Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, 2010!

Our dogs celebrated today with a visit from their new pal, Ashley and after getting kennel chores done, she took six for a nice fling. Zeus,Buffy, Medio, Eos, Kiddo and Tsunami had the honors today.

Learning to Drive a Sled

Top photo: l to r, Kelsey, Ashley and Katie (and Julie with pails)

Video , courtesy of David J., this is Kelsey, an experienced horsewoman, taking her first ride on a dog sled.

When we hook up a beginner, we take the best combo of four dogs (usually)... they must be dogs who are our best leaders, who get along with the other dogs in the team with no messing around, dogs ready to take the driver down the trail safely and with fun. We tell the driver to keep the sled under their control and do some brief teaching about the brake, drag, snow hook, riding the runners, slowing the team, stopping the team, taking curves, fixing tangles immediately (with help from the accompanying musher on snowmachine). Kelsey was a competent and willing beginner who did extremely well. The great dogs she ran in her two days here were: Ruthie, Zeus, Eos, Medio, Buffy, Kiddo, and Herman. If she didn't live in Kentucky, we'd love to have her work on a racing team as well.

Most of the following dogs have had multiple great runs in the past few days: Zeus, Eos, Ruthie, Buffy, Sherpa, retired Lillen (lead in a four dog), Copper, Medio, Tsunami, Matilda, Zoom, Quattro and Herman. Ashley is putting together a six dog racing team, so is running 8 dogs looking for the best team. Many of our dogs are retiring and aging, but they're giving their all for these adventures. It's great to have all this young , happy participation!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Seven teams, five drivers, great dogs

Our trails are holding up under a lot of traffic. Today we had Ashley, Kelsey, Katie, Zach and Jenny running dogs. Zach and Jenny were beginners today, but no more. Ashley ran one eight dog team, one six dog team; Zach ran a six dog team (not too many face plants:); Kelsey ran two four dog teams, Jenny ran one four dog team. Katie was the official photographer but has so many photos we have to wait for them to be downloaded. Ashley finished up with five, including Copper who was so glad to go he didn't act up.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Six Teams, Windy and drifting, nearly perfect day

We started at 8AM and ended at 4PM, three drivers running, six teams. We had a great group of dog drivers today, Ashley, Katie, and Kelsey. Even Grandpa David got to run a sled. Great handling, great runs, great dogs, great Moonstruck Chocolates.... all came together and we kept going and going !
Zeus, Eos, Buffy (leaders)
Medio, Matilda, Kiddo, Ruthie (team)
Tsunami, Herman, Quattro, Sherpa (wheel)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas from Summer Place Kennel

We love being out here with our dogs and thought this short video would be a great Christmas card from our kennel. We were hoping for a group howl from the dogs , but the dogs were at peace in the wintery scene and quietly watched the deer come in for their morning carrots.

From all of us here, 31 dogs, one cat, the deer and birds and other wandering creatures, wishing you the joy and peace of Christmas and a Happy New Year, 2010! Turn up your volume to hear the raven's greetings.

Monday, December 21, 2009

White Christmas

The trails are looking good and the dogs are running. More snow is coming. It will be a White Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Skinny's Surgery Update

Great dear Skinny had his eye surgery for glaucoma at Dr. Sam Vainisi's in Green Bay, WI this week. It was a chemical ablation in the back of the eye (injected into the ciliary body). Our dear veterinarian, Dr. Pauline Schroeder, took him to the surgery and stayed with him throughout.

He appears to be in no pain, now, and is eager to run and play. Dr. Vainisi said to tell him he is on vacation, no running! It is hard to tell an eager lead dog to do that, but we try.

This is just a fun photo in a hectic dog room yesterday of recuperating Skinny and 'Brett Favre'.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



There is no comparison in our minus thirteen to the Fairbanks/Two Rivers constant colder temps, but for our early season it is BRRR out there this morning. I always remind myself that it gets much colder than this.

We still can't upload photos here, but new computer is sitting on the floor awaiting it's turn for attention
(low on priority list).

Today we're feeding early (6AM) in order to attend to other priorities. Tomorrow is Skinny's surgery in Green Bay. More later!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

On Sleds!


