Thursday, February 28, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #3: Now is the Time to Draw

“Outdoor journaling is something a family can do together, and it offers reason and focus for being in nature. Linda Chorice, assignment manager at the Missouri Conservation Department’s Springfield Nature Center, points out that journaling demands no special equipment, only a pad of paper or a spiral notebook, several pencils, and a pencil sharpener. ‘While your journal may never be published as a historical document, it will serve as a personal record of your outdoor experiences, allowing you to accurately relive your memories each time you open its cover,’ she says.

All of these activities can teach children patience and respect for the other creatures on the planet, even if the lessons take a little time to accrue.”

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Outdoor Hour Challenge #3 Now is the Time to Draw
1. Read pages 16-17 of the Handbook of Nature Study. Highlight or underline those parts that will help you understand better the connection between nature study, language arts, and drawing.

2. This week take your 10-15 minute nature walk.
If you have tired of your own backyard, venture down your street, around your block, or to a near-by park. Remember Anna Comstock’s words, “Nature study is for the comprehension of the individual life of the bird, insect, or plant that is nearest at hand.” (page 5) Don’t worry about taking any equipment with you this time. Continue working on being quiet and observing things with your senses. While on your walk, be alert to new subjects for your further research.

3. Follow up with discussion and the opportunity for a nature journal entry.

"Too much have we emphasized drawing as an art; it may be an art, if the one who draws is an artist; but if he is not an artist, he still has a right to draw if it pleases him to do so."

“From making crude and often meaningless pencil strokes, which is the entertainment of the young child, to the outlining of a leaf or some other simple and interesting natural object, is a normal step full of interest for the child because it is still self-expression.” (both quotes from page 17 of the Handbook of Nature Study)

These quotes are important to remember when we are discussing journals. The purpose of a nature journal is to record a memory of the experience and have a place to keep track of thoughts or observations. It can be as simple as a single drawing with a date and a label to start off with.

Discuss your nature time with your child and again try to draw out some words from your child’s experiences. Keep in mind what you read about the connections between nature study, words, writing, and drawing. Your child might need help deciding on a subject to record in their nature journal. You should explain that you would like them to start making a book of with their experiences from their nature study. If they make a page for the book each time they have nature time, they will have a whole book filled with their own words and drawings to look at by the end of the year. If they are reluctant, write down their descriptive words on a sheet of paper and leave a blank space where they can come back later and draw if they feel like it.

Here are some easy ideas for nature journal pages other than drawing:
1. Make leaf rubbings.
2. Tape small flat things into the nature journal. (leaves, flower petals, seeds)
3. Print out a photo that you took while on your nature walk and let the child write the caption.
4. Press flowers or grasses between pages of a book and later add it to the journal. (We will learn more on that in a future challenge this spring.)
5. Outline an object with a pencil and then color it in.

Nature journaling is meant to be a follow-up activity and not a replacement for your time spent outdoors. Please feel successful in this challenge whether you end up with a nature journal page or not. If they don’t draw this week, maybe they will want to make a page next week.

4. Post an entry on your blog sharing your experiences during your Outdoor Hour challenge number three.
 OHC Blog Carnival
You can link up by clicking the carnival button or you can send them directly to me:

Optional assignment for parents:

Take a look at your attitude towards outdoor time. Has it changed since starting these challenges? Are you committed to keeping up your Outdoor Hour time because you see the benefits stacking up in your family? Have you started keeping your own nature journal or photo album of your experiences outdoors with your children?

I have truly enjoyed hosting these challenges and reading your experiences. Some of your entries have made me smile, or do a happy dance, or even shed a few tears. This is so much bigger than nature study.

I would like to share a quote with you from Laura's daughter. (The World is Our Classroom) When she was asked to give three words about what she felt on her nature walk, she said, "My daddy's hand." Or how about one last quote from Judah (Judahmo) with his three words, "I had fun." That about sums it up.

You can purchase all of the first ten challenges in a convenient ebook along with custom notebook pages.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jerusalem Cricket: Our Outdoor Hour #2

this morning we had our official Green Hour (assignment #2) time outside in the sunshine...we had a whole weekend of rain and wind making the sunshine all the more inviting.

