Monday, December 30, 2013

Week…23 (?)

It’s been almost two weeks since I last posted anything here. That’s partly due to this being a slow time of year and partly due to laziness. Oh…we’ve been doing stuff, but it’s been mostly dull routine stuff.

After nearly two weeks of operation, the water from the new well has cleared up and there’s no color—red or gray—when it goes through the filter. Having gone through several cycles of filling the cistern, even the water in the 500 gallon tank is clearing up. Guess there’s some truth to the saying: “Dilution IS the solution to pollution.” (I’m fully aware that that is NOT what the saying is, but in this case it works!)
Finally we can wash clothes and dishes, shower, flush...all things we took for granted but which became a constant worry when the old well was misbehaving. 


Terry and I drove into New Jersey to celebrate Christmas Eve with my sister and her family. Unfortunately my Grand-niece, Sami, came down with chicken pox the day before so she and her dad had to stay home. My other Grand-niece, Emilee, was there, but being just a few months old, seemed totally unimpressed with the goings on. Still, it was nice to visit with family.

We stayed that night at Mom’s house in Linden and cleaned a few more items out of the garage and cupboards. There’s very little left that we need to remove before we close on the sale of the house.

We had no Christmas Tree at the Aerie this year. We were afraid of what the cats might do. One or two of them tend to chew on and eat any greenery in the house. And then throw up. We've got too many ornaments to allow the furry ones to dictate our deisre for a little holiday decoration, however. Besides, we need the extra Christmas Cheer a tree will instill. The sun just arrives too late in the morning--when it arrives at all.


Speaking of removal…A crew was hard at work today removing the old oil tank buried in the front yards. They discovered there was a small hole in that tank and, despite having been drained and filled with sand nearly 10 years ago, there was some soil contamination. Exactly how much will be determined as they work to clean it up. Hopefully, there isn’t much and they will be done in a day or two. We already have a contract on the house and the closing should take place before Presidents' Day.


We had that eight inch snowfall two weeks ago but that was followed by heavy rains and near 60 degrees so that by the following Monday (one week ago) all the snow was gone. Aah, but that was merely a temporary condition. Since then we’ve had two smaller, two inch snowfalls sandwiched around a couple of days of 40 degrees. Things are looking much colder later this week with lows in the negative area possible on Friday.
One of the most dispiriting things this time of year is to stand on the deck and look at the gardens and realize that I can do nothing until at least April 15th when the soil is no longer covered by snow and has thawed sufficiently to make working it possible.

So far, we've only had the usual crew of winter birds coming to the feeders. Goldfinches, chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays, juncoes...the usuals. One day we did have some purple finches but just one day. With the weather, the well, and dealing with Mom's home in New Jersey, I've not gotten out to do any birding in the field. That will be changing. Our Audubon chapter will be doing its Christmas Bird Count on January 1st. One of my New Year's Resolutions will be to spend at least five hours at least once a week out in the field bird watching. Another will be to regularly keep a check list of the birds I see on every outing and a running tally throughout the year. With the improvement of my knees, I want to take full advantage of them.

As the title of this post indicates, my knees are now 23 weeks old. They couldn’t feel better. Still a little pain going down the stairs, but they are feeling just fine. I need to remind myself to exercise more often but more importantly do stretching exercises daily.
I hope your Christmas was a Joyous one and that the New Year brings you Happiness and Joy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It's Done: The Well That Is.

The guys showed up at the Aerie early this morning and did all the work necessary to connect the new well to the old pipe, dropped the new pump (and pipe and electric wires) down the new well, back filled the trench and then packed up and left just before 4 PM.

Now comes the period of slowly purging the well and then refilling the cistern. On the guys' advice, I'm running the pump for 10 minutes every hour or so. At first the water was really red but it's getting better. By tomorrow morning...after it's been sitting overnight...things should be even better.

