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Archive for August, 2021

An Anniversary

Robert L. Miller and Ruth (Smail) Miller

My father passed away in June of 1999. My mother was an independent woman. She had no desire to ever date or wed in her future. However, Bob Miller, after his wife passed away from cancer would leave his Ohioan home and travel towards his family haunts near Clymer, PA. He would visit a campground where I played music. This campground was Maple Grove Campground.

Since I played there with many bands and mu aunt was part proprietor, my mother would go and listen to the music and talk with relatives many friends she had come to know.

Bob took an interest in my mother and eventually asked her out for a meal. Mother needed her two children to push her into that direction and she eventually agreed to a meal.

When the talk of marriage came up I had to talk with her and give her my blessing. She required the “OK” to take the next step.

On August 29, 2009 the two were married in my back yard under the roof of the gazebo. Today, in 2021, marked their twelve-year anniversary.

My mother is 91 at this time and my step-father, Bob is almost 87. I have called her a cougar more then once.

The last couple of years have been difficult ones for the entire family.

In December 2018, a tree fell for no reason while the two of us were hunting deer. The big poplar tree grazed Bob knocking him down and breaking his leg requiring much surgery and pins and screws to repair. The tree would have killed him instantly by an inch.

In the spring of 2019, Bob developed some issues and by early summer it was determined he had cancer. The fight has been a long one for him and us, too. The chemo has caused a loss of his hair. His weight is low, but miraculously he is without the pain so often associated with cancer.

In April of 2020, my mother had a mini-stroke. Both of them had the covid in late 2020.

Bob is hoping to hunt deer this fall and I hope to help him drag one or two out of the woods.

We are all hoping for more years to come.

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I checked the weather and decided to get out for a walk and some Carp and catfish fishing. The heat and humidity would be building so I hoped to be heading home before noon at the latest. I left around 10:30.

the approach to the pond where I would be fishing hosted a doe and fawn. I didn’t get any photos because I wasn’t prepared at the time. Fishing gear and shoulder bag and my little friend Ruger all seemed to be in the way. later I would insert my little ultra-light pole through my belt so my hands would better prepared. , probably, looked like someone with an old CB radio antennae coming from my backside.

Fishing was good for I caught some fish, lost some fish and missed some fish. One Carp broke my light-weight line.

My arms must have been compared as landing zones for a beautiful blue Damselfly would land on it as did some of those Jerk Flies. Fish surface activity was common during those hours fishing. A small and brilliant green Praying Mantis was moving about some grasses, but I couldn’t get a focus.

The wildflower season is definitely moving towards a new look. Jewelweed varieties are common now.

Spotted Jewelweed

Pale Jewelweed

One flower to bloom towards mid-August and onward is the Goldenrod. This yellow is beginning to occur everywhere. Soon the yellow will be everywhere one looks.

Goldenrod
Horse Nettle

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Frank “Muskie” Maus

We left the dock early in the morning prior to sunrise over the background hill. A slight fog was encircling our boat as we slowly edged out into the Allegheny River. Although foggy visibility was not very much curtailed. I have been out when a dense fog covered the river.

Sunrise

The fishing had just begun before Frankie hooked a Muskie on a surface lure. I grabbed the camera and took some pics in the still dreary morn. We shook hands and were extremely happy to had already had some “Ski” action. We wondered what the rest of the day would bring.

Frank’s Muskie

We quickly released the nice fish to avoid unnecessary strain. Then the surface fishing began again in earnest. Unfortunately, we failed to get any quick action and eventually moved upriver to a favorite spot. Fishing was about to get good again!

We continued with surface lures when I had a sixth-sense about me. I, somehow, knew I was going to get a fish with a cast and a millisecond later a Muskie grabbed my lure and the battle began. It is always a great experience to battle a Muskie.

The Muskie I caught.

The above two photos were taken later once the sun came out to enhance the fishes beauty. As before Frankie released the fish as I held the pole in place to ensure the fish was alongside the boat. We didn’t want to stress the fish anymore than we needed.

Fishing slowed and eventually we began trolling to finish out the day.

