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In recent days I completed my seventh CD entitled, ” COUNTRY CLASSICS FOR BOB.” I began planning for this venture last summer, I believe.

Bob Miller is my stepfather. He has had some bad issues to deal with in recent years. In December of 2018, he was within inches of being killed in a freak woodland incident. A tree fell grazing hm and breaking his ankle. He still has hardware in his leg from that time.

The following spring in 2019 another issue came to be and by early summer it was confirmed he had cancer. We were told the cancer was terminal. However, here it is in early 2022, and Bob is still with us. He has been taking chemo seems like forever. The treatment makes Bob weak and frail, but he is able to still keep functioning.

Bob has always loved country music, so I decided to do classic country music as a form of dedication. He loves the music and sings along with it.

Bob’s first fall gobbler. I was honored to have called the bird in to range.

The song selection features country songs performed by the likes of: Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash; Ray price; Charley Pride; Eddy Arnold; Mel Tillis and others.

All the instruments involved in this CD along with vocals and harmony vocals were completed by myself. You’ll hear the sounds of acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, mandolins, keyboards, strings, drums, trumpets and piano. The songs have anywhere from eight to twelve individual tracks combined into one song, so it is easily to see a lot of time is involved with the making of a CD.

Those interested with obtaining a CD can get one with a ten-dollar donation to pick up. Add another five dollars if to mail. My address is: 481 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA 16201.

Very recently I decided to paint a Cardinal. I sketched the image on a gessoed panel I had leaning against a wall. A short break when I began slapping the paint. The idea of including Dogwood blossoms came as an afterthought.

I have included a few “progress” photos.

The sketch on a prepared panel.

Two hours in the “slapping paint” process.

Red Squirrel

Sycamore Tree

Deer feeding

Bobber in tree…last year?

The last month has had a share of cold weather. Temperatures have been cold and very recently those temps have dropped into the single digits and even below zero. Strong winds have been the norm very often further increasing the cold weather into a Big Freeze!

Today the single digit numbers quickly moved into the twenty degrees and at 22 degrees I decided to head off for a walk. To further add to the comfort the winds were ceased.

Many deer tracks

Armed with my camera, I began the hike to see what wildlife I would see and what other wintry things I would observe. Deer tracks were everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The snow depth of nine or ten inches and the cold had forced the deer to move a lot searching for food. Interestingly I would only see a few deer throughout my travels.

Much of the water was frozen over with the exceptions of the faster moving water. Here I watched for Bald Eagles and various species of waterfowl. The species I witnessed this day are as follows: Canada geese, mallards, Black Ducks; Common Mergansers and the Redhead Duck. I do not see many Redhead Ducks in my area.

Female Common Merganser

Redhead Duck

Canada Goose tracks

Of course, I saw a lot of small bird life. I saw six or more Eastern Bluebirds. One female allowed for a few photos. The males were not as easy to approach close. the few that did always seemed to be among brush thus not allowing a good pic.

Eastern Bluebird (Female)
Screech owl and Chickadees

Very recently I received a copy of the Conservation Lantern. I was very surprised to see an acrylic painting of mine called, “Screech Owl and Chickadees”. The Conservation Lantern is a seasonal publication from the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen Clubs and Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation. The website is: http://www.pfsc.org.

Earlier this year they used a Bald Eagle painting on their cover.

Leftover Deer

Red-tailed Hawk

I have a tradition from many years of supplying the local wildlife at the house with some grub. I take the ribcages from my harvested deer and place within tree limbs. I stand in amazement just how quickly the backyard wildlife takes advantage of this fresh supply of meat.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Yesterday, I harvested a deer. early this morning at dawn I carried the ribcage to the back yard. Within several minutes I began hearing crows in the trees announcing breakfast. However, before long a Red-shouldered Hawk was photographed upon the carcass. Later the crows began devouring. I spent time in Butler and upon arriving home a Red-tailed Hawk was eating his fill.

I have seen a Cooper’s Hawk several times after birds at the feeder.

Many species of small birds enjoy eating from this food source over the winter.

A Christmas Open House was celebrated at the Armstrong County Historical Museum and Genealogical Society on November 28. The old building looked good with the various Christmas decorations.

Members of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Living History family worked hard to decorate and allow all of the visitors to feel the season in a Victorian-style. The men and ladies of the group were dressed in period Civil War era clothing.

Cookies and drink were free to those in attendance.

Many visitors arrived to see the museum and what is offered to observe.

the museum is located at: 300 North McKean Street in Kittanning, Pennsylvania.