We had about ten inches of snow, a quick deluge. It is quite dry and hard to pack so we've been 'wading' in it for two days. But, today we hooked up sleds, two teams and had a good run on 'iffy' trails. Tim came out and ran the drag late in the day so tomorrow should show some nicely groomed and hardened trails for a base.

Ashley, age fifteen, was our dog driver today. She has raced in sprint, four and six dogs. She fit right in with the more than happy dogs. Dogs run: Zeus, Buffy, Quattro, Rosie, Medio, Herman. Dogs wanting to run: ALL!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Storm

Looking at a few days of great snow ahead (all in your perspective, of course!). Our county predictions are for six to twelve and blowing snow on Thursday with minus ten or more windchills. Today is a day for packing in the straw and making more soup (for dogs, of course).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Maintenance Day

What we call an 'ordinary' day is usually filled to the brim with tasks.

When all of this is 'fun' then you know you're in the right work. It was fun, for me and the dogs, yesterday.

The day started at 4AM and ended (?) at 8PM...

Make soup for dogs
Feed house dogs
Feed pen dogs
Take a run with Skinny, Sierra and Buddy
Exercise Eos and take to her pen
Feed the deer
Clean the pens
Give free runs to every dog (27)
Medications to each dog
Haul water in buckets to all dogs.
Haul the waste
Load the truck for the dump (Skinny rides along)
Go to the dump (fifty mile round trip)
Pick up 320 lb of dog food, bales of straw, corn, apples (same trip)
Home Depot ( same trip)
Wal Mart (same trip)
Ice cream for Skinny (and me)
Home again, give late day treat to the dogs
Unload 320 lb of dog food, straw, corn, apples
Take house dogs for their run (dark now) This is really fun, peaceful, quiet trails, dogs love it, me too.
Feed the deer
Medications to dogs
Do some house chores
Lend out truck
Truck returned
More house chores

All of this 'ordinary' day goes on almost every day, but has add ons such as running the 5 teams. On a run day, the runs take priority .


With all the wordy info about the running dogs, this is an easier format (for me and anyone reading) for the journal records:













Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sherpa!

Today Sherpa with the beautiful blue eyes is five years old. We are awaiting a new computer, so we can't upload photos right now. For today imagine her dancing in the snow as she celebrates with a visit to the house and meat treats. She is Skinny's and Liller's granddaughter and she is the great granddaughter of Aliy Zirkle's Fats. Sherpa's father is Skinny's /Liller's son, Emmett, and her mother is Susan Butcher's Cricket. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHERPA!

Fifteen Dogs, Five Teams

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fifteen Dogs, Five Teams, whew!
This isn't a typical racing kennel or even a typical sled dog kennel. All of the dogs live free in pens and they love to run free in a regular routine outside the pens. This freedom that they become accustomed to all summer makes them a little unruly when team running time starts up again in the fall. Cooping them up for hunting season doesn't help much.Yesterday we (actually I, alone) ran fifteen dogs in five teams... some ran more than once. We stayed on our land trails . Who is on the A Team? see below.

This is the report card from yesterday.
A GREAT TIME WAS HAD BY ALL. Some were more ready than others.From our post run trail notes:

RUTHIE, Lead. Pro, leads with purpose. An A team leader. Head down, she's always on a mission.

JOSIE, Lead. Very excitable, Ruthie's pal. She pulled out of harness 3x, but she did run. Ruthie was undaunted by Josie's antics. Josie had a great time and didn't know she was not behaving.

BUDDY, Team. He's an arthritic twelve, but Ruthie and Josie are his daily pals so he ranlike a pro and just kept moving forward, despite Josie's high jinx.
BUFFY, Lead. Pro, no nonsense, A team leader. She wore a Man Mat with Herman in his first lead trial (he also in Man Mat). She took all commands on a 'dime' and taught Herman a few things about running in front.

ROSIE, Team. Rosie is the most hyper dog in the kennel. She was harnessed well and ran next to Medio with no hitches. She is not a racing dog, but certainly enjoys her times on the trail.
MEDIO, Team. A team member, in any position. Every ready , always energetic , just wants to go and go.

