• 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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    William Morris, from his lecture "The Beauty of Life"

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    English architect CFA Voysey (1857-1941)

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    "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"

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    Walter Wriston

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    Ginger Rogers to Frances Mercer in "Vivacious Lady" (1938)

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    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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Happy National Poetry month!

Begin your month of poetry over at GottaBook with Gregory K. and his 30 Poets / 30 Days celebration.  Today’s poet is America’s first children’s laureate Jack Prelutsky with “A Little Poem For Poetry Month“.

Today is also the official kick-off of poet Robert Pinsky’s Poems Out Loud blog.  Unofficially, Mr. Pinsky’s been blogging since Monday.

Updated to add: Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect reminded me in the comments below that this month she’ll have at least one interview with a poet everyday.  The celebration begins today with Kenn Nesbitt; you can find the entire schedule here.


Like Mr. Pinsky, our family couldn’t wait until today to start celebrating.  Our festivities began on Monday with the start of the local speech arts/music festival, with Davy, Daniel, and Laura each reciting two poems (Laura also gave her 4H speech and did a sacred reading of a traditional Mohawk poem).  The kids each won their classes, and Davy and Laura took the home awards for their categories.  They all also did very well in the vocal sections (traditional folk songs and musical theater), winning three awards.  Very, very well done all round and Tom and I are proud; Laura has her last performance this afternoon, in piano.  I was especially happy not with the awards but to see how much the kids had learned.  Laura had had a fairly dismal time with her speech in February at 4H public speaking day, because she was sick with the flu; she had just about given up on her speech as any good or her ability to deliver it, when her performance on Monday and the adjudicator’s comments restored Laura’s confidence.  Davy’s voice teacher got the last two pages of his music out of order while accompanying him on the piano, and Davy stayed calm and just waited while the teacher tinkled away, starting to sing again when the music finally sounded familiar. Daniel didn’t let the fact that he was in two tough categories (against his older sister in one) stop him from doing his best. We’re proud and pleased.

In other late March, early April news, the snow is still here but it is melting and the days are above freezing.  The geese and the crows are coming back, and the gophers are coming out. The organic farming recertification paperwork pile has been filled out and returned. We have seven sweet calves, with 20 more to come. Our first cow to calve should have been the last, with a premature, stillborn calf (she may have slipped on the ice and fallen, or another cow did so and fell against her); so at the kids’ request, we’ve started milking her.  Yesterday Laura and I made butter and put a pot of milk in the old O’Keefe & Merritt gas oven to make cottage cheese; the pilot light keeps the oven at just the right temperature, just warm enough to start the clabbering.

Unlike Gregory K. and Robert Pinsky, I can’t promise a blog post or a poem, even an old one, for every day of the month, but I’ll post as many poems this month as I can.  Here’s my April Fool’s Day offering, by Ian Serraillier.  As I wrote two years ago with another of his poems, Ian Serraillier (1912-1994) was an English author and poet who wrote often for children. His works are much beloved by many North American home schooling families, more for his retellings of classic tales and legends than for his adventure stories and poetry; some of our favorites are Escape from WarsawBeowulf the Warrior, and The Road to Canterbury.  And so, a fractured fairy tale for a foolish day,

After Ever Happily
(or, The Princess and the Woodcutter)

by Ian Serraillier

And they both lived happily ever after…
The wedding was held in the palace. Laughter
rang to the roof as a loosened rafter
Crashed down and squashed the chamberlain flat–
And how the wedding guests laughed at that!
“You with your horny indelicate hands,
Who drop your haitches and call them ‘ands,
Who cannot afford to buy her a dress,
How dare you presume to pinch our princess–
Miserable woodcutter, uncombed, unwashed!”
Were the chamberlains last words (before he was squashed).
“Take her”, said the Queen, who had a soft spot
For wood cutters. “He’s strong and he’s handsome. Why not?”
“What rot”, said the King, but he dare not object;
The Queen wore the trousers — that’s as you’d expect.
Said the chamberlain, usually meek and inscrutable,
“A princess and a woodcutter? The match is unsuitable.”
Her dog barked its welcome again and again,
As they splashed to the palace through puddles of rain.
And the princess sighed, “Till the end of my life!”
“Darling”, said the woodcutter, “Will you be my wife?”
He knew all his days he could love no other
So he nursed her to health with some help from his mother,
And lifted her horribly hurt, from her tumble.
A woodcutter, watching saw the horse stumble.
As she rode through the woods, a princess in her prime
On a dapple-grey horse…Now, to finish my rhyme,
I’ll start it properly: Once upon a time —


Farm School’s recent round-up of poetry resources, National Poetry Month 2009: Essential Pleasures

5 Responses

  1. If you’re interested in interviews, I’ve got one a day (sometimes two!) with children’s poets all through the month. I began with Kenn Nesbitt and will end with Pat Mora. In between will be the usual suspects (J. Patrick Lewis, Jane Yolen, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Arnold Adoff, etc.) and some new and upcoming poets.

  2. Yes, Tricia — I have your plans included in my “Essential Pleasures” post! If I have time before we leave for the festival today (and then guitar lessons, and the 4H meeting…), I’ll add a para to the above…

  3. Warmest congrats to the kids :)

  4. […] Farmschool lists great stuff going on, including Gottabook’s 30 Poets/30 Days.  “A Little Poem for Poetry Month.“ […]

  5. Thanks, Suji!

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