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Walking For Morels

Bear claw marks on a Beech Tree

I wandered out this morning to search for some morels despite the light rain. Lucky for me, the rain had died down to a very light rain, maybe more like a drizzle. My travels were to check on some certain areas that have produce some of the tasty morels in past years. I didn’t find any at all, maybe the weather conditions just haven’t been the best. TO be honest I was checking on turkey sign as well. Around eleven-thirty I started to hear some gobbling across a hollow. Later I would see 5-6 birds intermingling in the woods.

Antler shed

I found some things of interest this morning. I noticed some digging activity as a tree’s base. A Raccoon skull was among the dig.  I wondered just how the ‘coon died and I will never know the answer to that question.

As I watched the ground for morels I discovered a deer antler shed. the antler wasn’t very big, but still an interesting find.

Another sighting was a bed dug out between several trees. The bowl was around eighteen inches deep and  thirty-something inches across. the only thought for me was a bear may have made this place to spend some sleep time. A few hundred yards farther along I walked upon a Beech tree with

American Chestnut snags

some bear claw markings. The markings weren’t fresh.

I always have to check a flat at this area. When I was a little boy my father, Allen Smail, showed me a number of snags of the American Chestnut. the blight of the early nineteen hundred decimated them, however, these trees grow fifteen or more feet before succumbing to the blight. A lot of years have gone by since my dad first pointed out these trees and they still try to survive. Hopefully, someday they will make it to maturity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“coon skull

 

Canada Goose

 

False Hellebore

 

Twenty-Five Years

Laurie among Trilliums

Twenty-five years ago on April 22, 1995, a milestone occurred. Lauranne (Laurie) and myself were married. This wedding happened in my back-yard gazebo. It is difficult to believe that many years have drifted along.

Last summer I began planning to go on a cruise for this silver anniversary. Laurie enjoys cruises and I thought doing such an event would be a great way to celebrate our twenty-five years.

Blue Phlox

Unfortunately, things happened in our lives . My step-father developed cancer which he is still struggling with. My mother turned ninety last December and recently suffered a mini-stroke. My sister went through difficult times leading to a divorce. Doctor appointments became quite prevalent over these months.

Laurie and I discussed the cruise plans and we decided to not plan for such a trip not knowing how Bob would be in the coming months. The trip was scheduled in mid-March. What, also, happened around this time? A virus began disrupting just about everything. We would have been on that trip when all this “hell” broke out to disrupt our lives. So, I guess our decision was a god one considering all that has happened.

Wednesday was the anniversary and no special plans occurred between us. No flowers, no jewelry, no trip, no fancy restaurant. However, we made other plans

Huge rock

that were satisfactory  for both of us. We decided to go on a hike and Laurie wanted to make a meal and dessert. We hiked the Rock Furnace Trail in southern Armstrong County and, later went for a drive over back roads to see whatever we could see.

The trail moves along Roaring Run. We enjoyed our time together. Trilliums were in bloom everywhere. The stream is beauty to behold.

 

On the way home we stopped to view an ancestor’s gravesite. His name was henry Blystone. He was my great-grandfather’s brother and fought under General Sherman during the Civil War.

 

 

 

Roaring Run

 

Trying to figure out her phone.

 

White Trillium

 

 

 

 

 

An Unusal Fine

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

No Morels.

Purple Trillium

I wasn’t sure if I would find any morels or not, but rain was coming and I decided to head to the woods hoping to come across some tasty morels. The place I was planning to check is mixture of mature oaks, beech, wild cherry and poplars. The forest floor wasn’t very thick with leaf litter for I could see bare ground here and there. The mayapples are up as well as, many wildflowers. but no morels.

   Although I didn’t find any mushrooms I still enjoyed being out. I saw a ring-necked Pheasant and turkeys in three different spots.

Steep country

One area of this country has a very deep hollow loaded with wildflowers and leek. (ramps) As my friends know, I enjoy watching the yearly seasons change with the wildflower growth. I remember one time many moons ago when my dad and I were hunting for morel mushrooms. I carried a little tablet and made colored illustrations of the flowers. I wonder if that little tablet is still around mom’s attic. Hmmm. may need to look around for it would make for a good laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Leek (ramps)

 

Rue Anemone

 

White Trillium

 

 

 

Cut-leaf Toothwort

 

 

Although the temperatures were below freezing this morning, Laurie agreed to go for a walk.  I was surprised!

We walked about seeing what we could see during the morning jaunt. We didn’t hear any gobbling, but ended up seeing turkeys at three areas.  We, also, saw five deer.