HERMAN, Wheel, Team, but ran lead yesterday. Power at the max, wow. Never quits and hard driving. A team member, probably in wheel. Met Zeus in the hookup for first time yesterday and no problems.

LILLEN, Lead. Pro, A team gee haw command leader, retired. She always asks to go, so yesterday we paired her with pro Zeus. He outpowered her by a longshot, but he was gentle and they ran in lead well together. Her hind quarters tremble a bit after a run, but she wants to go so we are cautious in running her.

FRITA, Lead, Pro A team gee haw command leader. But, she has a sensitive hip, so we do the same with her that we do with Lillen, pair her with a gentle dog and let her run for fun.She ran with her children yesterday and had a good time. (didn't help that all three females are in heat, they were a bit ditzy but had two neutered males running with them).
YUKI, Team, a good runner, but pulled her harness.
YEPA, Team, Wheel, a good runner , usually but half way out she ate the GANGLINE as we stopped for a tangle. She was in a solo position so we borrowed the neckline and fashioned a 'fix' to get us back safely. (we were using poly gangline, not anymore with her). In any kennel that's almost a federal offense, eating the gangline, you just don't DO it. (added note: when a dog makes a mistake there's usually a human factor in there as well... I didn't get them going as fast as I could have and with her huge enthusiasm Yepa took it out on the gangline... a training issue... we'll get it faster, she'll get it that eating the gangline is not necessary).

SWIX, Wheel. He got an A plus for his run yesterday. He's a really big, truly husky looking, sled dog, almost Malemute in size, he wears an XL harness. He is the son of Frita and Martin, two pro dogs. His performance was letter perfect even while his sisters acted out yesterday.

KIDDO, Lead with Zeus. Pro, A team member, wheel, team. Kiddo usually runs team or wheel, but I wanted to see her pair up with Zeus. It was magic. Paired well in size , power and attitude, they ran in lead together like the well matched pair they are.

ZEUS, Pro, A team gee haw command leader to perfection. What a guy... great attitude,great responsiveness, serious, head down , let's go leader, happy with any pairing. Wow,amazing dog.That adds up to 8 A team members running yesterday, but two are retired.

We still have Quattro, Sherpa, Copper, and Zoom to put on the A team. Martin is an A team, pro, perfect wheel dog, retired guy who can't run too far anymore, but he will run in a team this winter a few times . MATILDA is an A team dog, but she's in heat right now and couldn't run with the intact males. Sorry we can't upload photos, but soon to the new computer and we'll catch up.
Posted by Julie at 2:51 AM

Blog Archive
2009 (2)
December (2)
Fifteen Dogs, Five Teams, whew!
Sherpa's Birthday! ,Awaiting New Computer

About Me

Julie Verrette
Kennel Owner, Trainer. View my complete profile

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shorter Days Longer Hours

Now that we can run a bit more (still some hunters), our work hours expand into the darkness.

We had beautiful snow this morning, making the ATV runs slippery, but the dogs were energized.

Well, we've tried to upload photos and the computer won't let them load. Now what?
About two inches of fresh snow and still snowing. For now we'll just have to envision it without photos.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Swirling Snow and Skinny

Yesterday it was finally like November, just in time for Thanksgiving. We took several trail walks and enjoyed the wild snow. The dogs are energized by this weather.
As dogs age, they move to the house and ride in the truck and get extra goodies. Skinny wasn't too happy in this photo enroute to the vet with his painful eye, but the medicine is helping and he did get ice cream.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Almost Ready

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, another big hunting day out there. Hopefully, by Monday we'll be able to get some teams out on the trails again. I did let them free run today as there seemed to be no gun shots (and there were none). All the dogs are sporting blaze orange ribbons, just in case. Just the hunters we know of number fourteen within one quarter mile. None on our eighty, but all around us. There were thirteen does and fawns at the corn tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Skinny's Eye

Skinny was diagnosed with glaucoma yesterday. We're learning about the disorder and working to keep him comfortable with it. I don't know yet if it evolves from an outdoor life, similar to cataracts, but he is still running a mile each day, happily. Upon his return though, he sinks into his pillows and sleeps hard, burrowing his face. Such a happy dog.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time Out

We're on our way to Minnesota today for a few days. Michigan opener is this morning. Medio is already
way out of his mind from gun shots and it's only just begun.

