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dsc_0001 The weather people were stating a warm up was coming for the weekend. I needed to hike some more in snow before this  melted.dsc_0018 We did not have very much snow locally this winter.  My decision was to hike the area of Crooked Creek Park. I was hoping to get some eagle pics as they are always in the area.

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I was traveling early and was fortunate to witness a few moments of sunrise. Cloud cover was dominate, but hints of sun would occasionally peak  dsc_0034through. (Later in the day the sun was more prominent.) I arrived on site around 7:20 A.M. The hike was on!

dsc_0025  The lake follows the old creek bottom. It is easy to see how Crooked Creek became known as such. The original waterways meanders in a very crooked manner. At one point which is the current beach area one can stand with water on three sides.

Sycamore seed pod

Sycamore seed pod

While I stood on the, now abandoned, beach area I saw over fifty Canada Geese flying over and landing on the lake. It was obvious the pairing off of the geese was on. Also, on the lake were mergansers and wood ducks. No eagles!

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I walked along a high ridge and spotted an immature Bald eagle at about thirty yards or less. However, the branches of hemlocks would not permit a single photograph. Of course, the eagle wasn’t going to allow much time to find a good opening. This would be the only eagle I would see this day.

I hiked below the overflow area. the creek was high since the dam was allowing for back up water to escape. I saw two Great Blue herons flying over the waters.

dsc_0042     Deer were plentiful. I saw twenty deer this day. Some were bedded and others were feeding.

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I left the dentist office around one 0’clock in the afternoon on Monday, January 9. Preliminary work was completed for the process of having a tooth again. (I broke my tooth off a week ago.) I went home and decided a should grab the flintlock and try for a deer in the remaining time.

I arrived at the site I had planned to hunt around 1: 40 P.M. I was excited with the changing weather conditions.  The sun had been out some this day and the temperatures and risen from the single digit temps previously. the winds were not as strong either. Also, I had seen 5-6 deer feeding as I was driving to this hunt. Maybe the deer were out feeding due to the changes.

Immediately, I noticed the eastern slope was not as noisy as the previous two hunting days for me. The snow has softened and the frost seemed to be exiting the ground.  That observation changed as I climbed the hill. the top was still crunchy and most of the woodland steps produced the twin sounds of compaction of snow and busting frost.

I was sneaking along on the eastern side of the hill when I saw a deer’s body about eighteen yards away. I readied Old Jacob and tried to determine which side of the body was the vital area. I COULDN”T SEE THE NECK OR HEAD due to brush! With the flintlock read I leaned to my right and saw the definite view of a deer eye and ear. As experienced sneakers know, often the deer will react immediately upon reaching the point of direct eye contact. the doe was up and gone in a second. I saw one more deer this evening.

We were told via the weather people  January 10 would have snow early changing to freezing rain by 9-10 and turning to rain later.  I didn’t plan to hunt for this all sound problematic for a flintlock rifle. If that black powder gets wet the result is a failed shot. However, by 11:00 I decided I should gamble and go hunting. The snow was fresh and no rain had fallen. I was ready to go just prior to 11:30 and I noticed a little very light rain.

I decided to go to a local state game lands to try my luck. Before I pulled out of the drive the rain had picked up still I was going to try a hunt. The five miles produced slightly heavier rain.  I saw a ringneck hen flush.

I soon would look over an embankment to see two deer feeding. I froze. they were about 70 yards. A third deer materialized. A deer began moving towards me at an angle and I was hopeful all of this would come together. The deer stopped at about 45 yards. I couldn’t get a clear shot due to limbs, briars and vines. I could only hope as I noticed the wind wasn’t right for me. The deer would begin snorting, but she held her ground for another five minutes. the other two deer were still feeding but moving away. The close deer eventually moved to them and they all three moved around a hill into posted property. The rains increased.

