• 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.

Merry Christmas from Farm School

"A Jane Austen Christmas" by Amanda White (Chawton Cottage, Hampshire, JA's home, 1809-1817) cut paper collage

“A Jane Austen Christmas” by Amanda White
(Chawton Cottage, Hampshire, JA’s home, 1809-1817)
cut paper collage

The stockings are hung, the amaryllis is blooming, and the tree is lit and be-tinseled. We have an ample stash of poppycock, mince tarts, my grandmother’s almond crescent cookies, and more, all safely squirreled away from Tom and the kids so we have something to show for our efforts on Christmas and Boxing Day. Oh, and a moose roast from a hunting friend and crown roast of pork for Christmas dinner. The wooden snowflakes and festive holiday bunting are hung at the windows. The kids run up and down the hallway with rolls of wrapping paper, whispering and giggling. It’s cold, snowy, and very Christmassy outside but we are warm, happy, and cozy in our house, looking forward to relaxing and visiting with family and friends.

Wishing you all a peaceful, joyful Christmas, from all of us at Farm School.



Winter arrived suddenly and unexpectedly — especially after last year’s mildness — in October. We’ve had snow, ice, and below zero (way below zero) temperatures since then. Yesterday we drove to the little city for Laura’s orthodentist consultation in a whiteout. My scariest time yet in a vehicle, ever.

A few snaps from this wintery autumn:

In October, we received our last box of BC apples,

McIntosh apples

Paperwhite bulbs,


The wasp nest the kids found at the new pasture,


Peppers from the greenhouse drying,


Our all-but finished window seat; the only thing remaining is to finish the plywood strip underneath the cushion with a wooden band (stapled, not sewn, with foam, plywood, and fabric); Laura and I love to sit here for our reading and writing — we watch the birds at the feeders and in the past two weeks have had fun watching a weasel, all white already, and a little shrew gathering fallen seeds,



In early November, Laura led a 4H hike through the Provincial Park; I went along to the be adult in charge, but mostly I lagged behind, making sure we didn’t lose any kids and taking photographs of things like rose hips in the snow,


Bringing up the rear (yes, this was early November),


We have a busy December with lots of activities (4H meetings and field trips, curling for the kids and Tom separately and together, theater), Christmas dinners and parties. The library renovation continues, over budget and behind schedule as these things go, but we’re all excited for a refreshed building. Planning for the music festival.

Davy turned 12 at the end of last month and has been enjoying reading through one of his presents, Why There’s Antifreeze in Your Toothpaste: The Chemistry of Household Ingredients by Simon Quellen Field. He and his brother are making use of another present, some camping lantern lighters, to retrofit their potato gun.

On the strength of her bird blog and other writings, Laura has been asked to write some articles for the American Birding Association’s newsletter, to help add some Canadian content, and also to be a contributor to a new Canadian bird blog. Needless to say, I’ve pretty much quit giving her writing assignments since she’s getting enough from other sources.