Monday, February 28, 2011

Sled Dog Racing Super Bowls

Egil Ellis' team won the Open World Championships in Anchorage's Fur Rendezvous. Egil's
former winning leader, Mike, is father of our fantastic Zeus and Eos . Mike was also Egil's main stud for years. We're happy to be giving Zeus and Eos a happy retirement home and they had
a great winter of running .

And now we watch Iditarod, the Start is on this upcoming Saturday in Anchorage at As always, we are following Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore . Their blog will be updated during the race and Aliy will be carrying a video cam on her sled.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Well, today would have been our Florence race. Rob and the team were well ready for it.
But the snow exited and turned to ice and mud. At least the dogs had a great winter of
running, hooray!

This interim period that isn't quite winter, not quite spring is a bit boring for the dogs.
They do get their free runs in the mornings IF it is not too icy. If I see a dog slip, the morning
free runs are canceled. Some of them just run laps in their pens, Eos is one so we try to
keep that straw covered for safety.

The truck still sits at the base of the driveway as even the drive is too
icy to navigate. Walks are limited for house dogs. Even the deer find this ice challenging and
feeding them is only accomplished by sliding down the rather steep incline. Hauling dog food is also a bit difficult. Today we'll attempt to get it out of the truck by sliding the snowmo next to the truck without smashing into it.

Last night we saw a dusting of snow, first in quite awhile, not enough to ease the slippery conditions but cleaner looking at least.

Iditarod starts on Saturday and the Fur Rendezvous is on now in Anchorage. Quite a contrast, looking at the competing teams of the Rondy running down Anchorage streets with stoplights and trucks versus the wide open spaces of Alaska's Iditarod. Watching both of these races
brightens our interim days! Cheering for Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore and their wonderful dogs!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rob's Tsunami Team

Tsunami is an unassuming wheel dog who is well appreciated by the drivers who have him pulling uphill.
The ice trails stay icy and running would be dangerous. Glory had surgery two days ago
for a tumor on her shoulder, for which we'll await biopsy results. She's singing to us
right now in her recovery pen, sounds reminiscent of her mother, Scuba.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Again, weather.

The Florence race is canceled, the trails are either gravel or ice. Our trails still mostly have a snow base covered with ice and a few bare spots. The projected storm of 4 to 8 inches did not
show up, so it's another week of icy life. We go through this every spring, but this isn't spring!

Disappointed dogs watch me as I gingerly clean pens with my Yaktrax on my feet. It's hard to let them even free run as they slip and slide.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fierce Winds, Full Moon, for UP 200 Takeoff

The wind is howling like a banshee, gusting , the windchimes are clanging, the dogs are very quiet. We watched the UP 200 takeoff, trails will be mixed, punchy, icy, temp is plus twenty
but windchills (some winds up to 72mph!) will be lower. The full moon is like a very large lantern in the sky, beautiful for the mushers.

Took a few photos as dogs and I took a pre bedtime walk. Our driveway is lethally icy, no traction whatsoever. Our trails are icy but passable. Our race for next weekend has been
canceled, officially... and Sunday we are expecting 8 inches of snow, go figure!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The past few weeks have been a bit intense with a bit of everything winter can bring.
Trails have stayed good up until now, where we've now turned to ice, with rain expected and higher temps later this week. Current 5AM temp is 27 degrees.
Photos show a few of our dog and human adventures in past few weeks. Rob has continued his steady, good training for the upcoming sprint race. Will we have a trail? we hope so! We've looked over the map and it's familiar running territory for several of our dogs, including, Buffy, Kiddo and Ruthie. Buffy continues to have the ever ready memory of a trail leader... sometimes surprising us with a sharp turn into deep snow where the trail ran BEFORE. Rob handles it.

We had two beginners on sleds this past weekend (Ray and Cindy) and each did very well. We love promoting the gentle sport of running with dogs.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Photo: Yepa free running. (daughter of Frita/Martin)
Yesterday morning it was minus eighteen. This morning it is plus eighteen, with the 30's to 40
coming and some possible rain on Wednesday. Our trails, our trails. We hope it will drop back
and snow. Overnight we had a dusting of snow, every little bit helps. One injury on a dog yesterday from icy conditions, Sherpa hurt a wrist. We'll keep them slow today in their free runs to preserve them for a possible run with guests tomorrow, weather permitting.

And possibly we'll get to the ski jumps today to see Daniel and Nita jumping off of beautiful
Pine Mountain in the Continental Cup Competition.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

King, Valiant

King, age thirteen, has had a few tough years, but we call him "Valiant" as he just loved running, eating, playing. In November he developed an abcess on his head, which never did heal, along with a myriad of otherproblems for which he has been medicated. Yesterday another abcess festered and it was determined with the help of our also valiant vet, that he no longer could sustain quality of life. One of our original Scuba's pups, he raced in sprint early in his life. One of the three Hooligans, he lost his brother, Power, earlier this year. His sister, Glory continues on, the happiest dog in the kennel. They are a wonderful legacy back to Scuba, back to Susan Butcher's racing days. Godspeed, King!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quest Races for Aliy, Allen, Ryne

Be sure to check out the Quest races... great footage, video, Aliy finishing 4th in 300, Ryne,
14th in 300 and Allen now in 6th for main Quest (1000 miles)... wow , what a huge effort/
success to have 3 teams in those races.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Good Runs

Photos: Aging Lillen, Walking with Skinny, Buddy and Sierra, Rob's six dogs, Zeus, Eos, Buffy, Ruthie, Kiddo, Herman on the Florence run. Buddy and Sierra in their chosen roles.

We're getting good runs and it's hectic! But we still are able to give special attention to our senior dogs, who are also having a fairly good winter. Lillen is improving after some medicines, she's back to barking and ordering us around, which we love to hear. She much prefers being outside to being housebound. so she's back to her usual spot for now. Sierra's bad knees continue to function and she leads the deer parade every day, with help from Buddy. Skinny has adapted marvelously to his blindness and has his own routines, gets around quite capably with some restraints.

Straw Bale Count: 46