• 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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Cracking up II

Oh my stars. If anything is going to get me in a rubber room faster than living through the next two months until election day in the US, it’s got to be going through — as of Sunday — a Canadian federal election at the same time. The big day is October 14. And yesterday, day two, saw this childish behavior, where the big boys threatened to take all the marbles and go home.

And while it’s definitely a relief that the entire Canadian process takes only a few weeks compared to, down south, a few years, the brevity seems to work against Canadian candidates, all of whom, including our Prime Minister, seem rather surprised to find themselves in the midst of a campaign, almost like groundhogs waking up in the Spring and blinking at the sun, although the PM has been hinting and winking coyly for months.

I know that the Liberals’ Green Shift carbon tax proposal is important and good, but honestly I’ll give you a dollar for each person you find who understands it.  I don’t.  It doesn’t help either that there’s a built-in confusion factor with a) the Green Party of Canada and b) the private company Green Shift Inc whose name was hijacked by the plan, or that many Canadians find Liberal leader Stéphane Dion incomprehensible regardless of the subject.

As I wrote to JoVE yesterday, instead of nattering on — while the Conservatives appear to be heading toward a majority government rather than the previous minority government — about Green Shifts (Liberals) and eliminating poverty and promoting local food (Green Party) and carbon offsets during the campaign (NDP), the opposition parties need to hammer the Conservatives about two things Canadians understand and care about:  taking care of this country in the near future when things aren’t as rosy as they’ve been recently; and, most importantly, the war in Afghanistan. On Sunday, the same day the election was announced came the news that the 97th soldier, Sgt. Scott Shipway, was killed in Afghanistan.

The NDP, Liberals, and Green parties can continue to squander what political
capital they have by walking around in circles for the next five weeks (and much as I disagree with the debate decision, I think Green Party leader Elizabeth May should save the court case for before the next election, and concentrate instead on what she can do now), or they can get down to business starting this week. Take advantage of the new study on the Afghan war that finds that an overwhelming majority — 92 percent — of Canadians “still view their soldiers as peacekeepers and would rather see them helping disaster victims than fighting”.

And then tell Canadians about the cost of the war, and the now-shelved report (thanks to the election, supposedly) on the cost of the war. Tell Canadians what grand things the country could do with that money.  In fact, the leaders can come up with some plans for that money and this country.  Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic‘s Daily Dish blog had a timely quote from Thomas Pynchon the other day: “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

6 Responses

  1. While I’m glad your campaign time is not as long as in the US, I intend to make the most of the election time to instill in my daughter the importance of following politics and making informed decisions.

  2. Actually the Liberal plan is only good when compared to the Conservative plan. Compared to say the EU plans…. I know someone that can explain it to you but he’s on holiday.

    You’re right. The war. And the fact that Mr. Harper only has problems with government spending if it might actually help you. spending on war he’s okay with.

  3. Jacqueline, did you mean “your” or “our” : )? I thought you’re in Canada too! Part of the reason I’m on campaign overload is that my three young dual citizens are just as eager for this season as they’ve been for all the others. They’re on a first-name basis with our MLA and MP, can recognize and name all the party leaders (they watched the Liberal leadership convention the other year), and they’re aware of most of the issues, too. I have Rick Mercer, CBC radio, and Linda Granfield’s books (Canada Votes and America Votes) to thank. And not a day goes by when one of them doesn’t ask, “Who are you going to vote for? Why?” Just remembered, we also participated in a kids’ mock election one year, which was lots of fun (I think through Student Vote).

  4. JoVE, I’m rather disconcerted by the Liberals’ continued tinkering or refining (in response to public opinion) with the Green Shift plan. Right now they’re second on my list of who *not* to vote for, though I couldn’t vote Liberal if I wanted to because they don’t have a candidate yet in our riding. Your someone is going to need another holiday in about five weeks’ time.

    The war? What war? The candidates don’t seem to know that there’s a war on…

  5. It’s been a farce since the FIRST election (2 elections ago). While I’m stinkin’ happy that Harper’s hands have been (mostly) tied thanks to a minority, nothing of value has gotten done during either of the last two governments’ “reigns”.

    Every time another election comes up, I think, “Here’s our chance to get a shift from the Right”. But I’m scared as all get out that we WILL get a majority this time around…only from the Right (you know, because they really aren’t all that “Right”…the delusion engendered by a government with minority power) and then, boy, will we ever be crying about the stuff that DOES get done. (Then again, the “childish behavior”, as you put it, shown by all parties doesn’t inspire confidence or faith or ANYTHING in any political leaning. As if “debate” will actually be what any of them undertake during the broadcast.)

    I’m really happy that the process isn’t drawn out as long as down South, but a month?? Definitely not long enough time to force the candidates to show their mettle (or lack thereof).


  6. Jen, no, it’s not long enough. Not when through the first week the parties have yet to announce (or determine) platforms. There must be some happy medium between five weeks and two years.

    Of course, now the big news is that the Canadian leaders’ debate is the same night as the US veep debate — but then who knew *that* would become so exciting!

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