Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Not a good way to start...

I officially started my holidays today. I don't work Mondays normally. So now I don't have to go back to the office until March 1. However, if it keeps going like this I might have to go back early!

My day started at 8am....who the hell gets up at 8am on holidays!? Well, I most certainly do not. However, my neighbor's St. Bernard was in my yard. You can imagine the sheer volume of my dogs with this interloper in their space! There was no sleeping in! I walked Zorro home and gave the neighbor a little lecture. Then decided since I was up I might as well do something. Took baited water around to all the dogs. One scoop of kibble in a big pail of water. That's all I baited it with, but they drank like it was the greatest thing ever. Decided to feed myself, wait an hour or so and head out with a team. Hook up a six dog team. My only excuse for this is I was still half asleep--but I tied the quick release line to the wrong spot on the sled. Not only would it not release, but I broke the handlebar!

Attempted to run my little sprint sled. Complete and utter chaos. I remember now why I don't use that sled anymore. Gave up and busted all the dogs loose. Poor Deuce had been hooked up twice now and was going insane. At least I have completely gotten over the delusion that we could run four dog sprint races. So the morning was not a total waste! Better to figure this out in the yard than on a race trail!

Spent the majority of the afternoon at Steve Tufford's. Steve is a great sled maker and originally made my sled-not for me though, but if I can ever afford a brand new one, it will be one of his! Fortunately, he also does repairs and had the plastic I needed to build a new handlebar.

I did eventually get the sled repaired and with much nagging from Stuart took a six dog team out. I didn't want to go(seriously, days like this don't get better!), but he just kept bugging me and helped me hook up, mangled hand and all.

We didn't go far, just a 7km loop, but it wasn't a disaster. Everyone made it home uninjured and the sled in one piece.

And a Stuart update..fortunately his specialist appointment went well. The hand specialist expects he will make a full recovery. The pin has to stay in his ring finger for at least three more weeks. He can start doing some physiotherapy after it's out. He did do some nerve damage, but the permanent level isn't known yet. Nerves are slow to heal and it will be at least a year before they are as good as they will get. Right now he has massive pain in his ring finger and two of his other fingers are almost completely numb. We are both very relieved that he doesn't need any surgery! He's trying to find a way to go bison hunting still--not a good patient at all!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

WOOHOOOO Back on the sled...

Taken yesterday near the little lake behind our house. I was a wimp and only took a five dog team. I should have taken six. I thought the skidooers would be as excited about the snow this week as the mushers. But there hadn't been many of them out and for about 10km of our 15km run, we had to break trail! It was slow going much of the time, but 5 dogs on the sled is better than 10 on the quad!

The sweeper trees are everywhere this year! Tons of frost and willows hanging about!

It was even cold enough to get a little frosty!

Hobo was so tired afterwards that he fell asleep sitting up. A tired Hobo is a good, good dog!

Pingo hide in her house for awhile after the run, until she was offered a spot on the couch! She's never turned down a chance to be a couch potato!

It was great to be back on the sled. I didn't even need handwarmers, which are a neccesity on the ATV!

On a non-dog related note, my hubby, Stuart, crushed his left hand earlier this week. It's not pretty. Tomorrow he goes to see the hand specialist, who just happens to be making a trip up here. There is a chance he may loose at least part of his ring finger. He's not a happy camper. Men are lousy patients in general and Stuart really doesn't sit still well. He probably wouldn't be hurt if he was capable of slowing down for a few minutes!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Over three years I've waited for this picture:

Over three years I've waited for this picture:

Delta is in the house. Delta takes timid to a whole new level. He is pathologically afraid of people. Loves dogs, people are scary. It took almost two years before I could touch him on a regular basis. He still acts like I might kill him at any second when I'm petting him. Lately though he's been lurking around closer and closer to me and to the house. Tonight he was covered in frost and holding up one paw--ice balls in his pads. I asked him if he wanted to come inside and he laid down not far from the door--Don't ever think that dogs don't understand what you are talking about. He wouldn't come in on his own. He never has. I picked him up and carried him. I carry Delta around quite a bit. He won't walk on a leash. He just goes stiff and tries to become one with the ground at the sight of a leash. Usually when he comes inside he lays right where I set him down and never moves. Tonight, he actually wandered the house, even ate some cat food and then settled in on Sleet's bed. Four hours later, he's still there. He seems quite comfy! :)

One of my goals for this winter has been to get Delta into a harness, but using the ATV with him is out of the question. The noise would scare him silly. It's snowed a bit in the last couple days and he seems to have unpacked some more baggage now. I think if I hooked him up beside his brother, Antare, Delta just might connect with his inner sled dog! Antare's confidence took a huge leap once he started to work in harness. I hope the same thing happens for Delta.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


We had some snow early this evening. Happy dogs, happy musher! Well, mostly happy dogs. A couple of the old timers were not exactly thrilled.

