Outdoor Hour Challenge – Autumn Pine Cone Study


Outdoor Hour Challenge

Autumn Pine Cone Study

From the Archives and from the Autumn ebook

Continuing our use of comparisons, take your fifteen minutes outdoors this week to either find two different cones to compare or to compare a tree with cones to a tree that does not have cones.

These simple suggestions will get you started with your Outdoor Hour Challenge time and the idea is simple enough for all family members to participate.

Click the link to the archive challenge and see more suggestions for both observations and a nature journal follow up page.  If you have access to the Autumn 2010 ebook, there is a notebook page for you to use after your outdoor time.

This is a challenge I am personally looking forward to completing in my new habitat. There are many cones to investigate!

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Our Central Oregon November World

November World – Central Oregon High Desert

November World Central Oregon

We’ve only lived here in Central Oregon since May so we haven’t experienced all of the seasons yet. The November World Outdoor Hour Challenge suggested comparing the things we see this week with another season. I guess that means I would need to compare my November habitat to that of summertime. We had such a glorious summer season with lots of time spent outdoors so this should be fairly easy.

Image of the frozen slough

The river behind our house runs year round but there is a small slough that was filled up with water in May and almost dried up in mid-summer. Right now it has lots of water and at times is covered in a sheet of ice. When we moved in last May, we could pull our kayaks out to this slough and make it out to the main river, but by the end of June it was landlocked again. We’ve been keeping track of the amount of water as it rises higher with the rains and snow.

Image of grasses

The green grasses of early summer are all gone, either from the cattle grazing or from it turning brown in the freezing temperatures. There are small patches of yellow-gold, tall grass still showing in areas and we read that this is what the winter elk will be eating because it will be sticking up out of the snow. I am anxious to see if the elk come back….they left in late spring when the deer showed up.

Most of the trees in our area are evergreens so they look pretty much the same as in the summer. There are lots of cones on the ground and the squirrels have been very busy gathering them up. We will have up to five gray squirrels in our yard at a time scurrying around under the feeders and up in the trees.

Image of the willows -red

The river willows are all barren but are still very pretty with their reddish-orange colored twigs.  The leaves are gone but there are buds forming with the spring time leaves sleeping inside.

Image of the beaver cut willows

The beavers are cutting the willow limbs and dragging them down to the river. We’ve been trying to find where they are taking all of the willows but have been unsuccessful. We think it may be easier to spot their activity once the snow is blanketing the ground and we can see tracks or other signs of their movements. I am thoroughly enjoying the investigating of the beavers…it’s a bit like finding treasure when we see some tracks or cut willows.

Image of geese

The Canada goose are back on the river. We often see up to 12 at a time as they float in the eddy near our house. I’m not sure if they will be winter residents or not. You know I will be watching! (The image above is my best attempt at sneaking up on the geese and getting a photo.)

All in all, November has been a really good month for being outdoors for our family. There were some cold, snowy days but we are finding that even on a snowy day, if you bundle up right, getting outside is a refreshing experience and makes my attitude more positive.

1 Outdoor Hour Challenge Oct 17 to Aug 18 Plans

If you want to follow along with the next series of Winter Outdoor Hour Challenges, we will be starting them up again in January. Make sure to subscribe to my blog and you will receive a new Outdoor Hour Challenge right in your inbox every Friday. There is no commitment to do every one. Winter can be a hard time to keep nature study going with your family but I guarantee you if you get them outside, even for fifteen minutes once a week, you will see the benefit in better attitudes (including yours!)  Click the link above for more information on the nature study plans for the complete year using the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Autumn Seasonal Weather


Autumn weather nature study @handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Autumn Weather Observations 2017

From the Archives and from the Autumn ebook

If you’ve been following along with the Autumn Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges, you have been using comparisons to learn more about the topics. This week is no exception. Here are some of the ideas for using comparisons to learn about your seasonal weather.

  • Compare a sunny day and a rainy day by looking at the temperature, clouds, and wind speed or direction.
  • Compare weather on the same day by making observations both in the morning and then later in the afternoon or evening.
  • Compare your autumn landscape to what you remember about the summer or winter or spring.

Make sure to click over to the original challenge for more observation ideas. If you have the Autumn ebook, you will find several notebooking pages to use for this challenge.

Even if you just take 15 minutes to go outside and check the weather and have a breath of fresh air, you can feel successful with this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge.

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Ultimate Naturalist Library September 2017 @handbookofnaturestudy