Wednesday, December 25, 2013

White Christmas in Leetonia


We got a white Christmas and a cold one. Temperatures last night made it down to 0 and didn't make it above the 20 degree mark today. A big change from the snow melting 55 degrees we had two days ago. We got about an inch of light fluffy snow yesterday and overnight. The snow had completely disappeared except in areas of complete shade or piles from plowing. It doesn't look like there will be much more snow during the next few days and temperatures should warm up ten or fifteen degrees. There isn't enough snow for snowmobiling and four-wheel drive vehicles should be fine on the roads. As usual use caution as there could be some ice hiding under the snow in spots. 

It has been a quiet day in the mountains and Galeton was like a ghost town. I had to run in for some back up gasoline after Lee gave ours to some snowmobilers last week. We received a nice note from them thanking us for the map and gas and more than reimbursement for it. Be prepared if you go into the woods this time of year. Have a back up plan for your back up plan. We are the only ones living for at least 7 miles up here and that is a long way to walk if you need more gas or help. 

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Have a Beary Merry Christmas!


Leo is tired of posing for Christmas Pictures
Even the bears are in the Christmas mood in Leetonia. The Christmas cards are done and Leo is once again disgusted with the whole process especially the part where Felix the cat tortures him during one of our shots. The dogs are always glad when the picture taking is over.

There was still snow on the ground this morning but it is melting fast in warm temperatures and rain. The quick melt sent Pine Creek up to 5.3 feet very quickly overnight. We awoke to the sound of our small creek ripping down the valley this morning. We are hoping the snow/ice melts off the road enough going South to Cedar Run so we can make it down to Cedar Run Inn for New Year's Eve, but that is still a week a way and much can happen to the weather in that amount of time.

Lee and I will be spending a quite and maybe not white Christmas alone at home this year. I don't see any snow in the forecast and the recent melt pretty much killed it for the snowmobilers. Hope you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Mountain Girls of Leetonia.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter Safety

The recent snow of eight inches plus has brought with it all the joys of winter sports. Along with those joys are the dangers. I received a message to pick a friends snowmobile up that would not start even though he had it recently tuned up.  After picking it up and heading home with my trailer, I was flagged down by a frantic woman and child on a snowmobile.

She had been lost since 10 am it was now 4 pm and the worst part was she had a four-year old riding with her.  I had a quick flashback to my first experience with a lost snowmobiler shortly after we moved here. He had left his wife and child in the middle of the forest, when her snowmobile wouldn't start. Then he drove completely around the forest without the knowledge of where he left them. Finding them involved getting the Fire Department and Forestry on sleds looking for them. They were found but not at all close to where he described and well after dark in the cold.

The lost woman of this recent event started to explain in lost person terms where she had been and where she needed to go.  "We started near a gas pipeline at the bottom of a steep hill." That narrowed it down to about six places I could think of off the top of my head.

"My husband and friends took off and I couldn't keep up. I lost them and couldn't figure out where I was." You could visibly see the frustration, exhaustion and fear in the woman's face as she wondered if she would ever find the rest of her family again. "Then my snowmobile stopped," she said. "My daughter and I walked for about four miles until we found someone who was able to start it for us. We have been driving around the mountain ever since." I couldn't imagine walking that far with a four year old in snowmobile clothes.

"Where is your camp?" I asked her.

"It is on the other side of highway 6," she replied.

"Well, you can't drive the snowmobile to it from here," I explained to her, "this is a plowed road from here to six. I can load you up and drive you there if you want."

She agreed and we loaded the snowmobile up and I turned around heading back towards Gaines on Elk Run Road.  Just as we got to Pine Creek Vista Campground she yelled, "That's my husband!" and reached over to my horn and pushed it. I slowed down and he stopped and backed up. She was practically crying and jumped out to greet him. He wasn't as happy and immediately yelled at her for getting lost. I just kept thinking everyone has there own way of dealing with fear and this person's way was obviously anger. Once they settled down he told me where they had started, which was up Elk Run just past the Lick Run intersection. So I turned around and drove the snowmobile to Lick Run where we unloaded it and they continued on their way. I am sure they spent most of the night exchanging blame for the event.

This whole thing reminded me how most people  who travel our forest are ill prepared. Remember if you are driving any vehicle it can stop working.  Cell phones don't work except on a few high ridges.  You can become separated from others in a group and there is a possibility you won't see anyone after that.  I really like my "Spot Messenger" for this reason. I can turn it on to live track and every 10 minutes it sends out a signal as to where I am. I can hit Check OK when I arrive and it sends a message either email or txt to a list of people I have as my safety net. And in extreme circumstances I can hit 911 and it will send my gps coordinates to the local 911 responders. I have found it works most places in the forest with the exception of a few bad valleys.

If you don't have this technology, you can still plan. Have a State Forest Map with you. Make a plan ahead of time for what you will do if separated. Keep track of where you are. Have warm clothes with you and even some water/food if you can. Make sure you have a full tank of gas.  Stay in one place if you want to be found. Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back. The best thing is to stay in a group, not everyone's machine will die at the same time and there is safety in numbers.

