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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Autumn Pear Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge Pear nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Fall Pear Study

From the archives and the More Nature Study – Autumn ebook

This is one of the rare Outdoor Hour Challenges that does not specifically have a lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. But, there are some really informational links for you to read for background information before your study of the humble pear.

If the pear study doesn’t excite you, the flip-side of this challenge is the start of an autumn tree study, complete with printable notebook page.

Either way, your family has the opportunity to be outside this week as you look for pear trees or any autumn tree that catches your fancy.

Here is our family’s pear study: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Autumn Pear Study.

Additional autumn tree study: Autumn Tree Study with Printable Color Cards.

Autumn 2010 Outdoor Hour Challenge

Did you enter my giveaway for a copy of the Autumn Nature Study ebook? We’ll be using it from October to December here on the Handbook of Nature Study. I’m giving away 5 copies and today is the last day to enter.


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If you haven’t had a chance to enter the giveaway over at, today is the last day! They are giving away 25 Lifetime memberships and a Grand Prize worth over $1200!
2017 Back-to-School Homeschool Giveaway





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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Fall Pear Study


Outdoor Hour Challenge Pear nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Challenge from the Archives: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Fall Pear Study

and the More Nature Study – Autumn ebook

Autumn usually means a trip to the apple orchard but sometimes it includes some pears as well. We happen to have a pear tree in our backyard so it has been super easy over the years to watch the tree as it cycles through its many pretty stages, blossom to fruit harvest. Even if you can only manage to take a trip to a local farmers market or even to the supermarket to get some pears, this is an interesting and delicious nature study for the whole family. Use the ideas in the archive challenge above to get started. This is a challenge that is not from the Handbook of Nature Study but you will find online resources to get the interest going. Above all, enjoy some time outdoors this week!

Garden pear august 2016 (2)You may be interested in viewing our family’s entry from the original study: Our Pear Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenge.   The notebook pages shown in this entry are from the More Nature Study – Autumn ebook and are the advanced pages that I included for high school or more advanced students. Of course, there is a notebook page for younger students as well available in the ebook.

 Pear Nature Study notebook page

Outdoor Hour Challenge Plans for Sept 16 to March 17 @handbookofnaturestudyNote: You do not need to purchase the ebooks to participate but they are handy to have for planning and for the regular and advanced notebook pages included in each one. Click the graphic at the bottom of this post to go over to check out the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy


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Garden Update – August Bonanza

Early morning in the garden is my favorite time to stroll the boxes looking for what treasures are to be found…you are welcome to view some images from the last week.  Above hangs my new birdfeeder, a gift from my husband and my gift to my backyard birds. They love this new feeder and I love that it is larger than  my last one so that means less times filling it each week.

Sunflowers and morning glories are the in the main box this year and they seem to like living together. The vines creep up the poles as well as the sunflower stalks and each morning I have a new blue flower waiting for me to enjoy.

This is the Mailbox Mix from Renee’s Garden and her heirloom collection. This is a winner in my yard!

The zucchini box is full of gorgeous plants and squash this year. We planted Renee’s Garden Tricolor Mix so we have dark green, light green, and yellow squash to enjoy just about every day.

Our tomatoes are starting to produce lovely red fruit and just a few at a time so we can enjoy them in our sandwiches and salads. Tonight…bruschetta!

Our fig tree has another crop of figs to pick. I am not a fig lover but I share with my friends and family that are…they love me for sharing.

Our pear tree has just a handful of pears this year but they are beautiful to look at and hopefully tasty to eat. Our apple tree dropped its apples last month which was weird. My sister said hers did the same thing.

I love the bright orange squash flowers and apparently so do the bees in my yard.

More squash to come!

My dad and I have both found that our green beans are not producing even though we have blossoms. My dad called Renee’s Garden customer service to see if they had some tips on getting our plants to set fruit. They suggested we add some fish fertilizer which I had on the shelf. I mixed up a couple batches and fertilized all my veggies in the garden so we shall see if it helps.

Someone had emailed me asked what I use in my garden for fertilizer so here is a photo of the bottle.

This is my dad’s flower garden which I am envious of. His lantana and dahlias are amazing! Up above he has his fenced in veggie garden which is producing lots of okra, corn, zucchini, eggplant, strawberries, and peppers. I have been helping him a bit in the garden since he had a fall last week and was not moving around too well. What a joy to help him in his garden.

These are just a few of his sunflowers which are Chocolate Cherry variety from Renee’s Garden.

I better stop there…so many garden delights this time of year to share with you. Until next week and the Tuesday Garden Party.

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Fall Insects and A Pear Tree Update

Bee on the Sunflower

Cooler weather means more time spent outside during the day….we went from really hot weather to cool weather in the span of a day or two. I am so pleased with these late blooming sunflowers and I am going to plant more of them next year. The insects have been visiting them every day and when I went out to snip a few flowers for the kitchen table, I saw this big guy!

