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My positive result

To begin with this story, I feel the need to add some details prior to the explanation of my bout with covid. I have had asthma all of my life although I was not diagnosed until the 1980 time period. I usually keep the illness managed well enough to function somewhat. Also, I have dealings with vertigo, although the extreme is, thankfully, uncommon. I say that because I have had dizziness sensations much of my life. For example, if my dad would drive too fast over a certain bump at Brick Church, Pennsylvania, I would feel dizziness and nausea. Some spinning amusement rides would make me sick. My first vertigo attack was in 2013. That event was a terrifying one for me. I thought I was having a stroke. Today they are very uncommon for I have learned to do an exercise to keep those crystals in my inner ear in place.

Sunday afternoon of July 31, I felt a vertigo experience happening. I expressed either verbally or in my thoughts the words, “OH NO!” Immediately it stopped, but I was concerned. The rest of evening I felt slightly dizzy at times with a subtle headache.

The following day I was having the asthma common two-syllable, cough. No biggie for I could like this every day, so I wasn’t too concerned. However, on Tuesday the coughs were more prevalent. I played guitar at a church on Tuesday evening and noticed the inhaler wasn’t working well.

Tuesday, I mowed my yard and the neighbors and didn’t feel anything too bad.

Tuesday night I started harder coughing and slept very little. On the very early morning of Wednesday the 3rd, I began choking until I vomited up phlegm. I felt better afterwards but was exhausted. I remained in bed all day except bathroom breaks. I didn’t eat anything until I had awakened at 7:45 PM. The coughing began again, but I discovered I had a severe pain at the base of my left ribcage. The coughing had strained a muscle apparently. I tried to suppress the coughs the best I could.

Thursday morning, I was very suspicious as to if I may be dealing with covid and not the asthma. Laurie said she had a test kit sent from our insurance company. As you can see the test was positive. The coughing continued as did the nausea and dizziness. Early Friday morning I was vomiting again and that stopped the coughing for my lungs were, now, clear.

Friday afternoon found me on the computer asking covid questions. Can covid trigger vertigo-like effects and could covid trigger asthma-like coughs? Both responses were the same…YES! So, the covid virus was expressing itself on the 31st, but I failed to recognize it. The same with the asthma coughs.

I am typing this report on August 5 and with the exception of a slight headache and fatigue, I am feeling fair. I hope I do not need to come back here to type in reoccurrences.

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Great Blue Heron with Shad

I watched the Great Blue Heron for quite some time below the dam. The bird captured and devoured two fish during that time. Notice from the above photo the size of this fish. The other one was just as big and the bird simply “gulped” them down.

the Allegheny River was in nice shape this morning as I trekked through the underbrush heading to a place, I enjoy fishing. The first cast produced a hard bite, and the hook was set. Unfortunately, the sizable fish broke the eight-pound test leader, even though, I was not forcing the fight. the second cast produced my first catfish, a whopping eighteen-inch powerhouse of a fighter. I would catch more cats during the morning.

This guy insists on following me around trying to scare away the fish. Actually, this is my friend, Frank “Muskie” Maus fishing for muskies.

Prior to eleven o’clock I would catch a Freshwater Drum or a Sheepshead. Between the first catfish and Drum I would lose another big fish due to line breakage. Another catfish in the twenty-inch range came to the surface just prior to throwing the hook. I missed a few strong bites, too.

One of the Cats.

Freshwater Drum

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Carved out of ivory

As our twenty-seventh wedding anniversary was approaching, Laurie began to look for some things of interest for the two of us to do once the day arrived. One possible visit that interested her was a potential stop at the Maridon Museum in Butler.

I did a search for details and with a nice April 22 day some plans were placed. Another area we visited is a nature park. This site will be on a separate entry.

This laughing Buddha was carved out of a solid piece of Rosewood.

This museum became reality once a woman named, Mrs. Phillips decided she needed a place to house her collectables. The museum was born. Mrs. Phillips had been an ardent collector of Asian art and sculptures. The museum is now home for her many forms of Oriental arts.

Jade and ivory sculptures were abundant within the museum walls. the craftsmanship was unbelievable to behold. Intricate detail work is always present to see. Some of the art was very, very old from various Chinese Dynasties and other works were more recent, but all were exceptional.

Other arts consisted of figurines out of porcelain. There were many on display.

Art and the required needs for creating the art were on display. These people were known as scholars and the art on display was of the Chinese “scholarly” traditions. These people would, also, excel with calligraphy and poetry.

A “scholarly” table with instruments to create.

Tours are welcome by calling: 724-282-0123. The web site is: http://www.maridon.org

Oriental warrior attire replicas.

Laurie looking over a display.

Carved egret.

Incense burner

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Exploring Some new Land

I took an early trip to northern Butler County to explore some more lands I had never been to hike. the land was State Game Lands 95 between Boyers and West Sunbury. The early darker hours had some very thick foggy areas that delayed my arrival plans, but that was not to bad. What delayed my arrival more than the early conditions was uncertainty as to where I needed to locate. I had some issues finding the parking areas at first, but eventually I unraveled the site.

