atwitter: april

A few more things that have me all atwitter these days.

the girls have arrived! We picked up our package of bees on Saturday, and introduced them to their hive that afternoon.

the girls are here!

There are so many of them–approximately 10,000 at this point! I love to sit near the hive, on the terrace wall that Chris built, watching them come and go. I’m dying to get in there to see if they’re making comb, to see if the queen is laying, but we’re giving them their privacy for a week or so.

Surely bees don’t care if their hive is cute, but since this one sits in our front yard, I care. So it’s painted to match the house, with a totally unnecessary-but-adorable-anyway pitched copper roof. (Please disregard that temporarily unpainted stripe of a shim. You know I’m detail-crazed enough to be bothered by such a thing.)

the hive

bee art. Lulu, Mr. T and I sketched bees last week.

bee sketchingsketching a bee

Then the kids became inspired to make a collage of bee art, which they later abandoned, but we did carve some rubber stamps.

hive cell stampmr. t's hive stamp

Now Lulu’s thinking about making bee-themed greeting cards to sell at our Homeschool Fair in a few weeks. She spent all morning searching out bee poetry online–for lines for the cards–and I showed her some of Sylvia Plath’s bee poems. Plath wrote those poems upon keeping bees of her own for the first time, and when I read them a few years ago, I knew I’d have bees of my own someday.

learning about japan. We went to the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco’s Japantown on Monday, to see a San Francisco International Film Festival showing of Battle for Terra. (A perfect film for Mr. T as it tells the story of life on another planet which is invaded by earthlings. The planet, Terra, and its creatures are beautifully animated. The film’s director spoke afterwards, and it was fascinating to hear about his original ideas for the film, and how they developed over time.) Anyway, in addition to the film being wonderful, the location was ideal, as we’re just beginning a study of Japan.

We had a Japanese bento lunch.

japanese lunch

We visited the Peace Pagoda.

peace pagoda

We went to the Kinokuniya bookstore. I’d never been to one of these Japanese bookstores before–so big, so fab! There are books in Japanese, of course, but also many in English. They also have lots of those great little items that only the Japanese design, like Piperoid robot kits made up of paper rolls which are cut apart and assembled.

piperoid bot kitmaking goriborg

Mr. T put together both Goriborg and Dr. Penk with a fair amount of help from me.

goriborg and dr. penkmaking goriborg

The trouble is, of course, that he wants to play with them, which only makes their feet fall off.

I always hear knitters rave about Japanese knitting books. (I just listened to the Knitting Japanese episode on Stash and Burn.) Looking through that section in the store, I came across a few books by a young Japanese woman named Ayano Uchida. Despite the English titles and a few giggle-inducing, roughly translated English headings here and there, the books are otherwise written in Japanese, so I have no idea what they say. But they’re filled with photos of the author’s quirky, layered style, and I couldn’t resist buying one called Favorite Style for Four Seasons.

favorite style for four seasonsfavorite style for four seasons

“Why would you buy that?” Lulu asked, offended at my foolishness. “You can’t even read it!”  I’m not quite sure why I bought it, except that I find the photographs charming. I think I find them even more charming for the fact that I don’t know what the writing says, which means I get to use my imagination. (I’m linking to Amazon’s Japanese page, in case you want to “Look Inside” the book. I haven’t been linking to Amazon these days, which you may have noticed–the reason for which is a blog post for another day. Go indie bookstores!)

Oh goodie–now it’s time for you to tell me what has you all atwitter…

3 comments… add one
  • stefaneener May 1, 2009 @ 8:03

    Hooray for bees.

    I also have fallen under the spell of the untranslatable Japanese craft books as you know. I even bought fabric for a fabulous skirt or shirt from one of my books. And I bought a knitting book just for the (charted) oak leaf/acorn pattern.

    There’s a Ravelry group for Japanese knitting patterns, anyhow, so Lulu can whistle.

  • susan May 1, 2009 @ 8:42

    Your beehive is so charming! I love the copper roof. The hexagon rubber stamp is very cool.

  • Kristin May 4, 2009 @ 9:18

    The color of the hive is lovely and so is the copper roof. It will be great to take a long shot photo when all of your lavender is in bloom and your hive box is among it. Your honey is going to taste great! The bees have oodles of food from the Echium next door too.

    The Japanese movie, eatery and bookstore day sounds like so much fun. That’s learning in its most serendipitous form (if there is such a word).

    I like that you bought that knitting book you couldn’t read. I think it modeled trying something new from a different culture; besides, I know you’ll put it to use.

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