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More Nature Study Ebook Bundle

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Now you can purchase the More Nature Study Ebook Series as a bundle!
Special Discounted Bundle Price of $29.99.

Ebooks included
More Nature Study—Autumn 2011
More Nature Study Book 2 —Winter 2012
More Nature Study Book 3—Spring 2012
More Nature Study Book 4—Summer Sizzle (2012)

More Nature Study CoverMore Nature Study Book 2 Winter Wonder cover
More Nature Study Book 3 Cover imageMore Nature Study #4 Cover image

Special Bundle Price of $29.99
Please note that I send the links within 24 hours of purchase to the email address associated with the Paypal account.

Complete list of topics included in all four ebooks in this bundle:

  • Buttercups and poppies
  • Chickadee
  • Chipmunks
  • Cottonwood
  • Daisy, aster, and black-eyed susans
  • Dogwood
  • Ferns
  • Gall dwellers
  • Goats
  • Granite
  • House sparrow
  • Hummingbirds
  • Iris
  • Leaf-Miners and leaf-rollers
  • Leaf study
  • Magnets and compass
  • Maples
  • Milkweed
  • Monarch butterfly
  • Moon
  • Mouse
  • Mullein
  • Pansies
  • Pears
  • Quartz
  • Robin
  • Sand and soil
  • Sheep
  • Snails
  • Thistles
  • Tree—Buds, catkins, blossoms. Twigs.
  • Turtles and pondweed
  • Vines-Sweet peas, dodder, hedge bindweed
  • Weather—spring, winter, fall color, summer
  • Webs
  • Yellow jackets and mud daubers

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Learning about Vines With Nature Study

Vine Sulphur Pea
Vine Study with the Outdoor Hour Challenge

Our world is full of vines…I never noticed how many vines there are in our neighborhood until we focused on vines for the past few weeks during our outdoor time. The vine above is a Common sulphur pea that grows wild in our area and is a native plant. I always just call them sweet peas. These are growing on our hiking trail and they don’t bloom very long since they are on the sunny dry side of the trail. They are a delight while they last.

Vine Blackberry
Blackberry vines – This tangle is right alongside our walking trail. They don’t get a lot of water here on the dry side of the hill so they aren’t very sweet and plump. The wild critters benefit from these patches of blackberries.

I think these are Himalayan blackberries and are an invasive species in our part of the world. I have them in my yard…creeping in wherever I don’t whack them back or chomp them down. I keep a very small manageable patch in my front yard for the birds and for my own early morning picking pleasure in the summer. Nothing like a freshly picked, sun-warmed blackberry for your breakfast.

Vine Sweet Pea
Sweet peas – These are the purple-pink sweet peas that grow wild alongside the walking trail. They come back year after year. I am cultivating a nice patch of them in my backyard, hoping they will fill in a spot with their brightly colored flowers. We read in the Handbook of Nature Study that studying the sweet pea should be a garden lesson so we will save it for the summer. (We did a previous sweet pea study and you can read it here along with my little video.)

Vine Ivy
English ivy – This is a vine that grows over and through our fence from our neighbor’s yard. We spend quite a bit of time cutting it back since we really don’t want ivy taking over our yard. It is pretty and green but that is about all I can say nice about it.

Vine Hedge Bind Weed

Hedge bind weed – We have this growing under our birdfeeder. We are watching it grow and then in a few weeks after it has bloomed we will pull it all out. (I am keeping just a few of the hedge bindweed plants on the advice of a fellow gardener who told me it could quickly take over.) We did a previous study of this plant here: Hedge Bindweed if you want to take a look.
Vetch – This was the plant that led to a complete afternoon of study. We actually have two varieties of vetch along our hiking trail. The one above is Hairy vetch and then we also have Spring vetch.

Vetch 1
The spring vetch almost looks like a small sweet pea (same family, different genus). It took some time to find information on these two vetches because neither plant was in our wildflowers field guide. I presume this is because they are non-native plants. We found this interesting because these two plants are seen everywhere in our area. I have started keeping track in my nature journal of native vs. non-native plants…interesting exercise.

We decided we needed to keep this as an on-going nature study and we will be watching as the hedge bindweed and sweet peas in our garden as they mature over the next few weeks. We have had fun noticing if plants twine in clockwise or counter clockwise directions. It becomes sort of an obsession. Keeping a focus always adds an enjoyable layer to our outdoor time and nature study.

