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Outdoor Mom – August 2020

This has been a month for insect watching! It’s been a long time since I picked a “focus” nature topic for the month and it’s reminded me of the value of being alert to seeing things I might otherwise miss.

dragonfly lake hosmer kayak float july 2020

Dragon flies were the star for several of our outings on the water.  I have a fun memory of floating on the river with blue dragonflies landing on my arms and hat. Then there were the larger black and white dragonflies that look like small hummingbirds. They were spotted high up on tops of reeds and sticks, hanging out over the water where they sat waiting for a meal.

 wildflower garden august 2020

The wildflower garden has been abuzz with all kinds of insects. It makes me happy to sit nearby and listen and watch as they hop on, hover over, and dip into the colorful flowers.

We decided the meadow out behind the house should be called “grasshopper acres” this month because of the abundance of hopping and leaping that happens as you walk through the grasses. They are everywhere.

insect nature journal page august 2020

I’m keeping myself accountable this month with an insect page in my nature journal. It’s nothing fancy but it will remind me of a few of the insects I encountered during this month of looking for insects.

partial list august birds 2020

Our bird list this month has some surprise entries. The most inspiring addition was the Common Nighthawk. I wish I could post a video of the flying acrobatics of this amazing flyer! We noted the pointy wings, the white patches under the wings, and watched it on several late afternoons and evenings over the river.

Then there was the exciting visit of five Great Egrets. We observed them flying down at the river with their long thin necks, stick-like legs, and long yellow beaks. This is the first time we’ve seen a group of egrets here in our Oregon neighborhood.

But, the most compelling visitor we had this month is the Cooper’s hawk. He’s been hunting at my bird feeder. Twice I watched him dive at the feeder as the little birds flew off in every direction. Afterwards, both times, he sat in the tree over the feeder, unsuccessful in capturing anyone. I was able to get a good look at him as he actually posed for a few photos. A rather large and handsome hawk, he sat and patiently waited for a long time before flying off.

window decal review 2020
It’s hard to capture them in a photo.


On another bird related note, I installed some window decals that are designed to alert birds and prevent bird strikes. Our living room has a HUGE picture window and it has been the scene of many bird strikes and deaths in the past. I purchased the Window Alert window decals in the hope of reducing the number of birds who run smack into our window glass. They were easy to adhere to the exterior of the window. I was worried that they would annoy me as I look out the window but I’m happy to say that I don’t even really notice them anymore.

Do they work? I can’t say they have eliminated ALL of the bird strikes from happening, but I have noted that the very few that still hit the window must see the decals and slow down enough that it isn’t a fatal collision. We haven’t had a single bird death since putting the Window Alert decals up.

I call that pretty successful. I purchased them at our local Wild Birds Unlimited store for $6.95. The package says to replace the decals every four months since the UV coating will eventually fade and not be as effective. I guess I’ll get another set next spring.

Here are a few more fun things we did outdoors this month.

fishing crooked river august 2020

We made a day trip to the Crooked River to have a picnic and go fishing.

Koosah falls oregon august 2020

We took a new hike at Sahalie and Koosah Falls. What a magnificent place to take a 3-mile hike alongside the McKenzie River. I think this is my top pick for a day hike here in Oregon.

lavender farm hood river july 2020

My daughter and I had an awesome time cutting lavender at the Hood River Lavender Farm. What great memories we made that day! It was a hot day and the scent of lavender was thick in the air. We tasted lavender lemonade for the first time and loved its refreshing flavor.


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Are you following me on Instagram? I post regularly about my garden, the Central Oregon habitat, and our adventures. If you add the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge to your Instagram posts, I’ll come visit your images!

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…
  • One last image…


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

All members here on the Handbook of Nature Study have access to the 2020-2021 nature plan for the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Look for it in your library.



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Outdoor Mom – May 2019

This post is LONG overdue. I’ve had such a crazy last few months that it was hard to put my “Outdoor Mom” thoughts together. I felt more like an indoor kind of mom because of my surgery, recovery, weather, and then having a mom who needed my care. Things just got pushed aside.

