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Autumn is Official

Turtlehead

Last week I ventured to fish along the Allegheny River. Fishing was great for a little bit of time. The first three casts hooked two very nice Smallmouth Bass, however, after the second bass was caught the action stopped. I must have started fishing just as two rogue bass were patrolling for breakfast.

Eventually I began walking the shoreline casting and nothing happened. The fish stopped biting! was it something I said?

Purple Loosestrife




Cardinal Flower

At some point thoughts of fishing eased away and thoughts of recording some of the end-of summer wildflowers through photography. Now that the fall season has begun I realize the flowers will be subsiding quickly. A frost could occur anytime now.

Sneezeweed

As I record this entry the high is around 55 degrees. The sky is overcast. New thoughts are in my mind, now. I need to practice my latest firearm to see how it works. Hunting season for deer will be upon us quickly and I am not ready.

Exploring Some new Land

I took an early trip to northern Butler County to explore some more lands I had never been to hike. the land was State Game Lands 95 between Boyers and West Sunbury. The early darker hours had some very thick foggy areas that delayed my arrival plans, but that was not to bad. What delayed my arrival more than the early conditions was uncertainty as to where I needed to locate. I had some issues finding the parking areas at first, but eventually I unraveled the site.

I parked near a dam known as the Glades Dam Lake. This lake is a shallow site of about two and a half miles. The Pennsylvania Game Commission had signs placed all along the trail I was to walk. The area along the dam was a state propagation area and entry is always prohibited. I decided to go on and walk the trail to see what sights would be discovered.

After some time I entered a limestone road which led me to a parking and boat launching site. I crept through the treeline along this area and could get to the water’s edge. Here I saw some Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons. I was blessed to watch an Osprey dive into the water and retrieve a fish. I failed to get any photographs.

Where I saw the Osprey.

The wetland vegetation was so dense that I could get through at very few sites. I fact at one grassy area I spotted a hen turkey and she, too struggled to find a place to easily get into the brush for safety. AT another area I saw four gobblers. I quickly got a few photos of running birds.

The Wood Ducks and Herons loved this spot.

I saw plenty of deer here and there including the buck shown above, he stopped and stood allowing some good photos.

Catfish Were Biting!

Yes, the catfish were biting well. every cast I was either catching a Bullhead Catfish, missing one or discovering my bait was stolen. Once the bait was gone I learned the catfish quit biting. Huh..who would have “thunked” that!

Praying Mantis

Shortly after the fishing began, I noticed something that didn’t look quite right. A closer observation proved what I suspected.. a Praying Mantis hanging upside down and in a semi-dormant state. It was chilly this particular morning. However, once the sun began to warm the air up I started to see movement/ I took several photos of this insect.

Puffball ready to shoot out spores

I did see about six different deer on this morning for I incorporated a walk with the fishing trip. many species of fungus are out at this time of the year. I know some, but I know far less when it comes to edibles. I can identify several edible varieties.

Spicebush

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

Pearl Crescentspot

Buttermilk Falls

As stated previously, I like these cool autumn-like mornings and days. Laurie and I headed off early to visit the Buttermilk Falls Natural Area in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.

The name Buttermilk Falls is a common name for waterfall areas all over. I know in my native Armstrong County we have an area called Buttermilk Falls. I know of others, too.

This site consists of 48 acres of woodlands. Lots of Spicebush nestled amid sizable trees. The unusual- looking bridge shown in the above photo was erected in 2017. The watercourse for the falls is Hires Run and is in the Hires Run Valley flowing towards the Conemaugh River. The actual waterfall is 45 feet high.

Stone foundations can be viewed near the stream. This was the site of an ancestor of a man known by Mr., Roger’s fans named McFeely. At at time in the past, Fred Rogers known for the children’s show, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood spent plenty of childhood visits to this area. A trail called, McFeely Trail winds through the park.

One of the interests of this site is the walkways that wind down and around allowing visitors to actually walk behind the falls. I have included a few photos showing this.

The McFeely Trailhead

A shot of the waterfall from behind looking down the hollow.