Praying Mantis

This praying mantis decided to hang out on my stove one morning. It must have been pretty funny watching me try to scoop him up while he was hopping from side to side. I would try to scoop him up and he would hop just out of my reach. I would try again and he would hop too fast. Finally I got a bowl and set it over him and then slid a piece of paper under the bowl. Success! I transplanted him outside to my potted plants and he was happy to pose for a few minutes on the allysum.

Skipper on the Butterfly Bush

Our butterfly bushes are still blooming, in white, lavender, and deep purple. I see the hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies all buzzing in and around in the morning sunshine. Makes me happy to see such a busy community right in my flowerbeds. We have spotted a few monarchs lately…none captured with the camera yet. They are fast!

Pears on the Tree

We were out for a drive and took a back road only to find a pear orchard within about two miles of my house! It is tucked away off the beaten path and as we slowly drove down the lane I tried to snap a few images…..glorious fall pears to enjoy!

We are going out and about tomorrow so stay tuned for some more back roads loveliness.

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Our Pear Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenge

Pear study - leaves

Our study has been actually on-going since the spring when we first noticed that our pear tree was loaded with blossoms. We have been eagerly watching the progress since then and it culminated this week with actually eating the pears…but not until after we had closely observed them and dissected them as part of the more advanced suggestions in More Nature Study #3.

Pear Tree -trunk
We took a quick trip outdoors to snap a few images of the leaves and bark but the highlight was to come inside and actually take a close look at the fruit.

Pear study - Dissection and observations
Mr. B was willing to complete the dissection lab with the pears from our backyard tree and he did a great job recording his results on the notebook page. I think taking the Outdoor Hour Challenges up a notch with the more advanced ideas is a great way to keep them interested in nature study. We actually talked about seeds as they relate to what he studied in biology and we also talked about how growing fruit can be so very satisfying. Tend the tree, pick the fruit, enjoy the labor. What a great lesson in life.

Pear study dissection lab
Notebook Page from my More Nature Study ebook

I love watching him sketch. Makes me glad that we made nature study a part of our high school plans.

Nature study that ends in eating your subject is always a good thing when you have a teenage boy around.

4 18 11 Pear BlossomsWe will look forward to seeing this sight again in the spring!

I look forward to seeing your results and hearing how your observations went.

If you are interested in more Crop Plants study, I have a series of Outdoor Hour Challenges listed here on the blog. You can find them listed HERE. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the list.


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Apples Distracted Us From Our Pear Study

Apple Orchard 9 2011

We have been enjoying our “apple time” of year so far with three trips to the apple orchard, fresh apple cider, apple doughnuts, and homemade apple pie. We tried a new variety of apple (Mutsu) which actually made a really good pie apple.

Apples on the Tree

We really meant to do our Pear Study for the Outdoor Hour Challenge but we were distracted again this week with the wonderful weather and decided to take a drive instead. No pears were studied but we enjoyed peach and blueberry dumplings from a roadside stand. Yes, it was heavenly and I don’t regret the calories at all.

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OHC – More Nature Study #3 Pear Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge Pear nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy


More Nature Study #3
Pears/Fall Tree Study

Inside Preparation Work:

  • For the pear challenge there is no lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study. You can read about pears online: Pear Varieties and Pear Fact Printable.
  • As an alternate or supplemental activity, you can read the section, “How to Begin Tree Study” in the Handbook of Nature Study on pages 622-624. Pay attention to Lesson 72—Autumn Work (#1-#5). Take note of some observations you can make during autumn.

Outdoor Hour Time:

  • If you have access to a pear tree in your yard, neighborhood, or near-by orchard, spend your Outdoor Hour time observing the tree: tree shape, arrangement of the branches, trunk, leaves, fruit/seeds.
  • If you don’t have access to a pear tree, use the information from the Autumn tree work section in the Handbook of Nature Study to observe any tree you have in your yard or neighborhood. You can use this tree as the subject of a year-long tree study if you wish. You may wish to read the information from the Autumn Tree Observation Challenge 2009.

Follow-Up Activity:

  • Have on hand a pear and an apple for each child to observe up-close. Use the suggestions on the notebook page (ebook users only) to compare these two fruits.
  • For Pear Study: Give the opportunity to make a nature journal entry recording any observations made about pears. Suggestions for discussion: shape of the pear, size, color, smell, markings on the skin, and the stem. Cut the pear in half and draw the inside of the pear in your nature journal. There is also a pear coloring page included in the ebook
  • For Autumn Tree Study: You can use the Autumn Tree Study notebook page linked above. You may use it for any tree you observed during your nature study.
  • Advanced follow-up: Complete the Dissection Lab notebook page with a pear (ebook users only).
  • Advanced follow-up: Make a dry brush watercolor of the pear and either its vertical or cross section.

