Northern Blast Sled Dogs

Carol & Alan Pepsick

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Northern Blast Sled Dogs is a small kennel of Siberian Huskies located in Estacada, Oregon. Most of our dogs are training for mid distance races, while the rest run recreationally or are retired.


Our kennel is not a business. This is only a fun hobby for us as well as this website. We will post updates, events, pictures and stories of our times on the trail. Start by checking the blog below. You can add comments to my Blog entries, Photo Gallery, Video's, Calender, and Guest Book. Updates will be listed here. Sign up as a member (located on the sidebar) and receive automatic e-mails whenever the site is updated.


CLICK HERE FOR A KENNEL TOUR

CLICK HERE TO MEET THE DOGS PART 1: THE GIRLS

CLICK HERE TO MEET THE DOGS PART 2: THE BOYS




Recent Updates

11/7/15: Blog posting titled: More Of The Same (scroll down)
11/7/15: New video on the Video page: First Training Run, Fall 2015
10/19/15: Blog posting titled: 3 Dog Blog (scroll down)
9/20/15: Blog posting titled: Past Due (scroll down)

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Time Keeps On Slippin...

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (2)


I have not posted on my blog for a while, because there is not much to post.


We have not done any training since the last time I posted due to Alan's foot surgery. He got his stitches out about 10 days ago and has been able to wear a regular boot but he still has some swelling. We did get everything set up yesterday to go on our first run back this morning but temps soared into the mid 40's!! We have been suffering from inversion quite a bit this season, meaning the temps are actually warmer the higher up in elevation. This really works against us. By the time we get set up, and at the higher elevation, it would be too warm, in a bright sun, for a team that is going to be overly excited to be back on the trail, so we stayed home. We'll see what tomorrow is like. 


I am off several days this week because the Eagle Cap Extreme race is this week which I had intended to go to. When I realized that we weren't going to make it, I put a couple of work days back on my schedule but still gave myself a few days off. I thought it might still be fun to go to another training area and stay for a few days and train but the weather has really left no options for this (within a reasonable distance). All local mushers are scrambling for training grounds. Most of us have not pulled our sleds out and those that have, has not found the greatest conditions or they don't last long. The local sprint races were cancelled as well as several other races throughout the PNW (with possibly more to follow). With the exception of more fog like this:




...we haven't had much moisture in the past month. The lack of snow is incredible. But there has been plenty of sunshine. Here's what my sled dogs have been doing this January:





So we are ready to get back into it although we will have to back our mileage down a bit to start, just waiting for the right day. Since we will not have enough training to make it to our race in February as well, we can wait for the right day. We will have to see if we can set ourselves up for a race I was looking at in March. However, it is here in Oregon so we will have to see what the snow conditions are like at that time.


The only thing we did work on over the last couple of months is getting rid of an eye infection that hit about 14 dogs in the kennel. It was difficult to get rid of as they kept passing it back and forth to each other. I have never had a health issue concerning so many dogs at once. Treating that many dogs was not fun. Finally, it disappeared about 2 weeks ago, but it returned in one dog a few days ago. Sure hope this is the last of it. Joy held out the longest before it finally hit her. Here is a very cute picture of her:





And I have to post this fun picture I captured last night. This is Faith's shadow against the back of the kennel during a low setting sun:





Lastly, one unfortunate event that did take place this month was the passing of one of our original mushing mentor's. Here is a posting I made on my FB page:


Good-Bye To A Friend And Mentor

January 11, 2014 at 9:52am

I was recently informed that an old friend has passed. Alan and I consider her one of our original mushing mentors and our tale is an odd one. Alan and I met her at the home of Lee Hills whom she was an old friend of. She was sort of passing through, if you call a 6 week stay "passing through", from Alaska working at DeeDee Jonrowe's kennel (who was an old friend of hers), on her way back to Australia, her homeland. We spent every day with her during those six weeks, often it feels we crammed a lifetime into that very short time. This was 9 years ago and we were just starting out in our first full year as mushers. We had spent all spring and summer collecting dogs and equipment and started cart training that fall, but everything changed when she showed up around Thanksgiving time.

 

She took us under her wing without us asking and poured as much information into our brains as we could handle. We learned about her dogs, Siberian husky's, as well as the dogs she worked with in Alaska. She would hand us books on dogs or on mushing and tell us to read them. She introduced us to the concept of form and function. Between her and Lee we enjoyed tons of stories as we sat, hanging onto every word, thinking that maybe someday we will have our own list of fun stories to tell. We shared many meals together as well as long conversations on a variety of topics.

 

For some reason she chose to come with us on our training runs to help us with the dogs. She wanted to handle for us at the local races and she has been the only person we have ever handed one of our teams over to so she could take them for a run. And she was there to see us off when we finally went on our first sled runs. From Alaska she brought back with her a foot ointment recipe and shared it with us. The memory of that night as we made a big mess in Lee's kitchen trying to whip up a batch of the ointment. Laughing while we worked, a little more of this and a spoonful more of that until we felt we had it right. Every couple of years Alan and I make up another batch of the ointment as I did early this fall and I just couldn't help but remember that silly day in Lee's kitchen.

 

Of course, being from Australia added another whole aspect to getting to know her. When she asked for a "couple of ticks", I learned it meant she needed a few "seconds" to do something. "Getting pissed" really meant "getting drunk", and "chucks (chooks) on the barbie" really meant "b-b-qued chicken". The accent also threw us for a while. For example "ee-glue pak" was the well known Siberian kennel "Igloo Pak". One of our dogs at the time was Keeper and we used to giggle at her pronunciation of Kee-pah. Probably our largest misunderstanding being new to the mushing world, was about this white team she often spoke of. We didn't realize there was mushing teams out there but this was when all the adventuring racing teams were hitting it big so we just assumed. She was always saying "team white" this and "team white" that, and we always wondered who are the other teams and are they all named after colors. Then one day we put it all together and realized she had been talking about the very famous musher Tim White. Now I wish I could go back and rehear everything she said about him.

 

But also being from Australia came with some fun. She gave us a boomerang and showed us how to throw it. Oh the fun we had throwing that thing around at Lee's ranch. And for mushers it has a second purpose, to scrap the ice off the windshield if needed. Today that boomerang still hangs from the rearview mirror in the dog truck. She also gave me a journal to keep my own mushing notes in. 

 

Her final influence on our lives was convincing us of doing our first breeding. That breeding was with Holly whom we co-owned with Lee at the time and who is still here with us now. The breeding was a surgical AI (artificial insemination), the frozen semen was from the same dog that she used, Terry Hinesly's Indy D. She brought a large amount of the semen back to Australia many years earlier and those lines still carry on today. So during a horrible ice storm in January, we all went to the vet together for Holly's successful AI. The next day, we all went to the airport together to say our good-bye's as it was time for her to head home.

 

Before she left she informed us that she had some issues she would be tending to and that she would not be able to be in contact with us for a while. I was hoping we would hear from her after a few months so we can tell her all about the litter of pups Holly had but we never heard from her. Years passed, we thought of her often and Alan and I would get into conversations throwing her words and expressions back and forth. Because of her I have made several more friends from Australia through FB, I wished she could have been one of them. I wanted to tell her how much our Tundra looks like her Shay, they were half-brothers, or what it was like training the litter of pups, and how we were inspired to do more breeding's, and then how I got into racing.