To learn more contact: http://www.VisitIndianaCountyPA.org

A Hint Of Autumn

Wild Turkey Breast Feather

After enduring some hot and muggy days I found the change of autumn-like mornings refreshing. With the cool and crisp change I left the house before sunrise heading to explore a Butler County property to see what I could find.

My planning was spot-on as I arrived at the time I had hoped for…dawn. The woodlands were bright enough to see, ut the sun had yet to get u and over the eastern hills.

The exploration had begun. The first sighting of wildlife was a doe and her fawn. Later I would watch two turkeys flush off the roost. Later, as I circled back around, I would talk some turkey talk with one of the birds. On the back side of this hill I spooked more turkeys feeding in the underbrush,

I came upon posted lands and returned to the road and walked an old road on the opposite side. here I saw a small buck. I noticed my first buck rubs during this walk.

An old spring.

Old springs are few and far between in these days. Over the years I have seen many closed down by the state. because they didn’t meet with the standards set forth by some “expert-in-their -field.” The interesting fact in most cases people were using them for years with no issue.

Red squirrels have been feasting on spruce cones.

One area had many mature spruce trees. As I walked I could hear the four-to five cones falling through the limbs. One could hear these cones falling for a long distance. The Red Squirrels were eating these cones. The photo shows a pile of cone parts placed by the squirrels.

Foxtails backlit from the morning sun.

Fog in the Morning

As I type this entry the weather is very much hinting of the fall season, however that wasn’t the reality a week ago. The days were hut and muggy so I ventured out early on any trek I committed to.

One positive of such mornings is the foggy and humid conditions for anyone wishing for some nice photos..

here are a few morning pics as the sun began to climb the eastern sky with fog settled within the low areas.

Ironweed blossoms in this meadow.

Somebody must have spat out a chaw! (Bear skat)

An Anniversary

Robert L. Miller and Ruth (Smail) Miller

My father passed away in June of 1999. My mother was an independent woman. She had no desire to ever date or wed in her future. However, Bob Miller, after his wife passed away from cancer would leave his Ohioan home and travel towards his family haunts near Clymer, PA. He would visit a campground where I played music. This campground was Maple Grove Campground.

Since I played there with many bands and mu aunt was part proprietor, my mother would go and listen to the music and talk with relatives many friends she had come to know.

Bob took an interest in my mother and eventually asked her out for a meal. Mother needed her two children to push her into that direction and she eventually agreed to a meal.

When the talk of marriage came up I had to talk with her and give her my blessing. She required the “OK” to take the next step.

On August 29, 2009 the two were married in my back yard under the roof of the gazebo. Today, in 2021, marked their twelve-year anniversary.

My mother is 91 at this time and my step-father, Bob is almost 87. I have called her a cougar more then once.

The last couple of years have been difficult ones for the entire family.

In December 2018, a tree fell for no reason while the two of us were hunting deer. The big poplar tree grazed Bob knocking him down and breaking his leg requiring much surgery and pins and screws to repair. The tree would have killed him instantly by an inch.

In the spring of 2019, Bob developed some issues and by early summer it was determined he had cancer. The fight has been a long one for him and us, too. The chemo has caused a loss of his hair. His weight is low, but miraculously he is without the pain so often associated with cancer.

In April of 2020, my mother had a mini-stroke. Both of them had the covid in late 2020.

Bob is hoping to hunt deer this fall and I hope to help him drag one or two out of the woods.

We are all hoping for more years to come.

I checked the weather and decided to get out for a walk and some Carp and catfish fishing. The heat and humidity would be building so I hoped to be heading home before noon at the latest. I left around 10:30.

the approach to the pond where I would be fishing hosted a doe and fawn. I didn’t get any photos because I wasn’t prepared at the time. Fishing gear and shoulder bag and my little friend Ruger all seemed to be in the way. later I would insert my little ultra-light pole through my belt so my hands would better prepared. , probably, looked like someone with an old CB radio antennae coming from my backside.

Fishing was good for I caught some fish, lost some fish and missed some fish. One Carp broke my light-weight line.

My arms must have been compared as landing zones for a beautiful blue Damselfly would land on it as did some of those Jerk Flies. Fish surface activity was common during those hours fishing. A small and brilliant green Praying Mantis was moving about some grasses, but I couldn’t get a focus.

