Outdoor Hour Challenge – Scarlet Saucer

Outdoor Hour Challenge Scarlet Cup Fungus @handbookofnaturestudy

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read pages 725-726 of the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson #202). This is a short reading but it will get you started with your study.
  • Here is a free printable for the Scarlet Elf Cup. Excellent!
  • Watch this short video that lets you see this fungi up close: Scarlet Cup.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Take some time outdoors to look for fungi in your neighborhood. The scarlet cup fungi is one of the earliest fungi to look for in the woods. Look for it on decaying branches in damp areas, sometimes buried beneath the leaves on the forest floor.
  • Use the lesson’s suggested observations when you find your specimen. Depending on where you live, you may find this fungus during the months of January-April.

Follow-Up Activities:

  • Create a nature journal entry that includes a colorful sketch, a caption, and words to describe this interesting fungi.
  • Advanced Study: Scarlet Cup Fungus. After reading this page, create a nature journal entry using the notebook page included in this ebook. If you run out of room on the front of the page, continue on the back.

Additional Links:

Handbook of Nature Study Ultimate Naturalist Library
Join us for this series of challenges every week here on the Handbook of Nature Study.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Nature Study Continues ebook

If you want to purchase the Winter Nature Study Continues ebook so you can follow along with all the notebooking pages, coloring pages, and subject images, you can join the Ultimate or Journey Membership Levels. See the Join Us page for complete information. Also, you can view the Winter Nature Study Continues Ebook Announcement page for more details.

The Wild Muir – A Sort of Review


The Wild Muir Book Review

The Wild Muir was my first selection in my Nature Book of the Month Project. This book just begged to be read aloud so we did just that. Each chapter is actually a selection from one of John Muir’s many books, chosen to make a wonderful collection in this book The Wild Muir.

We didn’t read the chapters in order because we found it was fun to read the chapter titles and then pick one that sounded interesting to us at the moment. We read first thing in the morning with our coffee, or while riding along on a car ride, or sitting outside in our front yard. I can imagine us reading some of these again on a camping trip while sitting around the campfire. John Muir can spin a tale, drawing you along with his words that sounded like poetry at times. He gave interesting details and shared his thoughts about what he saw and experienced. There were a few chapters that gave us a glimpse into his childhood, his early adulthood, and then long into his career as a conservationist.

Many of us would never dream of attempting the many daring explorations that he set out on or dream of pushing ourselves to the physical limits that Muir did during his life. But, we can experience the thrill of hiking up to mountain peaks, across glaciers, far into the Sierra mountains, and swaying on trees in the middle of a huge winter storm.

His words paint such wonderful pictures…here’s a couple quotes:

“At length, all their plans perfected, tufted flakes and single starry crystals come in sight, solemnly swirling and glinting to their blessed appointed places; and soon the busy throng fills the sky and makes darkness like night.”

“As soon as I got out in Heaven’s light I started on another long excursion, making haste with all my heart to store my mind with the Lord’s beauty and thus be ready for any fate, light or dark. And it was from this time that my long continuous wanderings may be said to have fairly commenced.”

I learned some really interesting stuff from reading his book. Who knew learning about frazil ice would lead to some really awesome YouTube videos? I also never really knew how all those round metal plates got placed on the top of mountains and other spots that we have seen on our hiking expeditions…well, they are there in part due to the Coast and Geodetic Survey which mapped and measured such places. I had to look up dozens of plants and flowers that Muir mentioned in the book to see if I knew what they were or had seen them in my travels. I also looked up lots of geological vocabulary like “moulin“.

Please note this entry includes affiliate links.

I loved this book and highly recommend it as a glimpse into Muir’s life, his writing, and his ideas.

Nature Book Project 2015 @handbookofnaturestudy

The California Hop Tree


California Hoptree Nature Study

Every now and then I remember that I have a particular plant or tree to research and the California hoptree is one such subject (Ptelea crenulata). I hike past it with great regularity and note its stages of development through the cycle of the seasons. But, even with its interesting circular fruits, I often fail to take a photo and look up more information on this plant.

In researching the hoptree, I found that it is a member of the citrus family (Rutaceae) which is distinguished by its aromatic gland-dotted leaves. The hoptree that we have alongside our canyon trail is more like a shrub and my field guide says it can be from 6 ft to 16 feet in height. I would estimate that our tree is about 6-8 feet tall and almost completely surrounded by blackberry vines which makes it hard to determine where the hoptree ends and the vines begin.

Hop Tree Photo Nature Journal

The California hoptree became the topic of my Once a Month Nature Journal Project for January. I used one current photo and one from my archives showing the features of my winter observations. I pulled out my field guides and looked online for information to include on my page. Creating a simple journal page pulls all the information together both on the page and in my mind. Next time I hike past this tree I will slow down to take note of its identifying features and anticipate its blossoms come springtime.

Have you created your nature journal page yet this month?