My son found a "huge, ugly, insect" on the pavement and he wanted me to come and share in the ugliness. I am not a bug person. I am an outdoor nature-loving person, but definitely not a bug person. I am learning to not be so disgusted by insects and usually make friends with whatever we find after learning about it. If you are squeamish, close your eyes to the photos below.

J Cricket 2
Top View
J Cricket 1
Bottom View

Here are his words for the assignment:

  • Chirping
  • Fascinating Alien (bug)
  • Shiver cold wind

We came in and used our Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders to identify the insect.

It looked like a grasshopper to my son so we turned to the section for grasshoppers, crickets, and cicadas. What do you know? It was the *first* insect in the section. Bingo! Then we turned to the page that gave the description of the Jerusalem cricket and we found that we are within the range and habitat for this insect. After reading the size and brief description, our identification was verified. This one was easy. Insects are not always that simple to put a name to. I must admit that my older son said that it looked like a potato bug. Guess what? He was right too, Jerusalem crickets are also known as potato bugs.

Here is his journal entry.
J Cricket Sketch

To make up for the really yucky bug photo, here is one of violets we saw growing in our lawn.

So I think we were successful this week in our assignment. I did all my reading and enjoyed it very much as expected. We actually had quite a bit of outdoor time this past week cutting a tree down in our backyard. We also identified two new birds this past week.

Looking forward to next week's assignment.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Evening Grosbeak in My Feeder and How We Identify a Bird

Very little compares to identifying a new bird in your feeder. This one was so unusual that we just couldn't stop looking at it.

The photo does not do it justice. It is bright yellow, with distinct markings of black and white. It was fairly good size so we got a pretty good look at it.

Although the photo didn't turn out well, the memory will be forever with us.

We identified this bird as an Evening Grosbeak.
(click photo for larger photo)

Yesterday we saw a bunch of blue birds that we had never seen before. We were out driving in the car when we saw nesting boxes all along a fence. We saw flashes of blue and realized that they were birds fighting, not only in the air but on the ground. The birds were very aggressive. When we got home we pulled out our field guide and identified the birds as Western bluebirds.

I shared the following information with a friend about how I identify a bird by explaining how I identified the Evening grosbeak. I personally like using the Audubon Society's Field Guide to Birds.

1. When I am trying to identify a bird, I rely heavily on color. The bird we saw in our feeder was a bright yellow so that narrowed it down as far as identifying it. The Audubon guide that I suggested for birds is organized by type of bird (clinging, perching, duck-like, etc) and then by predominant color. This makes it fast to skim through a lot of birds visually.
2. After I look at color and general type, I look at size. (sparrow-size, robin-sized, goose-size, etc) The Aububon guide does group from smallest to largest.
3. After color, type, and size, I look at beaks. This is really easy in the Aububon guide because on the photo pages there are three bird photos on a page so there are less pages to look through.
4. If I hit on the right bird by doing that method, I usually do a Google image search on the internet to confirm my findings. If I missed and didn't get the right bird but I am in the right ball park, I go to and do a search there.

That pretty much sums it up. I know that others have different methods for identifying birds with a field guide but this works for our family.

It was a big bird weekend around here. I love it.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Friday, February 22, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #2: Using Your Words

Outdoor Hour Challenge #2
Using Your Words  
1. Read page 15 in the Handbook of Nature Study. (The Field Excursion) Read page 23-24 in the Handbook of Nature Study. (How to Use This Book) Make note of any points you want to remember. My favorite is "The chief aim of this volume is to encourage investigation rather than to give information." This is where many people misunderstand the HNS. It is not a field guide but it teaches us how to help our children with nature study.

2. "It is a mistake to think that a half day is necessary for a field lesson, since a very efficient field trip may be made during the ten or fifteen minutes at recess, if it is well planned." Challenge yourself to take another 10-15 minute "excursion" outdoors in your own yard again this week. Before setting out on your walk, sit with your children and explain to them that when you remain quiet during your nature time, you are more likely to hear interesting things. Brainstorm some sounds they might hear and build some excitement about remaining quiet during their nature walk this week. Take your walk and if they get rowdy, use the universal finger over your lips sign to get them to quiet down. Set a good example and be quiet yourself, modeling how to listen carefully.

