• 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.

In the garden, around the house, and on the farm

this past week. I want to participate in Cloudscome’s weekly Sunday garden stroll at a wrung sponge, so below are a few pictures taken in and near the garden, though from a few days ago, not today.

Releasing our seven painted lady butterflies on Tuesday morning,

The ruby-throated hummingbird coming to the feeder off the deck, on a cloudy day, with Virginia creeper tendrils reaching out. I’ll have to spend more time this summer practicing taking better shots of the male and female.

Speaking of lousy photos, here’s one I took through the kitchen window in the rain of the male hummingbird sitting in the spruce tree where we think they have their teeny tiny nest,

In the pasture, several hundred feet from the house, a newborn whitetail fawn. We find one or two a year, and each time I still marvel at the instinct that keeps the baby motionless except to breathe. When the kids and I arrived home on Thursday evening close to nine, Tom beckoned to us to change our clothes, grab the camera, and follow him. He had come home for dinner, saw the doe, accompanied by two yearlings and four small legs, then watched as the first three took off. He followed and came upon the fawn in the grass,

* * *

Today we’re recovering from yet another long busy week, culminating in yesterday’s very long all-day swim meet in the little city down the road. Well, I’m recovering, at home alone. Tom, who in all the craziness forgot to phone any of the museum volunteers to see who could be there this afternoon, decided to man the place himself with the kids. He’s president of the board, so it’s a good lesson in the buck stops here for them, and a good way for the four of them to celebrate Father’s Day back in time, while I am wash out swimsuits, tidy the house, and inspect the garden.

It’s been a soggy week, with rain on Monday and Tuesday, a very heavy shower on Friday with hail, a downpour all of yesterday (nearly an inch of rain in our gauge when we arrived home last night), and yet more at 4:30 am. Now, after lunch, the sky is showing a bit of blue and the sun is trying to come out.

A few weeks ago we had two of our steers butchered, one for ourselves and one for friends. On Monday, the butcher phoned to say that the meat was ready to be picked. Which meant (aside from rib eye steaks on the barbecue for Father’s Day dinner tonight) a quick trip to the outskirts of the big city on Tuesday to deliver two sides of beef to our friends. We had just enough time to dash into the city proper to an unusually nice Sears store, because the kids all needed new sandals, Laura needed a new swimsuit before the old one disintegrated, and we found ourselves in the midst of a big clearance sale (for Sears cardholders, an extra 25 percent off anything already on clearance, for Monday and Tuesday only). On Thursday after swim practice the kids’ were invited by one of the women’s groups in towns to entertain at their annual dinner, so my trio sang, danced, and recited poetry. On Friday Laura handed in one of her 4H binders, a great deal of effort (especially the feed records, an effective way to bring arithmetic to life and to convey the importance of numbers) between two covers. The other binder for the other club is due in early August. She and I also took a number of bags and boxes of outgrown clothing and books weeded from the shelves to the Goodwill shop. Yesterday, they swam. I can’t tell you the pride I feel when I watch all three do the butterfly and smooth flip turns, neither of which I’ve mastered, and when I watch my seven-and-a-half year-old swim a very elegant front crawl or my newly nine-year-old hold his own on the 11-12 year-old relay team. And Laura blazed through the pool with her backstroke.

A a bit of sad news this week, too. Tom came in early yesterday morning from looking after the animals, before we headed to the swim meet, with the news that two of three newborn kittens had been killed, including Davy’s kitten Cougar, pictured here last week. We don’t know whether by the fox that got the chicken, the skunk we’ve seen around, or by one of the male cats. But we did know we couldn’t tell the kids yesterday. I broke the news this morning, before they headed out to do chores. Oh the tears we’ve all shed. Fortunately, I had taken some pictures of the kittens last week, and I’ll have to get prints made for the kids.

8 Responses

  1. What beautiful wildlife photos! A rare look at a hummingbird sitting still.

    Sorry about the kittens. :-(

  2. Thanks, w2b, for the kind words as well as the condolences. We’ve found the hummingbirds also like to perch on top of the feeder, so I’m hoping to get a photo of that one of these days.

  3. Too bad about the kittens but everything else sounds good. My friend in the country lost one of her cats this week too, presumed eaten by something. As I type I can hear the rain and thunder from about our 4th storm today. They keep coming through with patches of sun between. We wanted the rain for the garden but it is starting to get ridiculous. Unfortunately our rain gauge broke. Must get a new one.

  4. Beautiful pictures! Sorry about the kittens.

  5. I love those pictures of the hummingbirds and the cute kittens. Sorry you lost them! Your swimmers sound fantastic. I have my little guys in swim lessons and I am looking forward to the day when they can compete.

  6. Oh , the mixed joys and pains for life on a farm.

    Thanks for sharing such great pics!

  7. I wish I was your neighbor. What beautiful photos.

  8. So sorry about the kittens.

    There was a collective, “awwwwww” when I scrolled down to the fawn photographs. So sweet.

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