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Summer Butterfly Nature Study – How to Make a Butterfly Puddle

Enjoy a summer butterfly nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle right in your own backyard.

Over the years, I’ve observed butterflies along hiking trails in the muddy edges. There will sometimes be 10 or 12 butterflies sitting on the mud slowly opening and closing their wings. This behavior fascinated me! After a little research on the internet, I discovered that butterflies are attracted to mud puddles for not only the moisture but the minerals and salts that are present in the mud.

**Don’t miss the nature study and art giveaway at the end!

Enjoy a summer nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle and attract butterflies to your backyard garden.

Summer Butterfly Nature Study – How To Make a Butterfly Puddle

So, this summer I’ve decided I want to make my own butterfly mud puddle, but make it in a large saucer. During my research, I ran across several websites and videos that explained how to make an artificial mud puddle that butterflies could use in my garden.

Basically, you add sand to the saucer along with some sort of mineral source. I decided to try compost, a little gravel, a few rocks, and a bit of Epsom salts with my sand. Then you add water to moisten your “puddle”.

Here is a step-by-step how to for a butterfly puddle.

Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with a Butterfly Puddle

Here’s a YouTube video for you to watch for a tutorial:

Simple and easy!

I would love for you to give this project a try with your children and let me know if you were successful too!

You can always leave me a comment, email me directly, or post an image on Instagram and use the hashtag outdoorhourchallenge.

More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

Enjoy a summer nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle and attract butterflies to your backyard garden.

By Barb, July 2021

Nature Study and Art Giveaway!

This time of year the butterflies are out, and there’s a cool canopy of trees teeming with all sorts of plant and animal activity. We are blessed with so many beautiful details to study with our children as we enjoy the outdoors.

If you are looking for an engaging way to start the homeschool year, why not raise butterflies and enjoy some nature journaling? We have just the giveaway!

You ARE An Artist, Homeschool Nature Study, and The Homeschool Scientist have teamed up for a fun Nature Study and Art Giveaway!

Here’s what’s included in this hands-on science and art prize pack:

  • A set of 12 NuPastels
  • A magnifying glass
  • A copy of the beautifully illustrated Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story. Read more about the book here.
  • An Insect Lore Butterfly Garden with a certificate for caterpillars (This is so much fun!)
  • A 24-piece set of insect life cycle figurines from Insect Lore

You may enter once per day. Entry closes at 11:59 p.m. on August 9, 2022. You must be over 18 years or old to enter. U.S. residents only. The email provided in the giveaway widget will be used to contact the winner.

Click HERE to Enter to Win!

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Garden Flower Nature Study Planning

Garden Flower Nature Study Planning

This is the season for planning your garden whether it’s a flower garden or a vegetable garden. Anticipating the colorful flowers, the delicious tasting fruits, and the many hours of happily tending the garden is more than half the fun in my opinion. Paging through seed catalogs or scrolling your favorite gardening sites online can fill your cold winter days with pleasant thoughts of things to come.

I’ve already started my garden planning for the year and put in my seed order to Renee’s Garden Seeds. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you already know that I love this seed company. I always have great results from their products and they are my go to place to purchase seeds for the garden.

Because of our short growing season here in Central Oregon (less than 60 days), our garden is mostly flowers now and not veggies. But, I have decided to try a green bean and broccoli raab crop this year as an experiment. I will keep you posted on our results.

Renees Seed Packets

Want to know my list of seeds?

4th of July Heirloom Cornflowers

Lace Perfume Fragrant Dianthus

Lace Mantle Sweet Williams

Rainbow of California Poppies – We grew these last year in our garden and they are gorgeous!

Lemon Queen Sunflowers – These are the sunflowers suggested to grow as part of the Great Sunflower (bee counting) Project.

Classic Slenderette Green Beans – We’re going to try this variety because of its short growing to harvest time.

Early Rapini Heirloom Broccoli Raab – This is another crop we hope we can grow here in our cooler climate.

Astia Container Zucchini – I grew this in California in a big pot on my back deck. I’m hoping to have some success with it here in Oregon.

Sweet Greens and Reds lettuce mix – This is another variety of a lettuce we grew last year from Renee’s.

Garden Babies Butterhead container lettuce – This is a new lettuce for us and I’m hoping it produces a few heads for us to enjoy.

Cinnamon Sun Sunflowers – I’m excited to try a new color of sunflowers in this year’s garden.

Chocolate Daisy – This is an old favorite that I want to try this year in our new garden box. (It does have the fragrance of chocolate!)

I am eagerly awaiting their arrival! It will be a while before I can actually plant them, but I can dream about the warm summer afternoons in the garden while I wait.

Handbook of Nature Study Flowers chart with Outdoor Hour Challenges

Maybe you would like to start dreaming and planning for your summer flower garden nature studies. I have completely updated my chart of garden flower topics from the Handbook of Nature Study. Each flower has an Outdoor Hour Challenge associated with it on the website and an ebook with notebook pages to use for your study. Use the links in the chart to decide on which flowers you will study this summer!

Download a copy here: Handbook of Nature Study List of Garden Flowers with the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Ultimate Naturalist Library members have access to all the ebooks required. If you’d like to purchase an annual membership, click the link above and then use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off your membership.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

All memberships are valid for one year after your purchase. The library of ebooks, the newsletters, and all the printables will be only a few clicks away.

Ambleside Online Approved @handbookofnaturestudy

For those of you following the Ambleside Online nature schedule, the spring topic is garden flowers and weeds. Please feel free to combine your nature study with the Outdoor Hour Challenges found in the archives.




