Archive for the ‘My Family’ Category

Ken Crummett helping me hold a gobbler.

The friendship between Ken Crummett and myself is a story of interest. Many years ago I had a painting used on the cover of TURKEY CALL magazine. (TURKEY CALL is the magazine presented by the National Wild Turley Federation bases out of Edgefield, South Carolina.) With this cover I had an ad within the pages offering the painting as a print. The painting is, “SPRINGTIME MAJESTY.”

Sometime after the ad came out I received a phone call from a man from Crummett Mountain, West Virginia.  His family had lived on the mountain even before the Civil War. Ken had located me through a mutual friend from Arkansas, His name was “Wingbone” Cryer. Wingbone was in the mid-eighties at this time.  he looked me up and had stopped here in Pennsylvania after hunting gobblers in New York. He met with Ken Crummett while traveling back home giving Ken my phone number. Ken ordered a print.

This exchange occurred in the early 1990 time frame. Ken and I talked those many years periodically. In fact the calls were common as to every month or so.

  In recent years Ken and another turkey hunting friend named Galen Braddy from North Carolina would get together for a few days to pursue gobblers locally in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Another mutual friend Kip Feroce graciously allowed us to spend time at his camp.

Ken, also, in recent years had two strokes. the second one interfered with his speech some. He lost his ability to walk well, too. With that in mind, Kip would set up a ground blind near fields  within sight of his camp. Last year I helped ken to the blind and sat with him until light. I asked him if he cared if I ventured around the back side of the round top where we were set up. Of course, ken told me to definitely go. I was to circle around and check on him from time to time.

I heard a gobbler on the roost directly behind the ground blind. The turkey went off before I could get set up. I returned to check on ken and would sneak back a little later on. I called and received some far off gobbling. I worked the side of the steep hill following the gobbler.  Finally I got above him and bagged the tom.

I went back to the ground blind and told the story to Ken. he was so delighted on my success. We sat I the blind for a time talking and laughing. Ken became tired and we walked back to the camp. he said he wasn’t going out anymore this morning so we enjoyed quality time waiting for Kip and Galen’s return.

Galen, Kip, Ken and myself

Ken and I talked often since that last hunt together. I called him just last week and gave him a rough time. I enjoyed hearing his life and that West Virginia drawl. I am going to miss talking with my friend.


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Photo A

Today, I hunted for five hours. We discussed and everyone encouraged me to go to the deer woods. I still felt somewhat guilty. However, my step-father, Bob Miller is stable currently since the tree-falling incident on December 3. Bob is currently taking meds to help with his pain issues. His ankle is in a plastic cast and wrapped tight in elastic bandages. His left side is badly bruised. Next week the current plans are to x-ray and decide is surgery is to happen.

The other issue that has yet to be decided upon deals with his back fractures. One doctor even went as far as to say his back is broken. The debate as to how to handle these fractures is, also, being debated. Bob is, however, doing some physical therapy exercises.

Photo A shows the Poplar tree. The tree was dead and I walked off the length and the broken top at around sixty feet in length. Notice the snow-covered log with the text printed. You can see the root ball that stopped the tree from crushing Bob. His head was against the snow-covered log and his legs were stretched out beyond the Poplar tree.

Photo B


Photo B shows the Polar tree stopped within the root ball. My rifle is placed to show the size of the logs.  Imagine a body under that Poplar tree. There was a gap of about three or four inches between the underside of the Poplar tree and Bob’s lower chest and abdomen area. His legs were extended towards my rifle’s stock.

I did hunt some today and had a great time, although I didn’t fire a shot. I saw fifteen deer and a turkey.

Doe in posted property.


Cherry Run


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The day started off in a great way. I was in the hunter mode and told my wife I was going to bring home a deer today to fill the fodders for winter is coming. I met my step father, Bob and told him I was going to hunt along a bottom area and would be back on top later.

Around nine o’clock I met up with Bob and we planned a drive. Bob has been successful at this spot a couple of times in past hunts.

I circled a field and spotted a small buck and two does. the two does dropped over a ridgeline heading towards where Bob was to be. No shots! I didn’t think anything of that fact for deer do not always present a perfect shot.

I continued out a ridge and dropped over heading towards Bob. The cell phone rang and I heard weak words…Larry, I need help. A tree fell on me. I was not far and hurried through the woods. At first I couldn’t see anything until I spotted orange. Bob was holding his arm into the air.

I hollered and ran to him. I quickly assessed him and circled below the tree and immediately saw his foot wasn’t facing the right way. I called 911. My next step was to reassure him and headed off in a run up over the hill and across a field to the landowner’s home. I inquired about a gate at the field where a grassy-farming road was located. She said it wasn’t locked. I ran up hill to the gate just as the first ambulance arrived. Issues with mud became real.

Two EMT people and I began hurrying down the road along the field before a Humvee-style vehicle followed behind. Others followed. Chainsaws were out trying to clear tree debris along a gas-well lane near to where Bob was waiting.

The landowner’s grandson arrived with his 4-wheel drive pick up and drove down to the gas well.

The workers worked to clear some vines and limbs around Bob and checking his vitals. He was in much pain. Eventually a stabilizing plastic board was placed under him and his leg was straightened and splinted. They didn’t cut the big tree that had fallen for fear it might collapse onto Bob. He was slid out from under the tree.

We carried him on in a basket onto the pick up bed. The mud caused issues and the Humvee-style vehicle had to back down and chain the truck out. I remember saying keep it steady for that vehicle was spinning and swaying as well, but we made it to the field.

Bob was taken to a local hospital where they put him under and straightened the ankle. He, also, had great pains in his right chest and stomach area. Bruising was visible. He is scheduled for surgery to repair fractures in the ankle area.



