Archive for the ‘Wildflowers’ Category

Someone walking through sections of the Quehanna Wild Area stumbling on this might think they are being filmed for a horror movie. They might hope to not find any bodies around this place. The story of what these sites were is an interesting one. There are two individual sites with separate roads to each.

Way back in the early 1950 era, President Dwight Eisenhower and congress decided on a program called, “Atoms for Peace.” The area needed to for the government consisted of many acres in the wilderness of the Quehanna Wild Area. The goal was to create nuclear-powered jet engines. The idea was to utilize such a concept so fighter jets would not have a need to return from military events for refueling.

Hunting camps were evicted. (Watch for the coming entry on the Kunes Hunting Camp.) Many acres, in Cameron County, Pennsylvania, were obtained for this project. Roads were paved into the wilderness. The years this project operated were between 1955 and 1960. Remember, only ten years in the past the atom bombs stopped World war II. the nuclear race was in full gear by now.

In 1960 the project abandoned the nuclear jet-engine study.

Today, the paved roads are growing over as well as the areas around the bunkers and other cement remnants of those days. Many birch and aspen trees cover the property today, as well. In face we saw a Ruffed Grouse launch from these thickets. This is perfect grouse habitat now. Nature is reabsorbing the lands.

Many Elk rubs were discovered in the area. A pond yielded a number of Red-spotted Newts.

Red-spotted Newt

At some time, bat boxes were placed within these bunkers to encourage bat populations. I am unsure of any great success.

One pleasant surprise for us was the Trailing Arbutus flowers. This is a low-growing plant with sweet-smelling flowers of beauty.

Trailing Arbutus

Elk rubs. Many are over six feet high.

One of the roads leading to the bunker sites.

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I had been past the remains of the dam on several occasions, but for whatever reasons, I couldn’t stop. This morning, Laurie and I were going to visit the site of the Austin community in Potter County, Pennsylvania.

The original dam was built in 1909 after a local paper mill owner realized he hadn’t enough water to operate his paper mill just north of the community during especially dry seasons. The dam was constructed across the Freeman Run Valley to solve that problem. The concrete dam was fifty feet high, five-hundred and forty feet long across the valley and twenty feet thick. Plans called for a thirty feet thick structure. The twenty feet thick dam was constructed to help save costs. Problems were quickly discovered.

The problems of cracking concrete was spoken of natural due to the concrete curing process.

South of the dam was a community of about three-thousand people. The area was known as Austin.

In September of 1911, heavy raids had been occurring and the dam was reaching a crisis level. A young girl reported within the community the warning of failure. many people responded, but others didn’t for whatever reason. It is quite probable not everyone heard the warning.

On the thirtieth of the month the dam failed allowing a wall of water to explode its way south smashing into Austin, Pennsylvania. Seventy-eight people perished.

There is an Austin Dam memorial Park present at the dam’s site.

Old photo of the dam prior to the collapse.

A new dam was built in 1942 and it failed also. The photos here are of the original dam site.

I discovered some beauty above the site with the wildflowers of the Marsh marigold and trout Lily.

Marsh Marigold

Trout Lily (Other names are the Dog-tooth Lily and Adder’s Lily.)

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I needed to stay around the house early this morning to await a delivery of a new table and chairs. The men arrived at nine and I would be able to et out and enjoy some woodland time.

My first adventure was to experiment with my latest toy…the crossbow! I had only shot one shot at the house and needed to get out to the range and experience this new contraption. I needed to get familiar and the “how to” and overcome any fears. The crossbow worked flawlessly after I realized the need to be sure the string is pulled back until it locks properly. Another trip or two should iron out all fears and gain a solid knowledge.

Afterwards, I decided to go for a hike to an area I had found some Morels last season. I didn’t find of those treasured mushrooms, but last year, the location yielded them later in the season. I would return. I did discover some Wild Leeks, often called Ramps. I dug up a few to eat and a few to transplant to some wooded areas voided of the early spring plant.

I saw four deer and some turkeys here and there in the fields, but one began to gobble after noon. I moved in and began to try to talk with the turkey. I would see him in the distance and eventually he began to strut and walk towards me. Needless to say< I snapped a number of photos. This gobbler came in to about twenty yards if me. Unfortunately, once he moved in to that distance a lot of downed hemlock trees refused to move allowing any clear shots.

I enjoyed finding some early spring wildflowers as I tramped around. the flowers were the Spring Beauty and Round-lobed Hepatica. I enjoy watching this next month or two come alive with the varied flowers.

Round-lobed Hepatica

Native Leek or Ramps


Spring Beauty

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I was almost to the top of the steep hill when I first heard the yelps. I wasn’t all that far with an estimated hundred to hundred and thirty yards distance. I yelped back before moving on to set up on the top. Soon I heard what I had hoped to hear and that was a booming gobble. I immediately gobbled back using my own abilities. He answered.

I completed setting up before calling more. The tom was answering my calls and was definitely interested. The timing wasn’t too long before I saw the black color ghosting through the trees searching for the source of his interest…ME!

