Archive for April, 2011

     A beautiful morning indeed. After weeks of much rainy weather this morning was clear and dry and calm! I sounded off with a goose call and heard an answer. My step father, Bob Miller and I set up hoping the gobbler was not across a rural road behind an eight-foot enclosure.

Button buck

   I called sparingly hoping the big bird would fly to our side of the hill. he didn’t. he worked towards a trailer and two booms were heard. I had heard two distant gobbles and we headed in that direction when I heard hen talk. We paused and I correctly surmised the calling was human. We turned away and went several hundred yards when three shots from two different guns blasted away. We heard and saw a turkey flying away in the distance.

Bob and I crossed the road where we had parked and heard more hen talk followed by two blasts. We went high on the hill to check a field and heard two more shots over in the next hollow. I did see a hen in the field. Bob decided to leave the woods and travel to Ohio to mow the grass at his other home. I went to another place. I heard a hunter and avoided the area and was answered by a single gobble. I began a trek down over and up over the next hill when I heard a shot.


  I decided to hunt morels and work for turkeys next week! I found some morels..yum- yum! I saw several squirrels and six deer today too. I do not function in high-hunted pressure areas. I needed to leave early anyway for I was to meet my friend Slim Bowser to do a joint Civil war presentation.


Commander Bowser & I

  Slim, dressed in Civil war era soldier clothing, and I visited the Worthington Library. This year is the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Yes, that is only three 50 year life spans. Slim set up a display of Civil war items of interest. I set up my, yet uncompleted, painting of the Rose Wheatfield Battle of Gettysburg. I brought early sketches and such to discuss to those in attendance.

Slim did his talks basically, on the 62nd, Company D soldiers. Many of these soldiers had enlisted during the war from our area of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. The visitors throughly enjoyed the educational and informative talks.

Honorary Membership

  At the completion of our presentation, I was deeply honored to receive an honorary membership of the Company D, 62nd regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, 5th Corps.

Sometime I wish to do a blog concerning my ancestors who fought in the Civil war. At least, six out of a family of 15 were in that war. Two died in  battle. My great Grandfather was wounded. One seems to have died from typhoid. Oh well, that is a story of the future.

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Service Berry blossoms

Scene from behind the house

   A dreary overcast morning  with fog hanging over the river basin was the norm as I left the house. The weather people were all saying rain and by the looks of the cloud cover I felt my travels could very easily be a wash out!

The camo rain jacket would protect some of me if, indeed, a moderate to heavy rain were to come. I grabbed a plastic bag for my initial reason to walk up over the hill behind the house was to look around for ‘rooms. I you are confused, please, allow me to explain. I was going to see if any morels were out yet. Morels are a spring time mushroom or as some say “rooms.

Easter Bunny..maybe?

   The only problem with me is the fact I have a short attention span at times. When I traverse across fields and forests I am seeking everything of interest .Place me in a woodland scene covered with an array of wildflowers and mushrooms can easily take a back seat. My mind drifts back and forth to flowers; morels; wildlife and anything and everything of interest. I guess this is not a major issue to me though. I enjoy nature.

      I didn’t find any morels, but I was blessed at seeing a lot of critters this morning. I saw two rabbits and, at least, eight squirrels. I saw many birds including flickers; juncos; red-bellied woodpeckers and many other small birds. I saw one deer. She was standing in brush looking at me. She thought she was hid.I managed one photo!

I circled the hill and I abruptly stopped at the sound of a muffled gobble. A minute later I heard the gobbler again and this time he was close. A minute later he was standing there looking at me. I called and he went into strut. he dropped down below the crest of the hill and that was the last I saw him.

I returned to the house in a light rain. A half hour later the sun was shining and the temperature climbing. Good time to cut some grass!

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Armstrong Co. Museum    The Armstrong County Historical Museum opened for the 2011 season on Saturday, April 23rd, 2011. Concerns over predicted rainy weather were unfounded since rain was absent on the day and sun with warning weather proved to be a pleasant surprise.