 

'possum

‘possum

I still-hunted through an area with a lot of oak trees. Deer feeding had occurred sometime this morning. I was startled to see a mid-size opossum feeding on acorns. I took some pics as the rain increased. the snow in the hour since I started this hunt had decreased by about fifty percent.  I was really wet with an all attempt to keep the rifle dry. I used a treated piece of leather draped over the lock.  dsc_0013

I spotted a deer standing at about fifty yards, but brush didn’t allow for a clean shot. A second deer was spotted. She had two steps to complete her stance for an open shot. The first deer turned and moved and the second deer turned to join. This gully had a section of very thick brush about thirty feet in length and 15 feet in width. If the deer moved out in any direction they would be visible. A major problem for me was a growth of vines and briars blocking my view.

I had set down on a leg in the wet snow figuring the shot was at hand. After five minutes, my leg was soaked and I was getting cold. I believed those deer had to have bedded down. I stood up and moved a couple of steps to my left as I watched two deer jump up and move out. Oh well! I decided to head home. I shot the flintlock as I reached the vehicle and he went off perfectly despite the heavy rain.

I returned home and received a call that the dentist had a cancel and I went and had my tooth completed repaired!     dsc_0012

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George Miller showing Laurie some things of interest.

George Miller showing Laurie some things of interest.

This morning, Laurie and I, attended the Antique Firearms and Indian Artifact Show. This annual event was held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds near Brookville, Pennsylvania. This would be Laurie’s first time on her feet for an extended time since her back surgery. She did well!

Reconstructed pottery from a dig.

Reconstructed pottery from a dig.

This event is spearheaded by my friend, Ken Burkett from hawthorn, Pennsylvania. Ken  is an archeologist. He has done much work locally at the Parker’s Landing petroglyph site along the Allegheny River. he was instrumental with dogs at the Fishbasket site along the Armstrong, and Clarion Counties. He, and I, are members of the North Fork Chapter. His wife, Cheryl was helping. Other friend were, Ed Kaufman. I had met Ed a long time ago when he, Ken, and I visited the Parker’s Landing site to prepare for a painting. I saw local friends, Rob Watt, and Rich Schall, too. These fellows are actually neighbors with me. Another dear friend, was George Miller. I met George a long time ago on a trip to the National Wild Turkey federation headquarters at Edgefield, South Carolina. We became instant friends. George, at that time, was a commissioner for the Pennsylvania Game  Commission.  he was active in atlatl throwing competition. George played a prank on a young fellow. he gave this lad a copper pipe sating it was a deer call. the lad bit blowing on the call. The result was powder on his faith. (I fell for such a trick years ago, only water was used.)

 

Lots of firearms, and nobody was shot! Imagine that!

Lots of firearms, and nobody was shot! Imagine that!

Another friend who showed up was Dana Gould of Distant, Pennsylvania. We have been friends for a long time as well.

Atlatl throwing.

Atlatl throwing.

Members of the Venango Chapter #30 had a display of a large clay, and dirt ball surrounding many pieces of Indian pottery. he would demonstrate the method of removing the surrounding dirt. Once completed, the tedious task of working the broken pieces together begins. Thankful people take the time to save such artifacts.                                                               DSC_0007

 

Cleaning away the dirt!

Cleaning away the dirt!

Along with seeing friends, many muzzleloading rifles , and such abound. powder horns, artifacts, and about anything one can imagine from our early history can be viewed . Flintknappers showed interested people how the Indians chipped away at flint to make beautiful , and lethal points.

We managed about half a day before deciding it was time to head home. (This was, of course, after lunch!)

There were a lot of flintlocks, percussion rifles, Civil war era rifles, swords, knives, tomahawks, and yet no killings occurred.

 

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DSC_0026.JPG  My good friend, Dana Gould, contacted me to participate in a walk to search out various mushrooms, and fungi. The walk would, also, be joined with Pastor Bob Ryver. Bob has a lot of knowledge with various mushrooms found in south western Pennsylvania.  The walk would be to see something special, too. Dana wanted to show me a rock wall meandering through the woods.

We all met up in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for breakfast prior to heading out for our adventure.

 

Eagles

Eagles

We stopped at a known eagle nest to check on the inhabitants first. We could watch an immature eagle feasting while an adult perched alongside. I had taken photos of the adult birds earlier this year before nesting.

