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Outdoor Mom’s Journal – April 2016

“She who opens her eyes and her heart nature-ward even once a week finds nature-study in the schoolroom a delight and an abiding joy….She finds, first of all, companionship with her children; and second, she finds that without planning or going on a far voyage, she has found health and strength”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 3

It has been a great month of outdoor activity here in our household. I tend to forget how much better I feel when I get outside and walk/hike regularly. It is a cleansing of the everyday anxieties that is only found with fresh air and physical activity.  I would love to share some highlights of the month so far with you.

Butter and Eggs April 2016

It is always so exciting to find and identify a new wildflower! We were on a hike at a very well known trail and there it was…a new flower. I took some photos and then later used my field guide to find out what the name and some interesting facts. This is Johnny-Tuck or Butter and Eggs (Triphysaria eriantha).  When we were looking at it closely to make some notes of what it looked like, I noted that it reminded me of owl’s clover and sure enough it belongs to the owl’s clover group. I love the connections that we can learn to make over time between similar flowers and plants.

Fringepod april 2016

This has been a wonderful year for all my favorite wildflowers with the amount of rain we have received it has been a bumper year for flowers. Above you can see the special plant that lines one section of our local trail. This Hairy lacepod (or fringepod) is actually blooming right now and developing these jewel-like pods with lacy edges. I enjoyed showing this plant to a friend of mine who has come to appreciate the diversity of plants in our area. [Thysanocarpus curvipes]

American River with lupine April 2016

We took three different hikes to the American River this month so far. The section above is on the South Fork of the American River and you can see the lupine blooming in the foreground.

American River lupine April 2016

This image is from our hike on the North Fork of the American River, again with lupine in the foreground. Two different areas but equally as wild and beautiful.

 Bee on California Lilac april 2016

 This image is from a little close to home…my frontyard! I have been working in the yard and enjoying the living creatures that visit each day. This honeybee has his pollen baskets full! That is really the color of the flower on the California lilac…so amazing and perfect to brighten the sides of my front steps.

Frontyard April 2016 rosesThis is taken from my front deck where I spend a lot of time each day as I sip coffee or read, enjoying the view and sunshine. This Outdoor Mom has come alive alongside the plants and insects this month….feeling more myself than in a long time. I am going to be taking an unexpected trip to the East Coast soon and I hope to carry on with some unique outdoor experiences as I visit my children.

New York Garden with ground hog

I also hope to work a bit in my daughter’s garden as it comes alive with her New York spring weather. We planted spring bulbs last fall and they are already making a showing…perhaps we will add some summer bulbs on this trip. The image above shows a couple of her garden friends….the chickadee and the ground hog!

American River at Daybreak

Here is a photo from my husband’s travels this month. Taken from his regular walking spot on the river at daybreak. He takes this loop trail a few times a week and he always sends me an image. The water is very high in this picture from all the rain and snow we have experienced in the last six weeks. Such a welcome change from the years of drought!

I’m looking forward to the rest of the month and the Outdoor Hour Challenges that will fill my time. Join me every Friday for more nature study fun!


Outdoor Moms Journal @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Mom’s Journal

Whether your family spends a few minutes a week outside or hours at a time, share what is going on in your world.

How Do You Join?

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 week 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….
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • A photo I would like to share…


Outdoor Hour Challenge April 2016 Monthly Printables for Members @handbookofnaturestudy

Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section.


Getting Started FAQ Button
Need help getting started with your nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study? Check out the fresh “Getting Started” page here on the website!



10 thoughts on “Outdoor Mom’s Journal – April 2016

  1. I know what you mean about feeling better after getting outside. I went on two hikes this weekend after a hiatus of a couple of weeks and it was glorious! (I found a “hidden” waterfall right here in my own hometown – one that I have not seen mentioned anywhere in books or other people’s travels).

    I think the spring-like weather may finally have arrived in the Northeast starting today, so good timing for your trip.

    Love that hairy lacepod. I’ve never seen anything like it. Your garden looks beautiful. I would be embarrassed for you to see my yard. I need to come up with a plan, but with roofers coming in the next few weeks, it’s not worth planting anything yet.

    Enjoy your trip!


    1. Thanks Sarah! I love finding those little “hidden” spots close to home. I was wondering if you have ever been to Shenandoah National Park and have any tips…we are thinking maybe a two day stay when I am out this time.

  2. Butter and eggs in Wisconsin look different than yours! This is what WE call Butter and Eggs.

    I love Spring wildflowers. We are still having snow flurries, so no flowers just yet! 😀

    1. I noticed that when I was researching the identification of the flower. That is the problem with using the common names instead of the scientific name. Here is another plant that is California that has the same name and looks more like your Butter and Eggs

      1. Yes, we have started using the scientific names as well as common names when we label them, but so far we’re not too good at memorizing them! 😉 And btw, it is 70 degrees today! Spring weather finally! 😀

        1. Yippee for spring weather!

  3. Hi Barb,

    We have never gone to Shenandoah. We’ve thought about it, but haven’t made it. (I’ll look forward to your post!)

    I saw on your Nature Study Goals post that you may go to Rocky Mountain National Park sometime – we’ve been there! For future trips out East, I would recommend Acadia, White Mountains, and Adirondacks. I think you would also like the historical venues – the Freedom Trail in Boston (late spring or early fall, when it’s warm, but not hot), Plimoth Plantation (Yes, that’s how they spell it), Gettysburgh, and Colonial Williamsburg to name but a few. So many places to see, so little time (and money!).

    Have a great trip.

    1. Yes, this trip to Shenandoah is totally out of the blue because of the unexpected trip. We have done some hikes in the Adirondacks, the Catskills, and the Shawangunk mountains…look forward to going to Acadia maybe next year!!!

  4. Thanks for sharing that top photo of the Triphysaria (I’ll use the Latin name to avoid confusion ;)). I saw that flower on a walk a few weeks ago and wasn’t able to identify it. I too thought it looked like owl’s clover. So I was super excited to open up your post and see it front and center! It’s a lovely little bloom and I’m happy to “know” it now. 🙂

    1. Doesn’t it make a big difference when you actually know the name of a wildflower? It’s like seeing a friend the next time you spot it along the trail. We have had a fantastic year so far for wildflowers and I’m sure you are too down the hill from here. Glad my post helped you identify your flower.

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