• 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

The leaves have finally come out on the trees in these past few days, and now it looks like Spring around here. On Monday, you could see a light green haze in certain stands of trees, on Tuesday the haze spread to most of the trees, and by Thursday real leaves, actual leaves, were starting to unfurl or just pop open.

So here, for Poetry Friday, is a poem about trees. And a poem meant to read aloud, preferably under a tree:

Counting-out Rhyme
by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

Silver bark of beech, and sallow
Bark of yellow birch and yellow
Twig of willow.

Stripe of green in moosewood maple,
Colour seen in leaf of apple,
Bark of popple.

Wood of popple pale as moonbeam,
Wood of oak for yoke and barn-beam,
Wood of hornbeam.

Silver bark of beech, and hollow
Stem of elder, tall and yellow
Twig of willow.

For more Poetry Friday fun, head over to Two Writing Teachers, where Stacey and Ruth are hosting today’s round-up. Thanks to both of you for hosting and rounding up

* * *

This is the Victoria Day weekend, otherwise known as the May long weekend (or the Canadian version of Memorial Day), the unofficial start of summer. It’s when many Canadian gardeners start their gardens, and I’ll be doing quite a bit of gardening this weekend, since the kids and I headed north yesterday to one of my favorite greenhouses and came home laden with trays of plants and flowers; one older woman peered at the kids over her glasses and said, “What? No school today?” to which Laura replied with a smile, “We homeschool, and this is a field trip!”  And the nosy old bat smiled back. The weather is still a bit iffy, though; we’ve had stiff winds (80 km/hour gusts yesterday), and while last night at 10 pm it was 20 Celsius, the night before it came close to freezing. But I think I’m ready to plant out my squash (giant and otherwise), watermelon, cantaloupe and tomato seedlings.

Our painted lady caterpillars arrived yesterday from Boreal Northwest, seven larvae in a large vial with nutrient. The company sent an email on Wednesday that “your order has shipped” by two-day express-mail, and we turned up yesterday at the post office to collect our box. The kids were happy to find two extra caterpillars (“just in case”), for a total of seven — which makes two per kid and one for me — and a lovely and quite unexpected “Butterfly Life Cycle” poster from Boreal. Not bad for $23.95 and free shipping with their special offer the other month.

Tomorrow the little local pioneer museum has its grand reopening for the season, and we’re all looking forward to attending. And then we’re hoping just maybe to get our wheat seeded, and then we can breathe — a bit — before heading heading to the big city late next week for Laura’s performances at the provincial music/performing arts festival.

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7 Responses

  1. I love that poem. In some ways, it evokes the witches from Macbeth for me, only in a benevolent sort of way. And it reminds me of counting poems, too, even though it’s really about trees.

    I hope you have fun with the caterpillars/butterflies.

  2. What was Laura’s reply/reaction?

    Happy gardening!

  3. Kelly, yes, very much “eye of newt”! I can almost see wood nymphs chanting and dancing around the trees…

    L, thanks — I fixed it above. That’s what happens when I mix gin and cornflakes. Erm, just kidding ; )

  4. I’m getting the garden in this weekend, too. I have just not been willing to risk doing it sooner with the crazy weather. Although, really, we could still have a frost. Love the poem. I was practicing a little mindfulness with the trees yesterday, seeing each shade of green in a group at a distance. There is such a variety green in one eyeful at this time of year.

  5. Mary Lou, we have such a short warm and green season that I start to get itchy in April. May is now half over and I have such an urge to mess around in the dirt and make things grow. I love the variety of the colors and textures of the leaves at this time of year, which I find even better than height-of-summer leaves. And I thought it was interesting to read your thoughts about the variety of the colors after reading about your current work in progress, in shades of green!

  6. That poem is just mouth candy! Wonderful!

    Have fun with your caterpillars.

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