Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Seven Teams for Seven Cousins, Winter Weekend

Along with celebrating a family Christmas, we also celebrated winter at the ski hill and on the dog trails. It's great to have the young people out of school(s) to be here to run dogs. The dogs were happy /crazy to have so much fun running.

The trails were good, the temps moderate for the southerners among us and the camaraderie

was great. All learned to be attentive/competent handlers as well. The dogs performance was top notch, thank you great dogs and family and friends! Winter fun 'kids' ranged in age from

three to eighty, all skill levels.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Okay, let's get this winter going!

Some delays for travel, etc. and now we're in the groove. Nice snow, great trails, ready dogs.
We're expecting family and guests for Christmas week and hoping to intro some new people to
the joy of dog sledding.

Race on right now: Aliy Zirkle's kennel has three teams in the Sheep Mountain 150, going on right now. This is the link:
Frita's pup, Bullet, is on Bridgett's team.

Dogs are howling, time for breakfast!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ailing Dogs

We're having a run of dog health problems, all seemingly unrelated, but serious.
Skinny will go for a second ablation on his other eye, rendering him wholly blind (which
he is, even prior to the procedure). We will try to keep him comfortable and safe in his blindness, this great gee haw command leader/best friend.

Lillen continues to recover from her bout with painful jaws. Buddy is recovering from his surgery to remove an ulcerated tumor (benign) under his tongue. Today, dear Swix, who
never complains about anything and is always so healthy, went to the clinic with a swollen
jaw and lesion under his tongue. We are wracking our brains to think of what could be causing
jaw problems and find no commonality at this point. Swix is in an overnight stay at the clinic to try to bring down a high temp and swelling. He's only seven and we hope he makes it.

Enough suffering now, we hope to get on with dog sled season. As always my wished for cure
for everything is SNOW!

Straw bale count: 30

Friday, November 19, 2010

White Tail Rifle Season

It's here, the opener for Wisconsin deer season is tomorrow morning. Today we had

just two young bucks in, hopefully too young to be taken.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Yesterday we had a very wet heavy snow (one to two inches?). Most of it has melted and
now we'll have two days of rain. Guess we have to go through this transition to get to
the 'real' stuff. Today we're working on snowmachines. We did run trails with the ATVs yesterday, a bit slippery but it worked. Photo is last year but similar.
Sounds like we have a few more people interested in running dogs this winter, the more the

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Today's Runs

Photos: Veteran Quest dogs, both age 14, Martin and Skinny ( pups together
at Aliy Zirkle's kennel), take a walk with Jim.
Ruthie, Buffy wait for Copper to be hooked up. (Copper has a thyroid problem).
Frita's and Martin's pups, run with Frita... Yuki, Yepa, Swix, all really good runners.
Buffy, Ruthie, Herman , Kiddo, a nice four dog combo.
Eos, Ruthie, Zeus, Sherpa, another nice four dog combo.

To Michigan and back , Ruthie, Buffy, Kiddo, Herman.
Internal trails: Buffy, Ruthie, Copper, Sherpa, Zeus, Eos, Swix, Frita, Yuki and Yepa and Tsunami!
Perfect day, all dogs happy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dogs Running

Dogs in race training are: Buffy, Herman, Ruthie, Zeus, Eos, Matilda, Yepa, Tsunami,
Yeti, Swix, Rosie, Kiddo, Zoom, Yuki, Sherpa, Copper.

Yesterday's run: Buffy, Herman, Sherpa, Zeus, Ruthie, Josie
Today: Buffy, Herman, Kiddo, Zoom , Josie, Buddy

Temperature: 40's to 50's (too warm :(

Straw bale count: 22


Power , beautiful and powerful, loving dog, passed away at age twelve on Friday,
November 5, 2010. The pup of Scuba and Tanni, Power has had many spirited
free runs on our trails, but few sled hookups. Those of us who did run with him
had thrilling run through deep snows. He loved his sister, Glory, and his brother,
King and enjoyed playful high jinx with them every day. We all miss him so much, he has been a key dog in the main fabric of the kennel. We are sure he is running fast and free
and no longer in pain.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

On Field Camera at the Front Gate

The cat photo is taken at 11:04 PM by the field camera, down by the front gate, on 11/3/10.