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Don’t forget to share your Outdoor Hour Challenge blog entries with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. All entries done in May are eligible for the next edition. The deadline for entries is 5/30/12 and you can send them directly to me: harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com.

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OHC More Nature Study Book 3 – Vine Study

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More Nature Study Book 3
Vine Study – Sweet peas, Hedge bindweed, and Dodder

Vines: Plants that have the habit of climbing upon other plants or upon sides of houses. Stems of vines are not strong enough to stand alone, seeking support to help get their leaves up into the life-giving sunlight. Some vines climb by twisting their stems around the support plant while others have special “holders” which are called tendrils. 

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read these pages in the Handbook of Nature Study to prepare you for this week’s challenge. 1. Sweet Pea: 588-590 (Lesson 164) *vines with tendrils. 2. Hedge Bindweed: 518-520 (Lesson 137) *twining vines. 3. The Dodder or Love Vine: 520-522 (Lesson 138) *tendrils with sucker.
  • If you would like to start your sweet peas from seed, follow the instructions in Lesson 164. This study could then continue into the summer months and end in a study of the sweet pea flower using Lesson 164.
  • Read this page and view the images: How Vines Climb. You can watch these videos on YouTube: Twining Motion of Vines, Morning Glory Stop Motion, Time Lapse of Cucumber Tendril (Beware: 1812 Overture plays loudly.)
  • You can see some of our sweet peas in this entry: Sweet Peas and Blackberries.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Use your outdoor time for this challenge to explore your yard and neighborhood looking for vines of any kind. Don’t worry if you can’t find a sweet pea, dodder, or hedge bindweed but apply your knowledge and vocabulary to any vines you do find.
  • Make sure to observe closely how the vine climbs. If the vine is a twining vine, note which direction the vine wraps itself around the support plant. If the vine has tendrils, note their color, size, and direction.
  • Optional: Plant sweet pea or morning glory seeds for your own vines to observe over the next few months.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Follow up your outdoor time with the opportunity to record an entry in your nature journal with your vine observations. Ebook Users: You can use the vocabulary found on the chart in the ebook.
  • Advanced study: Research more vines and how they climb (How Plants Climb). Summarize your information in your nature journal.
  • Advanced study: Make your own time lapse video of a vine twining or using its tendrils.
  • If you planted sweet pea or morning glory seeds, continue to record their growth over the next few months in your nature journal.

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Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Our Spring Fern Nature Study

Ferns Red Shack button
Taken May 3, 2012

We actually started our fern nature study way back in January during our Silent Nature Winter Walk.

This week we walked the same trail to view our ferns. We tried to remember how many ferns there were back in January and there seems to be more ferns now and they are larger. Comparing photos I think we are correct.

Wester Sword Fern button
Magnificent ferns on our hiking trail.

I was interested in the Western sword fern but Mr. B was interested in the California Maidenhair fern. Both are plants that we have looked at closely before. The Maidenhair fern is interesting because it has a black stem and looks like lace…sometimes you have to look twice because you think the green parts are floating in air but really they are attached with delicate black stems.

Fern Nature Study notebook page
More Nature Study Book #3 Fern Study Notebook Page

We had a field guide to consult and to glean a few new facts from. Mr. B did a nature journal page for the California Maidenhair fern from our hiking trail. He thought the stalk was a purple/black…I will have to look closer the next time we hike down the trail.

maiden hair fern
California Maidenhair Fern – March 2010 (Best photo I have that shows the stalk.)

Now do you want to see some of our California wildflowers from further up the trail? We were busy this time stopping and noting all the colorful flowers there are right now.

Wildflower Collage May 2012
This is a colorful time of year in our part of the world.

I am keeping a running list of wildflowers seen on this particular trail for the whole year of 2012.

Running List - Wildflowers by location
Keeping a list…nothing fancy about this page in my journal.

I just add to my list in my nature journal when we get back from our hike. It is interesting to see the patterns and successions of blooms.

Fern Prints With Ink
Making fern prints with ink. See link below.

We will be revisiting ferns again this summer as we visit several spots in California that have ferns. I think it will be fun to add to our collection of fern prints that we started back in January.

It is not too late to join in with your own fern nature study….. If you own the More Nature Study Book #3 for spring, there are plenty of simple ideas to glean more information about your local ferns or prepare for the future when you may encounter ferns during your travels.


I am linking up to a new to me monthly meme at The Homeschool Scientist. Click over and join in.

