My step father, Bob Miller and mother, Ruth with Teea
What a voice! What can I say! I had the honor to play lead guitar with Teea Goans On Saturday, September 13th at the WTYM Radio Station for an outside country jam concert.
The morning proved to be challenging for all of us trying to keep dry under a few tents. Water blew in from the sides and back. Water dripped between the tents and water even dripped through the tents. Nobody was electrocuted. The rain caused additional problems as well. The sound system people couldn’t set up everything we needed to do a successful rehearsal. Teea had to sing without a microphone. Hearing was difficult, but we managed to get a quick rehearsal in!
The band with Teea
After this I returned Teea to her hotel room and waited to pick her up again for the show later. The day gradually cleared after the noon rains quit, however, the winds came! Hair was being blown all about!
This band came about after much effort. We searched for a drummer and bass guitar player to offer the style of music needed to play many of the songs Teea had planned to perform. Time was short, but we managed to put together a band quickly. The band members were: Dick Vernon on steel guitar; Betty Hill on the bass guitar; Al Mechling on rhythm guitar; Jeff hazard on drums and myself struggled through with the lead guitar.
Teea Goans is an up and coming country music star. She has been on RFD TV television shows with more coming. She has two CDs on the market and is about to begin her third CD. She has appeared on the stage of the Grand Old Opry and sang with many of the “big names” of country music.
Laurie and I took her out for the evening meal after the concert and we felt honored to become more acquainted with this “down-to-earth” young lady. Please, take some time to visit her web at: http://www.teeagoans.com
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Recently, I gathered up some fishing gear and left early to go and fish at Lock #8 north of Kittanning. I imagined now that the rains had a chance to slow the Allegheny River should be in a good condition to fish. Well, sorta..kinda! I entered the site about 6:30 A.M. and another fisherman was present. The water was being “let out” at that hydroelectric plant thus we had fast-moving and churning water.
The fisherman had been on site for about fifteen minutes. He said the water was calm as glass until the moments prior to my arrival. I threw in a baited hook and after about ten minutes I retrieved the line. Time for a hike!
The hike was perfect. the temperatures were still comfortable at this hour. I saw plenty of wildlife during my excursion. I saw six deer; a ‘coon; a rabbit and some squirrels. I saw a flock of turkeys on the railroad tracks too.
The highlight of the morning was the sight of a porcupine. I was able to get quite close to the prickly little guy. He immediately chose to get into his defensive posture once I became known to the ‘pine.
After, a few minutes to take photos and observe the porky. He/she decided it had had enough of the foul- smelling human and departed to a tree.
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The fog was moderate to heavy all morning. I was planning to go fishing in the back waters of Crooked Creek, but decided I needed a nice long hike.
My destination was to hike the Baker Trail beginning at Cochran’s Mill and going until I decided to turn around. The Baker Trail is a trail beginning near Aspinwall, Pennsylvania and ending in the Allegheny National Forest. The trail is 132 miles long.
Turtlehead…a native flower.
The hike followed the hills and hollows near Crooked Creek for the most part. I walked along some very high cliffs through wetlands and big forests and even along some township roads. These are all part of this section of the trail.
The first wildlife specie I found was a box turtle. The reptile allowed for a few photos as I continued on. At several sites I saw deer. One deer, at least, sported a rack. The antlers didn’t appear to have been rubbed at all although this act of rubbing trees will occur very soon. I saw a lot of grey and fox squirrels. I, also, saw a rabbit and a Sharp-shined Hawk. I saw a bear on the trail, but the bear was in the underbrush before I could get a photo.
Eventually, the trail came onto a wetland area. The trees had been harvested and the trail was covered with much vegetation. The trail, at this point, was nothing more than a deer trail in width. Needless to say I was soaked from above the knees and my feet were becoming wrinkled like a prune I am sure.
Some areas has big oak trees and other areas has big pines and hemlocks.
Eventually, I came across several large trees down and blocking the trail. I elected to go down over the hill to Crooked Creek. I came onto this water near a site known as Robb’s Fording. This site is not far from the actual Crooked Creek Lake and park. I decided to walk along until I came onto Pine Run and walk up the creek. Remember I am already soaked! I had crossed this run, earlier, while following the trail. Here I saw a Great Blue Heron and a Red-Tailed hawk.
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I had planned to go fishing, but sinus pressure was a little burdensome early in the morning. However, as the morning moved along I decided to take a woodland hike at a local state game lands.
I listened to some friend’s CD we all created as I traveled to the parking area. The music had me keeping time with my fingers on the steering wheel!
The wildflowers are over abundant along the trails. The most common flowers are the ironweed; the, up to eight feet high, Joe-pye; Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot); Boneset; Jewelweed and many others. My dad told me of his family making Boneset tea years ago.
