Archive for November, 2017

I BELIEVE (My latest CD)

I have been involved with this CD for almost a year. “I BELIEVE” is the title of this endeavor. The road from start to finish has witnessed many ups and downs. Yes, frustrations were all too common at times, but the work continued regardless.  Today those feelings are gone!

“I BELIEVE” is a gospel collection of varied songs of faith. I began this process by listening and searching out gospel songs. This list was a long one indeed. I continued the thought process and, eventually, reduced the list to a total of fourteen songs. The selections ended with a diversified list of songs hopefully most may find peace and enjoyment. (The selections are shown below.)

Once I had finalized the list of songs the other work began. This work included deciding on what key my voice worked the best in. The arrangement process, also, began to take place after the key was determined. This all takes much time. At this point I devised a chart system to indicate order to each song. Introductions and instrumental breaks needed decided upon, too.

These recordings are multi-track recordings on a digital recorder. Each song has from eight to fourteen individual tracks on them. I played all instruments except the steel guitar , hence the time of work producing this CD. Also, I did some harmonies on a few songs. One song, for instance has two lead vocals and four harmonies between myself and Marci Williams. (See below)

My dear friend, Marci Williams quickly offered her talents to do some harmonies for the songs once she realized the plans for this CD. Of course, I was hoping she would be interested in singing. Marci is a very talented singer; guitarist and artist and I truly appreciate her efforts. She would record the songs, that I had partially completed, and practice them at home when time allowed.   

Another dear friend, Dick Vernon agreed to add some steel guitar work to give some songs a country-flair! Dick and I have played together many times over the last fifteen, or so, years. Thank you Dick!

On a sad note, Bill Lettrich agreed to play some fiddle tunes to add more diversity to some songs. Billy came to the house and we went over a few songs. It was decided I would record what was done and mail the recordings and charts to him to practice. Billy called and said he didn’t think he could do the songs justice, but I didn’t know what was to happen. Bill was 87 years old and mentioned, while he was at the house, about not feeling well. He said the fiddle playing was keeping him alive. About a week, or so, later I received word that Bill Lettrich had passed away.

Billy’s unexpected passing would make me reevaluate my arrangements. I played some keyboards and piano in a few places. Also, I would add additional guitar work to fill the places the fiddle was to have been included .

My wife, Laurie needs some praise here at this time. Many hours in the recording studio, arranging, rearranging and performing were required to do this CD. I appreciate her patience with me for the long hours busy with the work. She is a good woman.

Anyone interested in purchasing this CD the donation price is $10.00 with an added $5.00 for shipping and handling. The CD may, also, be picked up. My e-mail is: lasmail@windstream.net   My Address is: 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201

THE SONG LIST                                                                               

1. Climb Higher

2. I BELIEVE (Title song)

3. He Knows My name

4. When He Was On The Cross

5. You’re Worthy Of My Praise

6. Thanks To Calvary

7.  Wasted Years

8.  Revelation Song

9.  Mercy Walked In

10.  Bless My Soul

11.  Help Me

12.  I Can’t Even Walk

13.  Ancient Words

14.  Come Morning


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Branson On The Road


Mom was really enjoying the attention.


Debbie Horton

This past weekend, Laurie and I treated my mother, Ruth Smail Miller and my step father, Bob Miller to a concert at the Palace Theater in Greensburg, PA. My mother, and Bob, enjoy this band from Branson, Missouri called Branson On The Road.  They watch them perform on television on the RFD Channel.

Cliff Boone

I called my mother upon learning the band would be close and she jumped at the chance to see them again.

The band consists of three musicians and singers doing classic country music. This event, was a Christmas special. Debbie Horton is a great rhythm guitar player. She put in all the chords to Christmas songs. Christmas songs often do not fit what many musicians consider “normal” when chords are used. She got him! She has a beautiful voice, too.

Cliff Boone played lead guitar, mandolin, and five-string banjo, as well as vocals. He does a very good job on all of them.

Brain Capps plays an upright bass using the “slap bass” technique. he did an excellent job.

I told the band that my mother’s 88th birthday is on December 6th.  They all praised her and congratulated her. They said she looked great, and mom does!  The event and time with family was a well spent time together.

Brian Capps






Bob and Debbie

To learn more about this band visit: http://www.bransonontheroad.com

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After staying home and raking and mulching leaves yesterday, I hit the trail this morning to hunt bear. To be honest, I called this hunt an exploratory hunt for I was traveling into new territory. I have been in a few areas of this same large tract of land, but today’s venture was to be new.