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The excursion began, as we passed the remnants of an old stone foundation from long ago. A short walk along a field, and the sight of the stone wall began. We explored along this stone wall, admiring the beauty of early unknown populace.  Rocks were purposely placed, and interwoven together to make for an attractive wall. Questions continually came to light as we pondered the reasoning for such intense , and time consuming efforts. This wall was averaging from about forty inches across to over ten feet in places. Some places found the height to be around six feet. Why? Was this a property line marking? The length is approximately a half mile or more.

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DSC_0032 We were standing along the wall when a doe with her fawn were viewed running hastily across a soybean field. I managed to get a number of photos. I have included a few here.    DSC_0024

We walked the woods in the area and discovered the dry conditions have not produced many mushrooms as of date. We found a few here, and there, but few would be the best description on this jaunt.

We saw six turkeys during our travels, two small-racked bucks, some does, and a few squirrels.

 

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

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Black Cohosh

Black Cohosh

We had an enjoyable time together discussing everything from mushrooms; turkeys, and deer hunting, problems occurring in America, and many aspects from a spiritual side of life. Thanks Dana for the invite, and thanks Pastor Bob Ryver for your kindness, and newly found friendship!

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DSC_0001 Allen K. Smail June 4, 1923 to June 20, 1999. My dad was setting in his car when he had heard of Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor of December 7, 1941. He was drafted in 1942. He was in the European theater returning home in the fall of 1945. I am very proud, and respectful of my dad for I am what I am because of all his efforts to teach me to respect the flag; honor the military, and to never forget what those brave men, and women did to preserve America. I hope America will be able to come through the events happening today.

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Spring Wildflowers

 

White Trillium

White Trillium

It is that time of the year when the woodlands are renewing with the

Purple Trillium

Purple Trillium

beauty of wildflowers.

Trout Lily

Trout Lily

I have seen the sides of a woodland hill white, as in a field of white, with thousands of white trilliums. This is a sight to behold. The purple trillium, or the Wake Robin, is much fewer in number.

Virginia Bluebell

Virginia Bluebell

The Virginia Bluebells grow best near creeks, and water sources.  Harebell is a short wildflower fairly common in woodlands.

Harebell

Harebell

 

Forget-Me-Not

Forget-Me-Not

The Trout Lily, also known as the Dog-Tooth Lily is found in rich woodland settings.

Garlic Mustard is an invasive flower in Pennsylvania. The celandine is a naturalized flower. Of course the violets are very common.

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

 

Violet

Violet

Celandine

Celandine

 

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Laurie, and I spent some time visiting the area in, and around, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This area is well-known for being Amish, and Mennonite, country.  The primary reason for our visit was to see a couple of Christmas shows.

The first show was one that can only be described as “SPECTACULAR”!  The show was called the, MIRACLE OF CHRISTMAS. This event was held at the famous  Sights & Sounds Theater. Those who participated in this show were unbelievable. Add to their talents the stage props, and lighting effects, and you have the ingredients of a show to behold.

This play has three stages, detailed props; lighting effects; camels; donkeys; sheep; men on horses, angels flying around the stages, and over the audience, to enhance the overall sensations.

The time frame of this play begins during the immediate days, and weeks, before the announcement of the angel Gabriel to Mary of her being chosen to have the Son of God. It ends with his birth!  Visit their site at: http://www.sight-sound.com

The following day we attended the American Music Theater. Again, we were knocked off our feet with the professional of the musical called, DECK THE HALLS. This play featured an on stage orchestration and many singers, and dancers.  A lot of Christmas music was performed.  They have a lot of big name entertainers showing here. Their site is: http://www.amtshows.com

We spent additional time in communities , such as, Bird In The Hand, and Intercourse where we enjoyed visiting shops and EATING!!!!

I enjoyed seeing some Amish, and Mennonite farm and their farmlands. I love the rural aspect of the area, obviously!

Interestingly enough, I found two purses over the weekend. What are the odds of that!!! Both times the owners were either hollered at to stop , or by chance came back looking.

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