  The previous day I had work to do at my homestead. A Blue Spruce tree had fallen and actually landed on my mother’s home. My cousin cut it up. My job this morning was to drag all the limbs and burn. I spent about four hours cutting the limbs down to size so I could easier maintain the fire for  control. I still have to return tomorrow and try to finish the job.

I managed a short walk below the home to find where Beavers have been busy. I was elated to see Beavers on Rupp Run for in my life I have never seen any beavers in the area.

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Ginger

 

Dutchman’s Breeches

 

Recent jobs From Around the House In Landscaping

 

 

Beautiful Pennsylvania

Saturday, April15th, I found myself walking some familiar landscape on State game Lands 105. My hopes were to find some morels…maybe hear some gobbling and see a bear. I failed on all three hopes this morning, but the hiking time was enjoyable. However, I did walk upon a gobbler with his two hens. the only photo I managed to get was a turkey’s back dropping over a slight drop in the terrain. Wildlife seemed scare this morning and that happens. The only mammal I saw was a rabbit.

I didn’t look extremely well for Morels only looking whenever I came upon a place that looked, “mushroomie.”  I found several other species. One, I   believe, is called Red Elf Cap or something similaer. Two others I am not sure enough to type in.

Later, I discovered a Beaver dam. I love exploring such dams. those mammals intrigue me with their instinctive building skills.

 

Beaver Dam

 

 

Juneberry or Serviceberry blossoms

Bloodroot

 

Daniel’s 490 Year Prophecy Study (Chapter 9)

By Larry A. Smail

Much confusion surfaces upon listening to and/or reading about Daniel’s prophecy pertaining to the 490 years of Israel until their Messiah comes. I must confess I have spent much time on the subject attempting to grasp exactly what was to happen and what will be happening. Sadly, few have ever heard of this prophecy.

When I began dissecting this prophecy some time ago I began observing that some events didn’t seem to “add up.” Many Bible prophecy teachers will state the Persian, King Cyrus was the king in place when Daniel’s prophecy began to come true. I, too, took the position assuming the scholars were correct after all these people would seem to be “in the know.” Assuming things at any time can lead to wrong conclusions. Unfortunately, as we shall see, some dates of events are not known, but are close. Also, we usually become programmed to believe what we are taught, hear or read without question. Remember the Jews were in captivity at this time and Jerusalem had been destroyed. (See below.)

Why 490 Years?

In brief, the Hebrews failed to obey God on his command for a land Sabbath each seventh year. (See Leviticus 25 and 26.) Prophets warned of future enslavement to Gentile countries. Seventy land Sabbaths were ignored over a 490 year time frame or seventy sevens. The Jews went into captivity for seventy years to make up for those lost Sabbaths. The Lord then gave the seventy sevens prophecy through Gabriel to Daniel ending with the coming of the Messiah and kingdom. (The 490 year prophecy was to answer for these and other sins of the Hebrew people.)

DANIEL 9: 24-26

24: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon the holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26: And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself… (More later from verse 26.)

Upon studying in history books I noticed King Cyrus’ reign was 559 B.C. to 529 B.C. The confusion comes from when the king offered an edict, commandment, or decree, to allow the Jews, captured in 586 B.C.-587 B.C under King Nebuchadnezzar, to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. (Ezra 5:13) This is the decree many prophecy teachers use to begin Daniel’s 490 year prophecy. (Seventy weeks) However, upon doing any math the numbers WILL NOT ADD UP. Daniel’s prophecy of the 490 years includes 483 years to when Messiah will be cut off. Neither the 490 nor the 483 number can be used in this prophecy with any date during Cyrus’ reign. The end of his reign was at 529 B.C. That date is already over the 490 years as told by Daniel. The decree was made during the king’s first year of power, or 559 B.C. Some have tried to use “break or gap” theories to make it all work in regards with King Cyrus or attempts to juggle the numbers.

The Words do Matter! Read them carefully!

Cyrus, indeed, gave the Jews permission through a decree to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple, however, the Jews met with many obstacles so their dream under Cyrus did not come to fruition. They met with hostility from surrounding neighbors. Drought and famine affected the work and the dream faltered. So, why do so many prophecy scholars use Cyrus’ decree as the starting point? Like I said the words matter! We will see this fact shortly.

I spent much time figuring on the math scenarios. I read and reread Daniel’s prophecy of Daniel 9: 24-26 attempting to unravel this mystery to me. One day I went back to the beginning of the chapter and there it was! The answer! Daniel 9:1-2 states, “In the first year of Darius….” I do not need to add any more information here. A little later on in this same chapter Daniel received the 490 year prophecy. He received this prophecy under King Darius whose reign was 522 B.C. to 486 B.C. Daniel received this prophecy during this king’s first year in power! That year was 522 B.C.! Now we are getting closer to determining facts of the prophecy. The Cyrus decree is completely ruled out as the starting point of this prophecy. BUT… the 522 B.C. date is still over the 490 years prophecy by 32 years. So neither Daniel’s 490 year prophecy, nor the 483 year prophecy until Messiah is cut off can fall into this time frame. More work is needed from history.

