I sit here on December 30th and I have to wonder where the year has gone. It’s hard to believe that I have been retired from my full-time employment for a whole year already. In fact, it seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago that I was photographing my last horse event of the Fall. Maybe the fact that the temperatures have been so mild is the reason it doesn’t seem like Winter is here yet.
It has been a very busy November and December this year with lots of calls and emails from horse friends looking for photos and photo related merchandise to use for Christmas gifts. As usual, calendars were big this year. There were orders from the usual customers, plus a few big business orders. I finally mailed out the last calendar order yesterday. The order came in kind of late so I set the calendar up to start on February 1st instead of January 1st.
As many of you know, I get a lot of the photo related merchandise that I sell from Hong Kong which is why I need a lot of lead time on orders. I would love to deal with someone in the States or even locally, if they had good prices and had software that would allow me to design just about anything I want, like the software of the Chinese vendor that I currently use. Many firms will provide the kinds of things that I sell, but they want big quantity orders and they do the design work for you for a fee. Since many of the items I sell are one-off, these companies don’t want to do business with a small seller like me at prices that make it possible for my customers to buy the items. I can get photos printed and mailed straight from the lab to the customer’s address in just a few days, but calendars, shower curtains, blankets, etc. come from Hong Kong and take several weeks.
In reviewing the past year, there were a lot of great things that happened. I got to go on three wagon trains and was able to ride for a lot longer than in the past when I had to work a regular job on Monday through Friday. Also, it was great to be able to drive to an event a day early and, in some cases, stay until the day after the event before coming home. Along the way, I was introduced to the Kentucky Trailblazers club and joined them for three events, including the 5 day wagon train across Kentucky from Shelbyville to Refro Valley and a weekend ride that wound up circling the state capitol building in Frankfort, Kentucky. The Trailblazers now join the Community Draft Horse and Mule Association, the Eastern Kentucky Draft Horse and Mule Association, the Southern Indiana Draft Horse and Mule Association, and the Friendship Club in southwestern Ohio as organizations that I belong to and whose events I try to attend whenever possible. The only problem with having this many affiliations is that there are occasions when two or more of the clubs are having an event on the same weekend. When that happens, I am put in the uncomfortable situation of having to choose between events. My criteria is usually the uniqueness of the event and/or the distance I have to travel to attend. Oftentimes, these criteria are very useful in helping me to make the decision regarding which event to attend.
As many of you are aware, I upgraded my accommodations this year by buying a new little travel trailer in late July. No more tent camping! Linda and I agreed that I was getting too old to sleep on the ground or in the back of the truck like I have for the past several years. I was able to use the trailer a lot in August, September and October. At one point, I was on the road for 12 days straight and went to 4 different venues to take photos during that time. Now that we have better accommodations, Linda is considering coming along to a few events next year again. She hasn’t done that for several years now.
One thing that I do have to admit to being disappointed with this year is this blog. I started the blog with the goal of posting something at least every couple of weeks. I haven’t been too good at getting that done. I promise to try to do a better job at it during this coming year.
Well, the “meeting” season is upon us. The Eastern Kentucky Draft Horse and Mule Association is having their annual dinner meeting on January 7th in Owingsville, Kentucky and the Community Draft Horse and Mule Association is having their dinner meeting the following Saturday in Cynthiana, Kentucky. There is information about both events on the website “Upcoming Events” page. We already traveled down to Tell City, Indiana for the annual dinner meeting of the Southern Indiana Draft Horse and Mule Association in mid December. As always, the food was great and it was a lot of fun to touch base with all of our friends from that organization. Unfortunately, the Kentucky Trailblazers had their dinner on that same day and we weren’t able to attend. Maybe things will work out better next year.
I guess that this is enough for now. If you read this far, then you must be pretty bored and have more time on your hands than I would have thought. Remember, there are only about 90 days until the start of April and the Spring season. I look forward to seeing you down the trail. If we haven’t met in person, be sure to come up and introduce yourself.
(Note to self: Maybe you should sit down and do this more frequently instead of saving everything for one big blog entry!!)