Black-capped Chickadee

I followed the ridgelines around the hollows periodically checking my topography map. I wasn’t still hunting in the strictest sense of this style of hunting, for I was walking more than standing. However, I did set down for a few minutes to eat some walnuts and drink some juice. I discovered a tree that offered a unique seat. I enjoyed the brief set to rest and eat.

This day had some light rain intermingled with snow flurries. Strong winds could be felt as well due to the wind chill. Because of this I could move very

Porcupine gnawings

quietly. I edged along a rim to spot a deer about fifteen yards away. I immediately saw the “horns.” However, I quickly realized something was amiss. The antler on the buck’s right side was down over his jaw. Something had happened obviously. Did this antler deformity occur due an early growth injury? Was the base of the skull damaged due to buck fighting?

As I stopped in my tracks I slightly moved a limb and the deer heard it, but didn’t see me. We played a watch and wait scenario for about ten minutes before he moved enough to allow for a photo.

   I saw several squirrels and heard some swans and a Ring-necked Rooster. I saw a lot of chickadees and juncos feeding heavily in the brambles. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I didn’t see any bear on this jaunt. On the positive side I did learn a lot more about the lay of the land. Upon coming home I checked my trail cam. Bucks…I get buck photos of three different bucks almost every night. I small-racked buck enjoyed rubbing my tress last evening.


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Bear damage


  Monday, November 20, I headed to the woods of Armstrong County to seek out a Black Bear. The first day, November 18th was a wash out. I  “schmartly” decided to not go out and be wet. The weather people were calling for windy conditions, also. This day would be different. Although dark I could see a “skiff” of snow as I approached my destination.

I pulled in only to see a younger fellow almost ready to head up the game land’s road to his hunting spot. We spoke briefly and off he went. I followed shortly afterwards. I had planned to still hunt and old clear cut, but after I searched out tracks at a Y in the trail I noticed  some footprints in the sandy area. Yes, he was going to the top where I had planned, so I altered my direction. As stated little snow was present. There was enough to help see, but not enough to effectively track and bear, if I would happen to see a track somewhere. In fact, much of the snow would be melted by 9:30 A.M. except deep hollows and northern exposed hills.

Rough terrain


I moved quickly along food plots trying to cut any tracks before the snow was melted. None were found. Two, separate, small game hunters were observed hunting. I actually saw one bag a pheasant. I decide to cross the main road and hunt the other side of the game lands.

I journeyed the game lands area moving through recent clear cuts. The brush and briars are unbelievable. I come here often knowing this is prime bear habitat, but finding one is almost nil and  getting a shot probably almost as impossible, yet I try to beat the odds. Many bear would hold tight in such habitat allowing the hunter to walk past.


My good friend, Carl Nulph. Always pleasant and always happy.

Eventually, I moved up and over a high wall only to see an old friend, Carl Nulph. He was checking trail cams for wildlife activity. We enjoyed our conversation for   about half an hour. Carl and I have been friends for many years and I always cherish the time we see each other to chat. In fact, we met last year on this very same hill top. I thought about putting him out of his misery, but elected to maintain a clean rifle. Hi Linda!                                                            

I circled around the game land’s edge only to be surprised to see many acres of standing corn. I said to myself, “Self, that is where the bear will be at.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t have permission to hunt the property. I began a circle around the back side of the hill. My decision was to move along slowly and whenever I reached the jeep I would call it a day. That time was 2:30.

The only signs of bear I had found in the area were utility pole damage and one pile of scat.  I saw two buck and one doe. I saw and heard several flocks of swans and a Red-tail Hawk and a Cooper’s hawk. I didn’t see any squirrels. I wondered how the recent weather may have affected the wildlife. The day became quite windy  later on. Enough wind was present to cause some chapping of my lips. Oh, the life of a hunter. Today, as I type, the weather is warming to close sixty degrees. I decided  to not hunt.  Since I am a lone hunter I am always concerned of getting a bear. The work of getting a bear out of the woods in warm weather is a task I don’t enjoy. Since, I would be eating  the bear I don’t want to have any spoiling of meat. It took much time to remove a bear I harvested in the past.


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Quincy and Susie

Quincy was a ferret. This is the third one we have had over the last twenty years. the sad part of a ferret is the fact of living only around seven to nine  years.  Quincy turned eight years old last August.

Quincy began to show his age a little over a year ago. I noticed the cloudiness in his eyes. As time moved along he began to miss his littler boxes. In recent weeks it was visible to see his hind legs not moving as well.  This morning a trip was made to the vets. Quincy went peaceable and quick.

