Signs of Spring 2019

It may seem like cheating because where I live in Oregon it’s barely thawing out from our record breaking snow storm earlier in March but, I’m going to share some signs of spring from my first day of spring in California. I was staying at my parents’ house in Northern California where it is most definitely spring!

signs of spring bulbs 2019

There were early spring bulbs blooming like daffodils and hyacinths.

signs of spring wildflowers 2019

We took a long hike where we observed quite a few wildflowers and flowering shrubs.

As well as seeing signs of spring with our eyes, we heard many sounds that made us know that spring was well on the way. We heard robins, towhees, frogs, coyotes, and the buzzing of bees. Those sounds always make me think of spring in California.

signs of spring gree 2019

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting spring and now I can look forward to experiencing it again here in Oregon in a few weeks (hopefully).

If you would like to see the original Signs of Spring Outdoor Hour Challenge, you can click the link above.

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Garden Flowers #5 Learning the Leaf Parts

Read and then view the illustration in the Handbook of Nature Study on page 457. This is information for you as the parent/nature guide so you’ll have the proper names for each part of the leaf. Try to use the vocabulary when you’re out observing flowers this week as part of your outdoor time.

See the original challenge: Garden Flowers and Plants #5-Learning the Leaf Parts/Collecting Leaves.

Draw some leaves in your nature journal. As you draw your leaves, make sure to use the proper names for each part of the leaf so your child will begin to learn the vocabulary in a natural way.

leaf rubbings

You could also include leaf rubbings if you have younger children.

Leaf press

Bonus activity: Add some leaves to your flower press!


leaf parts

You can use some of your outdoor time this week planting seeds, looking at sprouts from seeds you previously sowed a few weeks ago, and looking at different shapes of leaves.

Here’s a video I created showing how I draw some simple leaves: Tips for Drawing Leaves.

Here’s a link to the Leaf Parts Outdoor Hour Challenge in the archives: Collecting Leaves.

Gardens ebook Outdoor Hour challenge

We’re continuing to work through the Garden Flower and Plants ebook over the next few weeks. If you own this ebook or have access to it in your Ultimate Naturalist Library, you’ll want to get it out and read the first few pages that outline how the ten week series of garden challenges work together and can be done in any order that makes sense to your family. The ebook has planning pages as you choose, observe, and then learn more about each garden flower you study.

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: Garden Flower and Plant Challenges.

Our Spring Willow Observations


willow spring observations 2019

We had so much snow a few weeks ago that I didn’t think we would see the ground again for a long time. But, during the last week or so the rains have come with warmer temperatures and melted the large mounds of snow. Now that the ground is exposed, we’re beginning to see signs of spring like sprouts of green grass, green leaves of the lilies and other wildflowers poking up through the grass, and the increase in birds that stop by the water and in the grass. What a welcome sight!

willow spring observations 2019 string

We had a chance to go out between rain showers to look at our willow for signs of spring. We had to find the willow with our string attached and it took a bit of navigating to get to it with the standing water from the melted snow and rain. We got fairly close to the willow and it looks slightly greener on the limbs and the buds are getting larger. We also observed some red-winged blackbirds in the area, both by hearing their song and seeing them sitting the willows.

willow spring observations 2019

We’ll soon be seeing new leaves appear on the willows but not quite yet.

willow spring observations 2019


This photo was taken a week after the ones in the beginning of this entry. Look how high the river has come up since then!

The most exciting thing we spotted during our walk was a Belding’s ground squirrel racing from his hole to eat under our birdfeeder. We stopped and watched him with his curiously short tail and chubby body. He evidently ate well all holed up in his den this past season.

Now all we need is for the return of the elk and it will really feel like springtime.


Outdoor Hour Challenge Spring Willow Nature Study

If you’d like to join me in a spring willow study, you can click over to see the original challenge. It’s not too late to get started with a yearlong study of willows!