3. After your walk, challenge your children to come up with words to describe the following things:
One word to describe something they heard. (For example: rustling, snapping, crunching or chirping)
Two words for something they saw. (For example: tall trees, frozen water, red birds)
Three words for something they felt. (For example: freezing cold wind, rough sticky pinecone)

The point of this assignment is to get them to start thinking about what they see as they go along. Each time they take a nature walk they will develop more and more vocabulary and this will eventually trickle down to their nature journals. If they have difficulty coming up with things to say, help them out with some of your own words to get them started and they will soon catch on. Once we start identifying objects they see on their nature walks, you will be surprised at how easily they remember the specific names of plants, trees, and birds.

4. Optional nature journal entry:
Use their words as the basis for a simple nature journal entry. If the child is too young to write in the journal himself, you can write for them. "Everything he learns should be added to his nature notebook by him or, if he's too little to write, his mother." Charlotte Mason, volume 1, page 58.

At this point, you can pull out some colored pencils or crayons and invite them to illustrate their nature journal page if they want to. I always leave it as an option for my boys and I would say about half the time they draw. I feel like the nature walk and the discussion is the meat of our nature study and that it is the most important part of what we do. "No child should be compelled to have a notebook." HNS page 14 (Next week we will read about drawing in our nature journals in the Handbook of Nature Study, page 17.)

5. If in your discussion of your nature walk your child expresses a particular interest in something they saw or heard or felt, make a note of it for further research later in the week. Remember to check your Handbook of Nature Study index for more information about your nature interests.

If you create a blog entry for this challenge or any other challenge this month, please submit it to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival so other families can be inspired to continue in their nature study.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Handbook of Nature Study: Subjects Not Specifically Covered

It is my wish to guide you in using the Handbook of Nature Study. This entry will be about how to use this book with objects that you find in your local area that are not specifically listed in the index. I think this is such an important skill to develop.

How about we use some specific examples?

Sebastian over at Percival Blakeney Academy found some plumeria blossoms on her nature walk with her children. She didn't find the plumeria listed in the HNS's index. How can we use the book to learn more about this flower?
1. Turn to the table of contents and scan down until you get to "Plants". Turn to the introductory pages starting on page 453.
2. Read to yourself the introduction on how to begin the study of plants and their flowers.
3. Turn to the section on "How to Teach the Names of the Parts of a Flower and of the Plant" on page 456. This will give you some specific names for parts of any flower and they could be applied to the plumeria bloom.
If you want to get some further ideas for studying the plumeria blossom, you could ask yourself what plant or tree you think the plumeria resembles and I thought of the dogwood tree since they are both blooming trees.
1. Turn to the section on the dogwood on page 680.
2. Read through the section and see if there are any tidbits you can apply to your study of the plumeria. Make sure to get to the observations section and use the suggestions that would apply to the plumeria. (Can you see how many petals the flower has? How many stamens has it? Can you see the pistil? Find one of the flower-heads not yet opened and watch it open and develop. Sketch the bracts from below.)

It is not a perfect study of the plumeria but it will give you ways to observe the flower. The Handbook of Nature Study is meant to help you learn to observe and investigate rather than as a source of information. (see page 24)

Want another example?
Jessica at Trivium Academy shared about finding a tree stump and how she talked about the tree's rings and how it grows. What if you weren't sure what the rings meant and were not sure how to explain how a tree grows to your child? Here's how I would go about using the Handbook of Nature Study to help find the answers.
1.Turn to the table of contents and scan down in the plants section until you get to trees. Read the list of subtopics for trees and find any that sound like they might help in your investigation.
2. Turn to page 618 and read the introduction to yourself. On page 620 there is a photo of a cross-section of a tree trunk and this section might be helpful to read. There is a heading on page 620 relating the way a tree grows. Read that and highlight any parts you want to eventually share with your children later in the week.

It took me a long time to figure out how to use the book without being frustrated. The Handbook of Nature Study is a wonderful tool in training parents how to teach their children to investigate nature. We just need to be more familiar with the ways to use it in our homeschooling.

"The author feels apologetic that the book is so large. However, it does not contain more than any intelligent country child of twelve should know of his environment; things that he should know naturally and without effort, although it might take him half his life-time to learn so much if he should not begin before the age of twenty." Handbook of Nature Study, page xiii

Let's not waste any time getting started.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Counting Birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count

We have been counting birds for the Great Backyard Bird Count. It started on Friday and will continue through today. We have had all the usual customers at the feeders and a few surprises too!