Tim and Jim will be here with the dogs while I'm gone. They're in good hands.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nome Cam

The Nome camera is showing a winter storm, they have been experiencing blizzard conditions, with accumulations of snow up to ten inches. Meanwhile in Wisconsin we're still 'basking' in the 50's.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rifle Season to begin in Michigan , November 15

The orange coats are out there. Today the dogs, especially Frita, protested the 'sighting ins' of the rifles, if that is what they were.

A neighbor came to tell me he saw Buffy running on my driveway. Yes, she free runs there and never runs away. Hunters get possessive of even MY land . And, yes, I get turfy too.

We've posted our signs and the grumbling has begun, both sides. This 80 is a no hunting oasis. We don't begrudge the hunters their day, just not on our land, s'il vous plait, merci. The deer are skittish. Michigan is just one mile away so next Sunday it will be quite loud early in the morning.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Two by Two

Ruthie and Zeus
Ruthie and Josie

Today we ran 'two's'. Ruthie and Josie were the biggest treat. Josie usually wants nothing to do with a harness. Today she was ready and I hooked her up in lead with Ruthie; they had a perfect run.

Zeus didn't like the railroad grade today, turned around on me several times, almost spooked acting. I didn't hear any gun shots, but maybe there were hunters out and about. He was running in lead with Ruthie and she set him straight a few times until he settled down. We haven't seen him like that before.

A busy day as we went for dog food after every dog got free runs this morning (after team runs).

Watching Copper for thyroid problems. He's always a bit crazy but he's gained too much weight and is ravenous all the time. Not so thirsty. Also he overheats. We'll have to get him tested if it continues.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Full Moon Run, end of day

Training Me, Three Runs

Top: Team three coming back from a two mile run to the river... Zeus training Matilda in lead, and pro Quattro running a solid wheel .
Zoom on left in photo and pen pal, Kiddo, ran a perfect duo in wheel.

Buffy and Medio in lead, Zoom and Kiddo in wheel, up the leafy trails.

Buffy and Medio in lead, Herman in team, improbable Rosie in wheel. Herman was just too excited to run with Rosie. Rosie is a very excitable and happy girl. She's not a competitive dog
(couldn't race) but she fills out a team spot with her pen pals . She'll go anywhere just so she can go (sometimes eating her harness in the process).
Each time we run I learn something new about the dogs. Each combination of dogs varies and with the variance comes a different team personality. Each team, then, requires just slightly different handling.
Even though they get free runs all summer long, they are still wild when they see the first signs of hooking up a team. As soon as I walk up with harnesses and start laying out the lines, the kennel is exploding with excitement. I have learned to just proceed with my tasks , ignoring for the most part, the wild screaming. When newcomers are here I ask them not to be prodded by the excitement into hurrying. We need to get it all done right the first time, if possible.

For us, this is early in the season so the dogs are really wild to run. I'm hooking them up alone usually so it takes some planning to get them calm enough to hook up four or more by myself. Calm leaders, of course, make all the difference. Some dogs, however, are so excited to run that they don't give a thought to the calm leader, they just leap and scream and in the process knock me in the chin or gouge my leg or whatever.

The best idea with our dogs (not all dogs) is to let them free to run off their steam before we put them on the picket line. Sometimes this invites other dogs to leap the fence ,but, for the most part, letting them race up and down while I'm getting other things ready, calms them for hookup.
When I have a helper I hook up back to front, leaders last. Of course without a helper the leaders are hooked up first. Always there is a dog that surprises me, sometimes dogs with little experience. Zoom has had quite a bit of experience but in her pen family she is low girl on the totem poles. She is always super sweet and obedient and submissive with her pen mates. In hookup she is a dream, and in running. She's a little short girl but has her mother, Frita's personality, although she is not shy like Frita. She is Martin's daughter too and shows it when the chips are down. She'll plow forward through deep snow and come out charging, just like Martin.
While hookup is harder alone, the best part about running alone is that the dogs get my full attention. I watch each dog much closer and can see so much more about their unique styles.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mushing History Conference is the link to the Mushing History Conference to be held in Anchorage and Wasilla next weekend. With the wide variety of presenters, we wish we could take a quick trip to Anchorage for this event. There is a group on Yahoo for interested participation. The speakers include Jane Haigh, Tim White, Thomas Swan, Joe Redington, many more and wonderful photo presentations. We're sorry to miss this great event. More here as it comes along.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en short run, Fairy Princess visit

