Calendar of Firsts 23 ~ 29 May 2016

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My Calendar of Firsts for this week:

  • I added the Seasonal Blue Moon again for Monday; it was super-bright, and hung golden-pink in a navy sky.
  • A pair of Swallows dancing in the evening sky against a glorious sunset.
  • A baby rabbit waiting nervously to cross the road.
  • We also had lots of Goldfinches at the feeders in the garden this week.
  • Rose was very busy bug-hunting!

What is happening in the natural world where you live?

Happy exploring!

Butterfly Week~Exploring Nature With Children


This week is Butterfly Week in Exploring Nature With Children, and our butterflies arrived right on cue!


Such beautiful creatures, we have really enjoyed raising them.


We still have one with us; it has a damaged wing and cannot fly, so Rose is taking great care of it, making sure it has food and regular walks around the garden.


I am very much looking forward to sketching this one, but the butterflies were ousted from my journal this week by a new addition to our animal family! Unfortunately, one of Rosie’s Ballon Molly’s died last week, so we went to the pet shop to get a new Molly, but Rose spied the most handsome Siamese Fighting Fish. So home with us he came.



He is named Heracles, as our reading that morning had been from D’Aulaire’s Greek Myths, the story of the strongest of all mortals, so it was the perfect name for our extremely handsome fish!

How was your nature study this week? Do you have butterflies yet?

Happy exploring!

Calendar of Firsts 16 ~22 May 2016

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My Calendar of Firsts for this week:

  • Cumulonimbus clouds piling up in blue skies.
  • A hungry Great Tit raiding a bush in my garden for tasty caterpillars.
  • Full moon 21st ~ A seasonal blue moon; the 3rd of 4 full moons this season.

What is happening in the natural world where you live?

Happy exploring!

Last Posting Day For The Nature Pen Friends Swap


Saturday is the last day for posting out your parcel to your nature pen friend.




Once your parcel arrives, please contact the family that sent to you, to let them know of its safe arrival.

If you have a blog, or are active on social media, please about your nature pen friends package, you can also share on the Exploring Nature With Children FaceBook page.

Thank you again for taking part, please feel free to email me at lynnseddonhs at gmail dot com with any questions.

Black Garden Ants Week ~ Exploring Nature With Children

This week is Black Garden Ants Week in Exploring Nature With Children. We have had a heavy week this week. You may remember that my dear Mother-in-Law is very poorly, and she has needed a lot of care this week. We did not manage our nature walk, but we have been busy observing the natural world around us.


Rose found a particularly handsome snail, which she fed with banana and took some photographs of.

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Our Space Seeds are coming along well! This tray contains seeds from the red packet. They are growing strong!

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Our caterpillars are due to make their appearance any day soon. I am hoping today, as I have to go away with my big girl tomorrow for a night, and we don’t want to miss all the action!

Have a look at my Instagram page to see our dancing chrysalis.

We sketched a chrysalis for our nature journals


I am always so fascinated at how beautiful the chrysalis actually is, with its gentle golden highlights. (Please ignore my spelling mistakes!)


How are your nature studies coming along this week?

Happy exploring!

Calendar of Firsts 9 ~15 May 2016

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My Calendar of Firsts for this week:

  • We visited a local observatory to watch the transit of Mercury cross the face of the sun
  • Several Holly Blue butterflies
  • Cabbage whites
  • Lots of Jack-by-the-hedge growing around our apple tree
  • The dandelion clocks are out in force!

What is happening in the natural world where you live?

Happy exploring!

We All Have Need To Be Trained To See


“We all have need to be trained to see, and to have our eyes opened before we can take in the joy that is meant for us in this beautiful life.”

Charlotte Mason

You can now follow Raising Little Shoots on Instagram. There is a button on the right-hand side bar; click through to follow me there. I look forward to seeing you 🙂

Happy exploring!

An Interview With Kolby Kirk

photo credit: The Muir Project

I am so happy to let you know that today we have a special guest on Raising Little Shoots! It is my very great honour to introduce Kolby Kirk: Nature Journaler and hiking enthusiast from Oregon USA. Kolby creates the most amazing nature journals; visually stunning and jam-packed with information of the hikes he takes, Kolby’s journals really are a treat for the nature lover.

~ Hello Kolby, I am delighted to have you here on Raising Little Shoots! Please could you tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you, Lynn. I’m happy to be here. If there’s anything to know about me, it’s that I am curious about so many things. I am a life-long learner where most of my inspiration comes from nature & science.  Most people know me as an illustrator, a hiker, and a journaler. I worked on the documentary Mile…Mile & A Half as the title card artist. I’m madly in love with nature and the outdoors, which had lead me down thousands of miles of trails in the last few years. While I’m out there, I like to jot down notes and sketches in a journal. I’m currently working on a book about the journals I kept during my 1,700-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, which will be published by Heyday Books

~ When did you first begin to keep your nature/hiking journals, and what got you started?