 

Then out of the blue two years ago, she made contact with us by e-mail. She found my website and left a comment on my Guestbook page as well. Our e-mails went back and forth for a while and it was so nice to talk dogs with her again especially after all that we had been through since her departure. I was glad she was able to view my pictures on my website and read MY stories and we also learned more about her along the way. The personality I knew before came through those e-mails: mysterious, bold, informative, surprising, strong, and someone with a great sense of humor. But now that time is over, and as I ponder this recent news I can't help but think that she was aware of her fate, and this is why she got back in touch with us. I am trying to learn what her cause of death was as this was not explained to me. If I hear back any more news I will update this.

 

Lee Hills, our other original mentor, passed away in the spring of 2012. I can only imagine what these two are up to together now. Perhaps just sitting around, telling more stories and laughing away!

 

Throughout this writing I have kept her name discreetly absent as I know she would have liked it that way. Anyone who knows her knows exactly who I am writing about anyhow. But I have to say she deserves so much more and so, with respect, I say good-bye Nola Randell, we will always appreciate your friendship and guidance, and we will never forget you.

 

 From our guestbook page:

 

"Would place my stamp of approval on this team any day. It's not what you do... but how you do it. " Nola Randell





WEATHER: Like It Or Not

Posted on December 21, 2013 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)


It has been all about the weather the last couple of weeks. As I mentioned in my last blog, first the snow arrived!



This is how the conditions looked at the lower elevations, and gradually the snow thickened kicking us off the trail 3.5 miles up.




This is what the snow looked like from the house. Looks great but not enough to cover the upper trails to pull out the sleds. We hit that awful transition period.




Another pic from the house.


Then the super cold temperatures hit. Dropping down into the teens felt great to the dog's but unfortunately all the trails were ruined for training which would be frozen snow cover. We were grounded. So what is it like maintaining the kennel at these temps? It's all about the water. Outer faucets are useless and all the dog's buckets freeze up so they have no access to water. This meant hydrating them 3 times a day with either a warm meaty broth, or poring water over their kibble. We also fed them more meat during the cold snap since they would be burning extra calories to keep warm. After about 12 days with temperatures gradually climbing back up, we were back into the low 40's - it didn't need to warm up that much! We were able to remove the ice from their water buckets and replace them with water.




Bucket ice graveyard.


And we hit the trails again in what felt like too warm of temps. If only we could have had those cold temps with good trails we would have had some great training runs.





Also, because of the long delay, I had to back their mileage down a bit for training last weekend. Seems our training this year has been a constant 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Making gains and maintaining the dog's condition has been difficult.




While out training last weekend, we came across this cool looking partially frozen puddle.


I'm throwing this in for fun. On my last blog, I talked about how crazy it is to get 14 dogs hooked up to the gangline. Well, there's Nothing To See Here, as my video title indicates, but click on it and here the sound of chaos as we ready the team for a run. (Video by Alan.)


So after 2 days of training in the low 40's last weekend, the dogs had Monday off to recuperate. I knew the temps were supposed to drop into the low to mid 30's for Tuesday which would be perfect for a training run. Unfortunately, a thick fog rolled in Monday night. It was like driving through milk much of my way home from work. I remember as a kid growing up in Michigan, fog was a cool and unique event. I can remember walking to school in the fog only a couple of times. Around here, it is normal and often a daily occurrence. It's real fun driving on the two lane highways up and down hills on tightly winding roads in a dense fog. I don't even think of it as fog but as low-lying clouds, due to the mountains. Sometimes at our house we are above the clouds and I can see the cloud cover that I will descend into as I get closer to the valley. It's quite a site, beautiful looking until you hit the fog. Monday night's fog left everything soaking wet, like living in a cloud for a day. Then the temps dropped below freezing which brings in another phenomenon - frozen fog! That's what we woke up to Tuesday morning. Everything was frozen in a sheet of ice like we were hit by an ice storm. I am glad I didn't have to go to work as all vehicles were coated in a glaze of ice. Unfortunately, negotiating the single-wide winding road up the side hill hauling a trailer did not sound very safe, so once again we were grounded, with ideal temperatures.




Tuesday morning's fog.




Frozen grass.




Sunlight through the tree reflects off the fog.


That was our last chance to train for a while since Alan went in for surgery on Thursday. Now we are on a training break for at least a week while he recovers. It would be wonderful if Mother Nature would use this time to complete the transition to winter. A large dumping of snow on the upper trails would work out great, then we could switch to sled training when we get back on the trails. Here's hoping.


Here are some individual gangline pics from the weekend:




Leaders, cousins Drew (L) and Kwyta.




In swing, Looker (L) and her niece Ana.




Sisters Nezi (L) and Cheyenne.




Sisters Lizzy (L) and Faith.




Cree (L) and his uncle, Eagle.




Apache (L) and his father Orbit.




In wheel, Tundra (L) and his nephew Bounder.





PARTING SHOT:




Me and Cree during the cold snap on a chilly 13 degree day.





Blog Time Again, Part 3

Posted on December 7, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)


PART 3: FALL TIME CONTINUED, RACE TRAINING AND NEW GADGETS




14-dog team parked at our local quarry for a break. It's a long climb to this point.


After we returned from the Brent Sass weekend, it was time to focus on training the race team as 1 group. That's 14 dogs, something I had never done before. Hook-up was insane. 3 of my 4 quietest dogs were dropped to the rec team, the remaining were all crazy. Since Faith is my remaining quiet dog she always gets hooked up first where she just stands so calmly sometimes just humming lightly to herself. Meanwhile the rest of the dogs on the drop chains are going berserk. Jumping up and down and screaming their heads off. Some dogs cannot be harnessed ahead of time as they will shred their harness while waiting. We keep Lizzy, our rock eater, in her box since she can't be trusted on the gravel road. She is also higher maintenance needing 4 booties on her feet so all of this is done when she is taken out and then hooked directly to the gangline. We were also keeping Eagle in his box until the last minute because he is the absolute worse on the drop chains. All the dogs on his side would get whipped in their faces with the chain because of his bouncing around and he is also the loudest screamer. But with his anticipation he has been very destructive to the inside of his box and several repairs have been made so currently we are bringing him out to the drop chains again.


It takes so long to hook up 14 dogs that we have to constantly watch for certain problems to occur: 1. the dogs tangling themselves as they bang in their harness and dodge over and under the gangline repetitively during their (long) wait. The newbies were the worst. 2. line chewing. Dogs release their anticipation by chewing, in this case the closest thing next to them is the gangline. Although we use a cable core they can still bite through the rope and then damage their teeth on the cable. They also chew on their necklines and if they bite through, then they would work on their partners neckline. So before taking off we would have to replace necklines. We started off using cable necklines on the worst chewers, now we use cable necklines on all the dogs, which has helped some. Without being able to chew on necklines, the more desperate dogs would then reach forward and start chewing on the tugline of the dog in front of them. Just never-ending insanity. 3. harness chewing. With the need to chew, a dog (such as Orbit) will reach behind them and chew their own harness to pieces. Sometimes they will chew on their partner's harness. 4. harness tangle. This is the worst to try to correct when a dog is hooked up. Somehow during their jumping, banging, dodging and chewing, they get tangled up in their own harness. You pretty much have to unhook them and redress them to correct this problem. 5. an excited dog can get mouthy and bother their partner. It has only happened on occasion to us but you really want to avoid a dog fight on the gangline. Because of all this I have created an order of hook-up, starting with the easiest dog, Faith, and working our way to hooking up the worst dog last, Orbit.