The highlight of our day was a visit from the Fairy Princess, granddaughter Josefina, age two.

We did also take a quick shortened run with Zeus and Matilda. Matilda is behaving much better now that Zeus is her mentor.

Moving to larger teams with cooler weather

Cool weather appears tomorrow, Hallowe'en is about over, the rifles are starting to fire out there, but we will move to a bit larger teams this next week.

Info on Ellis Bloodlines

This is copied off of Egil Ellis' site, commentary on their breeding program, their dog , Mike and the personalities /work ethic, etc. of their dogs. Zeus and Eos are out of Mike so this is very interesting to us.

I couldn't see German shorthair pointer in them, but do see the English pointer. Interesting that the pointers were bred for mountain hunting. And regarding feeding, they do eat at least twice as much as the other Alaskans, and with GREAT enthusiasm.

********** Egil Ellis' words on their breeding program, traits, etc.

Since 1991 we have developed our own breed of dogs. They are a crossbreed between Alaskan Husky and German or English shorthaired pointer. We have selected dogs for open class sprint racing and the goal was to get a type of dog that would burn up the Alaskan trails!
In Sweden racing with German- and English Short haired pointers has a long time tradition. These dogs have been bred for this purpose more than 50 years. The dogs have an enormous working attitude and are extremely tough to themselves under hard conditions working in a team. In Scandinavia you can see a lot of limited class team that are made up of purebred English and German shorthaired pointers.
In the 80s several good Alaskan Huskies were imported to Sweden and Norway. Some of the top mushers also realized that if they one day would be able to beat the best Alaskan teams they had to come up with something new, something that the mushers did not have in Alaska. We could not breed better Alaskan huskies than what they already had in Alaska, with the selected dogs that were imported to Sweden and Norway. So this is where the sled dog bred pointers came in handy. We crossed the best German- and English shorthaired pointers with the best of the imported Alaskan husky lines and got a new type of sled dog, the Scandinavian Hound!
The pointers are originally bred for hunting in the mountains. They have an enormous stamina and endurance, running for a whole day during hunting is no problem. The individuals we use for crossbreeding are small, light boned and mental very stabile, in comparison with the bigger, heavier type (60 to 90 pound.) used for pulka racing. Our pointers and most of our crossbreeds have a weight of 45 to 50 pound.
When crossbreeding two totally unrelated types of dogs you seem to get a fantastic out cross effect, a hybrid vigor. Very sound dogs with tough stabil mentality. An enormous working attitude, that sometimes can be hard to curb. Very eager to please, when trained for something they will do everything for you. Extremely friendly and social, make¹s great pets also. Very good eaters and need a lot more food than the average sled dog breed especially in the winter because of their short coats and high metabolism. They need more maintenance in the winter: insulated doghouses, lots of straw, blankets, extra padded harnesses. Our pure breed pointers, that have no coat at all, live inside the house during the winter and stay home from training when it is below -10F.
My favorite dog so far is my main leader MIKE. He is fast as Michael Johnson, strong as Mike Tyson and can jump like Michael Jordan! Ever since Mike was a little puppy he has been special. We could see it at an early age that this was going to be a super leader, he was not afraid of anything, he was always running in front of the other puppies and at the same time extremely focused on us.Mike is a big dog, 55 pounds. His body is hard as a rock. Mikes characteristics in the team is that he starts out slowly and sometimes carefully. It takes him a couple of miles to get warmed up. But the farther you go and the closer you get to the finish, the harder he drives. Sometimes the rest of the team dogs are hanging by the neckline when he sprints to the finish line.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ya Da !