Darius discovered in the archives the decree of Cyrus once he was informed of it. He, also, allowed the Jews to go back to Jerusalem to work on the temple. The Jews had already ceased working there by his reign. The temple was completed under Darius. However, under history, the Jews ceased work after the temple was complete. The city of Jerusalem was not restored at this time. This is important! Now, we need to read Daniel’s prophecy again. The answer is again there! Studiers need to watch the words very closely.

Daniel 9: 25 states, “from the going forth of the commandment to RESTORE AND BUILD JERUSALEM…” Those bold words are so important to the prophecy. Do you see it? The words are “RESTORE AND BUILD JERUSALEM.” Remember, the temple was finished under Darius’ rule. As of this time only the edict to rebuild the temple was decreed. Daniel’s prophecy begins when the decree is ordered to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and not rebuild the temple! Notice the difference! This didn’t happen under Darius.

More years pass and Artaxerxes is the ruler. The existence in Judah had been a discouraging venture. The stress of the physical and political hardships and including the lack of morals within the Jews religious zest weakened the construction to nil. Ezra was one of the men of prominence during this time in Jewish history, as well as, Nehemiah.

Nehemiah 2 states that during Artaxerxes’ twentieth year of reign, Nehemiah approached Artaxerxes about Jerusalem. The king granted Nehemiah permission to return and RESTORE JERUSALEM! There is the first half of Daniel’s 9:25 prophecy. Nehemiah went to rebuild the wall and obtain security to restore Jerusalem. Nehemiah returned into place the Jewish priesthood and Mosaic Law back to the forefront. The Levites would return as priests in the temple along with the resurgence of the Jewish Holy days and weekly Sabbaths. (The Tribe of Levi would be the priests as per Mosaic Law during the early Israelite nation.) Ezra had a big part in this reestablishment of Mosaic Law into the Jewish populace again. Now we are even closer to having the math add up. The 490 year prophecy has begun! There is still more to work on.

NOTE: An issue on the beginning date of Artaxerxes reign needs addressed. Artaxerxes began ruling jointly in 473 B.C. with Xerxes. This occurred to allow Xerxes royal line to continue upon his passing. Artaxerxes began sole-control in 465 B.C. The problem here is where to begin the count to determine Artaxerxes’ 20th year in power and his decree to restore Jerusalem. The ascension to joint leadership in 473 B.C. seems to work very well to account for the 483 years to the cross. Most Biblical scholars use the 465 B.C. date of sole-rule and thus begin the 20 year count in the year 445 B.C. I believe the earlier date is, most likely, the year to work with at this time. Additional notes for Tiberius rule will be addressed later on to help determine the above mentioned date.

Additional Clarity of Daniel’s 490/ 483 Year Prophecy.

The King James’ Version spells out the timing of the 490 year and the 483 year time frame well. Some translations may seem vague. Daniel 9: 24-27; states, 24: “Seventy weeks (490 years) are determined upon thy people (Daniel’s people were the Jews.) and upon thy holy city, (Jerusalem) to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, (The King and Kingdom) and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Christ) So, 490 years are prophesied to the Jews and Jerusalem to end the sins and iniquity until their Messiah and kingdom arrive to the nation. This is the everlasting kingdom prophesied by the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament.

25:“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; (This totals 483 years.) the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troubled times.” Once the decree is made to restore Jerusalem there will be 490 years until Messiah comes. (This will be at the Second Advent. The 49 years was to complete restoring Jerusalem.)

26:“And after threescore and two weeks (434 years or 434 + 49) shall Messiah be cut off. But not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary ;(Temple) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war of desolations are determined.” At the end of 483 years Messiah will be rejected and cut off.  The people of the prince that will come will destroy the city until the end of the war of desolations is complete. (Rome was the one to destroy Jerusalem and destroy the temple in 70 A.D., so we can safely realize of some form of the Roman Empire will be involved in the tribulation time.)

27:“And he (Antichrist, son of perdition) shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; (Seven years) and in the midst of the week (Three and a half years) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” This prince (Antichrist) will make a treaty for seven years and after three and a half years this man of sin will stop the Jews temple worship and the remainder of what has been prophesized will occur. These seven years are the tribulation period or the completion of the 490 years. (A form of the third temple will be erected at the time of this treaty. Israel has been planning this third temple.)

