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Archive for March, 2013

Spring and Gobbers

DSC_0001 The calendar had made a commitment to spring almost two weeks ago, but weather conditions have not been very spring-like! We have had, with few exceptions,  accumulating snows; cold rains and cold temperatures. Saturday, March 30 had been different!….. Spring!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Note the few white bars on the tail feathers.

Note the few white bars on the tail feathers.

I debated, with myself, what to do this morning that was predicted to be warming. I wanted to go out and enjoy some woodland time. However, much yard work needed done too. My knee pain had been fairly subtle. I wondered if any hill climbing might re-aggravate the pain.  A woods walk it will be!!!

A heavy frost blanketed the fields and forests as I followed the contour of the hill. Suddenly, I heard it! A gobbler sounded off below my position. I walked down over and couldn’t resist making a series of hen yelps. He answered and gobbled periodically. I wondered if he would exit from the woods to come out into the game commission food plots. This would be my only chance for any photos here. The multiflora rose and cut trees were thick everywhere else.

DSC_0003   Another gobbler began gobbling from the top where I had just walked from.  The first gobbler had become quiet and within a minute I could see the “snowball white” head followed by glossy black body outside of the woods.  He came towards me fast and I was blessed to get about eight photos. He heard the first click of the shutter and quickly began to show concern. Most of the photos were decent shots. The grasses and briars between the tom and myself did cause some haziness, but the conditions can’t always be controlled in such settings.

I walked in a large oval-lile manuever around the property. I even crossed a creek and road twice to spend time in other areas. The walk would be, at least, 5 miles. By 10:00 I could finally feel the warmth of the sun.

A beech section of the woods. They say,"Life's a beech."

A beech section of the woods. They say,”Life’s a beech.”

I saw three deer; four wood ducks and three young gobblers. I bumped into another longbeard. He wasn’t gobbling and we surprised each other as I stepped over a grade! The noise of the wings escaping tthrough the trees is impressive. Of course, I had to remove seven ticks from my pants. They are deceased!

I saw my first coltsfoot flower blossoms this day. They are one of the earliest of wildflowers to bloom. The skunk cabbage shots are ready for rapid growth! I heard spring peepers calling for their mates. Yes, spring has finally arrived!

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HE IS RISEN

At this time of the year the words, He Is risen, may be heard here and there. One may hear these words only at an Easter Sunrise Service or casually among believers. I find myself wondering how many individuals hearing or saying these words truly understand the importance of HE IS RISEN!

The belief of a risen Christ is paramount to eternal salvation with Christianity. You may hear of other requirements, but the only way is from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 or in Romans 10. That is to believe in the gospel as presented through the Apostle Paul. Those verses, as well as others, simply state: one has to believe in the death; burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ! There are no works attached to this fact! This is simple enough that a young person can read and understand.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 states: Now I remind you brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received , in which you stand, by which you are SAVED, if you hold it fast unless you believed in vain. For I (Paul) delivered to  you as of first importance what I also received, that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES, THAT HE WAS BURIED, THAT HE WAS RAISED ON THE THIRD DAY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCRIPTURES.

Romans 10:9.. IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR LIPS THAT JESUS IS LORD AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU WILL BE SAVED!

Again, to be saved spiritually is to: BELIEVE TOTALLY IN THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST!!!!!

Note in Galatians 1:6-9; Paul  realizing some of his converts were turning to a false doctrine wrote: BUT EVEN IF WE, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN SHOULD PREACH TO YOU A GOSPEL CONTRARY TO THAT WHICH WE PREACHED TO YOU, LET HIM BE ACCURSED!  Paul goes on repeating that statement to emphasize the importance!

So yes, if you have truly believed that Christ was buried and was raised you will be saved!

HE IS RISEN!

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Late March Snow Hike

DSC_0008   The official first day of spring has come and gone yet six inches of a wet and heavy snow blanketed everything this morning.Earlier this day the winter wonderland beauty was to be enjoyed as the tree limbs bent under the snow’s extra weight.

I remembered in the movie, “Jeremiah Johnson” as the two mountain men enjoyed a char-broiled rabbit when the older fellow who always was hunting “griz” told the questioning Jeremiah something to the effect of, “March is a green and muddy month, some folks like it.”I chuckled.

Some woods time was required of me this day. I hesitated since I have had some knee pain for almost a week. I elected to go and see some beauty and critters.

I gathered up one of the remaining deer rib cages from my property.(I know most think of this as weird! Don’t care!) Over winter red-tailed hawks; crows and many numerous small birds enjoyed the calories during the colder weather. Last week four turkey vultures had a feast too. This deer part would be taken to the woods to return to nature.

Water droplets from melting snow

Water droplets from melting snow

The snow made for some quiet walking as I trekked up and over the hills. I saw two different woodcocks. The little birds are questioning their early arrival to western Pennsylvania. I enjoy hearing their whistling wing feathers as they take flight.

Wetland Woodcock. One of my recent paintings in the game bird series.

Wetland Woodcock. One of my recent paintings in the game bird series.

