Archive for April, 2021

I had been past the remains of the dam on several occasions, but for whatever reasons, I couldn’t stop. This morning, Laurie and I were going to visit the site of the Austin community in Potter County, Pennsylvania.

The original dam was built in 1909 after a local paper mill owner realized he hadn’t enough water to operate his paper mill just north of the community during especially dry seasons. The dam was constructed across the Freeman Run Valley to solve that problem. The concrete dam was fifty feet high, five-hundred and forty feet long across the valley and twenty feet thick. Plans called for a thirty feet thick structure. The twenty feet thick dam was constructed to help save costs. Problems were quickly discovered.

The problems of cracking concrete was spoken of natural due to the concrete curing process.

South of the dam was a community of about three-thousand people. The area was known as Austin.

In September of 1911, heavy raids had been occurring and the dam was reaching a crisis level. A young girl reported within the community the warning of failure. many people responded, but others didn’t for whatever reason. It is quite probable not everyone heard the warning.

On the thirtieth of the month the dam failed allowing a wall of water to explode its way south smashing into Austin, Pennsylvania. Seventy-eight people perished.

There is an Austin Dam memorial Park present at the dam’s site.

Old photo of the dam prior to the collapse.

A new dam was built in 1942 and it failed also. The photos here are of the original dam site.

I discovered some beauty above the site with the wildflowers of the Marsh marigold and trout Lily.

Marsh Marigold

Trout Lily (Other names are the Dog-tooth Lily and Adder’s Lily.)

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I arose early deciding to climb the mountain behind the lodge we were staying. I gawked across the Bennett’s Branch of the Sinnemahoning just in time to see an early rising bald Eagle fly high and above the waters. Actually, I was high enough to be looking down upon the bird. The mature eagle looked so elegant. Four, then six, deer walked alongside my position about the same time as the flying eagle. the deer continued along slowly assuming my presence to be peaceful. I glanced down slope and saw, at least, three more deer moving through some thicker pines. I would see additional deer as this time moved forward.

I went into the lodge to see Laurie was awake. I told her my plans and she said breakfast should be around eight o’clock. Off I went to begin the ascend.

The shadow on the distant mountain is from the mountain I am standing on.

I followed old logging trails at times. These trails often went diagonally upslope in a zig-zag method. Even so the mountain was steep! My hopes was to reach the top in a timely manner, also I wanted to capture photos of the rising sun against the mountain tops. The hollows in darkened shadows against an illuminating sunrise can make for great photos.

The summit was in sight when two large birds flew into a tree about a hundred and seventy-five yards from my approach. They were silhouetted against the brightening skyline. I believe they were eagles, but I never saw either bird well enough to identify.

I continued at that angle to come upon a very steep hollow. At this time I realized the timing would not allow additional climbing, although I believe fifteen minutes would have made the top possible. I would need to begin my descension.

Going uphill was bad for someone of my age, however, going downslope would be painful on the knees. The hillside was covered with rocks and very dry leaves in places. Either could cause me to head downhill faster than I would like. In fact, I did fall once.

Besides the Bald eagle, deer, possible eagles, I would see two pairs of Canada Geese.

I captured many photos of the sunrise and contrasted mountain tops. Some are included here in this entry.

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Laurie and I had planned some time away and we scheduled four days at the Bull Elk Lodge near Driftwood, Pennsylvania. The lodge’s website is: http://www.bullelklodge,wixsite.com .

We left early to travel to the lodge and as I generally do, we moved across back country roads of the Quehanna Wild Area. We stopped at the Shagger’s Inn Shallow Water Impoundment to see how the Ospreys were doing this. At this site I didn’t know what to expect for I had heard the Osprey nesting platform had collapsed. However, two nesting platforms were added farther down from the water. Two Ospreys were using the one platform. I moved across a wetland to close the gap for photos. I stopped once the water began to become worrisome for getting wet. We saw Canada geese, mallards, Wood Ducks and Common Mergansers at the water.