Some particulars about the well:

  • They drilled down 320 feet.
  • The pump is five feet above the bottom.
  • The static level of the water (the top of the column when it's not being drawn down) is 80 feet below the surface. (That leaves a column of water in the well that's 235 feet tall.)
  • Each foot of that column amounts to 1-1/2 gallons of water for a total of 345-350 gallons.
  • The pump can pump 5 gallons a minute.
  • The well recharges at a rate of 3 gallons a minute.

Although it would take quite some time, I could draw the well down to nothing since the recharge rate is slower than the pump. But that would be BAD. As it is, drawing too miuch water at one time would really stir things up and produce huge amounts of sediments. Hence the ten minute run time that I'm using. Once things are purged and the cistern is filled, there's a float switch in the cistern. It will come on when the water level drops a certain amount, the pump comes on and fills the cistern to an upper level and then shuts off. There's about an six or seven inch difference between the two positions. Each inch represents five minutes of run time and about 25 gallons of water. Therefore, six inches of water would be 150 gallons of water. That's about half of the supply in the well and drawing down that much at one time shouldn't be a problem.

Even so, I'm going to be looking into rain barrels this spring. The garden will need watering!

Meanwwhile, the excavation really made a mess! Sure, it's at the end of the driveway and not the middle, but there will be a need to remove some of the rocks that were brought up to the surface. Then, after Mother Nature has tamped it down with her frost heaving, the earth will have to be leveled. Luckily, there's still room for the Aveo and Jeep to be parked next to the house and not out front with the Tundra and RV.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Well Progress

Today began with snow squalls and an abundance of wind. With the temperature in the teens, most of that snow drifted off the deck and some off the roof to create an 8" drift in front of the garage doors. Around 10 AM I went out and shoveled that and the stuff over by the wells--new and old--in preparation for the drillers' return to install the pump.

This whole thing is dragging on a bit longer than I expected but a lot of that has to do with the weather. It's difficult to work with water when the temps are in the teens--or lower. They couldn't even get the rig running on what was projected to be day one (Wednesday). And on the next day (Thursday), they couldn't keep the water hoses from freezing during the initial drilling. They only managed 30 feet that day and not the 200 they hoped for. They finally punched down deep enough for ground water to keep the drill bit cooled and they quickly went down to 320-340 feet which is where it stands. Monday they came back and drew up the drill, packed their gear and drove the rig out.

I didn't really expect them to show today because of the weather, but a guy did show up just after noon with a small backhoe. He was here to dig a trench between the two well heads for the pipe needed to connect the two. The trench he dug is about 40" deep so as to be below the frost line and runs about 40 inches between the two well heads. It doesn't sound like much, but with all the shale, he was here for three hours. And left one heck of a mess! But a necessary mess.

With the weather improving over the next two days (40s? Seriously?), I'm sure that the crew will be here tomorrow morning to drop the pump and pipeline into the new well and connect it to the old line coming into the house.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 21: Feelin' Good!

The knees are now 21 weeks old (four months actually) and are feeling pretty good. Stairs continue to be a problem but it's getting easier to go up and down. Walking on flat surfaces and even rough terrain and slippery slopes presents no difficulty. Looking forward to the day I won't think about going up and down the steps.


The well drillers worked hard on Friday and punched down to a depth of 320-340 feet. They were disappointed that the recharge rate was only 3 gallons per minute, but that's still a gallon per minute higher than we have in the current shallow (132 feet) well.

Today they pulled the bit and packed up the drill rig. Tomorrow (weather permitting) they'll install the pump. Hopefully we'll have water running later this week.


Saturday's storm produced 8 inches of light, fluffy snow. Sunday, Terry cleared the deck and the area in front of the front door. I used the tractor to clear the driveway. With the need to scoop and dump with the bucket loader, it took me close to three hours of driving around. Then another hour was needed to brush the snow off the roofs of the Tundra, Jeep and Aveo and shovel the snow that was too close to the vehicles and RV to use the tractor. A long morning!


