School of Life: Good Advice of John Cage

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[Photo by me]

Some Rules for Students and Teachers
By John Gage

RULE ONE:  Find a place you trust,  and then,  try trusting it for awhile.

RULE TWO: (General Duties as a Student)
Pull everything out of your teacher.
Pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: (General Duties as a Teacher)
Pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: Be Self Disciplined.
This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them.
To be disciplined is to follow in a good way.
To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Follow the leader. Nothing is a mistake.
There is no win and no fail. There is only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something.
It is the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
You can fool the fans–but not the players.

RULE EIGHT: Do not try to create and analyze at the same time.
The are different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it.
Enjoy yourself. It is lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: We are breaking all the rules.
Even our own rules, and how do we do that?
By leaving plenty of room for “X” quantities.

Always Be Around.
Come or go to everything.
Always go to classes.
Read everything you can get your hands on.
Look at movies carefully and often.
SAVE EVERYTHING. It may come in handy later.

[Words by John Cage via]

Diorama o’ the Day: The Old Russia

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Who doesn’t love a good diorama? This is one we made today using a French template from 1934  - “La Vieille Russie”  or “The Old Russia” (via pillpat). Print, cut and enjoy!

vieille russie 1

vieille russie 2

Showing Kid’s Art in a Gallery

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That is, a Gallery showing in your home.

The assignment: Encourage your student to produce a ‘collection’ of art pieces. Here, my daughter chose to photograph all seven of her chickens, each facing the same direction. The supplies: One free wall + black cardstock to make the art pop + a short bio of the featured artist.

Encourage friends and neighbors to peruse the show as they stop by throughout the week. Keep the gallery fresh and change out the show often. Invite other family members to participate too. Here’s the piece that I bought – a fine photo of our feisty Wellsummer hen. I paid $1.50 – a super steal. Don’t forget to have your budding artist sign your purchase!

The Grainiacs Project

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Or, phase one of the Daily Food Guide Pyramid Project. Or, the I Am So Grateful For The Whole Foods Bulk Department Project — because these are ultimately the type of  ’school’ supplies we would prefer to buy.


Actually, let’s just call it the God Bless The Vacuum Cleaner Project.



The setup: We separated out a variety of grains into their region of origin. They were all either hulled, pearled, rolled, and ground…hmm, I’m sensing a new diagram coming on :)


Native American — amaranth, quinoa Native Asian — buckwheat, millet, rice Native Near Eastern — barley, wheat Native European — rye, oat Native African — sorghum and tef (neither of which we had, but shouldn’t be too hard to find with a little more looking)



We set out four favorite star wars figures, one for each region, and engaged in battles over and under dunes of semolina and china black rice. The precious grains were bought, sold and traded..kernel by kernel. An amusement park was erected and eventually bulldozed..all the while, we touched and felt and tasted the unique textures and variations.


We chattered about random trivia: Buckwheat is not actually a grain. There are over 30,000 different varieties of wheat. Wild rice is our only native North American grain. Whole grains are more delicious and “All of them, whether tender or hard, thick skinned or thin, die when they are peeled…even as you and I” (M.F.K Fisher).


We chose one recipe to make out of our grains. Pretzels.

twenty new

And finally, the diagrams, a work in progress.



Soon, we’ll hope to move up the pyramid chart and plan to save the sweets for last (something extra special to look forward to).