• 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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Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

Because our harvest is over, we’ve been enjoying a beautiful, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.

On Saturday, we went to the big pumpkin festival and weigh-off in the province. The kids got to see one of the biggest pumpkins (this isn’t the grand prize winner, which weighed over 1,100 pounds)

and while my back was turned (buying a couple of slices of pumpkin for starving children), Tom decided to bid on one of the giant squashes. He ended up with the second place squash, all 570 pounds of it, which he and the kids plan to carve for Halloween.

Laura examined some of the other squashes,

while our our new pet got loaded for the trip home,

We got home in time to have a quick supper and then head out to meet the fruit truck from B.C., where we picked up a 40-pound box of Macintosh apples; 25 pounds of onions; some blue grapes; three gorgeous summer sausages, very similar to Italian dry salami, made by Mennonites; and two wheels of cheddar cheese from a small Alberta dairy.

Yesterday we had our big Thanksgiving meal with Tom’s family, and today we’ve all been puttering around, Tom and the kids doing various farm chores (Tom helping a neighbor load up some of the hay bales we’re selling, the boys using the grease gun for the first time, Laura riding the horse and rounding up cattle), and me canning pears,

The vegetables and fruits have been cleared out of the garden. I have a few more tomatoes to turn into sauce and freeze, and in a few weeks we’ll cover the strawberries with a protective layer of straw. I still have to clean out the flower garden, though.

* * *

By eleven o’clock on Thanksgiving Day the aunts, uncles, and cousins had all arrived. The uncles and Big Kids usually stayed out on the front porch discussing cars, animals, crops, politics, and the price of hogs, soybeans, and corn. Then they would gravitate to the back of the house or, if the gathering was on a farm, to the horse barn, ostensibly to see a new foal or check out a new stall (and leaving the women and the Little Kids to do all the work). It was years before I discovered the real reason: Someone had stashed a bottle of Old Grandad in Old Jude’s grain box.

The aunts and Little Kids gathered in the kitchen. Each aunt would have brought her specialty. Green lima beans, mashed potatoes, apple salad, cabbage salad, bread-and-butter pickles, vinegary beet pickles, baked acorn squash, ground-cherry, apple, and raisin pies, devil’s food and angel food cakes, charlotte russe, and jams of all kind were unpacked and put on the table.

All of a sudden the kitchen was buzzing with laughter and chattering, questions and answers, orders and suggestions. Everybody pitched in. There were Wealthy apples to be peeled, cored, and sliced, boiled milk dressing to be assembled for that apple salad, gravy to be made, potatoes to be mashed, cakes and pies to be sliced, cream to be whipped, a goose to be carved. Even the littlest ones were pressed into service to bring in more wood for the kitchen fire or fresh water from the pump. They knew that they would get an oatmeal cookie for their efforts.

from Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish. And what’s Thanksgiving without Grandma’s Apple Cream Pie?

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2 Responses

  1. wow what is that thing in the Jar??????????ut i like your big pumpkin i want one.

  2. That would be the canned pears mentioned in the post. Very, very tasty : )

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