December: Nature at Rest

Lake Crescent 2016 By Melanie Reynolds

Welcome to 2023!

My New Year’s gift to you is the picture above. Lake Crescent, located near the Hoh Rainforest, and one of the quietest places in the United States according to the Gordon Hempton’s project, One Square Inch of Silence.

To listen to the beauty of the Olympic peninsula and see more pictures visit Gordon Hempton’s website:


-Gordon Hempton, Founder
One Square Inch of Silence

May you find peace and Joy in the new year!

Between the holidays and the crazy weather, I doubt many of you were quiet or restful for very long. This month’s photo submission was a bit of a washout. I kind of suspected this might happen. Life, like all forms of energy has its own ebb and flow similar to water. I’m neither sad nor disappointed.

Please join me in thanking Lisa Troute and Tracy Abell for their photo submission!

So cute!

Gopher Tortoise By Lisa Troute Jupiter, Florida.

The Gopher Tortoise is a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in its native territory of the Southeastern United States. It is the only tortoise found naturally east of the Mississippi River. They can live up to 40-60 years in the wild and 90+ in captivity. (

Lisa says that a lot of animals use the tortoise’s burrows including snakes and small animals. I found this 1:45min clip on PBS Nature about how these other animals also rely on the burrows for safety during fires and hurricanes. This makes the Gopher Tortoise a Nature-Led hero in my book! Wolverines and Badgers might also make nice burrows, but they’re rarely inclined to share their home with others.

Unknown bird nest. Barr Lake State Park, Colorado. April 8, 2021 Tracy Abell / Another Day On the Planet

While Tracy captioned her picture as “Unknown bird nest” I had fun playing Forest Detective and we think we know whose nest this is. Our guess is that it belongs to a Bullock’s Oriole. This type of nest is called a “pendant nest”. I did my original search calling it a “hammock nest” and some other people searched for it calling it a “sock nest”. Whatever you want to call it though, it’s an interesting nest and I love it!

Thank you again Lisa and Tracy for giving me interesting pictures and non-rabbit holes to follow!

Finally, let’s just call this bonus content. Do you need more inspiration for getting excited about nature? Well, check out this lovely fellow and his Becorns! This is a true pleasure to watch. I also appreciate that he has a calm, casual voice similar to my own.

Video belongs to: David M Bird

Nature-Led New Year’s Goals?

If you’re the kind of person who likes to make goals for the new year, what are some of your goals for 2023?

Can you think of how to make these or other goals, Nature-led goals?

Future Photo Submissions:

January: Moss Due: January 31st (Posted Feb 1st PST)

February: Unexpected Blooms and/or Ferns Due: February 28 (March 1st PST)

Fine Print: Photo Submissions Guidelines

Email to:, Subject line: Photo Submission for [month] (Multiple months of photos in one email is fine.) Image: Attached as a .JPEG or .PNG file preferred. Captions each picture: Subject in the photo (if known), State/Providence & Country, Date (optional). Your name as you want it to appear, Your blog link (if you have one.) Feel free to add any interesting notes about a picture. I love interesting stories behind things! Let me know if it’s just for ‘my eyes only’ or if I can share any part of it with your photo. Pictures must be your own or you have permission from the Photographer to share it. All copyrights belong to their owners. This is just a free, fun, community site about nature.

As always, THANK YOU for being here and being part of the Nature-Led community!

But wait there’s more! Here is Dinah’s on the cusp photo submission for “Nature at Rest”!

On Black Beach looking North, Australia. By Dinah. Dec 31, 2022.

Reminder: December’s Photo Submission Request

Hello Nature-Led Friends!

I know that many of us are busy with holiday preparations, but I do hope you will make the time to appreciate the nature around you! Whether you go for a walk or sit at a window please take some time to relax in the beauty of nature and be kind to yourself and others. We have two weeks before the submission date for this month’s photo submission request.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird at the Winter feeder. By Melanie Reynolds

(There is a handwarmer hidden in the orange sleeve when the temperature is below freezing. I also bring the feeder in at night.)

