Monday, April 30, 2007

Camp Stories "Stetztown"

Here are some of the boys of Stetztown, back row: Barry Stickler, David Anspach, Keven Tobias; front row: Richard Fortuna and John Tobias.

The next two pictures are from inside the camp.

The following information was relayed to me mostly by John Tobias.

In 1939, my dad, Edgar S. Tobias, stayed first at Junction Hotel at 414, then at Cedar Run Inn when he came up hunting. Then he decided to build a place of his own. At that time you could pick out a piece of property to lease from the State and build a camp on it. Edgar picked out two places and the State wouldn’t let him build there. Then he came up this Painter Leetonia Road and staked out this place with a 99 year lease.

When the camp started there were seven members. They contacted a log building company in Maine, called Shaw and order a $2400 log cabin kit. The logs came down by rail from Jersey Shore, loaded on two big trucks. When they reached the first steel bridge it wouldn’t hold the weight in one of the trucks and it had to be unloaded and reloaded on the other side. The trucks dumped everything at the road. A contractor from Wellsboro laid block foundation for the camp; and a man and two sons from Maine came down to erect it.

Edgar S. Tobias, John’s father, had clothing store come up after supper on Friday, an 8 hour drive, from Williamsport. At that time the roads were dirt all the way up from Williamsport. The streets in Williamsport were brick or wood block at that time.

Lowe lived down the road in Leetonia and had four boys helped with cabin. The Lowes used to guide hunters through the mountains. It took a lot of help to get the purlins up on the camp. It took them a year and a half to get the roof on. They had enough lumber left to put the front porch on and build the log outhouse, which was demolished 14 years ago. During the early year they had a Heatrola in the middle of the camp to heat the camp. They had electric from the beginning by using a generator and 24 12-volt car batteries. They affectionately called this the Delco System. In the fifties electric came to the Leetonia area by pole.

Stetztown started with seven members then went to nine members until Edgar died in 1960. John Tobias just turned 18 and got his father’s share in the camp. Then members went up to 20, which is the number they have today.

Some of their favorite memories are:

For John at six…riding his tricycle down the stairs and into the coal bin where he bit is tongue in two. They drove him unconscious from the pain to Wellboro were a doctor clamped it together and saved his tongue.

The deer drive in the Fahneystock area: A six-point deer was spotted a long distance away near a birch tree. Thirty-five shots were fired and on the thirty-sixth shot the deer dropped. The guides weren’t happy since they were sent to climb up and down the steep cliffs to retrieve the deer

David Anspach’s favorite memory is hunting with his Grandfather the year before his grandfather died of cancer. His grandfather shot a buck that was flanking down the hill in 3 shots as it crossed the road. David remarks, “Man that was a hell of a shot, but he didn’t want a fuss made over him.”

The last memory involves a drive at my cabin. Where part of the hunting party waited on the porch for the rain to stopped while the others drove the deer. It never stopped raining and the ones under the porch were always envied for their dry position. And to this day they know which hunter’s got the porch and which ones got wet. As far as I know no deer were injured in the porch drive.

John Tobias said the most deer we ever shot were fifteen and seven of them were on the hill behind my house. I can like them remember seeing fifty to a hundred deer on my hill in the evenings. Now we are lucky to see two or three.

I asked why they think the deer population is down so much? The Stetztown boys blame the Game Commission for giving out doe licenses up here and too many licenses for the area. They said the first year this happened we believe around 1968 there was a deer slaughter and the deer have never come back from that day.

Mountain Girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Stories from the hills of Leetonia

This is one of those fixer upper places in Leetonia. It was called the turtle camp for a while when the Lebos hunted snapping turtles and hung the shells out to dry on the front porch. Now the roof looks like a turtle, mossy-green and humped like an old man who has seen better days.

Chris Huff recalls the last time the cabin was used was in the late 80's. He is going to get me some more history on it for later.

The DiGuiseppe family members have been using a trailer parked to the rear of the old camp. While sitting and talking to Chris inside the trailer, I noticed two bullet holes in the stove, not typical for most places even in Leetonia; I asked Chris about the holes.

He started by saying, "That's something I am not too proud of."

I thought maybe he gets mad and shoots appliances. But this was
not the case.