Not a winter goes by that someone isn't hurt or killed riding a snowmobile in the State Forest. It is a beautiful place, but it can become deadly with a few wrong decisions. Stay safe this winter. I have included a link to the left of the snowmobile trails in our forest and surrounding ones. Print it out and keep it in a plastic bag in your machine. Have a safe, happy and fun winter. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snow blankets Leetonia



Sunday morning we awoke to eight inches of new snow on the ground. This is our first significant snowfall this year. I spent about two hours clearing two different driveways and sidewalks. My neighbor lets me use his four-wheeler plow combo in exchange for clearing his drive. It works pretty well in snow under six inches, but I had to take more than a few swipes to push the eight inch snow off and got stuck more than a few times. I guess that is what I pay for waiting until most the snow was over. 

The township is plowing to the front of my house only so if you don't have four-wheel drive and chains don't go into the unplowed woods. If you get stuck you will be lucky to find anyone willing to come back and pull you out and if they do it will cost you a pretty penny.

It has been quiet without a sound today, not even a snowmobiler. Of course legally they aren't allowed on the State Forest Roads until after deer season this much snow does bring a few out. The dogs always think they want to come out with me until they realize it is cold and hard to walk then they are back at the door begging to go inside.  We are supposed to get some more flurries this afternoon. I am hoping not enough to plow again.

The snow always looks so pretty on the trees. Too bad it makes it so difficult to travel. The best part of winter is not having to go anywhere and staying inside next to a warm fire enjoying an occasional cup of hot chocolate. Of course some sledding or X-country skiing is good too. Have a great snow day. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bear attacks girl near Lock Haven


(Original News Story Link) Bear Attack story Although rare for black bears to attack a person it does happen and just happened to the south of us on Monday. 18 year-old, Camille Marie Bombay, was part of a large deer hunting party. They managed to scare up more than a deer when they ran into this mother bear and her three cubs. As Leo(our pit bull) can tell you chasing a mother bear never ends well. She had bites to her shoulders and arms and was treated at Lock Haven Hospital before being transfer to Geisinger.  A reminder to all of us using this beautiful area. We are walking into "their territory" and you don't always drive out the exact thing you are looking for. Camille is doing well and will have a heck of a story to tell for a long time.

On another note there isn't a lot of snow on the roads, but as always four-wheel drive is a prerequisite to winter driving in Tioga Forest unmaintained roads. I would also suggest taking chains with you and plenty of warm clothes and water should you have to walk a long distance for help. Cell phones only work in a very few high ridge areas and you can't count on them to save you. Plan ahead and stay safe. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.



An 18-year-old teen named Camille Marie Bomboy was attacked by a black bear while out deer hunting with her step-father and a large hunting party late Monday afternoon. Bomboy and the party were driving deer through the woods when three black bear cubs ran by her, soon followed by the assumed mother bear who promptly attacked the young woman. Luckily Bomboy’s step-father was able to scare off the bear before the attack could turn fatal. - See more at: http://www.wideopenspaces.com/pennsylvania-teen-attacked-by-bear-deer-hunting/#sthash.vRXbTrnj.dpuf
An 18-year-old teen named Camille Marie Bomboy was attacked by a black bear while out deer hunting with her step-father and a large hunting party late Monday afternoon. Bomboy and the party were driving deer through the woods when three black bear cubs ran by her, soon followed by the assumed mother bear who promptly attacked the young woman. Luckily Bomboy’s step-father was able to scare off the bear before the attack could turn fatal. - See more at: http://www.wideopenspaces.com/pennsylvania-teen-attacked-by-bear-deer-hunting/#sthash.vRXbTrnj.dpuf
An 18-year-old teen named Camille Marie Bomboy was attacked by a black bear while out deer hunting with her step-father and a large hunting party late Monday afternoon. Bomboy and the party were driving deer through the woods when three black bear cubs ran by her, soon followed by the assumed mother bear who promptly attacked the young woman. Luckily Bomboy’s step-father was able to scare off the bear before the attack could turn fatal. - See more at: http://www.wideopenspaces.com/pennsylvania-teen-attacked-by-bear-deer-hunting/#sthash.vRXbTrnj.dpuf

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day after Thanksgiving in Leetonia




We missed the bigger part of the storm that came up the East Coast Tuesday.  We got a layer of rain and freezing rain in between a couple of small snows. There is about 3-4 inches on the ground, but the roads are tricky in places because of the ice underneath. It was enough snow that I put the snow blade on the neighbors four-wheeler and scraped off both of our driveways. My hopes is that some of the ice underneath will melt a bit easier without the snow on top.

The icycles are hanging like fine crystals on the side of the barn and sparkle in the sun when it peaks out from behind the clouds. You could also see the ice on the tree yesterday from the rain two days earlier. If all of that had been snow we would have been knee deep for sure.

The firewood for next year is covered with a blanket of snow. It always makes me feel a little rich to see a big stack of firewood all ready and waiting. Sort of like a Leetonia winter heating bank. Temperatures have been a bit below normal with a few lows in single digits already. Nothing like sitting close to a warm fire on those days.

