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.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Out the Gate, Over the River


Undaunted by unmowed trail, Zeus and Matilda (leader in training) took off out the gate with enthusiasm.

We ran three miles, over the bridge into Michigan, kicked up some turkeys to pace us ahead and had a great early morning run. In all he does Zeus is obviously a pro. We hit the bridge and he didn't miss a beat. Some dogs will balk at it the first time. Can only wonder how many bridges he has crossed, this one being a piece of cake. He's a great trainer for these younger dogs. A good day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Team Training

First team to go out in full will be:

Buffy (LEAD)

Ruthie (LEAD)

Medio (Team)

Rosie( Team)

Herman (Wheel)

Kiddo (Wheel)

Second team out will be:

Zeus, LEAD

Ruthie, LEAD,

Kiddo, Team

Sherpa, Team

Copper, Wheel (single)

Third team out will be:

Buffy, LEAD

Matilda, LEAD

Lillen, Team

Medio, Team

Zeus, Wheel (single)

We will run two mile runs on the next cool day (not Saturday). There are some aging dogs in those mixes.

Teams are planned to put the least stress on the aging dogs. (may rethink Zeus in wheel, maybe up with Lillen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scrambled Morning and Out the Gate

We scrambled things up a bit to add some interest for the dogs this morning. Some moved to different pens, we ran different combos and generally botched the usual schedule.
Zeus and Ruthie ran a twosome out of the gate for the first time this fall. Zeus took the command to go out the gate as if he heard it every day, more than willing to see new territory. It was just a bit warm so we didn't cross the river, but had a nice two mile run. Ruthie ran a great colead with Zeus, a nice pairing for future teams for sure.
On the return Copper unlatched his gate and charged out toward Zeus and Ruthie. Zeus laid right down and Copper wagged his tail, whew! Very nice to know Zeus kept his cool in that situation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And more more rain and mud

One pen is so filled with water the trenches we dug can't even remove it. Icy water for those nice paws, so we moved Yo to higher ground.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dog Houses, Rain and Mud

This is the season for rain, mud, sleet, slippery walking and filling holes. We are also building new houses and repairing others. One day it is nice, the next day a sloppy mess. Flexibility is the key right now.

Tarps go flying in the gusting winds, bungee cords break, dogs eat bungees. We still have at least one tarp in every pen for shelter from the pelting rains, but most are put away for next year now.

As I move from pen to pen repairing, the dogs are right behind me (or under me) digging great new holes in the soft sand. Photo: Zeus runs between the pens on return from his run.
Sagging tarps visible, work in progress in all pens. Have just started putting straw in houses.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Buffy meets Zeus

Zeus has been getting solo runs since his sister, Eos, has been recuperating from surgery. Yesterday our leader, Buffy, met leader, Zeus. Neither one batted an eye as I hooked them up to take off. They ran in unison, equally enthusiastic. Zeus took commands slightly faster than Buffy but both were eager to keep moving down the trail. Still too warm, we took just a short run. Soon we'll have Zeus integrated with the regular teams, as the rains move in and keep it cool.