• 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."
    Cicero

    "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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Things get more interesting in Canada

with only a few days to go.

Our tone deaf Prime Minister suggested this week not once, but several times — even with the CBC news anchor who asked if the PM if he wasn’t sure he wanted to restate his message — that now is a dandy time to buy some stocks at bargain-basement prices. (Of course, it would also be a good time to assert some of that Arctic sovereignty and buy Iceland cheap, too.) According to polls, talk of a Conservative majority all of a sudden seemed to be evaporating.

The Liberals were feeling rather buoyed by the change until leader Stéphane Dion appeared yesterday on Canadian network CTV, in what is now being called the “botched interview flap”. Immediately afterwards the Conservatives were back to making hay. For those who like to diagram political sentences, here’s the question that tripped up Dion, whose first language is French:

“If you were prime minister now, what would you have done about the economy and this crisis that Mr. Harper has not done?”

Usually, from what was bandied about on the radio news, such interviews with candidates are taped and retaped, with various corrections and questions rephrased, the edits remaining on the cutting room floor. But in this instance the execs at CTV felt obliged to air all of the footage.

According to The Globe & Mail, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe “says Canadians demand that French political leaders speak English fluently, but that English-speaking leaders can get away with mangling French.”  As evidenced by the fact that while showing reporters a clip of Dion’s CTV gaffe, Harper, speaking French, used the incorrect French word for “trillion”.  And, writing in La Presse today, Sylvain Larocque noted

M. Harper a admis qu’il avait déjà eu du mal, lui-même, à comprendre des questions posées en français, sa langue seconde. Mais à ses yeux, le malaise de Stéphane Dion «n’est pas une question de langue du tout». [Mr. Harper has admitted that he has had difficulties himself understanding questions asked in French, his second language.  But in his eyes, Stéphane Dion’s difficulty “is not at all a question of language”.]

And to help mix a bit of cement with that hay, despite weeks of protesting that the Canadian economy is hunky dory no matter what’s happening down south, the Conservatives today announced not a bailout: the federal government “will use taxpayers money to buy $25-billion in insured mortgages from banks to free up space on bank balance sheets so they can lend more money to Canadians”.

Now to decide if Canadians are more concerned about a PM out of touch with their economic concerns, or a candidate grappling with the subjunctive in a second language. Thank goodness for the chance to sit out the dizzying turns of events with some turkey and pumpkin pie before heading to the ballot box.

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One Response

  1. Thanks for bringing this up, Becky. I thought it was a pretty mean trick of CTV and the Conservatives to make such a big deal about this. I didn’t see it, but the whole incident reminded me of those nasty ads years ago mocking former Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s partial facial paralysis.

    The kids and DH and I, all deplorable in French but trying, had a talk about the subjunctive case over dinner, and we gave kudos to Gilles Duceppe for citing the language double-standard in Canadian politics.

    We are also shaking our heads at a Prime Minister who espouses such family values, but plans the election for right after Thanksgiving holidays. I feel bad for all the families of candidates.

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