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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Handbook of Nature Study week 1

I have been eying up this website for a while now. This week my very own copy of The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock arrived! After a few days spent gazing lovingly through its pages, we were ready for nature challenge #1! And, being me, I forgot my camera!

Everyone bundled up and we headed over to South Park, since we were out anyway. I decided that a look at the creek in winter might be a good idea. On the walk down to the park, we saw an odd tree; it was quite thorny! This is one of the things we decided to investigate further. After a little research, we found it was a honey locust tree.

(thanks to for this picture)

As we approached the creek, my oldest, Scrappy, noticed some berry bushes. We have no idea what kind of bushes they are. There were red and bluish-black berries on them and the berries were very small. Scrappy noted that the berries were all missing from the lower branches, but up higher, the berries were still present. He thinks that deer may have eaten the berries, but maybe they couldn't reach the top. So he wants to find out more about what deer eat. We decided that it was probably not a popular spot for birds, since the dog park was right next door.

The kids spent a few minutes throwing twigs into the creek. They loved it when a twig would become stuck on a rock, get spun around by the creek, and then continue on its trip. Everyone was refreshed and excited after our walk. I used to be so much better about taking the kids out and it is so great to have these challenges to nudge me back into spending more time outside with them.


  1. I wish you great success with this. I plan to try again after we move and are settled in. The book is so full of information. And Barb has done an excellent job of putting it all together in a meaningful way. Thank you for your comment. It's really funny that my weight dropped 3.5 pounds today all of a sudden. I think you are right not to get too focused on it!

  2. Oh the wonderful game of PoohSticks. (See Wikipedia if you aren't familiar with that. I'm sure you are.) We love that game, too! But, come to think of it, where does one play PoohSticks in the desert?

    As you see, my self-discipline is waning. My company is gone but I have to shovel out the house and feel like we are back to life as normal by Tues when we start school again. I wonder if we are going to finish the year before the year runs out... If not I will just issue diplomas in Lego and playing house. :o)

  3. Welcome to the Outdoor Hour Challenges! We love sticks, rocks, and water around here too. It is the universal kid thing to do during nature study. :)

    I look forward to reading about your next outdoor time soon. Deer are one of the things we have found lacking in the HNS for some reason but you can check out this website if you would like:
    I'm not sure where you live so not sure what kind of deer you would have.

    By the way, the honey locust thorns look killer!

    Thanks for sharing your link,

  4. We saw a honey locust on our first walk too. G was fascinated.

  5. Deer eat grass, twigs, bark, shoots, green leaves. I couldn't find anything that says they eat berries, and it seems they are messy eaters and leave torn leaves and twigs in their wake. So, I don't think the berries we saw were eaten by deer.


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