I parked near a dam known as the Glades Dam Lake. This lake is a shallow site of about two and a half miles. The Pennsylvania Game Commission had signs placed all along the trail I was to walk. The area along the dam was a state propagation area and entry is always prohibited. I decided to go on and walk the trail to see what sights would be discovered.

After some time I entered a limestone road which led me to a parking and boat launching site. I crept through the treeline along this area and could get to the water’s edge. Here I saw some Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons. I was blessed to watch an Osprey dive into the water and retrieve a fish. I failed to get any photographs.

Where I saw the Osprey.

The wetland vegetation was so dense that I could get through at very few sites. I fact at one grassy area I spotted a hen turkey and she, too struggled to find a place to easily get into the brush for safety. AT another area I saw four gobblers. I quickly got a few photos of running birds.

The Wood Ducks and Herons loved this spot.

I saw plenty of deer here and there including the buck shown above, he stopped and stood allowing some good photos.

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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 my aunt was part proprietor, my mother would go and listen to the music and talk with relatives and the 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 than 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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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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The morning of April 20 found the climbing of the mountain happening again. As before, I had a time restraint and one never knows what adventure one will find during the ascension. The two of us had plans so my time would be limited. Off I went.

A gobble exploded off in the distance. I estimated any attempt to close in for a hunt would take forty minutes. The bird was on the bottomland area on the next mountain and across the Bennett’s Branch of the Sinnemahoning. I was happy this wasn’t gobbler season. I sat for a time listening to the gobbler. Here I, also, spent some time in prayer. I moved higher always checking the time.

Again, I could see the top but was a ten minutes away from reaching. I had to turn around. I knew if I pushed to reach the top I would not want to come down the slope quickly. I would want to explore.

The mountain is covered with small rocks varying from four inches to a foot. Underbrush was rare. My reasoning for the rocks falls upon knowledge of the mountain’s history. Mankind of years past denuded the trees of these mountains. Also, with all the dead tree tops, fires were common. The trains would often throw out shouldering conditions causing fires. Once the ground had been devoid of trees and burned to the soil any heavy rains would quickly wash all the best top soil away exposing the rocks. Regaining quality topsoil is a very long process of nature.

ROCKS!

After our breakfast Laurie and I would be traveling to the Alvin Bush Dam area on the Kettle Creek.

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The need to get out was high the morning of February 10. A nice covering of snow enveloped all surfaces and getting out and about was important to me. I need to find time to collect my thoughts, relieve stress and pray. What better place is the great outdoors.

I left the house with no clear idea where I would end up, but shortly decided to hike along Cowanshannock Creek. This creek is one beautiful waterways. Some areas have millions of rocks making for some good photo opportunities. Unfortunately, those rocks create some potential hazardous walking. I would be careful!

Immediately tracks of wildlife became known. I saw plenty of deer tracks. Also, I found fox and coyote tracks. I would see rabbit and squirrel tracks. Interestingly, were several areas where chipmunks were out and about actually having trails through the snow to various holes. I found Mink tracks that followed the creek exclusively.


Mink Tracks

I took a lot more photos than the ones shown in this entry, but I placed enough to have the reader get a taste of nature’s beauty on a cold morning. The temperatures were cold and the Rhododendrons displayed that cod. Once the temperatures get to a certain point the leaves appear to look wilted and hang down. This action is a life-sustaining protection feature of the plant.

i noticed several Gypsy Moth egg cases cemented to the side of trees. I remember many years ago when this specie of moth became the threat to our deciduous trees. Millions of them covered the woodlands and yards as they devoured the leaves of many species of trees. Everyday I collected the caterpillars and scarped the egg cases into used motor oil trying to make a dent. Some areas known to me had many oak trees die off because of the devastation caused by the caterpillars eating all the leaves.

Rhododendron Wilted Due to Temperatures

Gypsy Moth Egg Case

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Looks Like I Am Back

Some of my friends have asked me what had happened with my blog entries. I would tell them I can’t edit and publish.

Last fall the problem originally surfaced. I had completed and entry text and placed two photos when a pink ribbon appeared saying: “Update failed: You do not have permission to edit this site”. Of course I became concerned. I began the very difficult process of attempting to determine what the heck was going on.

Eventually, I became quite frustrated and contacted the site controlling my site. I tried seven times sending them my issues. each time I would get a notice that they were on it. I would never hear back. My frustration intensified. On some of the complaints I included my e-mail address and phone number. With time someone on their end contacted me using my new e-mail. Although I had changed my e-mail address with them some time ago, I needed to complete an additional step. They had been replying each time using my old e-mail address. Once that was done the communication became great.

An engineer on the site send me plenty of possible routes to take. Links were included to try. My attempts failed for I am not a computer nerd and the language on the sites frustrated me further.

I contacted them again and further items came on the agenda. The final solution was that Internet Explore is no longer working. The suggestion was to try another browser. Well here are the results. I AM BACK!

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A beautiful day of relief was in store and the plans to visit Keystone safari were final.  The walk though zoo-like atmosphere is located near grove City, Pennsylvania.

We spent over two hors looking at the wildlife. Laurie enjoyed watching the Giraffe feeding on lettuce. I enjoyed watching the little kids smiling upon seeing the various wail critters.

Hyena

 

Giraffe close-up

 

Easter island head!

 

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