Two possible beginnings of the 490 year prophecy have now been discovered with Artaxerxes’ ascending to power, but we need to determine how the 483 years, as stated above, fits. As shown the prophecy stated that Messiah will be cut off and the timing of years equals 483 years. The common thought is to add the numbers up would be take the 453 years from Artaxerxes decree and add the thirty-three years of Christ’s time on earth. (The A.D. years.) This equals 486 years. However, if you add up the 445 years and add 33 years of Christ’s age the number is 478. Most prophecy scholars claim the cross is when Christ, the Messiah, was cut off and, indeed, the cross would seem logical to be the time Messiah was cut off with his death. Notice the numbers above do not add to 483 years as shown.

We need additional facts from history. The general thought process is Christ was born in the year 0 A.D. Those of the early “Roman church” times that did the calculation as to when Christ was born didn’t know the history apparently. (This dating method came about by a Roman abbot named Dionysius Exiguus the Little. This man was commissioned in 525 A.D. to determine the date of Easter by Pope John 1. He modified the Alexandrian System which was an Egyptian calendar reformed under Emperor Augustus. Exiguus used existing Roman calculations using the year 754 A.U.C. (A.U.C. is a Latin abbreviation meaning from the founding of the city of Rome.) or YOR (Years of Rome). His dating method was adopted by “Christian” countries. This system is known as the Gregorian System.)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: In 313 A.D. Emperor Constantine issued a decree of religious tolerance and it became fashionable to be labeled a Christian. This decree was called the Edict of Milan. Christianity would become the state religion of the Roman Empire. Are you getting scared yet? Pagans of this time, now called Christians, brought their pagan traditions into this State Church and subverted it. December 25th was made into the Christmas holiday and coincided with the Roman heathen festival of Saturnalia. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 said there would be a great apostasy (Or falling away) before the man of lawlessness is revealed. It is easy to see this apostasy began very early in the church and has carried through unto this very time. So, by these very early years Paul’s gospel had been subverted in many ways. Many prophecy scholars claim the apostasy mentioned is to occur just prior to the final seven years. Upon studying the history of “Christianity” it is easy to see the continual eroding from the Christianity as preached by Paul. You should be scared by now! This “state church” was the reason the “separation of church and state” became an issue hundreds of years ago. That is another study.

King Herod the Great died in 4 B.C. from history. That fact alone means little, but read the account of Christ’s birth in Matthew 2. King Herod upon hearing of the King of Israel being born in Bethlehem acted upon the knowledge. He mandated all male babies from two years and younger be killed. Herod didn’t want any new Israeli King interfering with his power. KING HEROD WAS ALIVE WHEN JESUS WAS BORN YET HE DIED IN 4 B.C.!!! This is important!

NOTE: Historically, Tiberius Caesar came to power in 12 A.D. as a co-ruler with Augustus Caesar. He became sole-ruler in 14 A.D. Luke 3:1 and 23 states Christ was “about” thirty years old with Tiberius’ 15th year of power or 26 A.D from history. Subtract thirty years from 26 A.D. and you’ll get 4 B.C. This number is by using the 12 A.D. date of ascension to power. Fourteen A.D. will not work with 4 B.C. With this in mind it seems logical to use the early year of 473 B.C. to begin Artaxerxes rule.

With Herod’s death of 4 B.C. in mind, Jesus would have been born in 4 B.C. Christ would have been born in very early 4 B.C. for Herod died sometime afterwards in the same year just prior to Passover. Now there is, at least, a several year discrepancy using 0 A.D. as the date of Christ’s birth. Using this date of 4 B.C. would mean Christ’s life on earth after the 0 A.D. starting date would be 30 years depending on which month. (Thirty-three years minus four B.C. years equals twenty-nine or thirty. See the NOTE below on Jewish dating.) But now, adding up the 453 B.C. date of the decree and the 29 years adds up to only 482 years. Thirty years would equal 483 years.

NOTE: The Jewish system for their annual year cycle has their first month occurring in the time frame during our March-April months. I believe the cross actually occurred, most likely, in very early 30 A.D. The Jews used a lunar cycle to determine the beginning of the calendar year. This fact alone causes variables within the first day of their first month of Nisan.

I conclude the most probable time of the Messiah being cut off via prophecy would be using the cross at around 30 A.D. That would add up to the 483 years required for prophecy. However, if the term “cut off” means anything other than the death on the cross then we would need to add the date of Messiah being cut off as the timing of Stephen’s murder by stoning. The rejection at Stephen’s murder could, possibly, be a form of Messiah being cut off. Scripture goes into strong detail about Stephen’s murder so that fact must mean something of great importance.

