Archive for April, 2023

A few photos of deer and turkeys from recent time afield.

Sunrise in the fog.

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White Trillium

In 2020 during the complete shutdown of America, Laurie and I hiked the Rock Furnace Trail located in southern Armstrong County. We were discussing in 2019 of a possible cruise for our Twenty-five wedding anniversary. Eventually, we decided to not chance the trip due to the possibility of my stepfather, Bob Miller passing away due to cancer. That decision was sure the right decision for in March, when the trip was being planned, the ocean cruise ships were stopped on the ocean. they were not allowed to port. We would have been on one of those ships!

So, to compensate for the decision to not take a cruise we did some hiking and sightseeing. The above trail was one of those choices. We enjoyed dour time together on that hike. We, both enjoy the beauty of wildflowers, and the trail does not disappoint.

Recently we walked the trail again. the stream, Roaring Run parallels the trail. This stream has been recently classified as a stream of naturally occurring Brown Trout. The trout are reproducing!

Purple Trillium

Some areas along the trail produce literally thousands upon thousands of White Trillium plants.

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I discovered this nesting hen.

I had some worms and I decided to spend a little time on Buffalo Creek to see if the trout were biting. No luck. There was an insect hatch, and I would occasionally see a swirl as a hungry trout gulped one down. I fished approximately thirty-five minutes before my morel-hunting hike began. Along the stream I saw a pair of kingfishers fluttering back and forth emitting their rattling calls. I saw a pair of Canada Geese flying over. As I used a leaning tree for support while casting, I notice a Wood Turtle submerged along the shoreline. I managed one photo before the turtle entered the tree’s root mass.

Wood Turtle

The walk began upslope on a township road before diagonally walking through the woods in search of morel mushrooms. Eventually along the horizon line I would see seven deer in total, three Jakes and a longbeard.

The view from the summit.

I turned downward and reentered the woods. Here I would spot the nesting hen. I didn’t get too close for fear of disturbing her. I took some various wildflower photos while descending the hill. By ten o’clock the temps were hitting very warm degrees.

Coltsfoot seed pods.

The blossom of our native Wild Ginger. This blossom is always at ground level.

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Bob Miller with a fall gobbler I called in to him.

Robert lee Miller came into the family’s life some time ago. He became interested with my mother, Ruth Smail and after I encouraged her, she went out on a dinner date with Bob. My mother had no interest with seeing any others since my father death in 1999. The two were married in my backyard gazebo in August of 2009. (Interestingly, I had to give my approval of this marriage.)

Bob was born on October 12, 1934 and lived in Dixonville, Pennsylvania in Indiana County until he later moved to Ohio for his job. His first wife died from cancer and Bob began traveling back to his home ground areas visiting campgrounds to be with friends and listen to the music.

The family all became close with Bob, and he treated my mother and us kids very well.

Hunting became an interest with Bob. He said, more than once, he had not hunted all that much until he became part of this family. Bob harvested his first spring gobbler and first fall gobbler while together on turkey hunts. He managed to get some deer on our hunts, as well.

Bob holding one of my spring gobblers. He was proud of my harvests.

One of Bob’s interests was with old cars. His 1954 Chevy Belair won a number of car shows places, mostly first place. The car still has only 26,000 original miles on it.

My mother with Bob at one of the car shows. The 1954 Chevy Belair is a beauty.

Bob loved country music, especially the classics of his era. He played a little guitar and loved to sing. I tried to work with him on some timing issues and actually made two CDs with him. I did all the music, and he sang on them. He and my mother followed me with the varied bands I had played music with over the many years. (He was at a music event I had played at one week before he was signed up with hospice care.)

Bob faced some bad events in his recent years. In December of 2018, a huge poplar tree fell grazing him knocking him to the ground with a very bad ankle break. We were hunting deer. I called 911 and he spent a number of days in the hospital and in therapy. In the spring of 2019, another event occurred that would affect all of the family’s lives. He had a growth and by summer it was discovered he had rectal cancer.

The aggressive form of cancer allowed for only living six to eight months without chemo. The chemo kept Bob alive but wore him down with time. He managed to live although the side effects were making him weaker and weaker. In December of 2022 the chemo was stopped, and the cancer began to, once again, act aggressively upon his body. He became even weaker to the point where walking was difficult. I, as the power of attorney, signed for hospice care in April of this year. In fact the signing was this past Monday. The decline continued and fast.

Hunting deer

Shooting a muzzleloader

Under hospice care, Bob eventually succumbed to the cancer attack. He passed away late on April 13, 2023 at home.

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During the processes of making audio CDs, I have used my telecaster guitar with effects to mimic the sounds of a mandolin on past efforts. A couple of weeks ago I spotted this beauty on a counter and the price was not bad. I debated at first but was encouraged to purchase by my wife, Laurie.

I know some chords and have been practicing playing lead notes as I learn the note positions.

A strange reality came about after I returned home with this instrument. I spotted the paper that had been removed from the string package. I was shocked when I saw a date when the strings were changed along with my initials. I had changed these strings for somebody, but I am not sure who the person was. I have an inkling, but the man had dies several years ago. I hope to find out more on this to juggle my memory with certainty. Can you say Twilight Zone????

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