I hiked through an older growth spruce site to see a great-horned owl leave a limb and circle directly over me. I hurried to try to get the camera ready. I failed to get any shots. A few minutes later the crows could be heard harassing the bird of prey.

I saw four deer laying along a bottom area. One was busy chewing its cud before the other three became nervous and took off in a flash. Later, i bumped two other deer from a thicket.  Shortly, I discovered four sets of tracks heading towards a crabapple thicket. Soon, I was blessed to see them sneaking through. I saw ten different deer!

A few hundred yards from my vehicle my knee area began to hurt terribly. I wonder what the knee will be like when I get old….oh wait…I am already old! I forgot!

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DSC_0004   I had no feelings of apprehension while being alongside the group of around 250 like-minded individuals. Should I have been afraid? Those on one side of the political “spectrum” would be adamantly opposed to such an action and blindly scream fearful remarks to work on the emotions of the uninformed or political ideals….anti-gun people! The Americans present at this event did so as a public awareness walk.

The sidewalks and street crossings of Brookville, Pennsylvania witnessed the group of pro second amendment individuals.Those present ranged from young children; women; mothers; elderly and all ages in between.                                                           DSC_0005

Besides the need to proclaim the right to bear arms of the people all of these people were carrying firearms. I saw revolvers; semi-auto pistols; rifles; shotguns; flintlock rifles; antique firearms and many of those dreaded AR-15 rifles….and yes they were loaded!

The Second Amendment was an important aspect for the founding of America through the FOUNDING FATHERS. Historically, these men were living under the auspices of King george lll of England. The thirteen colonies were under English rule.

Irish Second Amendment supporter

Irish Second Amendment supporter

The French & Indian War, fought in the colonies,  had used up much of British revenue. England added many taxes and tariffs to the colonies to replenish their lost funds. Their acts caused much resentment. Life here was becoming more burdensome as the problems continually escalated towards war.

British troops began to thwart all anti-British discussions and gun confiscation was beginning to cause anger. The founders had seen tyrannical government ebbing its way one step at a time into colonial life. Liberty and freedom were desired! They understood the need for men to occasionally do what is necessary to keep and preserve freedom. In short order this War for Independence would be reality.

Headin' towards the rally

Headin’ towards the rally

Individuals and/or groups opposed to the second amendment apparently have little concern with the constant “chipping away” of the right. They are in a tunnel vision thinking our own government would never be able to go into tyranny over the citizenry. Many people’s of other nations heard the lie. The realization of the loss of firearms came to their feeble brain waves too late to stop the anti advance. If this right goes how much faster will the next one fall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jefferson County Courthouse (detail)

Jefferson County Courthouse (detail)

In the Pennsylvania Constitution  Declaration of Rights; Article 1; Section 21 states: THE RIGHT OF THE CITIZENS TO BEAR ARMS IN DEFENSE OF THEMSELVES AND THE STATE SHALL NOT BE QUESTIONED.

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Clarion Bluegrass Festival

Going over songs: (l-r) Bob Sink; Butch Rupp; Me chewing gum; and Mike Elias

Going over songs: (l-r) Bob Sink; Butch Rupp; Me chewing gum; and Mike Elias

Last evening, I spent time playing music with some good friends and making some new friends. The event was a bluegrass music festival held at the Clarion Holiday Inn on Route 68 just north of Interstate 80. The place was packed!  Musicians were to be found all over and in special gathering rooms. Also, bands played all evening on stage.

I do not have many opportunities to play bluegrass so I was happy to have been asked by my friend, Bob Sink of Corsica, Pennsylvania. Bob is an excellent, old-fashioned style fiddler and mandolin player. He usually can be identified with his Confederate style kepie hat! Bob has had some serious heart-related  issues over the last month. I was elated to see him out and about again!

Bob Sink

Bob Sink

Another old friend, Butch Rupp was present and he played dobro and guitar too. He played with the gospel band I am currently involved with for a time. We can always have some laughs when we are together.

Mike Elias

Mike Elias

Another musician, I met earlier in the evening was Mike Elias from Ohio. He played the 5-string banjo. A nice fellow and good musician!

The last musician I played with was Peg Seroko,  also, from Ohio. She sang and played the upright bass.

I was apprehensive to go and play with all of these people because of not knowing what to expect and meeting them for the first time around 7:30. At this time we began  going over some songs and hit the stage at 9:00! Like I said I don’t get to play bluegrass very often and I was met with a list of songs with only three having heard before. I would just have to fake it!

Peg Serotko (rt)

Peg Serotko (rt)

I enjoyed myself, Laurie enjoyed herself and we met some great people.

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I have one issue with playing bluegrass music. I am not a loud guitar player. My acoustic Guild, although having two mics at the sound hole proved to be difficult for me to hear through the monitors. This seems to be an issue everywhere I play in such a way. This causes me to pick the strings harder and that action, in turn, causes my playing to be less smooth. The public loved it, however. They could hear it well through the main speakers. I even was blessed with applause! Like I said they are great people!