December: Nature At Rest

Pictures due: December 31st, Midnight Pacific Standard Time

Submissions to be rounded up and posted before the end of day: January 1st.

What do I mean by “nature at rest” anyway?

I like to keep things open to broad interpretation. At rest does not have to mean sleeping, but that the cycle of life is merely demonstrated as being slowed down or contemplative even. Examples include, but are not limited too:

Birds, not flying. Deer, Elk or some other animal sitting in a field, by a pond, or in a forest. Snow in a field or a frozen pond. Dormant plants and trees. I have a Hardy Hibiscus that I love. In the summer it is green with beautiful pink flowers, in the winter the white bark and vase-like structure of the branches create an attractive architectural detail.

I hope this gives you some ideas. I feel with such a vague topic choice for the month, we’ll either get hardly any submissions at all or a hearty diversity of interpretations. I’m really champion for the latter! Hence this post.

What about January and February?

January and February often feel like such a drag around here in the Northern Countries, so let’s brighten these two months up with some unexpected greens and defiant flowers! If you’re living in the Southern Hemisphere, that’s cheating! Ha,ha,ha.

Melanie Reynolds Profile Pic

January: Moss

Photos Due: January 31st (see guidelines below)

I love moss! There are many varieties. In the U.S. people fight to get the moss out of their lawns and in Japan, people fight to get the grass out of their moss. I find it all rather amusing. It’s no secret, I’m on team Moss! One should not discount their ability to act as carbon sinks and they do it all without need of mowing or fertilizers!

Raindrops on Moss By Melanie Reynolds

Snowdrops in the snow. Photo by Valeria Boltneva on

February: Unexpected Blooms and/or Ferns

Photos Due: February 28 (See guidelines below)

I’m carefully watching my Pink Dawn Viburnum. It’s one of the first things to bloom in the new year and it smells amazing! This Fall I also planted Snowdrop bulbs on the hillside. We’ll see if anything comes of it, maybe the squirrels have feasted like kings this winter. I’m new to bulb planting, but the directions sounded easy enough. At any rate, I have no shortage of Ferns here at Fernmire to keep me company!

Wood Sorrel and Ferns By Melanie Reynolds

Photo Submissions Guidelines

Email to:

Subject line: Photo Submission for [month] (Multiple months of photos in one email is fine.)

Image: Attached as a .JPEG or .PNG file preferred.

Captions each picture: Subject in the photo (if known), State/Providence & Country, Date (optional). Your name as you want it to appear, Your blog link (if you have one)

Feel free to add any interesting notes about a picture. I love interesting stories behind things! Let me know if it’s just for ‘my eyes only’ or if I can share any part of it with your photo.

Pictures must be your own or you have permission from the Photographer to share it. All copyrights belong to their owners. This is just a free, fun, community site about nature.

November Submissions: Mushrooms

Hello Nature-Led Friends!

I hope you’re all doing your best to stay healthy. I know this time of year gets busy for all of us but remember to get plenty of water, vitamin C, fresh air and sleep! Maybe a bit of Mushroom broth to help keep you warm and sated. Mushrooms are and excellent source of vitamin D. However, none of the following mushrooms should be eaten. I admire mushrooms for their beauty, diversity and place within the ecosystem but my classification skills of them is terrible. Please enjoy the following photo submission for entertainment purposes.

Let’s start our journey by passing through the mushroom gate.

Mushroom Sculptures, Durham Botanic Garden, Durham England By Leslie Dawson

This makes me think of the Torii gates of Japan that symbolically mark the transition between the rest of the world and the sacred.

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

The most popular and photogenic mushroom of the group goes to the Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria). This mushroom is commonly found in the northern hemisphere and popular in illustrations and folklore of Western Europe. The mushroom is poisonous and does have some psychoactive properties. Druids of ancient Europe may have used it for its hallucinogenic properties and provided it to warriors prior to battle to reduce their stimulus to fear, but none of us are ancient Druids, so leave it on the ground for the fairy folk!