When we are finally able to take off, the insanity doesn't end. The first mile is the MILE OF CHAOS. Booties are flying which I try to stop and pick up but stopping means everyone goes back into jumping, banging, dodging and chewing mode, so the stop has to be quick. Generally a number of dogs are on the wrong side of the gangline often putting their neckline across the back of their partner's neck making running for both uncomfortable. Some have their lines wound several times around the gangline leaving them little slack. I have learned to wait at least a mile before dealing with the mess. When I finally do stop I have found with this large team that I also have to set the handbrake as one time the team took off dragging the parked 600 pound quad! I quickly replace booties and put dogs back on their proper side, undoing and reclipping lines. Our second attempt at going is usually better but there can still be minor problems. Generally I have stop by the 3 mile mark to offer them water because they have expended so much energy during the harnessing and hook-up process that they already need water even though I hydrate them the night before as well just before we hook them up. I also use this time to make any more needed adjustments and finally we are off to a calmer and cleaner run. We go through this on every training run.

(All videos in this blog can also be seen on the Videos page. And remember for best viewing click the YouTube icon in the video box.)


CLICK HERE to see the video of my first 14-dog run after the chaos.


When I would return to the truck with the race team, we would water them, take their harnesses off, give them pets and snacks, and put them back in the truck. Then we would get the rec team down, harness and hook them up to the quad and I would go right back out again on a short run with them.




Joy runs in single lead and does an outstanding job. It is painful that she can't be on the race team. In wheel is Rosie and Spirit and Rosie seemed to have to work harder to keep up with the other two. She also didn't seem like she was enjoying herself anymore and that she would probably prefer to stay home. But running only 2 dogs in front of the quad would be ridiculous so we made some changes. I'll come back to this story later in the blog.


Ana loves training so much that she found a clever way to convince me that she belonged in lead one training day.

CLICK HERE to see the video and hear me tell Ana's story.




Funny Apache and Bounder in lead on a 10 mile run.


CLICK HERE to see the 10 mile run video.



With Kwyta doing quite a bit of the leading, and training the younger ones (her kids), I recently decided to put Ana and Nezi in lead to see how they do together, without a trained adult directing them. I did put the trained adults right behind them as a backup and they occasionally helped from their position. The girls did really well and they are so strong, I think that is the fastest we have ever done the more strenuous uphill quarry run. Watching them make decisions on their own was exciting and very encouraging with every correct decision they made. Also, I should mention their brothers Apache and Cree were in the physically demanding position of wheel doing well keeping their tugs tight the whole time. I am very pleased with this incredible litter.




Nezi and Ana holding out an 11-dog team on a break.


Due to several circumstances we have been able to get in a bit more training than usual. Unfortunately the dogs are not conditioned for it so many are coming up sore or have minor injuries. On a run just the other day, adding to all the normal chaos, I had to stop quite frequently in the first 4 miles to switch dogs around trying to find the right combination of dogs to move strongly down the trail. When I just about ran out of options I decided to try Ana and Nezi again since they did so well on their first run together. This was the right choice because they saved the day! They did even better than before, showing more confidence with commands. Their strength came through again as the rest of team finally fell into step looking smooth and strong. These two girls are turning out to be a great leading pair.


CLICK HERE to see Nezi and Ana's first lead together on video.


Teaching dogs how to run faster stumped me when we used to train on carts. Even getting off the cart and running while pushing didn't produce the desired effect from the dogs, and a person can only do this so far anyhow. When we switched to the quad 5 years ago it all became easy. Give the dogs more gas, they automatically run faster. I started attaching the command "pick it up" and it wasn't long before they got it. The proof was when we switched to sled. I want the dogs to run faster up short steep hills especially since we run a loaded sled, I don't want them to stall before we get to the top. The first time I asked them to pick it up on a hill on sled and they charged up it, I was very pleased. So here is a video showing this training. Although the hill is small it doesn't look like much at all in the video but watch the dogs. Some of them see the hill coming up and start to run faster before I even give the command.


CLICK HERE to see the hill training video.



New Gadgets For Northern Blast


As the need arose, we had to try a number of new gadgets and toys for this years training season:


*Balanced Fat

I was looking for a new product to bait the dogs water with. In the past I had used Energy Pack by National which is a simple powder like Kool Aid that I could easily sprinkle in their water but by mid season half of the dogs wouldn't touch it anymore so I switched to baiting their water with meat.


Balanced Fat, made by Red Paw where we get our dog food from, comes in different size tubs and is a very different product. (https/redpawdogfood.com/products/balancedfat) Frozen it is much like sherbet, refrigerated it is like shortening, and left at room temperature it turns into a liquid which is what I needed to bait their water. If I forgot to pull it out early enough I would have to soak a bowl of it in hot water so it would be liquid before we left. I then would have to keep it in the cab of the truck so it would stay a liquid. I would add this and warm water that I also brought in a jug, to each dogs bowl for them to drink. Right from the start about 3 of them didn't like it so I had to use meat again for them. Then others stopped drinking it and when those that drank it were done, an oily residue was left behind so all the bowls would have to be cleaned. That's a lot of bowls and a lot of cleaning each time. The product just didn't work out for us as well as I had hoped, so we are back to baiting everyone very successfully with meat, which I always have available.


*Meat Grinder

Speaking of meat...I am a bit disapointed on our meat situation this year. At the beginning of the fall we have always purchased ground, made for sled-dogs, frozen meat in 50 pound bricks. That option is no longer available. For the distances we run I really like having raw meat in their diet adding extra fat since they will be burning so much, and extra protein for quicker muscle repair, so we had to come up with another idea. So we purchased our own meat grinder but we still needed to find meat. We were in contact with someone to go in on a half of a cow with but that fell through. I called several meat companies trying to get meat at a bulk rate but could not find any. So now we just purchase whatever fatty beef and chicken we find on sale at the grocery store and grind it ourselves. The grinder works really well however the meat is not as juicy as I would like for making soup, and of course we have to keep up on the grinding so we always have meat ready to go. We will do several large storage bowls at a time, keeping some in the freezer. Then of course the grinder has to be cleaned each time and I don't think we are saving any costs this way. Bottom line however, is we have meat and the dogs love it:



*New Tent





We purchased this new tent after we came back from the Brent Sass weekend (see previous blog) where we used our mountaineering tent. That mountaineering tent is really built for extreme elements and it served us well nearly 10 years ago when we were stuck in a winter storm for 4 days at 10,000 feet on Mt. Rainier. But it wasn't as useful this fall in the manner in which we used it. In fact, it was rather inconvenient. Getting in and out of the narrow opening, laying down to get dressed, and we were practically on top of each other when we were both in it, well it just wasn't as fun as I remember.


So we picked up this new tent but also to serve another purpose. I thought this year when out on the longer runs, Alan might want to set up a tent to stretch out in while waiting for us and this would be a much better tent for that. We have already used it once on a disastrous overnight. The overnight may not have gone well but the tent was definitely roomier and was easier to maneuver in. We also picked up a Mr. Buddy propane heater which heats the tent quickly.



