Archive for December, 2019

This morning was the start of the third day of Pennsylvania’s primitive Deer season. The dark hours began with a not-so- good event for me. While traveling to my hunting area for the day I started one of my coughing and choking spells. This is asthma related and I have them from time to time. I had to quickly pull aside to complete this bout. These events are scary and I feel, almost, to the point of black out at times. Luckily the don’t last long. However, I feel weakened for a time afterwards.

I climbed a hill enjoying the cool air in my lungs. I set up on a rock and waited for an hour until the day was bright. I then started a still-hunt method of sneaking around nd watching for bedded or feeding deer. I saw a number of deer this day, but none offered any chance of a shot. The first day, December 26, allowed for three doable shots, but I didn’t take any shots. I am still working on confidence building after some time of having seeing my flintlock sights. The three shots were around fifty to fifty-five yard shots and I hoped for closer action.

The second day found enjoyment with turkeys. Early I began to hear turkey chatter and eventually heard fly-down wing beats.  Minutes later gobbling was heard as the birds climbed the hill towards a fifty-foot right-a-way. (I got a big gobbler near this site last spring.) Other turkeys began yelping and gobbling behind me.

I set here for almost two hours and just had to stand and stretch my buttock muscles. While standing I noticed turkeys at the top of the right-a-way. I was in a bind. My camera was in my shoulder bag on a log. Periodic rain caused me to keep the camera within safe cover. Now I couldn’t move to retrieve the camera. I remained frozen in place.

A mature gobbler gobbled behind me and the thirteen turkeys above me started to run down the slope before taking flight. They landed approximately twenty-twenty-five feet from me.  I remined still. The gobbler gobbled again and all these young gobblers gobbled in sink. What an adventure being part of this and so close.

Today, at another site, I saw some turkey heads at a round top. I assumed the birds had seen me, but as I moved over this round top all I could see were turkeys running, flying…some going left, some going straight, and some going right. I had a turkey break! I had to set down and call in birds.

The turkeys didn’t start to call until one and a half hours went by. However, one bird came in silent early on. Once the birds began calling I crawled into a depression and readied the camera. I had turkeys almost run me over. I couldn’t keep a clear focus. Later on I heard one and then another  and called this gobbler in. What a grand time I had.

During my time afield I saw lots of squirrels, barred Owls and a Red Fox.

I had been feeling very anxious recently with so much going on. Friday evening I had to call Pittsburgh office concerning federal jury duty. I hate going to the city for I know little about that place, traffic is always an issue. Parking is a pain. every morning the news talks of recent shootings. No I prefer to say away. Luckily for me, I was not selected for this coming week. I still have to deal with anxieties for I have to call again next Friday.



Owl pellet



Bedded doe from last week.



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The General Jackson

Laurie and I spent some time on the General Jackson. The General Jackson is a paddleboat that has entertainment and meals on board as the travel moves along the Cumberland River. I have been on other such events and have always enjoyed them. The last such boating experience was on the Ohio River in the Cincinnati region.

As stated entertainment is part of these deals. The entertainment on this boat was top-notch. Lots of Christmas music and later country-style music was enjoyed by those aboard.

One look at me and this young lady was mesmerized beyond words.







Cumberland River

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One evening while in Nashville, Laurie and I enjoyed a great meal and Christmas concert by Trace Adkins. Trace Adkins is a well-known country singer, but this evening he performed Christmas songs. he had a great band behind him leaning strongly with a Celtic-style flavor of music. Great show!




Music Row at night










Traditionally, Music Row featured old country music performers and many others performing within the local honky tonks to attempt to be discovered by passing record-producers. Well, that hasn’t changed at all. Anyone walking along the streets can easily hear and see bands set up on postage size stages seeking fame and fortune. Music was everywhere!

One of the most well-known, and famous honky tonks of Music Row is called Tootsies. Many of the old, and often deceased, country singers started by performing in this place and others. It has appeared in movies. Across the street is country music legend, Ernest Tubb’s place. A young Loretta Lynn walked into this honky tonk many years ago and sang and played. Ernest Tubb happened to be present that night and she became the star of country music she is today. Sissy Spacek was filmed in this place for the movie entitled, “Coal Miner’s Daugters”  In the movie, Loretta’s husband, played by Tommy Lee Jones went across the alley to the bar to hear his wife singing on the Grand Ole Opry radio station. (WSM)

I laughed when  a young fellow came down from the third floor of Tootsie’s  as I was about to go up. He asked me if I was an agent. I, jokingly, said yes but quickly told him I was “funnin'” him. I guess my age made me look distinguished. Most people in these places are much younger than I am.

