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.