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Archive for December, 2015

Flintlock Time!

December 26 witnessed the first day of the primitive deer hunting season. This is my personal favorite time to hunt. I decided to be a “dog” this day for my cousin, Donnie Smail, and step-father, Bob Miller.

Briars!!!!!!!!!

Briars!!!!!!!!!

I was walking through some clear-cut areas on some of these pushes for deer.  Brambles; logs; multiflora rose and young growth saplings made moving difficult.

Prior to the first drive I maneuvered myself to a place to allow the “boys” to get into their position. prior to the deer drive, I went up, and over, to see where workers had removed the top of the hill. I wanted to observe how much woodlands were dozed over.

The Ram! (Note erosion control fencing.)

The Ram! (Note erosion control fencing.)

I was seeing a lot of deer sign when I looked along a grass-covered  area. I saw an animal. I first thought I was seeing a deer, but the colors didn’t look correct. I could see the colors of an elk along with deep blackened areas along the legs , and belly. The animal continually fed. I glassed it. Later, I saw the head and it was a ram!  What the heck was a ram doing way out here?

Well, as for the drives I placed deer went past the hunters at different times, but not a shot was fired.

I saw a grouse, and some squirrels as well.

We quit about 11:30 since some rain began falling as predicted. However, The rain didn’t amount to much all afternoon. Next time out, Old Jacob may get a shot! That rifle was named after Captain Jacob the famous Delaware warrior, and chief in Kittanning, Pennsylvania  in the eighteenth century.                                                                                              DSC_0005

 

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Christmas 2015

 

Laurie with her Santa cap!

Laurie with her Santa cap!

On Christmas Day, my small family attacked my old homestead. Those in attendance were my mother Ruth, of course; my step-father, Bob; my sister, Ruthie with her husband Tim; and Laurie, and I! That’s it!

 

My sister, Ruthie with Laurie.

My sister, Ruthie with Laurie.

My mother, Ruth!

My mother, Ruth!

We went about the normal exchange of gifts prior to feasting! We engaged in much laughter, and picking on each other as is our norm.

 

My brother-in-law Tim ...the Ford man!  haha

My brother-in-law Tim …the Ford man! haha

 

Bob Miller, my step father!

Bob Miller, my step father!

Christmas season does bring about some sadness for me. I always attempt to capture those nostalgic feelings of earlier times, and they can not be found.  I remember singing Christmas carols in school including those with a spiritual wording. The attacks on anything of Christ at Christmas tears at my heart. Last year I turned over the Charlie Brown Christmas and Linus’ Biblical reading from the Book of Luke had been edited out.  The passing of my father, Allen in 1999, saddens me. This list can  go on forever. At least, I know in my heart I work with keeping Christ in my Christmas.

Mom modeling her new jammies!

Mom modeling her new jammies!

However, we still enjoy the family functions this time of the year!

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Time Passes On

Cherry Run

Cherry Run

On December 23rd, I needed some walk time. One area I visited was my father’s old homestead. I was last here to walk around 35 years ago, if not longer. This home site was, and is, along US 422 at the Cherry Run Intersection, as known by the locals.

The house was behind these big trees.

The house was behind these big trees.

The house is long gone. All that is remaining are the foundation stones. the foundation is thick with brush, so getting any photos of it was impossible. I remember the house. There are pictures of my cousin, Donnie , and I, setting in a rocking chair while in the house. We were very young.

Old apple tree.

Old apple tree.

I went in the house some time later after the last residents moved out. they had left the rooms filled with garbage, smashed the walls, and windows.

 

A view looking north from the house.

A view looking north from the house.

The barn foundation is still visible as well. the foundational stones are currently on the south (Right) side of 422.                                   DSC_0010

Barn foundation.

Barn foundation.

Remnants of the old orchard  are still present. Old, ancient-looking, apple trees are still growing near the watercourse of Cherry Run. Pruning has been absent for over sixty years.

 

Bridge where old US 422 was.

Bridge where old US 422 was.

Just a short jaunt below the barn foundation one can see an old narrow bridge. Vegetation is growing on the bridge’s surface. A well used deer trail, also, crosses the bridge. This was the old US 422. I think the bridge may have been in use by 1930.

Just being there brought back many memories of my family. I sure would like to go back in time to see the place in the day. My grandmother left in the late 1950 time frame. My grandfather had died in 1950.

Time passes on!                                                                                                                                     DSC_0026

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Laurie, and I spent some time visiting the area in, and around, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This area is well-known for being Amish, and Mennonite, country.  The primary reason for our visit was to see a couple of Christmas shows.

The first show was one that can only be described as “SPECTACULAR”!  The show was called the, MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS. This event was held at the famous  Sights & Sounds Theater. Those who participated in this show were unbelievable. Add to their talents the stage props, and lighting effects, and you have the ingredients of a show to behold.

This play has three stages, detailed props; lighting effects; camels; donkeys; sheep; men on horses, angels flying around the stages, and over the audience, to enhance the overall sensations.