Osprey at nesting platform

As we drove the back roads we saw a Beaver dam and lodge. Of course, I have to get out and take some photos. WE continued on and visited the Beaver Run Shallow Water Impoundment where we saw another Osprey on a nesting platform. The last time I was here the water had been drained. We saw 15-22 elk while we traveled.

Beaver Lodge

Upon arrival we met with the owner of the above-mentioned lodge. Marcy has become a friend to us. She is a delightful person and Laurie and I have been honored with her friendship. We were the first to spend time at Bull Elk Lodge last year when she first opened it up for stay. We met her latest addition too. The German Shepherd pup named Cheech was full of energy upon greeting them all. Max, the little dog, was just as eager to say hello to us.

After we had settled in I went for a walk along the Bennett’s Branch of the Sinnemahoning anxious to see anything of interest. I immediately spotted some Common Mergansers on the water. As I explored around I saw, what appeared, to be deer hair along the shore. I assumed a deer may have been hit on the road and headed to the water and died. As I approached the hair became white feathers. I expected a male Common Merganser may have become a meal for a bald Eagle. I was wrong! The dinner had been a Red-Tailed Hawk. I am still assuming a Bald eagle killed the hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk feathers and parts.

I walked east along the branch along a remnant of an ancient logging road. I could see where workers had placed rocks many years ago over a ditch to make the road more level. To my right a 90 degree vertical, rocky cliff was present entirely. I could not even think of climbing this area. This road remnant, apparently, is used much by the local Elk population for droppings and antler rubs are everywhere. Across the creek I saw two deer. They were enjoying the greener, bottomland grass.

Rocks laid to make old road.

Elk droppings

As I continued along I saw a Porcupine about twelve feet in a small tree. I shook the trr some, but the mammal didn’t care a bit. I could have shaken him out of the tree if I had wanted.


I came upon a log diagonally across this old road. I noticed the leaves on the one side, but I didn’t realize the leaves had blown in against the log and filled in a depression in the ground. I stopped onto the log and stepped into the leaves falling head-first. The depression was two feet deep and filled with leaves. I gathered my senses and brushed myself off and moved about thirty yards farther and began to checking for things. I realized my one camera lens was not in my shoulder bag. I returned and frantically began to search eventually crawling into the depression. I found my lens. Relief!

I removed a few ticks from my clothes disposing of them all….But one! Later in the evening after I showered I found one of those despicable critters in my neck. That totals three embedded ticks in seven days for me.

Juneberry or Serviceberry

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By Larry A. Smail

In recent years I have been often hearing politicians, media and Hollywood elitists throwing the words, Hitler and/or NAZI against their political enemies. These words are aimed towards any person or group not in alignment with socialistic and progressive ideals. I feel confident of, possibly, as many as ninety-nine percent of these people proclaiming the words know little about either the man or the party. I hope to be brief and explain some facts of the NAZI party.

NAZI stands for the National Socialist German Worker’s Party. Note the second word used in the definition… Socialist!  The NAZI party was a socialist group. The party was organized in the 1920-time frame initially. The man, Adolph Hitler would be a leader.

Upon the death of Germany’s President Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler moved from his 1933 position of  Chancellor to dictator of Germany. However, Hitler was already involved with the troubles in Germany prior to becoming the dictator or the Fuhrer. In January 1933, a suspicious fire erupted at the capitol building of Germany known as the Reichstag. Many historians believe Hitler and his NAZI party instigated the fire to cause further chaos within Germany. Socialists and /or communists have as part of their playbook to never allow a crisis to go to waste. If no crisis is present, they create one to cause chaos and/ or anarchy.

Hitler reacted immediately and placed the Fire Act into existence. This was in February 1933 and this act began to disrupt the rights of the people. In March 1933 Hitler began gun confiscation acts. Those not abiding were viewed as enemies of the state and executed or sent to camps. Only members of the SS and SA could use firearms. More on the SA and SS group below. Also, in March 1933, the first concentration camps were starting to be constructed. The SS, or the Protective Echelon, was founded in 1925.

