As the title of this post suggests, I’ve been busy!
2015 is turning out to be a year of changes in more ways than I could have imagined, or wanted to. There was really only 1 major change I wanted to make to my life this year, and instead of that, it sort of seems like everything else is changing around me without my permission.
Of course, for starters was Chewbacca’s lameness. He is doing OK day by day, but he is definitely not sound. I don’t imagine he ever will be truly “sound” again, but I’d at least like to see him more comfortable than I think he is.
Retiring him was not on my list of things to do in 2015…. maybe by the end of 2017 I would have probably pulled out the big “R” for Chewie, but I was not expecting to do so at the beginning of 2015 – and especially not due to lameness. Of course with that change, came the other changes of selling Chewbacca’s equipment. I love driving the ponies & minis, and really am looking forward to having more of the little ones in the future, so I sure don’t need the big, heavy equipment of Chewbacca’s. Some of it has sold already and I have interested parties in the rest, so we’ll see.
Besides that was my decision, after buying a new vehicle that can haul, to sell the horse trailer we’ve had for 10 years so I can buy a new one (well… new to me anyway), with the intention of hauling by myself to shows & events. I realized long ago how relying on other people to “help” with my equestrian endeavours was a very bad idea, so I’m trying to rectify that.
In my vision of a perfect world, I would get a trailer, and load up Luke or Jesse and go to shows, events, and maybe even the National Drive all by myself. My trailer would also be painted up to match my car and glitter like a bass boat.
Well…. the reality of it all isn’t exactly what I envisioned, but it’s still coming along. I did get a suitable trailer. I had not one, but two, nearly brand new trailers lined up to buy. After the first one fell through because the seller lied to me about it even being available (12 hours before I was supposed to go see/buy it), I was assured over and over by the 2nd seller of the next nearly new trailer that all was in good order and it really did exist, and he honestly did have a title to sign over to me. Well, 2 days before I was supposed to go get the other new trailer, that fell through, too, because he did not actually have a title for it.
So… that left me falling back to my original plan, which was to purchase an older, but more affordable, trailer and paint it. Which I did. A friend pointed out the trailer locally that was for sale, and I ended up buying it. Is it new? No. It’s 18 years old. It is pretty? Not really. But it is functional, and I’m working on the pretty by giving the trailer a major makeover inside & out.
Ironically, I’m not actually sure, after doing all this, that I will be driving either Luke or Jesse next year for various reasons. Lets face it, they aren’t getting any young either. They’ve both been shown extensively, and are at the peak (or plateau) of their training. I doubt I will be putting out the $$$ to show at bigger events farther away, and other than trying to attempt to do the National Drive in Lexington this year (or maybe next year….), I’m not even sure why I felt getting the new/used trailer was even justified.
I would like to think about finishing out this year with Luke and Jesse and be done with driving both of them next year and in turn get a new, younger pony to train/bring along, and eventually sell. But I do have other major changes to think about instead of new ponies…. at least for a while.
How’s that for irony? All the effort to get a trailer, for horses I might not even keep driving past this year…… hm.
And what about this trailer? Well, I am starting a different post which will be a progress post on it, and I will put it up when it’s done.
In the mean time, I’ve also been keeping busy with getting out and taking photos. Some of my better shots of 2014 and the early months of 2015 have been shipped of to the Wisconsin State Fair. I’m hopeful for a good showing, so fingers crossed!
I definitely do feel like I am improving in my photography every time I go out. I’m getting better at finding new things to photograph, and have been taking photos I am quite proud of in the last several months. To what end, I’m not sure – I would like to sell photos on a professional level, or even better, to submit (and be accepted!) to magazines as a stock photographer. We’ll see – I guess everything happens as it is supposed to, exactly when it is supposed to.
And speaking of photos, here are a few to share.
I have definitely been in macro mode and loving it! Insects are so much fun to photograph and I have been trying to some new macro techniques to get better and better.
I almost have the screenings of his eyes in perfect detail on this fly. I need to get closer and more magnified! Yes!
Japanese Beetle on a thistle flower. So much fun to photograph insects- they glisten and shimmer, and are just beautiful!
Milkweed Beetle on a leaf. Just trying out a technique that I’m pretty happy with so far, I just need to get a little better with it. Nice detail, though!
And then, I mounted up the “big lens” (aka my bird lens) and went off for another photo shoot this 4th of July weekend that involved an amazing sight the likes of which I have never seen before!
When I first visited a heron rookery (community nesting grounds) earlier in the year, I found about 30 nests in the tree tops, and I thought it was truly incredible! I had never seen so many birds in one small location all at once before, and to watch the Great Blue Herons, Great White Egrets, and Double Crested Cormorants come and go from their nests was just super cool! I got very very close to that particular rookery, as you could walk right up to the trees the nests were built in, but when my husband pointed out this lake with “something” in the middle of it, I never in my life expected to see this, just 15 minutes from my home!!!
What are you are looking at below is a man made “island” in the middle of a lake – a lake closed to boating or fishing or swimming. In fact, there is pretty much no human access expect for the forest preserve people who maintain this structure.
On that structure are hundreds and hundreds of birds! This massive rookery is home to over 1,000 Double Crested Cormorants, Great White Egrets, and Great Blue Herons, and to top it off, there were dozens of American White Pelicans hanging around, not to mention diving terns and I even found an osprey!!!!!
Below, are around a hundred or more Cormorants, and a couple Egrets. Both of the above and below images are 5- shot panorama images I combined, because the number of birds was just too great to fit into a single image! Of course, making a panorama does automatically make the images a little smaller.
Below are some shots of a couple of the pelicans and a couple Cormorants in the “herd”, too.
What a truly amazing experience to see all those birds coming and going and flying and fishing. Such an amazing variety all in place, I almost didn’t know what to photograph first! Who would have thought even up here in Illinois, you can have such splendor right along a highway!
Below are an osprey and a Great White Egret. Unfortunately the osprey was facing the sun and it was overcast, both double negatives that don’t make a right in photography, so the shots of my osprey did not come out well, but I was not going to pass up the chance to photograph it anyway!
… and now, I leave you with a dragonfly sticking its tongue out.