I began this painting of two chipmunks last May. I would be out, and about, the woodlands hunting spring gobblers, but I was looking for inspiration for the art. I spent much time rough sketching stumps, grape vines, saplings, and ferns. At some point I gathered my sketches, and thoughts to come up with the layout for the painting shown here. I began painting, and finished the art up in later June. Hope you all enjoy the art!
This past week I had a mishap with my old camera. I can not put a memory card into the proper place anymore. If I try to force the card I find difficulty removing it. What to do? I know …get a new camera which arrived yesterday, August 26.
Early this morning I took this new camera for a walk to get familiar with it, and learn more of the capabilities. I was walking a trail when I spotted black among the grasses. My immediate thought was a darkened stump. My second thought was a turkey soaked from the dew. Suddenly, the dark mass moved, and I realized I was witnessing a head of a black bear.
This bear began to walk only to be followed by a larger bear. The two bear were about 35 yards ahead of me. Needless to say I began taking photos! The two walked around a bend, and I followed! In short order I saw them again higher, and to my left. I backtracked hoping to catch sight of them on the back side of this hill.
WOW! The one bear showed up crossing twenty-seven steps from me. I was stunned, and the swiftness of these seconds did not allow for a photo! This time the bear bolted, and I could hear it moving down over the hill. I circled around failing to see either bear again.
Friday, August 19, found some slightly cooler early morning conditions. I felt a need to do some hiking, and photography. I debated on hiking or fishing. I grabbed some supplies in my shoulder bag and headed to familiar areas. I was going to hike the lower portion of Cherry Run to Cochran’s Mill at Crooked Creek. I hoped to see some bear. I traveled the Garrett’s Run Road to arrive for my walk and enjoyed seeing the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania along this route from my youth.
Unfortunately, this route took me past an old friend’s home. He had passed away recently. I still miss our conversations, and visits. Randy always enjoyed my photos and woodland adventures on this site.
I parked at a site where the two branches of Cherry Run merge before continuing south to Crooked Creek.
With the rains we had recently the drought conditions have ceased. The creek was slightly colored, but the waters were still low.
The wildflower season is winding down since September is just ahead. The Green-headed Coneflower was a common yellow wildflower along the bottomlands. Asters are blooming, too. The deep purple Ironweed, and Joepye could be found growing about the creek, as well.
The mushrooms are finally shooting up throughout. Some friends and I went walking recently during the dry times. We found very few. Now, they are growing all over. I wished I knew them better for confidence in eating. I know several species, well enough, to eat.
At one point during the walk, I heard a loud splash. I hoped for bear, but I could see the familiar white tail going up the hill. later, I stopped to visit the landowner at one of my hunting spots. We had a nice chat.
As August creeps along the wildflowers will, soon, be winding down their annual cycle, once again. As I was walking along today, I was thinking as to how the blooming is timed so precise. I would imagine the blooming would fall within a two weeks margin every year.
Today, I walked along the Allegheny River seeking flowers, and anything else worth photographing. I wasn’t disappointed. The one specie I purposely ventured out in the heat for was the Cardinal Flower. This flower’s scarlet color is about a deep a red one can find. Today, reached 90 degrees. However, the river provided a course for a breeze, albeit a warm breeze.
Butterflies were very abundant this day. they darted about everywhere the flowers were blooming. Interestingly, there were a number of Longnose Gars in the shallows. I guess I could safely say I saw, at least, ten of the needle-teethed fish enjoying the sun. Getting photos wasn’t easy due to the breeze stirring up the surface water.
I have been doing some limited walking…honest, I have! My jaunts have been shorter than normal in many cases due to my wife’s recent back surgery on July 18th. She is slowly improving, but I have been busy as chauffer, house cleaner upper, and other things, as well. Also, I have been doping some music as per a recent blog entry.
I spent some time along the Allegheny River recently. I had a great couple of hours fishing. I caught five Smallmouth Bass, and a Channel Catfish. Three of the bass were from fourteen to seventeen inches in length. The catfish was around eighteen inches. I had some great fights with light tackle.
I do not wish to play full time in a band anymore. I went through that stage a long time ago. Granted, I miss the level of professionalism a band can obtain with sincere practice, but the free-lancing style can be fun, too.
That is what I do today. I have played recently as much as five times in a week for nursing homes, and or churches. That is a little more than I care to do, and playing that often isn’t the norm.
Last Saturday, August , I drifted south near New Alexandria, Pennsylvania, to see if I could get any playtime at the Hill Lake Jamboree. I ended up playing with some friends in a put together band. This group played traditional country music, some western swing, and gospel music.
We all had a great time. The music seemed to flow rather well. Musicians were: Danna Vernon on vocals; Dick Vernon on steel guitar; Rick Staugh on rhythm guitar and vocals; Ron Stiffler on bass guitar and vocals, and myself on lead guitar.
Sunday evening, August 7, I played at the Kiski Unity Free Methodist Church between West Leechburg, and Vandergrift, Pennsylvania. Here, I played lead guitar for Paul Eckenrode and the Country Gospel Band.
I felt good as the test song was ran through. The band members really played tight, especially when there was no practice. I received the list of songs a few minutes before we started. Most songs, however, I had heard before.
This audience really enjoyed themselves. They were singing along, and clapping enthusiastically. This made me feel good. The entire band did “very” well!
Band members were: Pastor Paul Eckenrode on rhythm guitar and most lead vocals; Pastor Walt Marr on drums; Morgan Reese, and Joe Wagner on mandolins; Davy Whitmire on bass guitar; Don Townsend on guitar; Sherry Townsend on piano; their granddaughter Rachel sang harmony; Pastor John P.
on harmonica, and myself on lead guitar.
I woke up knowing I was in need of a walk. However, I wanted to fish, too. What to do? WOW! I decided to go for a walk, and fish for some carp. Wasn’t that a simple decision? This occurred on July 17th.
The area I was to walk is a local Pennsylvania Game Commission Game Lands, one I often hike on due to
the close vicinity of my home.
I walked along a game lands road looking for anything of interest. I am always able to enjoy observing various things of the natural world. Those things may be wildlife; insects; wildflowers…who knows what I may find on a jaunt.
The morning temperatures were tolerable, but I knew as the sun rose higher in the east those temperatures would rise higher. The deer flies walking in were not very bad. One managed to insert into my elbow region. I felt the hot, needle-like pain, and instinctively came down on the insect. I crushed the b\culprit between my fingers. I audibly stated: You may have bite me, but I got you! I will heal, but you will not! Awww sweet revenge!
I came to a pond that was stagnant because of the lack of rain. Brown vegetation was visible on the surface. I could see a few carp sucking at the surface. Others were pushing their snouts into the mud. I tried catching a few of these carp, and they would completely ignore my enhancing baits. Later, I moved to the other side of the pond. My line showed sign of a bite. However, the string didn’t take off in a traditional carp-like bite. After some time the line became taught and a carp was on and the fight began.
The carp felt big on light tackle. The fish was eighteen inches of pure muscle. I released the European native back into the pond for another day. That carp was my only catch. they were being selective feeders today.
The temperatures were climbing as I began the trek back towards the jeep. The deer flies were more prevalent, too. The flew around like Messerschmitt Jet planes from the German air force. I managed to relieve some of them of their pesky lives.
I found a lot of various wildflowers to observe and photograph as I exited the woods.