do ours in a 9×9 or 10×10 metal pan], mix all dry ingredients with a fork; be sure to get in the edges. Smooth them out and make three holes. Put the vinegar in one hole, the vanilla in another and the oil in the third. Then cover the whole thing with the water. Mix it all up with a fork until the lumps are gone.

3. Bake 40 or 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

And some autumnal treats from Baking for Britain, one of my favorite baking blogs, inspired by the 30-pound box of apples in my kitchen (next to the 30-pound box of Bosc pears, to be canned and poached, and the 10 pounds of Oxheart plums — and yes, they do look like bloody hearts):

Welsh Harvest Cake (Teisen y Cynhaeaf), best served warm

Apple Gingerbread with Cinnamon Icing

Herefordshire Cider Cake

Dorset Apple Cake

The pears, and all this talk of chocolate, remind me that it might be time for Laurie Colwin‘s chocolate pear pudding recipe, which she originally found in Josceline Dimbleby’s Book of Puddings, Desserts and Savouries (out of print but still sounding delightfully English and onm the verge of made-up), “a treasured text now falling apart. … The recipes are uncomplicated and delicious.” The recipe as Laurie Colwin wrote it up in More Home Cooking,

You peel, core, and slice think (or cut into chunks) 1 pound of pears, which you arrange on the bottom of a buttered baking dish, sprinkle with sugar, and dot with about 2 tablespoons of butter. You then mix together ¾ cup floor, 1 generous tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon baking powder, a scant ¾ cup dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup (now generally available), 1 large egg, beaten, 4 tablespoons melted butter, and ¼ cup milk and beat it all into a batter. The whole performance takes about 20 minutes. Pour the batter on top of the pears and bake the pudding for 45 to 50 minutes in a 325 F. oven. This pudding can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature and is especially good with ice cream.

Look what I just found: two of my very favorite things together, Laurie Colwin on Chocolate.

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