Living with Mom–The Fall

From January 30th at 1:39 AM
Today while I was at work Mom took a spill. She was not home alone. She tripped over her own slippers. She broke her left Femur and her left wrist. She is also complaining of neck pain but we need to wait until morning for a full MRI. They also need to wait for the orthopedic surgeon in the morning before they proceed with setting her leg or arm. She may need surgery again. Sorry for the super late update everyone, it has been a horrendous night to say the least. Rest assured she is not alone.

Today is February 15th
It has been a long couple of weeks
I got the call while on my way home from work. As anyone who has cared for an older person knows, this can be one of the worse phone calls you ever get.
She was in the hospital for 2 weeks. It took 3 days before she could have surgery and get the leg and arm set.After surgery she spent 3 days in Surgical Trauma, where things really looked bleak for a bit, she kept on saying she was going to die. I was scared to death and worried sick, that she WAS going to pass. On the fourth day they moved her to a step-down unit, where she spent most of the time for the next 5 days sleeping and lethargic. She finally started to come around last weekend, talking and joking, and just seemed to be almost back at her baseline. Two days ago they finally released Mom from the hospital, she was moved to a skilled nursing facility for Rahab once again. She is smiling and laughing at my stupid jokes, and silly face dances.

They removed the pins from the previous Hip surgery,she now has a steel rod in her leg, and a cast on her wrist. With the progression of the dementia, it is going to be much harder for her to follow simple instructions. Therefore making rehabilitation a much longer process. We are hopeful and positive though. On the brighter side of things, she is already making friends there. She seems to be much more comfortable than she had been at the previous facility, which BTW refused to have her because we would not put into long-term care and chose to care for her at home. This new facility is clean, the staff is very friendly and it is much more home like. My apologies for the long break in posts, but it has been a long couple weeks.

My Philadelphia

Most people come to the city of Brotherly love for one of two things, History or entertainment. Even those of us who live in the region rarely if ever venture off into the outlying regions of the city to explore what this city really is all about. This city is rich in history that has nothing at all to do with the American Revolution, and it is all so easy to find if one just opens their eyes. Please join me on a journey to some of the lesser known Icons of the city of brotherly love as I explore the beauty beyond the hype!

One of the first really cool places I like in the city is Old Pier 18, in Port Richmond. Extending 875 feet into the river, Pier 18 carries two railroad tracks and was used for the loading of coal and ore. The now-defunct Richmond Coal Wharves, developed primarily by the Reading Railroad, encompass a mile of shoreline and 12 abandoned piers. It was once the primary terminal for Pennsylvania vast coal output. Access is off of Richmond street and parking is not an issue. below are a couple of links for google map images I took from atop and around the structure:

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.97237,-75.113949,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e2!3m3!1s100604250!2e1!3e10

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.972899,-75.114212,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e2!3m3!1s100604244!2e1!3e10

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.971833,-75.111833,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m5!1e2!3m3!1s-jm7ErjYHQbU%2FUE5-DuUsuYI%2FAAAAAAAAH_I%2FewrENSjbJP8!2e4!3e15

There are many birds in the area during the spring months, and groundhogs are pretty common as well. The area is relatively safe, but always be aware of your surroundings when exploring strange new places. below are some other of the other Photos I have taken of the area.

Daring wildlife rescue saves great horned owl from the clutches of ravenous coyotes!

June 16th 2014 Mullica Hill New Jersey

While visiting a friend on his farm in Mullica Hill, I decided to step out onto the back veranda to partake of a smooth refreshing Marlboro cigarette. It was just around dusk, maybe around 7:30 and the sky was a beautiful array of fiery oranges and reds. I took out one of those refreshing cigarettes from the familiar red pack, and placed it to my lips, I could really smell the unlit tobacco as it was a fresh pack of those smooth refreshing Marlboro cigarettes. I lifted my purple BIC lighter to ignite my cigarette, when out of the back field came a screech unlike anything I had ever heard before, followed by an incredibly loud rustling. Started I dropped both the purple BIC lighter and that smooth refreshing Marlboro cigarette, and looked up to see what was causing such a horrendous disturbance to my peace. I could see a relatively large bird with a most white underbelly making a severely labored attempt to escape the clutches of what we are sure where the pair of coyotes that recently took up residence in the area. The large bird appeared to have escaped, and made it into a tree as we could hear it screeching for almost an hour after the ravenous attack. I commented to my friend that the screeching sounded much like an owl. We eventually returned inside to resume whatever it was we had been doing prior to the “incident” as it would come to be known as.

