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Spring Day In Winter

 

A unique wave on a beech tree.

A unique wave on a beech tree.

This has been an interesting winter season. Many days have been more like early spring. We have had days reaching into the sixty degrees temps!   DSC_0011

I felt the need to go for some woodland time to enjoy an early spring. Off I went to see what interesting things I could witness and photograph.

The area I hiked has a grove of beech trees. I have always liked the silvery-gray bark of this specie. The texture is smooth as well. One tree had a very unique wavy on the trunk of the tree. I had never seen a beech with such a texture.

 

A huge burl!

A huge burl!

DSC_0002   I, also, discovered an oak with a huge burl on the side of the trunk. This

Queen Anne's Lace (Wild Carrot)

Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot)

burl was the largest I remember ever finding. The diameter at the trunk was approximately three across. A very beautiful bowl could be made from someone with tools and talents to do so.

I found some low-growth plants in places. One was a Teaberry. Only one plant had any berries on it. That plant yielded only one!

Teaberry

Teaberry

DSC_0008 On Friday morning four of us visited a friend from our days as workers. Frank Maus, Bob “Slim” Bowser; Tim McCleary and myself spent much time in laughter as we visited Greg Kunkle. Greg has had some health issues as of late. He enjoyed seeing his old work partners, as we did seeing him. Get well, Greg!

My Latest Painting

Detailing a thirty-six by twenty-two painting of a group of Delaware Indians was labor intensive. I had rough-sketched this painting a couple of years ago as a potential painting. A couple of friends, upon seeing the sketch, encouraged me to do the art. I still delayed. I was wondering if I should paint the piece.

Last year I began the painting. I wasn’t doing the art for anybody so I didn’t paint with any degree of speed. I did some other art during this same time period. Add hunting seasons, and holidays and that six months of painting became reality.

The Delaware Indians (Lenni-Lenape) entered the French & Indian War in 1755.  They raged terroristic warfare on the eastern Pennsylvania frontier, and beyond. Their tactics were so horrendous that many people headed towards Philadelphia with nothing but the clothes on the back.

A person captured realized several options. If the captured person faltered along the trail, or caused any issues, death would be immediate. Another option could be adoption into the tribe to replace lost family members. A captured individual may be ransomed or sold to the French. The worse scenario for a captured person would be death to the stake.

However, many prisoners once adopted would become satisfied with their way of life. Many continued to stay with the natives even after treaty signings allowing for their release.

This acrylic painting depicts the uncertainty of what will happen next to the prisoner.

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Redbank Trail

 

Redbank Creek

Redbank Creek

My friend, Frank Maus, and I have for a number f years hiked after the flintlock season. We have traveled  to various places to accomplish our annual kid-winter walk. Today, I suggested we hike the Redbank valley Trail. This trail runs parallel to Redbank Creek in southern Clarion County, Pennsylvania.

 

Leatherwood Creek

Leatherwood Creek

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The hike didn’t feature a lot of wildlife this time. We saw, and heard, a raven, and crows. We saw some various small bird life. I saw one squirrel in the distance. We searched for an eagle nest, but apparently, we missed the exact location of this majestic bird.

Milkweed

Milkweed

DSC_0006 We traveled past the communities of Climax,  and St. Charles in Armstrong County  . The latter once yielded a brick works type of work for many years. Today, the site is covered with falling down buildings and debris.

A long-abandoned building.

A long-abandoned building.

Leatherwood Creek flows past the brick works into Redbank Creek. I had hooked a Northern Pike near here sometime ago. I caught the fish on a light weight trout fishing rod. The fish won!

 

 

Beaver activity.

Beaver activity.

With the hike completed we traveled back roads to see the sites.

Frank looking for grouse!

Frank looking for grouse!

DSC_0002  Single digit numbers with a below-zero wind chill…no problem! Yes, I ventured out into the elements to enjoy some woodland time. The secret to enjoying such weather is mental attitude, along with proper attire.                                                                     DSC_0007

DSC_0015  This morning I walked on several trails at the Todd Sanctuary. This site is Audubon Society lands near Sarver, Pennsylvania.       DSC_0017

One of the advantages of hiking such weather is the lack of others. I was all by myself!

The trails I traveled  witnessed much wildlife sign prior to my arrival.  Squirrel tracks were common. I saw lots of rabbit tracks in areas where the habitat was present. I couldn’t go short distances without seeing deer tracks, and  deer feeding activities. All tracks appeared rather fresh. Later, I would see four deer.

 

Rabbit Tracks

Rabbit Tracks

I hated to stop the trekking, but I knew  some plumbers may be calling in the afternoon for a leak repair….and they did show up. The simple leak turned out to be a pressure regulator issue.      DSC_0014

 

"old Jacob" and my gear.

