• 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.


One of my favorite writers, science professor and naturalist Chet Raymo, wrote a recent post “Hand to Mind” at his blog Science Musings* about The New York Times review of Richard Sennett’s new book, The Craftsman; I highlighted some excerpts of the Times review here.

Prof. Raymo hasn’t read the new book yet, but has some wonderful thoughts on the subject. Here’s just a bit from his post,

The purest way to live, it has always seemed to me, is with what might be called a Benedictine balance of manual labor, intellectual work, and prayer. The closest I have come to achieving this is on the island, where part of each day is given over to reading and writing, part to woodworking and household maintenance, and part to paying attention, usually while walking. Yes, I know. It’s our brain that by most accounts defines our humanity — that gray stuff locked out of sight in the strongbox of the skull. But it’s with our hands that we make physical contact with reality. Our hands are our emissaries to the world.

Read the rest here.

* Prof. Raymo has the Science Musings blog and the Science Musings website (where you can find his thoughts on Benjamin Franklin and plate tectonics, among other things)

5 Responses

  1. Reminds me of Helen and Scott Nearing…and their day’s structure was credited as being inspired by Thomas Jefferson.

  2. Yes, very much so, Jen. Ah, the Good Life : ). You’re probably beginning to detect a theme here at this point!

  3. Ha, ha! Probably the reason why I keep coming to read your posts! :) The Good Life, indeed.

  4. I have always liked the idea, at least, of the Benedictine way of life–although since my impressions of it were garnered from Rumer Godden’s novel, In this House of Brede, I’m not sure I really know what that means.

    I shall look out for The Craftsman…

  5. Oh I love that book, Charlotte.

    The one thing I think I know about Benedictines, or at least about Benedict, is that he said something along the lines of, “You’re only a real monk once you live by the work of your hands”. And when I read the passage above I thought of the Trappist monks — when I was growing up Trappist jams were quite popular (I think we got some as gifts). Made in Massachusetts, I think.

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