• 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

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    "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."
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    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

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    Attributed to Groucho Marx in "The Groucho Letters" by Arthur Sheekman

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    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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Sunday garden stroll

I’m fudging a bit today. These are my lilacs, not from my garden here at the house, but from the small field near our corrals, about a mile and a half from the house, where we hope to build a new house in the next few years. When we planted the lilacs — just the common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), not any particular named varieties — several years ago when we started shelterbelts of trees and shrubs around the farm, they were little more than twigs. Now some of the lilacs are as tall as I am, and they’ve been flowering magnificently, and in a variety of shades, from white to the usual lilac color, to an almost reddish. The thought of living there before too long, in a house surrounded once a year by lilac blooms, delights me. And because I always need to gild the lily, after building the house I’d like to have a special spring/early summer bed near the house with peonies, lilacs beyond the common ones (gardeners in the U.S. can find a nice selection here), and roses.

Yesterday we again weeded our miles of trees. I replaced some of the little ones that didn’t make it with some rooted golden willow branches. Tom and the kids had been in town last month when they passed a hotel where someone was pruning the willows. My bunch asked if they could have the branches, then brought them home and stuck them in pails of water where they’ve leafed out and sprouted oodles of roots. Ta-da — free trees, and the branches didn’t end up at the landfill site either.

For more garden pictures, head over to a wrung sponge, where Cloudscome hosts the weekly Sunday garden stroll.

13 Responses

  1. Planted branches! That is just too wonderful an idea!

    My grandmother had a hedge of lilacs on one side of her house, and the scent filled the house in the spring. The very idea of lilacs makes me nostalgic. They seem to belong to an older time. Your new house is off to a great start.

    I wonder if I could soak lilac branches, then plant them…?

  2. How delightful to think of building a house in the midst of lilacs you nurtured. I think I want to come visit you in the spring! And I love the idea of sprouting all those willow trees and planting them around your land. Good job!

  3. I like lilacs too! One of the ways to find where the privy was at an abandoned farm is to look for lilacs, which were often planted next to them. Perriwinkle is also a useful plant for archaeologists–patches of it, deep in the woods, mark where houses used to be…

    Thanks for reminding me that I must bring home a piece of pussy willow from my mother’s house next time I visit!

  4. I love lilacs too! Unfortunately every time I try to get one to grow in my yard my husband mows it over. After three or four attemps I’ve finally given up trying. I think he just doesn’t like lilacs. :)

    BTW, thanks for introducing me to a new phrase. I’d never heard “gild the lily” before and had to google to find out what it meant. I like that phrase!

    This post would make a great addition to the next edition of the Canadian Home Educators Blog Carnival, which is due to be posted in a couple of days and the suggested theme was gardens/gardening.

  5. Sounds lovely!

  6. Hey! We’re strolling together! How charming.

  7. Gorgeous lilacs! The idea of building your house among them is fantastic!

  8. A friend of mine in England was doing willow sculpture. She made a great garden bench for another friend. You make it with branches, all woven, but they do root and leaf out to make living sculpture. Very nice.

    Your plans for the new house’s spring garden sound lovely. We have a peony with single flowers that is quite lovely, maybe partly because it is so different.

  9. writer2b, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. That’s basically what we got from the shelterbelt outfit for free — rooted lilac “sticks”.

    Clouds, come over for a cup of tea, regardless of the season!

    Charlotte, in this part of the province at least, most lilacs are in long hedges/shelterbelts leading up to the farm. Maybe the hardy and doubting pioneers wondered if a month of scented flowers was worth it?!

    Jacqueline, I don’t know where in Canada you are, but here on the prairies lilacs grow so vigorously a lawn mower wouldn’t be able to thwart one for too long, especially if it’s more than a year old. Do you have a link for the carnival?

    Thanks, Lisa and Jenny.

    Sheila, I stopped in to stroll with you, too…

    JoVE, what an absolutely wonderful idea. I can imagine what that would look like in leaf. How charming in a quiet shady area of the garden, and what a lovely surprise for anyone new to the garden to happen upon.

  10. I have a friend who makes for the school auction every year a living tree house of corkscrew maple. It’s on my wishlist, that’s for sure. That’s fantastic that your tree branches have sprouted. I found a pussy-willow branch lying on the ground and stuck it in the ground– nothing happened of course, but I had hoped for a miracle.:) One of my favorite parts of the Chronicles of Narnia is that toffee tree….

  11. Alkelda, the only thing better than a tree house for summer is a living tree house. I don’t suppose you have any pictures of your friend’s work? Maybe next time just stick the pussywillow branch in a jam jar or vase with some water for a few weeks, then into the ground. Then cross your fingers!

  12. Your Lilacs are lovely … I can almost detect their lovely scent from here. Lilacs have always been my favorite !

    God Bless.

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