Outdoor Mom July 2021 – Sweet Summertime

Outdoor Mom

July 2021 – Sweet Summertime

When our warm weather hits, time seems to just fly by fast and furious! It’s as if we know our summer days are precious and in a blink of an eye they’ll be gone. So, we try to pack as many adventures and memories as we can into the July hours.

tent in the garden 2021

I wake up early to bird song and I stay outside late watering the garden.

We keep the kayaks all ready to go and our hiking shoes right at the door.

field guides and binoculars

I spend quiet time writing in my nature journal, keeping track of wildflowers, birds, and trails hiked.

family camping 2021

Last year when we were all locked down and isolating, I dreamt of our summer days of freedom. This year it has made us appreciate every day we can freely move and travel and be with our kids.  We’ve gone on family camping trips, family floating days in the hot sun, family hiking and lots of picnicking. The summer is not over yet, and we have plans for more time spent outdoors together.

Sweet, sweet summer.

garden wildflower collage 2021

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting…

The flowers have burst out in a riot of color. July is the time for enjoying the bounty of flowers we have that fill the garden. We experimented with reseeding our wildflower beds and expanding the sunflowers this year. In addition, we planted some new shrubs that have potential for berries long into the autumn. When a garden plan goes as expected, it brings such satisfaction. We have been blessed with an abundance of butterflies and hummingbirds this summer in part to our keeping their needs in mind as we picked new plants.

nasturtium 2021 renees

I have been trying to grow nasturtiums in my garden for many years. This year I planted Renee’s Garden seeds and they are thriving!


I’ll be writing soon about our Renee’s Garden seeds that are still growing and thriving.

nests eggs bird 2021

The most inspiring thing we experienced was…

Looking back over the past few months, the most inspiring and fulfilling experience has been the abundance of nests and baby birds that have occurred right in our yard. We had robins, flickers, tree swallows, bluebirds, finches, doves, and chickadees all born within our eyesight. I love watching the birds as they fledge and fly off.

The addition of new nesting boxes really did reap us such happy memories this season. It went by way too fast. It’s been bittersweet to watch the birds take to flight, finding their way towards their next destination.

tide pools brookings 2021

During our outdoor time, this month we went…

Tidepooling!!! This is one of my favorite outdoor activities. I was able to introduce my daughter-in-law to the joys of searching the shore for something living. She found a hermit crab and the smile she had told me that this girl is a kindred spirit.

oregon coast nature journal

I added nature journal pages about…

I sat on the beach several times during our coastal camping trip and sketched and wrote in my nature journal. These precious memories are now down on paper.

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

You can follow me on Instagram to see more of our outdoor life here in gorgeous Central Oregon.

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…
  • One last image…


Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge: Bee Balm Herb Nature Study


“The name ‘bee balm’ implies that the plant is attractive to bees. It is, but its long flower makes it less accessible to bees but easily accessible to hummingbirds.”

100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names

Read a little bit about bee balm using the links below.

Outdoor Hour Challenge bee balm nature study

Remember that the rest of the challenge is available to Ultimate and Journey level members here on the Handbook of Nature Study.  You’ll need to sign into your Ultimate or Journey level membership to see the herb ebook download.

Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic

Outdoor Hour Challenge-Herb Ebook: Download the cilantro sample here.

Included in the new Herb Ebook are eight brand new Outdoor Hour Challenges for you to complete as part of your nature study lessons with your children. These challenges are not based on information in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. You will be using internet links and field guides to glean information about each topic.

  • This 49-page digital ebook has 8 challenges and supplemental activities that will help you learn about some popular and common herbs you can easily grow in your garden.
  • There are multiple custom notebooking pages for each of the topics. You can choose from simple notebook pages or more advanced notebooking pages.
  • There are 6 coloring pages.
  • Sample: Print an ebook sample here: Cilantro Nature Study

Here are the specific topics included in this ebook:

  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Bee Balm
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Mint

Summer Butterfly Study – Making a Butterfly Puddle

Summer Butterfly Study – Making a Butterfly Puddle

Over the years, I’ve observed butterflies along hiking trails in the muddy edges. There will sometimes be 10 or 12 butterflies sitting on the mud slowly opening and closing their wings. This behavior fascinated me! After a little research on the internet, I discovered that butterflies are attracted to mud puddles for not only the moisture but the minerals and salts that are present in the mud.

Making a Butterfly Mud Puddle OHC

So, this summer I’ve decided I want to make my own butterfly mud puddle, but make it in a large saucer. During my research, I ran across several websites and videos that explained how to make an artificial mud puddle that butterflies could use in my garden.


Basically, you add sand to the saucer along with some sort of mineral source. I decided to try compost, a little gravel, a few rocks, and a bit of Epsom salts with my sand. Then you add water to moisten your “puddle”.

Simple and easy!

I would love for you to give this project a try with your children and let me know if you were successful too!

You can always leave me a comment, email me directly, or post an image on Instagram and use the hashtag “outdoorhourchallenge”.

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You can find more insect nature study ideas on my website under the “Insect” tab.


Here’s a YouTube video for you to watch for a tutorial: