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Turk’s Cap Lily

Lots of flowers coloring the natural landscape. I always take photos of these beauties to share to those appreciating seeing them.

The Turk’s Cap Lily is a beautiful lily native to Pennsylvania. This stalk of the flower may reach to eight feet in height. These flowers are commonly found along

Blue Vervain

watershed areas such as marshlands and along streams.

The Downy Skullcap doesn’t have a name that sounds very attractive, but the flower is attractive in it’s unique way.  The plant has these blue flowers on a stalk reaching three feet high. Common in western Pennsylvania in woodlands and clearings.

 

 

Downy Skullcap

The Blue Vervain, shown above, grows as high as three feet. Individual flowers are dainty. The Blue Vervain is found in damp areas and field edges or abandoned fields.

Teasel

Teasel is not a native flower. This flower was introduced from Europe.  The stalk can grow as high as around six feet. This flower is common in old fields and along pastures and roads. One common

Swamp Milkweed

use for Teasel is the dried flower head is often used in crafts such as decorative wreaths and such.

The Swamp Milkweed can grow up to six feet, but is most commonly found at two or three feet high.

 

Horse Nettle

 

Chickory

Chicory is a vivid blue flower that was, also, introduced to Pennsylvania. These flowers grow along roads and waste areas.

Bee Balm, or Owego, is a plant that can be used as a tea. This flower is often discovered in damp areas near streams.

 

Bee Balm

 

I guess I spoke words similar to those in the title upon seeing the nice Muskie leap totally out of the water two times!  At least, that is what my friend, Frank “Muskie” Maus told me afterwards. We entered the waters of the Allegheny River about seven this morning fishing for the elusive Muskellunge.

The early time on the river was covered with fog. However, the sun would quickly eliminate all traces of any fog in short time.   

We spent some time trying to entice the fish through surface casting and later deep water casting. I would see one Bald eagle and a hen Wood Duck in the morning hours.

 

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Notice the trail of the mussel.

Suddenly sometime after ten I the morning I felt the strike and set the hook! Wow! The big Muskie started the fight. The sight was beautiful as the fish leapt completely out of the water two times.  I worked the fish finally getting the ‘ski to the side of the boat. Frank has a stick he uses to try to get accurate measurements, but it is not easy getting the fish to cooperate. I don’t know how he manages when fishing by himself. The Muskie was around 40-41 inches in length. We quickly remove the lure and release without bringing the fish onto the boat. this helps ensure the survival of such a grand fish.          

 

Wood Duck hen

Later, we began trolling. An interesting fishing adventure was to take place during our trolling time. Frank said something was happening with my rod wondering if weeds gathered on the lure.  the tip of the rod wasn’t appearing right. Normally, while trolling the action of the lure causes the rod tip to be bent and jerking. There was a distinct slack as Frank yelled fish. I heard the reel hum and reached for the rod . I felt weight and then nothing. The Muskie had spit the lure out of the mouth. Frank said that fish had the lure and was swimming at the same speed of the boat hence the lack of action upon the rod tip.  He had never experienced that fact before.

Beautiful morning

 

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Very near to the community of Brookville, Pennsylvania a very interesting park is located. Today, the area has been worked on through dedicated people. The Jefferson County History center through grant monies has created this park with a parking lot, pavilion, trails and kiosks and such things. (The Jefferson County History Center web site is: http://www.jcjconline.org.)A personal friend, Ken Burkett was instrumental with the development of the area. Ken, an archeologist, has been part of the Jefferson County Museum; Parker’s Landing petroglyph digs; Fishbasket Indian village digs and many others sites.  He has been part of the North Fork Chapter 29 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology for many years. I am a life member of this group, as well. (The web site for the North Fork  Chapter 29 Society is http://www.northfork29.org.) I applaud Ken and the help for their efforts! (By chance Ken was on the trails as we visited this morning.)

  Scripture Rocks heritage Park is located in woodland surroundings. (Go to http://www.scripturerocks.com for more details.)Many rocks are scattered on the

Death Rock

woodland floor. What defines this historical site are the carvings on  many rocks. At least 65 rocks are inscribed with Bible verses, scripture and some rants from the man who committed to doing these carvings over one hundred years ago.

Laurie and I left early to walk the trails in order to beat the hot, humid afternoon conditions and the predicted heavy rains. We slowly walked the 1.2 miles of trails reading the rocks and pondering as to what possessed the man to carry on with such an undertaking.

The man who did the rock carvings was Douglas Monroe Stahlman born in August 17th of 1861 in Jefferson county, Pennsylvania. He would be a teacher for a time. Later with his wife and family moved to Valprasis, Indiana. He became entangled in a scandal revolving around a religious movement of John Alexander Dowie. This would effect his entire life! The cult was called Dowism named after it’s founder. This sect followed a belief of healing by faith only. The founder declared war on the medical system.

Douglas’ wife would become very ill with blood poisoning and when he returned from being away to find her under a doctor’s care ordered the doctor to leave. The wife would die because of her husband’s desire to use only faith  healing on her because of the cult’s belief. He was jailed and deemed insane. His children would be taken from him.

Mr. Stahlman returned to Brookville in 1908. He was a man who had, and would later, face hardships in his life but he held to his deeply rooted religious convictions.

  Later, he would attempt to court a local woman named Mary Gilbert. Mary did not want to be his wife. This would lead to  carvings on some of rocks expressing some anger and frustrations. He would be inhabiting the woods and even had outdoor prayer services. Mr. Stahlman had a group of followers. He carved words against a Methodist superintendent on some rocks. Rock surfaces with Mary’s name on were marred in an attempt to remove her name.

Other interesting carvings featured big lettering with words such as: LOVE; HEALTH; DEATH; COURAGE: HOPE and others. These carvings were completed in 1912 and 1913.  Some of the lettering goes up to thirty inches in height. At least 165 carved rocks have been found. However, prior to the carvings he had dedicated  over 500 rocks.

Douglas lived on site for sometime as well.

   As time went on Douglas would be again deemed insane and arrested and jailed in 1915. He escaped jail and was later caught again. He spent the remaining years of his life in the Dixmont State Hospital in Allegheny County. He died in 1942.

Was Douglas M. Stalhman insane or just bitter. Probably, both insanity and bitterness would lead to his behavior with the rocks near Brookville.

Scripture Rocks is located south 28 of the Interstate 80 at the Exit 81 exchange.

 

 

Bull Thistle

Tuesday, June 27, I spent some quality time fishing on the Allegheny River. I was limited with bait , but I had some great fishing experiences.    throughout the early morning on this cool and breezy day I hauled in three nice Smallmouth Bass; five Walleyes and a Rock bass. I missed several other hits. I watched a Great Blue heron fishing along the shore. The bird was very successful!

 

Bear Tracks

This morning I was off again to hike in the State Game Lands 137. My goals were to see bear if possible.

 

Native Rhododendron

 

Owl Feather

I began my trek prior to six in the morning enjoying the forty degree temperatures and the lack of pestering insects. I slowly    walked along looking for photo opportunities and wildlife.  I saw one doe, but she watched me intently. I imagine she had fawn)s) behind her, but she wasn’t taking any chances and she turned into the dense foliage.

Summer wildflowers were everywhere as I searched for critters. I saw some various warblers including the Hooded warbler.

Dew on grasses

Later as I walked a grassy area I bumped a hen from a tree only to walk upon another hen just ahead. I glanced around for poults, but failed to see any, but I feel confident some were nearby. I didn’t see any bear, but I found old tracks in the dried mud.

 

Butterfly Flower

  

Black-eyed Susan

(Monday, June 26) How could I not hike on such a beautiful and cool morning? The morning was actually “fall-like” and I

Crane Fly

wanted to see what I could observe on such a fine day. I decided to travel over a few Cherry Run hills and hollows. Bear mating season is underway and I always search out opportunities to see those black beauties.                                                                   

I ascended a hill before leveling off across some woodland edges. I really enjoyed the coolness and peacefulness I was experiencing. Throughout the morning I would see twelve deer. Unfortunately, photo opportunities were few due to vegetation, distances and not seeing open views. Interestingly, I didn’t see any fawns this morning, but I am sure some were close by!

Daylily

 

Deptford Pink

I descended a slope onto an old timbering, but grass covered road. Suddenly, an explosion of fury erupted directly in front of me. A  hen turkey took to the air followed by miniatures. Yes, a number of turkey poults flew into the air in varying directions landing in trees. I estimated, due to their size, the poults to be about three weeks old. Wild turkey poults can fly short distances at around two weeks of age. I thought of setting down and calling them all back, but elected to continue on with the hike.

Milkweed Beetle

Moth Mullein

I circled the side of the hill unto a recently reclaimed strip job. I was struck in awe at the distances I could see. I sat down on some bare  ground to look about the distant hills. memories of my past could be viewed everywhere I looked. I started to visualize the turkeys and deer I had tagged as I looked those distances.  Lots of memories! I had bagged a gobbler on the one point just this past spring.              

I could see very far and I noticed a deer running across a field. I wondered what had made that deer run. Was the deer being attacked by horse flies?  IK could see a family of Canada Geese exiting a pond into the same field. Remember this distance is close to a half a mile! I didn’t want to leave, but I knew I was over a mile away from the jeep and time never stops for long.

Wildflowers, of course , are blooming everywhere. I took many a photo of them as I walked about the landscape. I am weird like that!

 

 

 

 

Indian Pipe

The weather was markedly less humid and cooler than recent days. I gathered up my gear and headed to State game Lands 105 in

Fritillary

northern Armstrong County. This is property maintained by the Pennsylvania game Commission.

I am always hopeful of seeing bear, but I failed to see anything resembling a bear on this jaunt. I had two exceptions. I walked into two separate baby Porcupines. Maybe with a good imagination one could see a slight resemblance to a bear…maybe??? They have black hair on their bodies don’t they?                                                                       

The first Porcupine I walked on was a small little feller. I would have liked to have held and petted this critter, but my smarts told me otherwise.  I was within a couple of feet of this little guy and he instinctively would turn his backside towards me. This is a defensive posture. I walked on through the woods and heard and saw another young Porcupine. This one was slightly larger than the earlier one. This Porky, also, had more white coloring on the body. This one didn’t stay put and began climbing a tree for safety!  

I saw five different bucks on this hike. two sported sizable racks and with a couple of months of growth yet to happen. I saw a few doe as well. I impinge fawns were nearby, but dense grasses and such would not allow any sightings of those little ones. I saw three young gobblers moving across a clearing.

Plenty of butterflies were dancing through the air waves. I managed a few photos of them.

 

Tiger Swallowtail

Crooked Creek

As a young fellow Crooked Creek flowed orange in color from past mining operations. Efforts were     completed and the waters normalized into a beautiful waterways moving towards the Allegheny River at Rosston, Pennsylvania. I remember seeing a greenish water in years past, however all the rocks and such were still orange. I, also, remember with these conditions showing my cousin a small group of baby Bullhead Catfish circling around the shoreline water. I said, at the time, this creek is becoming clean. And how the waters became clean! Time wasn’t long once the greens and blues became dominant and the orange acid left. the fisheries filled the waters rapid, too. Today many species of fish inhabit Crooked Creek.

I enjoy walking along the creek when I have a chance and I enjoy casting a line, too. This day, June 13th, was such a day. I fished some and I walked some.                                                                                                           

I caught a lot of Bluegills, a Hickory Sucker and a few Smallmouth Bass. Mostly I walked and took photos as a remembrance.

 

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Great Blue Heron track

 

 

My dad and I would go to this area and gather “crabs” to go bass fishing. Of course those crabs are actually crawfish, but we  always called them crabs. Gathering these critters was as much a sport as bass fishing to us.

I only saw one Great Blue Heron on this excursion, but I saw several doe and four fawns while traveling to fish and walk.