There were a lot of bear hunters up before Thanksgiving but I haven't heard of any local results. The woods was fairly quiet over Thanksgiving day and we enjoyed a large meal that Lee fixed. I think it could have fed about ten people instead of two. We will probably be eating it much of the next week. It never seems right that you spend so many hours cooking such a feast and the eating of it takes so little time.

Our feral cat, Felix, has been totally spoiled for going outside. I have to push him out most the time and it isn't long before he is begging to get back in. He seems to think the dogs should be his best friends and he is constantly rubbing up against them and batting at Leo's wagging tail. That latter action gets a growl from Leo but he is too slow to show the cat he really means business and the cat just thinks it is a fun game. Still looking for a home for him if any of you want a nice cat. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Falling into Winter


Yesterday it was a nice 45 degree fall day, but half way through the day the wind picked up and the temperature dropped quickly. Snow fell with the temperatures overnight and I awoke to 11 degrees outside and 52 degrees inside. Thanks to Lee starting the wood this morning it was into the 60's inside before I bundled up to eat breakfast. The high winds continued most of the day making it hard to play catch up with the cold. This was the kind of day you stayed close to the fire and were thankful for all the wood stacked under the porch close to the house.

When you have central heat and a thermostat it is easy to forget what it is like to try and keep a house warm with a wood burner alone. A slight drop in temperature and your furnace responds by kicking up a flame and blowing heat around the house. In our house going to bed means letting the temperature drop as the wood in the fireplace burns slowly out and awaking to a very chilly home. Lee seems to thrive in the cold weather, but I have to admit that the temperatures much below 60 in the house don't thrill me and I do everything possible to avoid being the first one up. 

The high today struggled to get into the 20's outside with about the same amount of wind speed. Speck and I stayed as close to the fire as possible completing a project for decorating a Christmas tree around the court house in Coudersport.  Coudersport does this Holiday tree event every year and a family or organization can pay $18 to decorate a tree around the courthouse area. They are judged in catagories and a $20 prize is awarded to the tree in each catagory deemed the best. Obviously, winning isn't about the huge monetary prize. It is a wonderful way for the chamber to raise money and make the downtown area a little brighter for the holidays. I have to admit I was glad to have something to do inside and be next to the comfort of the fire. However, now that the decorations are made I will have to put them on the tree outside next week. The good news is the temperatures are not supposed to be as cold as today. They will be in the thirties next week making the decorating a bit easier. The winds will slow down a bit as well.

The bear hunters were out in full force Saturday at least until the temperatures started dropping. I saw a few cars today but not quite as many as Saturday. The snow on the ground this morning and the cold temperatures remind us we are just starting the cold winter months and have a long way to go until the ground once again warms up and the trees start to bud. I think the bears have it right by hibernating through the worst of winter. As I snuggle up in a blanket in front of the fire with a warm cup a tea, hibernation sounds so good. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Firewood split and stacked.

I have finally finished splitting and stacking firewood.  The wood that we will use this winter is under the porches and the wood stacked outside is for next winter.  Now I just have to clean up the bark mess and winterize the tractor.  What a relief to have that done before we get snow that piles up.

Speck got 5 teeth pulled on Monday but he is doing great and seems to be recovered.  We will be keeping him on a soft food diet for a few days and giving him anti-biotics for 7 days.  He doesn't seem to mind at this point.  Actually he prefers a soft diet.

Today there were 7 robins in our front yard.  It made me think it's going to be Spring instead of Winter.  I know you snow mobilers are anxious for good snow but I would be happy for it to hold off for a little while.

My sister Diane requested that I post when Paula is busy working so I will give it a try when I can think of something to write.  This is Lee signing off until next time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Large Trap Small Dog

I don't want to look
It was a nice day Friday and I was home early so the dogs and I decided to take a walk. They were usual excited bouncing around, Speck let out one loud uncontrolable bark announcing his joy and we started up the road. I try to keep the dogs pretty close to me when I walk in case cars or other animals show up and they are usually pretty good about keeping within fifty or less feet.

I decided it would be nice to cut through the pine forest and up a trail I use often that comes out at the top of my property. I love looking over the top of the mountains and the last part of the walk is all down hill to home. So Leo, Speck and I cut in and started climbing up the trail. Leo was in the lead and Speck was about twenty feet in front of me. I noticed Speck was sniffing the ground then suddenly, he is screaming, twisting, turning and snaping at a trap now attached to him. I quickly raced to him and to see Speck violently thrashing, while I am try to see what damage has been inflicted on my dog and how to get this thing off of him. I reached in and immediately got my hand chewed up while attempting to grab the trap. Poor Speck didn't have a clue what was happening to him and  bite at anything to get it to stop. Now Leo arrived to investigate the screaming and I had to push him out of the way as well. I worried the longer Speck thrashed the more damage would be done to his small leg stuck in a trap made for a lot larger animal. Blood from my bite and Speck's mouth started to cover him, I finally got the trap in a position I could step on the spring lock and open it while he pulled his leg out.