The wildflower season is definitely moving towards a new look. Jewelweed varieties are common now.

Spotted Jewelweed

Pale Jewelweed

One flower to bloom towards mid-August and onward is the Goldenrod. This yellow is beginning to occur everywhere. Soon the yellow will be everywhere one looks.

Goldenrod
Horse Nettle
Frank “Muskie” Maus

We left the dock early in the morning prior to sunrise over the background hill. A slight fog was encircling our boat as we slowly edged out into the Allegheny River. Although foggy visibility was not very much curtailed. I have been out when a dense fog covered the river.

Sunrise

The fishing had just begun before Frankie hooked a Muskie on a surface lure. I grabbed the camera and took some pics in the still dreary morn. We shook hands and were extremely happy to had already had some “Ski” action. We wondered what the rest of the day would bring.

Frank’s Muskie

We quickly released the nice fish to avoid unnecessary strain. Then the surface fishing began again in earnest. Unfortunately, we failed to get any quick action and eventually moved upriver to a favorite spot. Fishing was about to get good again!

We continued with surface lures when I had a sixth-sense about me. I, somehow, knew I was going to get a fish with a cast and a millisecond later a Muskie grabbed my lure and the battle began. It is always a great experience to battle a Muskie.

The Muskie I caught.

The above two photos were taken later once the sun came out to enhance the fishes beauty. As before Frankie released the fish as I held the pole in place to ensure the fish was alongside the boat. We didn’t want to stress the fish anymore than we needed.

Fishing slowed and eventually we began trolling to finish out the day.

We saw some deer along the way. Ducks were viewed here and there. At various places one could see the brilliant scarlet red even at great distances. I knew these were Cardinal Flowers. At one point while casting near the shore I managed some photos of the beautiful native flower.

The day would reach to about 90 degrees by the afternoon. We were hot, but we didn’t care for we had a good day on the Allegheny River.

Cardinal Flower

“STUPIDO”

Killdeer

Yes, even I can be stupid at times. When I worked the common term we, laughingly, used was, “Stupido.” We pronounced the word as Stew-peed-o. Well in one of those extremely rare times I discovered while trying to take a photo of a deer of a problem. I didn’t place the camera card in the camera. Yes i was disgusted with myself for the hike was only about 150 yards from the jeep and I would not be able to get any photos this morning.

I returned to the jeep and left the camera and lenses behind.

I walked a gas well road at the top of the hill. As I emerged from the road onto a field of soybeans, I saw a doe and fawn. The photo would have been a good one with dew over the soybeans and the green background. I saw other deer in the huge field, too.

Woodland Sunflower

I continued walking the road watching the field intently on my left before entering another wooded area. You guessed it! As I exited the wooded area to an old field of knee-high vegetation I spotted a nice buck at about twenty yards. two other bucks were just beyond. They stood around and watched me. No camera! It gets worse!

Turkey poult

I walked across this field before entering another woodlot. I would be descending gradually. I looked about 25 yards to my left and spotted a Barred Owl perched on a limb. No camera!

Purple Loosestrife…and invasive specie.

Eventually, I reached Cherry Run and began to head towards the jeep. I searched around looking for trout. Suddenly, I saw waves in the water next to the bank. My first thought was a Muskrat. However, the animal crawled upon a rock and I was viewing a Mink. The mammal even crawled up a leaning tree for a couple of feet. I missed some great photo opportunities again.

This morning I made sure I had my camera card. All of the photos shown here are from today’s excursion.

Allegheny River

I set the minnow trap about five this morning and after catching a few dozen I went off to catch the “big un.” The river was beautiful with some fog conditions early making way for a clear morning.

The fish weren’t biting very well, but I did land a nice Smallmouth Bass. There are literally thousands upin thousands of shiners near the river’s edge. Occasionally, many would leap from the water escaping a bass.

Smallmouth Bass

With a couple of hours fishing behind me, I removed a little trash from the river’s shoreline. Afterwards, I spent some time looking for things to photograph. I saw several hens with several, nice-sized, poults.

Shiners
Blossoms of the Arrowhead plant. They are found in wetland areas usually.