Archive for August, 2010

Cross-Tie Walker

In my youth the band, Creedence Clearwater Revial recorded a song called “Cross-Tie Walker”. I remember hearing stories of the hobos of the early part of the last century walking the rails. I enjoy doing the railroad hikes also. Today, the other aspect of my trek was to observe the backwater-wetlands around the Manorville Islands. These islands are on the western-side of the Allegheny River. They always yield interesting things to see. I have seen eagles in the wetland environment.  

In short order, I saw a doe and her two fawns. Later I saw a family of wood ducks; several fox squirrels and some carp. The highlight of the day was when I heard a bird sound never heard before. I surmised immediately a bird of prey…possibly a young eagle. I searched the trees for the source when I glimpsed a hint of brown. I continued along and heard the sound again. I readied my camera when an osprey suddenly left the sycamore tree and headed towards the main river. I failed to get the shot.

The terrain along these wetlands is comprised of down trees and many specie of flowers. Most are averaged at five feet or more tall.  Walking can be interesting through this maze of underbrush.

 One observation I have encountered, with regards to wetlands, is the fact that people will stand in awe at places such as Cook Forest; Presque Isle and Moraine State Park at wetland beauty but destroy the same  on their properties.The wetland bordering my property is being removed presently. I have planted marsh marigolds; cattails and skunk cabbage to enhance the abused habitat. Many years ago I captured some spring peepers and stocked them here since at that time they were absent. Others don’t see the beauty I see. I vowed when this wetland removal began some years ago that I would increase mine to compensate the habitat loss. I guess my second phase will begin when the weather becomes more “planting friendly“. We have had little rain in two months. 

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Foggy sun

I left the house early while the fog was heavy along the Allegheny River and intersecting hollows. The air was clean and cool and I determined a few hours would be just what I needed to allow the stress to escape into the atmosphere.               

The climb through the hemlock rich northern slope was beautiful with fog and hints of light filtering through the canopy. I anxiously  continued on pondering what critters I may encounter. The morn was a success as far as I was concerned. Any day afield is a day of joy. It wasn’t long when I rounded a bend and spotted a doe with her two fawns feeding along. Unfortunately, she spotted me fumbling with my camera and sounded the alarm. I had eight deer sightings by the time my three-hour hike was completed.

While searching for anything worth viewing, among berry-laden autumn -olive groves I heard the “honking” of geese. I prepared the camera, but the V-shaped flock rapidly flew across just above the tree-tops. Their speed and the uncertainty, as to where, they would show failed me a photo.

Thousands upon thousands of dew-rich spider webs covered every step I took. My father would comment  on the various colored spiders as we walked in years past. When I was 4 or 5 I walked behind the house and gazed at my small torso and a huge garden spider that was twenty inches in size was walking on me! I quickly brushed it off and ran screaming to the house. Today, I do not kill spiders around the house. ( I remove them from within the house whenever possible.) I understand their good qualities of “bug” control. However, I do respect them because of my youthful experience. 

The webs sparkled with prism-like rainbows as the sun gradually burned off the dew. These creatures are surely amazing.

Eventually, I approached some corn fields. Wow, lots of damage from bear. I imagined a sow and cubs romping around playing and eating on the corn. They can do much damage!   

bear damage

I noticed plenty of various fungi throughout the woods. I watched for “sheephead” mushrooms, but, I didn’t see any. The hike ended after 10:00 with chores and art to work on. (By the way, that twenty inch spider was less than two inches across. It seemed that big to a small boy.)

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My "Harley-Honda"

I enjoy riding bikes. The only negative aspect for me is  after peddling along the trails for a time I have some discomfort on the back side, if you know what I mean. (Proper attire would aid with this discomfort, but I don’t feel very beautiful in spandex.)

 I often take time to ride between Kittanning and Rosston and back. The round trip is approximately 10 miles I have been told. The pluses are the ability to see friends and stop and chat with and to view the beautiful Allegheny River with the floral and wildlife that abounds along those waters. Also, I get some exercise. That can’t be a bad thing.