*Dog Scooter





I didn't think we would ever own one of these. Generally scooters are used for training 1-2 dogs at a time so we didn't have a need for it until this year. Picking up where I left off regarding the rec team; with Rosie off the team leaving just Joy and Spirit, I felt a scooter would better serve us and them. Also, Alan decided to take over the training with this team which works out really well as he can easily hook them up to the scooter on his own and take them out for a few miles after I leave with the race team. Then I don't have to run them when I get back. He absolutely loved his first run out with them. When we got home Rosie didn't seem too happy to be left behind so we brought her on the next run and Alan ran all 3 dogs together on the scooter. He was still able to manage them on his own and it sounds like Rosie had a nice run too. It may be that she just did't like being in wheel position in front of the quad. Unfortunately I have not been able to see him run his team nor have I tried this out (other than 1 dog on our driveway loop the first day we got it). Somehow however, Alan managed to take a short video on his phone of his team in action.


CLICK HERE to see the video of the rec team out scootering.



* Dehydrated Chicken Breasts

We have had the dehydrators for years, but this year we started dehydrating chicken breasts for high protein snacks for the dogs and they love them. These might look like the ones you can buy in stores but they are not dangerous to dogs.



A new issue has come in to play that has already had an impact on our schedule and may have a larger impact later. I mentioned on an earlier blog that Alan has been having issues at work and working a lot of overtime because of it. Long story short, this has affected him in many ways including the return of toe pain in the toe he had surgery on last year. His doctor said he needs another smaller surgery that Alan was going to wait until spring to do but that has changed. He is now off of work and his surgery is scheduled for later this month. Right now this has been helpful in allowing for more training and he has time for the extra things, such as grinding meat, dehydrating chicken breasts, or preparing satin balls which is a high energy, high fat snack that we mix and freeze for the dogs. But we don't know what will happen once he has surgery. He will need recovery time but it isn't supposed to be quite as severe this time. We will have to wait and see how this affects our training and whether we will be able to continue down the racing path.


We are cutting it close as it is with training. We were still battling warm days and still trying to put mileage on the dogs. With Alan and I both having time off together recently we tried to make up some lost time but this resulted in tired and sore dogs, and one sore wrist. Then this week we had a complete change in weather but it didn't help. It started off with very intense rainfalls that caused flooding. This prevented us from utilizing a few trail options as the puddles would be much too large to go through or even worse - very large mud puddles. Then snow arrived marking the transition period for us. Meaning there was too much snow on our lower elevation dirt runs (non-maintained roads) to safely train 14 dogs. I tried on Tuesday and we only got 3.5 miles out before having to turn around, which is not easy to do on snow with 14 fresh, fired up dogs. If I continued further the conditions would have worsened with continued elevation gain and I might have gotten into trouble when trying to turn around.  Of course the transition works the other way on our sled trails meaning there is snow but not enough to safely stop a sled or hook a team down. The transition time just eats as me as I always feel we are wasting time. The worst part this time is temperatures have dropped wonderfully into the 20's, this morning it was 17 degrees! We all love these temps but we can't take advantage of it. :(  We might try the dirt trails again tomorrow and see if there is any improvement.


So with each day, I feel less confident that we will be prepared enough to meet our racing goals. Final decisions will be made at the end of December. For November I had 16 training days marked down, we were able to train on only 9 of those.


Well that finally catches us up. I'll end the blog with a few yard pics:




Cute pick of Nezi (L) sharing a hole with her mother Kwyta.




Nezi (L) and her great uncle Tundra (R) with her grandmother Spirit (Tundra's sister) in the back.




Dog mix: Cree, Faith, Ana, Lizzy, Apache, Orbit, and Cheyenne.




Ana is always looking for the kitty.




Ana (L) spending time with her dad Orbit.




Proud parents Kwyta and Orbit.




And playful parents.



And lastly...



A cute picture of Rosie who created this straw pillow for herslef. This is how I found her one morning.





Blog Time Again, Part 2

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)


PART 2: THE FALL TIME and BRENT SASS


We started off September with a little bit of excitement when this arrived:




A Jeep Compass! This was Alan's parent's vehicle. With 4WD and the amount of room that it provides Alan thought we might be able to make good use of it and his sister and brother were not interested in it. Actually, neither of us had ever heard of one before but we really like it. Considered a compact SUV I don't feel like I am driving a bus, but it is quite roomy with lots of storage and it's the only thing we now own that can seat more than 2 people. Now we have two 4WD vehicles to use when winter drops in.


I had 12 training days marked down for September, but we were only able to take advantage of 2 of them as the temps continued to be too warm. I started off fall training where we left off the season before: 17 dogs split into 2 groups. During these early shorter runs, there was plenty of time to run 2 groups which allowed Joy, Rosie, and Spirit to train with the rest of the dogs. I could tell however that Rosie was working hard to keep up and that I would definitely have to drop her down to the rec team soon. This is an interesting and somewhat sad process. I have eliminated dogs before as I see them get outrun by the new and improved dogs, but in the past they were not dogs specifically bred to run. It was a little different with Rosie as she was bred to run and has done so for 8 years with me and at one time she was one of the new and improved dogs. The other two dogs to be placed on the rec team, due to their seizure disorders, is Spirit and Joy also bred to run and have been on my team their whole lives. It is unfortunate that I cannot utilize their talent. Northern Blast, once again, took a step into new territory.


September was also rabies renewal for those that needed it. One of the dogs on the list was Comet. Comet is one of our original rescue dogs who came to us at an unknown age, although we are now thinking that he was older than what the rescue felt he "probably" was as he is showing the signs of a much older dog. His face looks old and his movements have become stiff, making him a bit touchy and grumpy. This makes him difficult to work with and I did not feel we would be able to get him to the vet. So for the first time, our vet made a housecall and injected all the dogs in need of rabies, right here. She agreed that he appeared to be a much older dog.




Comet in his younger days.


October started off much better for us. We got one more training run in before hitting our big, and anxiously anticipated, event. Brent Sass of Wild And Free Mushing, out of Eureka, AK, was coming to Oregon! Brent runs a long distance team and has come on strong the last few years. Brent is known for his camaraderie on the trail, dedication to his dogs, and of course his ways in the wild. What an honor that he would take the time from his training season to come all the way down here and give our group 3 days of himself. And, once again, we have Henning Bartel to thank for this. Henning organized the Karen Ramstead and Mike Ellis seminars that we attended in Portland this summer, but this was a whole different ball game.


Henning has 10 beautiful acres surround by national forest in LaPine, OR. He only allowed 12 mushers and as many dogs as they wanted to bring, to sign up for the weekend where we all camped right on his property. He has trails leading off his property and right into the national forest. The cooler parts of the day saw teams, one after another, taking off for a run right from their camping spots. During the warmer parts of the day we gathered together and talked dogs, visited each other's sites, shared meals with food cooked by a genuine chef, and of course talked with Brent. He answered endless questions, and helped us with anything that we asked. He also provided an awesome slide show presentation one chilly night. We arrived on Friday with 15 dogs (I left Rosie and Spirit behind, but brought Joy) and stayed until Monday. The trails were awesome and I got in several runs with my dogs still running them in 2 teams. After a wonderful run we would come back to our campsite and eat and then join in on good conversation with a circle of mushers relaxing together around a campfire. How ideal, what great fun. This was just a wonderful experience! Here are the pics:

 



Mushers chat circle with Brent on the left.




Brent came by our truck and Ana was so excited to meet him.




Mushers doing their thing. On the right is Henning Bartel who makes and sells carts so he is down to business (http://www.arctis-carts.com/)  (http://arctis-carts.blogspot.com/); and on the left on the ground Karen Yeargain is examining an injury on one of Kim Bertrand's dogs. Beyond is another mushing circle and Alan seems to be in the middle of it all.