We saw some deer along the way. Ducks were viewed here and there. At various places one could see the brilliant scarlet red even at great distances. I knew these were Cardinal Flowers. At one point while casting near the shore I managed some photos of the beautiful native flower.

The day would reach to about 90 degrees by the afternoon. We were hot, but we didn’t care for we had a good day on the Allegheny River.

Cardinal Flower

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Killdeer

Yes, even I can be stupid at times. When I worked the common term we, laughingly, used was, “Stupido.” We pronounced the word as Stew-peed-o. Well in one of those extremely rare times I discovered while trying to take a photo of a deer of a problem. I didn’t place the camera card in the camera. Yes i was disgusted with myself for the hike was only about 150 yards from the jeep and I would not be able to get any photos this morning.

I returned to the jeep and left the camera and lenses behind.

I walked a gas well road at the top of the hill. As I emerged from the road onto a field of soybeans, I saw a doe and fawn. The photo would have been a good one with dew over the soybeans and the green background. I saw other deer in the huge field, too.

Woodland Sunflower

I continued walking the road watching the field intently on my left before entering another wooded area. You guessed it! As I exited the wooded area to an old field of knee-high vegetation I spotted a nice buck at about twenty yards. two other bucks were just beyond. They stood around and watched me. No camera! It gets worse!

Turkey poult

I walked across this field before entering another woodlot. I would be descending gradually. I looked about 25 yards to my left and spotted a Barred Owl perched on a limb. No camera!

Purple Loosestrife…and invasive specie.

Eventually, I reached Cherry Run and began to head towards the jeep. I searched around looking for trout. Suddenly, I saw waves in the water next to the bank. My first thought was a Muskrat. However, the animal crawled upon a rock and I was viewing a Mink. The mammal even crawled up a leaning tree for a couple of feet. I missed some great photo opportunities again.

This morning I made sure I had my camera card. All of the photos shown here are from today’s excursion.

Allegheny River

I set the minnow trap about five this morning and after catching a few dozen I went off to catch the “big un.” The river was beautiful with some fog conditions early making way for a clear morning.

The fish weren’t biting very well, but I did land a nice Smallmouth Bass. There are literally thousands upin thousands of shiners near the river’s edge. Occasionally, many would leap from the water escaping a bass.

Smallmouth Bass

With a couple of hours fishing behind me, I removed a little trash from the river’s shoreline. Afterwards, I spent some time looking for things to photograph. I saw several hens with several, nice-sized, poults.

Shiners
Blossoms of the Arrowhead plant. They are found in wetland areas usually.

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Hen turkey track

The light flannel shirt felt very comfortable in the low fifty-degree temperatures. The morning walk would be a nice venture. I spent approximately four hours on this jaunt. However, by mid-morning I was a little warm, but it was still tolerable.

The very first thing upon exiting the jeep was a nature call. I wish I wasn’t like that, but it is what it is!

The birds were singing and I was happy to hear very little sounds of mankind. That is rare in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

Note the one antler on this buck.

I would see several doe with fawns during the morning. One poorly antlered buck was spotted at the woodland edge bordering a reclaimed strip. The stalk was on and I managed to move in to the forty yard range before he bounded away.

A bedded fawn.

After I saw the buck leave the area I went over the embankment to a small tributary. Skunk cabbage was everywhere. I walked this bottomland for about 350-400 feet. I saw hundreds and hundreds of Skunk Cabbage plants. What makes this sighting interesting was the fact the stalks were completely void of the softball-size seed pods. BEARS! I have seen this a few times where the bear eat all the seed pods.

Skunk Cabbage and Bear results.

Lots of butterfly activity was observed during the warmer time afield. Monarchs were fluttering about along with their mimic known as the Viceroy. Monarchs have a poison that is unappealing to birds upon eating one. the Viceroy looks very much like the Monarch. The Viceroy has the distinctive black line along the wing.

Monarch Butterfly

Viceroy, Note the black line on the lower wing, professionally known as the Hindwing.

Bull Thistle

Beautiful Morning

Swallow in flight

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