Friday, June 21, 2013

Learning how to whittle… with a chainsaw!

This is a post about a Chainsaw Carving Festival.  We’ll get to that.  First, we need to mention some carving we did before that…

Being that our campsite is located right within the bulk of the regular campers we admit that we are often quite alert and curious when someone new pulls in beside us.  Neighbors in a campground can definitely be like a ‘Box of Chocolates’ and we knew these folks were coming for the long haul of twelve full days and nights.  Their rig was about three times longer than ours with rims that screamed bling bling.  Backing a big rig into these tight spots is quite an art form and we can typically tell what kind of neighbors we will have by how they treat each other during this process.  One shot, with the woman driving and the man directing and they were in!  At this point, we figured they had to be alright but had no idea that we were about to meet two new life-long friends.  What a wonderful twelve days we had sharing travel and other stories and getting to know these folks.

One day, Lynn found out that she had the same Birthday as Darlene and it was game on for a celebration and some Birthday Cake. 

That’s where our side story on whittling comes in (sort of)…

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Lynn is still learning how to use their convection oven.  So, despite her thoughtful efforts, special tools were needed to sample the goods! 

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Apparently, claws (not axes and saws) are the perfect option. Photo (18)
At least someone enjoyed the special treats inside (nuts and cranberries).

We didn’t suffer for too long though.  Bob entered with reinforcements from the local market and we feasted and celebrated with little effort.  Sure will miss these two and look forward to meeting up with them somewhere, sometime.

And now… whittling on wood.

The Corp was putting up an information and give-away booth at the Addison Chainsaw Festival and asked if we would volunteer.  So, we covered ourselves in red and headed on out.

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The festival itself was a pretty neat gig.  Fifty plus carvers wielding chainsaws of all sizes (one guy said he owned 26 different ones) each creating various masterpieces that would be auctioned off to raise money for the local society for the blind.  Here’s a sampling of their works.

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We witnessed this lion emerging from just a raw stump of wood.  It was amazing to see the carver create each wave of hair in mane and pull out the basic shape of the face before adding the details.

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Some folks paint or stain or oil their pieces.  This guy was using fire to create various shades of brown and black by burning his piece.
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                                                Have a sweet day!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is it a River or is it a Lake?


Yawk - The pronunciation for Yough, which is short for
Youghiogheny, which is pronounced Yawk - eh - gain - ey.  Now you know why they just call it The Yough in general conversation.  The answer to the title question is that it is both.  It is a River-Lake.  A river with a lake in the middle or a lake that a river runs through. 

Looks like it has been a good while since we’ve posted anything so we’ll put in an effort for our blog readers who are still hanging in there!  After some forest wanderings we managed to find our way to our summer gig in Pennsylvania.

This particular volunteer position, our first for the Corp of Engineers, was divided into two different experiences.  Our first two and a half weeks were spent at the Outflow Campground where we completed some minor maintenance projects and acted as interim campground hosts for the remainder of self registration.

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  Our spot at Outflow.  Check out the sweet ride next to Annie.

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This is a shot looking toward The Outflow from the top of the Dam.  It is an Earthen Dam (different from what we are used to seeing).  The river runs North from here.  Outflow Campground is located 184 feet below the Dam.  So it is probably true as one camper stated that, “If it goes, they’ll probably never find our bodies!”. 

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Looking in the other direction, down the lake, toward our next campground (which you cannot see in this photo).  The Yough-Lake is about 16 miles long.  We completed dock inspections with one of the rangers the other day covering most of the lake and traveling into Maryland and back.  Despite the drizzle, it was a great day out and we saw an Eagle flying overhead and Osprey feeding their young.

           Bird’s Eye View of the Youghiogheny River Lake

Folks appreciate the Outflow Campground for its proximity to the town of Confluence (walking distance), the presence of internet and phone service, the fishing and the ease of access to the Great Allegheny Passage Bicycle Trail (Outflow has a hike / bike camping area).  We took it in while we were there, walking to town, exploring the bicycle trail on foot and observing fly fishing techniques in action.  We also managed a front row seat to a release of the Yough Dam.  It’s a hydroelectric unit that produces in the neighborhood of 12 Megawatts per hour.

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April showers, bring May flowers and it seemed that we arrived just in time for the bulk of the bloom.

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Some new friends offered to take us Ramp hunting one day.  Ramps are in the leek family and taste like the result of an affair between an onion and a garlic.

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                       Showing Darlene how it’s done.
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                                   Ramps - Topside
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                          Ramps - Down Under (Ground)
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                                Ramps - Unearthed

It was suggested that the best way to eat these was sliced raw onto some buttered bread with salt on top.  Yum!

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There’s more to this photo than just a random woodsy scene.  The Ramps we collected were scattered amongst field after field of Trilliums.  What looks like the sun hitting leaves in the forest is actually thousands of the white flowers.

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                       With a few other color variations mixed in …
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We had our first Jack In The Pulpit sighting.  If you look closely smack dab in the middle, just under the curve, you can see his head popping out for a peek.

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We explored one of the local covered bridges on the way home…

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Before leaving the Outflow Campground we assisted Corp and University researchers with an invertebrate study.  We collected and filtered water samples and used very fine nets to gather evidence of Caddis, Stonefly and the like from various tributaries.  They were then sorted and sent off to a lab in Tennessee for identification.  The research we did is compared with that of previous years in order to determine the health of and or changes in each particular stream.

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                                Collecting Samples…Photo (70)
       One of the lucky ones (a baby crawdad) gets released.

Mid-May we left Outflow for our official summer gig at Tub Run. It looked a whole lot different than the last time we were here.  The trees had filled out and everything was in bloom.

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                                Even the pine cones!
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Everything that we like about Tub Run is the opposite of what we had at our first campground.  It is quiet, out of the way, flanked in hardwoods and other foliage and our cell phone only works 1/2 mile away at the boat ramp so we don’t even turn it on.

That about does it for this post… 

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   Over and out from our creek-side, summer site at Tub Run.