This morning (11/4/10) Skinny's photo is taken by same camera, same place, to give perspective on the size of the cat. We don't know what it is, possibly a bob cat? remotely
a young cougar still with markings.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lillen is ailing

Lillen is having trouble with opening her jaws and has had some medication for it. We'll go back today to have the Dr. reassess her condition. She isn't eating or drinking.
In this photo she is avidly running in right swing, behind Skinny... both of them look great .
Julia is the driver in this photo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wind hazards keep us on hold

No running as large branches, half trees keep falling from the 'sky', onto the trails. A large
(large!) hemlock is fully over one section of the trail. One very large branch has fallen and landed like a spear in the middle of another section. Hoping the wildlife fared well out there.
Field camera shows the intrepid feral cat (farm cat) is alive and well out there after a number of years. Chasing rabbits no doubt. Somehow he eludes the wiley coyote.

So when will we run? When the trails become safer. Sunday maybe?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

High winds, driving rain, snow?

Straw Bale Count: 16

Whew, couldn't even think about running dogs as we were running to keep up with falling branches, digging drainage in the pens, moving dogs away from trees that might come down, etc.

Our hookup tree, to which we have easily hooked eight/ten dog teams, just fell over as I walked
past it yesterday. Also known as the 'pail tree', the pails went flying along with other pieces of gear stowed in it for each reach. Fortunately, we had anticipated this demise and had installed
a new hookup pole last summer, but it doesn't have handy branches for hanging things.

The winds are gusting in the 50 mph range and the dogs are a bit frantic. Maybe some photos
later, although we are supposed to get some measurable snow today, to add to the fun.
Fortunately we have a new small load of straw, but will need more.

Today will be spent reclaiming gear strewn about, taking down all shade tarps, if they're not already flying around out there, and, mostly, reassuring the dogs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New trails for leaders, cold camera

The back trail is fun... up a steep hill (not a problem for the dogs), then winding, snaking down

and around, to come out at the back of the 80... really neat.

Training Leaders on New Trails

A piece of cake, they said, as they toured the new trails. Instead of turning their usual and predictable gee's and haw's, I was back there saying 'on by!' and they were looking a bit befuddled at first, 'what the heck is she talking about?". Then when they saw the new ups and downs and views, wow, they loved it. They were very responsive, like push buttons, great job!
Zeus, Eos, Buffy, Rosie, Herman. Next will be Ruthie, Kiddo, Matilda, Yepa, Yuki and Zoom.
Tsunami gets to go when Ashley is here to handle her pal.

We're using our 1996 Polaris ATV, as the Cat is enroute to the repair shop, leaking fuel like a sieve. The brake doesn't work too well, so Eos and Zeus got a bit of a run without me... I did
run and catch them, with the help of an uphill.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Moving along

The cross country team was here again yesterday, running one mile loops. To the dogs great joy, the runners stopped to visit a bit with them and we encouraged them to try dog sled running this winter.

Our main ATV is leaking gas so is enroute to repair this a.m. We have our Ranger as fallback
but it is more cumbersome for early season, small team runs. Anything to keep them going, though.

With the waxing full moon, the wildlife roam more at night and have found our garbage cache.
Haven't had that happen in a long while. We are seeing large scats on the trail, marking trail crossings... a coyote like thing to do. Trail cameras have only picked up deer so far.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ready?.... hauling out the harnesses

So, today we hauled more straw, filled more holes, hauled more dog food and now hauling out the harnesses. The days are still BLUE sky, BRIGHT sun, but the mornings are about right for running. And the mushers are asking for chances to race and is bringing requests for 'learn to drive a sled'. We'd best get these young'uns in shape! (and the veterans, and the humans).