Speck stood a few steps away dangling his back leg and I feared the worst, a broken leg. I picked him up and carried him back home. I cleaned him up and didn't notice any obvious broken leg. The trap had hit him in the hock just below the joint. He still would not put weight on it, but it seemed more from straining his knee joint during his twisting than the actual injured area. I noticed he was licking his lips funny and looked in his mouth to see two of his front upper teeth now hanging at an unnatural angle. In his attempts to free himself from the trap he had broken at least a couple teeth. 

Amazingly enough in a couple hours he was walking on his back leg and will only have to go to the Vet monday to have his teeth pulled the rest of the way out. As you can see by the size of the trap compared to him, he was very lucky. It could have been so much worse. This is the biggest reason I am not a fan of trapping. I have seen so many dogs loose feet or legs to trapping. 

After talking to the game commission, I found out there is nothing I can do since it wasn't on my property. So I guess it is walker beware out there. However I would like to make this plea. If you are a trapper, PLEASE don't trap near roads and pathways unless you mark the trap visably so someone walking themselves or their animals can see it. If my dog hadn't tripped this trap I might have just as easily stepped in it on a path I regularly walk. It is nice when everyone can enjoy the woods without feeling like they have to stay in during trapping and hunting season, which is half the year here. Mountain girl, Paula, logging off.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Firewood is ready



One of the biggest tasks of Fall is getting all the firewood split and stacked. We get a Tri-axle load of wood every other year so it can start drying out for the following year's wood burn. It will be stacked in the sun and dried for up to 2 years before it is burnt. This allows us to get green timber. We add anything we "find" usually in the middle of the road to help complete the two year time span. We move the wood we are burning for the winter under our two porches, which is just enough to last the winter. When burning season is over it is gone, this keeps the bugs away from the house since in the winter they are not active in the firewood.
Lee got stuck with doing the firewood this year as I have been working away from the house during the daylight hours. Now that it is all spilt she will stack it in the sun on skids a distance from the house. Seems like quite a few hunters have been up for archery season. The bucks are definately running the doe as I have seen quite a few in the evening coming home. Last night I saw a bear getting ready to cross 144 just before Button Hollow road and a porcupine at the top of Cedar Mt. The leaves are mostly off the trees preparing them for the snow that is sure to come. It has been cold enough to remind us that winter is shortly around the corner. It is too bad we can't schedule snow for when and how much we want and leave out all ice. There is nothing prettier than a fresh snow in the mountains and nothing scarier than freezing rain or ice on the roads. Phil has just about finished salvaging out the trailer and is down to the final floor. It will be nice when it is all cleaned up and done. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out and heading up the mountain.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

First Snow and Bridge




We got our first snow this week along with much colder temperatures. Our mild October is ending with a early winter feel. The snow was barely enough to stick to the ground, but reminds us the heavy stuff will be here soon. We have a lot of firewood to spilt and stack yet and Lee has been working hard to get it under cover. Unfortunately for her, I picked up a full-time job in Coudersport and haven't been able to help as much as usual. 

They put the guard rails up around the bridge, which helps define the road a lot better. They haven't fixed the wash out on the yard yet and not sure if they will get it done before winter. Hopefully, they will be back for the flashing signs and cones. I am thinking of turning them off as they aren't really needed now that the rails are up and sitting sort of all over the place. I don't really like the inner city flashing light effect in the woods at night. I feel like I am living next to an all night bar.

Going to check on the progress of the trailer destruction today and see how it has been going. A lot of people up for the weekend. The cold hasn't scared them off. The cat has been housebroken and is looking for a new home if any of you are interested. He is a great cat and very affectionate, considering he was feral to start. Lee is allergic to cats so now that the house is closed up it is getting harder for her with him inside. She is willing to suffer for him as she felt bad about him being outside all winter. But, the dogs would be happy to see him go as well. He likes to chase Leo's tail and pushes Speck off Lee's lap. He is not at all intimated by the dogs and seems to enjoy torturing them. So contact me if you can provide a good home for Felix.

Have a great Leetonia weekend, Mountain girl Paula, logging out.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fall is here


The leaves are falling and frost has been on the ground four times.  It started the first week in September a bit soon even for us. No hard freezes though so most of the plants are doing fine. I am enjoying the quiet lack of construction in my yard and walks in the crisp air. Sounds like some sort of singles ad. Ha.

Good news for the people of Leetonia who have not enjoyed the trailer in front of Pettites. It has been given to me to scrap out. A friend of mine will be doing it over the next couple months. All that should be left is a lot. The lady who owns it doesn't want to care for anything else and is leaving it vacant. She has said that if any of you want to use it to park a car once the trailer is gone...she would appreciate it if you could keep the weeds mowed down.  Phil and his friends will be doing the scraping and while he is there if you see something you need be sure to ask him. Otherwise help him out. If you see someone else taking valuable scrap. Let me or him know. Most the stuff inside is being given directly to people in need. I am cleaning the dishes and bedding up for a family who just had a house fire and lost everything. 