Secondary Thought Using 445 B.C. as the Beginning of the 20th Year

Yes, Christ, most likely, died in very early 30 A.D., but very soon afterwards Israel was being preached to by the Apostles for the nation of Israel to believe and repent of their disbelief and the crucifying of their Messiah. Israel’s murder of Stephen turned everything around with Christ revealing the new dispensation or transition to Paul towards the Gentiles. Israel would be in a downward spiral. This murder of Stephen was the final rejection of Christ by Israel. The Jews could have had their Messiah until this rejection.

We can conclude Stephen’s death wasn’t long into Peter’s ministry years. I have read estimations of anywhere from one to three to five to seven years. Scripture does not tell us how many years after the cross Stephen’s murder took place. Dates I have seen are estimated from 30 A.D. to 36 A.D.

That Holy Spirit filled man’s murder was Israel’s FINAL REJECTION! In other words his death was the final rejection and the time could be thought as when Messiah was cut off from Israel! We know, scripturally that Saul was immediately introduced and he would quickly be converted and become Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles. (See Acts 7:58.) Israel was, now in a spiral towards the end! Israel would cease to exist in 70 A.D. Israel’s rejection of Christ being their Messiah had begun her decay! Israel would not believe!

NOTE: Now, by using the 445 B.C. date for the decree to restore Jerusalem and adding the twenty-nine to thirty years of Christ until the cross to 475 years. Add seven or eight years until Christ’s final rejection equals 483 YEARS. Any discrepancy here would be slight errors due to the variances of the dating systems. I do believe we, today, can determine with 99 percent accuracy as to what B.C. year the birth of Christ occurred. Errors would, probably, be within one month since we know his birth was prior to Herod’s 4 B.C. death. We know Herod died just prior to Passover of 4 B.C. Also, we can’t accurately determine the year of Stephen’s stoning. As stated above, I have seen a date varying from 30 to 36 A.D. Stephen’s stoning is a variable difficult to determine. Possibly, using a Jewish lunar calendar with accurate comparison with the Gregorian calendar along with other details we could pinpoint the date more accurately. Maybe, the exact date by Jewish calendar has recorded Christ’s death or Stephen’s murder. However, this calculation is very, very close. So, either date of the beginning of the 490 year prophecy can work out mathematically. I lean strongly to the earlier date of 453 as the twentieth year of Artaxerxes reign and thus the decree to rebuild Jerusalem.

We must remember if Peter, James and John… could have succeeded to have all of the house of Israel (See Acts 2: 36.) repent of their unbelief leading to Christ’s death on the cross by believing Christ was their Promised One, the Lord would have returned when he ushered in the kingdom following the prophesized seven years of Jacob’s troubles. (Tribulation, Great tribulation…) That equals to the 490 years! (483+7) The apostles believed those seven years would be in their lifetimes. They expected to see Christ’s return. Paul believed he would see Christ’s return, as well. (Many of the New Testament writers were witnessing an increase of trouble brewing thus believing the time of Jacob’s Trouble was just ahead.)

Final Seven Years

Jesus in Acts 1 told his disciples it was not for them to know when the kingdom would come into existence. That timing of the kingdom would be partially in their hands. As stated, if Israel and the Jews would have believed Jesus was their Promised One and repented of their unbelief leading to the cross they could have had their kingdom in short order. (After the prophesied seven years.) However, the Nation of Israel rejected and Christ used Paul to take the Gospel of Grace to the Gentiles without Israel. Also, the Lord has not forgotten his promises to Israel. Israel will be involved in the future plans.

We still have seven years remaining of Daniel’s 490 years to complete the prophecy. Those years are mentioned in Daniel 9: 24 and 27. At the completion of those seven years Messiah will return with his Kingdom. Israel will be completely restored to its former kingdom glory. Peace will be realized by all. Christ alluded to this seventh year and the pause prior to this fulfillment with his words in Luke 4: 16-20 of Isaiah 61: 2. (At the time of this study, Jerusalem is being called the capital of Israel again. This will prove to be important in the fulfillment of prophecy.)

As often discussed in our other studies, Israel would cease to be a nation in 70 A.D. BUT, in 1948 Israel became a nation again. This reforming of the nation of Israel had to happen for prophecy to continue. Israel regained Jerusalem in 1967. Today Jerusalem is being called the capital again. Exciting times!

This has happened!

Sometime soon, the seven years left in the 490 year prophecy of Daniel will begin. Those seven years will be a terrible time for Israel and the world. However, at the end of those seven years the Second Advent will be reality!

The Kingdom with Christ reigning will be reality!