In moments the bird closed in to within range and the shot boomed across the valley. I had a gobbler.


The title mentions a tribute. earlier this day I found out about the passing of a dear friend, Howard Meyers. Howard and I go way back to sometime in the early seventies…I am guessing around 1974. The deal at the time was for volunteers to plant various trees on reclaimed strip jobs near Crooked Creek Park. We were to, also, erect two turkey feeders along Cherry Run which is a tributary to Crooked Creek. Here I met Howard. We immediately were friends.

Howard was a Pennsylvania Deputy Game Warden before moving to Greensburg, Pennsylvania. from his home, Howard and I tried to get in some spring gobbler hunting and fall turkey hunting in the Cherry Run areas. the one fine memory I have is a time we doubled with fall jakes.

Howard and I were both active in the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. We attended many meetings during our “heyday” years.

Howard and I kept in touch after our federation days. He had moved to Clearfield, Pennsylvania so we didn’t see each other often, but we talked on the phone.

So, old buddy, rest in peace.

Witch Hazel

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Golden Rod

Yes, the summer season for the year 2020 is heading down the road to the autumn season.  Recently, this past week, I went for a walk to a state game lands pond approximately a mile back in. I obtain the benefits of walking plus fishing during one excursion. I have placed posts from fishing this pond in the past. I enjoy catching Carp on light tackle or even a flyrod.

One observation being very prominent this past week were the end-of-season wildflowers. Yes, with the golden fields of the Goldenrods the frosts can’t be far away, in fact, as I type this on  September 18, frost watches and warnings are being forecasted for counties north of SR 422. This land area includes northern Armstrong County where I reside. Oh well it is the last half of September.

Turtlehead Wildflower











New York Aster


Spotted Jewelweed


Bullhead Catfish

Dew-laden Mullein leaves

This excursion yielded two flocks of turkeys, one deer, a flock of Canada Geese and a very brief glimpse of a Black Bear at about thirty yards. The fishing wasn’t too bad either for I landed some Bullhead Catfish. I lost a few Carp due to the four pond test line on my light tackle rod and reel.

Buffalo Creek



Yellow Jewelweed 






Monday of this past week found my walking shoes along Buffalo Creek looking for whatever I could find to observe. I found a Red-spotted Newt. (Removed a Box Turtle from the road, too.)






Red-spotted Newt




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Summer Wildflowers


Button Bush










I have left the house early the last two days to do some hiking. I walk around early to beat the heat. For example, the temperature  is forecasted to reach in the ninty-degree range this day.

I awakened close to three-thirty in the morning for a nature call. My original intent was to go to the creek and set a minnow trap and go after some river fish. I didn’t act on that idea, but checked the long-range weather only to see rather warm nights for a long time. This morning was cool and fall-like with a temperature in the mid-fifty-degree range.  I made an executive decision and decided to go walking while it is cool. I will fish another morning. I needed some walking time anyway.

Yesterday evening a walked a mile long walk to pay the taxes and, of course, the place was locked up. I left the check in a lock-box supplied, but I was

Black-eyed Susans

angry. I am sick of all this BS happening over this very dangerous virus with a survival rate of over 99%! The political deception is running amuck. People are living i fear. I have not used a mask yet, but I don’t go many places anymore because I do not appreciate the looks and businesses bringing it to my attention. I have asthma and have an excuse, but in a free society I shouldn’t need an excuse. Sorry for the vent!

Back to the walk. The morning was cool and I had on a flannel shirt and was quite comfortable until the sun rose higher in the sky. I could feel the heat beginning to soar.

Birdlife was abundant. I did see some deer and fawns on occasion. I saw around six adult turkeys in a field and I couldn’t see any poults at all. Hmm, I hope that isn’t an omen in declining numbers this year.

I located one bear track in dry dirt and saw some ripped wood on a couple of utility poles.

I drove home on some old back roads I hadn’t been on for many years.


Even the spiders are messed up in the 2020 year!


Common Mullein









Wild Bergamot



Butterfly Flower


Canada Thistle


Downy Skullcap




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Dame’s Rocket

I have been missing some turkey hunting due to allergies and asthma issues. I still have a second spring gobbler tag ands would like to challenge another one to enter in front of my sights. I tried to go out on Wednesday morning, but quickly aborted the hunt. It is hard to tramp through woodlands when you feel miserable with sneezing, burning eyes and tight chest sensations hurting to breathe. ( I may try again tomorrow the 22nd depending , also, on the weather.)

  I had to do a few things at my old homestead for my mother and step father so I left early to take a short walk near a creek. The morning jaunt was for about a quarter of a mile lasting around forty minutes, if that. This woodland has been special to me all of my life. As a kid at home I would play along this waterway. I carried a tackle box, fishing rod and worms just to catch some chubs, maybe reaching eight or nine inches. I would catch “crabs” here during the day and wait for my dad to come home from work so we could go to the Allegheny River to fish into the early dark hours. Yes, this is a special area.