A few years back, Country singers, George Strait and Alan Jackson had a hit called, “Murder On Music Row.” The song was a protest towards the country music producers leaving behind traditional country music and moving towards today’s style. Thankfully, there are many traditional country music singers out there. However, you don’t hear them on most country radio stations. Such are: Teea Goans and Amber Digby.




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A few Christmas light photos from the grounds of the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.






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Elvis Presley’s car.

Dwight Yoakum had a hit years ago called, Guitars, Cadillacs and Hillbilly Music. Anybody visiting Nashville will quickly realize the truth of the words to that song title. Laurie and I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum to see what all we could find.

The museum featured many items from country music history. Clothes of the past singers like Hank Williams and many others were on display. Guitars were everywhere from the music archives. I took many photos of these relics. After all I am a guitarist.

Waylon Jennings’ telecaster guitar. I saw him play this one in person.

Walls of gold and platinum albums were present to see. When I say walls, I mean walls!

There were two old cars in the museum. One was a Cadillac owned by Elvis Presley. This car had gold hardware o  it. the back seat area had a television, recording equipment and a radio. WOW! The other car was once owned by Web Pierce. This car featured handgun door handles, both in the exterior and interior of the car. Rifles were anchored along the sides of both rear fenders. A handgun hood ornament was in place, too. He must have loved his guns. His dash and console were covered with silver dollars. The console was, also, done in a miniature leather saddle. It was, also covered with silver dollars. Must be nice to have money!


Hank William’s boots and suit and Eddy Arnold’s guitar.


Charlie Daniel’s axe


Buck Owen’s telecaster

Don Ric’s guitar. He was Buck Owen’s lead player and died in motorcycly crash.














Webb Pierce’s car


Hank Williams’ guitar


Michael Martin Murphy’s guitar.


Old Bob Wills’ poster. He was huge in the day with western swing music.


Earl Scruggs’ banjo. Remember the Beverly Hillbillies’ theme song?



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All over the woodland landscape various orchid and other flowers were in place. Laurie loves orchids, and I have to admit they are beautiful. I took many photos of them as we walked about. I am not very knowledgeable on tropical species so these pics are here to enjoy.








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Photo from the boat.

While we visited the Nashville area we stayed in the well-known, Opryland Hotel. This hotel site is huge featuring acres of lush vegetations, waterfalls, beautiful brick trails among this all. One area has an island. Anyone who knows anything about an island should realize by now that this island was surrounded by a quarter of a mile river. Laurie and I took a boat tour of this island area.

The mazing aspect of these forest sites within the hotel is the fact they are all enclosed under glass and maintained at certain temperatures and humidity levels. I heard there are about nine acres of these woodland, trails, waterfalls and flowering sites.

The interior, as well as, the exterior of the hotel lands were decorated with many, many Christmas lights. Poinsettias and decorated Christmas trees could be found throughout the hotel. I will do a separate entry with the flowers and orchids of these sites.

A handful of photos below. (Just a few of the many photos I took.)

Inside gazebo






Our room was on other side of this waterfall.




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Ralphie didn’t like this Christmas present.

On of the sites we saw were the many ice sculptures near the Opryland Hotel. The theme for the sculptures was from the movie called, THE CHRISTMAS STORY. Most everyone seems to have had seen this movie sometime in their lives.

Laurie and I were in awe at the sight of these life-size works of art. The craftsmanship was superb and we didn’t realize the colors would be included within the ice until we saw the work. I am not sure if the colors were placed onto the ice or if the water was colored before being frozen. The temperature within this building is maintained at nine degrees.

Also, there were scenes from the Bible of Christ’s birth. All of these, too, were done in ice and lighting.

This ice angel is around twenty feet or more.


Santa just pushed Ralphie down the slide.


THE SLIDE. We actually slid on this slide. It was fun!


A team of ice sculptors from China completed this work.

It’s a major prize.




The Nativity


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Headin’ for our seats.

Even as a boy, country music influence was all about. I have faint memories of my parents listening to the Grand ole Opry on Saturday evening while driving. My mother bought a lot of those long playing vinyl and 45 RPM records. I heard the likes of Buck Owens as a boy along with old Hank Williams and other singers of those times and before.  So getting to finally go to the old Ryman Auditorium or the Grand Ole Opry was an exciting time for Laurie and I.

