Tag Archives: Bald Eagles

All play and no work

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Finding the balance at the moment is kind of tricky. I’m am meant to be working whilst on the road. The book I’m currently writing about a medical condition is just not progressing as I had hoped… it was easy at home when I had childcare and evenings without distraction – I flew through chapters churning out thousands of words in a day. Here I have the children all day, Orla has dropped her nap (oh joy!) and then in the evenings it’s hard to find the motivation to carry on after blogging and sorting through emails.

The days are a combination of fun farm work, like milking the cow and collecting eggs, the mundane like sorting out meals and washing up (which is still pretty fun and novel in the Airstream), the mind numbing, like changing nappies and picking up clothes constantly, and the unbelievably exciting, like watching a bald eagle fishing on the river here. Plus we’ve been having campfires and using the bat detector and tracking deer through the woods (and, ahem, watching Game of Thrones on DVD). But that doesn’t leave a lot of time for blog and book writing or charity administration. I am proud to say though that I got up at 06:30am on Friday, sneaked out to the car (turned the heaters on!) and attended an online meeting. I suppose getting up early to work is an option that many people in my situation would embrace but honestly… it’s not going to happen so lets not pretend it is. I’m far more likely to get up at dawn to look for owls and coyotes and listen to the dawn chorus while watching the sunrise. And even that wouldn’t be a regular occurrence – sleep has become far to precious since having children.

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Rob and Patrick cleaning out the chickens

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Alfie and I spend a while trying to get a picture of him kicking a ball. This was my favourite.

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He climbs everything!

Slightly more frustrating is the lack of time with my camera. I am determined to get a decent picture of a bald eagle. Last night at dusk we spotted it flying along the river and when it perched I grabbed the camera, I got this rather ridiculous picture from our door in the hope I could see it more clearly on the computer but alas it was too far.

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Spot the eagle…

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Zoomed right in, barely visible… but proof none the less that we have seen a bald eagle! It was somewhat better in real life 😉

This morning we saw him again perched on a branch by the river but this time we were about 40 metres away from him… without a camera or binoculars! “Why on earth don’t you just take the camera out with you all the time?” I hear so many of you cry… You people with none, one or maybe two children… With three kids in tow I can only take the camera sometimes and only if I also have Rob with me. Picture for a moment if you will… me laden with kids coats they are refusing to wear, chasing Orla down the road (man can that girl move when she wants to!) Alfie is chasing her for me and I diligently have my camera over my shoulder and across my chest resting on my back while not in use chasing them both. Patrick is somewhere near me but he is sly like a fox and moves around me shadow style. Orla stops suddenly, Alfie crashes into her and down they both go like a sack of spuds. I catch up, anticipating the howls that are about to start and on swooping down to retrieve Orla to her feet the lens on the camera cracks Alfie on the head… On turning to comfort him and apologise Patrick is taken out, again by the lens… I can’t pick any of them up in case they kick the damn thing and they are all now crying and it’s starting to rain…

This scenario happens on a daily basis, add Swarovsai binoculars in to the mix and there is even more chaos. Actually, that’s not true, it happens multiple times every day and the only aspect of it that I can alter or improve is the camera/binocular element. It’s the kit I’m worried about obviously… the kids heads will be fine, it’s never a particularly hard clonk!

That said, I do take it out with me when Rob is with us (so he can sort out the scrapes and falls without braining the children in the process) and I love using it when I can. I just have to accept my limitations. But you all know me, when I’m determined to do something, like get a photo of a bald eagle… I do it, and I’m even more proud of it knowing the challenges I faced in getting it.

Dancing Cats and Bald Eagles

 

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The Deans have landed… On their feet! A great nights sleep (albeit with a shockingly early start at 05.30am again) followed by a true American breakfast, cooked up expertly by our host at Lazy Pond B&B, Matt. Pancakes, bacon, maple syrup, sausages, French toast, potato hash, coffee… You name it, we had it!

Breakfast was followed swiftly by playtime in the snow…

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Alfie and Patrick in the snow at Lazy Pond B&B

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She looks so sweet here but was literally SCREAMING “Cheese” at me whenever I pointed the camera away from her!

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The snow is deep!!!

Snow play was followed by a trip to The Dancing Cat Saloon for yet more food, some jazz and some whiskey. If you visit Sullivan County in the Catskills you absolutely must visit this saloon. The mouthwatering menu lived up to its description and more… Fresh home made raspberry jam like I’ve never known and zabaglione, which is like a sort of cross between clotted cream and custard, amazing! They also have a distillery on site and we got a personal tour by the distiller himself, Monte. The kit looks like something out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and is used to make a host of interesting whiskeys, vodkas and gins of all sort of amazing ingredients from local farms.

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Catskill Distilling Company

Obviously we couldn’t leave without a bottle for the road.

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Most Righteous Bourbon by the Catskill Distilling Company

It just so happened that the co-owner of the saloon, Stacey, happens to be an avid eagle watcher and pointed us in the direction of the best eagle viewing area in the county… Which I’m sorry but I’m not posting publicly online… You’ll have to visit Dancing Cats and ask Stacey for yourself. If you’re not into Eagles then visit them for the music, food and the mermaid on the piano.

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The mermaid on the piano at the Dancing Cat Saloon

So it turns out our experiences of less friendly people in the city were very much limited to there. People out here in the Catskills could not be more friendly, more welcoming or helpful. We mentioned our slight nervousness at the snowy roads that we are not use to and were instantly provided with Monte’s mobile phone number in case we should run into trouble.

On leaving the Saloon we headed off to spot us some eagles. But not before stopping to check out the monument making the regions most famous event… Woodstock. It was kind of snowy so we couldn’t really see much but, dear readers, if you could have seen me wading through the snow that came right up to my bum just so I could get this picture to share with you… Well you would have been proud of me!

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Monument at Woodstock site… somewhat buried in snow!

And so to the eagles. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, despite my navigating prowess, we have taken quite a number of wrong turns between New York City and here and we have turned around more times then I care to remember (or confess). We keep reassuring ourselves that we’ll get used to the signs and junctions but honestly, they come out of nowhere and every road has about 4 different numbers and names! Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I’ve successfully navigated in many a European country without issue or error and yet am utterly flummoxed right now. However, I have absolutely no intention of getting a Sat Nav so I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon (or end up in Peru?).

Eventually we found the place and Orla woke up right on que. The snow was starting again and we really don’t want to get stuck so we didn’t spend long… but… We saw a Bald Eagle. And it was magnificent. It was also brief so I don’t have a photo to share with you. But I will, I am sure, over the next few weeks and months.

Eagles weren’t the only wildlife we saw. I spotted a couple of deer and we saw a Blue Jay and a Common Merganser (google it if you’re interested).

To be fair to kids (and Rob and I need reminding “to be fair” as we moan between ourselves quite a lot about them) we were pretty impressed by how long they were in the car and the boys really got into the bird watching. They are getting pretty good with the binoculars now too.

Back to beautiful cosy and warm Lazy Pond we headed. Warm was what was needed, boy is it cold out. We have spent the evening watching Home Alone with the kids, snuggled up on the sofa.

I’m a little worried that we have been so spoiled at Lazy Pond that no where else will live up to it. But more about that tomorrow and until then, stay warm.

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