Chris went on to say, "We I was about seventeen, me and some friends were up for deer camp. We were down the creek and noticed some nice deer hanging outside this camp(I am leaving the camp name out). They hadn't tagged them and we had always heard an untagged deer doesn't belong to anyone. "

Being young and impulsive, Chris and his friends decided to take the deer for their own and bring it back to camp. What they didn't think about was it had just snowed and it was easy for the other camp's hunters to track them and their deer down. Now Chris and his friends were confronted with angry hunters, the State Police and the Game Warden. The hunters were ready to file stealing charges against the boys until the Game Warden told the hunters he would make sure they couldn't hunt in Pennsylvania again since they must have been poaching by not tagging their deer. All I can say is the Game Warden must have taken pity on the youthful exploit.

Chris's problems weren't over however, his family didn't let him off the hook and they imposed a three-year exclusion from coming to camp for Chris. The next Spring when the family came to camp there were two bullet holes in the stove. I won't say the angry hunters did this...but for Chris it is a reminder of a youthful mistake that cost him in more ways than one.

Have a great Leetonia day. Mountain Girl, Paula, logging out.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Turkey Day

You might recognize this bunch of Turkey Hunters up for the first day of Turkey season. I will tell you more about them and their camp in another blog.

But I just had to relay the story that John Tobias, lower right told me. There is a camp about 4 miles down Leetonia Rd. going to Cedar Run. It is the perfect little log cabin, built by a man back around the late 30's with local Red Pine logs. I will have to retrieve his name when I see some of his relatives come up.

The story according to John is this guy was hunting a bear near his cabin, he shot at it and wounded the bear. The bear proceeded to run down the mountain with this man in hot pursuit, the man was older at the time; he got another shot off right before he had a heart attack. The shot killed the bear and the man fell down the mountain and landed on top of the bear and died too.

This would be what the Native Americans call a good death where the prey and the predator come up even. This seems too incredible to be true so it probably is. If any of you know anything of this event email me so we can lay this story to to speak.

That's the talk for now. Mountain, girl, Paula, logging out.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bear Trap UPDATE

Well, the bear trap has been removed, but not placed to capture the injured bear. It seems you have to stay home all day and lead the game commission people by the hand to get an injured animal helped. The bear is hanging around Jack Bonitz place on Francis Leetonia Rd. Jack told me he hadn't gotten good results with the game commission, guess I should have listened. Not sure what to do now...I guess hope nature will heal the bear. It will definitely have a crooked foot if it survives the infection. Life in Leetonia is tough if you are a injured bear.

Mountain Girl, Paula, sadly logging out!

Love Dies Hard in Leetonia

The following story is a reprint of a story I had published in the "Pennsylvania Reader."

The setting is during a time in Leetonia's history when over 500 people lived and worked in the company owned town.

In the spring of 1878, the tannery whistle at Leetonia blew. “Emergency! Emergency! Emergency!” Renaldo shouted with every pull on the stout cord. Townspeople fearing fire, injury, or some unknown accident dropped everything and ran to Renaldo’s aid. Ready for action and breathing hard they surrounded Renaldo and demanded the news.

Renaldo shouted,” Maria in Italy has agreed to come here and marry me!

“Renaldo you idiot,” one of the men exclaimed, “I dropped everything and ran a half mile to your wedding announcement.”

Not seeing the look of shared enthusiasm for his announcement, but of an imminent beating, Renaldo shrank back and tried to make an escape. Two husky woodsmen grabbed the large man and hauled him like a sack of grain to Cedar Run Creek for a proper head clearing. They hurled him in the spring cold water and watched with satisfaction as he bobbed up gasping for air.

Anyone else would have faired worse, but Renaldo was a valued machinist, a hard worker and had come with the Lees to establish Leetonia and help with the tannery operation. Renaldo was known as a strong man, quick with a temper, and short on looks.

Many years ago Renaldo had courted Maria in Italy unsuccessfully. Time and lack of other marriage proposals softened Maria towards Renaldo and she agreed to marry him if he would pay her way to America. Maria also longed to leave Italy and Renaldo would give her a way to escape.

Maria was five-foot tall of average features with long flowing black hair. After sending Maria a ticket Renaldo thought of her daily coming to be his bride. The people of Leetonia would no longer mock his looks for all eyes would be on Maria. They would admire him for his ability to get such a woman as his wife. He would be the envy of every man. Not the brunt of their jokes.