Barb McCoy and Amanda at Lake Clementine

Although I never lost the desire to be outdoors, even in the thick of my recovery from double hip surgery, I kept my eyes outside on the birds and wildlife that came my way. Then when I was sitting in the hospital day after day with my mom, I would look out the window and take quick walks around the edges of the parking lot to find something refreshing to observe.

My nature journal has been neglected until the past few weeks when finally things have settled down a bit and I can take those few minutes a week to record my reflections and thoughts.

 Outdoor Mom – May 2019

American River confluence

During our outdoor time this month we went…

While in California, my daughter and I took a long hike along the American River. It was very green and there were already many wildflowers along the trail. We must have seen a hundred butterflies as they fluttered across our path and landed on flowers.

swallowtail butterfly

It was warm and we were so glad we made the decision to hike early to beat the heat and the crowds. It makes my heart happy that my grown children enjoy a hike with their mama when we can make it happen.

kayak little deschutes may 2019

Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…

We managed a kayak/canoe paddle down the river one afternoon in the bright sunshine. We didn’t encounter a single other person on the whole trip. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy having the river to ourselves but it makes us wonder why we rarely see anyone on this section of the water. On this particular day, we were joined on our paddle by mallards, swallows, Canada goose, red-winged blackbirds, and a heron. All of us are hoping to get together for many more kayak trips over the next few months.

One last image…or two…or three…

I haven’t shared beautiful wildflower photos in a long time. So, to make up for that, here are some from our hike that I love!


Some variety of white lupine


Variety of pink allium



indian pink

Indian pink

chinese lanterns

Chinese lanterns

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge.  If you’d 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…

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Outdoor Mom and Goal Update July 2018

Outdoor Mom – July 2018


And an Update of My Nature Study Goals 2018 for the Second Quarter


Columbia river


We’re finally doing a summertime dance as the temperatures climb and the skies are clear. It’s been a struggle for me personally because my husband and I made a commitment to each other to get the yard done during June and July. Making it a priority has meant we have to pass on some recreational opportunities.


kayaking little deschutes with boys

We still try to fit in our daily river walks and a few short kayak excursions when we can.


Fort Stevens Beach

Plus, we did take a week and go camping on the northern coast of Oregon. The beaches there are either rugged or sand dunes. The weather was pretty good and we found a couple of places to kayak, including Lake Coffinbury, where we saw bald eagles!


sea stars oregon

We took advantage of the negative tide and did some tide pooling. I spotted a purple sea star, the most colorful one I’ve ever seen. There were loads of anemones and barnacles.


coyote pup oregon


We’ve had an abundance of wildlife right in our backyard. My son saw this coyote pup strolling through the back fence and I was able to capture an image or too.


June 2018 swallow birds nest nesting box  (7) babies

We have 5 birds nesting in our yard- 2 tree swallows, a chickadee, a Pygmy nuthatch, and a mountain bluebird! What a fantastic thing for this bird loving girl! My husband built the nesting boxes last year, a little too late in the season so we weren’t sure what to expect this year. Happy surprises!


cavity nest nuthatches

The nuthatch nest is in this crack in the pine tree, believe it or not. Amazing!


cattle oregon

The cattle are back in the pasture behind our house and we’ve so enjoyed seeing all the newborn calves. They sure are curious little things!


June bird list chalkboard

Here is my June list of birds seen from our back window. I love keeping track and now my friends come over and check the board every time they visit to see what new birds have been added.


Life is good here in my little part of the world.


Now here’s an update on my nature study goals as a way of keeping me accountable.


2018 Nature Study Goals @handbookofnaturestudy


Nature Study Goals 2018 – 2nd Quarter Update


Nature Observer page June


1. Nature Observer journal – I’ve continued to journal my observations almost every day. I find if I don’t take a minute to note what happened during the day that I forget the little things; the things that when I look back mean the most.

Nature Observer monthly recap

There are very few prompts I haven’t filled in from the many nature-related page ideas. I adapt the ones that really don’t fit my style. I’m trying not to make excuses and just do my best to keep the journal full of thoughts and observations that show the picture of what it’s like living here in Central Oregon.

I’m still highly recommending this journal!

Nature Observer Guided Journal


Edit to add an affiliate link: Nature Observer.


wildflower list Nature Observer


2. Keep a record of the wildflowers that grow in my local habitat. I narrowed this goal to include my yard and the grassland between my house and the river. I keep my list in my Nature Observer journal.