Chat circle. Brent in orange. Henning's beautiful house behind them.




Ahh, Henning's shop, supplied many things for all of us: shelter, bathroom, shower, kitchenette, small sleeping room if needed, and food served. Of course its normal function is the place where Henning builds his carts.


Here is what the camping scene was like:




This is our site. It has been a while since we pulled out the old mountaineering tent.




Our site from a different view. The red truck in the background belongs to Connie Starr. To the left is Kim Bertrand's set up. It had been a couple of years since our path crossed with Kim's, so it was nice camping right next to her. The building behind her is the back of Henning's shop.




Trucks, trailers, ATV's, dog crates...oh what fun!




This is Neal Bowlen's amazing rig. He brought 32 running dogs with him from Utah.




This young mushing couple from California camped across from us. They have 8 siberians in that vehicle with them.




Group shot.




Training pic. We referred to this as the red road. All the smaller training roads were off of this one.




With the amount of intersecting roads to train on it was easy to get turned around as many of us did including me on our last day. So when I got home I drew up this map which is stored on my phone. I didn't want to forget what we figured out on this trip should we ever return which I would really like to do.




Our very gracious hosts Henning and Marguerite pictured here with Brent. I cannot say thankyou enough to these three. So once again, thankyou Henning and Marguerite for putting this wonderful event on and sharing your home with us; and thankyou Brent for agreeing to come down and for sharing all your amazing stories and mushing knowledge with us. One of the best events ever!


Oh, and we have some videos to share! (Remeber, for those that have the Youtube icon, you can click on that for a better view. And, these videos are also located on the video page.)


VIDEO 1: Alan captured this video of our campsite and all the sites around us.


VIDEO 2 PART A: The last day of the weekend, this is a training run with the first group out.


VIDEO 3 PART B: The last day of the weekend, this is a 2nd video on the first group out.


VIDEO 4: The last day of the weekend, this is a training run with the second group.



I had 15 training days marked on our calendar for October, we were able to train 10 of those, still battling warm temperatures. Up next will be part 3 which will include training the race team and some new idea's we are trying out this year. That should catch us up to the present. Stay tuned!





Blog Time Again, Part 1

Posted on November 16, 2013 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (3)


Well I got behind on my blog again and so much has happened. I actually started this back in September so I will pick up where I left off and post this in parts to get information out sooner. This is PART 1: THE END OF SUMMER

August just slipped away. I had 8 training days marked on my wall calendar and we were not able to use any of them. The temperatures never cooled off enough to start training. The one thing that we did attend in August was the slideshow presentation given by Mike Ellis.




How great it was to meet this incredible musher who currently holds the fastest times for Siberian Husky's for both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod. Both of these races were included in his presentation as well as an introduction on how he got started and eventually moved to Alaska. But I really liked when he talked about the spring caribou hunt he and a small group of mushers did by dogsled. That was so interesting as it was the real deal, the pictures were amazing. It was also great to be able to ask him questions in person (as I have written to him a few times in the past). I had a wonderful time.


During August we also aired out the camping equipment as we know we will be needing it during the training and racing season.



Our cat Midas thought he would lend a paw with my -30 sleeping bag.


Also in August we had a third dog who started having seizures. This time it was Holly, just before her 13th birthday. Holly is Spirit's mother and Joy's grandmother but again the neurologist (by phone to our vet) stated that the 3 cases are unrelated and that because of Holly's age it is likely because of a brain tumor. We could find out with an MRI. We had noticed other physical issues prior which could just be the beginning of arthritis stiffness or possibly tumor related as well. We eventually put her on the same medication as the other girls and she has not had a seizure since (until just the other day unfortunately) . At one point I was trying to video her movement's and captured this picture as a result. As Holly makes her way up the aisle between her and Kwyta's kennel's, you will see Kwyta right behind her. Kwyta became very concerned about her grandmother during all this and she began to watch over Holly. Here she is escorting Holly to her gate, making sure she gets there ok. Such a thoughtful granddaughter and another plusmark in that wonderful package we call Kwyta.





As summer started to wrap up we barely survived the big heat cycle that most of the girls went through together. Well I should say the boys barely survived it, we just didn't get much sleep as we were often up every hour asking them to quiet down. The younger girls, now 2, were much different this time than when they were yearlings as they learned all about flirting and flaunting which drove all the boys, inlcuding the younger ones now, insane. I called our vet about putting the 6 main boys on an anxiety medication hoping to calm them down some, but they would have all needed complete exams first so we gave up on that idea. Then we heard our old friend, Lee Hills, would put vicks on the boys noses to mask the girls scent. Great idea but I figured they would lick it off. So, each night I put a dab at the base of their throat and behind each ear where they couldn't reach it and it would create a vortex of vicks around their head. I also had them sniff the jar to immediately clear the sinuses. This really worked well! Not 100%, but well enough. (Current update: here we go again! A second heat cycle with a smaller group of girls.)


Here are some end of the summer pictures of the dogs. The boys were much more difficult to get pictures of because during playtime they would just wait outside the gate that separates them from the girls yard, hoping we will let them in; and if I went into their yard they would follow me around as a group which doesn't make for any great pictures. I was only able to capture these of them:



Boys gathered at the gate.




Waiting, hoping to see the girls.




Here's a pretty good picture. L - R: Orbit, Apache, and Eagle.




And the only other decent picture I could get on the boys side. Bounder and Tundra on the platform, Apache sitting on the ground, Orbit laying down.



The girls yard was much different:



Lizzy sporting her summer wear.




Ahh yes, this is the life of my two main leaders, Looker and Kwyta. (Current side note: while Kwyta is having one of her best training years ever, Looker just isn't on her game.)




While the girls wait for fall training to start, they get in a little gangline practicing, without the gangline. Notice how Kwyta inserted herself into the front position. Behind her is Lizzy, Joy, Spirit, and Rosie.




Nezi (L) and her aunt Faith.




The face of Kwyta.




Beautiful Ana.




Gorgeous Nezi.




The sun glistens off the shiny coat of sweet Cheyenne.




Sweetheart Drew.




Best Friends Forever: Spirit and Rosie.




And when you can't find your best friend, grab her daughter instead. Lizzy and Rosie.


I thought I would throw in these pictures for a different perspective of the kennel, although not for me. I probably spend more time in the kennel while it's dark than I do during the day, and here's what it looks like:



The boy's side.




The girl's side.


******************************************************************************************************************

Now, so I don't get too far behind while trying to catch up, here is a brief and current update for November:


We haven't been as plagued this year with so many issues as we were last year, but still just not getting the training in that we need. Although the temps are improved, there was still too many warm days. We haven't had quite as many health issues thankfully, but Alan has been getting a lot of overtime. In fact, that is one area that is actually worse than last year. I will leave out the details but it has certainly made an impact on our training.


So we try to get out when we can. Right now we are running in the 15+ mile range which is about 10 miles shorter than the runs I wanted to be doing by now. The dogs aren't getting into the type of condition I would like to see with so many gaps in between training and we are running out of time. We will know soon enough where we stand.


I would like to make a couple of mentions however. Kwyta is right on this year. She is so into the training, has done a large majority of the leading and teaching her kids. She has lots of energy and strength, powering 14 dogs up hills, and really hitting her commands. Her kids have turned out to be very strong as well. Tight tugs in all situations while hitting mileage they have never seen before and Ana does really well up in lead with her mom. I can tell she is starting to pick up on commands. Very happy with these 6.


