The Outdoor Hour Challenge this week gives you the option to study a cow, a deer, or even both!
If you choose to read the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study on cattle, you’ll learn a great deal of information about cattle and cows. On the acreage behind our house, we have a summer herd of cattle, mostly cows and calves. We’ve learned so much by observing them in their daily activities as they graze, chew, rest, butt heads, and groom each other. The lesson from Anna Botsford Comstock will help you research the history of this animal, learn of its usefulness, and then guide you with many suggested observations.
In addition, this Outdoor Hour Challenge contains links to learn about deer. If you have local deer to observe like we do, you can choose to use your time this week to focus on a deer instead. Use the information to prepare for your next deer sighting.
Please feel free to study one or both animals this week.
There is so much to relate that I am splitting my entry into three parts!
Picture postcard perfect! That pretty much sums up July in Central Oregon…at least that has been my experience. Longtime residents here say that July and August are the short summer season so we have tried to soak in as much outdoor time as we can before it passes.
I can’t help but compare living here to my California home. It doesn’t get as hot in the afternoons and it’s MUCH cooler at night. My new house is perfectly situated to view the sunrise each morning because there is a large pasture sloping down to the river. This makes a perfect vantage point to watch the sunrise each morning up over the distant mountains and peaks.
Each new day I wake up to open the blinds to see the colors and clouds….the Grand Creator’s morning artwork. Many times I try to take a photo, but each time I am disappointed in the results. My iPhone camera just doesn’t capture the magnificence I see with my eye so most days I am content with enjoying it in the moment.
The wildlife show starts early around here. I don’t even need to get out of bed because the view from my bedroom window allows me to see a great sweep of landscape behind our home.
The arrival of the black cattle to the pasture down by the river was on July 8th. I woke up one morning and there were, not exaggerating, two dozen cows who appeared overnight right behind my back fence. There are some pine trees and tall grass that they seem to enjoy both in the early morning and then later in the day. Seriously, they have 108 acres back there and many times they are right at my back door, looking at us with big, wide cow eyes. Their curiosity was at first with our big black Labrador dog and then the Woody wind twirly. They stand and watch the wheels go round. So very funny!
I have come to love the sound of a distant cow moo and the sight of adorable young calves that follow their mothers around the pasture. I will not think about the time they’ll be absent from my back pasture and what that will mean for them. For now, they are a welcome addition to my animal viewing.
Summer so far has brought a different set of birds to the feeders and surroundings. Many of the birds that were here in May and June have moved on and they have been replaced by some new birds. I’m still working on learning all their names but there is such joy in the discovery.
My new friends here have realized I’m a bird nerd, sort of an oddity. What they see as common, I many times get super excited about seeing. I’m spending a lot of time filling feeders and birdbaths. The more plentiful the food and water, the more birds come to visit. I have a hanging pot of flowers outside my bedroom window and the hummingbirds come a visiting each morning.
Sometimes one and many times two hummingbirds are busy sipping nectar from the colorful flowers in the pot. We had a switch in hummingbird species early in July, from rufous hummingbirds to calliope hummingbirds. The gorgeous rufous colored birds are all gone, migrating further north I’m suspecting. This is something I want to research further because it fascinates me that they can fly so far over a wide migration route.
I’m keeping lots of notes and taking lots of photos to help me start to learn the patterns of flora and fauna here in Central Oregon. I purchased a new field guide that is more specific to this area to help me know what things to expect and to look for as I’m outdoors exploring. Summer is a time for being outside and I’m really taking that to heart.
I’m going to split this really long entry into three parts so you’re not overwhelmed with reading it all in one sitting.
Look for Part 2 – Wildlife Viewings
Look for Part 3 – Travels
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….
Parents: Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 280-286 (Lesson 68). Make sure to read through the lesson suggestions to pick a few for your family to complete.
Use these links to learn more about deer in North America: White Tail Deer, Mule Deer. (We will stick to these two species to narrow our study.) This page also has many deer and their relatives all in one place with images:Elk and Deer Family.
Optional: Eat and enjoy some dairy, beef, or venison products if your children will enjoy knowing where they come from.
Outdoor Hour Time:
This lesson may be done in preparation for a future observation of cattle or deer. Anna Botsford Comstock strived to include lessons in the Handbook of Nature Study that would offer topics for personal observation. Because of the changing times and lifestyles we have in the 21st century, we may not have much personal contact with cattle or deer.
Strive to think of creative ways to see some cattle or a deer over the next term, whether it means a trip to the zoo or a visit to a farm. Spend time observing some of the things that are spoken of in the Handbook of Nature Study lesson.
In the meantime, use your outdoor time this week to share the information with your children and then go outdoors to look for any mammals you have in your neighborhood.
Look for deer tracks!
Since most families will be learning about cows and deer from books and images, make sure you allow lots of time to talk about these animals during your week. Create a nature journal entry for cattle and/or deer with the information you learn. Use the notebook page in the ebook if you wish: Cow Notebook Page and Deer Notebook Page.