Handbook of Nature Study

I recently purchased a copy of the rather weighty Handbook of Nature Study from Amazon.  We are going to try to participate in some of the activities that are on the Handbook of Nature Study blog.  The blog offers a lot of companion activities for the book and suggestions for how to incorporate it (and nature study itself) into your homeschool (or just in general!)

Today we took our first nature walk.  Well, our first “official” nature walk.  We often walk in our yard and neighborhood.  The local woods are a regular haunt for us.  But this was the first time we cracked open our shiny new nature journals and made notes of what we saw.  I also took some pictures.

Around our yard, everything is pretty much finished growing/blooming/fruiting/being green.  Things are starting to hunker down for winter.  It’s November, after all.

We saw lots of leaves on the ground.

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We saw lots of leaves gone from bushes and trees, too.

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We noticed berries on our barberry bushes, which will likely be food for some creature this winter:

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The marigolds, which hung on a lot longer than most of the other annuals this year, finally look like they’ve given up the ghost:

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The carpet bugle, wooly thyme and sweet woodruff are all going strong, however.

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Sweet woodruff

We walked to the southern side of our house and examined our big sycamore tree.

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It, too, has lost all of its leaves.

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But O6 noticed the seeds hanging from its branches:

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The seeds hang on for much of the winter. We find some on the ground in the fall, but also again in the spring. The hard exterior, which is a bit spiny, gets mushy after a few weeks on the ground.

We also noticed the interesting bark of the sycamore.

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S8 found a piece of the bark on the ground.

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We compared it to bark on another smaller tree nearby, which we decided is also a sycamore.

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Our strawberry patch, under the sycamore, is sleeping for winter. We left a blanket of leaves on it so it would be protected.

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We also spotted a lone, forgotten hot pepper in the garden.

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And then we spotted the Daddy Park and a pile of leaves! It was too good to pass up.

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We did eventually come back inside and write a little bit in our journals. But we had to explore the leaves just a little while longer.

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