Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NOT Winter at Summer Place

This very early and dry spring continues. It has not been 'winter at summer place' for a whole month. We are down to drying straw in the pens, covering some ice, but we have had most of the melt down. If we have another snow or more, it will melt quickly. We've never lost our trails this early. The dogs are into digging in a major way, out of pens included, nice soft ground to wallow in... including the front yard, thank you, Skinny. So we are consumed by spring tasks... raking, hauling, filling holes, etc. (If I print this, will we get functional snow?)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Great Race, SP Kennel, Aliy and Allen and Dogs

Someone pointed out that I lead on and on about the race but didn't summarize it...

Aliy Zirkle and great dogs, 16th!

Allen Moore and great younger dogs, 35th!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Iditarod 2010 coming to a close; still too warm here

Aliy Zirkle and her great dogs finished in 16th place with her fastest time ever.
Allen Moore is taking his mandatory rest in White Mountain and will be out soon
to run to the finish in Nome. We've really enjoyed their video coverage this year and if you haven't watched it be sure to check out their blog (top of page here).
Congratulations to both teams from SP Kennel, Two Rivers, AK.

We had another great run with the quad and Skinny, Eos, Sierra and Buddy.
It was just too nice to work all day and we went to the park with Josefina, almost three.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Morning Sled: Hot Sun : Afternoon Quad

Yesterday morning we took a run with Skinny on the sled, ice, mud, more ice, hard to control. In the 61 degree blatant sun, by afternoon, those same trails were mud, period. So, we initiated the ATV and we took a run through the mud with the ATV and Skinny, Sierra and Buddy. We had to voice our way around the usual trails that had some isolated deep snow pockets and the dogs loved the change. Cold temps should return this weekend so the mud trails will harden up, hopefully. The pens have drained very well, whew, fast Spring. This can't be it, we'll see more snow?

And, again, another 60 degree day. Eos and Skinny ran together and they are a funny pair... both are serious leaders, but maybe not together.

Iditarod Winner will be Today

Lance Mackey is resting his 8 hour mandatory in White Mtn, two hours ahead of faster
Hans Gatt. King is three hours behind Mackey. The winner should charge in about midday today. Father and son Seaveys are running together now. Aliy is running
11th and looking really good. Rests are critical here, timing, need of dogs.
GREAT videos on Aliy's blog, taken from her sled. ADN calls her "a model of consistency" complimenting her race and seeing her as a 'surger'. Allen is doing great with the younger dogs, moving right along. This has been a great race to watch with SPKennel Blog, fantastic Macgellan!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Iditarod: Day 9 (Unalakleet): Iditarod photos and interactives |

Iditarod: Day 9 (Unalakleet): Iditarod photos and interactives |

Great photos of Aliy into Unalakleet... in 9th position right now both on standings AND on
GPS... go Aliy!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Honoring Retired Racers

At this time of the year, with dog racing at its peak, we like to honor our
kennel dogs who have raced and those who have stellar racing blood lines (all of the dogs here.)

The dogs who are still with us who have raced Iditarod and/or the Yukon Quest are: Zeus, Eos, Copper, Lillen, Skinny and Martin. Each of these dogs is still active every day, either with sleds or running free.

Past kennel family members who ran Iditarod or raced other sled dog races are, in memoriam, Scuba, Liller and Sulatna.

Buddy is with us and he raced the UP200. Jackpine 30 and other sprint race dogs are:
Frita,Buffy, Herman, Medio, Ruthie, Kiddo, Quattro, King, Glory and Balto.

PHOTO: Ten dog, 28 mile run to the river with many of the above mentioned dogs,
Skinny and Liller leading.

Aliy out of Kaltag

Current standings via GPS and official Iditarod show Aliy in 9th or 10th out of Kaltag with 12 dogs. Temps still range in minus twenties, although one GPS posting
says it is minus 57.... I think it's an error as the surrounding mushers are in the minus twenties. Mackey jumped out in front of King and now Gatt is placed between the two in three running ahead. Aliy is steady, steady, moving forward. Continuing ahead is a dense top twenty of contenders.

