• 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."

    "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.

I’ve made up my mind before Super Tuesday

Now this warms my heart, if not my feet

It’s still cold here, so cold the mercury is in hiding

(of course, you can run but you can’t hide with the newfangled digital technology)

but the good news is the snow has stopped falling and the wind has quit blowing, so it could be worse.

Worse as in as bad as it was on Monday, in fact, so we really don’t mind that the grader hasn’t made it through to plow out our secondary roads, or the Canada Post truck with our mail, and that a host of lessons and meetings in town today and tonight were (thank goodness) canceled. We’re doing quite well holed up with our books, music, movies, and homemade chocolate chip cookies, thank you very much.

Of course, holed up is relative when we spend several hours every morning feeding the animals, who are bearing up as well as can be expected. The extreme cold has taken a toll too on the tractor, whose engine won’t turn over no matter how long we’ve had the block heater plugged in (so much for Tom plowing us out) and our electric livestock waterers, though Tom was able to coax two out of three into working again.

Also good news and very warming is this

from Audrey at A Small Corner of Nowhere. Thank you, Audrey — what a delightful, cheery, and warming surprise. And I’m sorry all I sent you was this miserable blizzard!

I want to spread the warmth and share the accolades for excellent blogging, though to be fair, picking a handful from the list at right, instead is very very difficult (and feels very very stingy),

Sheila at Greenridge Chronicles who from the start has seemed very much a kindred spirit. No surprise that she, like the original kindred spirit, is Canadian.

Jen at Jen Robinson’s Book Page, not because she said such kind things about me and my blog recently but because her blog continues to grow as a fabulous resource for those interested in children’s literature, and Jen herself is tireless when it comes to posting — no matter that her professional life and passion for kidlit are two very different worlds.

Cami at Full Circle whose beautiful blog gives me something to think about, lovely things to look at, recipes to cook, and elegant handcrafts clearly explained. And sometimes lovely to look at and elegantly crafted at the same time. And Cami also always seems to know just what I need when I need it.

Downloading the Declaration and Constitution

“I prefer a man who will burn the flag and then wrap himself in the Constitution to a man who will burn the Constitution and then wrap himself in the flag.”
U.S. Congressman Craig A. Washington (D-Texas, 1989-1995)

Via GeekDad, the news that voiceover artist Debra Jean Dean has recorded her readings of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution for free downloads.

GeekDad calls it “a portable civics” lesson, and I can’t think of anything more important this election year, especially when some folks who should know better are trying to get away with such hooey as,

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards, rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

(More U.S. Constitution resources in this old post)

Speaking of cold blood,

cold hair, and cold skin, this is what 46 below zero C looks like.

An arctic ridge blew in yesterday, bringing the cold, blizzardy winds, and more snow. The wind and cold are supposed to stick around til the end of the week.

Here are some attractively styled ridges on top of the snow drifts,

Anyway, that’s what Laura looked like around 11 o’clock this morning. I apologize for the quality of the photo, I left one pair of gloves on and the wind was whipping about considerably. Not to mention that my face was as frozen as hers. Tom took the morning off work to help with chores, since we had to plow our way through two-and-a-half foot drifts with the truck, and haul some hay bales out to the fields for the cattle. Knowing yesterday that the storm was coming, Tom and the kids moved all of the cattle out of their pens, where there’s not much shelter from the wind. But then we can’t feed them at the fenceline feeder.

Just for comparison, this is what Laura looked like half an hour earlier, just as we left the house,

Definitely more fluffy, less frosty.

Some picturesque views around the farm yard,

And now if you’ll excuse me, we’re going to gather on the couch to read some Story of the World (the end of volume three is nigh, finally, after two years) and see if we can also come close to finishing The Indian in the Cupboard. And then to make a big pot of restorative chicken curry.

Life in Cold Blood

Sir David Attenborough, hale and hearty, and still very very busy at age 81, was recently interviewed by The Guardian in conjunction with his new BBC/Animal Planet program, “Life in Cold Blood“, which begins February 4th. It’s the final installment in his series of programs which have included “Life On Earth”, “The Private Life Of Plants”, “The Life Of Birds”, “The Life Of Mammals”, and “Life In The Undergrowth”. And his “Planet Earth” on DVD was one of our favorite shows last year.

He talks about a child’s fascination with the natural world — “Every child born on this earth starts by being interested in the natural world. You have only got to turn over a stone and see a worm or earwig underneath and the child is fascinated.” — as well as the new program, and his next project, about Charles Darwin. More here from The Guardian on Sir David’s new projects, including the Darwin one. Also in the article is mention of the new program, “The History of Science“, which

is due to air on BBC2 in 2009 to mark the founding of the Royal Society — the first time the subject has been tackled in such a way since Bronowski’s famous “Ascent of Man” series, which is often hailed as one of the landmark shows from the “golden age” of television.

Sir David interview via Michael D. Barton’s blog, The Dispersal of Darwin, which is new to me and full of lots of interesting things

Basic concepts in science

John Wilkins at Evolving Thoughts, part of the ScienceBlogs group, is putting together a handy dandy list of blog posts on basic science concepts, including mathematics, philosophy, logic, and computer science. You can suggest posts, too. Stay tuned for the possibility of a dedicated wiki or blog.

Via GeekDad

Backlog: Winter fun 2: Christmas Eve

The kids went skiing and tobogganing at my inlaws on Christmas Eve afternoon. Tom and the kids groomed the ski hill and cleaned out the chalet at the top of the hill. I arrived around four, just as the sun was setting; I believe that’s one of my children on the way to the bottom of the hill,

We were lucky with great weather right around freezing and no wind.

Tom selecting ski boots for Davy in the chalet,

Davy was kind enough to slow down a bit for his old Ma. Ready,


go. Or should that be going, going, gone?