3. Visit the High Desert Museum each month. I have failed at this! They have a new exhibit featuring rocks and the history of rock climbing that I really want to see, so I’ve now put it on the plan. Plus, I want to go see the raptors again.


4. Visit Sunriver Nature Center and see the garden. We ended up going to the Sunriver Observatory instead with some friends. It was awe inspiring as always, to look up at the stars and the planets Venus and Jupiter.


5. Take 3 new hikes. Twin Lake hike, Smith Rock – not new.


6. Get the kayaks out in a new local spot. My oldest son bought a canoe and my middle son bought a kayak so we’re all able to get on the water and explore the local area. So far, we’ve kept to our familiar stretches of river but we have plans next week to go exploring.


Additional Goal Related Items

Fort Clatsop


We purchased our National Parks pass and visited Lewis & Clark National Park, which is really a group of places centered around Astoria, Oregon. Visiting these places and then kayaking on the Lewis & Clark River were a highlight of our camping trip last month.


new butterfly garden oregon

Our backyard landscape is coming together. We’ve discovered that we can transplant many grasses and wildflowers and even an aspen tree to fill in our garden spaces. It’s a very big learning process and we need to keep reminding ourselves that it will take many years to accomplish what we want to in this space.
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…

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Outdoor Mom – July Part 3

Outdoor Mom July: Part 3 – Travels

This is Part 3 of my Outdoor Mom entry. You can read Part 1 here: Outdoor Mom Part 1 – My Own Backyard  and Part 2 here: Outdoor Mom Part 2-Wildlife Sightings


I keep reminding myself that the perfect summer weather is only here for a few short months in Central Oregon. It could get cold and wet as soon as September or early October so we need to be outdoors as much as we can right now. We made lots of time for kayaking and exploring in July, both close to home and during a trip to New York. Here are a few of the highlights.


Hosmer Lake

Our youngest son was home for a few days at the beginning of the month so that gave us an opportunity to get out on the lake in the kayaks. We were there fairly early and it was fantastic weather for exploring this crystal clear lake up on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. We paddled across the lake, through a canal of sorts, and then over to the other part of the lake. We had the dog with us and she is such a good passenger, even if she gets excited when we see ducks and geese. The yellow water lilies were blooming and the damselflies were out in force, landing on our arms and legs if we stopped paddling.

Sparks Lake

We had some young people come and stay with us for a week and one thing we did was kayak up on Sparks Lake. I love this lake! The view of the mountains, the relaxed paddling around the lake’s edge, and the beautiful wildflowers all contributed to the enjoyment of the day.

Kayak LIttle Deschutes

One of the most amazing parts of living where we do now is the ability to drag our kayaks straight from the backyard down to the river. We had left the truck down at the pull-out earlier in the day so all we had to do was jump on the water and go. We went further than normal and it ended up being a four hour paddle/float down the Little Deschutes. The girls were really good sports about the unexpected length of the trip. My husband made up for it with a delicious dinner when we got back home.

Niagara Falls

I had the opportunity to spend some time in New York and Ontario with my kids during July. We were driving right through Niagara Falls so we made the stop and took the Hornblower cruise from the Canada side. All I can say is that it was WAY better than I expected and it was overwhelmingly beautiful. The power of the falls is awe inspiring.

We took one day while the girls were here to make the trip to Crater Lake National Park. We stopped and viewed the lake from two different viewing points, hiked the Castle Crest trail to see the wildflowers, and then hiked to Plaikni Falls. I will be writing up our entire trip in a separate entry.

Paulina Peak

This is a peak in our area that you can actually drive up to in a car. Let’s just say we’ll be driving up there probably every summer to take in the splendid view atop a volcanic mountain. It is breathtaking!

Paulina Lakes

I hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse into our July travels and adventures. It was fun to have some young people to share the experiences with us.