How did the powers in Germany come to existence? As stated, the NAZI party was in position. For Hitler to gain momentum for his Third Reich he needed people to work within the state. He utilized a group formed in 1921, known to us as the Brownshirts due to their uniforms. Over two million members were grouped by early 1930. They were made up of disgruntled workers and the like who had been struggling since World War I and the depression issues of the times. The abbreviation for their name was the SA. Other names used for these people were the Assault Division, Storm Units and Storm Troopers.

The Brownshirts would be a huge part of the NAZI party. Their techniques were to disrupt and shout down speakers at meetings, violence, riots, intimidations, beatings, and murders. Later they would burn buildings especially of the blamed Jewish people. These people were creating crisis among the German populations. Notice the resemblance to groups of recent times, such as, ANTIFA.

Such activities, as stated, come straight from the socialist/ communist playbook. They first need to create chaos, or a crisis, leading to, possible, anarchy. The Brownshirts were used as security at pro-NAZI rallies. The Brownshirts were anti-capitalist socialists. They were against communism which is interesting since socialism is a close relation to communism ideals in many ways. The German police department for various reasons seemed unable or fearful against the NAZI party and Brownshirts. Sound familiar? History always repeats itself.

The socialism playbook  states of the importance of creating a crisis to gain a foothold. The Coronavirus crisis has given socialism much growth here in America like I would not have imagined a few years ago. Germany had a crisis with the chaos from the burning capitol event and the Brownshirt activities.

So, Germany was seeing chaos, they had a leader of evil in place, a group of power further creating chaos and anarchy. The time was ripe to move towards the next steps of socialism and that would be the dismantling of Germany’s rights.

In 1938 the Brownshirts destroyed and burned Jewish businesses to what became known as the Kristallnacht or the “Night of Broken Glass.”  Jewish businesses were boycotted. Jews were rounded up.

The Brownshirts, interestingly, would eventually begin to lose favor as Hitler handed over Germany to the SS and Gestapo agencies. The SS was founded in 1925 and means the “Protective Echelon.”  They were anti-Semites and extreme German nationalists. The Gestapo were the “Secret Police.” The SS would become Hitler’s personal security force. They, also, were involved in many aspects of the war effort. They were a major part in the concentration camp events. Interestingly, Brownshirts who were deemed not loyal enough to the NAZI party or were too socialistic were arrested and executed. So, the socialist party was executing those who were leaning towards communism. The SS became the power in 1938. The SS are well known for their brutality and war would be just ahead for Europe. The Brownshirts existed until 1945 despite the changes in Germany.


My father told me as a member of the Military Police (MP) some interesting stories. He told me of the differences between the regular German soldiers and the SS. Some soldiers became friendly, but the SS would kill you if ever an opportunity occurred to do so. Such was their training and indoctrinations. Towards the war’s end those being brought in as prisoners were kids. Many were not imprisoned, and he said they would become pests at times wanting to go on jeep rides.

During his time of power, Hitler promised universal Healthcare. However, his version committed atrocities. The NAZI party began to eliminate or execute any person deemed unnecessary to the state. The elderly, those with dementia, people suffering with mental illnesses, incurable, diseases, retardation, criminals, or social dependent people were executed. Soviet Vladimir Lenin, the well-known socialist/ communist, declared socialized medicine was the key to obtaining a socialist state. Such people listed above along with Jews and gypsies, and others, might become victims  and experimented on. These people and negroes received forced sterilization at times. Human body parts were harvested, much as Planned Parenthood has done recently with baby parts. Are you seeing the similarities yet?

Hitler and the NAZI party decided what books could be read and what books had to be destroyed. Hitler decided on what art could be viewed and what art was to be destroyed. Germany would hire artists to do propaganda paintings. They took over the media and press. All papers and radio stations, and such, would be run by the state. No free speech or free press. Are you still seeing similarities in America? Freedom loving and Constitutional believing Americans need to be very concerned over what is happening, yet we are helpless to do much to thwart the coming events.