Additional snow is forecast from several quick moving fronts this week. "They" say we'll have 2-5 inches from them--even as "they" are saying the temperatures will be in the 40s this weekend. We're likely to be having a white Christmas this year. And a Ground Hog Day (February 2nd), Valentine's Day (February 14th), Presidents' Day (February 17th), Saint Patrick's Day (March 17th) and maybe even Easter (April 20th). Global warming my a$$!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Drilling [UPDATED]

So. Yesterday the well drillers were supposed to start on our new well. They sent a crew out with a dump truck and spread cinders all over our driveway and up to the site of the well, lost a nut that held the broadcast spreader on the back of the truck and left.

No one else showed up so I called after lunch to find out what was going on. They couldn't get their rig started in the cold weather. (It was 9 degrees on Wednesday morning.) They were hoping to get to us on Thursday.

Thursday morning we had 7 degrees on the deck so I didn't have too much hope for them showing up. But they did. They pulled in at 8 AM and, after a little shuffling about of vehicles (and sending Terry and her Jeep off to Curves), they were able to get the drilling rig into the site and started setting up.

Drilling has been slow, however, as their water hoses keep freezing up on them. (It's gotten all the way up to 15 degrees.) And drilling without water to keep the bit cool is not a good way to extend the life of your bit. If they can get down to a point where ground water starts to seep in then they won't have to worry about hoses.

The "plan" was to get down to around 200 feet today but the temperatures may have put a damper on that. The average well in the area goes down 350-400 feet. We shall see.Whatever gets done--and whenever it gets done--there will be one heck of a mess int he driveway from the tailings to the overflow water. With luck, much of the worst of it will be in the small patch of woods between the well site and the driveway.


The forecast for the weekend calls for 4 to 8 inches of snow starting after midnight on Friday through noon on Sunday. It will be getting warmer though. Highs are to be in the mid to upper 20s.



The guys called it a day around 4 PM. They didn't get very deep; just 30-35 feet. The water hoses kept freezing up. They will be back tomorrow and say that they'll get much, much deeper tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Eighth Day of Hunting Season
or, as we call it, Tuesday

No hunting this day. And probably not Wednesday or Thursday either.

This morning's temperature was in the low 20s and it never got above 32 here at the Aerie. We also got snow for a good part of the morning but it didn't accumulate much; just a half inch of light powder. A steady breeze in the 10 to 15 mph range blew out of the north-northwest all day.

After running down to the post office and WalMart with Terry at 1 PM, I spent the rest of the afternoon clearing a couple of stacks of fire wood that would be in the area where the well drillers will be working tomorrow. They weren't big piles, only amounting to about 1/4 cord each, but it had to be moved by wheelbarrow over a slippery, snow covered slope. At least it got moved DOWN the slope and not UP.

Then late in the afternoon I had to take Terry down to retrieve her Jeep Compass. It had an electric short that was causing all the warning lights to come on at random intervals. The trouble started when she left Texas heading west back in October. She thought she had it taken care of by a Jeep dealership in Anaheim, but the problem started again as she was heading east.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Week 20: Knees vs Stairs
Not Hunting

While I still haven't gotten to the point where I feel no pain, things are steadily improving. So far the stairs are the only sore spot in my recovery. Especially going down stairs. Walking on rough terrain or smooth surfaces like parking lots or WalMart, produces little or no pain or difficulties.

Stairs are a differnt animal. Going up yields some discomfort in the left knee. Going down is even worse. If I do some work nthe stationary bike it loosens things up a little more and the pain is less. IF I were to do my exercises, I'm sure things would be even better.

I've been something of a slacker the last few weeks. All the round trips into New Jersey, the going up and down stairs at Mom's house as we cleaned things out, moving that same stuff up and down stairs at the Aerie, going up and down the hill to hunt, etc. provided plenty of exercise...I thought. I'll have to get back to a daily routine of stretches and exercises.


Joe, from Andrews Well Drilling, showed up today to mark the site of our new well and get a signed contract. They'll be coming on Wednesday unstead of Tuesday. The company's owner died at age 79 on Friday after a lengthy bout with cancer.

