Phenology Wheel

Updated! Using a Phenology Wheel for nature journaling is a wonderful visual way to record nature and seasons!  A phenology wheel is basically a visual, artistic summary of an entire year on a circular chart. Each month, sketch and paint something significant experienced in nature  on the wheel.

Here is my phenology wheel as part of my perpetual nature journal. open here at January Week 2.  The center circle of the wheel is for a spiritual symbol or something personal.

I first saw a beautiful phenology wheel in progress by Lynn of Raising Little Shoots  who creates the most wonderful phenology wheels and encourages her children to capture their nature ‘moment’ for each month on theirs .  She sells a starting guide eBook.

Because I live in the Southern Hemisphere here in South Africa, I changed the corresponding months and seasons on the downloaded wheels. Here is an updated Southern Hemisphere phenology wheel templates (one with months & seasons and 2nd blank template) for seasons and lunar cycles ~ Southern Hemisphere Seasons & Lunar Phenology WheelSeasons & lunar wheel

As the moon phases are blank circles, use the lunar cycle information from Time & Date.com to colour in your moon cycles in the little lunar circles.

Here is my Southern Hemisphere 2018 Phenology wheel with the moon cycle or without, download by clicking the image below ~ Visit Partners in Place to download their wheels of Time and Place and view their gallery of  phenology wheel examples.  

Seasonal Rounds reproduced from p. 19 of All Around the Year (1994) by Jack Santino.

Sign up for access to The Lily & Thistle Resource Library for a blank phenology circle template and add your own seasons, months, or topics.

Sign up to download the free Weather Tracker and Lunar Cycle circle templates at Outdoor Explorer Nature Journal Nitty Gritty Scienceweather tracker month circle

Colour-in the circles to illustrate monthly lunar cycles templates found at Paper Wool Yarn.

Here is another beautiful example of a phenology wheel used as a perpetual day-month-season-calendar display ~

Here’s some more inspiration on Pinterest circular calendar examples

Blessings, Nadene

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Practical Tip – Leaf Rubbings

Quick practical tip for nature journals!

A leaf rubbing is a wonderful way to capture the leaf edges and veins, but also allows one to create an instant background to a journal page.

It also allows you to create an instant copy of the leaf in the journal instead of waiting weeks to press and dry a sample.

You can also colour the shape around the leaf such as you can see in the third picture below.  This time you will place the leaf on top of the page and colour over it and out onto the page.  This will leave a blank-shaped leaf with a coloured surrounding.

How to make a coloured leaf rubbing ~

  • Place the leaf under a page or paper.
  • You can work directly on your nature journal page, but I would encourage you to experiment and test your technique on a scrap piece of paper first.
  • Use a soft crayon or soft coloured pencil.
  • The pencil should be used lying slightly sideways and not with the very tip of the pencil.
  • Lightly colour over the leaf with a light, even pressure so that the details show through the crayon.
  • If you press too hard you will create such a dark colour that the details of the rubbing won’t show.  Also, you may actually flatten the surfaces that should be revealed when rubbed.
  • Keep your page in the exact same position until the leaf is complete.  Any movement can distort the shape of the object you are shading.
  • You can shade other colours over the one you have used to create more realistic or creative results.

So, why not try this in your next nature journal entry?

Blessings, Nadene

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Mom’s Nature Journal Signs of Autumn

This past week I noticed our grapevine leaves had started to turn pale green, browns and fall off.  I sketched some autumn grapevine leaves for my weekly mom’s nature journal.

I played around with my watercolour pencils, mixing, blending and colouring different blocks of autumn colours along the left side of my page.  I painted my leaf with watercolour paints. I also made a leaf rubbing and blended watercolour pencils over the brown paper which I tore and pasted along the right side of my 2-page layout.

Taking time each week to draw, sketch or paint in my nature journal is such an enjoyable moment of “Mother Culture” and it is an ongoing exploration and place of interest and growth.

Join Barb’s  Outdoor Mom Journal using her prompts each month.  Share your journal with us on your own blog or on her blog in a comment.

  • 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…

What inspires you in your nature journalling?

In Grace, Nadene

Smash This Nature Journal

Brand new downloads ~

Welcome to adventure outdoors journaling ideas!  Nothing stiff,  stuffy and serious here!  Be warned ~ you and your Nature Journal may get dirty or wet, but you should have some real creative fun!

I have created 2 Smash This Nature Journals which you’ll find on my Packages Page.

Cover Smash Nature Journal 1Cover Smash Nature Journal 2

Here’s how it works ~

  • Take this journal with you every time you go on a nature walk.
  • You can complete any activity, in any order.
  • Be original! Use your own ideas or adapt any here to suit your situation.
  • Photograph some of your destructive results and collect them in here to show off!
  • Have fun!

My wonderful homeschooling friend Willemien Kruger of Homeschooling Curriculum Guide sent me photos of her boys enjoying their “Smash Nature Journals“!

Here’s her feedback,

“Both my boys enjoyed doing the Smash Nature Journals at times.  It was scheduled for something to be done when they feel like it, so some days they did a lot of pages and some days none.  Of course, the boys enjoyed the really smashing activities more than the coloring or writing, and some activities really helped them to think outside the box!  A cool idea for younger kids to explore nature and art!”

My daughter also enjoyed “smashing” her journal!  There is something wonderfully liberating being instructed to tear, crumple, stain, wet and mess in a nature journal.  In the past, I over-stressed the nature sessions with expectations for neat, labeled, researched, colored journal pages.  This new approach brought a flurry of activity and excitement to our nature walks.

Pop over to my Packages Page to order your downloads.  And when your children have completed their pages, please email them to me to share here on the blog!

Blessings, Nadene

Journal Mammals

We live on a farm, so it was easy to study a whole range of mammals for our weekly Outdoor Hour Challenge

horses, sheep, lambs, cats, dogs, mice, and a heavily pregnant cow!

I encouraged the kids to sketch and/or paint the animals of their choice, and took our “What to Draw and How to Draw”  sketch notes by E.G. Lutz along, but when her pictures did not turn out as she wanted, Miss.L10 became discouraged .

I gave her the camera and asked her to take several photos of the animals.

She could simply print out the photos she liked and write her observations, or use the photos to make more realistic sketches.

I enjoyed sketching and painting several of our farm animals ~

subtly read selections from Anna Botsford Comstock’s “Handbook of Nature Study” and we discussed the cow in quite a lot of detail.  We loved the description of “illuminated with gentle eyes”  because we all think our cow’s eyes are mesmerizing!

Despite our genuine hands-on work with our gorgeous Jersey milk cows, Anna’s scientific information about milk production was really interesting and her detailed descriptions of the different cow breeds made us examine our Milly with new eyes.  Her bony hips and slightly concave spine and dainty legs are characteristic of her breed.  We smiled at the description of her “fly brush” tail as we have all had a swipe across the head at some time while milking!

I hope to read a little more about horses and sheep as we spend more time this week completing our mammal studies.

What have you enjoyed in this month’s OHC?

Blessings,