• 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.

123 Book Meme

Kris Bordessa at Paradise Found has tagged me for a book meme I’ve seen on a number of blogs but have managed to avoid so far. But because my blogging has been, and will probably continue to be, pretty limited during the growing season, I’ve decided to take Kris up on it. I’m also aware that I owe Monica at educating alice a post for the Passion Quilt Meme she tagged me for months ago; do I dare admit that I find absolutely paralyzing taking the perfect picture that sums up what I’m most passionate about, for my children to learn?

So here are the rules for the 123 book meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

In fact, it’s not as easy as I thought. The nearest book at hand is Roget’s Thesaurus and doesn’t have sentences. The next nearest book is one of my newest Bookcloseouts purchases, My Gardening Journal, which is so new that page 123, one of the blank pages for me to fill out in the “Inspirations” section, is still blank. The next book, our latest re-readaloud, the wonderful Log Cabin in the Woods: A True Story about a Pioneer Boy by Joanne Landers Henry (think of Farmer Boy set in Little House in the Book Woods), has only 60 pages.

One more chance then, and a book I just brought home from the the Goodwill shop. This is what happens, I think, in a house with lots of books.

There was the day when my wife and I sat silently on a hill overlooking a fairly large lake that lay some seven miles north of our property and watched a hunter and its usual quarry at peace with each other. We had set out at first light of a lovely spring morning, and had walked along an ancient trail that twisted and turned through a mixture of terrain cloaked by profuse and diverse plant growth. For the first half hour of our trek, we walked through rocky land on which grew isolated pines and spruces and where mosses and ferns and berry bushes grew in companionable splendor; then the land dropped and we had to wade through marshy places and cross ponds by stepping along the edge of beaver dams, our vision restricted to no more than a few yards ahead because of the multitude of sapling poplars that competed for growing space.

From The Zoo That Never Was, by R.D. Lawrence (my copy is Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981; hardcover, first edition). The Zoo is Ron Lawrence’s account of the wild menagerie he and his wife Joan established in 1965 at their 350-acre property in Ontario.

You can find a complete R.D. Lawrence bibliography here. While Zoo is new to me, the kids and I have read and enjoyed Paddy, about raising a baby beaver, and all Canadians and Canadaphiles who enjoy the great outdoors should have a copy of Lawrence’s The Natural History of Canada, either the original or revised edition.

From a post five years ago by Canadian naturalist, artist, and writer Barry Kent MacKay after Lawrence’s death:

Ron was born at sea, on September 12, 1921, in Spanish territorial waters, but aboard a British vessel. That was appropriate as his father was English, his mother Spanish, and to me Ron was a perfect blend of the two cultures, his Spanish temper and romantic flare modified by classic British reserve. …

In 1954 Ron immigrated to Canada, a country at peace, and a country that embraced what he yearned: the solitude of wilderness. He worked briefly for The Toronto Star, but his main interest was in getting away from people and human affairs, and into wilderness. He was, like many Europeans, fascinated by the concept of wilderness still inhabited by bears and wolves and chose a country where there was still such wilderness to be found. He settled into a cabin in the forest at Lake of the Woods, living off the land as a labourer and logger. …

In 1958 he left his homestead and took his sole companion, part dog, part wolf, Yukon, to explore still more remote areas of the Canadian wilderness, roaming far from civilization in the wild places of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, B.C., the Yukon and the Northwest Territories and south into parts of the United States, such as Yellowstone National Park.

For one 14 month period he lived with Yukon in the B.C. wilderness with no contact with any other human during that period. In 1961, he left the wilderness, and as journalism and writing seemed to come effortlessly to him, he worked for a couple of newspapers in Winnipeg, before coming to Toronto, where he met and married his first wife, Joan Frances Gray. He
earned money writing for the old Toronto Telegram, while maintaining wilderness property north of the city. He worked as a publisher for a weekly journal for awhile. His beautiful and beloved wife, Joan, featured in his earlier books, tragically died young, and he sold his farm and moved to BC, where he wrote Voyage of Stella and Ghost Walker.

In 1973 he returned to Ontario where he married Sharon Frise. I can attest that they were deeply and satisfyingly in love, and lived on 100 acres of wilderness property in the Haliburton Highlands in the company of their companion wolves, Tundra, Taiga, Alba, Bridget, Leda and Numa, working to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals (helping more than 900, with a very
high success rate).

“I seek acquaintance with Nature, — to know her moods and manners. Primitive nature is most interesting to me. . .”
Henry David Thoreau, 1856

(I’m not keen on tagging, so if you want to play along, leave a message in the comments, please.)

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