Not a lot else happening right now. Just watching the color change day by day. It is always so beautiful. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Love Letter from Leetonia's Past

Front of envelope

Back of envelope

Page 1 and 4

Page 2 and 3
The string of events started by Fred Espenship who now lives in Evergreen, Colorado. He found the blog and sent the link to his Aunt Fran Weigley who lived in Florida.  Fran was 85 when she started reading my blog in late 2007. She had a deep connection to Leetonia as her Dad, Norman Ottman was a CCC Foreman starting sometime after 1929 and I am unsure of how many years they lived in Leetonia total. But they lived in what she called "The Square Camp", which is Cassel's Red building on the side of the mountain.  Her dad, lived there rent free and supplemented their diet with quite a lot of deer meat.  They then moved to what many know to be the "Herre Camp" and is now "Steele Waters."  Fran had one sister named, Norma, who was Fred's mother. This link shows a picture of Fran and Norma Ottman.
At 85, Fran was not afraid of new technology and followed the blog, emailing me information she thought useful, including several pictures of her family in Leetonia.  If I failed to post on a regular basis she would email me to make sure I was alright.  She even learned how to scan old pictures and send them to me.  The one with her mom, Beatrice,  feeding the bear a bottle is one of my favorites(see link). The one thing I have noticed about people who used to live or even have a camp in Leetonia is they always have fond memories of this place.  Those who have lived here know how hard it is to make a living here and survive what mother nature dishes out.
In July of 2009, my interaction with this family would take an interesting turn. I do a lot of construction work on the places in Leetonia and that summer I worked on the old "Herre Camp".  We replaced windows, painted and replaced all the floor coverings.  We pulled up the old carpet upstairs and saw a letter wedged between the carpet and the floor. The letter postmarked,  Sept 21st 1940 and it was addressed to "Miss Norma Ottman". Norma was the mother of Fred Esphenship. (Original blog story about finding letter).
You can imagine my surprise in finding such an old letter, yet alone knowing the son and sister of the person addressed.  What are the odds such a thing could happen? I opened the letter, which I have transposed here and read it with great interest. The original is also scanned, and I have included it as well, but I thought it would be easier to read this way, since it was folded and in cursive.

September 21, 1940
Saturday 3:00
Dear Norma,
Received your letter today and was glad to hear from you so soon.  Yesterday we went to Atlantic City to see the 1941 Dodge.  I got home around 1:00 Friday night, boy was it hot down there. Geo stayed down for  weekend.  I sold a Dodge 1941 this week. I was down to Leapsons  this week to see how John was coming along. Mr. Leapson had to give some blood last Monday. I guess she is very sick from why(what) they tell me.  But you know how Mrs. Leapson is about that. I have not seen any of the Ricks yet only passing by in the car.  Have you heard from them yet?  I saw mother today and the little dogs  that Sunshine had. How is your kitten? I have not anything to do tonight so I may go to my mothers and go to a show. Bob has not been down all week I may see him tonight down at mothers. Have you been out with anybody yet?
Dear Norma please don't think that about me, really I had the job and was going to start work on Monday, but he didn't need me at the time. He'll let me know when he needs me. Ed is trying to get me into Standard Press Steel.  He got a job there last week some man who works there got him in, he told me he made nearly $30.00 last week, but he worked Sunday.
I am sorry what I said in my last letter saying it was O.K. You know that I still care and always will. If I get this job at Standard Press Steel everything will be O.K. then please don't be mad at me, because I didn't lie to you. I would like to see you some Sunday.
 I guess I better say goodbye.
Love Fred X
P.S. Please trust me Norm.
Say hello to everyone for me.
 Did you get your candy?

The person writing this letter is Fred Espenship who is the father of the Fred Espenship who forwarded my blog to his Aunt Fran. The letter is to his mother Norma, so it became obvious that their relationship continued and they got married. But why is the letter under the carpet in a hallway? Was Norma hiding it from her parents or just saving it and forgot about it? I am afraid we will never know. Norma although still alive when I found the letter,  memories had faded and could not remember the letter.
One thing is for sure having a good job to get the girl was important back then.  I think impressive jobs and money still get the girl today, but we just don't talk about it. I am not sure if Fred stretched the truth about a job he didn't have to make himself look good, but he was determined to make it up to Norma.  Whatever he did it must have worked. He got the girl, Fred was born, read the blog and forwarded it to Fran.  Then sixty-nine year later:  I ended up living in Leetonia; writing a blog making connections to the past; remodeling Norma's childhood home; tearing up the carpet to find the love letter.  Amazing. Life is a great  process of discovering mysteries and it is never dull even in a place as remote as the ghost town of Leetonia.

Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bridge Open

Leo and speck inspect bridge work
The road is open through the bridge project on Leetonia Road past my house. They don't have the guard rails up so if you don't turn you will be coming up my driveway or going into the creek. They said they may not get guard rails up until Spring. Right now there are cones and reflectors which blink all night. They seeded the part of my yard they tore up yesterday and no sooner than it was finished we had a downpour that tore little rivers through it so it isn't looking too good this morning. Not sure if they will repair it or that is on me. Some of the equipment is still here as of this morning, but it may be leaving today.

