Monday, April 14, 2008

Building Beehives

We're getting bees this spring, and the first step is to build the hives, which arrived precut in about a thousand pieces. This quickly turned into a family affair even though the bees are my gardening thing.

The kids helped glue and hammer, and Jim lent his building expertise to be sure we didn't mess up (which, judging by this photo, I didn't always agree with!). We were able to get four hive bodies put together along with five frames. We still have two honey supers and 35 frames left to go! Once we're all done, we'll stain them and get them set up out in the hedgerow. Our bees will arrive mid-May, so we should be on a pretty good trajectory. I'll post pics once they're all set up outside.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Recent Projects

The kids have been exploring all kinds of things lately, so I thought I'd do a kind of catch-up post on their projects.

Lego building and dioramas:

Jules's dollhouse: You can't see all the details in the photo, but she's been making this all winter by herself. There's some sewing, some tape. Many of the household items have been fashioned out of sculpey. Up in the attic, there's lots of winter stores made from pipe cleaners and salvaged packaging—if I recall correctly, she has lots of pumpkins and gourds, onions, and lettuce. The circular blocks out in front represent the well, and the smaller building on the side is the barn with a goat stall and yellow straw bales in the loft. We have plans to begin knitting some oxen for her family, but I have to figure out how to cast on again before we get started. (It's hard to have to wait for mama to get stuff done!) Much of this is a spin-off of our reading this winter. Jules really loves the Little House on the Prairie series.

Gaming: Of course, there's been plenty of gaming around here between the new ds's and the gamecube. Computer games, too, hold loads of fun and learning. Sam's particular favorites right now are Call of Duty for the gamecube and Ages of Empire/ Mythology for the computer. These games have played into Sam's interest with guns and have spawned a huge interest in World War II.


And, of course, lots of other fun stuff. Reading is exploding around here, as we've enjoyed many, many books this winter. While we've always enjoyed reading, this has been the winter of the series book: Series of Unfortunate Events, Circle of Magic, Little House on the Prairie, Artemis Fowl. Both Emily and Julia are jumping into reading books on their own, and Emily in particular is becoming quite fluent, quite quickly, reading the Mysteries of Droon series on her own now. It's wonderful to watch all their interests emerge and overlap and lead into other things—the organic nature of learning is absolutely thrilling to see unfold.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Liberty Science Center

On a recent trip to my in-law's place in North Jersey, we spent the day at the Liberty Science Center, which is quite a fun little museum. Being so new, absolutely everything in there is hands-on, and there are several fun learning exhibits. Jules spent quite some time working out math puzzles—she and her grampa like doing the sudoku puzzles together.

I enjoyed the alternative energy room where we got to play around with solar, wind, and water power. We're hoping to pull together a small portable solar station to run our well pump during power outages, among other things. I also loved the huge Hoberman sphere in the lobby.

Sam really liked the balloon wall and the Eat and Be Eaten room with all the insects and animals. Em just loved being there and exploring everything! Another highlight was the observation deck where we got to see the Statue of Liberty. Just doesn't get cooler than that!