Fast forward to June 18

I again visit the same friend where the “Incident” occurred , and he informs me that his wife had a close encounter with an Owl earlier in the day and she thought it may have been injured because it let her get so close. I thought nothing of it, having forgotten so soon about the “incident” of 2 days ago, and explained that many owls will let humans get fairly close if they do not fell threatened. We proceeded to check the general area, but saw no sign of the said owl, we did not realize he was playing hide and seek! Again we resume whatever trivial activity it was we were involved in and the conversation mostly forgotten, until the next afternoon, the fated date of June 19th 2014. While leaving to go on a WaWa run for some hot refreshing WaWa coffee and a fresh pack of those refreshing Marlboro cigarettes , I noticed something moving near the end of my friend’s driveway, so we stop to see what it is, and Lo and Behold, there he is the Famed Injured Owl. And yes he was injured and a little bewildered too, both his left wing and left leg\Talon were injured  and he required some human intervention to get him up off the ground where he was pretty much coyote food, since he could not escape nor defend himself while confined to the ground. See the pictures and video of the dramatic (actual pretty anti climatic) wildlife rescue below.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152497571513633&l=6376591225774792871

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152497524198633&l=5981164354409434130

please follow the links for Video Viewing

The Owl was Taken to the Tri-Sate Bird rescue in Delaware

This is a true story, everything actually happened just as the story proclaims

15000 pictures

I am in the middle of an organizational project involving all my images. So far I have only imported pictures dating back to January of 2013, and there are just over 15000 pictures! The plan for this set is to get it down to under 5000 usable images and discard the rest from my library,take into consideration this does not include the thousands of family pictures I have in my archives! When I say discard, I do not permanently discard any image I just remove them from the catalogue I am working with in Lightroom. The task is daunting to say the least, just a quick run through to eliminate groups of bad imagery(pictures taken with bad settings and blurs) of about 3000 images took close to 3 hours. once the task of downsizing my catalogue to just usable images has been completed, I will fully compile a usable portfolio of my best images which I will of course share with everyone.

Photography and the outdoors are 2 of my most loved things in life, right up there with cooking. Sometimes the combination of these 3 things make for an abundance of mediocre to downright bad choices for photographs, that should never be seen by any set of human eyes and with proper handling and encryption they never will! My point being that any good photographer takes many pictures, and many of them are not usable images. Most people do not understand the hours that go into the actual process of sorting through 1000 pictures to find that 1 or 2 that are A1 perfect pictures. I enjoy nothing more than sharing what it is I experience when I am out in the marshes, or off in the state forest or same canyon, and I can do that best through my lens and some carefully crafted words. I am hoping that you enjoy the end product of the many hours of work I am putting into this project, and the stories that will accompany the images.

 

Thanks for reading, please visit me at Http://blog.bleattler.com

A MONTH IN THE MARSH–pt 1

It has been some time since I have posted an article, almost 4 months. It is not that I have had nothing to talk about I just have not been able to find the motivation to actually sit here and type. Sitting still is not my thing. Now I find myself with so much to say, and so much to share that it is flowing, like the sweat from my pores on a humid summer city day. I have spent the last 6 weekends in the marshes of the Delaware bay, in southern New Jersey. From Salem traveling southeast all the way to Cape May, I have mapped close to 2000 miles of travel. I have mapped 8 active Bald Eagle nests, and photographed 5 of those nests and their owners. 3 nests currently have active young as far as I can tell.

My time spent observing and photographing these magnificent raptors has given me a much grander respect for their beauty and agility. Overall, the American Bald Eagle is my second favorite bird, shadowed only by the Peregrine falcon. Even so; having never spent this much time alone and so close to these birds I was brutally unaware of just how social they can be. They are very verbal, and have some very interesting gestures. I also had the pleasure of observing some other wildlife during my time in the marshes. There are a large number of Osprey, though I was only able to actually verify one active nest. I saw several Falcon, and Kestrel and 4 owls, though I was unable to get any usable photograph of any owl It is a different world in the marshes, so close to the megatropolis that is the I-95 corridor and most people don’t even know it exists.

It is loud, though not from any human created sounds. The constant chatter of spring is in the air, as birds hunt for food for their young, and the frogs croak loudly. All working together to create a symphony of sound that is more soothing than anything else I can think of. I spent close to 160 hours in the marsh, and only encountered another person twice, and both times it was fish and wildlife officers. I found the solitude to be  far more than relaxing, the air smells better, the air feels cleaner, and the sky looks so much bluer. The animals and the birds begin to accept that you are not an invader and pose no threat and they stop paying attention to you, and thats when things happen! Watching the Eagles hunt and feed their young is an amazing sight, and it was given to me as a gift to enjoy and share with my followers.

I learned some things about myself out there in the marsh, alone. I learned that I need my solitude, but I do not need to be alone. I learned that I am much more patient than I really know that I am, and that I need to learn to better manage my patience. I learned that I can be at peace with myself and with the world around me, and that I cannot control everything. I learned that sometimes, it’s better to just let it go.

I have shared a gallery for you all to enjoy please take time to enjoy and let me know what you think!

stay tuned for part 2 which should arrive in 2 weeks, next week something a little different

I took over 5000 shots, and after eliminating all unusable materials I am left with 2700 images. Of these 2700, only about 200 will ever see anything more than my hard drive and my eyes. Some are strictly being used for submission images for contests, and some are being shared here. 25 of the best images will be offered for sale at http://programmer64.deviantart.com.