“old Jacob” and my gear.

The “Hunter Mode” evades me easily. Many things can trigger a lack of desire to shoot. With me, weather can play a part. Traditionally, I butchered 98% of what I have taken over the years, so I want cool weather to work with.

Other reasons include my attempts to help others harvest over myself. I have been working at having  deer pass by my step-father, Bob. I may tend to pass up shots while doing this task. I actually allowed several close range shots to not happen. There are times I just do not want to take an animal. Some may call this weird, and maybe it is. Whatever, I have passed shots on gobblers, many deer, and even a bear one time. I think of these times as “Counting Coup”. Many Indian tribes, especially the western ones, considered touching an enemy over killing  to be bigger “medicine” than killing the opponent.

I haven’t hunted the long times as I tend to do. My leg feels like it gets fluid at times, so I have limited some woodland hunts. I didn’t hunt on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I passed up two 20 plus yard shots. I was standing, and thought maybe I should end this hunt. At the “click” of the hammer, being pulled back, the two deer bolted. Later, I missed one of these same deer. Then it happened! The “Hunter mode” kicked in.  I had 32 deer sightings by noon when I quit.                                                                                                                               DSC_0001

Thursday morning, I hunted about one hour, and a half behind where I grew up. I was trying to move some deer for Bob. This area was fields for most of my life. They had been abandoned and now the briars and goldenrods encompass  everywhere. the deer love it, but the goldenrods are over my head.

I was walking the old farmer’s road when I heard deer moving in these towering goldenrods. I quickly moved only to see two doe at about eight yards. They instantly took off never to be viewed again. I saw five deer totally.

Today, January 1st, I couldn’t stand being home, and took off to hunt. I was still hunting and saw two deer. I continued sneaking along when I saw a deer down over the hill walking towards me. I stopped. The deer turned broadside. The shot was true, and humane. The big doe lay still. The distance was over seventy steps.

I offered up a prayer of thanks, and the dragging began.

 

Flintlock Time!

December 26 witnessed the first day of the primitive deer hunting season. This is my personal favorite time to hunt. I decided to be a “dog” this day for my cousin, Donnie Smail, and step-father, Bob Miller.

Briars!!!!!!!!!

Briars!!!!!!!!!

I was walking through some clear-cut areas on some of these pushes for deer.  Brambles; logs; multiflora rose and young growth saplings made moving difficult.

Prior to the first drive I maneuvered myself to a place to allow the “boys” to get into their position. prior to the deer drive, I went up, and over, to see where workers had removed the top of the hill. I wanted to observe how much woodlands were dozed over.

The Ram! (Note erosion control fencing.)

The Ram! (Note erosion control fencing.)

I was seeing a lot of deer sign when I looked along a grass-covered  area. I saw an animal. I first thought I was seeing a deer, but the colors didn’t look correct. I could see the colors of an elk along with deep blackened areas along the legs , and belly. The animal continually fed. I glassed it. Later, I saw the head and it was a ram!  What the heck was a ram doing way out here?

Well, as for the drives I placed deer went past the hunters at different times, but not a shot was fired.

I saw a grouse, and some squirrels as well.

We quit about 11:30 since some rain began falling as predicted. However, The rain didn’t amount to much all afternoon. Next time out, Old Jacob may get a shot! That rifle was named after Captain Jacob the famous Delaware warrior, and chief in Kittanning, Pennsylvania  in the eighteenth century.                                                                                              DSC_0005

 

Christmas 2015

 

Laurie with her Santa cap!

Laurie with her Santa cap!

On Christmas Day, my small family attacked my old homestead. Those in attendance were my mother Ruth, of course; my step-father, Bob; my sister, Ruthie with her husband Tim; and Laurie, and I! That’s it!

 

My sister, Ruthie with Laurie.

My sister, Ruthie with Laurie.

My mother, Ruth!

My mother, Ruth!

We went about the normal exchange of gifts prior to feasting! We engaged in much laughter, and picking on each other as is our norm.

 

My brother-in-law Tim ...the Ford man!  haha

My brother-in-law Tim …the Ford man! haha

 

Bob Miller, my step father!

Bob Miller, my step father!

Christmas season does bring about some sadness for me. I always attempt to capture those nostalgic feelings of earlier times, and they can not be found.  I remember singing Christmas carols in school including those with a spiritual wording. The attacks on anything of Christ at Christmas tears at my heart. Last year I turned over the Charlie Brown Christmas and Linus’ Biblical reading from the Book of Luke had been edited out.  The passing of my father, Allen in 1999, saddens me. This list can  go on forever. At least, I know in my heart I work with keeping Christ in my Christmas.

Mom modeling her new jammies!

Mom modeling her new jammies!

However, we still enjoy the family functions this time of the year!

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