The time frame of this play begins during the immediate days, and weeks, before the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary of her being chosen to have the Son of God. It ends with his birth!  Visit their site at: http://www.sight-sound.com

The following day we attended the American Music Theater. Again, we were knocked off our feet with the professional of the musical called, DECK THE HALLS. This play featured an on stage orchestration and many singers, and dancers.  A lot of Christmas music was performed.  They have a lot of big name entertainers showing here. Their site is: http://www.amtshows.com

We spent additional time in communities , such as, Bird In The Hand, and Intercourse where we enjoyed visiting shops and EATING!!!!

I enjoyed seeing some Amish, and Mennonite farm and their farmlands. I love the rural aspect of the area, obviously!

Interestingly enough, I found two purses over the weekend. What are the odds of that!!! Both times the owners were either hollered at to stop , or by chance came back looking.

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MISSED!

My step father, Bob, and I, spent half a day pursuing whitetails! And the day was wonderful!

Bob walked down n old right-of-way while I circled to push out some deer. I sent a couple past him, but a shot was possible. I walked up to him to discuss what had just happened. I told Bob,  “I see movement!” I felt certain I saw a part of a deer. Field glasses were worthless for we were facing the early sun.

DSC_0014  Bob remained in position and I walked back the same route he recently walked down. I spotted two deer bedded down. I believe these deer allowed Bob to walk past and remained tight. I looked back and made some motion of deer bedded. I continued on. I should have motioned Bob to come forward to see if the deer would have held their position. the shot would have been reasonably close…approximately 35 yards. Bob has trouble seeing deer in those conditions, so I continued up, and over, and walked in behind them. The deer got up and stood. Another great shot for me if I would have been hunting. Bob held off for he wasn’t sure where I was at. I was seeing an ear moving.

I backtracked and circled again and watched as the deer walked to me.  I went back and motioned Bob to come back up to me, and we walked along a field’s edge. Bob repositioned as I tried to move the deer around.

I walked backwards and entered the woods, and immediately saw a deer leg. The deer moved out. I played tag with these deer. I saw them four times again in less than two acres. Finally they moved past Bob. He didn’t get a shot. Again, I was getting unbelievable chances for close shots.

We walked side-by-side as we walked along. Suddenly, a deer crossed in front of us, and she was only about 25 yards. She looked at us, and began feeding. Bob wasn’t sure if he wanted to shoot the small deer, so he hesitated.

After a few minutes this deer turned back towards the way it came and started to walk. Bob decided he was going to shoot, but he missed. I played the sceneraio  out searching for any sigh of a hit. Bob must have pulled the shot for the deer was very close.

We had a lot of deer sightings before heading back to mom’s for brunch!

 

 

 

 

 

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My step father, Bob Miller, and I situated ourselves about forty yards apart this morning. The field we were watching has a lot of terrain contours so our separation allowed us to see the entire field. I have another antlerless tag, but I wasn’t carrying a firearm this day. I am waiting for flintlock season.

DSC_0002  The ground surface was white with frost. I was literally prone on the ground enjoying a beautiful sunrise and listening to a little turkey chatter from across the hollow, when I saw a doe walking into the field. She was followed by two others. I whistled to Bob, and motioned him to walk backwards into the woods and come to me from behind. Unfortunately, the deer were not in the mood to stay for long. Bob managed to see the three deer briefly before they entered the woods.

We edged along the field, but the deer had moved down, and over the side of the hill.                                             DSC_0006

I told Bob where to go, and I would walk along the hill’s side to try to push any deer towards him. I circled the field’s edge, and two deer came over the skyline. Bob saw them, but couldn’t get a shot.

I finally walked the pre-discussed drive, and in moments I heard his shot. I hurried to his position, and found Bob standing over a nice doe. Bob said ten to twelve deer came through from all directions. One stopped! While we were there with the deer I noticed another deer  walking. It was a small spike.                                                            DSC_0007

Later on, I spotted a nice eight-pointer with does in the distance. The buck was interested in breeding. The does were not!

 

 

 

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Success!

DSC_0001  I told Laurie, and my step-father, Bob, I was only going after bucks this day. I did not expect to  deviate from that decision. I had to leave by noon, or so, to get ready for a meal at my in-laws, and I wasn’t wanting to butcher.

I saw the first deer early. I couldn’t identify the gender. The brush, and slight fog kept that from happening. I set down on a log, and decided I needed to capture some of this fog on camera. I see beauty in all things.                                                         DSC_0008

I walked backwards and set down on a log to watch a little. I spotted a doe standing about seventy yards. Shortly afterwards, another doe was visible eating ferns. I watched the two for about half-an-hour as they walked away.

I was entertained by two gray squirrels, and two red squirrels. I would still hunt  in the area, and walk back to this log from time to time.

DSC_0012  I could see a deer to my left. I began to reach for my camera when I noticed the antlers. A second late I realized the buck was legal. The scope centered on the front of the deer followed by the shot. The deer dropped before running down slope. I could hear the deer as he dropped again.

The drag was a tough one for the buck was big, and heavy. I had to cross a steep gulley, and up a slope before leveling off. There were lots of down trees, with brush, too. I eventually had to drag the deer across Cherry Run. I was beat. Bob, and I struggled loading the buck in Bob’s truck.

The buck sported seven points with a seventeen inch spread.

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