I didn't get home until 10 pm last night and came home to a dark house. The storm took a tree down and the power with it. Around 10:30 pm I saw the power truck go by and thought it would be back up soon so I went to bed. I woke up at 1:30 am to notice still no power. So I called again. They thought they had it fixed. So it wasn't until 5 am the power came back on and turned all the lights and TV on that was on before the power went off. Since I had to get up at 6 am my sleeping by the time I turned everything off my rest was over. At least I have water and the refrigerator is cold this morning. Well, just this short note for all you coming up. No More DETOURS around Leetonia Rd. Yeah! Mountain girl, Paula, logging out. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It is quiet once again

Looking downstream from bridge

Looking upstream from bridge

Temporary crossing
Although, the bridge work isn't completed, they pulled out the horrible pump and the woods has returned to its natural silence, at least at night.  Over the weekend they made it so I could cross the bridge and save the ten mile detour. I imagine it will be the same again this weekend. They still have some finish work to do. Most of which is in my yard damage and driveway. The way the road looks right now people would tend to drive into my driveway easier than going down the road.  I am just happy not to hear the pump noise and breathe all the diesel fumes.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen fast enough to save me from bronchitis. I have been coughing for 4 weeks and finally had to break down and go to doctor Saturday. Hopefully, between the antibiotics and the better air quality my breathing will return to normal. I will post again before the weekend to let you know if they keep it open, but so far it is only closed while they are working from 8 am to about 3 pm. I feel like I have my own bomb shelter as big as the bridge turned out. I think it will be here long after everything else is gone.

On the weird news side, last week there was an unfortunate incident on the other side of the mountains near Marshlands where Leetonia Rd. connects to Elk Run Rd. It seems the Gaines Township road guys were working when a pipeline worker passed the grader doing what they said was 70 mph. The grader came to a complete stop for fear of a collision and the other worker, Randy, attempted to stop the vehicle and take the driver's information. This is were everything went wrong. The driver didn't want to give him the information so Randy punched him and the guy took off dragging Randy and leaving him in a broken, bloody pile on the road.

Shortly after mobile alerts blanketed the area with a description of the vehicle and its two occupants. They found the guy who hit Randy.  He claims he feared for his life, however this doesn't explain why he didn't stop after nearly killing Randy or call after he got a distance away. Randy had severe face damage and several broken bones. He was air-lifted out, but from what I understand is now at home recovering. I am not sure how this will play out in court. The hit and run person has no excuses, but not sure Randy will come off totally clean for punching him. This just shows you that using force to get justice can get you into trouble. Never a dull moment even in the middle of the woods.  Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bridge parts are set over Buck Run

First Piece

Second Piece

3rd Piece

4th Piece

5th Piece

6th Piece

7th Piece

End caps down creek side

End Caps up creek side
After a very long day seven individual box shaped pieces where dropped down to the footings for the bridge. Four long cables went completely through each of the sections and they were tightened together. Then the last four pieces which will funnel the water toward the hole were bolted on. All pieced were also bolted to the footing.
They will fill about four foot of the depth of the hole with stone to make the level of the bottom of the hole the same as the creek. There are some more retaining walls to be poured and much back filling to be done. They are saying another 3 weeks of work before the bridge is passable. So Labor Day weekend will be a big drive around if you are coming up to camp. They are promising to kill the pumps as soon as the bridge is full of rock. I am expecting that to be next week sometime. That is when I will feel a big relief from all the noise. Maneuvering all the equipment in our front yard today was quite a feat and amazingly enough no one got stuck. I am still suffering from a bad head cold aggravated by all the dust so this project can't be done soon enough.
On a much weirder note, while walking Leo and Speck yesterday morning up the road past Hooke's cabin, I heard a distressed barking sound. At first I thought it was Leo who had wandered down by the camp. It was the kind of bark he does when he sees something and is confronting it. Speck was next to me and the bark was too low for him or for a coyote. The next sound I heard sent a chill up my spine. The dog let out a scream of pain. Now I was worried, had Leo grabbed a porcupine or worse yet, had something grabbed him. I called Leo and headed towards the sound, then I noticed Leo coming toward me. My relief was short-lived when I again heard the barking alert followed by another scream of pain. Now I imagined someone's lost dog caught in a trap or being attacked by another animal.  My rescue self kicked in and I followed the sound up Misner Trail keeping my own dogs close in case there was a predator up ahead. Sound is very illusive in the mountains and trying to hone in on the location of the animal was difficult. The sounds repeated four times and just when I thought I might be able to figure out where it was it stopped. I looked as far as I had could but without anymore sounds it was useless. I went home upset that I couldn't help the animal and wondering what caused the incident.
I told Lee about it when I got home and she said, "What if that had been a Mountain Lion?"
The thought had crossed my mind while looking and I guess if I had seen one, I would have been in a bit of trouble. So if any of you hear strange noises over Labor Day in Leetonia let me know. I know Dee on the other side of mountain heard what he thought was a large cat several weeks ago, so it is always possible.
 Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Crane visits Mountain Girls

