• 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)
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • ChasDarwinHasAPosse
  • Farm School: A Twitter-Free Zone

    antitwit
  • Copyright © 2005-2016 Please do not use any of my words or my personal photographs without my express permission.

Poetry Friday: something in October

A Vagabond Song
by Bliss Carman (1861-1929)

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood —
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

* * *

Kelly Fineman at Writing and Ruminating is hosting today’s Poetry Friday round-up with Keats’s Ode to Autumn. As Kelly, and Robert Frost, write, “I believe that today, I’ll take a walk and see what autumn has to offer. I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.” Take a walk over Writing and Ruminating and join Kelly for a promising Friday.

Poetry Friday: Poems for the First

A Happy Canada Day to all, with some poetry to mark the occasion.

Rivers of Canada
by Bliss Carman (1861-1929)

O all the little rivers that run to Hudson’s Bay,
They call me and call me to follow them away.

Missinaibi, Abitibi, Little Current–where they run
Dancing and sparkling I see them in the sun.

I hear the brawling rapid, the thunder of the fall,
And when I think upon them I cannot stay at all.

At the far end of the carry, where the wilderness begins,
Set me down with my canoe-load — and forgiveness of my sins.

O all the mighty rivers beneath the Polar Star,
They call me and call me to follow them afar.

Peace and Athabasca and Coppermine and Slave,
And Yukon and Mackenzie–the highroads of the brave.

Saskatchewan, Assiniboine, the Bow and the Qu’Appelle,
And many a prairie river whose name is like a spell.

They rumor through the twilight at the edge of the unknown,
“There’s a message waiting for you, and a kingdom all your own.

“The wilderness shall feed you, her gleam shall be your guide.
Come out from desolations, our path of hope is wide.”

O all the headlong rivers that hurry to the West,
They call me and lure me with the joy of their unrest.

Columbia and Fraser and Bear and Kootenay,
I love their fearless reaches where winds untarnished play–

The rush of glacial water across the pebbly bar
To polished pools of azure where the hidden boulders are.

Just there, with heaven smiling, any morning I would be,
Where all the silver rivers go racing to the sea.

O well remembered rivers that sing of long ago,
Ajourneying through summer or dreaming under snow.

Among their meadow islands through placid days they glide,
And where the peaceful orchards are diked against the tide.

Tobique and Madawaska and shining Gaspereaux,
St. Croix and Nashwaak and St. John whose haunts I used to know.

And all the pleasant rivers that seek the Fundy foam,
They call me and call me to follow them home.

Carman, Canada’s unofficial poet laureate and a cousin of Canadian poet Charles G.D. Roberts, wrote this c1925.

 

The round-up is over at Shaken & Stirred today. Thank you, Gwenda. Grab a glass and a swizzle stick, and enjoy a weekend a poetry, fireworks, and freedom.

Oh, and just a reminder: I do believe in either a weak moment or a brief flicker of responsibility I offered to host Poetry Friday here at Farm School next week, July 6th. So if you sometimes read this blog but haven’t participated in Poetry Friday yet, I hope you’ll think about sharing a favorite poem — yours or your family’s — or even a poem you’d like to learn more about or share with your kids. Put your thinking caps on.

Poetry Friday: A unicorn for spring

Laura, the one child who isn’t reciting anything in the speech arts part of the arts festival next week (because she’s up to her eyeballs in 4H public speaking), selected this because “it makes me think of Spring”:

Unicorn
by Anne Corkett

Unicorn, Unicorn,
where have you gone?
I’ve brought you some silver dew
out of the dawn.
I’ve put it in buttercups
for you to drink
and brought you some daisies
to wear round your neck.

Silver and gold
and petals so white,
these are the colours
saved from the night.

Unicorn, Unicorn,
where have you gone?
I’ve brought you nine sunbeams
to wear for a crown
and made you a blanket
of new thistledown
embroidered with lilies —
O where have you gone?
Unicorn, Unicorn,
I can’t stay long.

Petals so white
and silver and gold,
these are the colours
that never grow old.

From Til All the Stars Have Fallen: Canadian Poems for Children, selected by David Booth (author of Even Hockey Players Read) and illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton, recently available in paperback as a Scholastic school book club edition, perfect for handing out to your nieces, nephews, and children’s friends who need some more Canadian children’s poetry in their lives.