Sleet doesn't look very impressed by the snow, but she is retired now!

Preacher would like back in the house RIGHT NOW!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Great neighbors!

We are truly blessed to have great neighbors--not too close, but close enough to help if needed; never complain about the dogs, even when Mac jumped their fence; cat lovers with 3 dogs of their own too. We've only really been friends for the last year, but we get along really well. The label said "we hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoy you. A just cuz present."

I had a day from hell at work today and made Stuart stop at the local Mexican restaurant so I could take the edge off with a couple margaritas. Tequila can fix most anything at least momentarily! When we got home, this was on the table:

Kitty Kasha is always on the table, but the box was new!

Never could resist a pressie!

Inside was this beautiful fountain!

Close up of one of the wolves on it.

The cats of course think it's a new water dish. Fortunately, it's very heavy and I don't think they can move it. I will have to watch the water levels though!

That certainly made my bad day disappear--even better than the tequila!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Dad & Franklin

Today is my Dad's birthday. I thought I had a picture of me with him, but I can't find it on the computer so here's both my parents.

I couldn't have picked a better Dad(or Mom, but it's not her birthday!) for myself. Happy Birthday Dad! Hope it's the start of a great year! Love you!

Franklin also has his birthday today--I'm sure my Dad is thrilled to share his day with a dog! ;)

Franklin turns six! He's a different dog than the scared little waif who arrived here almost four years ago. While not exactly confident, he's much braver than he used to be and a fine sled dog! He ran 28km today and never missed a stride. Happy Birthday my noisy, silly boy!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Such good dogs!

We just got in from taking the neighbor's son for a little tour. The son is 45 or so and visiting from Montreal. He had never seen a team hooked up and had no concept of the chaos and NOISE that goes along with a dog team! Trail conditions are still not good, although a little snow has fallen over the last couple days. Taking someone for a quad ride just wouldn't give the full experience. I figured with a full grown man in the basket and a fairly small team, we'd be alright. I only took six dogs. I usually take 8 if I have a rider, but this was the first time I'd run six on the sled this winter and 8 would have been tempting fate! Giving tours freaks me out anyway. I'm always terrified something is going to go horribly wrong, like I'll fall off. Watching your team run away is bad enough, it'd be even worse with a person in the basket!

I took Paxil, Pingo, Raven, Deuce, Pacer and Ozzy(2 dogs from other mushers and four shelter dogs). Six of my best dogs and they were great! Ted had a good time and now understands a little bit more, especially that there is no "forcing" a husky to run. They truly want to. It was fun being on the sled too! Back to the quad tomorrow for a bigger team and longer run. I'm just so freakin' proud of my little team!

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Chum, stop it"

I'm pretty sure that Chum thinks his name includes the phrases, "Stop it", "that's enough" and "oh, shut up". He's a sweetie, but he can be a bit much. This is what happens when you try to take a nice picture of him while playing with the self-portrait mode on the camera.

"Yes, I love you too Chum. Now look the other way."

"Ok, that's enough, Chum. Thanks for the kisses."

This is close as I could get to a decent picture!

Silly, silly Chum!

Monday, January 09, 2006

That's better...

After the disasterous run on Saturday afternoon, I got the quad back out. Actually, my neighbor's quad. He broke his heel and can't do much of anything for several months. His quad is much more reliable than mine! I am loving that automatic tranmission and the parking gear! Really the parking gear is the only good thing about training on the quad!

With the quad, I can get off and take pictures like this and not have to worry about walking home! Actually, in this case, I'd gotten off to see if we could cross a ravine and Wolf Creek safely. We could have, but we didn't today. The dogs were well into their run and already a little tired so we headed for more familiar territory instead.

After their performance on Saturday, Paxil and Raven got their act together. They had a lovely run yesterday.

One encounter with a small loose dog. I've never understood what possesses a 20 pound mutt to jump into the middle of what must appear to be a wolf pack! You'd think any dog with functional brain cells would get as far away as possible, but they do it all the time. Fortunately, this one only got some salvia in it's fur and no other injuries. I had a tangled up team, but no injuries either.

It was pretty out today. Despite not being on a sled, it was still better than being at work!

Deuce has worked his furry butt off all weekend. He's been a pulling machine. He just can't stand to be left behind. So he's run 3 days in a row. He was a little tired today and even let his tug line go slack near the very end, but overall I'm impressed with this pound mutt! He's a dang nice dog!