The white-crowned sparrow usually feeds in our front yard in the forsythia bush which has a blackberry vine tangled in it with some of last summers berries all dried up and ready for eating.
(you can click the photos to make them larger)

The dark-eyed juncos are a frequent visitor to our feeders and they enjoy both the platform feeder and eating from the ground beneath it.

The hanging feeders were filled with sparrows, finches, and the occasional nuthatch.

Here is our official bird count for Friday:
  • 5 Western scrub jays
  • 2 titmouses
  • 1 red-breasted nuthatch
  • 1 spotted towhee
  • 2 California towhees
  • 6 white-crowned sparrows
  • 12 dark-eyed juncos
  • 1 house finch....probably more we just didn't catch them when we were counting
  • 7 house sparrows

Those were in the feeders but we also saw in our yard:
1 American crow
2 American robins

In our travels yesterday, we saw:
3 turkey vultures
40+ Canadian geese
6 wild turkeys

This is a great family project that we have participated in for the past three years. If you miss it this year, mark your calendars for next February so you won't forget!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Outdoor Hour Challenge #1: Nature Walk Notes

We successfully completed our Green Hour Challenge yesterday. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for a nature hike. I had seen a sign a couple miles from our house that looked like it was the beginning of a trailhead. How could I have never put the effort into stopping and finding out before? It seems strange that such a gorgeous trail could be that close to my house and we had never walked it before. The Green Hour Challenge put it into my head to go ahead and give it a try. Here are a few photos of things we saw.
lavender flower
Delicate lavender flowers among miner's lettuce.
Fern 1
Ferns lined the trail on the way down the canyon. I love this photo so much that it is now the background image on my nature blog.
unusual bloom 1
I have no idea what this bloom is but it was so unusual that I decided to try to identify it when we got home. Did you see the insect on it?
After we hiked this trail a bit we made our way back to the car and went down to the river to explore.
rocks 2
So here are some rocks along the river's edge. We decided that this week we are going to try to identify the pink and the green rocks in this photo. I have an idea of what they are but we are going to do some research and find out for sure.
green rock 1
Here is another shot of the green rock.
American River 1
Here is a photo of the American River where we spent some time on our Green Hour Challenge. Can you believe this river flows about 4 miles away from our front door?
throwing rocks
Who can go to the river without throwing a few rocks in?
river 2
It was getting late but we were enjoying ourselves so much that we lost track of time. The dog in this photo just appeared at the river's edge and convinced the boys to throw some sticks into the water so he could jump in and fetch them. My boys loved this added feature of our nature walk. :)

So that ends our first Green Hour Challenge. I got my reading done (I've read it before but I took the time to reread it.) We spent our time walking outdoors together. We found two things to investigate further. We had a wonderful time.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Outdoor Hour Challenge #1: Let's Get Started

Outdoor Hour Challenge #1
Let's Get Started!

1. Read pages 1-8 of the Handbook of Nature Study. Highlight or underline anything that you as the nature study teacher find will help you in your guiding your children. If you read a sentence that you agree with, mark it so you will remember to come back to it when you need some encouragement.

2. "In nature-study the work begins with any plant or creature which chances to interest the pupil." So here is your challenge this week. Spend 10-15 minutes outdoors with your children, even if it is really cold and yucky. Bundle up if you need to. Take a walk around your yard or down your own street. Enjoy being outdoors. After you come inside, sit the children down and ask them one at a time to tell you something that they saw on their walk. Ask them what was interesting to them. Maybe they picked up a leaf or a stick and brought it back indoors and now they can really take a look at it. Make a big deal about whatever it is that they talk about.

3. After your discussion, come up with two things to investigate further. For instance, if they saw a bird on their walk and they came inside and talked about it, ask them if they want to know more about that bird. You have a whole week to spend some time looking it up. Maybe they found an acorn or a berry on a bush that they were interested in. That could be your focus for the week.

4. After your nature study time with the children, pull out your Handbook of Nature Study and see if the item the children are interested in is listed in the index. If it is, look up the information for yourself and then relate interesting facts to the children sometime during the next week.