video
Today the large Crane that will be putting the bridge together on the footing was delivered. There were several counter weights which had to be brought down and attached to the crane. A tractor trailer delivered each set of weights. The problem was there is no place to turn around, which meant they would have to back down the mountain two miles or come up with another solution. The video shows the other solution. If you are getting this in email you will have to go directly to this blog to see the video. 
The crane is HUGE it dwarfs our house and I think could easily lift the entire house and place it in another location. Too bad I don't have another foundation to move it to my dream location on top the mountain. Tomorrow the road will be closed from the pipeline down and they will be moving the eight pieces of bridge down to the location in front of the house. According to them this should only take one day. I am not sure it will be that fast since it took quite some time just to set up the crane. I am betting the bridge parts will be in tomorrow but the crane won't be out until Friday. 
I am going to be searching for some of the old bridge pictures before the culvert pipe which  lasted 40 years to show you the size of bridge they are putting over this small stream. It is pretty amazing how we have money for some things and not others. I am certainly being entertained by the process, except for the noise and dust. I will definitely have some pictures of the parts being placed into the stream. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bridge Progress

2nd footing forms

pump truck in my driveway

Both Footings complete
As you can tell from the pictures they are still working on the bridge. They just completed the second footer and will be setting the bridge boxes on the 29th of August. We will have no ability to come and go for most of that day as the road going out will be completely shut down in order to get the crane and bridge parts back to the site. If everything fits the positioning of the bridge box should go relatively quickly. Then it is my understanding they will be forming retaining walls for the entrance and exits of the stream, which will hold the bank in place. The final bridge surface will be asphalt. 
I think my request to make the entire road asphalt fell on deaf ears, but a girl can try. Both Lee and I have had upper respiratory problems during this entire process and two of my dogs are coughing. I think all the dust, and exhaust fumes are affecting our ability to breath and get over our sore throats and head congestion. Although, I am pretty sure they won't be willing to take any responsibility for our suffering. If mine isn't better by Monday, I am going to the doctor to get it checked out. I am not counting on the road being open before Labor Day weekend so maintain alternate routes around us.
After doing construction for years I have never had to endure it 24/7 and I will admit it is wearing on me. Too bad the stream crossed the road so close to our house. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bridge Work Progress

video
Forms during concrete pour.
In the picture you can see there is one woman on the crew helping pour concrete. They walked above the forms and guided the concrete in from the pump, while she was using the vibrator to get all the air pockets out of the concrete. Unfortunately, they forgot one safety issue when working with rebar pointing upwards...Always put safety caps on. I guess not too long after my pictures the woman slipped and rebar went into her knee. A bar also headed towards her neck, but she was fortunate enough to stop before that one entered.  Construction work seems so benign until someone gets hurt and it always happens fast. The problem is help isn't too fast in coming out here if you are seriously hurt. Hopefully, this will be their one and only accident. I am sure I will see some caps on the next pour.
The noise is continuing to bombard us and the end of this project won't be soon enough. Remember to go around. You aren't coming through this site in any sort of way other than walking. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hummingbird Central

video

If you are getting this through email you will have to go to lostinleetonia.com to see the video of the hummingbirds. They were quite active this morning after a good rain fall. Since the sun was out I was able to get a good video of them trying to catch up on feeding. This is the height of the season for them with babies and adult bulking up for the long winter flight to the South. It is a good thing most of them are fast as Felix is trying to snag a few in the air as they run by him on the fence. He is a very bad kitty. Enjoy the hummingbirds. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ruins has new owners

After a long day of cleaning
This weekend the new owners of ruins spent some long hard hours cleaning. The picture of them is a bit dark, but from left to right are: Eric Kosek, Pat Wildeman, and John Schilken. They bought the Ruins to have a nice place to bring family members who are interested in the hunting and fishing in the back woods of Leetonia. It had been a while since the Ruins had seen so much soap and elbow grease and the smell of dead things was greatly reduced by the time I visited on Saturday evening. In fact, the place smelled so good I wasn't sure I was at the Ruins.
They have a lot of plans for the Ruins, not the least might be a name change according to Pat, they are looking for something a little more upbeat. Also plenty of maintenance and remodeling will be going on to give the place an inside face lift.
The men were smart getting the most of the cleaning done before they have the women come up who I am sure will re-clean everything without the knowledge of squirrels and many mice who had taken up residence in the camp during the periods when few people came up.  So when you see some new faces in Leetonia give them a big welcome to our area. 
On a sadder note. Jimmy Crooket, who was one of the previous owners of the Ruins, passed on a couple weeks ago. I think he did this so he can spend all his time walking around the hills and mountains of the woods of Tioga with all the old hunters and residents of Leetonia who have gone before him. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

If you want to see the Half-track that used to be at Ruins click here.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dinner at Bear Mountain Camp