This afternoon and part of tomorrow I'll be moving things around so they can get their drilling rig into the area. If things go with out a hitch, we should have clean water this weekend.


We got just a tiny bit of snow Sunday night capped by a crust of ice. The soft snow made cleaning off the windshield of the Tundra easy. Heck, even the driveway was easy to shovel. Early in the day we had some freezing fog that left a coating of ice on the upper portion of the trees around the Aerie and a glistening coating onthe goldenrod fields down the bottom of the hills. After I got the driveway shoveled, the TOAD trailer (the one that hauls the Aveo behind the RV) moved, and Terry to move the Aveo out of its winter parking spot, it started snowing. Terry was on the phone with a firend who lives jsut 10 miles away and she said she had blue skies. We never got those blue skies. THe best we got was a high temperature of 36 degrees.

Some snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow morning but there shouldn't be much. Overcast skies, snow flurries and dropping temperatures will be our lot this week. Should make well drilling interesting.

Seventh Day of Deer Season (?)

Or is it Eighth? PA doesn't permit hunting on Sunday so it's the Eighth day since the beginning but the Seventh legal hunting day. Let's call it the Seventh Hunting day.

No matter, I'll not be venturing forth today. It's 26 degrees and the wind is howling to judge by the trees. (It's actually relatively calm on the deck, but up above...ooohh boy!) I've a few things to do before the guys come to drill a new well tomorrow so I believe I'll be staying around the house today and probably until the drilling is finished later this week.

I enjoyed seeing all the snow that was falling in Philly (and Baltimore and Pittsburgh) during yesterday's football game but wondered if we were due some of the same. Nope! All we got was a half inch or less. This despite the warnings of 2-4 inches. Didn't even get the freezing rain they forecast to cap the snow off as it stayed too cold.

BTW, there are fresh areas of the lawn that have been scraped up so as to reach the grass. *sigh*

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Sixth Day of Deer Season

They were (mostly) wrong. We only got about 1 inch of snow/sleet over night. It was much colder this morning so they got that right. It was also a little windier on the hill since the wind now was out of the northwest and there's really nothing to protect me from that direction for miles and miles...maybe somewhere in Canada.

I went out anyway. Going up the hill in the dark was pretty easy as that little bit of snow really lit up the landscape. Flashlights were not needed even though it was overcast and no moon or stars could be seen. I was on stand by 6:40 AM--less than ten minutes after leaving the house. I took my seat and waited.

Some shots were fired from all directions around me between 6:45 and 9 AM but nothing really close to me. Dogs barked down the hill at something. Beech leaves rattled and spilled snow in the wind. A tiny shrew scurried from under a seedling hemlock and dove into the leaves next to a small rotting log. Chickadees and titmice (and that workaholic downy woodpecker) moved through the woods. Otherwise, things were quiet. Very, very quiet. Still I sat and looked around me and took note of any sound. THings can happen quickly. Sometimes. The sun finally appeared through the breaking cloud cover around 11 AM. An hour later, I headed back to the Aerie.

I saw no deer. None. Zip. Zilch. And no tracks in the woods or along the upper driveway.

That's because the deer had been digging in the snow to get to the grass of the Aerie's lawn. Looking down from the deck, I could see several spots--areas 2-3 feet square--where at least one deer had pawed down to nibble on the grass. True, they could have been there in the dark before I went out. Or these could be New Jersey deer. You know, those that have learned to live in suburbs by bedding between houses during the day and coming out at night to eat your flowers (especially hostas and tulips!). After dinner tonight, I went out on the deck to get the bird feeders and a deer spooked from under the pine behind the garden--between the Aerie and the hunting camp down the hill. *sigh*

Friday, December 06, 2013

Fifth Day of Deer Season

It was raining when we got up (late) this morning. The cats let us sleep in until 7 AM! The drizzle gave me an excuse to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then run a few errands with Terry.