  The upstairs rooms, known as the Military Room; Sewing Room and Native American Room were opened after much work over the months. The Military Room has suffered water damage and repairs to the problems should soon be accomplished.  Ron Crytzer has repaired damaged walls twice over the last six months and damage has occurred again.

   The opening of the museum was met with a number of visitors throughout the day.Volenteers were on hand, most in Civil War era clothing to answer questions.

An added plus for the event were members of the John T. Crawford Camp 43 and Sarah A. Crawford Auxillary. These dedicated reenactors and historians set up several tents and various weaponry and other items from the Civil War era. Loading and shooting demonstrations were, also, completed for interested visitors.

  One young fellow dressed with Civil War attire was standing on the porch early . I approached him and gave him an order to guard this entrance. After some light corrections due to his wandering eyes he stood at attention. I was called away for a few tasks and returned about twenty minutes later and was surprised to see this young man still there. i relieved him of his duties at that time with a smile.   

The Armstrong County Historical Society web site is: www.achmgs.yolasite.com/

The Crawford Camp web site is: http://crawfordcamp43pa.tripod.com/

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Owl pellet

False Hellebore
Bob walking the plank


 After Bob and I ate a hearty breakfast, we left Susie (my springer spaniel) and mom to fend for themselves at home.  We entered the woods after 9:00 to study the Cherry Run area for turkey signs and whatever else we could observe.

The first obstacle we encountered was crossing the gas line bridge. the wood planks have been long gone especially from Hurricane Ivan, but two pipes still exist. Bob, at 76, does very well except when I torment him. This was to be another torment. He was about half way across these pipes and I accidentally began to shake the bridge. (accidents do happen)  I expressed my sorrow with a smile.

We discovered some turkey sign at the two places we walked. We saw nine deer; two squirrels; pileated woodpecker; two hens and a gobbler. We heard some yelping father along, but back, in the woods.

      The honeysuckle and multiflora rose are already greened out. The other trees are  always slower. As the trek continued I noticed a small gray-colored mass among the forest floor. The mass had obvious bones in it. This is owl regurgitation. Owls eat their prey whole and their digestive system push out hair, feathers and bones into an “owl pellet.” Study of a pellet can realize the victim at many times.    

    Other things of interest, at least to me is the plant life. Today, I found  delicate spring flowers known as the rue anemone and others known as Dutchmen’s Breeches. Another plant I like  if the false hellebore. This plant has a tropical look once it matures. They grow and flourish along streams and wetlands. I have planted this plant on my property. However, come summer they have completed their annual cycle and begin to turn brown and fade off the scene until next spring.

   Unfortunately, we observed some things that are negative. Why people feel a need to abuse other lands has always forced me to wonder. Beer cans are often viewed along farmer’s lanes and gas well roads. Today was no different. We looked into the winter wheat fields and it was easy to see the doughnut tracks caused by ATV and other 4-wheel drives. No wonder the farmer posted his land.

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In Matthew 12:38-40 some important words are told: Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher we wish to see a sign from you.” Jesus answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign; BUT no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the Prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

I have always been a self-thinker with many things. Many years ago while in my late teens to mid-twenties, I first asked myself the question as to how a Good Friday crucifixion could be three days and three nights leading to the resurrection. You noticed I stated here that I asked myself. I didn’t dare ask a trained pastor or priest this question. I figured in my mind that a probable reason is known to the trained individuals and left the thoughts wander off.

However, at times these thoughts would resurface. I discovered an explanation once that the Jews considered even one hour of a day as an entire day. So, a few hours of Friday evening, all day Saturday and and hour into Sunday would make this three day-three night promise fullfilled. I didn’t buy it!

I kept my thoughts privately, until a dozen years or so, I discussed it and received looks of confusion. I wrote these thoughts down and kept them.

I believe that the Good Friday concept happened somewhere way back among some church leaders who didn’t take into account Jewish laws and ways of counting days and nights and their different sabbaths. The tradition has flourished over the years.