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Renee’s Garden Seeds Update – End of Summer 2020

Renee’s Garden Seeds Update – End of Summer 2020

Our spring was spent building a new section of garden that would be attractive to birds, bees, and butterflies. Renee’s Garden seeds played a big part in filling our new garden beds with color, variety, and beautiful flowers. (See our start to the garden in this entry: Renee’s Garden 2020.)

Renees garden seeds update 2020

Because of our harsh climate zone, we’ve struggled with finding garden plants that will survive through the cold, long winter we have in Central Oregon. Our solution is to plant both a mix of annual and perennial flowers, as well as native wildflowers and shrubs. This strategy has worked in our front yard and now we’re continuing that mix in our back garden.

renees garden seeds 2020 (2)

Earlier this year, we rototilled and cleared about 1,200 square feet of scruffy grass and then proceeded to build two long, narrow garden boxes. Our aim was to make it not only more beautiful, but to have a more attractive garden space for bees, birds, and butterflies. A bonus side benefit is that we now have a peaceful spot to sit in the garden to enjoy all of the creatures that visit.  The birds love the bird bath for drinking and bathing and they will often come even with us sitting close by.

Here are some of the Renee’s Garden seeds we chose:

Rainbow of California Poppies: This variety of poppies is now my absolute favorite! I love the pastel colors that are in this mix and I go out every day to see which ones are blooming. They are thriving in our climate which is surprising but very much appreciated. I will be planting more of these in years to come.

renees garden seeds 2020 (4)

Early Blooming Beekeeper’s Mix: We enjoyed this mix so much last year that we added it to the list again this year. The sweetly colored flowers are hardy enough to last through our very cool summer nights.

renees garden seeds 2020 (8)

Seeds for a Butterfly Garden: I think I planted too many seeds in our box but the sunflowers and cosmos don’t seem to mind. The zinnias are growing up under the cosmos and need to lean way out to reach for the sun. If I did this combination again, I would plant far fewer cosmos. Still, I’m anxious to see how the sunflowers do once they start blooming.

renees garden seeds 2020 (7)

Chocolate Cherry Sunflowers: LOVE this sunflower! It’s an all time favorite of ours that we grew in California and it thrives here in Central Oregon as well.

renees garden seeds 2020 (5)

Van Gogh Sunflowers: This sunflower with the quintessential shape and color is attracting bees and various other insects to the new garden. The finches are stopping by to nibble on the leaves too!

renees garden seeds 2020 (7)

Heirloom Blue Delphiniums: These seeds have sprouted and are growing….slowly. I’m not sure what to think and I will have to update you later in the season as to whether they actually bloom or not.

renees garden poppy sunflower 2020 (2)

Heirloom Pepperbox Poppies:  This is our second year growing these magnificent poppies in our back yard. There are a variety of colors and shapes in the packet, producing gorgeous blooms that the bees buzz around all summer long. I highly recommend these poppies.

Renees garden seeds update 2020

Please note that I receive some of the seeds as a promotional thank you from Renee’s Garden. I’ve purchased and used her seeds for many years now and I’m never disappointed.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Garden Wildflower and Weeds Index @handbookofnaturestudy

Click over to my garden resources and see if you find some inspiration to get you going.


Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

I post lots of images of the garden on my Instagram account. Click over and follow if you’re on Instagram. Also, if you tag your photos with #outdoorhourchallenge, I’ll stop by and see what you are up to in your nature study.




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Outdoor Mom – May 2018

Outdoor Mom
May 2018

swallow nesting box

Our outdoor time made us wonder…..

We’ve been watching birds in our yard since we moved here a year ago. We’ve now seen the complete cycle of birds in each season. I’m thrilled every time a new kind of bird shows up at a feeder or within sight of our windows. Now, the nesting boxes are being occupied by a couple of bird families. The tree swallows are the most fascinating to watch as they bring the materials into the box for their nest. How do they fly with those long grasses in their mouth? How do they manage to get them through the little hole and into the box? Truly a miracle of life!

yarrow garden

In our garden, we are building…..

Construction has begun on our new yard landscape. We picked the pavers for the walkways and patio so now all we need to do is make a plan for getting them laid. My husband is working part time at a landscaping and floral nursery down the road from us and this is how we’ll finance the bigger purchases of rock, sand, and the majority of the trees and shrubs. It’s been awesome to have an expert help us at least get started with this huge project. Now that we’re underway, I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

planting my rock garden

I’ve had to do quite a bit of research about native plants in anticipating the filling of our garden beds. I don’t want to spend a lot of money purchasing things that will not survive our harsh, long winters. Or as I’ve discovered from experience, plants that the deer will eat in one night. Instead, it makes sense to take the time to find out the best way to spend our money and energy and still end up with a yard that is beautiful and will stand the test of time.

Central oregon sky

I am dreaming about…..

The promise of another summer season here in Oregon is just about to be realized. I can feel the days getting longer and the landscape is filling up with green things and flowering things and life in general. The river is calling us to come and float on its cool clear water. The sun is warm on my face and shoulders when I’m out in the garden. I can’t wait to be in the middle of July when all my family is going to be around me for a big anniversary picnic!

start of butterfly garden

One last image…..

This is just the start of something pretty outside my bedroom window for the birds, bees, and butterflies. It just makes me happy to think of the seasons to come where I will be able to look out my window and see a little nature looking back at me.

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge

Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge.  If you would like me to take a look at one of your images on Instagram, use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge.

Want to join in the Outdoor Mom post?

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 month 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…
  • One last image…