The rain ended early and by lunchtime, I was getting antsy. After all, you can't shoot a deer if you aren't out in the woods. So, I donned my gear and headed out intending to shoot a deer or stay until the wintery mix forecast for late afternoon showed up.

There was a light breeze blowing out of the north and the sky was overcast but there wasn't any precipitation until around 3 PM when a smattering of sleet started pinging on the leaves of the beech trees and bouncing off my clothing. It wasn't enough to make me quit and I sat until it started coming down harder around 4:15.

Like Sgt. Schultz, "I saw nothing." Just a few chickadees and a very industrious little downy woodpecker who must have gone up and down every tree in front of me--some of them more than once.

They are forecasting 2-4 inches of snow tonight. That could mean more movement tomorrow. Along with the ability to legally shoot antlerless deer starting tomorrow, which could mean a few more hunters in the field, might make getting up early and getting out there worthwhile.


Got the word that the well drillers will be here on Tuesday of next week. They're talking drilling a new well (not cheap!) rather than drilling the existing well deeper. While their company drilled the original, it was so long ago that the current folks have no memory beyond what's on the little 3" x 5" in their files.

It's going to take them at least two days to get the well drilled to 350-400 feet or so. That's going to put a dent in my hunting next week but having clean water would be worth it. As for that depth they hinted at, they drilled a new well across the street a year or so ago and that well went down about that far. Hopefully, they won't need to go that far.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Fourth Day of Deer Season

I took the Third Day of Deer Season off so as to be in the house when a representative of the well drilling company came by. We (again) explained our problem with really, really red water appearing at the end of a pumping cycle and discussed the probable need to either redrill the existing well to deepen it or drill a new, deeper well. Our current well, drilled long before we bought the property, is just 132 feet deep with just 24 feet of casing and a recharge rate of 2 gallons a minute--that's slow. Across the road, they've gone down almost 300 feet.

While we await word on when they can drill, we tried shortening the cord on the float switch so it would start and end the cycle a bit sooner. Didn't work. When we tried to fill the cistern later in the day, we got red clay near the end of the cycle which means it would still be in the pipe from the well when the next cycle started. We really, really need to get the well down deeper and keep the pump off the bottom a little further.

The guy who showed up was one who was here to install a new pump protector a couple of weeks ago. He was surprised to have been sent out to do what he was instructed because he knew I had tried all those solutions. He was also surprised that our 1 micron filters were still allowing clay material through. "Not much gets through those suckers!" Well, quite a bit gets through ours. This clay is extremely fine.


I did get out this morning, Day Four of the season. It was warm all night with the temperatures in the 40s so all the snow had disappeared. The ground was wet and walking made no noise at all. THere was a wind blowing from the southwest according to the clouds and windmills, but where I was sitting it was predominantly blowing TOWARD the southwest. This was because the wind coming over Armenia Mountain was drawing the air out of the valley. This was good as the ceiling down there was about 1500 feet while I was at 2200 feet and should have been IN the clouds but they were being lifted over the ridge leaving a little zone of higher visibility where I was. Still, the trees were gleaning moisture out of the air and there was a constant drip, drip, drip to go along with the shaking, rattling beech leaves. Those were the only sounds I heard as, once again, there was no shooting going on.

The forecast out of the Elmira-Corning airport was for rain to start around four o'clock and I intended to sit until it seemed to arrive.That turned out to be a little after 1 PM.

Still, I did manage to see a few deer. At 9 AM I had a single animal come down the logging road from the other side of the cove. When I lifted my rifle and looked through the scope, I immediately saw it was a young spike buck whose antlers were just 2-3 inches long and didn't even project beyond his ears. This made him one of the protected class--along with any antlerless deer--for this day. (PA requires a buck have at least three points on one side for it to be legal.) To rub this status in even further, he turned and came up the hill right toward me. I watched as he came closer and closer and those antlers didn't magically grow one bit. He stopped several times and presented my with broadside shots at 50, 30, 20, and 15 yards. He looked right at me a couple times and presented those little horns like they were his get-out-of-jail-free pass. And they were.