The photos included here are from: Greg Knox of Shippenville, Pennsylvania. More photos can be seen at:www.facebook.com/learningandphotography. His web site is: wwwBrightIdeas-LC.com

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Keystone Lake

Keystone Lake

Yes, I managed to spend some time walking the borders and along the slopes of some of the waters of Keystone Lake. (Armstrong County, Pennsylvania) The day included much time of reflection on my part. Freda Yount, my aunt, had passed away and I had attended the funeral. Aunt Freda always had a smile for me. She was kind to me, but we weren’t as close as we could have been. Many years ago, she and my uncle were divorced. I was somewhere in my early teens when this happened. Divorces tear families apart. Regardless she was my aunt and I had much appreciation for her.    DSC_0055

I stopped by the funeral home in Elderton, Pennsylvania to show my respects and visit with my cousins and friends. Always great to see them. I find it sad our lives are so busy in this day that we seldom see each other unless it be a funeral or wedding.

Canada geese

Canada geese

DSC_0048    As per my plans, I carried extra clothing and shoes with me because I decided with such a springlike day of near 70 degrees a walk should be part of my agenda. These walks of mine often become times of reflection and deep thoughts.

Some of the lake still was covered with ice, but I did see an ice fishermen on the ice. Not me! I headed first to the mouth of the lake where Plum Creek entered into the big waters. I knew waterfowl would be at this area since plenty of vegetation is present . Here I saw geese and a coot. I walked about before relocating further south on the lake. At this site, I exited down a steep slope. This was an area I often fished over earlier years of my life. I had many hours of enjoyable times fishing here alone or with my dad.  We used to catch some big bass in this lake. I remember bass of eighteen inches being caught. We caught some big bluegills and walleye too.

Interesting Ice Formation

Interesting Ice Formation

As I approached through the hemlock laden slope of the lake I could here and see Canada Geese. (Located one nesting pair.) I, also, saw several Common mergansers; a flock of swans and many gulls off across the lake. I couldn’t make any positive identification on exact species at such distances. Much of the waters  here were open.                                                                                                                                                                    DSC_0056

I sat down behind some hemlocks to watch the waterfowl and write down some thoughts until I felt something tickling my arm…a TICK! I removed and eliminated four ticks at that time. I decided I best get p and continue walking. I later removed three more from my pants. I HATE TICKS!

Red-Tailed Hawk (one of two)

Red-Tailed Hawk (one of two)

I walked along the shore for sometime before angling up and over towards my car. I saw two deer and a squirrel on the wooded flats.

My walk wasn’t all that long. I estimated about two miles total, but I enjoyed being outside on such a beautiful day. I stopped to check on my mother’s progress while traveling home. She is doing very well with her new knee.

Hemlock Cone

Hemlock Cone

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Where Have I been?

I haven’t written anything on my site for a few weeks. There has been a number of issues going on as of late. My mother had her second knee replaced on February 12th. This surgery, of course, utilized many hours of hospital time and being at my old homestead. She is doing very well and hopefully by mid-April she will be walking without a walker or cane. She is determined and that is always a good thing!!!

DSC_0012    My mother returned home on Saturday, February 23rd. My sister received an operation on February 26th on her knee. She had injured it on a tree root. She is doing very well too. On February 28th, I received a MRI to my head searching for any brain material. The Vertigo issues, as well as, other head and sinus related problems caused a required search to rule any negative things out. So far, I have not received any word.

So these important family related concerns were a big part of my time. I, also, have been working on some recordings for a friend, Bob Sink. Thus far, I have put two to three tracks on eleven out of thirteen songs for him. Bob is a great fiddle and mandolin player. Unfortunately, we have yet to have put any of his tracks done. Bob has been hospitalized twice in three weeks over heart-related problems. On February 23rd, the band I play guitar with, GOOD NEWS COUNTRY played at the Victory Praise and Worship Center near Corsica. All six band members were present to play! Bob, and his wife Elaine, were present to listen. They live several miles away from the center. Bob, at that time, said he was feeling very well, but, a few days later he was back in the hospital. Get well friend!

Detail of the muskie and the saw blade. Laurie told everybody I had painted a guppy!

Detail of the muskie and the saw blade. Laurie told everybody I had painted a guppy!

I have plenty of hours working on some paintings including a saw blade of a muskie for Mr. Muskie, Frank Maus. He loved it!

Saturday evening, March 2, Laurie and I attended an event and meal at the Whitesburg United Methodist Church. Great food and friends!  We later stopped and visited my mother and step-father, Bob.

Laurie, my mother-in-law Anne Craft and myself went to the Greensburg garden & Civic center to see the musical, GODSPELL. The original musical began in 1971. Neither Laurie or I were overly impressed with the event. While traveling I saw a lot of deer, a flock of turkeys and a gaggle of geese.

This morning I went for a winter walk to see what I could see. I saw several deer, mink  and coyote tracks and a small flock of bluebirds.                                                       DSC_0013

I saw my first groundhog of the season this last week. Also, I am noticing the goldfinches at my feeder beginning to brighten up with the yellows of sping and summer.

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