More Nature Study Autumn

This challenge is part of the More Nature Study – Autumn series. All of the challenges are gathered into one ebook with notebooking pages (regular and for advanced students) and additional resources. You can gain access to this ebook by purchasing an Ultimate Naturalist membership here on the Handbook of Nature Study. See the Join Us page by clicking the link at the top of the website for more information about what comes with your Ultimate membership.

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy


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Late Summer Garden Harvest – 1000th Post!

Fruit 9 7 11 Grapes, Figs, and Pears
Garden Sampler – September 7, 2011

This is it….the 1000th post on this blog! Can you believe it???

I know that this blog has brought some great things into my life…people, experiences, and inspiration. I will just say thank you to all of my readers for all you have done to encourage our family since I started this blog in May 2009. I am so glad that I decided to start this blog and share our nature study adventures. The far-reaching affects of this decision are immeasurable.

Now for a garden update!

I was thinking that I have not done any garden updates for a very long time. My vegetable garden this year has been a huge disappointment and I know from talking to other gardeners in my local area that they have experienced the same thing in their home gardens. The daytime weather, the nighttime lower than average temperatures, and the long spring and extra rains made our gardens very confused. The tomatoes are all green still and the rest just never produced. The one thing we have had in abundance is green beans…those are plentiful.

Indian Corn and Colored Beans
Our Three Sisters Garden started off great but the pumpkins never really did anything but grow vines, the beans have been scrawny, and the corn has been okay. The colors are pretty anyway. I have pulled up the pumpkins and left the rest for a bit.

We have had some success in other areas. The grapes this year are abundant even if the grapes are sort of on the small side. Tasty and sweet….yummy and enough to share with family and friends.

Bowl of Figs
The figs are on a second crop! Too bad I am not a big fan of figs but I pick and share with those in my life that adore them. They say they are delicious.

Our pear tree has done well this year and I went ahead and harvested our crop today. I usually wait until it is too late and they get ripe on the tree and fall on the ground before I get one of the boys to climb the ladder to pick them. This year we have enough to share. We also have our own pears for the pear challenge in the new More Nature Study ebook series. 🙂

We had ONE plum on our tree…usually we are up to our ears in plums but we had snow on the blossoms and I guess that ruined the crop. There is always next year.

The walnuts are being eaten by the squirrels….what a mess under the tree! I may be able to harvest a few pounds of nuts for our pantry.

So there you have it…my 1000th post and a tour of my garden. See you in my 1001st post soon.

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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More Nature Study With The Outdoor Hour Challenge – Autumn 2011 Ebook

More Nature Study Autumn Cover image

Nature Study Using the Handbook of Nature Study- Autumn 2011 Series

Completely updated in 2016!

The ten challenges included in this new ebook are written in the format of the Outdoor Hour Challenges that can be found on the blog. Each weekly challenge can be completed as you have the opportunity and you can complete as much or as little of each challenge as you have time and interest.

Each challenge has three parts: inside preparation work, outdoor time, and then a follow-up activity. Each challenge is written so you can adapt it to your own backyard or local area. Use the challenge ideas to get started with simple weekly nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study.

This ebook is written for families with children of all ages. In addition to the regular challenge, new to this ebook is the addition of suggested nature study activities and follow-up for more advanced students. I included “advanced follow-up” ideas and created “upper level” notebook pages to give each challenge a deeper study if you have children who are ready for additional learning opportunities.

Also, a new feature for Charlotte Mason style homeschoolers is the addition of suggested Charlotte Mason style exam questions to be used at the end of the term. The questions are meant to help your child recall and then share in some way his nature study experience. Since this is the first time I have included exam questions, I would love to hear your feedback after using them with your children. I am planning on using them with my high school age son.

More Nature Study Autumn Cover image
Included in the More Nature Study With The Outdoor Hour Challenge – Autumn 2011/2016 Ebook:
  • Ten challenges centered on the Handbook of Nature Study
  • Eleven notebook pages and eight coloring pages
  • Thirteen Upper Level notebook pages
  • Ten Charlotte Mason style exam questions
  • Complete instructions for each challenge included additional links and resources
  • Nature journal suggestions
  • Complete list of supplies needed
  • Coordinates with the monthly Outdoor Hour Challenge Newsletter ideas
  • 52 pages
  • Sample here: More Nature Study Autumn

Here are the topics covered in this autumn ebook along with alternate ideas for you to include if they are more appropriate to your area. 

  • Milkweed – any other autumn wildflower or weed
  • Leaf Miners – examine leaves with a hand lens
  • Pears – year long tree study
  • Cobwebs of all kinds
  • Fall Color – leaf gathering
  • Chipmunk – squirrel
  • House sparrow – any other bird
  • Leaf Close Up
  • Thistles – any other fall composite flower
  • Maple seeds – any tree that has seeds of any type

As always, please email me with any questions or comments.