At 1 PM I saw several deer rush into the field to my right. They were a long ways away and through much brush so I couldn't tell what they were and I was sure they were going to cross the field and disappear. Suddenly one of them popped into the woods where the young buck had earlier. It  was a young antlerless deer and it kept looking back toward the field trying to figure out where the others had gone. I also wondered where the rest of them were as it stood there for several minutes before heading back toward the field. I saw it get to the field and then lost track of it.

That's when the rain seemed to be getting real so I packed up my gear and headed back to the Aerie. Instead of following the upper driveway back, I took a shorter route through the woods and intersected the logging road near the yard. As I got there, 10 deer suddenly took off running toward the road. I saw lots of bounding animals, white tails and no horns. Some of those deer looked like they should have had saddles on them. They were huge!.

The rain did continue for an hour or more before it stopped--for the time being. Tonight we'll get more rain and the temperatures will be falling. By tomorrow morning, they forecast, we will be getting snow again. They say we'll get 1-3 inches before it stops sometime in the afternoon. Could be a good day to go out but I won't rush it. Starting Saturday does are off the list of protected class. (The spike buck is still going to be protected, but if there are NO horns, it's fair game.)


BTW, going up and down the hill in wet, slick conditions was no real problem for my knees.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Second Day of Deer Season

The morning began foggy and stayed that way. With the temperature hovering between 32 and 36 degrees, snow and ice still on the ground, and absolutely no wind at all, we had lots and lots of ground fog. Visibility was reduced to about 50 yards or less and with the snow softening up, there was little to listen to until the taller trees began to glean moisture out of the air and drip, drip, drip was all you could hear.

The guns were silent too. Unlike yesterday, I heard just three evenly spaced shots from the same direction at around 9 AM. Those could have been a hunter, but the even spacing leads me to believe they were from someone who had 1) missed yesterday or 2) dropped his rifle and wanted to check the zero.

I saw nothing except a couple of grey squirrels today and they seemed to take pleasure in producing as much noise as they could as they passed behind me. How they got the snow to crunch as loudly as they did is beyond me.

I pulled up stakes at noon and returned to the Aerie moments before Terry got back from Curves and the post office. We spent the afternoon delivering some furniture to My Neighbor's Closet, taking a couple of vacuum cleaners over to Stony Fork to get repaired, and arranging to have our well examined/drilled/corrected. There was no fog down in the valley as we drove along Route 6 to Wellsboro none south of Wellsboro toward Stoney Fork--very little snow on the ground either, but it (fog and snow) was still hanging around the Aerie when we returned.

[The water from our well turns a muddy red clay near the end of the pumping cycle and definitely not suitable. The well is just 125 feet deep with 24 feet of casing. It's recharge rate is just 2 gallons per minute which is why we have a cistern to hold 500 gallons and provide all the water we need. It's when we refill the cistern we run into problems. The clay is able to pass through our 1 micron filter and turn the water in the tank an ugly shade of maroon. Lifting the pump, drilling deeper or a combination of the two may be needed. They're trying to tell me that increasing the time between cycles might work, but with red water already in the line at the end of one cycle, it will still be pumping red water at the beginning of the next no mater how long the delay. I think they want to go with the easier, cheaper fix but I want clearer water, damn it! Screw the cost! (That's easy to say because we didn't drill the well in the first place and have next to nothing invested in it at this point.)]

Otherwise, the day did improve slightly near sunset with the fog actually settling into the valley below us. With someone from Andrews Well Drilling coming tomorrow, I believe I'll sleep in and speak with them.

Monday, December 02, 2013

First Day of Deer Season

Got up bright and early this morning to don my hunting clothes and weapon and head out in hopes of bagging a buck on PA's opening day. I was well layered as I headed out in 30 degree weather with anticipation of being nice and toasty all day as the temps were forecast to reach the 40 degree mark. Didn't happen. It was overcast and dull all morning with no sign of sunlight until around 2 PM. At that point it DID reach 39 degrees on the Aerie's deck.