Quincy was a bad boy in his younger days. He hated closed doors and would scratch the carpet at times in an attempt to open the door. Another trait he had was when play time arrived he may scratch at your feet as to tell you; C’mon let’s play chase. He loved big envelopes and plastic grocery bags. Quincy would crawl into them and push them ahead as he moved across the carpet. He would sometimes do these ferret dances across the floor as he hopped and jumped.

He would run up and down the stairs with ease as a younger fellow. recently we needed to be careful with open stairway doors. he would still try to maneuver them and fall down the steps.

He had two special toys he liked very much. One was a black squirrel. Quincy would carry that squirrel around and curl up to sleep with it. Another toy that drove him wild was a dog puppet that the handler would work to make songs ring true. however, the melody was with barks. he would go after anyone using this toy and carry it away to hide.

Yes, we are going to miss Quincy.  Both of these toys were buried along side of Quincy.

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Headin’ Home

As stated from the previous entry I hated to walk away from these backwaters of the George B. Stevenson Dam. I have always loved the area of the   Sinnemahoning. Many years ago my brother-in-law, Bob Hudson. and I and my dad and a couple of friends hunted bear in various hills and hollows.  (Bob died in a work-related accident in 1987.)  Upon his passing the desire to go there left my heart for a long time.

This morning had become quite beautiful. The sun was shining and the air calm. I enjoyed watching the frosty, foggy morning evolved into a blue sky kind of day.

Many varieties of birdlife were active this day.  Canada Geese, Mergansers and Mallards were common and busy. I was hoping, as stated, to see some Bald eagles and I wasn’t disappointed.

My schedule, way to soon, was to leave the area close to noon and head towards Medix Run. I wanted to do some hiking to finish off the day.

As I approached Medix Run I felt the need to drive up dent’s Run to follow through with memories from the past. I saw several deer along the way.

At Medix Run I crossed the bridge to park at the Quehanna Trail. I chose to hike a new area that would circle around what is known as the Haystack   Mountain. I would need to watch my time closely for darkness can overtake one quickly this time of the year. I would need to be at the jeep no later than four o’clock by my plans. I walked the trail and at a certain time head back to insure this arrival, I saw about seven deer on this hike.

I traveled state forest land roads to come out to a small rural community of Tyler. Now homeward bound.


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Immature eagle

 Yes, the night was long since the valleys darkened early and the fact I sleep on average six to six and a half hours a night.  I entered the tent at dusk and began to write down some thoughts and read. I discovered, as I always do when I read, that I was becoming tired. I dozed off only to wake up after eight o’clock.

I exited the tent and added more wood to the four hour fire. It wasn’t long the flames were rising high again.  I had some summer sausage and would enjoy a burnt one for a late supper. After I ate I entered the tent again to try for some sleep. I had two sleeping bags and extra clothing so I was quite warm in the cold temperatures.

The next time I woke up the side of the tent was lightened up. The moon had finally risen over the top of the mountain across the Sinnemahoning Creek. I went outside to see better. The woods was bright and the stars shined bright in the clear and crisp conditions. It was beautiful! The clouds within a few hours had dissipated. Frost was going to be the outcome.

I laid in the tent listening to the peacefulness. I could hear the fast moving waters of the creek and the cracking fire. At one point I heard a Barred Owl and not very far off. Towards morning I heard a Great-Horned Owl hooting up the valley.

Around four in the morning I woke up to an extremely dry throat and mouth and a thickening sensation . The cold weather must have activated my   sinus issues. I drank some carbonated pop to lesson this issue. Since I had been laying fairly prone, too. I went to sleep the in the jeep with a slight incline. Sleep didn’t come well for I was wide awake. Eventually, I began packing up my things. At 6:30 A.M. I actually began to walk to await the dawn. I would walk for a few hours along the bottomlands parallel to the Sinnemahoning Creek.

The deer were moving and I saw several bucks and some does.

A frosty fog covered the mountain tops. the trees across the creek had that gray-white frost covering them.

The bottomlands had plenty of Sycamore trees to contrast the White Pines. Occasionally, the brilliant reds of Winterberries would be contrasting everything.

Midmorning found me close to the dam again. This was where I saw the eagle yesterday. I was bird-watching this time. I wasn’t disappointed. I saw a flock of Mergansers again busily diving into the cold waters searching for breakfast. Mallards were quacking and swimming on the opposite side. the drakes were brilliant with their green heads. A small flock of Canada geese landed and would, for some reason, fly downstream past me.

Two mature Bald Eagles flew to my side of the dam. They were always outside of good camera range. They landed for a time only to fly back across the dam. before I left I saw an immature Bald Eagle  fly over close enough for some shots. Other birdlife included: Belted Kingfisher; Bluebirds; Crows; Ravens and a Killdeer. I hated to leave, but I had a schedule to keep so I continued on towards Medix Run area to do an afternoon hike before heading home.