In John 19:31, it is stated, Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath for that day was a high Sabbath… (Jewish sabbaths begin at sunset and go through the following day until sunset again). This high sabbath spoken in John can occur any day of the week and is referred to as one of the “annual Sabbaths”. This particular one occurred during the Feast of Unleavened Bread known as “Chag Hamatzah”. This is over the Passover week. So Jesus’ body would need to be entombed before sunset under Jewish law.

We know from scripture the women went to the tomb very early on the 1st day of the week which is a Sunday.

To allow for the 3 days and 3 nights as told by Jesus Himself the High sabbath would need to be on Thursday of that year with a Wednesday afternoon crucifixion.

By writing the days and nights down, I found it easier to follow.

Wed.    night    Thur.  night         Fri.      night     Sat (weekly sabbath)   night  Sun

1 night             2 nights               3 nights

Day 1                    Day 2                     Day 3

Jesus, to fulfill His own promise would have been resurrected anytime after the Saturday’s sabbath ended at sunset.

Something to think about.

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Time With A friend

The spring gobbler season is rapidly approaching the Pennsylvania hills and hollows. My friend, Frank Maus, and I know how we are once that season is in place… we are hunting! With the though in mind we decided we needed to get a hike in prior to the gobbler season. Today was te day!

We have had a lot of rainy weather this spring and finding time to get together for a hike was scarce. I watched the weather and this week was looking like another time with rain potential so I made contact and we met to beat the coming water.

   The morning was beautiful, but clouds were on the way. We traveled along Chechak Road and circled through the woods and fields back through the Ford City Sportsman’s Club grounds. We were looking for gobblers in the fields. The birds were absent this morning. However, we did hear an angry hen cutting. Although the bird was fairly close the thick vegetation forbade our view. Frank saw a turkey briefly flying in the woods. I was yapping too much to hear the flush.

We did see one deer; a couple of rabbits (one was the Easter bunny) and a few squirrels. We, also, saw grackles, bluebirds, flickers, geese, wood duck and many other specie of bird life.

   The hike was several miles in total and the conversation was good. The area will traveled consisted of some rolling hills of forest land and fields allowing for some high altitude views. These combinations made for some spectacular views . We stood at several locations just searching the distances in wonderment as to how far we were actually observing.

A great day indeed!

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Outdoor Sightings


Nice looking country

  I beautiful and pleasant day was on hand and some outdoor related events needed to be part of this day. I elected to visit State Lands 247 near Center Hill, Pennsylvania. The object was to enjoy a walk and see some critters.

I purposely drove in to the game lands via a different route. I figured I might see my friend Frank Maus along the way. I did! Unfortunately, I couldn’t chat long since I was located along some bad curves on the road. We bid a see ya and both went separate ways.

     My walk wasn’t long before I began hearing some gobbling turkeys. I decided I was hearing, at least, three birds. Later I saw a gobbler along a trail. The hike continued along until I heard another gobbler about 100 yards from me. I stepped among some brush and let out three soft yelps. Several gobbles later then silence. A few minutes on I could see the gobbler working towards me. I managed about six photos. Unfortunately, most were blurred some due to the bird’s movements and close vegetation that caused hazy images.

Turkey Vulture

Eight turkey vultures circled me for about 40 minutes this morning. I surmised they were hoping I would fall over to supply them with some fresh carrion. I fooled them by not succumbing to their desires. Several soared over me while at the house planting too. I wonder if they know something about me that should concern me.

Wild leek (Ramps)

  Other critters of the day included a grouse drumming on his log. I saw one deer; some geese; a pileated woodpecker; a fox squirrel and a grey squirrel. I found some wild leek. I think I may have started this planting of leeks many years ago by planting some seeds. I would carry seeds from my personal supply at home.

White-Throated Sparrow

   Another first for the season was the white throated sparrow. Quite a handsome little fellow.

Later, I stopped at a friend’s to ask permission to dig up a few white birch trees to replant at my home. We chatted a bit and an hour later I was planting trees among my landscaping.                                    

