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.

Road Trip! Montana, United States

Flathead Lake, Northwest shore, Lakeside MT

Last week we celebrated Father’s Day with my Dad, Stepdad and Spouse in my hometown of Spokane, WA. From there we continued on to Flathead Lake, Montana. I had seen pictures of how this big lake was so deep and clear that you could see right now to the bottom. I thought that would be really fun and beautiful to see in person. Alas, while booking our trip so early to avoid wildfire season this year decided to be all ironic and give the upper Western regions a flooding season instead. Because of the flooding there was a lot of silt and debris flowing into the lake and the bottom could not be seen. It also ruined the fishing opportunities for my eldest nephew.

We would like to take our son to Yellowstone someday, but the post-pandemic lodging prices have skyrocketed to a price point I’m not willing to pay. I’m also well aware of the crowds and delays that happen in the park when it isn’t being washed out by flooding. So, my frugality and determination to avoid crowds like the plague that they are, really worked out in our favor.

Our trip was shared for two days with my Stepsister and her two boys who are close to my son’s age. I love them and it’s so rare that we all get to spend time together that this was a special trip for that reason alone. While I’m almost twenty years older than my (step)sister, we naturally sync well together. I sync well with strangers sometimes too. When I meet people out in the big wide world, I’ll just automatically become best friends with a random stranger, and we’ll share a mini adventure together. Maybe we both got lost and we work to path find our way back together or we have to endure the same stressful or boring event.

Edgewater RV Resort & Motel in Lakeside MT
Rental cabin interior. Behind the wall on the left there are two bunkbeds across from a full-size bathroom.

We stayed at the Edgewater RV Resort & Motel in one of their dog-friendly cabins. They had just planted some new trees which I was happy to see because the amount of gravel everywhere is barely better than pavement. There were a lot of birds and I tried to get pictures for you, but they were practicing “stranger danger” and wouldn’t hold still, unlike my wild birds at home who think I should referee bird arguments (see previous post; Fernmire: Farming with Squirrels.)

Flathead River Flooding 2022

I was only aware of the Flathead River creating one road closure. Nothing like what the Yellowstone River was doing much farther southeast of us.

Cougar & Coyote Taxidermy

We went to the Northwest Montana Heritage Museum in Kalispel, and I would recommend it. I always judge a places taxidermy quality on whether they have a cougar or other big cat (if native to the region) and how well that particular taxidermy was done. The shape and size of big cat heads make them notoriously hard to taxidermy without looking derpy (funny-looking.) This cougar gets an A+. I think Ermines are cute. I know that anything in the weasel family can be a problem for poultry farmers, but these little guys have a lot of personality if you ever get the opportunity to watch them.

Ermine Museum Display

We also drove to Big Fork to check out Kehoe’s Agate Shop. I met the owner whose father opened the shop in 1932. It’s always important to me to support local family business wherever I go.

Cave Bear Skeleton at Kehoe’s Agate shop – kinda small without it’s meaty bits.

Trilobite fossil at Kehoe’s Agate shop – I didn’t know fossils could be cute and this one can’t eat my veg.
Our Kehoe Agate shop purchases

We took a slightly different route on our way back home so we could see the south end of Flathead Lake in Polson.

Flathead Lake is Montana’s biggest lake.

Flathead Lake South End in Polson, MT

Although I tend to drive at the speed of a low-flying aircraft, it took us 10.5 hours to drive straight through to home with a one-hour lunch break and a fifteen-minute coffee break. We were really surprised at how few cars we saw through Montana, Idaho, and all of Washington state. We were starting to think we had somehow avoided a zombie apocalypse or something until we rounded a corner just before our exit and found everyone parked for their favorite highway interchange to Auburn Hwy 18 from I-90 South.

That was on Thursday.

Friday morning, I was crushed to learn the Supreme Court really did overturn Roe v. Wade. I guess one person’s dystopian nightmare is another person’s wet dream. A white, male conservative friend got mad at me when I post my personal feelings about it on my personal Facebook page. He said, “How dare you make a public policy decision ultra-personal!” Well, when a public policy decision is all up in my woman parts, it feels ultra-personal.