I saw more deer and elk as I moved along. I drove up along Dents Run since I hadn’t been there for sometime. Soon I would be hiking near Medix Run.



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Native Brook Trout








Lick Island Run

I continued heading towards my destination of the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek of Cameron and Potter Counties, Pennsylvania. Immediately as I first glimpsed the Sinnemahoning I could see the waters were swift and high. very heavy rains occurred recently across much of the state.I knew I wouldn’t be fishing these waters. I pondered how fast and what the tributaries would be.

Upon reaching the George B. Stevenson Dam I stopped to walk along the top of the dam. Here one can see far up the watershed hollow surrounded by  high, steep majestic hills and deep hollows. This is very peaceful scene to reflect. The dam was releasing water.

I ventured upstream of a creek named Lick Island Run to search out some native Brook Trout. The waters of this stream were running fast and hill, too. The water was over most of the rocks embedded in the stream. I knew fishing would be tough under these circumstances. I did catch native trout, but I had to find rocks that were not covered with water. The run  under the lee side of the rocks was a sheltered spot yielding trout. However, these conditions needed to be sought out. I walked over a mile upstream enjoying an occasional trout and the natural beauty. Later, I would fish Brooks Run in the same manner. I caught some beautiful trout on this stream, as well.

Brooks Run



Pumpkinseed Sunfish with mesh

I stopped by an area of back waters of the dam. The water was high, but not as fast as the Sinnemahoning. This was water being held back. Normally, this  is a section of the watercourse considered  great as a warm water fishery. I walked along the mouth of Brooks Run and noticed a two and half inch

George B. Stevenson Dam

Pumpkinseed Sunfish near the water line.  It’s colors were vivid so I knew whatever happened to this little fish was very recent. Upon touching the little feller I noticed movement. The sunfish was alive! I immediately realized what the issue was. Recently, workers used a very fine green mesh to help stabilize the creek’s bank due to construction. This sunfish became entangled in the mesh when the creek was higher. I used a knife and cut the mesh and placed the sunfish in the water. It swam away! I wondered just how long it had survived in that situation. I am a hero!

In this area I saw a flock of mergansers and a Bald eagle. The next day I would spend time here again as a bird-watcher.

The rains began prior to noon. A few snowflakes fell, as well. The rain continued until about three-thirty, however, mostly the rain was light.

I erected the tent just as the rain was abating.  I had gathered firewood and now had my home secured.  By four o’clock I had a roaring fire going well. I might need this fire since the temperature was to drop into the lower twenties.  Hoping for a good night to sleep.


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Elk…And Lots of Them!

   I was in “Elk country” prior to daylight. I was in route to the Sinnemahoning area of Pennsylvania and planned to spend a couple of hours listening  and  taking photos of elk. The pre-dawn lighting allowed my eyes to focus in on elk feeding and bedding at a few spots. I parked at the top of a hill and could see additional elk at various places. I heard several bugling off in the distance. Of course, as the light intensified I could see elk far off in several directions and some closer.

I looked east and the early sky was brilliant in colors. The colors and cloud patterns reminded me off videos I saw of recent California wildfires. The colors were intense. The deep reds; yellows, gold and purples were vivid in color. However, I realized the,probable, outcome of such beauty and that was rain.

Elk were not my priority with this trip although I do enjoy seeing them about the management areas and forests of Pennsylvania. My goals were to fish the tributaries of the Sinnemahoning Creek for native Brook trout. I find having elk  running all over a good thing to be part of. Pennsylvania has a stable enough population that controlled hunting by licenses is reality.

Beech leaves

At one point I saw thirteen bull Elk running and feeding together. Some of the racks were impressive. On the way home I would spot a big bull sleeping at one point with eight cows and calves. I managed to get close enough for some decent photos. This was on state forest lands.

I would see a number of deer this morning feeding as well. This told me they were feeding because of the change coming in the weather. I saw one grouse, too. That is a very rare sight  anymore.

I continued to the George Stevenson dam controlling the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning Creek. The beauty of this area leaves me spellbound. The area is often called God’s Country. High steep mountains border the watershed area. Most of the leaves were already off the trees, but enough yellows and oranges of the oaks and Beech made for a great contrast of the “naked” trees and the big White Pines.


I realized the waterways would be high and swift from recent heavy rains. I didn’t try to fish the Sinnemahoning, but I would fish for native trout in a couple of tributaries. I will be adding more entries on my hiking; fishing and camping experiences.; bird watching


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