A dog that works that hard deserves a little treat post run--moose bones are always a good choice!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

That was a bad idea....

This afternoon, I had the bright idea to try hauling the sled out again. We had a skiff of snow this week. Must be enough by now to park the quad. Bad, bad, bad idea. In a moment of sanity, I did decide to only take a four dog team. That may be the only reason I am not out looking for a run away team right now! Four dogs at least gives the illusion that you have some control!

Things went wrong right from the start. The area where I start from is also where Deuce eats and sleeps so there is a doghouse in there. It's off to the side, out of the way, never had a problem getting passed it today. Ran right into the damn thing today. Made a flying leap and grabbed the sled, rode on the drag mat on my knees for a couple hundred yards. When things go this wrong and you aren't even out of the yard yet, you should turn around and call it a day. I did the opposite and assumed that it could only get better!

We get to the one road crossing we have to do on all our runs. Nice quiet road never any vehicle traffic on it. Once we cross the road there is a large hill. Usually again, nothing on the hill. Today there is a skier and not a good skier. She's having trouble getting up the hill. I did see her in time to stop and give her a few minutes to get out of the way. But we aren't very far down the trail and the dogs are fired up. Fortunately she decided just to get off the trail and let us by.

It's a law that no one is ever around when I'm having one of those runs that makes me consider running the Quest some day. Nope, when everything goes perfectly the trails are deserted! People are only around when it's a complete and utter gong show!We get passed the skier and Raven decides this would be a good time to show Paxil who the alpha bitch is. Paxil of course disagrees with Raven's opinion and the two of them end up tangled and trash talking each other. Antare did something to his harness so he's been on three paws all the way down the hill. Did I mention there isn't enough snow to set a hook? So I have two fighting dogs and one limping dog and no way to hold the team in place. Oh, the joy! I did manage to eventually tie off to a little tree and get things straightened out. And we were off again...

For awhile everything went right...don't they look like a nice little team? The scenery was lovely. Frost everywhere, clouds that look like they might have some snow in them.

Beautiful isn't it?

Then I made them turn onto the lake. Antare got his tug line caught on a tree stump--a tree I'm pretty sure I knocked down last winter because we kept hitting it(It was already dead!) It was not Antare's day! So I manage to get that straightened out without loosing the team and we head off across the lake. A crossing we have made hundreds of times over the last five years without incident.

Today Raven decided she wanted to play with Daisy who was running loose in front of the team. Every time Daisy turned, so did Raven, including trying to go up a very large hill off the lake that goes no where! Took four tries to talk them out of that. By the time I got everything and everyone facing in the right direction for the final time, Paxil had just given up hope of ever moving again and laid down! Which is about what I felt like doing.

The rest of the run went relatively smoothly. My throat hurts from ranting and raving like a lunatic! Antare is limping and I'm going to find the key for the stupid quad again!!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Paxil and Earle are back!

Paxil and Earle both returned to harness work today! Paxil led a small team on a pretty short run. Just 7km, but I didn't want to go too far in case she wasn't up for it. She was fine. Earle was a slacker, but at least he felt like coming along.

Earle ran in swing beside Ozzy. Ozzy was watching a squirrel and would not look at me when I wanted to take his pic! Little stinker! Earle did really well at the start, but his tug line was slack most of the way home. Considering that six weeks ago, I was pretty sure he was dying, I'll take a slack tug line! Besides I think he's only run about 20km so far this year. The vet wouldn't let me run him at all until he'd lost a few pounds. He needs to loose a few more before he can do any longer distances, but the thyroid meds seem to be working. Hopefully, it won't be too much longer before Earle is back in top form!

Paxil already is back in top form. Lead dogs don't come any more reliable than this little girl! The incisions from her tumor removal have all healed up. The puncture wound under her leg developed some totally bizarre symptoms. It wasn't quite an abcess, but the vet said some bacteria in the wound was making it's own oxygen and could have become an abcess. Paxil's leg and side squished like she had water under her skin. She's been on a couple antibiotics since Wednesday and is much improved. She doesn't sound like an alien anymore when I pet her!

She was pretty pleased with herself and I think a little ticked that we didn't go farther. WOOO HOOO, I have two solid leaders again!

I never thought this would happen. Usually, when there's enough snow to run the sled, I have to keep the dogs off the lake as the ice isn't safe yet. Today I ran the team with the ATV across the lake. Never thought there would be safe ice and not enough snow for the sled. I'm getting a little bitter, but more of the white stuff fell today! And Stuart is working on my dog box right now so if there isn't enough snow here soon, I can drive to where there is!