• 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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Size does matter

Karen asked in the comments of the Squash-o-Lantern post below about the size of the squash seeds, and I replied that I’d been planning to a post a picture, as soon as the kids carved our regular pumpkins on Halloween eve.

We’d been told by one of the winners at the pumpkin festival that even more important than fertilizer and adequate heat and water is the size of the seed. Bigger is better, she said.

Here’s the picture, with the giant squash seed on the left and a regular, garden-variety pumpkin on the right,

Still in the garden

The raised bed flower garden behind the house, back in May.

Same raised bed flower garden behind the house, in the last week. Columbines at far right, poppies to their left, tall things in the center are monkshood. I’m happiest when the cows and calves stay on their side of the barbed wire fence (in the background, at right).

Same raised bed, last week, but from the other end.

Same raised bed, other side. Large rounded clump at far right is a type of daisy. I hacked back the catmint at the front along the corner, so it wouldn’t go to seed and stop blooming.

More from the garden

Eggs from the duck nest in the backyard, not 10 feet from the house. We watched over the duck and her nest for almost a month, mostly from a distance and not too often, and despite the nearby marauding magpies, the duck managed to hatch out all 10 eggs. We checked on the nest on the second to last day to find it full of nine ducklings, with one to go. The next morning, mama and her babies were gone, and a tenth cracked eggshell was left in the nest. Success!

One of the planters in front of the house, last month.


Violas and pansies, and a pink double impatiens that looks like small roses. The big leaves belong to the nolana (see next picture, below), which hadn’t started flowering when I took this picture. The nolana stems and flowers took off right after; the stems are thick and almost vining, and the bright blue flowers with white centers resemble morning glories, but stay open all day.

The nolana, at far left, blooming in the planter. The blue lobelia at right I stuck in a few weeks ago, when it threatened to take over another planter.

The planter the other day. Colors a bit washed out though in this picture…

Mary Mary quite contrary

And Becky, too. Recent snaps from the garden. I’ll post more as Blogger and dial-up will let me.

Columbines

More columbines. They’ve been blooming for almost a month, show no signs of giving up any time soon, and their shapes and colors make me happy.

This is cheating a bit. This is the Dropmore honeysuckle, above, when it was blooming last month. Gorgeous and pink for the brief while it lasted.

A better late than never reminder for the (Late) Late Spring Edition of Dawn’s Field Days

Dawn at By Sun and Candlelight has this season’s installment, in words and plentiful pictures, of the latest Field Day, just in time for late Spring. Rainbows, skinks, flowers, birds and bird books — something for everyone, especially on an early Spring morning or a quiet, rainy day. Thank you, Dawn, for the wonderful idea and for continuing, season after season.

Into the woods

Tom and the kids went mushroom hunting for morels on Saturday. The haul came to about seven liters, including some whoppers (one below, in Daniel’s hands),

We had some for dinner that night, sauteed in cream with fresh chives from the garden (and organic sea salt from Brittany, so there goes the 100-Mile idea), and the next day I made homemade mushroom soup. The remainder I popped into the freezer, to enjoy the rest of the year.

I hadn’t eaten wild mushrooms regularly until I moved here. I took Tom’s father’s and brother’s mushroom hunting abilities on faith, and when I was still around the next morning realized I was onto something good. I will say that having researched wild mushrooms in books and gone hunting with the men in the family, this is one subject where a book just isn’t a suitable teacher. Being able to see and touch something you’re going to eat that just might not agree with you is a darn sight better than a picture and description.

UPDATED to add:

For more information on mushroom hunting in general and morels in particular, see

The Great Morel website, along with its comprehensive links page (be sure to scroll all the way down) — including, for Angela, one on Wild Harvest, dedicated to morels, fiddlehead ferns, and wild leeks.

Found in the garden this morning

Happily and busily planting, transplanting, and moving things around in the flower garden early today, I came across this

which on closer inspection

proved to be a robin’s egg. But why the female robin chose to lay it out in the open, with no nest in sight and far from any trees or shrubs, is a mystery. The grass at left was provided by me, and after taking pictures I recovered the egg to protect it from marauding magpies.