• 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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Poetry Friday: Halloween is Coming edition

This poem is sadly appropriate because the woods and fields are most certainly wintry this October morning, covered with more than just a dusting a snow and it is still snowing; even sadder, my children are delightedly pulling on snow pants to go out and shovel as I type. Temperatures are supposed to rise a few degrees into the the 30s today, so while I’m urging the thermometer up, the kids are urging more snow down. Drat.

The Witch in the Wintry Wood
by Aileen Fisher (1906-2002)

This is the story of timid Tim
who thought that witches went after him
when the night was dark and moon was dim.
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

This is the tale of how Tim one night
didn’t start home until candlelight
when the sky was black and the snow was white.
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

He walked through the woods like a frightened goat,
hist muffler twisted around his throat,
expecting to jump at a witch’s note:
“Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.”

Out of the night came a sheep dog’s yowl,
which Tim was sure was a witch’s howl,
a terrible witch on a wintry prowl.
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

Tim, the timid, began to race,
certain he sighted a witch’s face
back of each shadowy hiding place.
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

He ran through the woods on his lonely trek
till horrors! a hand went around his neck,
holding his headlong flight in check.
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

Around his throat went a witch’s hand
that jerked poor Tim to a sudden stand.
His heart was water, his legs were sand!
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

Nobody knows how long he stood
with that hand on his throat in the silent wood
until he could find some hardihood…
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

Then he looked around like a shaky calf,
thinking of words for his epitaph,
and “Oh, ho, ho!” he began to laugh…
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

For what he saw was a funny sight —
it wasn’t a witch at his throat by night,
but a pine branch pulling his muffler tight!
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

The more Tim chuckled, the more he thought
how most of his fears were like mufflers caught
and stretched much tighter than mufflers ought.
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

And the end of this story of timid Tim
is — nevermore, when the night was dim,
did he fear that witches were after him!
Woo-HOO, woo-HOO, woo-HOO.

* * *

This poem is from Ghosts and Goblins: Stories for Halloween, compiled by Wilhelmina Harper and illustrated by William Wiesner, which I found on the shelf of the little village library while the kids were art lessons. The book, originally published in 1936 with a revised edition in 1965 (and now unfortunately out of print) includes not just stories — mostly folk tales from around the world, including several by Joseph Jacobs — but also poems — Carl Sandburg’s Theme in Yellow, Walter de la Mare’s Someone — and is great readaloud fun in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

Wilhelmina Harper compiled several other holiday anthologies, also out of print, including Easter Chimes, The Harvest Feast, and Merry Christmas to You. Worth searching your library for.

* * *

Sylvia Vardell at Poetry for Children had a wonderful Poetry Friday birthday post for Aileen Fisher in September of last year.

* * *

The last Poetry Friday round-up for October 2007 — boo! — can be found today at
at Sandhya Nankani’s Literary Safari. Because yesterday was St Crispin’s Day, Michele at Scholar’s Blog has the St Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V, one of Laura’s favorite passages to recite.

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