 OHC Blog Carnival
5. Post an entry on your blog listing out what you did for your Outdoor Hour.
You can link up by clicking the carnival button or you can send them directly to me:

Charlotte Mason knew what she was talking about when it came to nature study. Somehow in our modern life we have forgotten the simple pleasures of outdoor time. For this challenge, just go for a walk. Don't worry about taking any tools or supplies with you. Enjoy the outdoors and your children and then spend some time talking about your experiences together.

You can purchase all of the first ten challenges in a convenient ebook along with custom notebook pages.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Early Daffodils and the Handbook of Nature Study

"When the flowerstalk first appears, it comes up like a sheathed sword, pointing toward the zenith, green, veined lengthwise, and with a noticeable thickening at each edge."
Handbook of Nature Study, page 550

"As the petals grow, the sheath begins to round out; the stiff stem at the base of the sheath bends at right angles. This brings a strain upon the sheath which bursts it, usually along the upper side, although sometimes it tears it off completely at the base."
Handbook of Nature Study, page 550

"The stalk is a strong green tube; the leaves are fleshy and are grooved on the inner side. At the base the groove extends part way around the flowerstalk."
Handbook of Nature Study, page 550

"The daffodil, jonquil, and narcissus are very closely related, and quite similar. They all come from bulbs which should be planted in September; but after the first planting, they will flower on year after year, bringing much brightness to the gardens in the early spring."
Handbook of Nature Study, page 551

On pages 549-552 of the Handbook of Nature Study, you will find the introduction to daffodils and a complete lesson to study daffodils. Anna Botsford Comstock lists 15 ways to observe and learn about these common garden flowers.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Western Scrub Jays

(you can click on any of the photos to make them larger)

During this morning's outdoor walk I had fun watching a pair of Western scrub jays in our backyard. The first one was making a big squawking scene in the top of the liquid amber tree. In the photo above he is posing for me in the sunlight.

Here is the other jay in the pine tree just waiting for the first jay to stop making such a big fuss. They both wanted to get to the birdfeeders but my cat was roaming the yard in search of a good place to take a bath in the sun. Here is where she settled on....the roof of our bbq.
She didn't stay there long with the birds swooping around her. The jays are not in the least bit afraid of her...they are rather large aggressive birds and can defend themselves very well. I'm not sure why all of a sudden she thinks that she needs to be up high but we are enjoying her climbing adventures.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Monday, February 11, 2008

Of Dandelions and Paperwhites

Today was a warm, sunny day in my neck of the woods. I went out with my camera to capture the paperwhites that started blooming this week and look what was waiting to greet me......a dandelion in the grass.

It made me smile and feel so much better after a week of being sick with a cold and the flu. Isn't it amazing how a little yellow flower can lift your spirits?

The paperwhites are starting to bloom by the mailbox so now as the days tick on I will have a steady bloom of paperwhites, daffodils, and then day lilies.
The delicate fragrance is so wonderful as these bloom in the warm sun.

Here is what the Handbook of Nature Study says on page 534 about the dandelion:
"The following are the tactics by which the dandelion conquers us and takes possession of our lands: a: It blossoms early in the spring and until snow falls, producing seed for a long season. b: It is broadminded as to its location, and flourishes on all sorts of soils. c: It thrusts its long taproots down into the soil, and thus gets moisture and food not reached by other plants. d: its leaves spread out from the base, and crowd and shade many neighboring plants out of existence. e: many insects visit it, and so it has plenty of pollen carriers to insure strong seeds; it can also develop seeds from its own pollen, or it even can develop seeds without any pollen. f: It develops almost numberless akenes, and the wind scatters them far and wide and they thus take possession of new territory. g: It forms vigorous leaf-rosettes in the fall, and thus is able to begin growth early in the spring. "

The Handbook of Nature Study has a whole section on dandelions including activities from pages 531-535.

(click to make the photo larger)
Doesn't this make you laugh? This is the same cat that thought she could "hide" in the birdfeeder. She really isn't very good at this hiding game. I imagine she is enjoying the view anyway.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Skunks at Night

We are having a night time visit from our friendly skunk *again*. We have not seen him yet this time but we can smell his 'calling card' in the morning hours. Two summers ago we were plagued with skunks living under our house and we learned a lot about skunks and their habits.

The Handbook of Nature Study on pages 245-247 has information about skunks. Here is what the author says about skunks that I found interesting.