***

My own kids have had a bit more trauma than poetry in their lives this past week. First, Laura’s voice teacher almost ended her festival season before it started, thinking to yank her because, having left it too long, he couldn’t find an accompanist for her. Tuesday evening, after class, after had he told her (in costume as mini Maria in “The Sound of Music”) that he’d be making the call in the morning to pull her out, her face quivered and her shoulders sagged but she was stoic, I made phone calls as I made supper, and finally located an acquaintance who agreed to give it a try. They rehearse together this afternoon before art class. “I Have Confidence”, indeed.

Daniel’s trauma involved a trip to the hospital the other afternoon for a stitch near his right eye, and I was as surprised as anyone to learn that it didn’t happen during the boys’ two-hour outdoor hockey game on ice and concrete. The doctor on call at the emergency room, a genial and capable young man, a locum on loan to our little hospital from Edmonton, in turn was surprised to learn he didn’t need to talk me into a suture. I explained that this was the fifth occasion for stitches between the three kids (though two of the three occasions never received them — one incident overseas with a very small nose was treated by Tom with tape to avoid a larger scar, and a two-year-old’s thumb, the one that was nearly cut off, was neatly mended with magic purple glue at the doctor’s suggestion) — and I don’t drive into town just before suppertime (especially when there’s a roast in the oven) unless it’s for something I can’t manage on my own. And I draw the line, for now at least, at stitching up my own kids.

But all trauma has been forgotten while enjoying the first DVD in The Mr. Wizard’s World collection from Zip.ca. The kids are entranced with Mr. Wizard’s version of a volcano, which involves not namby-pamby vinegar and baking soda but a match and a fuse. Which I suppose sounds like a recipe for some more home doctoring.

***

Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy has the Poetry Friday/Saturday roundup, not to mention a passionate Celtic love story, for the week — thanks, Liz!

Happy New Year [aka the Cybils shortlists are here!]

So happy new year, happy sledding, and happy reading ahead!

We’re off sledding today with friends from out of town, so in the meantime I’ll point you toward the Cybils website, where the five finalists for each of the children’s literature categories are being posted today. First up — Poetry!

It was a pleasure and an honor, not to mention a lot of hair-tearing hard work, to serve on the poetry nominating panel alongside Bruce, eisha, Elaine, and Sylvia, and under the able stewardship of Susan. And we had nowhere near the number of books to consider that some of the other panelists did. I’d also like to thank my three guinea pigs in the target demographic, who devoured about as many poems as candy canes in the past month. A special thanks to Anne Boles Levy and Kelly Herold for coming up with the idea of the Cybils and organizing everything.

I’ll have to figure out what we can and can’t post about our choices and negotiations, and write up a post or two on the consideration process, which I believe another blogger (I don’t think on the poetry panel) compared to “sweating blood”.

Another bonus of the Cybils: just before Christmas, the guinea pigs and I delivered a box of chocolates and some of the lovely hardcover children’s poetry books of 2006 to a surprised and delighted librarian.

Poetry Friday I

Today, a poem for Hannukah, by one of Canada’s foremost poets, A.M. Klein. Abraham Moses Klein was born in Ukraine in 1909 and emigrated to Montreal with his family the following year.

Heirloom
by A.M. Klein (1909-1972)

My father bequeathed me no wide estates;
No keys and ledgers were my heritage;
Only some holy books with yahrzeit dates
Writ mournfully upon a blank front page –

Books of the Baal Shem Tov, and of his wonders;
Pamphlets upon the devil and his crew;
Prayers against road demons, witches, thunders;
And sundry other tomes for a good Jew.

Beautiful: though no pictures on them, save
The scorpion crawling on a printed track;
The Virgin floating on a scriptural wave,
Square letters twinkling in the Zodiac.

The snuff left on this page, now brown and old,
The tallow stains of midnight liturgy –
These are my coat of arms, and these unfold
My noble lineage, my proud ancestry!

And my tears, too, have stained this heirloomed ground,
When reading in these treatises some weird
Miracle, I turned a leaf and found
A white hair fallen from my father’s beard.

UPDATE: Kelly at Big A little a has the round-up here. Thanks, Kelly, and happy holiday wishes!