The day Maria was to arrive in Wellsboro, Renaldo a dedicated worker didn’t take time off. He decided to send his cousin, Antonio who didn’t work to pick up Maria. Antonio always anxious for an adventure and time away from Leetonia eagerly accepted. Antonio was everything Renaldo was not, handsome, charming, and lazy. Antonio spotted Maria in front of the hotel in Wellsboro and she spotted him.

“Are you Maria?” Antonio asked.

“Yes.” Maria said. “Where is Renaldo?”

“He had to work and asked me to escort you to Leetonia.”

“Well thank you,” Maria said her eyes sparkling at him. “My bags are over there. Is it a long trip to Leetonia from here? “

“It is a long day’s ride, maam.” Antonio said as he hoisted her bags into the buggy.

The first ten miles of the trip pleasantries were exchanged about the weather, Italy, and the area. Then the road changed it got smaller and steeper and Maria’s expression changed with it.

Antonio noticing the change asked. “Are you alright?”

“I didn’t realize there were so many mountains here.” She said looking around. “Italy is full of mountains and I thought I’d left them behind.”

“Didn’t Renaldo tell you anything about Leetonia?” Antonio asked.

“Not really.” She said. “Just that he had a good job and would take good care of me.”

“Renaldo has a good job, but life in Leetonia is far from easy. Not a lot to do if you ask me. I prefer the city, the good life, and the fast pace. I plan on leaving Leetonia soon.” Antonio looked at her with one of those hard to resist smiles.

She instinctively reached for his hand. “Would you take me with?” She said in half desperation and half hope. “I don’t think I could bear living in another small town.”

“What are you going to tell Renaldo?” Antonio asked.

“I’ll tell him the truth, I don’t love him.” She gave Antonio a half-child, half-woman look that melted him. “Renaldo courted me in Italy and I never liked him. I just jumped at the chance to come to America when he offered.”

He felt an urge to place his arm around her to save her from Leetonia and steal her from Renaldo. How could he fall for her so quickly? Girls adored him before and he dismissed them so easily? But Maria somehow challenged him to be a hero. Save her from the ugly Renaldo and the little mountain town. Could he be her hero? He placed his arm around her.

“I think we would make a great team.” He told her. “We will escape Leetonia together.”

They laughed and planned the rest of the trip. Talking as though they had been friends forever. “We are just about there.” Antonio told Maria.

Maria reached over and lightly kissed Antonio. “I think I am falling in love with you Antonio.”

Antonio felt the rush of similar feelings. “You must move away from me. We are too close to town and people might see.”

Maria moved a proper distance away, but the seed had been planted.

It was getting dark as they entered Leetonia; Renaldo’s strong figure sat near the edge of town on a bark pile and he rose to greet the carriage. Antonio noticed Renaldo had bathed and shaved and was wearing his best clothes to greet Maria. Antonio wondered how well he would take Maria’s announcement. Renaldo helped Maria down from the carriage and embraced her warmly but gently.

“Mr. Lee has offered let you stay at their place tonight and rest. I am sure you are tired from your long drive. Antonio can drive you up to his house and I will meet you there in the morning to discuss our plans.” Renaldo helped Maria back up in the carriage and watched Antonio drive her up to the big house. Maria had chosen to say nothing.

As they drove up the Lee house, Maria said, “You must help me Antonio. Talk to Renaldo for me tomorrow morning I cannot face him. I am afraid of him.”

“What will I tell him, Maria?

“Tell him I don’t love him. Tell him I love you.”

“Do you…love me?”

“With all my heart.” Maria said stealing his heart with her eyes.

In the morning when Renaldo went up to meet Maria he saw Antonio sitting outside the house. Love must be blind for Antonio was outmatched by Renaldo’s size, reputation and strength, yet there he was ready to take a beating for a woman he had known for only one day.

“What are you doing here cousin?” Renaldo asked curiously.

“Renaldo.” Antonio started nervously. “Maria doesn’t want to marry you.”

“What!” Renaldo couldn’t believe his ears.

“Why? Where is she? Let me talk to her. This must be a mistake.” Renaldo spewed out words faster then Antonio could answer.

“She doesn’t want to talk to you.” Antonio responded.

“She has decided to marry me.”

Renaldo started to smile thinking Antonio was playing some sort of joke on him. But upon noticing the serious look in Antonio’s face, Renaldo’s face reddened.