And 60 and rain, rain today. Cooler, tomorrow, Hallowe'en, hoping for a nice run.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Warm Weather, Deer Changes

In the high 50's again yesterday, so we did all the usual runs and added in the final yard and house cleanups, including windows. No teams, though, as too warm already early in the a.m. for an out the gate outing.

The usually 'on time' deer have been avoiding the feed spot lately. With the loud protests of the dogs in the night, for a few nights, we suspect there is some unfriendly to deer predator out and about. Nothing on the cameras (well a few coyote sightings, but they are always part of the landscape). And, oddly, the apples are long on the trees this year, usually long gone by now. Apples are also very large this year. Just an anomaly of a year, I guess. Hunters continue to complain about the very low deer population, although up until now we had thought it was normal.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wall Story

It's taken awhile, after finally getting the walls painted, we've grouped our collection of favorite photos of our sled dog life, together. There are still many to be hung, but for now this is it. Such a great refresher view of the highlights of our sled dog lives. More to come, need more frames (and more wall space).

In Gentler Valleys Roaming


Today was a BUSY day.
Starting with dense fog, we fed/souped all of the dogs. Eos went with us to feed the deer and then to her new pen for a few hours. Today was a longer morning run for Skinny, Sierra and Buddy. Both Skinny and Buddy are retired racing dogs, Sierra is also retired from pulling with a two dog team, most of her sweet life. They enjoyed our meandering the trails , through the valley, this morning, sniffing all the great smells of the night behind us.
Next ,we hooked up Zeus with Matilda for another leader training session, uphill a lot and many chances at command responses. Mat is picking it up from gentle Zeus quite well.

On to an 'ordinary day' of letting 22 dogs have their free runs/lap runs, etc. Lots of barking and leaping while I cleaned /put straw in the MUDDY pens after the rain deluges, changed all the muddy water pails.

We hauled the waste then made a run for straw and corn and to the vet's office for medicine for King (cough) and for Eos's ear infection. Back at the kennel we unloaded straw and corn and then went out to post NO HUNTING signs as most of last year's were torn down. Skinny and Sierra went along for that project.
The field camera picked up a small car on the trail, so we do watch for trespassers (for dog safety). Time to put orange ribbons on the dogs.

Next, time for late afternoon treats and water for all pen dogs. It was warm enough today to forego soup in favor of large biscuits and fresh water. And then, feeding the deer for the second time, a small group coming in. Most hunters are complaining about the lack of deer this year. Bow hunting is still on and the bucks are not coming in as much.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leader Training A.M., River destination P.M.

Photos: Look in the tree top for a young eagle who was watching our takeoff.

With a crowded day ahead, after the Skinny morning run, I hooked up Matilda and Zeus for some patient leader training. Zeus was PERFECT. Matilda was just a bit of a ditz in the hookup but then took all the mentoring Zeus could offer (including the face kisses ). Miss Matilda showed her alpha female, however, upon return to Zeus's pen where she ran off tauntingly with his new beef bone. He cried and took out his rubber ball.

Then for the afternoon sojourn, Rob was here and we took Skinny, first, to the Brule River cabin, our sometimes destination for dog teams. Being nearby we went to the George Young Center for lunch and enjoyment of its ambient lodge and pool surroundings. On our return to we stopped in Alpha to check out the old school and the Circle Cafe. It was a busy day so the remaining dog run was put off until 6PM (with lights on)... Skinny, Buddy, Copper and Sierra.

Rain, Mud, Snow? = Soup Weather

Earlier this week we had Indian Summer, beautiful for all, not too warm, just perfect for trail running.

Yesterday we were flooded with rain all day. There is one prediction that Friday will bring four inches of snow.

We're adding straw in houses , filling holes and switching again to late afternoon warm soup.
Soup is made from anything the dogs find palatable, including beef liver, hamburger and rice, chicken and rice, salmon and rice and sometimes an Eagle canned product called liver mixer. We try to vary their soups on unpleasant days to interrupt that late afternoon chill with something good.