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OHC More Nature Study Book 3 – Ferns

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More Nature Study Book 3
Fern Study 

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read pages 693-706 in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lessons 192-195)). Highlight information on ferns that you would like to share with your children. After reading through the information, pick one aspect of the fern to focus on during your outdoor time (unfolding, fruiting, learning parts of the fern).
  • View this animation: The Life Cycle of the Fern. This one is also interesting: YouTube: Time Lapse Fern Unfurling.
  • Advanced preparation: YouTube: Fern Life Cycle (Give this one a chance. It starts off a little rough but covers the information very well for this challenge.) Fern Cycle—Animated (For Fun). For students who have a background with high school biology: Fern Life Cycle.

Outdoor Hour Time:
Note:Take a hand lens and a way to carry a fern frond with you during your outdoor time.

  • Ferns are in the section of the Handbook of Nature Study that covers Flowerless Plants. Use your outdoor time this week to go on a fern hunt or as an alternative, look for moss which is in the same section in the Handbook (Lesson 197). Make observations using a hand lens if you have one. Take photos of the location of your ferns or other subjects.
  • Collect one frond of your fern (if appropriate).

Follow-Up Activities:

  • Allow time for a nature journal (notebook page provided in the ebook). If you would like to make this study into a year-long project, record your spring fern observations and mark your calendar to return in summer, autumn, and winter to view your fern’s changes.
  • Use careful observation to view the sori on the back of your fern.
  • Make ink prints of your fern frond in your nature journal. Step by step instructions are on my blog: Making Leaf Prints With Ink.
  • Advanced study: Record the story of the fern in your nature journal. Ebook users: Optional: Fern coloring page.

Additional Links:
Guide to Ferns (for Georgia but information that can apply anywhere)

Printable Parts of a Fern

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Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Our Beloved Dogwood Tree – Blooming Right on Schedule for Our Nature Study

Dogwood Nature Study 1
Our Dogwood Study with the Handbook of Nature Study
(It is not too late to join us if you still have a dogwood blooming in your neighborhood.)

Funny how we all have had our favorite spring Outdoor Hour Challenges. For me? This dogwood study has been about two years in the making. I have always wanted to have a dogwood tree in our front yard but it wasn’t until we did our massive front yard remodel that I was able to find a dedicated spot for the dogwood tree. We choose one with white blossoms…my favorite.

You can see our front yard transformation here in this post: Removing the Lawn.

Dogwood Nature Study
We waited last year for it to flower but we only had leaves. This year….ta da! A dozen or so creamy white blossoms to enjoy and now study.

Dogwood Nature Study - bracts
We read in the Handbook of Nature Study about how the flowers have been waiting inside the bracts all winter long, protected and sheltered until conditions were right. I have spent the last month or so going out almost daily to check the branches for any signs of opening. What a gift once we saw the bracts changing!

See the notched bract? This is another thing discussed in the Handbook of Nature Study that I would have never noticed if it wasn’t pointed out to me.

Dogwood Study - flowers and bracts
I had to convince Mr. B that the true flowers are the ones at the center and not the big white bracts. We counted the flowers and found there were 25+, some open and some closed.

Dogwood Nature Study Notebook Page
Notebook Page for More Nature Study Book #3

The Handbook of Nature Study said that this was a perfect lesson to use a hand lens for so we brought ours out and took a deeper look. Amazing! If you haven’t yet done your dogwood study, I highly recommend this activity. You might note it in your ebook to do for next year as well if your dogwoods are no longer blooming.

Dogwood Study - Leaves
How fun is this? Don’t the leaves look like a bird? I was busy standing on top of my retaining wall to take photos of the dogwood and looking down on the leaves….it truly looked like a bird!

Spring Yard - Color 1
Now for a few fun images from our evening study. Here is a colorful view of our front yard right now….hubby brought me home a new garden flag for the front stairs. I love it! We did have a swallowtail in the yard a few days ago so it won’t be long now until butterfly time! The Kona dog is taking a rest from helping us weed and water.

Rock Garden
I don’t think I shared my new addition to the rock garden. We took a new hike up into the mountains and into an area where you can collect rocks, a true rockhounds paradise. We brought home this big piece of serpentine which is the California State Rock. Isn’t an amazing shade of green? Our rock garden has become its own little micro-habitat with insects and critters living around and under the rocks. In the evenings there is a very loud cricket chorus in our yard. It is a comforting sound and I stand on the deck and listen in the dark and imagine where they all are as they sing.