Back to the blog

It has been a few months since I have posted anything to the Epitech blog. I am just finishing up a 2 part article with part 1 set for release this coming weekend June 7-8 2014. It is a trip into the marshes of southern New Jersey with a plethora of wildlife photos and some interesting tidbits of New Jersey history most people are unaware of!

The Old Mine Road

Like any road trip before it where the sole motivation was to relax and take some nice pictures, this one had no real navigational planning. I knew I wanted to go to the Delaware Water Gap national recreation area, specifically I wanted to drive Old Mine road along the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.  I knew how to get there, but was not really in a hurry.

I started up I-76 headed west, the wonderful Schuylkill expressway, headed for the northeast extension the Pennsylvania turnpike. Of course as anyone from the region can tell you it is not the place to be at 9 in the morning. I quickly changed plans and headed off in a different direction. I exited the expressway and got onto the Lincoln Drive and wandered the smaller roads out to Us Route 202 just east of Doylestown. I followed US 202 into New Jersey.

Once in New Jersey I immediately exited rte. 202 and headed north along rte. 29, which follows the river north to Frenchtown. From there I stayed along the small roads which border the Delaware River, ensuring I would pass through Manunkachunk because I think the name is funny and I thought maybe I would visit the famed Manunkachunk tunnels again. Although I did not visit, I did yell hello as I drove on by.

I had been along the Old Mine Road before, but it had been years and never on a lone trip. I was excited as I knew this was a great wildlife area with many trails, and the wonderful Buttermilk falls.My first stop was the old copper mine trail, a nice 2 mile hike up to an old abandoned copper. The hike started out OK, but very icy by the time I hit mile 1, and I had to retreat so as to not die since that was NOT on the agenda for today.

I carefully traversed back down the mountainside, be ever so careful of the many very icy patches along the way. It took some time, but I did get to see a very large and very unhappy Owl who was also very camera shy. I returned to my jeep and continued my journey, slowly taking in all the amazing scenery. This place is so beautiful in snow and ice. I took around 650 pictures, 300 of which are worthy of keeping and there are 30 in the gallery which can be accessed by clicking the link at the end of this post.

I was disappointed in how little wildlife I got to observe on this trip, although I did see numerous hawks and 2 Falcons. It was not a wasted trip though, as I got to take a few really great shots which I am quite proud of! This is a great day out in any season, but I would suggest a first trip being sometime in mid spring when the roads are not so Ice covered unless of course you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle and are not afraid to drive on hard pack snow.
I plan to take another trip to the Gap in the springtime in hopes of getting some good wildlife shots, but for now this trip is ended. Please check out the gallery of pictures.

In My Backyard

I am a south Jersey redneck all the way, born in wonderful downtown Camden in the year of the dragon 1964. When I was around 5 years old, (I remember that because I started kindergarten) we moved to West Berlin New Jersey. A big house with a huge yard, and enormous woods, this was the edge of the New Jersey Pine barrens. Back in those days when the 2 best toys any boy could have were outside and imagination, this was a dream come true.

I could leave the house in the morning, and not return until dinner, and nobody needed to worry much. Things were much different back then. For me, it was like being Ponce de Leon on the hunt for the fountain of youth, or Columbus discovering the Americas. I fought dragons, foiled criminals and discovered new lands in those woods. I caught frogs and turtles and chased fox and raccoons, I got wet, I got dirty and I had fun.

This was the time in my life when I developed my love of the outdoors, and nature. I could spend the whole day just wandering through those woods, watching the animals, listening to the sounds, smelling the smells it was like I was the only person in the world and this whole place was just for me. I can still spend a whole day just hiking in those woods, listen, watching and photographing.

There at the edge of the Jersey Pinelands, this was my playground. As a boy I learned many things in and from those woods, and the experiences I had there. I learned to respect that which is wild, and it in return will respect you. I learned to always trust my instincts, as I watched, listened and absorbed the forest. This time in my life is most certainly that which inspired in me the Explorer soul and photographer spirit.

The spirit that pushes me to discover and explore, to go to places most people don’t, and do things that most people won’t.  Like hiking the Appalachian Trail from end to end, not something I have been able to accomplish but something on my bucket list. I can however say that I have hiked on the Appalachian Trail, in every state through which it runs. Now I know that’s not exactly the same, but it is mine, and I gotta own it! How about hiking UP the Kaibab trail, from the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Yes we did it, why? Because we could, it was  there and that’s what those woods gave me.

That was many years ago, I am now a grown man living in the city. I visit the Pinelands every chance I get, because for me it is home. I carry with me everyday many things I learned in and from those woods and will take to my grave some of her secrets. The New Jersey Pinelands may be home to the Famed Jersey devil, and the legendary Pineys, but for me it will always just be my back yard.