Good friends, Carol and Pete, just filled our freezer with beef bones and beef liver/heart from their recent purchase of a steer. Thank you, Carol and Pete!!
We limit bones to hunting season when the dogs are very restricted, no free runs, no trail runs, since they tend to get turfy about those prized bones.
Note on posting times: for some reason this blog posts Alaska time, not Wisconsin time, so , no we are not posting at 2AM .

Monday, October 19, 2009

Congressman Jay Johnson

Congressman Jay Johnson , retired, passed away in suburban Washington, D.C. on Saturday. Jay was a kind , honest and generous man, living a life of service. Two of his major contributions were through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and the Family Violence Center when he was a TV anchor in Green Bay, WI.
He was elected to Congress in 1996 and later became the Director of the US Mint. Jay announced his candidacy for Congress on a dog sled from Summer Place Kennel. He and his wife, JoLee, loved dogs.
We will miss this kind and caring friend.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Skinny and Sierra

While Skinny would love to run free with Sierra, I've learned to not let him do that (over and over I've learned that lesson). He always tempts me to let him go off leash, but he is too precious to take that chance with him.
He will run off and be gone for hours if I let him go. The agony of not knowing where he is is just too hard.
Sierra, however, will run and check things but will always come right back. These photos were on a walk yesterday.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Herman's Day

After passing him by for a few days, Herman got his start yesterday, wow! He runs wheel because he always has but I think he could run lead, will try him later. The trails were slippery with wet leaves.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Three Team Day


The pictures are so misleading, all looks so easy. The field camera shows several photos of the dogs whipping around in several directions and me looking at the confusion of tangled lines. I did keep my patience, yea for me, since I was running them alone.

And I'm sore to tell about it. The first team did everything right, no hassles. (Zeus, Buffy). The second team clearly wanted to go out the gate to long trails, having done that the day before...they knew what was 'right', after all.
The third team had Copper in lead with Buffy... after a summer of screaming and hoping and waiting, he was a whirling dervish once we took off. He wouldn't leave Buffy alone, he screamed and nipped at her but FINALLY he got it under control and enjoyed the rest of his run (so the others could).Buffy endured him well. The temp was 26 at time of first run, but it warmed up a bit too much for the last run (40's).

TEAM ONE: Lead, Buffy, Zeus; Team, Medio (alone), Wheel, Matilda, (alone). Perfect run. Happy dogs.

TEAM TWO: Lead, Buffy, Zeus; Lillen (team, alone)(I expected this to be an easy run for her but the tangling at the gate was more than I wanted for her, although she took it in stride); Wheel, Matilda, Medio. But still happy dogs.

TEAM THREE: Lead, Buffy, Copper (the wild man); team, Sherpa (alone); wheel, Quattro (alone). For being a little crazy when she's running free, Sherpa ALWAYS settles down for a harnessed run... she was the best behaved of all of them, although the others were fine once Copper settled down. I think we need the Dog Whisperer for Copper. Or when I have help Zeus with Copper. But still, all happy dogs.
The rest of the day was energy zapping too as it was time to haul straw and corn, then to cover the 24 foot pontoon boat by myself with sheets of insulation and tarps. I called it a day when it got too dark. Very glad we got the good runs.
Of course, we left out some stars, like Kiddo and Ruthie and Herman, so I did promise tomorrow, a run for them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who's Excited? Zeus and Eos Reunion, too

Zeus and Eos had a happy reunion at the fence this morning. Eos is still recovering from her cancer surgery, but spends short times out in the pen, mostly to relieve the boredom of being a house dog. Lillen joined in, too... all three being Susan Butcher's dogs, they may have run together in the past.

Zeus took a short spin around the trails in the snow and was happy to do it.

We've hooked up the ganglines for a nice run with five or six tomorrow, maybe more, weather dependent.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Finding food in the snow

We had a wet first snowfall today. The deer are not finished with the cherry and apple trees yet, so they're right up next to the house. The trails are slippery right now. This snow will melt fast.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


My daughter and her friend visited this weekend. We took a chilly Ranger tour over the Brule river and the colors are still beautiful.
Earlier in the day we had a pelting of snow and high winds, flipping tarps all over the place. A large white pine fell off the trail.
This morning it is 27 degrees and calm.