Red Bud
What a wonderful study! It all started back when we decided to remodel the front yard a few years ago and we put on paper our list of plants and trees we hoped to include. The dogwood came two years ago and this past week we added a California redbud. I am looking forward to seeing it grow and mature…maybe next year it will bloom for us.

I invite you to take a closer look at your dogwood using the Handbook of Nature Study!



Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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OHC More Nature Study Book 3 – Dogwood Study

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More Nature Study Book 3
Dogwood Study

“But when spring comes, these bud scales change their duties, and by rapid growth become four beautiful white or pinkish bracts which we call the dogwood flower.”
Handbook of Nature Study

Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read pages 680-682 in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson 188). Read through the lesson for suggested observations for your outdoor time.
  • View this video for more information: Briar Patch: The Dogwood Tree. You may also like to view these pages: Pacific Dogwood (western U.S.) and Flowering Dogwood (eastern U.S.)

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • Enjoy your outdoor time for this challenge looking for blooming trees. Spend a few minutes observing the colors of the blooms and look for any insect visitors. If appropriate, gather a leaf and a blossom to sketch in your nature journal.
  •  This is the perfect time to begin a year-long tree study. For ideas on how to get started, see this entry: Year-Long Tree Study.
  • If you have a dogwood to view up close, use a few of the lesson ideas to make careful observations. Look at the bark, the flowers, and the arrangement of the flowers on the branches.
  • Advanced study: Bring along your sketching supplies and sketch or watercolor the bracts and flowers.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Take a few minutes to sketch your tree, the flower, the leaf, the bark, or fruit of your tree. You can use this website’s images as a reference for your drawing: Identifying Dogwood Trees (They call the bracts “petals” but otherwise this is a very good page.) Ebook Users: There is a notebook page and two coloring pages included in the ebook for your dogwood study. There is also a notebook page for any flowering tree.
  • Advanced study: Complete a nature journal entry for your dogwood or other blooming tree. Ebook users: There is a notebook page to complete using a field guide or the internet.
  • Advanced study: Pick a tree from your local area and do additional research. Record your findings in your nature journal.

Additional links:

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Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Spring Wildflowers- California Poppy Nature Study

CA Poppy bursting out

“One of the most interesting performances to watch that I know is the way this poppy takes off its cap before it bows to the world. Like magic the cap loosens around the base; it is then pushed off by the swelling, expanding petals until completely loosened, and finally drops off.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 563

Way back when I was planning the challenges for the More Nature Study Book #3, I had no way of knowing what perfect timing I would have with this particular Poppies and Buttercups Challenge. We were treated to two events this week in connection with our poppy study.

CA Poppy Merced River Canyon

1. We took a day trip to Yosemite National Park and even though parts of the park still have quite a bit of snow, when we left the park through the southern El Portal entrance and out Hwy 140 there were millions of poppies blooming along the hills that run alongside the Merced River. It was breathtaking! I have lived in California all my life and I have never seen such a display of poppies…miles and miles of poppies in bloom.

Poppy Orange

2. The California Poppies in our front yard garden decided to start blooming on Monday. I am serious….Monday, right on cue! We took some time to closely observe the way the caps tip to reveal the petals (see the top photo in this entry). We marveled at the light shining through the bright orange petals. We peered into the inside flower parts and remembered Anna Botsford Comstock’s remarks about sleeping inside a poppy. We observed the lacy leaves and decided to do some sketches and rubbings of the leaves in our nature journals. You can view a previous more thorough study of poppies in this blog entry: CA Poppies-Using the Handbook of Nature Study.

“The insects in California take advantage of the closing petals and often get a night’s lodging within them, where they are cozily housed with plenty of pollen for supper and breakfast..”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 564

As part of the advanced study suggestions for this challenge, we are keeping a spring list of wildflowers in our nature journals.

Spring Flower Study notebook page
Advanced Study Notebook Page – More Nature Study Book #3 Spring

Mr. B also completed an additional notebook page for the Hound’s Tongue wildflower that we saw blooming this week on our hiking trail. This is one of the early wildflowers that we see in our local area. It’s distinctive leaves make it an easy flower to identify. The flowers are almost blue which is unusual and beautiful.

Wonderful Lupine
I enjoyed the lupine on the way home from our Yosemite trip. We had a wonderful week of focusing on wildflowers, increasing our desire for spring to really come and stay in our part of the world.

