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Archive for January, 2018

 

Buffalo Creek

 

 

  My friend, Frank “Muskie” Maus and I walked  the trail beginning at Lanesville, PA. The morning was cold and

Mallard Ducks

crisp, but we didn’t feel any discomfort. The discussions covered a variety of subjects, such as, recent deer and turkey hunting adventures; people from where we both had worked; politics; loss of lands tp venture in, etc. We didn’t solve many of the world problems, but we still managed to have some laughter.

The snow-covered trail showed little human use. We saw two joggers and that was it. However, we saw plenty of deer activity and some fox and ‘coon tracks. Buffalo Creek flows alongside of the trail. We saw some Mallard Ducks and Common Mergansers. The Mallards didn’t concern themselves with our presence but the Mergansers didn’t tolerate our approach.

The one subject I took note of was the ice formations hanging from the exposed rocky outcrops. I took some photos simply because I thought they appeared “neat.”  I took some pics of these unique formations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The roar of the winds could be heard gusting its way on the hill tops. Snowy tornadoes were visible as drifts formed on the lee sides of slopes. Yes, the weather was cold and brisk, but I still went to Crooked Creek Park to hike.

 

Winter wonderland

I walked down a gated road to visit the overflow area. I had hoped to see some Bald eagles, but they avoided the area during the time I was present.  I did see a lot Common Mergansers flushing from the rapid waters.

As I walked about I kept seeing deer tracks. Eventually I saw four deer standing around and feeding among some thick vegetation that was covered with snow. The snow-laden limbs were quite beautiful to see. Higher on the hill the snow had been blown off all limbs.                                                                 

I heard and saw a pair of Canada Geese flying over. I guess it is that time of the year already when the geese will begin pairing off in preparation of the nesting season. The cycle moves along.

I would see several more deer  during the mid-morning jaunt.

Leopard leaf

 

Song Sparrow

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  January 26 was turning into a beautiful spring-like day. My internal being was crying for a walk. The difficult part  was deciding where I should walk this fine day. After much debate within my feeble brain I thought a hike along the Allegheny River may yield some nice things to see. I wouldn’t be disappointed with the decision.

The Allegheny had been ice-covered in recent weeks. The area had been inundated with very cold temperatures and snow as I will show later. Much concern was the norm with flooding concerns in various areas. However, the ice moved out with the right amount of temperature fluctuations and few realized any problems with flooding locally.

 

Red-tailed hawk nest

The river, today, was moving 99% ice free. Small icebergs could be seen floating by most of the water was ice-free. However, the shorelines had much ice. Some areas were, at least, twenty feet high with piled up ice.  Thick sheets of ice could be found in flat areas. In fact, while moving along I felt the sudden crash of breaking ice and down I went. I hurt my elbow very bad and feared breakage for a few moments. Today, as I type all seems improved.

Beaver working on a birch tree.

Periodically, I heard thunderous crashes as “chucks” of shoreline ice would break apart and slide into the water.

The walk didn’t yield much wildlife for me. I saw a few Canada Geese, various small birdlife; a Red Fox and a pair of Red-Tailed hawks.

I walked for about four hours as I made a circle back towards the jeep.

Now, comparing with a week ago one will be able to see the vast variances between a week in western Pennsylvania.

The earlier week proved to begin with single digit temperatures and approximately eight or more inches of dry snow. Ice abounded at many places. At Crooked Creek Park, where I had hiked, had service roads gated due to icy road conditions. However, I walked down on one of these snow-covered road. Allow me to rephrase this. I walked along the road’s edge. The snow successfully covered the layer of slippery ice on this road. As a youth I would have been running and skating on such conditions. Now I approach such adversities with caution.                                                                        

 

Watch out Titanic!

Puffball… I found several

 

Unsuccessful pic of Red Fox

 

The dam was frozen completely over, but the outflow area was running high, fast and muddy. I walked a trail along the creek that would go up over a hill and circle back towards the jeep.  I saw a number of deer and close. the thick bottomland vegetation avoided any chance of a photo.

Some photos from the Crooked Creek adventure:                                        

                  

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THE STAND OFF

Around Christmas I went for a walk-on a rainy day. The rain wasn’t a heavy or even moderate rain at the beginning. The moisture was light. While walking I saw a landscape scene that immediately triggered an inspiration for a painting. The image wasn’t nothing spectacular as the photo here shows, but I saw potential as I snapped the photo. At the time of the photo the rain was increasing.