Success on a Snowy Day

November 29, 2021 was the third day of Pennsylvania’s annual deer season. I had hunted the first day but only saw five doe. I often hunt only for buck deer on the first day. This year was no different. I didn’t hunt the second day.

This third morning was a beautiful time afield spreading peace and solitude all over. The heavy snow on a calm morning made for a great stress relief. With so much going on I sure utilized the mood.

I sat for a time before beginning to sneak around searching for a deer. This day I had decided if I had an opportunity on a nice size doe I would harvest some meat. As I ventured slowly around, I would see a number of deer feeding or bedded. Some were small and others were not satisfactorily identified.

I came close to a posted border line where I could see across a hollow. The landowner had timbered his property allowing for this opening through the woods. I could see a nice-size deer and I immediately felt the deer was a buck. I scoped the deer and just before he walked among some thicker brush, I could see a decent rack of antlers.

I could not go after this deer because of the posted property, but I knew from experience the deer on that side of the hollow sometimes work down slope and come across the hollow. If it worked, I could possibly see this deer on the property I was hunting. However, this could take an hour or so.

I turned to work my plan when I saw a deer about forty-five yards or so. I scoped and didn’t see any antlers and I could tell by the head the deer was not this year’s fawn. I shot!

The deer took off and I knew I couldn’t have missed so I quickly took up the trail. After about thirty yards I noticed blood. The trail increased until I found the downed deer. It had short “horns” and judging that fact and the size I knew this would have been last year’s deer. Both antlers looked as if they had been broken off about inch above the hair line of the skull.

The drag would be somewhere close to a half a mile. I took my time and rested often. I am not as young as I used to be so I decided taking some time would be the best way to do this task.

Turkey scatchings.

A white dusting appeared over the landscape overnight. The snow was from the lake-effect winds over the Lake Erie. There was enough to help see better, but not enough to track any game.

I visited a property I had last been at, possibly, ten years ago. There had been changes. Much clear cutting was observed and rather recent. This will be a nightmare to maneuver in a couple of years as the brush covers the land.

As I walked in, I began to hear shouts on the next hill. Bear hunters were beginning to put on a bear drive. I decided to move away from their hunt and moved in a northerly direction. I soon remembered I had not been in this direction before so my venture would be an exploratory jaunt.

I still hunted up a hollow hoping to see a black beauty coming into the woods from a night of foraging in the cornfields. No such luck! t wouldn’t be long until I was exploring more than hunting.

A dusting of snow.

I walked upon about six ringneck pheasants. I would see a couple of squirrels and that would be it. Very weird is the fact that this morning and yesterday’s morning were void of deer sightings. It is extremely rare to not see any deer.

As the snow melted with direct sunlight, I reached the northern-most end of these lands and returned south via a different route. I told my wife I was only going to hunt about half-a-day because I needed to accomplish some things prior to Thanksgiving. Family would be coming to indulge at our place.

My venture this morning taught more about these lands for future bear seasons.

Male pheasant close-up.

There were some moments this morning (November 22) when I wasn’t sure if I would be heading out for the woods. Let’s just say I had some intestinal issues. However, I was not very late to meet the morning.

The area I planned to sneak around is one of familiarity. I have hunted this steep ridge a number of times over the years. It seems very “beary.” However, I have yet to see a bear at this area. The distance from where I parked to where the hillside ends may be around two miles. The northern steep slopes yield to Hemlock trees and Rhododendron. There are big diameter trees uprooted all around. the downed trees bring down other trees making for tree tops all about. This is good bear habitat, but moving about at my age can be demanding. I need to be very careful I don’t fall.

I walked very old remnants of logging roads whenever I can, but there are many logs across these roads.

This morning would see an increase in wind speeds and I became chilled at times. I was surprised to not see a single deer this morning although plenty of deer sign was visible. I walked upon a flock of, at least, fifteen to eighteen turkeys and managed a few quick photos. I saw a few squirrels, too. I heard and saw a flock of swans.

On the return trip towards the jeep, I walked above and below the way I transversed earlier, but I never saw a bear. I was hopeful. I heard a few shots north of my position, but, possibly, two miles away. later I heard some bear driving hollers, but no shot came about their efforts.

I returned to the jeep a little after noon and prepared to drive to another site until I realized I was tired and having some knee discomfort. I drove past another potential site and saw a much too open woodlands for good bear habitat. I elected to go home.

Puffballs