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OHC More Nature Study Book 3 – Spring Wildflowers: Poppies and Buttercups

Spring Wildflower Study Button
More Nature Study Book 3
Spring Wildflowers – Poppies and Buttercups


Inside Preparation Work:

  • Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 516-518 (Lesson 136) on the buttercup. Also, read pages 560-565 in the Handbook about the poppy and the California poppy (Lessons 154 and 155). Use the information to identify and then observe these flowers when you get the opportunity. If you don’t have these flowers in your area, use this challenge to find and view closely any flower in your spring world.
  • View this page for some amazing images of buttercups: Close-Up View of 3 Buttercups. Ebook users: View poppy images on page 29.
  • Use this challenge to introduce the parts of a flower with the proper names. You can find information online HERE. There is a diagram in the Handbook of Nature Study on page 456. You can also refer to Garden Challenge #2. I encourage you to start using the flower part names as you observe flowers.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • This week you can spend some of your outdoor time looking for spring flowers or flowering weeds. Part of this challenge is to start using the correct flower part names and that can be done with any flower you find.
  • Collect one or two flowers to bring inside to draw in your nature journal.
  • Advanced students: Complete your nature journal in the field. List as many of the flowers you observed as you can (Free printable list notebook page HERE). Use your field guide to identify any flowers you don’t know. Pick one to research later in the week.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Sketch or watercolor the flower you collected during your outdoor time. Make sure to add a date, flower name, and the location you collected the flower to your entry.
  • Press your flower. You can refer to the Garden Flowers Challenge #3 for more information (which includes my YouTube video with instructions for a making a press: How to Make a Flower Press.
  • Advanced students: If you did not do so in the field, complete a nature journal entry for your flower, complete with flower parts labeled. Use a field guide or the internet to learn more about your flower.
  • Advanced students: Research more information on one of the flowers you observed during your outdoor time.

Additional Links:
Slideshow for poppies (child friendly)

You can see our Spring Wildflower Study by clicking over to my follow-up blog entry:
Spring Wildflowers – CA Poppy Nature Study (and an additional wildflower too).

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Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Robin Nature Study – Where Have They Gone?

Robin nature journal
We have studied Robins in the past.

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge was to do a robin nature study…but where were the robins? Just a few weeks ago we counted six for our Project FeederWatch count. We saw forty-two during the Great Backyard Bird Count this year in February. This week….zero. We have been vigilant about looking but they are gone from our neighborhood now. So what to do?

We were out looking for any birds this morning and we were surprised to see that our neighbor’s trees were full of Cedar Waxwings! We have learned that they visit us on their way south and then again northwards. The interesting thing, according to our family’s records, we usually see the big flock come through during the GBCC in February. We did not see them this year at all until now. What does that mean? Not sure but it will be interesting to see what happens next year.

Would you like to see our Cedar Waxwings?

Cedar Waxwings in the Trees

They filled three trees and were munching on the “nuts” from the pistache tree that have lasted all winter…just waiting for them to come and polish them off before the next growing season. What a wonderful provider they have!

Cedar Waxwings - In Tree 1

Yes, we had very gray skies this morning but it wasn’t very cold. They sat resting and eating for quite some time and I was able to get up close to take a few colorful photos of them as they sat in the tree. Don’t you just love their yellow-tipped tails? I could really hear them making their very unique buzzing sound. Do you want to hear? Here is a link to AllAboutBirds and you can click over and hear what I heard…click the “high pitched hissy whistle” and that is exactly it.

Cedar Waxwings in Flight

Then in a blink of an eye, they were off again. I was amazed at just how fast they flew away in a flock. What a great experience we had this morning! I am forever grateful for the Outdoor Hour Challenges. I know that if I had not started this adventure with all of you that I would have missed out on so many deeply memorable times with my family.

It spurs me on to get outside and this month I have enjoyed joining in with Debi at Go Explore Nature and her #GetOutside project…a photo scavenger hunt. This simple project has already brought such joy to our family. It has encouraged us to think about how we can incorporate outdoor time each day in the month of April. I hope you will consider jumping in with us and take a few minutes to read more about the way it works on her blog. You can see all my entries in my Flickr Set: April GetOutside Project.

April GetOutside Project

Another great week of nature study with my teenage sons.

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Don’t forget to share your April Outdoor Hour Challenge blog entries with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.You can submit entries directly to me if needed: harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com