Outdoor Mom – May 2019

This post is LONG overdue. I’ve had such a crazy last few months that it was hard to put my “Outdoor Mom” thoughts together. I felt more like an indoor kind of mom because of my surgery, recovery, weather, and then having a mom who needed my care. Things just got pushed aside.

Barb McCoy and Amanda at Lake Clementine

Although I never lost the desire to be outdoors, even in the thick of my recovery from double hip surgery, I kept my eyes outside on the birds and wildlife that came my way. Then when I was sitting in the hospital day after day with my mom, I would look out the window and take quick walks around the edges of the parking lot to find something refreshing to observe.

My nature journal has been neglected until the past few weeks when finally things have settled down a bit and I can take those few minutes a week to record my reflections and thoughts.

 Outdoor Mom – May 2019

American River confluence

During our outdoor time this month we went…

While in California, my daughter and I took a long hike along the American River. It was very green and there were already many wildflowers along the trail. We must have seen a hundred butterflies as they fluttered across our path and landed on flowers.

swallowtail butterfly

It was warm and we were so glad we made the decision to hike early to beat the heat and the crowds. It makes my heart happy that my grown children enjoy a hike with their mama when we can make it happen.

kayak little deschutes may 2019

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…

We managed a kayak/canoe paddle down the river one afternoon in the bright sunshine. We didn’t encounter a single other person on the whole trip. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy having the river to ourselves but it makes us wonder why we rarely see anyone on this section of the water. On this particular day, we were joined on our paddle by mallards, swallows, Canada goose, red-winged blackbirds, and a heron. All of us are hoping to get together for many more kayak trips over the next few months.

One last image…or two…or three…

I haven’t shared beautiful wildflower photos in a long time. So, to make up for that, here are some from our hike that I love!


Some variety of white lupine


Variety of pink allium



indian pink

Indian pink

chinese lanterns

Chinese lanterns

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge.  If you’d like me to take a look at one of your images on Instagram, use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge.

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 month 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…
  • One last image…

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Garden Flowers #9 Sunflower Seeds and Planting


“The sunflower is not a single flower, but is a large number of flowers living together; and each little flower, or floret, as it is called, has its own work to do.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 576

Growing sunflowers is one of the most satisfying long term nature study projects your family can do together. After examining the seeds and then sowing them in the dirt, you’ll be anxious for them to sprout and bloom! Put your children in charge of keeping them watered and then when they bloom they’ll have seen how from a single seed you get a beautiful garden flower.

Sunflower summer garden

Make sure to click the link below to the original challenge to find the pages in the Handbook of Nature Study to read with your children. Learn all about the sunflower and other composite flowers in this nature study lesson.


Link to the Archive Outdoor Hour Challenge –

Focus on Garden Flowers #9 Sunflowers

If you’d like to see one of our family’s sunflower nature study entries, you can read it here: Outdoor Hour Challenge #29

Don’t miss seeing our images and nature journal pages!

seeds pots sunflowers may 2010 (2)

Gardens ebook Outdoor Hour challenge

We’re winding down our work in the Garden Flower and Plants ebook. If you’ve been working in this book along with us for the past eight weeks, you’ll want to check if there are any nature journal pages you need to add to or finish up. We’ll be moving on in two week to the next ebook on our yearly plan.

More Nature Study Summer @handbookofnaturestudy

If you want to join us for the summer series of nature study challenges, we’re going to be starting with the Nature Study Continues – Summer Sizzle ebook on May 31, 2019.

If you have an Ultimate Membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study, you have access to this ebook and the detailed plan for the summer in your account.

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

If you’d like to purchase a membership so you have all of the challenges at your fingertips and the custom notebooking pages too, click over to read all the details and download a sample: More Nature Study – Summer Sizzle Sample.

Get $5 off an Ultimate Membership if you use the discount code NATURE5.

Get Ready for Wildflower Season – Outdoor Hour Challenge Ebooks

Get Ready for Wildflower Season – Outdoor Hour Challenge Ebooks

Are you ready for wildflower season? It’s coming whether you’re ready or not! The Outdoor Hour Challenges will be taking us outdoors from now until the autumn season and it’s so nice to have a library of wildflower nature study ideas at your fingertips for all those wildflowers you may encounter.

I’m especially proud of the three newer wildflower focused ebooks I’ve created in the past few years.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Set 1 Ebook





Common silverweedOHC Wildflower Set 2 @handbookofnaturestudy



Cow Parsnip




Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower 3 Covermaker





Common silverweed



 Outdoor Hour Challenge Garden Wildflower and Weeds Index @handbookofnaturestudy


Additional Wildflower Challenges

I’ve written Outdoor Hour Challenges for every wildflower listed in the Handbook of Nature Study. You can find them under the “Garden” tab on my website. That’s dozens of wildflowers to choose from!

Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy

You can have access to the ebooks in the Ultimate and Journey level memberships.

summer nature study ebooks button

In addition, there are many other summer related challenges available in the summer ebooks.