Late day a partridge flew himself into our pen fence, and my son, Tim, came to the rescue, clipping him out intact.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Veterinary Visit

Always a pleasure to have Dr. Pauline Schroeder visit us and the dogs responded happily when she drove up. It was a day for only three rabies vaccines, nine lepto boosters and well checks for thirteen seniors. With thirty dogs, and a significant percentage of seniors , you expect a few
concerns. She checked for joint problems, teeth problems, heart and lungs, general overall
welfare. We had divided our list for a second farm call to come, as senior checks take a bit longer. Skinny was pronounced hale and hearty for 14 and one blind eye. Martin is also 14 and
has some weight issues (low), but he's a happy dog. Our highest concern is for Power, age twelve, who has multiple issues and may have difficulty facing a long winter. Dr. Schroeder will return in about one month to reassess him. A few dogs have teeth problems and Buddy will go, yet again, for surgery on his mouth. We will take Zeus into the office for a quick check, but no
apparent problems on him. Eos is ready to run, after her surgeries, she said. Quattro continues to recover. A few lipomas were found on the aging dogs, which we will continue to monitor.
Frita's hip is stable and she, too, is happy! dog.

Photo: Dr. Pauline Schroeder visiting as a handler last winter, with driver,
Ashley Chounard, and Kiddo and Buffy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Pen

With winter coming, we keep improving the pens and houses for dogs, but it is a huge project.

Once Quattro had surgery and returned to her pen, the dynamics of several pens had shifted.

Copper has been moving back and forth trying to find a spot to be accepted, but his female
friends keep bothering him. We built this new pen to take one of the females, offering it first to Lillen, age 14, but she is content with her smaller, more well used lodging, and seems to prefer to not make the change. Today we'll try a few more dogs. They mostly like to live in
groups, but some are too fussy to succeed in a group, thus some solo pens. All dogs free run so it's not solitary confinement!, but some prefer eating/sleeping alone.

Thanks to Rob for the huge effort, moving and rewiring the pen, reconstructing it, hauling the new dog house and the pallet, a full day's effort on his part (including traveling to get the supplies).
As always it takes great helpers to keep the dogs safe and healthy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cross Country Team

The local high school's cross country team ran our trails yesterday, three one mile loops.
It was cool, breezy and hilly! A great workout for runners and for dogs. Possibly a future
dog driver or two in that fit young group of hardworking runners. They took the long uphill
to the loop and down, around through the bar trail... definitely a good workout. But we
have tougher trails, too.

Photo: Sherpa's view, early a.m.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Winter Prep Observers

Winter prep is in full swing, with yesterday's projects being primarily about putting doors back on the houses. House prep always involves getting out the old sand of summer,drying out the houses, adding fresh straw, installing boards to hold the straw at the bases, repairing leaks, and reinstalling winter doors. These two cute raccoons rested in the tree next to Martin and Ruby for a full day, driving Ruby wild for awhile. She finally settled down to just watch them, which is what they were doing when not sleeping.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Record Rainfall

We had record rainfall for a September, at 3.32 inches on Thursday and Friday. On a quick trip
30 miles south there was much standing water in fields and on roadways. Then on Saturday
on a run out to the river cabin we could see the cresting Brule River, up to the edges of the road
and powerfully moving under the Pentoga bridge, as well as roaring past our cabin. Definitely too powerful for most paddle sporters

Friday, September 24, 2010


Took this photo of the Brule River, down our trail, before this week's deluge of rains. It was already high at that time.
The collar on the fence was left after Quattro ripped her fence apart, caught her collar , slipped it and ran off for four hours. She's fine but we were worried.
Beautiful colors were peaking prior to these strong rains that are covering the midwest.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quattro's surgery; deer herd

Quattro is still in the house recovering from her surgery for a malignant tumor. She tries to be very patient, but she is a full hearted sled dog and just wants to be outside and running.
Hopefully she can return to her pen in a week or so.

The does and fawns are regulars in our yard these days, eating the fallen cherries and apples.
The dogs accept them and enjoy watching them. The barn cat is not a welcome visitor for the dogs but he still shows up almost as regularly as the deer.
Seeding on the trails has worked very well. And the leaves are turning beautiful colors.