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Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Falls at low tide

Laurie and I went hiking along a Rails-to-Trails ending at a locally well-know area called Buttermilk Falls. Seems many falls are named Buttermilk falls. Pennsylvania has been hit with little rain in recent times and the flowers and creeks are showing that fact.  Normally, in the above photo, water is coming over those rocks on the right, too.

We enjoyed our time together, but we were disgusted at the amount of garbage all over. ATV trails are abundant since these vehicles are not permitted on the trails and gates have been erected, they simply travel all over causing much erosion. Also, they are carrying bags of trash with them and other garbage and dumping it along the trail.  One pile of trash was across the creek along a trail and placed as such to be removed when the stream gets a normal flow.

Red-spotted Newt in the land stage.

 

 

 

 

 

Butterflies!

Early Sunday morning I needed time to reflect so I went for a walk. I would see five different hen turkeys, but only one poult. The sun came out and the insect life fluttered around everywhere…namely butterflies. I took a lot of photos of them whenever opportunity occurred.

Monarch Butterfly on a Joe-Pye Flower

 

Swallowtail on thistle. I believe this one is the Spicebush Swallowtail.

 

Tiger Swallowtail

 

Great Speckled Fritillary

 

Blue Vervain

 

 

 

Freshwater Drum

I have been fishing off and on, several times to a local pond where I caught Bullhead Catfish and Carp. I enjoy the site, fir the walk to arrive is about one mile and I never see anyone. Today, however, I ventured early south of Kittanning to fish along the great Allegheny River. Action was god for a time, as I caught three Smallmouth Bass rather quickly. Also, I caught something and the weight either broke the line or cut the line with sharp teeth. Regardless, the certainty of a catch lasted a millisecond.

Cardinal Flower

I had another very hard hit and assumed I had caught a nice catfish, by the way it rolled upon retrieve. But, I soon saw the peculiar shape of a Freshwater Drum. Locally, they are often called Sheepshead. The action soon stopped and I failed to get anymore hits, so I walked along the shore to take some photos.

 

The Drake Log cabin in Apollo, Built around 1816.

Recently, my wife, Laurie, happened on a write-up in our local newspaper. An event was mentioned. That event was the Armstrong County 4-H Historical Adventure. I called to get information. We decided to participate.

This event was from August 7 through to the tenth. Twenty sites were to be discovered in our travels.

St. Patrick’s Episcopalian Church in East Brady. Built in 1867.

The 4-H supplied a clue sheet f the various sites of the county. I formalized  the routes to travel. here is where my knowledge of the county roads really paid off. I traveled many back roads looking for wildlife, as well. (By the way, we saw two bucks, doe and fawns and a flock of gobblers.) 

Every locale on the clue sheet featured a 12X 12 white cement block with the emblem: 4-H painted on it. Underneath each block was a plastic bag with placards of that particular site. The laminate placards had information of the site. The 4-H people supplied a lanyard to place each placard.

I took plenty of photos of the two day adventure for us. We finished up prior to noon on Saturday  the 8th.

Some photos are included here.

Coaling Tower used to fill railroad cars with coal. Used 1930 -1957.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Ford Statue in Ford City. FC was founded in 1887.

 

Armstrong County Memorial Wall

 

My ancestors died in 1863 during the Civil War.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace Presbyterian Church in Kittanning. Built in 1910.

 

Marshall House in Dayton. Built in 1868.

Grist mill stones in Dayton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old McCain House, currently, the Armstrong County Museum. Built in 1842.

 

Nellie Bly Marker in Cochran’s Mill.

 

Lock #8 Dam. Built between 1928-1931.

Locally we have had some very hot days over the past weeks.  Hot, humid weather isn’t my favorite weather by any account. However, I do venture out for some two or three hour hikes early in the mornings at times. Recently I hiked in State Game Lands 105 in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania hoping to see a bear of two.

The morning atmosphere was humid as easily viewed across the deep watershed that maintains the Allegheny River. I took some photos of distance hills with the humidity visible.

I didn’t find any bear sign this day, but I did see two young gobblers and a couple of Red-tailed Hawks.