“She can’t do that. She promised to marry me. I paid for her to come and marry me.” Renaldo so hurt and confused instead of pounding Antonio to a pulp he walked off in a daze.

Leetonia in the late 1800’s was a company town. Everything was owned by the Tannery. Housing, food and other necessities of life were deducted from your meager pay and it was a hard life. No real government existed in Leetonia. However there was an unofficial town council that decided matters of importance to the people of Leetonia. Three old “wise men” of Leetonia called Maria in front of them to question her.

The council informed Maria that her parents had signed a contract for her to marry Renaldo and she must do so or else. Maria in an unprecedented move flatly refused, saying she never loved Renaldo and had no intention of living in Leetonia. She had lived in the mountains of Italy and had no intention of living in the mountains of Pennsylvania. The council realized they were in a difficult position decided she could marry Antonio provided Antonio pay back Renaldo the money he had spent getting her here or Maria must leave town at once.

Everyone knew Antonio didn’t have a dime much less the $50 needed to pay Renaldo back so they thought they had her. An immigrant girl without friends or family ended up entertaining drunken lumberjacks in saloons and brothels in the small sawmill towns. She equal to the challenge stalled long enough to get an uncle of Antonio’s in Jersey Shore to come to Leetonia. Then using the same charm that had captured Antonio persuaded his uncle to pay off Renaldo and give her the freedom to marry Antonio.

The wedding was as small as the support for Maria’s deception of Renaldo in Leetonia. One large figure sulked outside the church cursing its occupants under his breath. Two weeks after the wedding, Maria and Antonio headed to Jersey Shore to work for the same uncle who had paid off Maria’s contract.

The payment had not eased the pain or embarrassment in Renaldo. He pulled the crumpled letter from his pocket the same one he had held so high the first day he’d read it to his fellow workers. The same one he had taken a dunking for in Cedar Run Creek using the tannery horn to announce.

“Lies all lies.” He said to himself as he rolled the paper thin soaking it kerosene and walked heavily down the road to a rock ledge overhanging the road. He climbed up the rock face hand over hand often slipping on the loose shale and finally pulling him self over the top. Then he pulled a sack of black powder from his back and began pouring it into a deep crack in the rocks. When the crack filled with powder he pulled a large rock over it and waited.

Maria and Antonia headed toward Jersey Shore in their buggy on the narrow winding mountain roads. Passing each mountain she vowed never to see another mountain again after she left this place. Some of the places they passed had vertical rock faces dangerously overhanging the road. These often fell and blocked the road during spring thaws or rains, but they had nothing to fear today the weather was sunny and warm on the two newly wedded faces.

A shadowed figure sat looking at the oil soaked promise; hearing the hoof beats of an approaching horse; he shoved the letter under the rock he sat on touching the black powder and lit up a store bought cigar. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d enough money to buy a cigar and enjoyed puffing it in rhythm to the sound of the approaching horse. This would be a sweet day. He saw the two sitting close in the buggy as it passed under him and yelled as he touched the cigar to the oil soaked letter:

“You should have been my wife!” The quiet mountain day erupted with a blast, rock and dust rained from the sky.

The sound echoed up the valley and reached Leetonia to be met only with slightly curious ears. Was someone blasting a stump or rock out of the way? Only when a scared, bruised and tired horse appeared in town dragging pieces of a carriage did an alarm go up.

Men mounted up their horses and raced up the road finding tons of rock covering the road. They heard Antonio’s cries and saw him caught in a tree halfway down the mountain. They pulled him out but he was badly injured and died the next day. Maria died instantly crushed in a pile of rocks from the mountains she hated so much.

Renaldo missing from work that day along with some blasting powder never came back to work. Strangely a foot appeared in a leather boot drug home by some town dogs. The boot was identified as Renaldo and what was left of the foot given a proper burial.

Maria and Antonio Andrezzi are buried in an old Catholic Cemetery in Avis, Pa July 17th, 1878.

Based on a true story from the account of William H. Plank former superintendent of the Leetonia tannery.

Mountain Girl, Paula, Logging Out!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bear Trap Remains at my door

Much to my dismay the donut-filled bear trap is still in front of my house within easy range of my donut eating dogs. I called last night and let them know it was at the wrong place figuring they would come today and move it. Wrong!

I did find a nice note on it saying:
"The bear trap is ready to go. If it is in your way you can move it to a different location. Just be very careful to stay away from the door as it will fall if the trap is moved."