Me? I was shivering. I should have been warm but I wasn't and I place some of the blame on having lost 20-25 pounds after the knee surgery. No personal insulation.

Before I left the Aerie I noticed that the bear had been back and knocked down on of the bird feeders I had carelessly left on the deck. Paw prints were all over the fresh dusting of snow and the metal hook upon which the feeder hangs was laying on the deck. (I would find out later that the feeder was intact and that the bear had chosen the lawn instead of the woods as its bathroom--again.)The knowledge that the sow and her cubs might not have denned up yet would have my head on a swivel whenever there was a louder than usual noise form snow falling from the pines and hemlocks.

Going up and down the hill on layers of ice, snow atop shale was no more difficult than it was before I had my knees replaced. Might have been easier, in fact. The loss of weight and the physical therapy may have made the climb less stressful.

I didn't get my buck, either. Though I did see four deer between 12:10 and 12:20. Two went up the hill on the other side of the powerline right of way and, though I could see through my rifle scope that neither had horns, I had no shot through the web of beech brush on each side of the cut. Just as they went out of sight to my right, there was a stomp to my left and I turned to see two more antlerless deer standing 10 and 25 yards away. The closer animal was stomping it's forehooves and sniffing the air over an unfamiliar smell (me) but had no idea I was standing so close as there was a 12 inch diameter tree between us.The more distant critter was looking right at me and, after a brief staring contest, I must have blinked. It decided it was better to be THERE than HERE and bounded off down the hill and across the cove. The puzzled nearer animal followed its pal.

The days shooting commenced a bit before the legal hour when someone fired at 6:45 AM other shots soon followed from a variety of directions. As most were single shots, I assume people were getting their deer. (Old Indian saying: "One shot, deer. Two shots, maybe deer. Three shots, no deer." There were a couple cases of "three shots" today but not many in those opening minutes.) Things got really quiet after 9 AM and there weren't any shots at all from 1 PM through 3:30 PM when twilight began to seep up from the deeper coves and valleys. I returned to the Aerie with the same number of shells as I had when I left. Hey! Ammunition is expensive!

All I saw, besides the four deer, were three grey squirrels, lots of birds and one hunter coming down the wood road on the other side of the cove. He came down around 9:30 AM and turned toward the homes to the northwest of us. For most of the day I had this song by Paul Anka running through my head.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Week 19:The Knees Please Me
A Hunting We Will Go!

Monday marks the 19th week I've had my new knees and I must say that they have been pleasing me no end. They're doing extra fine on flat surfaces and even on the ice and snow covered slanted driveway and up stairs. The only trouble has been going down stairs--and that's getting better.

Monday morning they will carry me up the hill to sit during the opening day of rifle season for whitetail here in PA. With any luck, all the other hunters from the suddenly occupied camps will send a nice legal buck my way. It will only take one with three points on one antler to make me happy. In the zone I'm sitting in a buck with at least three points is the only thing you can shoot during the first week. I've not seen one in the yard with those requirements. Does? Yes. Bucks? No.

There have been several antlerless deer passing through the yard and even eating things off the compost heap. I've seen as many as six during one evening. Among the antlerless deer is at least one button buck who is not considered legal as a buck and, until the second week of the season, illegal as it has no antlers just little bumps on its head. (It and its sister are small to boot, having been born this spring. Not much meat on their bones.) 

I have some hope that there's a larger buck out there. There are several saplings that have been rubbed by a buck trying to get the itchy velvet off its antlers. And there are several spots along the logging road where a deer has scraped the earth and nibbled the branches directly above leaving its scent behind to mark a territory. All I need is to have that larger buck come back to its "safety zone" when other hunters start moving about.

The weather has been really cold but it's supposed to warm up starting Monday. In fact, the temperature has been rising much of Sunday evening. There's a layer of icy snow on the ground so things will go "crunch" as they walk and any blood trail--if I need to follow one--should stand out on the white.The chance of new precipitation during the day is given as 30% but it's supposed to be overcast all day.