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My step father, Bob and I went for a several mile hike this morning around the hills where I was raised in the Silvis Hollow area. The day was beautiful and we needed the exercise and why not combine the two for a great trek.


   We walked along the road and turned and walked the length of what is known as Coffee Hollow. The return walk went in a different direction across fields and small woodlots. (Our feet became wet!) We saw a turkey at the field’s corner, but failed to get a positive look as to what sex the bird was.  I saw the first dandelion of the season along with two brown thrashers..

My mother watched Susie, my springer spaniel while we walked. Later I took Susie for a small walk just for some more exercise.


  A home, I walked the property examining the flower growth. I enjoy checking on the rapid growth each spring. Besides the non-native daffodils and hyacinths I have plenty of native flowers planted. I dig some up and transplant them to areas in the wilds where they are non-existent or rare due to past poor land practices by mankind.

Currently, I have hepatica and bloodroot blooming. The Dutchman’s breeches are about to bloom as are the Virginia Bluebells. Some trilliums are getting buds forming too.

I have been watching a hen turkey close to the house on two different occasions. Last year she raised a nice flock of turkeys. I would guess around 12-15 survived into adulthood.

I did see another hen and deer near my homestead while traveling .

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The Grace Christian School located in West Kittanning, Pennsylvania held an art event this day. Stacey Phillips, an art teacher, requested for me to bring in some art for several classes. I was happy to attend, after all the school is about  one mile from my home. We discussed several options. We decided I would demonstate drawing with the youngest classes. The two classes I demonstrated with consisted of kindergarten to 3rd grade and the second class covered 4th and 5th grades.

All students were given paper and pencils as I slowly drew a panda bear head in steps. I used the “circle method” to build up to this bear’s cartoonish face. These young ones enjoyed this very much as I walked around checking on their progress.

The second class actually continued on with their drawings. Several requested to me if they could do more to their drawings. I told them the art is their drawings. This, of course, brought about alien hats; sharp metal teeth and a hodge-podge of other interesting additions.

The third class were 6th and 7th graders. Panda bear heads would not be as fun so I showed some of the various steps I used on the Gettysburg painting called the “Wheat Field”.  They were very interested as they observed my rough sketches and notes and so forth. They enjoyed asking questions on this painting and the two other wildlife paintings I had brought along.

To learn more about the school check out: www.gracechristiankittanning.com

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Dana Gould

Members of the Dayton United Methodist Church in Dayton, Pennsylvania annually travel to the Dominican Republic. Here they minister and build homes and churches for the poor populace.  These homes are unbelievable to the American way of living. The homes replaced often feature corrugated tin for walls and roof. Tin with many holes are the norm. Light and rain easily pass through them.

To see their annual videos of their efforts type in or click here: www.godtube.com .Once at that site type in “superparakletos”. Then look and click on Dominican Republic Mission trips. The scenes are very moving. You should be thankful we live in America!!!

This evening, a fund-rasing event was had to help raise cash for the 2012 trip.  The group features music, a turkey hunting seminar; gospel presentation; free spaghetti meal; drawings for door prizes and fellowship.

Shawn Kotchey

Shawn Kotchey (www.millcreekvalleygamecalls.com) presented the turkey hunting and call seminar. As always, Shawn supplies a wealth of information to the turkey hunters of the group.  To see his assortment of hunting supplies and calls visit his website .

Walt Marr

Walt Marr of Elderton, did a portrayal of Sgt. Marr of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Walt did this service in his usual flair in Christian messages. You can visit Walt’s site at:  www.waltmarr.com

Michael Coates on right and me

Musical entertainment for the evening was performed by Michael Coats and myself. We did an acoustic set featuring contemporary gospel music such as: Shout To The North; In Christ Alone and the moving song, It Is Well With My soul and a few other songs.

To learn more or donate contact: Dana Gould at 814-275-2299. To visit the Dayton United methodist Church website type in or click here at: www.dayton-umc.org

Great job with your mission work!

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