I saw some Monarch Butterflies, too.

 

 

 

Red Admiral Butterfly

 

Monarch caterpillar

 

 

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!

 

Beaver!

Beaver

I left here from the house prior to sunrise to fish along the Allegheny River. I had set the minnow trap late last night and had kept approximately fifteen to fish with and turned the others back for another time.

The very first cast set the stage for my morning.  Snagged! I was snagged on something and ended up losing a lot of line. Almost every cast found the same scenario. The current seemed different. I kind of have a policy that if I lose three riggings in a short time, I tend to quit. That policy is not set in stone. I fished almost two hours and only had one hit, but numerous snags. I decided to explore.

I was blessed to watch a Beaver near the shoreline. That feller seemed curious about me and allowed a closer approach. I managed some photos of the hungry rodent. A pair of gulls would fly over squawking and circling. I think they were wanting me to give them food. I took some photos of them as well. I did see a high-altitude Bald Eagle, some Mallards and a small flock of Canada Geese.             

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Boys Of Summer

I began thinking about a painting featuring White-tailed Deer in velvet sometime in May.  As always, the thoughts became some quick thumbnail sketches working on a composition. These roughs may be only about three by five inches. Eventually, I came up with a composition I liked and began doing a rough layout to size, in this case, an eighteen by twenty-four inch painting.  Using tracing paper, I traced that rough making further changes and refining as I believed would be best.

Rough sketch

Once I was fairly content with the rough composition I began refining the drawing once again. The next step for me was preparation of an 18 X 24 inch Masonite board. I applied three coats of gesso while sanding some in between each coat. I transferred the drawing onto this prepared board. Even at this stage I may refine the drawing or make changes. Notice on the layout on the left I had distant mountains, but I changed that concept to a field with fence posts.

The next step was to paint the sky. Once complete I began what I call the, “slapping stage” where I hastily block in color to keep the drawing close to what my intent was. I am not concerned much with color at this time, only applying paint to get the form of the image to my plans. Any person looking at the board  would think what is this guy trying to do. Now, I begin slapping the paints but in a more controlled method further getting the forms to where I want them to be.

The painting begins to slow down as I do stages with more detail. I worked the field in and background trees followed by more rough work with the tree and closer grasses. From this point on it is a matter of jumping around the panel placing more paint here and there all over the art. Detail gradually slows down even more and the painting begins to come to life. more.

I generally try to complete most of the background before detailing the deer in this case. The percentage of completion might be something like 65%. I continually look the art over and refine the details as needed. I slapped on more paint but  in a more

Into the “slapping paint” stage

controlled way until finally I began to detail.  The detailed deer began to take hold quickly. Sometimes it all happens faster than I would have thought. I keep adding paint as needed until I look at the art and deem it complete.

Detail

I like to set the art back for a day or two to see it all fresh light. Sometimes even then I will adjust things.

Finally, at some point, I look at the art and say I think I better stop painting. The next step is to varnish the art. I used acrylic paints on this painting, and like oil paints, once complete and dry the artist varnishes the painting.

Hope you enjoy the stages of this painting.

 

 

 

 

A little more defined.

 

Color from photography is off.

 

Starting to detail the deer.

More Bear Art

A few days ago, I stopped painting on a summer buck painting and switched to doing some bear art. I have done other art similar to these on deer and elk shoulder bones. These two examples were done on Black Bear shoulder bones.

I usually don’t put the amount of detail on shoulder bone art as I would on a painting. However, they do make an interesting conversation starter at a home. I make sure the bones set up on a level surface. Some require a little removal of bone, many set perfectly without any additional bone sculpting.

The worst part of doing  bone art is the cleaning of all residue from the bone. If the bone has been in the elements for a long period of time the bones will be perfect for painting. Otherwise I have to scrape and pull all tissue from them. The second step is submerging them in bleach to whiten and further remove any thing I may have missed.

I find taking photos of irregularly shaped bones difficult. The contours on the bone allow for shiny sheens from the varnish. You will see some of those sheens with these photos.

Bee-Balm

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