Indoctrination within the educational system of Germany brainwashed the youth to the point where they would turn in their parents and siblings to the Gestapo. This would be if any anti-Hitler and such words were spoken and heard. They learned the ways of socialism and true racism against any populace of a non-Aryan race.

Another step was Hitler’s final solution known as the Holocaust. The goal was to eliminate all the Jewish people.

Many of those in the NAZI party dabbled in the occult and paganism. Hitler himself hated Christianity and pushed for social Darwinism. Many Germans


followed the writings of Charles Darwin accepting his words of inferior races as gospel. This fact made for the execution of people they deemed unworthy or inferior in the evolution scale.

Thankfully, the war with Hitler and the NAZI party ended in 1945. Millions had died during this war. Those aged American veterans of today would be appalled as to what is happening in America for, they fought against socialism and now the ideal is appearing everywhere.

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With the weather of springtime the urge to watch the reemergence of life in the wild is strong. This past week I was out and about on several different days. I fished the Allegheny River one morning and did some woods-walking to see the wildflower progress and I searched a little for the Morel Mushroom. I had no luck yet with the Morels, but it may be a little early locally.

I went directly below the dam in Kittanning, Pennsylvania. I found the currents much too wild for me. I casted twice and snagged twice. I mover farther down the river and eventually found an area shielded from the current. I caught a catfish. I saw an immature Bald Eagle being harassed by a crow. I spotted a few Common Mergansers.

During the time in the woods I saw and heard some gobblers and I noticed some hen turkeys out and alone. They are leaving the gobblers to go nesting. Once their clutch of eggs are complete the incubation process will begin.

I worked with my crossbow again. I am having some issues during the string pull-back time. Sometimes I am having troubles getting the string to lock in the proper place. I need to figure out what I am doing wrong or if there may be a mechanical issue. (I pulled a muscle in my arm so the adventure consisted of about four attempts to shoot. At twenty yards I was hitting a six-inch paper plate.

I have been seeing plenty of deer, also.

Various spring wildflowers are emerging. Wild Leeks (Ramps) are all out. The Cutleaf-Toothworts and Spring Beauties are blooming. Various violets are in bloom as well. I have seen Dutchmen Breeches, Hepatica and White and Purple Trilliums in bloom. Another week the woods will covered in their blooms where they are present.

No morels, yet!

Apple blossoms…I hope we don’t get a heavy frost.


Turkey Vulture in the fog

Water Strider…we always called them Skippers as a boy.

Female Common Merganser

Quills from a dead Porcupine.

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A friend of mine and I were talking about Screech Owls and my nesting box success. As the conversation continued plans to build him a box came into mind. I said I may have enough scrap lumber overhead in the garage. I continued, if I find enough I would build one for his residence.

I found a sixteen inch wide board I had placed overhead. The board was a shelf board. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough to make the owl box without using some old weathered deck boards I had saved. The back and bottom of the box were made with these boards.

This morning I watched the skies and decided to run the box out to his place before doing some hiking. I rang the doorbell and lightly knocked without a response. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but in case the couple were sleeping I decided to set the box down before heading to the woods. I would later find out they were home but neither one had heard me outside and the bell was disconnected.

Afterwards, I walked in familiar country where I often hunt. I spotted a flock of turkeys in a field of around 7-8 birds. I circled around the field and tried to see the flock. They had already exited the field. I heard a couple of toms gobbling far off in leased land.

I had a bag of native Wild Leek with me and I planted a stalk of the leek, also called Ramps, here and there hoping the bulbs would survive allowing for established future colonies. I had planted a few last year, but couldn’t find any. However, I plant randomly and could easily miss the leeks.

Early Virginia Bluebells

Last year I had carried and transplanted some Virginia Bluebells. These, like the leek, are native plants. I recognized a spring seep remembering I had planted something in this area. I found two of the flowers growing. These flowers self-sow readily so I hope to find an increase soon.