My first serious dive into a journal was in 2001 when I spent 11 weeks solo backpacking through Europe. I returned home after 77 days with a few journals filled with writing and sketches of a profound journey that changed me forever. Ever since then, I’ve kept a journal on most major trips or outdoor-related projects. I haven’t hiked without a journal in seven years and would feel naked without it. Just having a journal in my pocket has me thinking about what to write in it, which helps me try to translate what I’m seeing and doing on the trail into words. 

~ Have your journals evolved from when you fist began to keep them?

Certain aspects have slowly changed over time, either intentionally or otherwise. For instance, when I try a new journal with different dimensions than my previous book, I experiment with columns, sketch/copy placement, and other layout ideas. Some days I like putting thought into the design of a page just as I would on what I want to write/draw on the page. Other times, I’ll just write or draw without thinking much about page placement.  Experimentation and freedom are reasons why I enjoy journaling so much. The sky’s the limit!

~ Please could you share with us your favourite journaling supplies?

My kit is usually pretty simple. It consists of a journal, a ball-point pen, mechanical pencil, a General’s Tri-Tip eraser (or a piece of one), a small brush or two and some watercolor paints. To save on weight and space, I’ve had a lot of fun designing a small watercolor palette that fits in the palm of my hand. 

~ Would you share some of your favourite pages with us, and let us know what you like about them?

2001 Europe Journal 2 [9/12]

I had an epiphany when making this page: In 2001, while I sketched the Temple of Apollo in Pompeii, Italy, I heard groups of guided tourists shuffle in and out of the temple. Each group spent just long enough for their guide to share a little about the temple before shuffling off to the next area.  This happened 3-4 times.  You can learn a lot about tours in a short amount of time, but will these groups remember the finer details of the place? I discovered when making this page that taking time to concentrate on my senses (sight, smell, sound, etc.) and write/sketch them helps tremendously in moving the moment into my long-term memory.  Even today, I can feel that warm Italian sun when I look at this page. 

Europe 2001 - Journal #3 - Iasi, Romania

I love to draw maps and floorplans of rooms/houses I’m staying on my travels. It not only helps me study my surroundings, either the geography of the area or the details of the room/building I’m in, but it also reminds me of my literal, geographical location on Earth.  My fascination of maps lead to exploring the planet, so for me, drawing a map connects my travels with a point on a map and a place on the planet.


I filled over 650 pages of journals while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2011. It sounds like a lot, but it only covered a fraction of the 5-month journey, so when I returned home, I began a new journal to fill with the remembrances of the journey that were not written down.  On these pages, I recall my nightly campsites along the trail. 


Here is one of my most recent pages from a sketchbook I carry around on all of my adventures this year. (Hand Book Artist Journal – 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″)  This page was created on a weekend trip to the redwoods of Northern California with my fiancee. It’s a spiritual experience visiting the redwoods and I tried to take time to document it. I added notes to the map that evening from my tent and I sketched, inked, then painted the tree while sitting in our campsite, cooking dinner on our camp stoves.

~ What would you say you have been the greatest benefits to keeping your journals?

The act of keeping a journal has helped me learn so much about how little I know about the natural world.  The more I spend outside, the more I see, and the more I see, the more I realize I know very little about it. It’s fascinating to witness nature from the tallest redwoods to the smallest fungus, and fun to write or draw whatever it might be to try to identify. When I get home, I use my sketches and a library of guidebooks to identify it. The next time I see it on a hike, I have a better understanding of what it is and what role it plays in the environment. 

~ What advice would you give to fellow nature journalers?
Don’t let the fear of a blank page stop you from being creative.  Practice writing or drawing something – anything – in your journal every hour while on a nature outing.  Because taking the time to write is a muscle you can strengthen over time until the act becomes a natural part of your outdoor lifestyle.
What great advice Kolby; thank you so very much for taking the time to share your journals with us. They are so very inspiring and are works of art in their own right.

If you wish to follow Kolby and his journals, you can find him here:



Instagram: @thehikeguy

You can find out more about Kolby’s upcoming book on his website.

Caterpillar Week Two ~ Exploring Nature With Children


It’s Caterpillar Week Two this week in Exploring Nature With Children.


Our caterpillars are growing super-fast, how are yours getting on? We have been enjoying observing them; our ‘formal’ observation time is during what we used to call our ‘morning circle time’ when the girls were little. The time when I read aloud, we recite poetry, practice memory work, and so forth.


We visited a local observatory this week to observe Mercury passing in front of the sun! The weather was glorious, with perfect, clear blue skies!


Here is Rose with her friend at the observatory.

Our nature journals this week went a little ‘off-piste’ so to speak. Rose wanted to sketch one of the oil beetles we read about in My Family And Other Animals by Gerrald Durrell and I fancied trying to depict the light-as-air Dandelion clocks that are all about at the moment.





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How is your nature study going this week?

Happy exploring!