Rainy day photo

I quickly decided some deer would be the subject matter as I rapidly sketched the photo image onto a gesso-treated panel. I wasn’t concerned with a hundred percent copy of the photo as the pencil put into place some things. The trees and very rough drawing of deer is shown below. I began “slapping on” paint at this stage, too.

 

Early sketch and slap-on paint

 

I knew the painting would evolve as they always do for me. I very seldom do a replica of a photo in fact most paintings are creations from deep in the back of my brain area….yes, way back there! In other words they are made up!

I included some stages on social media as many have told me how they enjoy watching the progress of a painting.

You’ll see readily how this painting changed from the original photo and sketch. I included some Aspen trees and changed the sky dramatically from the gray rain clouds. Notice I altered the tree on the right some. Eventually, I added a second doe. I hope you enjoyed this series of photos showing some stages with this painting.

Detailing well on the way

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My most recent paintings on Black Bear bones: Contact me if interested in purchase.

                                                                      

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Bob and I could see the colors in the eastern sky as we traveled to meet with my cousin, Donnie. The old adage about red sky in the morning must be accurate for around ten  o’clock the clouds had covered much of the sky overhead.

Prior to the clouds, however, the emerging sun made for some beautiful landscapes. One word comes to mind is vibrant. Since I tagged out for deer, I was to be the official “dog” again. This time my camera was the weapon of choice. I took almost seventy photos today as I pushed the woodlands for deer.

Chickadee

Bob and Donnie headed up a hollow as I circled below. I walked along a farmer’s lane with an acre or so of woodlands below me and the bigger woods above. I immediately spotted two deer bedded down. I used my brains on this adventure and walked past and angled downslope before turning directly towards them. It worked. The two deer entered the main section of woods and I heard a shot.  I began walking through the woods towards my kinfolk.

  I entered the hollow and could see Donnie had missed. I went up and over on their tracks to circle the back side of the hill. I saw a doe. I followed and  realized the deer were moving around to where the two hunters were waiting. Eventually, I came back around as well and spotted two deer in their beds. Donnie and Bob were just over this hill. I moved the deer and Bang!  the two doe went below Bob and he missed.

After discussion I went around them and circled  to try to move these deer back towards the hunters. I saw a deer feeding and moved it slowly towards the hunters. BANG!  A minute later…BANG!  A deer walked to within fifteen feet of me. Two more misses! This all happened by 10:30 A.M.

I would later see a racked buck.

MORE PHOTOS:                                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                              

 

Bob (L) and Donnie

 

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Redeemed

   Those of you following this site have noticed how I have expressed concern over vision issues. I am concerned as well for I have little information to  make decisions as to what to do next. Low light and nighttime vision is poor. Nighttime driving with my new glasses creates starburst imagery with everything that either is lit up or shines. I seem to see well just walking about, but sometimes clear focusing with my camera is observed to be lacking once I see the final photo. Sighting on firearms is very poor. I have issues focusing on the sights and the deer.  Having stated all of these issues my self-confidence was in need of boosts.

This morning I was to “dog” or push the woods for my cousin, Donnie and my step-father, Bob. I grabbed my 62 caliber smoothbore named Jeremiah to carry. This firearm has a front sight only and is much like a shotgun. The barrel has no rifling hence a smoothbore. Jeremiah is capable of sending a nice chunk of lead out of the barrel. However, because of the lack of rifling the accuracy suffers quickly. (Rifling: consists of a number of grooves or riflings cut into the inner barrel of a firearm. This rifling creates a spin on the lead ball or bullet which helps in accuracy and distances.)I have always tried to shoot forty yards or under, but I have taken some deer with this flintlock at yardages up to around 60 yards.

Close-up of Jeremiah. The powder horn was one of my creations.

 

I am a dog! My task was to push areas for deer. The second drive found about 8-9 deer very low along a creek. I was walking along a wood line to get into position to begin the push. when I saw the deer. they began to move out and I soon saw around six deer going up the hill across the road. I hoped some others moved around this side of the hill and would work along towards the kinfolk hunters.

  I started into the woods slowly and soon noticed a deer walking along. I watched intently as the doe began moving diagonally towards me. The doe

Coyote track

stepped behind a large tree and I hunkered down with flintlock in aim and cocked. She stepped clear of the tree and began moving broadside and the thirty to thirty-five yard shot was true. The doe expired very quickly with a heart shot. I felt redeemed some as I felt a little confidence return to my old bones. I gave thanks for the event and quickly tagged and removed the entrails. The drag was about three-fourths of a mile on snow.

The others saw some deer, but no shots were offered. I continued pushing until about noon.

 

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