Warden Rodney goes into more details about setting the pin with pliers(I assume to save your fingers) to keep the door from falling. I am thinking do I really want to mess with this heavy guillotine like cage? Moving it requires I disengage the guillotine and hook it to my hitch... not a simple lift it with your hands proposition.

Only in Leetonia could one of your problems be: "How to move a Bear Trap....carefully!" And for you first time movers we have written instructions left by your local game warden....Good LUCK!

I think I will keep my limbs attached and just count the days it takes for them to check the trap or contact me. It makes such a nice lawn ornament I might just plant flowers around it. Mountain Girl, Paula, Logging out! and admitting she should have known better than to call the State to help with a hurt bear.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tree Day and more

Well, a week has gone by already. I added a oak tree to the mix in the first picture, showing some budding out taking place.

The Apple tree has made a lot of progress this week greening up with the warm weather we have had.

The willows are blooming as well and people with tree allergies are starting to complain of itchy eyes and throats.

The Fire Cherry doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot and as you can see on the hill behind it no major changes in the mountain tree foliage this week.

Now on another note. The bear was busy last night making Jack and Leo bark and mudding up my van. Of course he has a reason to mess with the van since I store my bird seed in there. I know one of these days he is going to pop it open and have a feast and then the days of storing anything in the van will be over.

In other bear news there is a bear in Leetonia with a compound foot fracture. I called the Game Commission over the weekend

and they said they would get a hold of me. Instead, I came home today to find a Bear Trap by my front door, two miles from were the broken bear is. If they had called me first they might have got it in the right place. Now I have to keep Jack and Leo from eating the donuts inside the trap before the bears. I think the bear that muddied up my van is in for a big surprise tonight.

I will take a picture in the morning if it is in there. Thats all for today. Mountain Girl, Paula, Logging out!

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Tire Count is now 3 THREE!

Okay it isn't funny anymore this is my 3rd tire change in the last month. Paradise seems to be full of road hazards. This one is requiring a new tire purchase.

Every Spring after the snowmobilers leave spikes behing and the rocks poke through the road it is a tire changing marathon. That tire only has 14k on it and its ruined.

Okay I feel better now that I have ranted and raved to everyone. Resume your happiness. Mountain Girl, Paula, dusting off!

Rattlesnakes and memories

This is in response to a nice email I received from Peter saying he was enjoying the blog and recalling his time as a youth in Leetonia during the 70's.

According to Peter his family owned the cabin in the first two pictures, which is now owned by Cassels. Peter's memories are as follows:
Our cabin was built by my dad as a pre-fab home. As you drive up the very steep hill on the way to Wally's, ours was the first cabin on the right.....just above the Cassels (our relatives). It was red/rust with a small shed in the front that my dad built. It had a screened in back porch.

We would drive down from central New York often and enter from Ansonia. I remember how excited I'd get as we'd gas up at the Ansonia gas station before entering the forest. Writing about it now makes me realize how much I miss it, and what a special place Leetonia is.

I remember Dad had interviewed Leo Bailey, who had been born in Leetonia and he had given dad a, autobiography and pictures of Leetonia back in the logging days. On the quietest of afternoons there, I had difficulty trying to imagine how different Leetonia was in the early 1900's with barely a tree in sight.

Peter also recalled being nervous walking around "The Ruins", shown in the last two pictures because of the rattlesnakes in the old Tannery Foundations. I can tell you from personal experience his nervousness is well founded. I have seen two Timber Rattlers in that area one on the road going up to his old place.

If you haven't been up for a while you will notice the Ruins added on to their camp last year..the siding is still waiting to be finished. Also for all of you wanting more information don't worry there is a lot to tell about Leetonia. I will repost some of the stories I have had published in the near future on this blog. Until then, Mountain Girl, Paula, Logging Out!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Birds and such

Eagles are Nesting in Cedar Run

There are two eagles nesting a top the mountain a straight shot visually from Cedar Run Inn looking toward the creek and up the mountain.

They have been sitting in the nest for the last couple months although no young ones have been spotted. The first picture shows the nest from a distance and the second picture is a zoom shot of it. I would estimate it to be about 3-4 foot in diameter.

The two eagles are often spotted diving into Pine Creek after fish and the occasional duck. It is not a happy place for the ducks to swim when the
eagle swoops in. It is amazing how quickly they see the eagle and dive under the water to avoid a premature death.