The tree that fell was around forty or more feet and up to twelve or so inches in diameter. It was either a poplar or aspen tree. The tree uprooted and fell hitting Bob at his shoulder’s edge knocking him backwards and down. The tree, apparently, slid along his chest and abdomen area. An inch or so would have been a direct hit crushing his shoulder and, quit likely, his head killing him instantly.

Interestingly, another tree had fallen in the past for it was moss-covered. This tree’s root ball was immediately on Bob’s right. The falling tree landed on that root ball stopping it from completing the fall to ground level. This allowed for a several inch gap between Bob’s body and the underside of the tree. If that root ball hadn’t had been there to stop the falling tree this trunk would fallen across Bob’s chest and abdomen crushing him.

I told Bob while the people were working on him, “Bob, you may not realize it now, but you are a very lucky man.”

Yes, it was a bad day!

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This day turned out much better than a recent Saturday morning hike.  That hike was one where I was walking about an hour. I could hear either the rustling of leaves due to an oncoming breeze or the approaching onslaught of rain. The second option was the result and I knew it.


Black-Throated Blue Warbler

I closed in tight under some hemlock trees. Fifteen minutes later the rain was soaking me. I leaned tight against an oak and did not improve the   drenching. I made an executive decision and pranced off towards the jeep. I was drenched by the time I gained entrance into the jeep. I turned the heater on with the fan on full. Needless to say the flintlock shooting plans with my step-father, Bob were to be cancelled.

This week we planned the shoot again. The plans were similar for I was going to hike early and meet at the Cherry Run Gun, Rod and Reel Club to shoot some. Originally I wasn’t going to shoot for an ongoing eye issue I have been having. However, I gathered my flinter named, Old Jacob and decided I was shoot a few rounds.

Those of you who have been following my posts may remember of serious focusing issues while hunting deer last year. This past summer I talked with specialists concerning Lasik surgery. I was disappointed to learn I was not a candidate for the operation. I recently visited my eye doctor and have new glasses to be arriving this week…at least I am hoping. I am getting a special anti-reflective lens this time to help, hopefully, with my low-light seeing.

I enjoyed the morning time to reflect on my life and remember about my Uncle Carl Smail. I usually think about him as the hunting season comes along. He died in 1976 at 48 years of age while hunting waterfowl at Keystone Dam in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I arrived at the dam to see the fireman bringing him out of the woods. A very bad time for me!


Bob with his Thompson-Center Flintlock

I was blessed to see several deer and about six turkeys on this jaunt.

I arrived to see Bob waiting. The shooting began. I need to say my shots would have all been fatal on a deer, but each shot took twenty to thirty

Cherry Run

seconds of careful sighting. The front sight and the rear sight are blurry and seeing the front sights position in regard to the rear sight is very difficult. A friend had me almost convinced to place peep sights on my flintlocks, but I have yet to make such a move. My flintlocks are custom-made firearms and are historically accurate. I can’t bear putting the sight on…yet!




Huge Sycamore


Skunk cabbage for next spring



Muskrat droppings


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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.


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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Branson On The Road


Mom was really enjoying the attention.


Debbie Horton

This past weekend, Laurie and I treated my mother, Ruth Smail Miller and my step father, Bob Miller to a concert at the Palace Theater in Greensburg, PA. My mother, and Bob, enjoy this band from Branson, Missouri called Branson On The Road.  They watch them perform on television on the RFD Channel.

Cliff Boone

I called my mother upon learning the band would be close and she jumped at the chance to see them again.

The band consists of three musicians and singers doing classic country music. This event, was a Christmas special. Debbie Horton is a great rhythm guitar player. She put in all the chords to Christmas songs. Christmas songs often do not fit what many musicians consider “normal” when chords are used. She got him! She has a beautiful voice, too.

Cliff Boone played lead guitar, mandolin, and five-string banjo, as well as vocals. He does a very good job on all of them.

Brain Capps plays an upright bass using the “slap bass” technique. he did an excellent job.

I told the band that my mother’s 88th birthday is on December 6th.  They all praised her and congratulated her. They said she looked great, and mom does!  The event and time with family was a well spent time together.

Brian Capps






Bob and Debbie

To learn more about this band visit: http://www.bransonontheroad.com

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Quincy and Susie

Quincy was a ferret. This is the third one we have had over the last twenty years. the sad part of a ferret is the fact of living only around seven to nine  years.  Quincy turned eight years old last August.

Quincy began to show his age a little over a year ago. I noticed the cloudiness in his eyes. As time moved along he began to miss his littler boxes. In recent weeks it was visible to see his hind legs not moving as well.  This morning a trip was made to the vets. Quincy went peaceable and quick.

Quincy was a bad boy in his younger days. He hated closed doors and would scratch the carpet at times in an attempt to open the door. Another trait he had was when play time arrived he may scratch at your feet as to tell you; C’mon let’s play chase. He loved big envelopes and plastic grocery bags. Quincy would crawl into them and push them ahead as he moved across the carpet. He would sometimes do these ferret dances across the floor as he hopped and jumped.

He would run up and down the stairs with ease as a younger fellow. recently we needed to be careful with open stairway doors. he would still try to maneuver them and fall down the steps.

He had two special toys he liked very much. One was a black squirrel. Quincy would carry that squirrel around and curl up to sleep with it. Another toy that drove him wild was a dog puppet that the handler would work to make songs ring true. however, the melody was with barks. he would go after anyone using this toy and carry it away to hide.

Yes, we are going to miss Quincy.  Both of these toys were buried along side of Quincy.

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