This is Part 3 of my Outdoor Mom entry. You can read Part 1 here: Outdoor Mom Part 1 – My Own Backyard and Part 2 – Wildlife Viewings


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Outdoor Mom’s Journal – September 2016

Outdoor Moms Journal September 2016


This Outdoor Mom had a fantastic end of the summer! This post features our second Oregon trip of the year and lots of kayaking adventures. Technically, the Oregon trip was at the very end of August but after my August Outdoor Mom’s post so I want to include it here because it was a fantastic trip.  I will be dedicating a complete post in October to the many Oregon State Parks we visited on this latest trip. It was a perfect trip!

bend oregon old mill district deschutes river 2016 (2)

We spent four days in the Bend/La Pine, Oregon area. It was a heat wave for them and most of the lakes and rivers were super busy with so many people swimming, using stand up paddleboards, rafts, and kayaks. I was really glad we had our kayak and we made the most of the time out on the water. We are in the middle of training our Labrador to ride along with us and she is quickly getting the hang of jumping in and enjoying the ride. The image above was taken in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon along the Deschutes River. It was a perfect night for a walk along the banks of the river and for sitting at an outdoor patio for dinner. We read in a brochure that Bend, Oregon is the most dog friendly town in the U.S. We believe it!

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway Oregon  (47) sharps lake kayak

I think this is first photo I have shared where you can see our awesome tandem kayak (Old Town Loon 160T). We LOVE it! Both my husband and I are tall and there is enough room for our legs and the 70 pound Labrador. The image above shows us launching at Sparks Lake on the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway. It is a large shallow lake within view of many of the area’s signature mountains: Mt. Bachelor, South Sister, Broken Top.

Kayaking Beaver Creek Oregon Aug 2016This collage of images is from our stay in Newport, Oregon. We found an amazing spot to kayak just south of town at Beaver Creek (Brian Booth State Park). First we paddled up the creek and saw some interesting birds: Belted kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Turkey vulture, and several different ducks. Then we paddled back down the creek and all the way to the ocean! What a day!

silver falls oregon august 2016 (67) south fallsThis is the South Falls at Silver Falls State Park near Salem, Oregon. We had three days of hiking in this amazing place! There are actually TEN waterfalls that you can hike in a loop. This one was our favorite because you could actually hike behind the waterfall…look at the image carefully and you can see the trail. You can be sure I will be sharing more about this destination in my October Oregon State Parks entry.

nature journal pages osprey and heron august 2016 (3)I did fit in some nature journaling on this trip. I learned some interesting things about the heron and I actually heard the loud sound it made as we paddled too close to one and it flew off. Loud! It surprised me. I will be sharing a bit more about my nature journals in an up-coming post.

garden renees sunflower august 2016 (5)A little closer to home, my sunflowers bloomed! I looked out the window one morning and discovered this beauty. I love the sunflower time of the year and look forward to it each summer. This is one of the sunflowers from Renees Garden Seeds. So perfectly perfect.

IMG_5148We did some hiking closer to home when my two New Yorkers were home for a visit. We camped at Fallen Leaf Lake near Lake Tahoe in California. It was perfect weather and the hiking was filled with wonderful autumn air and sunshine. IMG_5246This is Fallen Leaf Lake on a crisp September morning. We all took turns taking the kayak out for a spin on the water to take in the high Sierra views.

IMG_5358The last place on our travel list this month was to Yosemite National Park. We hiked to the top of Sentinel Dome with our children and they posed at the top for this amazing photo. It captures so much of what our family is about as we adventure in the big outdoors together. It was a day of laughter, refreshing vistas, and friendship. I tried to soak in the family time since it is hard to gather us all in one place anymore. We end up outside when we do get a chance to spend time together….habit? necessity? mutual love for God’s creation? I think it is a little of all of those things.

I hope you enjoyed my entry this month and if you want to play along, there are instructions at the bottom of this post.

If you missed my August and September nature study entries, here are the links:

Our Wildflower Observations: This entry shares our August wildflowers, both in California and in Oregon.

Snail Observations at the Tidepools: We had a fantastic time hunting, observing, and learning about marine snails in response to the August newsletter topic. This is one of my favorite blog entries of the year!

Insect Nature Study -Potpourri: We had several opportunities to observe insect homes up close. We even identified something new to us!


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 Plans for Sept 16 to March 17 @handbookofnaturestudy

You can use the free monthly newsletter along with the Handbook of Nature Study book for your nature study. Adding a membership gives you access to the Ultimate Naturalist Library’s ebooks and printablse which provides members with even more in-depth studies each month.

Read more about it!