I also have to take a moment to mention Joy. Now at age 5, Joy has become the dog I thought she was going to be by the time she was 3, before her life was interrupted with the whole seizure and medication issues. With all that under control now she has been showing how talented she is. She is in great shape and light on her feet. Her leadership is rivaling Kwyta as she is doing single lead of her little team. It is all such a shame that she can't train and be in the bigger races with the rest because she is outstanding! I think she is enjoying what she is doing however so we will continue to make the best of it. A little more about this in a later blog.


SCARY INCIDENT

Lastly I have to write about yesterday's incident. After 10 years of running dogs, this was a first for us although we have always known this to be a possibility for any musher. After we hooked up my 14 dogs to the gangline (connected to the quad), I gave the "ok" to go but immediately stopped the team as I could see Orbit's back foot was somehow so tangled in his tug line that he couldn't put his foot down. I pointed it out to Alan so he could help him but Alan stopped at the two dogs in front of Orbit instead, Apache and Tundra, and started shouting to me. I wasn't sure what was happening. By the time I got off the quad and to him he had Tundra's neckline undone and was asking me to help him create slack to undo Apache's neckline. Once that was done the back 6 dogs swung free and then Alan starting shouting for me to hook up the leaders as he was holding the remaining 8, and very anxious, dogs in his has bare hands and somehow staying on his feet! The leaders hadn't passed the truck yet so I ran up and hooked them to the drop chains. We then proceeded to unhook all the dogs and hooked them back up to the drop chains. During this I remembered poor Orbit and ran to him to find that his foot was still wound up in his harness and tugline that I had to free him of.


So for those of you who don't understand what was going on was that the gangline broke and unfortunately what happens is the dogs at the break are holding the line together as their neckline is with the front group of dogs and their tugline is with the back group stretching their bodies out and choking them in the process. An experience I hope I will never see again. Alan saw their faces and said he couldn't understand at first why Apache's and Tundra's tongues were hanging out of their mouths and what it was they were doing.


Once we made the gangline repair we had to hook all the dogs back up again. Apache and Tundra both appear to be perfectly fine and completed the 14.5 miles that we did. Another worrisome part during all the chaos, was Drew, who is in season, and was put right next to Tundra and when I saw her she was giving him the green light. I hope that almost being choked kept him from taking advantage of the situation.


Next blog will be about the fall.





Bad Blog

Posted on November 13, 2013 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Such a long delay! Working on a new blog entry and will be posting soon.




Gearing Up

Posted on August 4, 2013 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)


Yes, it's August, and we have spent the last few weeks getting ready for the running season!

So first, it may not have been necessary but I had to agree with his logic, Alan got himself his first motorcycle:




So what does this have to do with running dogs? Well, weather permitting, this is Alan's new ride to work, which will save wear and tear on the dog truck now that it is 8 years old. It will also save in gas as it only takes about $11.00 to fill the tank and he gets a ridiculous 78 miles per gallon. Oh, and did I mention he is having a ball with it? (That's just an added perk.)


I have marked all (at least most) of the potential running and race dates on my wall calendar up to the beginning of March, and have already been approved for these days off of work. Yippee! Our first running day was supposed to be today, but the temps aren't quite cool enough yet (which I half expected). Next...


It was time to order more dog food so I put in an order for a pallet. This is perfect timing going into the start of the training season with 1 ton of dog food. I also ordered a bucket of blended fat. This product is new for us to try and I have already received it. It's a blend of several fats (where dogs get most of their energy from while working) and I think the dogs are really going to love it. I can't wait to try it out on them. In its lard like form you can just feed them a spoonful, or in it's liquid form it can be poured over their food. You can also use it to bait their water (so they will drink) or create frozen fat cube snacks.



Last week we went up to our main fall training grounds and did some trail maintenance on a gorgeous day. Here's a pic of one of the trails:



There is still more to do but we have time. (photo by Alan)

I also sorted through the gear and determined what I would need to run my new team size this year and got that ordered. I will be training a 13-14 dog team. Yikes! It's not so much the extra dogs or power that concerns me, especially during the fall while using the quad; it's the added length to the gangline which is another 8 feet longer. This will make certain turns and turn-around's even harder to perform, and puts my leaders even further away from me. I wasn't looking to run this size of a team but it's good to have an extra dog or two as a back-up for a 12-dog team. I'll worry about the added power once we switch to sled. :o While on the phone placing my gear order, I also had a list of questions ready for the store owner who also hosts a race that I am interested in trying. The race has a different format than anything I have tried so far and am very excited about. I hope it works out for us to attend but we have a ways to go to get there, so more on this when we get closer.


My new gear arrived on Friday:



Basically it is all just replacement gear but I am especially excited to try out the new beefy bungee system. The one we have been using all this time was courtesy of the Bob and Lee Hills Historical Museum of Mushing Gear (ha-ha). Anyhow, this new one, positioned in the center of the picture, should give me a boost of confidence.


We also have to think about the quad. Last week Alan replaced the battery then gave the quad a good washing. Still on the TO DO list is an oil change.


This weekend I went through all our kits (bags) to see how everything is looking. First up, BOOTIES!



Sorting through all the booties, separating the gravel road training booties (tough boots) from the snow training booties, pitching the bad ones and bagging the good ones is always a chore. We're good for the start of the season but will need to order more of the tough boots sometime soon.


Next I went through the first aid kit...:





...as well as the emergency kit:




I also had to clean out all the water bowls that stay in the truck and refilled the 7 gallon water jug. Still on the to do list is to check all the dog boxes on the truck for unwanted creatures and replace the straw as needed; a couple of dogs need the tug loops on their harnesses resized, new tuglines for the gangline need to be made (with the new coil of rope), and along the way there will still be purchases to make (I need new rain gear for example) and a few new things I am thinking of trying, but that will be for another blog.


Then on August 1st, the Native American litter turned 2 years old! Remember this picture of them at 10 weeks old?




Well, I thought it would be nice to get another group shot of them now, but it didn't prove to be nearly as easy as it was when they were little. I kept their attention through the photo shoot with a pocketful of biscuits and this was the best I could get:



Front Row-L to R: Cree, Cheyenne, and Ana. Back Row-L to R: Nezi and Apache. Happy Birthday Kids! I am really looking forward to start their training as young adults and see what they have. Stay tuned.


But first we are going to Mike Ellis's seminar in Portland next Sunday and have added this event to the site calendar. I can hardly wait. Mike is the current holder for the fastest Siberian Husky team in both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod. This past March was his first time in the Iditarod and he didn't just break the record by a few minutes or even an hour; but by an entire day, finishing in the top 30 and putting him in the money. Very impressive. I would love to know what he has figured out so I am really looking forward to meeting him.


