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