This past Friday evening we were privileged to see a lot of the big names of country music. We heard what is often labeled mountain music, modern country music and even some bluegrass music. The performers were excellent within those hallowed walls.

Ricky Skaggs

Some History Of the Ryman

The original building was erected in the latter eighteen hundreds as a faith-based building known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle. This was in 1892. The man most responsible was one Thomas G. Ryman. His money allowed for the construction to help Christianity in the area. Ministries were being held in huge tents in Nashville prior to this building. The name became the Ryman Auditorium after Thomas Ryman’s passing.

Many entertainers eventually began having time within the building. In these early years the names utilizing the building are many. Some names are: Charlie Chaplin;  Mae West, Will Rogers; Harry Houdini; Bob Hope and many others.  At this time many music genres used the hall.

Laurie and Bill Monroe

In 1925, the radio station of WSM was broadcasted at the Ryman.

Bluegrass legends Bill Monroe and earl Scruggs began here at the Ryman.


In 1963 the Ryman became the Grand Ole Opry. They had live TV and radio shows. In the later years of the Opry were names such as appeared here including: Elvis Presley; Hank Williams; Johnny Cash; Merle Haggard; Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff; Patsy Cline; Neil Diamond; Doris Day and the Byrds… To see the many features visit: http://www.ryman.com

The building fell in hard times in the 1970 era and was repaired, but by 1974 the Grand Ole Opry was closed. It was an end of an era…sorta! Other events continued working here., but in 11999 the Grand Ole Opry returned becoming the Mother Church of Country Music.

Today, as we just witnessed, the Grand Ole Opry is back and strong.



Connie Smith


Riders In The Sky. These gentlemen do comedy and cowboy-style music.


John Conlee and his lead guitar player.




Kelsea Ballenni


Old Crow Medicine Show



Legendary stage and studio guitarist Jimmy Capps inn back. Gary Carter is on steel guitar. Bass player is unknown.

Luke Combs


The Whites. Sharon White on left is Ricky Skaggs’ wife.


Buck White still at it at 89.



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A Decision To Shoot

Deer hunting for me this year didn’t happen the first week of the 2019 Pennsylvania buck season. My step-father spent three days in the hospital and I felt I should be there for moral support to him and my mother. I attended two funerals of dear people to me. Five friends and acquaintances passed away in less than two weeks ago. This just “ain’t” right. Also, the family has been going through some difficult issues as of late, as well. regardless, I just either couldn’t hunt or simply I lacked the hunting mode mentality.

Today, I had a day to hunt and this was the only day to hunt this week. I could have hunted Monday, but the all-day rains kept me from the woods. I have commitments for the rest of the week.

I had planned to carry my flintlock “Old Jacob” this morning, but rain was seemingly going to hold on for a time. I wasn’t confident with the forecast.  I carried my Remington Gamemaster in a 30:06 caliber.

I set some ground rules for this day’s hunt. One was that I wasn’t going to shoot any buck unless the rack was big enough to meet my brain’s criteria.  A second plan was to just shoot a doe. I didn’t rule out taking a smaller deer because, as stated above, this would be the only day to hunt.

I spotted a bedded deer and soon realized the deer had a rack. The “horns” weren’t very big and I didn’t try to count the points to see if it was legal. I soon spotted a second deer . It was a doe, but I didn’t like the shot. It ended up five or six deer were bedded around the brush. I would see other deer off and on, but none offered any shots and many just couldn’t be positively identified. I still-hunted the entire morning. The light rains quit around ten, but the winds had been roaring at times. The temperatures dropped fast as well and by mid-morning I was feeling the chill.

Eventually I was approaching a hill’s flat top area and I decided to continue still hunting over the other side and whenever I reached the road and jeep I would call the hunt and stop and see how Mom and Bob are doing.

About forty yards out I saw a deer’s ear moving. This deer was feeding and moving from right to left. The deer worked into a slightly more open area and I prepared to shoot. Once I realized the deer wasn’t a big doe I hesitated. Thoughts began flowing across my brain waves. Should I shoot? I remembered thinking of the recent summons for the federal court in Pittsburgh for the first two weeks of the flintlock season. The decision was true at this point. I placed the crosshairs on the deer and BOOOOOM. The deer dropped immediately. A short prayer of thanks was offered for the clean and humane kill.

The deer will add some meat for the following year t help nourish our bodies.


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