It has been two years since the eagles have had a young one so we are all hoping for the best this year. This pair is one of a half a dozen nesting pairs up and down the creek.

So far the eagle seen in Leetonia has not been seen again so I think it was just passing through. There are a lot of Red-Tail Hawks out and about for the free meal at the bird feeders and I hear
their shrill screams as they talk to each other. That sound seems to send your soul up in the air flying with them.

Looks like the Pioneer Camp People are down trying to fix their porch. I wonder when that place is going to slide down the mountain and be creekside. They have a cable running around behind it tied to two dead trees, which I don't think were dead when they attached the cable. It looks very scary.

The bears have been out and about everywhere and there is one poor bear with a compound fracture in his foot limping around town. I feel bad for him. Well that is all for today. It is going to be another beautiful day in Leetonia...wish you were here. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A walk in the woods

It was a beautiful morning to take a walk with the dogs. Leo, Jack and I walked up the road and then cut through the woods to the top of the mountain. Even though it was just about freezing the sun sliced through the pine trees and made me feel warm. Its the kind of morning you don't mind the chill. A morning where you feel summer's warmth just a few hours away.

The nice thing about chilly mornings is NO BUGS! Yesterday as with all good things the warm weather woke up the bugs. The fisherman know this is a good thing and refer to the bugs as hatches.

This weekend the hatches are Tan Cuddis, Blue Quill, and Quill Gordon. They sound like the names of coon hounds to me, but to the fish they are an invitation to feed and to the fisherman an invitation to catch trout. These "hatches" remind me my bug free walks are in short supply.

As I came up through the pine forest the sun sliced through the trees lighting my way to the top of the hill behind my house. Exiting the pine trees the full warmth of the sun can be felt on your skin and soul.

It is mother natures happy pill for me. I can't sad about anything on a day like today. As I walked across the top with the dogs in front of me to my surprise a deer(the one in the picture) was grazing unaware that I and the dogs were within 50 feet of it. It noticed and didn't have time to snort before it bounded off. The dogs never saw it. It always amazes me how close they can be and not see or smell something so large. All the better, I didn't have to yell at them to leave the deer alone.

Well, I'm back at the house getting ready to eat my oatmeal and head over to Black Forest to work and I won't mind working at all in this weather. Have a great Leetonia Day. Mountain Girl, Paula logging out.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring is Back

This is a flower called Colt's foot called because the leaves resemble colts feet. Typically around 6 to 8 inches high. It is one of the first flowers seen in Leetonia commonly along the edges of the road.

The plant has a reputation as a cure for coughs. An extract of fresh leaves can be used for making cough drops or hard candy or its dried leaves steeped in tea.

The weather was beautiful today reaching near 60 degrees and it looks like we will stay dry and sunny for the next few days. What a welcome relief to the doldrums of rain, snow, and clouds we have been tolerating for the last couple weeks.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Sun may shine again

There is still a little snow on Leetonia Road coming up from Sliders, but I expect most of it to be gone by the end of today. The weather forecast for the weekend is looking rain and 50-60.

This morning the sun coming out brought out the gobblers collecting their hens. I had five in the front yard and could hear gobbling all over. It seems they are happy the cold, wind and rain has stopped today. I even saw a glimpse of the sun.

It is still muddy and ruddy. When it dries out it will be ruddy and dusty. So it is just what kind of dirt you prefer. Lee is gone back to Illinois for a few days seeing family and getting some training for a class we are planning at camp. So the dogs and I will be alone and can be a messy as we want. Although, I probably won't be much worse than usual. Leo is the worse of the two dogs he likes to find things to rip up in the yard into little pieces. He grabbed a cardboard box, some firewood and a quart of oil the other day and made a nice mess on the front yard. Fortunately he didn't get the oil all the way open or he would be a nice mess as well.
Jack sits in the chair on the porch and just watches Leo beating up cardboard. He waits for something more worthy of his energy like chipmunks or bears. With Leo making so much racket Jack is unlikely to see either. Well that is the news from Leetonia. Mountain Girl, Paula, logging out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tree Day Tuesday

Well the storm blew over my bear, but didn't do much else so we dodged the snow bullet.

Today is the day I look to see the changes in the trees. First tree is the apple and if you get close you can see the buds swelling a little. This cold weather last week didn't do much to further the tree growth.