Page 245:
"It is a night prowler, although it is not averse to a daytime promenade. The white upon its fur gives warning at night that here is an animal which had best be left alone. This immunity from attack makes the skunk careless in learning wisdom from experience; it never learns to avoid a trap, or the dangers of a railway or trolley track. It plods deliberately across highways, leaving its protection to the motorist."

I would rather they didn't live in my backyard or under my house or porch but when I don't have a choice I know how to give them their space. :)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Monday, February 4, 2008

An Excellent Award to Share

Thanks Jimmie for the award. I will wear it proudly. :)

According to the rules, I will need to pass it on to ten other blogs.

Here are some blogs I think are worthy of this excellent award. (in no particular order of course)
1. Peakmore Academy
2. Hearts and Trees
3. Wildflower Morning
4. Sunny Homeschool
5. Percytruffle's Place

So will I get in trouble for only presenting the award to 5 blogs? I hope not. Many of the blogs I wanted to pass the honor on to have already received it.

Enjoy the blogs.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Winter Nature Walk-Boy's View

I was sick with the flu this weekend so my boys decided yesterday afternoon to talk a walk without me....the afternoon was bright and sunny in between a cloudy morning and a snowy evening.

Here are some photos they took on their walk to share with me when they returned home.

Love the sky in this one!

Here is a view coming down the walking trail with a beautiful perspective of someone's house with a horse in the yard. (click to make the photo larger and you will see the black horse by the house)

That fits our mammal study. We haven't ever really learned about horses but we can now in the Handbook of Nature Study on pages 274-280.

Anna Botsford Comstock says:
"Begin this study of the horse with stories of wild horses."

I have the whole collection of Marguerite Henry books on my shelf and I don't think my boys have ever read them. I know we read
Brighty of the Grand Canyon on a road trip to the Grand Canyon but other than that, they have not tasted the delights of King of the Wind, Misty-Stormy's Foal, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, or any of the other wonderful books about horses that I read as a child. I need to dust those off and encourage the boys to read them. You can see my sidebar to find some of these wonderful horse stories that you can use along with your nature study with your children.

One last photo from their walk. Here is the llama that I have shared before but this time he was way down by the fence so the boys could take a photo of his head peeking out from the bushes.

Even though I didn't get to go with boys on their walk, I did get to enjoy the stories and the photos.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Tips on Using the Handbook of Nature Study

Tips on how to use the Handbook of Nature Study:
1. Don't carry it on your nature hikes. It isn't a field guide so you will more than likely not pull it out anyway.
2. When you come indoors from your nature time, pull it out and turn to the index to see if something you saw that day is covered in the book.
3. Quickly skim the information in the book that talks about the subject you observed.
4. Share a few points with your children.

Try those steps as a good place to start until you get more familiar with the book.

Are you ready for more?
Some more advanced tips:
1. If you find a subject that your interested in covering with your children, read the introduction to yourself. Make pencil notes of anything you want to share.
2. Take a few minutes and share those points and then help your child make a nature journal entry using those points.
3. If you want to make a more in depth study, turn to the end of the section and use the suggested activities or just pick out one or two items to try.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Silly Mammal or Cat in the What?

You have heard of Cat in the Hat. How about Cat in the Birdfeeder? Do you think she really thought they wouldn't notice her *in* the feeder?

Silly mammal tricks.

On page 266 of the Handbook of Nature Study, the author gives us a list of writing assignments relating to cats we can suggest to our children. The one that I think fits this photo is, "The Things Which My Pet Cat Does".

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Friday, February 1, 2008

Continuing Our Mammal Study

So the sun was out and I took advantage of the time to take an spin around the yard with the boys. It is still pretty cold and wet but it was nice to have a chance to see if we could find any signs of mammals in the yard.

First stop, we found a hole under the birdfeeder that we are thinking is probably a mole or it could be another vole....we are not sure.

(be sure to click any photos you want to see enlarged)

Next we spotted some fresh dirt here at the edge of the lawn and mounded up in between the river rocks.

How about this little hole? This one is at the far end of the yard under the pine tree and the pine needles are neatly pushed out from around the hole.

It is amazing what you can find in your own backyard with close scrutiny.

I also wanted to share our robins that were in the tree outside our window. I counted six at one point.

Well that is our mammal study for the week. Even with the bitter, cold weather we are trying to be good about getting out of doors.

Until next time,
Barb-Harmony Art Mom