Outdoor Hour Challenge – Salvia

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Salvia Flower Study

From the archives and from the Autumn Nature Study Continues ebook


Salvia Study 1

Here in the high desert of Central Oregon, we have a variety of blooming flowers that will grow that provide color, don’t need a lot of water, and are pretty much deer resistant. Salvia is one of those flowers. We have some gorgeous deep blue, almost purple, salvia in our front yard and I often times see the hummingbirds and butterflies flying around its blossoms.

This week we’re going to take a closer look at salvia if it’s available in your garden or area. If not, make sure to read the additional activity ideas at the bottom of the challenge.

Fall Flowers Drawing

Here’s one suggestion:

Additional Activity: Make it a fun flower study activity for your creative child! Put some garden flowers in a vase on a table along with sheets of paper, colored pencils, and magnifying lenses. Invite your child to make a sketch for their nature journal or to put on your nature table.

Would you like to see our family’s salvia study from a few years ago? Here is the link:

Family Salvia Flower Study



Nature Study Notebooking Pages

Are you looking for a huge set of nature study related notebooking pages to use with your family? I highly recommend this set from NotebookingPages.com. We used them in our family for many years and they are a super easy way to get started with nature journaling.

Use code discount5 to save $5 on any purchase $10 or more from NotebookingPages.com.

If you you use the coupon above to purchase the nature study set, it will bring the cost down to $5.95 for over 293 notebooking pages.

From the Archives: Struggling with Consistency and Focus

Nature+Study+Consistency+and+Focus+button.jpgStruggling With Consistency and Focus

From the Archives: This is one of my favorite posts for encouraging new and struggling families with their nature study plans. The thoughts expressed by one of my readers reflect a common struggle that many people have and email me about often.

The reader posed this dilemma:

She shared that she has a hard time focusing (on nature study), was easily distracted by really good ideas, and felt that she needed to cover academic subjects first while she had the children’s attention.

In this post from my archives, I address this situation with some practical advice using the Outdoor Hour Challenge (specifically challenges 1-3).

I invite you to click over and read the entry and see if you find something there that encourages you as the new school year begins or maybe something in the post will stimulate you to give nature study a chance.

Let me know if you have any questions or additional comments.

This is what I encourage you to remember if nothing else:

Nurture a love of the outdoors and the interesting things you find there with your children as they are growing up. Train their eyes to see what is there in front of them….stop and look and listen. These are skills that will make them happier people and better students in all areas.

Outdoor Mom – September 2017


cows in the backyard sept 2017 (6)

Outdoor Mom

September 2017

Coyote Oregon

I just keep adding to my list of animals seen here in Oregon. This week there were sightings of a porcupine and a coyote! The coyote was just trotting along through the back pasture until he came upon a downed tree. He hesitated and then pounced on some little creature, shook his head a bit, gobbled it up, and then continued trotting on down the way. It makes me very happy that my cats are indoor cats!

We’ve seen a variety of birds this month, including a whole flock of mountain quail. They are a bit different than the California quail I’m used to seeing.  They don’t have the curved topknot like the California quail but rather have a straight plume sticking up. The mountain quail are much smaller too.

wildfire smoke oregon

The most memorable outdoor related thing about the past month has been the amount of wildfire smoke in our area. It’s been a constant feature of every day as it obscures the view of the mountains and sometimes even just the across the street. Looking on the bright side, it makes for some crazy colored sunrises and sunsets.

Paulina water slide

Our grown boys are staying with us right now and we try to fit in some local fun as we all get to know our new area. This past week we hiked up to some waterfalls that create a natural waterslide. The water was pretty cold but the air temperatures were hot. The men all gave the slide a try while I was content to watch, photograph, and stand with my feet in the water along the shore. What a memorable day!

New bike at deschutes river

I picked up a new-to-me bike at the thrift shop for $20 and we’ve had it out for a spin a few times on the bike trail at Sunriver. There are miles of trails that wind around the resort and down along the river. Whoever planned the trail was smart! They strategically placed park benches along the trail in perfect spots for viewing the beautiful vistas (when there isn’t wildfire smoke). This new bike will allow us to cover more ground when we explore the beauty of Sunriver.

Mullen in grass

Garden Update

Just to note my gardening challenges, I was told I live in plant hardiness zone 5A. I’ve been talking to my neighbors about their success in gardening here in the high desert and so many of them have told me to only plant things that are meant for garden zone 4. This means I have to look for plants that have a range down to -40 degrees! I couldn’t understand why at first but just this week I had someone explain it to me in a way that makes sense.

Garden zones take into consideration the low temperatures overall. Here in my area we have the potential for frost throughout the summer and very cold nighttime temperatures will affect the growth of plants. So, this explains why on the surface it appears that I could get away with plants for zone 5A, but just one night of a cold snap will kill them or stunt their growth. It’s far better to pick plants that will grow in zone 4 range instead and not chance it.

I get it now. I will continue my quest to make a practical garden plan over the winter.

You can use this website to get an idea of your climate zone: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone.

If you live in my area, I have found this to be a very helpful guide that we’ve printed out and saved: Xeriscaping in the High Desert.


Want to join in the Outdoor Mom post?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time this week we went….
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting….
  • I added nature journal pages about….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…