Next is the willow still looking fluffy and making a nice cutoff for
spring flower arrangements. Of course all the flowers died during our cold blast so the only option for flowers is the florist.

Last in the three featured plants is the Fire Cherry still thinking about whether it is really Spring or not. I am going to add a maple and an oak to the mix for next week as I expect with the weather getting warmer the changes will be more significant during the next few weeks. Usually by Mothers Day the Apple Tree is blooming; we will see if that happens this year.

It is only two weeks until the 1st of May when the hummingbirds and the barn swallows arrive so it has to warm up. Also special Eagle ALERT! It isn't that uncommon to see an eagle around the big Pine Creek, but both Lee and Jack Bonitz have seen an eagle in Leetonia perching up near the heliport area. I don't know if it was passing through or is thinking of settling in. We will do some more investigation on this.

For now stay warm and think SPRING! The mountain girls are tired of the cold, wet, snowy season. Roads are still sloppy muddy messes, but passable with a vehicle you don't care much about.

Mountain Girl, Paula, Logging out!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Bonitz Camp

The Bonitz camp sits atop a hill called the "Boneyard". It was dubbed the boneyard in the early
1900's after all the bones buried there from the slaughter house. The camp was built in the 1950's on the site of the old school house. The school house was the second school in Leetonia. The first one was over on Francis Leetonia road in front of the graveyard.

Jack Bonitz who I interviewed for this story claims to have saved the bell from the school house. The Bonitz camp has been the stomping ground for many a hunter and fisherman.

One of the most interesting things about the camp is all of the stuffed a
animals inside. The bobcat, the dualing grouse, deer, bear, trout and a wall of squirrels that surpasses all others.

Jack says he has one of every kind of squirrel ever seen in Leetonia and I believe it. He also has two palomino trout his mother caught back in the 70's in Cedar Run.
Last but not least is the bear hanging from the wall. This bear attacked Lee last year while she was cleaning(as reenacted in the picture). It left a hefty cut on her head when she came up under it. Just goes to show you bears are dangerous even when stuffed.

Well the big storm has not materialized into anything so far but a little snow and some wind. It always seems the storms that get the most talk produce the least and its the ones you don't see coming that leave you buried. I am not too upset to see the low snow amounts. Now if the cold would just leave we can get back to having Spring.

It would be nice to do a little something about each of the camps when people come up to camp let me know and I will come and write up a little post for you. Mountain Girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

No snow yet

Well so far the big snow storm is all talk and no snow. We have had a little rain/sleet/snow what the weather service affectionately calls "wintery mix". This is Spring so shouldn't we have a "Spring Mix"? Quite a few camps up over the weekend and they got one nice day out of it the rest has been gloomy, wet and cold.

We should know by tomorrow whether any snow will develop out of this storm or not. No real Spring weather in sight until next weekend. Until then Mountain Girl, Paula, logging out!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Trout Season First Day

Well today was the first day of trout season. The bridge is at Watrous over the Pine Creek and there were quite a few fisherman out in the water. The general word was not much was biting. It has been cold and I think the fish are a little under the weather like the most of us. You will notice from the first two pictures to the last it seems like I changed seasons.

All these pictures were taken on the same day. The road going up from Sliders is still covered with 4" of snow from two days ago and
now they are promising us more. Just how much more seems to be up in the air. I have heard anywhere from 6" to 24". I can tell you 6" would not make me happy, but 24" would be miserable. We are supposed to get high winds and electric interruptions as well. Sounds like we are in for a fun time in the next 24-36hrs.
Quite a few people are up for trout season so if they stay at camp too long they might have an extended vacation.

I can promise you some pictures tomorrow to see if the weather
people are right or just sending out false reports. Until then stay warm and batten down the hatches.

Mountain Girl, Paula, logging off.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

April showers brings snowmen?

Leetonia, Pennsylvania. Overnight a snowman popped up in the front yard of Camp Eaglebear. The anonymous snowman was seen trying to clean up the mess he and his friends created overnight. It seems they tried to play a trick on Mother Nature and threw 2" of snow around they had been saving since December when they opted to let it rain for Christmas.

This has prompted Mother Nature to discipline the snowman by giving him a shovel and warming up the temperatures just enough to cause him to sweat. I am sure his punishment won't last long.

Meanwhile the roads are temporarily slushy and its just plain dreary.

