Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge: Basil Herb Nature Study

Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge

Basil Herb Nature Study

Basil is an herb that is easy to grow indoors and outdoors. I highly recommend purchasing a small basil plant to use for observations as part of this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge. It will be a delight to your senses!

Outdoor Hour Challenge basil nature studyHere are some observation ideas from the challenge.

Observe your basil plant using all your senses.

  • Look at the leaves and observe the shape and veins. What is the texture of the leaf?  Taste a few of the fresh leaves if possible.  Would you describe the taste as sweet or spicy? Rub a few of the leaves in the palm of your hand. How would you describe the aroma?
  • Feel the shape, color, and thickness of the stem. Does it feel square? Note the arrangement of the leaves on the stem. What is the height of the basil stems?
  • Observe the flowers if they are present. What is their color and shape? Do they have a fragrance? Did you see any insects on the plant or flowers?

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.

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

Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic

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’ll 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

 

Nature Goals 202:2nd Quarter Update

Nature Goals 2021

2nd Quarter Update

Nature Study Goals 2021

At the beginning of every year, I sit down and create a list of nature study related goals for myself. I realized years ago that without having specific goals to keep me motivated, a whole year could slip by and projects and outdoor activities that are important to me have not been accomplished. If you’d like to read this year’s goal entry, you can click here: Nature Study Goals 2021.

Backyard Habitat development:   

I was reading back over the first quarter’s entry and I smiled because I said that the second quarter was going to be the time for “heavy lifting” as far as developing a backyard habitat. Nothing could be truer than that statement!

planting sunflower seedlings 2021

Here are a few of the reflections on what has happened in the garden this quarter:

  • We nurtured seeds in pots, bringing them in and out of the garage at night to avoid freezing them as they sprouted. Our first round of seeds was eaten by mice! I had to replant everything! (Perhaps there is a small greenhouse in the future to make life easier?)
  • Weeded and weeded and weeded again as everything began to grow. We had to weed the beds from last year, pluck the weeds from our gravel walkways, sift out the weeds from the native plants. The majority of this fell onto my shoulders since my husband injured his leg and he had to keep from kneeling on it for over six weeks! Weed management is still an ongoing process and it’s the way we carefully keep the native plants we desire to have growing in the yard.
  • Eventually we planted the seedlings in the ground. Once the nights were warm enough and the big threat of a freeze was past, we were able to get all the seeds and seedlings into their garden beds. We did end up adding a few more automatic drip lines to the new plants to make sure they were properly watered.
  • We were surprised with the number of plants that have reseeded themselves. Practically my whole sunflower bed is filled with volunteer plants from last year’s crop. I’m making a note that we may not need to replant as many seeds next year to have the same beautiful results.
  • It hasn’t taken long for the pollinators, birds, toads, and small mammals to make themselves at home in the garden. We added quite a few more water dishes and saucers around the yard and they are busy spots for everyone on the hot afternoons. So many baths and sips of water!
  • I’ve noticed that the effort to keep as many native plants in our yard as possible has paid off as far as attracting insects. It has taken careful weeding and observations as plants have matured to decide if they stay or not. I’m still learning but the feeling of success is a wonderful reward for all the time spent with my nose in a field guide and on the internet to determine which plants will add value to my wildlife habitat.

Silver Falls 2021

Local Hikes:

We took a day trip to Silver Falls State Park (Oregon) to hike and enjoy the spring waterfalls and flowers.

We didn’t have much of a chance to explore any new hiking trails. As I mentioned before, we had to let my husband’s leg heal before we could really get out and hike again. It’s still my goal to make more local hikes so stay tuned for our 3rd quarter adventures to make up for what we lacked in the last quarter.

bullocks oriole bird may 11 2021 (3)

Make notes in field guides

I’m still making notes in my field guides as a way of documenting my observations. Currently, I’m being vigilant about keeping up with the wildflowers, birds, and butterflies that we identify.

I have to say it is thrilling to note a new species and then marking it in the field guide. We had several “new to us” species of birds to note this quarter.

sea star brookings tidepool 2021

Go camping:

We managed to fit in two camping trips this quarter.

In April, we went camping on the Crooked River, near Prineville, Oregon. It was a SUPER windy weekend but not too cold. We were able to hike up and down the river in both directions. The shrubs and wildflowers were just beginning to come to life, and a few were in bloom. My husband did a bit of fishing and I spent time working on my nature journal.

Tidepools brookings oregon 2021

In June, we traveled over to the southern Oregon coast to camp with a couple of our children. What a great time! The tidepools were amazing because there was a negative tide (which means the low tide exposes things normally under water). We had a couple of beach afternoons in the sun, did a little kite flying, and hiked along the Oregon Coast Trail. It was a perfect week! Even the foggy days were a welcome change from the 100+ degree heat at home.

What do you think? Does it count that I camp out in my own backyard several nights a week?

 

succulent blooming stonecrop 2021

Learn about succulents

I’ve been trying to identify the succulents that live in my yard. I waited until this one was blooming to identify it with my field guide and the internet. It appears to be a kind of stonecrop. Whatever kind it is, I think its bright yellow flowers are gorgeous and I’m glad it’s growing in a spot I can let it spread.

Learning about succulents is a long term project that I’m really enjoying. I have several other succulents ready to bloom so I hope to share them in my 3rd quarter update.

So what about you? Have you created nature study goals for your family?

Could you use some help in keeping nature study a regular part of your week?

You can join as an Ultimate Naturalist Library member and immediately have access to hundreds of nature study ideas and printables.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

Click the graphic above to see the complete benefits of a membership. Join and make 2021 the best year of nature study ever for your family!

Use the discount code NATURE5 for $5 off an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership!

 

Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge: Cilantro Herb Nature Study

Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge

Cilantro Herb Nature Study

Here we are at the start of another new series of nature study topics! For the next eight weeks, we’ll be studying common herbs that most families have used and may have access to in their gardens. Cilantro is one of my favorite culinary herbs, especially in Mexican food. It’s easy to grow, so look for it at your local garden nursery.

Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic

Please note that this week’s challenge for cilantro is found in the sample for this ebook. Your family is welcome to download the sample, use the suggestions for nature study, complete a notebook page for your nature journal, and perhaps even use the coloring page.

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

Outdoor Hour Challenge cilantro

Here are some observation ideas from the challenge.

Observe your cilantro plant using all your senses.

· Touch–Describe how the leaves feel? Is the stem stiff or bendable?

· Fragrance–Smell the leaves. Crush a few leaves and note the difference in aroma. Do the flowers have a fragrance?

· Sight-How tall is your plant? Note the shape of the leaves. Do you see any insects on your cilantro plant or flowers?

· Taste-Rinse a few of the leaves and then taste them. It has been described as tasting “bright, lemony, or a little peppery”. What is your description of the taste?

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

Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic

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’ll 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