Some other special things are here in the is area. They are big trees, wildflowers and steep hills. The sun hadn’t reached the hollow yet, but the light was present. I

Rupp Run 

took some natural photos with trees and flowers. It is always great to spend time in old haunts.








Native Blue Phlox



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Good morning


The morning was shaping up to be a nice, and it was. However, the nice morning didn’t equate to much gobbling activity. I heard four gobbles very far off, across a deep hollow and on the top of the next ridge. I believed the bird moved onto a huge field with hens early. A dense fog hung on until after eight o’clock.

I remained in place feeling certain I would hear some gobbling soon and closer. Those gobbles never happened. I remained within  about two acres until almost ten o’clock waiting for a lonesome tom to explode his positioning.


Shotgun is getting worried.

On the negative side of life, I have been dealing with asthma issues regularly. I cough so hard at times I feel I about to pass out. Sometimes I expel phlegm from my lungs. Allergies are beginning to cause disruptions in my life, as well. I do the best I can and still manage to climb very steep terrain as needed, I just do it in the best pace to keep from having attacks.

Later in the morning I heard about eight shots at the same place. this was in the area of where the early morning turkey was heading. My theory is someone shot at the bird in the field way out of range and crippled it. the extra shots were attempts to catch up to the bird.

Sightings include: Deer and doe with a little fawn; two hens in field, squirrels, Racoon,  Great Blue heron and many migrating birds.

Fire Pink



Scarlet Tanager


Golden Ragwort

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NOTE: Before I write the enties of the two hunts I am going to state some “skunk” events here at the house. I Walked out very early recently to get the paper. I turned to go back to the door and I froze. A beautiful skunk came walking across the yard and exited down under my deck near the basement door. I knew she had been staying there. Both, Monday and Tuesday mornings as I prepared to go to hunt, Mama Skunk was about eight feet from the door at her den site gathering leaves.  She seems very unconcerned of my presence.

Tufted Titmouse


Tuesday,  very early in the morning, I had slowly and quietly moved in Indian-like stealth along a spring seep gulley before angling upslope. I had an area goal in mind to set up for a gobbler. It was dark! I was hoping to be in position, or close to position, at the first gobble. I wasn’t concerned if I bumped off the jakes I don’t want them around anyway for they cause me grief twice already. I didn’t it, but he was farther up the hollow allowing for an advance towards the top. I didn’t feel safe to move into the goal area.

Once towards the top I began to look for a good position to call from. Multiflora Rose is abundant a causing for sighting issues. I began calling and gobbles erupted all over. The jakes were in the same roosting area with gobbler #1. A hen below me flew from the tree after yelping. Soon all was quiet. Soon, I maneuvered higher on the hill. I called and a gobbler was heard farther out the flat area. I readjusted my position again.

Garlic Mustard

Time was short when I realized this gobbler was coming in. I was so confident that I removed my shotgun strap to lesson any chance of it swaying.

Shagbark Hickory

Another gobble followed immediately by a second gobbler and all was silent. More time and the proof of this event was obvilous…Something happened and i believe the jakes may have come up and over scaring the gobbler. Any option could be a hen.

I left the area to come back later. I set up in the cool, breezy conditions only to hear three gobbles across the hollow. I moved to try to pinpoint him better and a hen began yelping. I tried to call her in, to no avail. I set an hour and decided to head home.

**********************************************************************************************************************************This morning, I awoke to rain. I debated to go hunting or not. Three times while in transit I pulled over to ponder what to do. Of course, i ended up giving the morning a try. I donned on my camo rain gear and up the hill I went. This was a different area to hunt.

As I moved up a hill I noticed the winds picking up. I must be nuts! On a went.

I listened for any gobbling, but didn’t hear anything. Between wind and rain hearing wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I began a tour of calling and listening. I later saw a hen. My plan was to transverse along a ridge to the end calling in various spots. I reached the end of the point around eight o’clock and headed to the jeep. I was wet in some areas and damp in others and slightly chilled.

Mayapple growing through a leaf


Apple b;ossom


Coltsfoot going to seed



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Pale yellow Trilllim


I headed out to some woods I know very well. They are close to my homestead and I grew up traversing the hills and hollows and playing in the “crick.” I like to walk in these areas for they, too, like so many areas are being swallowed up through development.

I left to check out for morels, those delicious morsels of fungi. I failed to fins any, but I enjoyed turkey activity. I called two nice gobblers to me. Later, I would see five gobblers and two hens. The

Yellow Violet


old-longbearded tom was suspicious of me, but his suspicions stopped when several jakes closed in to him. He turned and chased them every time they ventured too close.

I spotted a squirrel watching me from the safety of a hole in the tree.

   The unusual find mentioned in the title of this entry is the yellow trillium in the above photo. I actually found two of them.  This is color-variant of the Purple Trillium for this beauty was in the midst of a cluster of the trilliums.







Purple Dead Nettle

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