Wilma and Sonnie Eberly

Corn Pie
On Thursday, Lee and I were invited over to Bear Mountain Camp by Wilma and Sonnie Eberly for dinner. They went all out to adapt to our vegetarian ways with a "Corn Pie." We had never heard of before this pie before, I guess it is a down state stable around corn picking time. The little ceramic bird in the middle lets the steam out of the pie as it cooks. Reminded me of the old child's poem twelve and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. The pie is made with regular pie crust, corn, potatoes and seasonings in it. You can top it with boiled eggs and warm milk when you eat it to add some protein. It was very good along with the beets, beet-pickled eggs, homemade macaroni and cheese. For desert they had some nice peaches topped with whipped cream. I was not only full then but enjoyed the care package of all the food they sent home with us the following day.
As usual Wilma and Sonnie are the perfect hosts with great conversation to go along with the food. It was a welcome break away from our noisy bridge pump and well worth the extra long drive around the mountain to get to them. Thanks to them both for a wonderful night. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bridge mess continues..

Excavator above hole

Excavator in hole

1/2 Bridge footing forms

Rebar for footing
Well, I awoke to the sound of lightening, thunder and a heavy rain this morning. One hit so close I thought it might have gotten some of the equipment outside the house. It rained pretty hard for about an hour and shut down the bridge work until about 9am. The rain caused them to turn the pump up so it is making more noise tonight along with a smaller pump and generator they have running. They dropped the forms down into the hole and will probably be leveling them up, anchoring them and putting the rebar in tomorrow. I don't know if they will pour the footing tomorrow or Monday. 
As you can see from the second picture the hole is big enough to swallow the large excavator and anything else foolish enough to drive into it. Since our drive is right at the bridge they have to leave a space big enough for us to get around the bridge out sign. I hope no one else drives around thinking they can get through in middle of night. They do park the excavator across the hole, but there is a space to the right someone could plunge in. If they do they won't be driving out and I am sure we will be the first to know. 
They are making quite a muddy mess of the driveway and yard and the rain helped speed up the mess making progress. I think I will be listening to music tonight to fall asleep as the sound of pumps running isn't too soothing. Tomorrow I will be posting something other than bridge progress. I am hoping to get some pictures of some small colorful birds, which have shown up before the bridge work scares them off. Mountain girl, Paula, logging off and trying to get some rest.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Noise Pollution in the Quiet Woods

video

Ear plugs are the only thing keeping us calm. The reason we live out here is for the peace and quiet. I think that is being seriously challenged by this project. I was prepared to be disturbed during the day of digging, but I hadn't braced for a 24hr, 7 day a week until the project is over noise challenge. They are saying 2 months to complete this bridge. If any of you know a "legal" solution to this problem I would sure like to hear about it. I am wondering if a noise baffle can be put up around the pump. This is the first time since we have lived here being away from the house is more peaceful. :(  Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

The digging continues

Hole looking away from house

Hole looking toward house
Well all the pipes are out from under the road and there is nothing but a very large hole. I noticed an old piece of wood that is quite large directly in line with my mailbox and I am thinking that might have been part of the bridge retaining wall before the culvert pipes. That bridge was a cool little wood bridge with rails you could look over and fish from. The culvert pipe replacement was functional but much uglier. I think they did that somewhere in the mid 60's. Getting to Leetonia other than walking which is a mile and a half for me is now 11 miles away. The block is quite large to go around. The best route around still remains Francis-Leetonia to Cushman not Cedar Mt Rd. Cedar Mt Rd. has pipeline trucks running to the top Ridge Rd and over to Wilson Pt and meeting them is almost a near-death experience.
The sound of the pump they are using to divert the water in Buck Run is very annoying. I had to wear ear plugs last night just to get to sleep. Two more months of this is not a happy thought. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bye Bye Bridge


Widening road with dug out dirt

Dam upstream

Creek Pump

Pipe from pump to other side of bridge work

Seep bag

old culverts

Access to creek for machinery

Hole across road
Sneaking by our house on the road is officially over. There is a large hole where the pipes once crossed the road. Working in such a small area is a tricky operation. First they had to cut accesses for the pump to divert the stream. Then they cut a work road down to stream and dammed up the stream. Everything gets covered with straw and silt bag are put up to stop any erosion into the stream. They put another pipe across the road downstream from the work to pump the water up and over to a large bag. This bag fills and gradually seeps the water back to the stream.  Hopefully, we won't get any big storms during this project, because I don't think there system would handle some of the water I have seen come down Buck Run.
I plan on taking progress pictures of the work on a regular basis to show you all where it is at. I am expecting 2 months of the loss of my road. The worse part is the noise not only while they are working but the pump runs constantly and it is very loud. We aren't used to having so much noise so close. I turned the fan on last night to try and drown out some of the pump noise it worked a little. 
They are also using the dirt they dig out to make the road wider and a little straighter shot over the bridge. It seems we might have a very large parking area in front of the house based on how wide it looks already. Well, that is the news that affects us. Small in the scope of the world, but huge change in the once quiet middle of the woods. Mountain girl, Paula, logging out.