• 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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Mud pies and bibliobituaries

One of our favorite books, especially for Spring, is Mud Pies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls by Marjorie Winslow, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, whose Great Hamster Hunt, also out-of-print, is still on my shelves.

So I was delighted to see it receive a lengthy “salute” from independent bookseller Alison Morris on her blog, Shelftalker. In the post, Alison mentions the concept of bibliobituaries, odes to out-of-print books. Isn’t that the perfect term? As someone with a keen fondness for books, especially children’s books, that are OOP, I’ve found the biggest advantage of a strong Canadian dollar to be the ability to purchase a number of OOP treasures from the U.S. through abebooks.com.

A couple of my favorites, still on my shelves after more than 30 years, well deserving of bibliobituaries I should write one of these days:

The Golden Name Day by Jennie D. Lindquist and illustrated by Garth Williams, which I read and reread. I wanted to be Swedish and live in the country with a large extended family and yellow rose wallpaper. The title was a Newbery Honor Book in 1956, and Miss Lindquist was the second editor of The Horn Book, from 1951 to 1958; here’s a 1953 letter to Miss Lindquist from Laura Ingalls Wilder, with the latter’s gingerbread recipe.

The Windmill Summer by Hila Feil and illustrated by Fred Brenner. As I’ve written previously, it’s about Arabella who runs away from her large family to live by herself in a windmill shaped like a ship with a large wire whisk, olives, coffee ice cream, Yoohoo, Mallomars, and copies of Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking, Swallows and Amazons, and The Hobbit, among (many) other things. A book that doesn’t deserve to be out of print. And for the past 20 years or so I’ve harbored the thought that maybe Arabella grew up to be another of my dear book friends, Laurie Colwin


7 Responses

  1. Becky, do you see who is also a fan? (Look at Shelftalker’s comments.) Joyce Sidman, of Butterfly Eyes and Song of the Water Boatman fame. I’m not surprised. I still want to track down a copy of this book!

  2. Oh, the Golden Name Day – I also read a reread that book, and wanted to be Swedish. Now I live in Minnesota, hmmm. I remember some odes in that book to the smell of new mown hay and pestering my mother about how it smelled. Living 12 miles from Midtown I didn’t have any hay fields in the immediate environs. And yes yes to Laurie Colwin.

  3. Oh, I *love* Mudpies! What a wonderful book. Chinaberry is actually pretty good at including back in print books. One that we loved was The Wind Boy by Ethel Cook Elliot.

  4. Susan, oh, I didn’t see that last one earlier from Joyce Sidman! This reminds me of Kelly’s post/conversation about dealmaker/dealbreaker books — finding out that someone else is a kindred spirit based on childhood treasures…

    Mary Lou, probably not a coincidence you ended up in Minnesota, or that I ended up in Alberta on a farm : ). No hay on the Upper West Side either, except what we could scrounge from the now-defunct Claremont Stables for our pet rabbits. But I have it by the ton now — do you want me to mail you some, just for sniffing?!

    Kris, yes, I think a lot of people discovered “Mud Pies” the second time around through Chinaberry. What a wonderful catalogue — the selections and the spirit are glorious. And getting at least some of the older books back for another chance is a great gift.

  5. Trying to catch up. Thought my favorite bloggers were all on hiatus, out enjoying some springy weather, then discovered my RSS feed was on the blink.

    There was a picture book I remember fondly from my childhood, a gift from my grandmother, about a Persian royal and a bumblebee. The illustrations were as intricate and colorful as a Persian carpet, and throughout the story the bee’s loopy path was traced with a dashed line. Oh, if I could only remember the name of it. Maybe that’s where I got the idea to marry the Shah of Iran when I grew up…

  6. L, I’ve bouncing back and forth, between the indoors and out-of-doors as the calves and the kids (and their extracurriculars) allow. Shah of Iran, eh? You’d have had adventures, but a very different kind…
    The Persian bee doesn’t ring a bell with me, though I’d love to know the title if you ever find it; have you searched the archives at Loganberry’s “Stump the Bookseller”?


  7. Thanks, Becky! I’m heading over there to see if they can come up with the title.

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