Fort Armstrong was near Fort Run (Manorville)

Foggy Morn at Rosston

I occasionally bike on the Freeport Trail and north of Kittanning too. I would like to visit the trail at Emlenton soon. I hear the beauty is awesome along the river and a tunnel is present. I don’t know why going there is such a problem for me. Retired people have so many things on their agenda ya know!

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Last year on the first day of the Pennsylvania regular deer season I was setting in a pine forest enjoying all nature had to offer. I was doodling down any ideas that came to thought within my feeble mind. As I sketched a White Pine the idea to do a wildlife series emerged among the grey matter that many refer to as a brain. The early results from that day were a sketch of a white-tail buck with a white pine. The interesting concept was that this series was to each be painted with much white as a background. Normally, a painting would be completely covered with painted background.


Also, I would choose a strong upright with each painting. The elk painting has an aspen for strength; the turkey art yields to a beech tree and the bear has an  oak. I have another series painting in a preliminary phase featuring ring-necked pheasants. The upright on that painting is to be standing corn shocks.


The viewer may notice that the species depicted are either facing right or left. This was done intentionally so two paintings hanging on a wall would have the “critters” facing each other making for a pleasant balanced view. I have many ideas and beginnings if the series would become a desired art collection. For instance with the painting featuring the black bear another one could be painted depicting a mother bear and cubs in a summer scene. Of course, these bear would be facing right as a complement to the left-facing winter scene


I am hoping to find an art printer/ publisher interested with this concept capable of handling proper promotion and distribution of prints. Please, forward this blog information to anyone where interest may be found. I would appreciate any efforts.

Other series ideas include an upland game bird series; a furbearer series and actually an endless list of paintings could be possible!  Any ideas and/ or comments would be appreciated.

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State Game Lands 247 trail

I am feeling it! I am feeling the “dog days of summer” drifting towards fall-like days! I had a number of errands to run but I decided to hit the game lands between Skinall and Center hill and look for natural things of interest. Actually, I was looking forward with having both feet become saturated with dew. .. a great sensation!  (That is sarcasm.)

I was blessed to see lots of butterflies this morning. Have you ever noticed the intricate designs and colors on butterflies. They are truly beautiful insects.I saw dragonflies and damselflies at the pond area. They are tough to get photos of because they dart around continuously as the day warms.

Caterpillar stage of the monarch butterfly.

In the pond’s waters I saw several carp. They tend to keep the waters stirred up with their continual digging in the mud. The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has erected several duck nesting sites here. Years ago, I carried all the “stuff” needed to erect a wood duck box. (Two trips on foot.. I was young then!)


On my return down the hill towards the road I saw several groundhogs and later met up with ny friend, Jerry Kespelher and Wildlife Conservation Officer Gary Toward both  PGC employees.

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I haven’t painted many paintings of pets. I don’t know why except the fact  I don’t pursue the issue for interest. I painted a Rotweiler named Logan two years ago and a Lab last year, I believe. I recently completed a painting featuring an acquaintance’s pet dog named Bode. Briefly, she (Kathy) spotted this dog in the woods near her parents home. With time the two became inseparable. She doesn’t know the reason why the dog was there… abandonment most probable. Fliers were placed about with no one responding.


I met Bode once and he is quite friendly. Health issues plaque him. I am totally aware of health issues with a beloved pet. Suzie, my springer spaniel is 95% blind due to complications from diabetus. However, she is quite the happy little dog. I feel for Bode and Kathy.

The photo I tried to take hasn’t captured the true colors of the  completed painting. I attempted approximately 10 to 12 photos with different outside lighting conditions. (The photo shown here was taken prior to adding additional colors to enhance the accuracy of Bode’s hair color.)


The photo shown here is a true color of the above painting. I hope you enjoy the completed work.

"BODE" completed art

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