PARTING SHOT

(I'm throwing this in just for fun.) Alan went on a short cycle ride today along the Clackamas River. He stopped on the big hill and took this picture of one of the best views around. This is just minutes from our house and we see it every time we go on our training runs. The highway goes down into the valley pictured and then we turn off into the woods on the left (the Clackamas River is on the right), and switchback up the hill to one of our pull-off's. I love it here!:








Catch Up Time

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 12:45 PM Comments comments (0)


More than two months since my last posting!!! So the main reason was because I was having some computer problems so accessing the website to make updates would have been a bad idea. The strange thing that came out of this was a decision to upgrade our 8 year-old flip phones (with antenna) to smart phones with a data plan so in the future, if needed, I will have a second source to access the internet with, although I still don't know if I would attempt to update the website from such a small screen. However, I have taken a number of decent pictures and videos with it, as you will see in a mix of photos posted below. (Note: there was so much to post, it took me more than 2 weeks to put this together during which more events occurred that needed posting as well. I hope to never let it go this long again! :o )

So we have hit that time of year where the dogs normally wind down. However, we didn't have much of a season to wind down from but the dogs will still enjoy their typical quiet Spring/Summer break before training starts all over again. Here are some yard pics taken in April and May.



Cheyenne in stalk mode, waiting for one of her sisters to come down the walkway.




Sisters Cheyenne and Nezi.



Joy.



Lizzy and her Aunt Rosie.




Lead girl Looker.




Orbit on the ground with Faith's head lying between his paws. I think she is sweet on him. Orbit's son Apache standing.




Half- brothers Eagle and Bounder hanging together.




Ana.




Rosie (front) relaxing with her mom Holly.




Love this pic of Spirit.




Cousins Lizzy and Drew relaxing together.




Spirit (far left) sun bathing with 4 of her daughters: Joy & Looker (grays), Lizzy & Kwyta.




Cree loves to dig.




Apache.




Funny shot of 4 girls all leaning the same way in the same corner of each of their kennels: Rosie, Nezi, Ana, and Cheyenne.




A little fuzzy, but a cute shot of Alan taking a break from mowing to give Kwyta some pets.




Can you tell who is who? These two are often found hanging out together, grazing, and can be hard to tell apart at night. Look for the white patch on the back of the neck. That's Ana, the other dog is Drew.




I don't know who did this! Cheyenne is playing with a toy ring that someone threaded over the stick.




Apache says hello to Po.




Half siblings Eagle (standing) and Looker.




A bunch of boys, oh, and Looker too.




So what do you get when you mix rain with dirt and a little bit of playtime? This picture of Cheyenne!




Inseparable sisters Spirit and Rosie (photo by Alan).




Midas the cat, seen in the upper right corner, is looking pretty good to this group of girls.


In May the pool came out and so did my new phone. Having fun with the settings on the phone I put together this little video (this video can also be viewed on the Videos page; remember to use the YouTube option on all videos if wishing to view on a larger screen):


Pool Fun!



When picking up my new phone, I asked them to transfer the pictures stored on my old phone onto the new one. This became a difficult technological challenge because of how old my other phone was but they were able to get it done. Here are some fun surprise pics I hadn't looked at in so long from our first litter. I never thought I would see these pics stored on my computer! Wish I would have had a digital camera back then. (Some of these pics are poor quality so I limited the amount that I posted and shrunk most of them down which made them a little less grainy.) :




                             Spirit was a little cutie.




                               Proud mother Holly. I like this pic of her.




                    So cute, Tundra checking out his first dandelion.




                          The 3 muskateers...




.....and again.




                            Spirit looks so small in the igloo.




                              My, what big ears you have Tundra!




  Spirit with an oversized tennis ball.




Rosie has caught some awesome air here, and aiming for Tundra. She was the best jumper of the 3 and still is.




        Rosie, getting bigger.




Typical pose for these 3.




I think this is their first hook up on the drop chain of our first dog truck, just out for a little hike. (Not too long after this picture was taken, this truck was totaled in an accident that Alan was in. He was not hurt nor at fault, and no dogs were in the truck. This is when we upgraded from the Ranger to the F150.)




 Rosie turning into a beautiful girl.




Spirit and Tundra showing off their teenage legs!




         Ahh, the first box on our current truck in progress.




Last pic I took with the old phone and used this one as the wallpaper for the phone, so I saw this picture every day.



It's also project time. In this small window of a couple of months, we try to get a number of chores taken care of so in mid May we received this load of shredded cedar:



This project has kept us busy for a number of weeks spreading it out in each kennel and walkways, and another reason I have not gotten to the website.

Also in mid May we took 9 dogs on a fun trip to Karen's kennel so they could visit and play with their other family members. Here are some pictures:



Malala. This is a very sweet and friendly 6 month old pie bald of Karen's. I could have easily taken her home. Orbit is her half-uncle.




Drew came along on this trip.




All the girls seemed to really like this boy Jig (center). Karen bred Jig but he has a different owner. He just happened to be staying there while his owners were out of town. Here Cheyenne (L) was really pleased that he was there while mother Kwyta is there to monitor what her little girl is up to.




Jig also drew Nezi into his circle and this time Eagle is also there to see what the big deal is.




Cree took a liking to his aunt Opal. Of course, being close to starting her heat cycle certainly helped.




Here poor Opal is sandwhiched between Apache and Cree.




Cool shot of Kwyta (L) and her daughter Nezi.




Cheyenne and Ana giving kisses to their grandpa Weaver who is so much like his son, their father Orbit.




A very social Cheyenne goes in for a hug with grandpa.




Like this pic of Orbit with the tree behind him.




Ana loves chasing her fathr Orbit; but when they aren't running around, hanging out with him is cool too!




Ana.




After a time, Karen let Yuki into the yard and Cree forgot all about Opal. Yuki is another aunt of his and she was also visiting as her owners were out of town as well.




Fun pic of Karen and fellow musher Sheryl relaxing with a mix of dogs that quickly jelled into a temporary pack.




Apache took a liking to young Malala and sister Nezi is right there seeming to question her brothers intention.




Of course Apache also liked 10 month old CC who is hiding in the cable spool. Yuki comes over to investigate with Cree hot on her heels. I love watching all the interactions.


And, here is a short video clip at Karen's, showing a large mixture of dogs all getting along pretty well. Any grumbling comes from Opal, who was most likely getting close to starting her heat cycle, and the boys - Cree especially, loved her for it (this video can also be viewed on the Video's page):


Visit To The Tumnatki Kennel



Most of June we enjoyed beautiful clear days that weren't too hot. Here are some typical yard pics with the dogs:



It's a shame this pic is a little fuzzy, but still worth posting. Sisters Cheyenne and Ana.




Gorgeous pic of Nezi. She hits this pose often, as precisely as her father.




Very funny! Looks like Lizzy found Drew's tickle spot...




...and Bounder found Alan's.




Joy.




Cute pick of Cree and Alan.




Ana gives Alan a smooch...




...and Apache tries to give one to his great uncle Tundra...




...and Cheyenne gives her uncle Bounder one. Bounder is so patient with his nephew's and niece's as Apache sneaks up from behind.




Lovely Ana.




There's that great Orbit pose.




Eagle (L) and Apache.




Faith kicking back.




This has become Drew's new favorite spot. I think she was inspired from her visit to Karen's.




Just love Rosie's white eyelashes.




Finding a panaramic setting on my phone was a treat because I love panaramic pictures. This one is of our view from our yard.




This is the small dog yard and part of the large yard.




Ahh, brotherly love. Using the burst setting on my camera I caught Cree just about to munch Apache.




Almost got him. Nice defensive move there Apache. And I am pretty sure Faith, who is lying on the ground, is having a good chuckle as she watches the exchange.


New Addition To The Small Yard:



In the fall we placed the stump on the left in the small yard for the dogs to play on. So now we simply cut another stump down to the same size and attached a piece of plywood across the top and now they have something really fun to play with!




Ana models the new addition.




And Tundra and Bounder seem happy about it.


