• 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.

From the mailbag

I had a very kind invitation by email earlier in the week from Persephone Books, which celebrated their 10th birthday today with a party in London I was unable to attend.  And very sorry about that too, what with the promise of “champagne and cups of tea all day plus cheese scones for elevenses, salads for lunch, brownies and cupcakes for tea and canapés for the evening”.

And Persephone is offering a special all week, for readers abroad as well: three books for the price of two. For international customers, “the third book will be sent surface mail even if the other two are sent airmail.”  For those ordering online, write ‘free book please’ and the title of the third book in the Additional Info box on the website.

Best of all, Persephone Books has (have?) a new blog, The Persephone Post.

I think I started but never finished a post about my Christmas present to myself, an assortment of Persephone books, which included:

The Children Who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham, published originally in 1938 and reissued in 1955; I’d heard lots about this but had never read it.  Rather earnest and well before the end of the book you realize the children are behaving like adults and the adults like children.  A nostalgic oddity.

The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, author of my beloved Understood Betsy; a 1924 adult novel about a wife and mother who is desperately unhappy at home with the children, and a husband and father who is desperately unhappy at work. Circumstances first tragic but then fortuitous allow them to change places, and DCF’s interest in the Montessori method is evident throughout.

The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett; another adult novel by a woman known now primarily as a children’s author, and another work ahead of its time.   An American heiress, Rosalie Vanderpoel, is wooed and wedded by an impoverished — and, we later learn, nasty and cruel — English aristocrat.  In a delightful twist, her spunky younger sister sets out to rescue her.  Because the novel was said to have been inspired by the true-life story of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt, who married the Duke of Marlborough, after finishing The Shuttle I set off to read the double biography Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart and Marian Fowler’s Blenheim: Biography of a Palace, quite the rabbit trail. But still think I might be interested in FHB’s The Making of a Marchioness.

Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson; her “sparky and unflappable” diary account of World War II.

The Country Housewife’s Book: How to Make the Most of Country Produce and Country Fare by Lucy Yates; all sorts of handy hints and recipes, including — for JoVE — how to skin a rabbit and how to make a haybox, which makes an appearance in The Children Who Lived in a Barn.

Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes; my favorite hands down of my selection. The stories are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, but always moving and elegantly distilled. Next on my list are Minnie’s Room: The Peacetime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes also from Persephone, One Fine Day probably from Book Depository, and working my through The Complete New Yorker on disc in search of all of MPD’s “Letter from London” essays (1939-1987).

Down another rabbit trail, of interest to anyone who enjoys Jane Brocket‘s blog and books, the second issue of the Persephone Biannually (Autumn/Winter 2007) featured an article on her latest book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity, which included writings on “the literature of domesticity” in general and Persephone Books in particular. By the way, Jane is following up her last summer’s title, Cherry  Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats from favorite children’s books with this summer’s Ripping Things to Do: The Best Games and Ideas from Children’s Books.  No word yet if one of the ripping things includes making your own haybox.

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