Fly Agaric Toadstools, Durham Egland by Leslie Dawson. Blog:

Durham England By Leslie Dawson
Blickling England By IDV. Blog:

Redmond WA USA By Patricia Lezama. Blog:

Conks (aka Shelf Fungi or Bracket Fungi)

Found throughout the world growing on tree trunks and limbs, stumps, fallen logs, and sometime structural lumber.

Mushrooms growing on a weeping mango stump, Uganda, Africa By Jude Itakali Blog:

Conks on a stump, Riverside Park, New York, NY, US By Kerfe
Riverside Park, New York, NY US By Kerfe. Blog

Artist’s Conk (Ganoderma applanatum), Devon, England By Ms Scarlet. Blog:

Unknown Conk in Doylestown, PA US By Mistress Maddie. Blog:

Unknown Mushrooms

Mushroom Series, South Florida, US By Lisa Troute

Same kind of mushroom?

Unknown Mushroom in Blickling, UK By IDV Blog:

Ms Scarlet’s “Boring Mushroom” Devon, England. Blog:

Looks like someone took a nibble out of this one. The squirrels in my yard will occasionally eat mushrooms.

Unknown Mushrooms, Colorado US By Tracy Abell. Blog:

Who dropped these cream puffs among the lupine and clover?

Unknown mushroom, South Florida By Lisa Troute.

These look a lot like Oyster Mushrooms, but I’ve always known oyster mushrooms to be growing on logs and this looks to be growing up through the ground, what looks like sandy soil.

Small Mushrooms on a log By Leslie Dawson. Blog:

In my first relationship when I was young, I would go mushroom hunting with my boyfriend’s mom. We would go up into the mountains around familiar burns scars from 2-4 years passed where plentiful Oyster, Chanterelles and Shaggy Mane. We often ate them breaded and fried.

Also, I must share this delightful book. What a great cover picture! The thought of it alone makes me smile. The contents of the book are excellent as well if you happen to find yourself with an interest in mushroom identification and hunting throughout the US and Canda.

My dear friend Patricia Lezam closes this post with heartfelt musings on the topic at hand.

Redmond WA USA By Patricia Lezama. Blog:


These two mushrooms look alike. Probably one is older than the other. One little, one big. One thicker, one brighter. Similar species, they seem the same by the eye of a two-leg walker who is staring at them and standing still wishing she is one of them.

Last time she saw herself in the mirror she could not find her curves like the ones in the magazines. She felt sad and irregular, out of that world and its shape. 

During her empty lifespan she kept wondering how to fit in, she struggled all her spores out until today.

She realized that she didn’t need a mirror. She just needed a walk, to find her reflection in these two mushrooms.

She felt complete in one stem and a big head full of ideas, creativity, fairy tales. A head to save her from bad weather, a head as an antenna to receive the energy of the universe and communicate with it.

She read once that mushrooms don’t have roots, but mycorrhizal associations. The mycelium’s role is to collect nutrients and water and keep the mushroom anchored to the earth. So she wished. She wished there was a root system underneath her humanity, in which everybody is unique but interdependent, knowing that we need each other.  Knowing that we are all connected to each other in order to be, whether we see it or not, feel it or not. 

Sometimes she believed that she did not need anything or anyone. A lone walker with nobody to bother and nobody bothering her. Then she understood, she knew that every little or big thing she does affects her surroundings, our roots, so she started to bother, then, it became a wishful longing, where her kin were like these mushrooms, rooted for eachother even without seeing, even without feeling it, just being. If we were like them, we would  be a magnificent forest, diverse in colors, shapes, heights, breathing this same air that brings oxygen no matter body shapes or ranks, because in the mushroom life, there is no hierarchy.

So much room in this world for all of us, so much room in the head of these two mushrooms, and in her, and myself, and you. So much to give and love and live in awe and wonder.

Patricia Lezama.

Little Mushroom Trail By Melanie Reynolds

This concludes our Mushroom tour. I hope you enjoyed it! As always, my love and gratitude to those of you that participated by providing pictures. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!