GROUP HOWL! I captured a one minute video of the dogs singing a chorus for us. This is something we hear every day so I don't think much about it. But then I thought, others might enjoy hearing this as well so here you go. Listen through to the very end for a funny and unexpected finish (this video can also be viewed on the Videos page):


Group Howl



PEACOCKS AND CROWS: Just a couple weeks back we had some issues with some visiting birds. First were the peacocks. Alan came home from work and found them in our yard. I had been hearing them call a few weeks previously so wasn't surprised to hear this and they turned out to belong to our new neighbors. Alan had to shoo them away as they put the dog yard into an uproar and they kept flying around threatening to land in the yard when the dogs were out. If this had happened there would have been nothing we could have done to stop, well a massacre. Here they are, the male's tail is gorgeous:



(photo by Alan)




(photo by Alan)




Cute pic of the pair finally leaving. (photo by Alan)


The next day the girls were all gathered around a cedar tree and looking up. Perched about 12 feet up was a baby crow and about 25 feet up was its mother calling down to it. Unable to fly yet I suppose, it began jumping down one branch at a time until the dogs could stand on their hind legs and were nearly face to face with it. I screamed for Alan's help as I could not get the dogs to leave. Somehow between the 2 of us we got the dogs locked up and the baby was saved but continued to call over and over to its mother. This went on all day. The next day the baby was no longer in the tree but the peacock's returned for another visit! Uhg!!



Another activity that goes on around the dog yard that I don't give much thought to is a snack circle. The dogs gather around me on their best behavior and know they have to sit to get their buscuit. So for those of you who can't imagine such a thing, here is another little video I put together with 11 dogs (this can also be viewed on the Videos page):


Snack Time Video




Karen Ramstead:


A week ago I was thrilled to see Karen Ramstead again. I met her at the 2011 Eagle Cap race. She's a 10 time Iditarod musher and I have been a fan of hers and her Siberian Husky's for some time. Last week she was in Portland giving a 3-hour slideshow presentation and I enjoyed every moment of it as well as a chance to talk with her again at the end and ask a few questions. A perfect and very inspirational way to spend a Saturday afternoon in June and now I am fired up to start fall training!


But wait, there's more!! In August we have another inspirational musher to see as well. Can't wait so stay tuned.





Website Changes and Videos

Posted on April 13, 2013 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Just a few recent changes to mention. After creating the Kennel Tour video last year, I have wanted to also create a video on meeting the dogs as there are really no introductions to them in the tour. Well, I have finally been able to do this although it took 2 videos to accomplish it: a 15 minute girl's video and a 9 minute boy's video. Since I don't have an editing program, I had to do these in one take, the same as the Tour video. This can be a little challenging when the subjects are dogs who don't know they have a part to play in a movie. :D  The dogs mostly did fine however. The part's you'll have to put up with is the close-up shots of each as well as the transitions from one kennel to the other, although I try to do this as quickly as possible. Lastly after reviewing them, I see all the information that I left out as I talk about each, so, by viewing it in the YouTube format, you can read the written description of the information I left out. These two videos can be found up above towards the top of the home page, as well as on Our Husky History page and Meet The Racing Dogs page. I am also adding them here in this blog posting:


Meet The Dogs Part 1: The Girls

Meet The Dogs Part 2: The Boys


Here's another short video I am only posting here. Because we haven't gotten much training in lately, we have been trying to do other things with the dogs to occupy their time and hopefully have fun. So I started to do some simple agility with them. By setting up a plank between 2 tires I was having them jump it, crawl under it and eventually walk it, for those willing. Some were naturals, some weren't. In this video Lizzy is showing how easy this is for her. This was about her 5th attempt, her first was actually the best. While I was placing most dogs on the beam, Lizzy jumps up herself and easily walks it without assistance. On her first time I asked her if she could turn around and walk back. I don't know why this girl understood every word I said and did so quite easily but I was amazed and reminded and how smart these dogs are with human language. In this video, Lizzy does slip at the turn-around but immediately gets her back feet on herself then completes the turn. Also, the beam is much narrower then I would have liked, it was just what I found lying around, and on this day it is wet. (I ran out of memory space right at the end so my last word is cut off.)


Lizzy Does Agility


Back in January, one of my blog postings turned out to be a short story called You Call This Fun? about a crazy sled run we were on just a few days prior. I have now copied this story to my Story Time page so if you enjoyed it, you can now easily review it again. You can also currently get to it easily right off the home page on the side bar on the left. Scroll to the MOST RECENT STORY category.


Parting Shot


I also have been getting a few regular dog pictures from the around the dog yard. Here's one of my favorites:



Do you think these 3 are from the same litter? :) Siblings Joy, Bounder, and Looker.





Birthday's!

Posted on March 17, 2013 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)


It's been a while since my last blog posting as we are still in the wake of recent misfortunes and now we, the humans, have been battling some very nasty colds. My symptoms started two weeks ago and I still have mild and very annoying symptoms that just won't let up. It became bad enough that we have both had to take some time off work. I was embarrassed to take time off for a cold, not something I would normally do, but this has been one heck of a bug!

So we haven't done much of anything lately. I wanted to write a posting last weekend but just wasn't up to it. March is our big birthday month and I have missed posting a few. So I will start with birthday wishes to our first litter, the Northern litter, as today is their 8th birthday! Wow! It has been interesting watching this group as they are our start up group. We've watched them grow from newborns to adults, become recreational sled dogs and then into racing dogs, one turned into a mother while the other 2 became an aunt and uncle, they became teachers on the gangline - the first time we have ever had that at our kennel, then the mother turned into a grandmother and the aunt and uncle became greats, they have slowed down a bit in the play yard as they now prefer to watch the youngsters play, and this fall at least 2 will be retired from racing, dropping back down to a recreational team although these 3 may only be half way through their life. It's been a great road with them. Happy Birthday to our 3 muskateers (an old nickname for them): Spirt, Tundra, and Rosie!



(pre digital pic) Here I am with them when they were about 6 weeks old. Rosie is in my arms, Tundra is lying across my lap and Spirit is closest to my feet sniffing the bunny.




(pre digital pic) Here are the 3 muskateers at 4 months sharing a toy. L-R: Spirit, Tundra, Rosie




(pre digital pic) Again at 4 months they all seem to be laughing about something. L-R: Spirit, Tundra, and Rosie. This is a great pic for seeing the spots that Sprit and Tundra have on their tongues, courtesy of their grandfather Sunny.




(pre digital pic) My favorite pic at 2 years old. L-R: Tundra, Spirit, and Rosie.




Here is a picture I took of them on their birthday last year. You know, they just don't seem as thrilled about the whole picture taking process any more. :P


March 9th was our Leap Year litters bithday and somehow they have turned 5 years old! I feel bad for the poor sledding year we had this year. In the prime of their life I am sure they are a bit confused and maybe a little bored. Hoping for a strong upcoming fall season. These guys desrve to be back on the trail. It's difficult to get a picture of these 6 siblings and just can't post the pic-nic table shot again. So I am posting an oldie.



One of my favorites! At 5 weeks old, I call this "Jungle Puppies". They are all in there. I love how it looks like Faith is about to take Looker's face off. Some things never change!





On march 11th Drew turned 7 years old. Although she has always had a certain maturity about her she still has a youthfulness as well, perhaps it is her small size and big heart.



And in case you missed it, last month I posted a new video titled: Large Group, Yard Fun.






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