For those of you who don't live in Leetonia today you might just be lucky. Mountain Girl, Paula, signing out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bridges and things

Any of you that were here last year got to witness the building of the bridge at Mine Hole. This was a huge project that took all summer of digging, placing footings, and then delivering large precast sections of the bridge strapped to the backs of semi-trucks; most of which drove right past our house. There must have been a dozen sections and they could only drive one truck down the road at a time. The large trucks couldn't navigate the two sharp turns going down to Cedar Run, so they had to come in from Galeton and then turn around at Mine Hole and come back the same way they went out.

Trucks parked in front of the Pettits waiting their turn to deliver and return, sometimes parked there overnight. This project I am sure cost millions all to cross a road that is seldom used. The mystery surrounding this project has not been answered. All I know is the roads from here to Cedar Run going past Mine Hole are terrible, but there is a million dollar bridge to look at on the way up. Personally, I think someone had some bridge money to get rid of and some lucky bridge building company reaped the benefits. Next time just give me the money or fix the road!

Well, that is about all I know about this project. If you have any thoughts email me. Hope you all have a great Leetonia Day, cause a bad day in Leetonia is better than a good day anywhere else. Mountain Girl, Paula, signing out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring Progress Tree Day

I decided for the next month to make Tuesdays, "Tree Day". This way you can all see Springs progress in growing leaves and flowers and the plants that make us all feel alive again.

The first picture is the Apple tree in our front you can see nothing much is happening. The next picture is the firecherry in the front yard...again the progress is slow, behind it you see the mountain forest and everything is pretty bare.

The last picture is the most promising it is the willow bushes in the stream they are puffing out their little pussy willow powder puffs. They seem to be one of the first bushes to respond to the change in the weather. One thing I have noticed is there can be a difference in speed of growth from one side of the mountain to the other. In fact, from here to Cedar Run it is easy to see a few days to a week difference on some plants.

I am going to repeat these shots every Tuesday so you can mark t
the progress of these plants. I will throw in a few other things I see along the way. There is something about seeing a little color after a long winter that cheers everyone up and right now with the cold we could all use some cheering.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Another Day in Paradise

This is the view from the top of our hill. It was another chilly, snowy day and it is hard to imagine we are almost a month into Spring. Every camp I open this year is full of frozen pipes...seems it is that way everywhere with the cold winter we had. There is nothing like turning water on and creating an indoor shower.

Well, trout season will be opening this weekend and I expect a lot of people will be coming up. The forecast isn't looking particularly warm, but no blizzards are in the forecast. Ha. For those of you wanting a warm vacation go somewhere else or plan on sitting close to the fireplace. Even my dogs have been huddling near the fire. Of course if it weren't for the weather and the roads there would be nothing to complain about living in Leetonia is my kind of life.

I will take a picture from top the hill on a nice day so you all can see the difference. If you look close you can tell there isn't any leaves on the trees yet. Until later, keep warm.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter in Leetonia

Easter Day in Leetonia, I searched for the Easter Bunny everywhere: out by the camp sign where the crocuses closed up huddled against the cold; down by the creek where the branches formed icy finger tips dipping into the spring; and lastly by the Grandmother Tree, we affectionately call, "Oni",meaning born on holy ground, and no Easter Bunny. Not a furry little fluff anywhere to be found this morning.

I can't say I blame the Easter Bunny, working on such a cold day is certainly above and beyond the call of duty and yet part of me hoped I would catch a glimpse of the elusive creature. I spoke to my friend, "Oni", our 200 year-old white pine and asked if she had seen the Easter Bunny.

"No, my granddaughter," she replied, I have only seen the loud Blue Jays perched upon my branches this morning. Perhaps their cawing chased the Bunny away."

"What do you think of this cold, grandmother?"

"The cold does not bother me, young one. The sap that flows through my bark adjusts to the temperature. The animals are complaining more. Have no fear the warm weather always comes."

"Well, I am off to look for the Easter Bunny, grandmother, have a good day."

"You too my walking seedling."

I kept looking after leaving Grandmother Oni, and then I understood. The Easter Bunny is white and its snowing. The Easter Bunny is probably right in front of my face and I didn't see it. Maybe even in one of these pictures. Well if you see the Easter Bunny in one of these pictures or I see the Easter Bunny later I will get a picture. Have a chilly, Leetonia Easter!