Spring Blossoms

We have experienced an unusually mild, dry winter.  There has been no snow on our mountains and yet we have experienced some of the worst frost ever.  Since it is still August, it came as a surprise to find our fruit orchard full of blossoming trees.  My previous early spring blossom sketches in my nature diary were done September last year.Blossoms1

My youngest daughter led me out to enjoy the warm sunshine and we went to view “our” Maple tree. We first measured our Maple tree  in 2011 and the little tree was just as tall as Miss.L12, just over 1 meter high.  This spring it is twice my height!  I was glad that my nature journal contained many of my older nature study pages because we could compare our current tree study with previous years and seasons.

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We spent time looking at the variety of fruit trees’ blossoms.  I was utterly enchanted by our blue berry blossoms which looked like little bells.  We sketched and painted and we both experimented with wet-on-wet water painting which worked wonderfully! (I’m afraid that my scanner did not pick up the colors of our watercolors.)

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As our time was running out, and we had already spent much of our morning outside (time flies when you are having fun sketching), I sent Miss.L12 with the camera to capture all the blossoms.  We plan to use the photos to sketch and paint or simply to compare the differences between the different blossoms.


We are so happy to enjoy our lovely early spring nature study here in South Africa and wish a happy autumn to those living in the Northern Hemisphere!


(Contributing this post to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival.)

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?