I would see about eleven deer as I tramped around. I would see about five gobblers moving out ahead of my approach. I would see a lone hen, a gobbler with two hens and another strutter as the morning moved. I saw several strutting gobblers on a right-a-way, too.

As I walked I tried to concentrate and find some Morels, but I was having trouble staying on target with the fungus. It felt too dry to me.

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I needed to stay around the house early this morning to await a delivery of a new table and chairs. The men arrived at nine and I would be able to et out and enjoy some woodland time.

My first adventure was to experiment with my latest toy…the crossbow! I had only shot one shot at the house and needed to get out to the range and experience this new contraption. I needed to get familiar and the “how to” and overcome any fears. The crossbow worked flawlessly after I realized the need to be sure the string is pulled back until it locks properly. Another trip or two should iron out all fears and gain a solid knowledge.

Afterwards, I decided to go for a hike to an area I had found some Morels last season. I didn’t find of those treasured mushrooms, but last year, the location yielded them later in the season. I would return. I did discover some Wild Leeks, often called Ramps. I dug up a few to eat and a few to transplant to some wooded areas voided of the early spring plant.

I saw four deer and some turkeys here and there in the fields, but one began to gobble after noon. I moved in and began to try to talk with the turkey. I would see him in the distance and eventually he began to strut and walk towards me. Needless to say< I snapped a number of photos. This gobbler came in to about twenty yards if me. Unfortunately, once he moved in to that distance a lot of downed hemlock trees refused to move allowing any clear shots.

I enjoyed finding some early spring wildflowers as I tramped around. the flowers were the Spring Beauty and Round-lobed Hepatica. I enjoy watching this next month or two come alive with the varied flowers.

Round-lobed Hepatica

Native Leek or Ramps


Spring Beauty

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Screech Owl

I have been fortunate to have these little owls living in an owl box I made many years ago. This specie is a red-phrased Screech Owl, although, I see the gray-phased owls at times. Sometimes both in the same box. They become quite used to my presence allowing me to walk directly under the box and/or mowing around the tree. I especially enjoy listening to, both, the adults and young. I have had the babies lined up and perched on the deck railing. I have, using my natural voice, called the little birds up close.

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Key to Understanding The “Crucifixion through Resurrection” Chart (Chart below)

By Larry A. Smail

Sometime during my teen years, I found myself beginning to question many things of life. Traditions in the church were not without being scrutinized by my thoughts. However, I kept such thoughts to myself for I believed I must not be “Christian-enough” to understand such things. Asking, or mentioning my thoughts, to anyone would make me appear stupid. However, with time and study, I began to rethink various issues. One such event was how to get three days and three nights from a late Friday afternoon death on the cross to a Sunday morning resurrection. What was I missing? This chart and these notes, although confusing, hopefully will share some insights to the most important event of scripture…the resurrection!

1. Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread always begins on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar known as Nisan. (Nissan) Passover begins at sunset which is the actual  beginning of the Jewish day period. This was mandated by the Lord through Moses. (See Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23: 4-7… for all details.) This month’s timing, and these holy days, always occur sometime within our months of March and April depending on the year and celestial cycles. (One may find words of using the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread interchangeably at times.)

2. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day event mandated by the Lord to the Jewish people. Passover meal always occurs after sunset on the 14th day of Nisan. This event is followed on the fifteenth day  at sunset with a Holy Convocation or Special Holy Sabbath. This Holy Sabbath marks the beginning of the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (A second Holy Sabbath occurs on the seventh day of this week or the twenty-first day of the month.)

3. IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER… These Holy Sabbaths can occur on ANY DAY of a month. The weekly sabbaths always begin at sunset on our Friday through our Saturday at sunset. Using our present way of determining individual days this timing is actually the Jewish Saturday. In other words, the Jewish seventh day, or Saturday, begins on our Friday evening. (I hope this is not confusing.)