The butterflies and bumble bees were common any place the flowers were exhibiting their beauty. Unfortunately, honey bees are scarce everywhere!
I visited a pond where I saw about six carp digging up the shallows. Maybe, I should have gone fishing!
At one area, I found some turkey sign. Some soft stool from a turkey was attracting about a dozen flies. A white-faced hornet kept busy trying to catch one. He failed in all attempts while I watched. I remember, as a kid, how I was intrigued watching hornets catching flies around my granddad’s farm. It doesn’t take much to thrill me!
On milkweed I noticed a colored beetle. Unfortunately, my aging brain can not remember the specie, but I remember, again as a kid, seeing many of these behind the house. I thought how beautiful the beetle was then and I still do now. (Looked up the beetle: It is the Dogbane Leaf beetle.)
Great Blue Lobelia
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Crooked Creek Lake
A quick decision, the evening before, had Laurie and I, hiking the Laurel point Trail at Crooked Creek State Park on August 25. This park is located south of Ford City, Pennsylvania.
The trail is around two miles in length. The path follows along Crooked Creek Lake, but one can’t see the waters for most of the walk. The trail, also, loops around at the end and any hiker will come back and walk some of the original path through the woods on their return.
One will walk, initially, through meadow and wetland-like areas. These sites have plenty of flower species to view. We could hear many annual cicadas here. Locating the insect can be difficult in spite of their mating noise. Other areas have various pine species and deciduous woodlands. Scattered about are some mature oak, beech and white pine as well.
We crossed Coal Bank Hollow at one point. I had hunted spring gobblers with, my friend, Kip Feroce near here in the past. He has a hunting camp nearby.
The entire venture took us over two hours to complete. We saw two deer and the usual bird life and chipmunks. We stumbled onto a hornet’s nest. The occupants were very nice to us and allowed passage. Lots of various fungus and toad stools are growing as September closes in on the year.
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We are past the mid-way date of August. Summer will be giving way to another autumn season sooner than expected. This summer of 2014 has proven to be a rainy season. We have had numerous days where rain has fallen and sometimes very heavy. I had one back yard flood that was not the norm. We have not had any ninety degree days as of this date. I like that! The Allegheny River flowing through the middle of Armstrong County has had chocolate-colored water for several months too. This has been an interesting season.
Gardens are doing well and wildflowers are too. I enjoy the beauty of wildflowers. Summer wildflowers are usually much higher from ground level as the early soring flowers are. In April and May the sun easily reaches the forest and field floors allowing for blossoming closer to the ground. However, as the grasses grow and the leaves occupy the upper canopy of the woodlands, wildflowers have a need to shoot higher to avoid being crowded out.
Queen Anne’s Lace
The Jewelweed is an interesting plant. The stems are hollow and the flower is usually found near wetlands and water sources. As a kids, and sometimes as an adult, I touch the ripened seed pods to watch them explode. the seeds fly all over. We have the yellow and spotted varieties locally. Hummingbirds enjoy the flowers as well.
A beautiful wildflower meadow.
There are a number of thistle species here in western Pennsylvania. The beautiful flowers, however, have small spikes along their stems.
The Ironweed has a deep purple color. It grows well along water sources too.
The Queen Anne’s Lace is an interesting flower. Each flower, prior to blooming, is shaped as a bird’s nest. Another thing to look for is the small deep purple center of each blossom.
Always a sign of autumn’s approach are the goldenrods. One can see fields of yellow at times from this specie.
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Over the last several months I have been engaged in a music project. The project consisted of working with my friend, Al Mechling. Al is owner, along with his wife Marla, of Mechling Bookbindery north of Butler, Pennsylvania on Route 38. The business deals with books and restoration and bookbinding. Their web site is: http://www.mechlingbooks.com
Marla Mechling Photo
However, back to the music project details. Al, and myself, worked on making a CD entitled, “Songs from The Heart.” Al did all lead vocals on this country-styled endeavor. My task was to arrange and place the various instrumental tracks prior to his vocals. I played all guitar parts, bass guitar and did some piano and keyboard tracks as well. Al’s daughter, Melissa Lauer, performed the piano work on an old classic called, “The Last Date.” The CD has over eighty tracks on it with twelve songs recorded. This equated to many hours of work!
Al is greatly involved in the MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION and he is donating all proceeds to this organization.
A special introduction was included on this accomplishment by Ashley-Anne Stump. Ashley-Anne is a special young lady to Al. She has benefited from Al’s dedication and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Anyone interested with a purchase can go to: http://www.mechlingbooks.com/product-p/cd100.htm
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