• 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.

Poetry Friday: Harvest edition

We’re in the midst of harvest. We’ve cut and baled the greenfeed (oats and barley baled instead of combined), cut and baled the second-cut alfalfa, and have just started swathing the wheat, and the mixed crop of barley and peas, in preparation for combining. Most of the harvest work is being done this year by Tom and the kids; the three of them are helping out moving trucks around, and also gathering up bales with the loader. With Tom busy with carpentry work during the day, the harvesting gets done in the evenings, which makes for late nights for the kids. They come in the house dusty, tired, but with eyes shining telling tales of the coyote pups they’ve seen in the fields, the bald eagle, and their various accomplishments and helpful activities. It goes without saying that we have a modified school schedule in the mornings, which is good news for our readalouds.

I’ve been helping out along the edges (around midnight, while the kids are sleeping, I head out to pick up Tom from the swather in our field 10 miles north), and continuing with the canning and preserving. So far I’ve made mustard pickle, chokecherry jelly, chokecherry syrup, red plum jam, yellow plum jam, peach preserves, and canned peaches. Still to come: tomato sauce (beginning today, because the 50 pounds of tomatoes from the garden have started ripening faster than we can eat them), canned pears, pickled beets, and Evans cherry jam. And the other day the kids and I picked boxes and boxes of apple to squash into cider.

It’s been a beautiful autumn so far. By the calendar it doesn’t start until next week, but in real life it’s been here for about a month. We haven’t had much rain since the cooler weather arrived, and this past week there have been some lovely, hot Indian Summer days, though the nights are quite cool. The kids’ pumpkins are still on the vine — covered with old sheets some nights — and turning orange. The leaves on the trees are particularly vivid this year, especially the yellows.

The birds are gathering and departing. Our hummingbirds have been gone for almost a month, and the goldfinches too. But we have a small flock of meadowlarks in the yard, and I’m enjoying the last burst of song before they go. And geese, oh the geese, Canada and snow — there are hundreds, if not thousands, overhead, in the pasture and the pond across the road, down the hill in the neighbors’ fields, eaten the fallen grain. There’s not much a scarecrow could accomplish around here, but I like the idea.

The Lonely Scarecrow
by James Kirkup (b. 1923)

My poor old bones — I’ve only two —
A broomshank and a broken stave.
My ragged gloves are a disgrace.
My one peg-foot is in the grave.

I wear the labourer’s old clothes;
Coat, shirt, and trousers all undone.
I bear my cross upon a hill
In rain and shine, in snow and sun.

I cannot help the way I look.
My funny hat is full of hay.
— O, wild birds, come and nest in me!
Why do you always fly away?

For more Poetry Friday fun, head over to author amok, where Laura is hosting the weekly roundup! Thank you, Laura.

6 Responses

  1. That sounds like a lot of work but very rewarding for the kids. It must be hard for Tom, though, doing all that harvesting work after a full day of another kind of physical labour.

    (I read the poem, btw.)

  2. Praise must go to all of you – the long hours is a testimony of the dedication.

    How wonderful the images you portray for we – the reader – nature in her changing seasons and of the wildlife too.

    Equally an appropriate poem – worthy of continued reading.

    Thank you.

  3. Your schedule sounds exhausting, but wonderfully satisfying. I enjoyed the poem about poor lonely Mr Scarecrow too.

    Hope those pumpkins finish well!

  4. Hi again: I just clicked the “Story of Art” link in your sidebar, and was intrigued. How is it working for you? What age range is it geared for? We’re loving SOTW, and an art series that might dovetail with it could be fun… I’m not crazy about “Great Artists” or the Usborne children’s art history book I have.

  5. You sound like you are having the most bountiful of autumns-I can smell the chokecherry jelly from here.

  6. Hey, we’re the Canning Queens, aren’t we!

    I just BOUGHT a bale of straw for my newest garden area. The travails of the City Gardener – no going out back for me.

    Farmer Boy describes a bale-making moment in Alonzo’s life that had us all wondering at the machine. They tied the bales with wood strips, too.

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