4. The Last Supper was part of the Passover/ Unleavened Bread event. Remember, Passover was mandated by the Lord to the Jewish people. Christ, being a law-keeping Jew, observed this event. One example is found in Matthew 26: 2 where Christ said he would be crucified after the Passover. (Also. See Matthew 26: 17-19, Mark 14: 1-2; Luke 22: 1, 7-13…) This Passover is known as Christ’s Last Supper or as Christ’s Last Passover.

5. The Jewish day begins at sunset whereas “our” 24-hour day begins at midnight. Those dark hours are known as the WATCH and the daylight hours are known as the DAY. However, those entire sunset to sunset hours are still known as a DAY. (Yom is the Hebrew word used for DAY.)

NOTE: With our timing we have a 24-hour day, however, under Jewish timing a day has variable hours or, no fixed length. An hour in Jewish timing is 1/12 of all the hours of any given complete day cycle and, obviously, that timing changes with each day and the seasons. Confused yet?

6. Jewish Sabbaths, as stated, begin at sunset, and completes the following sunset. (For the sake of chart simplicity, we will assume the sunset at this time of the year was approximately around 6:00 P.M. Remember, we are in the very early springtime. To further complicate this is an interesting fact of Jewish time. The “true” sunset begins when three medium light stars are visible in the early night sky.)

7. The Jewish Day of Preparation occurs during the daylight hours. During this time, all preparational requirements for the weekly or holy sabbaths are completed preparing for the beginning of any sabbath at sunset. (Got it?) All cooking is prepared on this day since cooking is work and there is to be no work on the sabbath. The women, also, would have needed to prepare any spices, and such, for burial treatment of the body of Christ on the day prior to the sunset sabbath, as well. Remember Christ was hastily buried to beat the soon coming sunset marking a Special Holy Sabbath or Convocation. (See John 19: 31.)

8. The women discovered very early on the FIRST DAY of the week, or Sunday, the stone had been rolled away and the body was gone. SCRIPTURE DOES NOT STATE CHRIST WAS RESURRECTED ON SUNDAY MORNING ONLY THAT THE WOMEN WENT TO THE TOMB EARLY ON THAT DAY! (See Luke 24, John 20…Also, remember their first day of the week actually began immediately after sunset. More Confused?)


9. IMPORTANT! Jesus had told the Pharisees when they demanded a sign as to who he was, and he responded with some interesting words found in Matthew 12: 38-41, Matthew 16: 4 and Luke 11: 29-31. Christ said the only sign to be given as to whom he was would be the SIGN OF JONAH. 

Christ said:


 Jesus’ body would spend three days and three nights in the grave to fulfill his own words of prophecy.

10. What was, and is, the importance of Jesus’ dead body in the grave for three days and three nights?

The answer is simple:


The plan for resurrection means little if Jesus had not died on the cross and spent those three days and three nights in the grave. Skeptics or atheists have tried, even using the three days and three nights in the tomb, to state he was not truly dead. Imagine if Christ would have risen on the first or second of those days. Others state the Jews counted even an hour, of a day, as one day. This false way of thinking could mean the few hours from Christ’s death, removal from the cross and burial would be considered a day. Even with using this theory one cannot get three days and three nights. I believe sometime in the far past some person of power used the Jewish “weekly sabbath” instead of the Holy Sabbath thus, immediately, determined the wrong timing. However, their timing theory quickly developed into the Friday cross and Sunday morning resurrection believed by the masses today.

So, using all the information above concerning Jewish timings, Passover, and Unleavened Bread event details, understanding the Holy Sabbaths compared with the weekly sabbaths and utilizing all details given by scripture, Christ would have needed to have been on the cross and died and buried  on the 14th day or our Wednesday. And then calculating times and dates to allow for three days and three nights, Christ would have been resurrected around or after sunset on our Saturday evening to fulfill his own prophecy. Hopefully, my chart will help show this timing.

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