Meanwhile our dogs at home are still biding their time in the major meltdown.

Photo is Copper (Iditarod 06).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Iditarod Cold

Galena is currently minus 31 and the next few checkpoints are experiencing the same low temps, wind at 5MPH, current. For mushers and dogs, it is a challenge as they travel in wide open country. Aliy reported minus 50 along the run . She does camp out for between checkpoint rests and takes a warm dog in her sleeping bag with her.
Race is going well and fast.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Go, Bullet!!

Aliy is currently in Ruby.
This is a clip from Aliy's blog re: her dogs running Iditarod with her:

One current "standout" is Bullet, who Aliy has been using in lead to "pull through" checkpoints when dogs typically want to take a break. You know how we feel about Bullet the wonder dog, and this is an example of how she will do absolutely anything Aliy asks of her… Including run past what must look like very comfy piles of straw in checkpoints!

Bullet is Frita's daughter... Frita retired here. She is a look alike to daughter, Bullet, and has the same shy personality, but ask her to lead, and she says, 'let's go!' Good luck to all of Aliy's and Allen's dogs.

Top photo: Julie and Frita; bottom photo, Bullet, current leader
for Aliy Zirkle, Frita's daughter.

Aliy and Iditarod

Looking at official stats, Aliy is showing in fifth place out of Cripple and on the GPS as she is resting dogs at the moment, in 10th, at mile 409, at minus thirty six degrees. The GPS is a great addition for those of us following at home!!
Staying tuned. Ken and Amy, you're picking up dropped dogs, yea!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The Copper Dog races are this weekend in Calumet, MI. While they are North of us it looked like their trails were down to basic ice in television report tonight. The races are on , so good luck to them! We hope its successful and will be back next year.

More meltdown today, highs again in mid 40's and forecast continues with the same into next week. Messes upon messes in this rapid meltdown.

We are still running early a.m. with Skinny though, he counts on it... trail is ice but do-able.

And off she goes, Go Aliy!!

Minus 19 degrees as Aliy leaves Takotna, Go Aliy!!

Updates: Wisconsin; Alaska, Iditarod

The most interesting is the progress of Aliy Zirkle's team in Iditarod 2010.
Currently taking her 24 mandatory layover in Takotna , she is up at the front of the pack along with nine ahead of her. This is where she will 'pay' her bib number hours, but gains a bit of advantage with bib no. 50 and Jeff pays for his bib number 15. I am calculating her ability to leave Takotna at 2:50 AM today...(Alaskan time) there are nine able to leave Takotna ahead of her and four (Jeff King first out) have left Takotna. Now the race is even more interesting as those ahead of the race (Baker, D.Seavey) have now to take their 24 as the ten from Takotna surge forward. See Aliy's blog link at top of this page.

Here in Wisconsin the MAJOR meltdown continues. It is 34 degrees at 5AM today, foggy and melting. My son, Tim, came to chop drainage ditches in the pens yesterday... it is actually fun to see the water start flowing as the ditches begin to work :). Not sure we'll be able to navigate a sled for Skinny's run this morning... if this keeps up we'll be on the ATV again soon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Next Generation: Introducing Josefina and Mama Shanna

The warm weather has lingered and seriously impaired dog sled running, but Fina's favorite sled dog,retired Gee Haw command leader, Skinny, took her for her first dog sled ride today, fifty degrees and sunny. Skinny, kind and wise, enjoyed showing Fina the trails, very gently. Mama Shanna is a natural on a sled and has run various teams. Happy handlers were Jim and Grandma Julie.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Four Leaders? Three Leaders?

Wish I had had the camera... I hooked up Skinny (fragile and needs extra care, but he doesn't know it ) and Eos (speedster and hearty) and invited Sierra and Buddy along to free run. Sierra (not hooked up) wanted to be in lead so she fit her mighty little body in between Skinny and Eos and ran the whole way in three dog lead. They couldn't goof off because she kept going (no necklines, of course).
Will try again this morning with the camera.

Snow: some snow, enough to cleanup the pens and the trail, but wet and warm, so also enough to make things a bit punchy.