Sunday, 28 September 2003

September 28, 2003

Fall Activities

The days are passing so quickly, it is mind-boggling. It seems like only yesterday the green in the trees started to dull and hint of their fall colors, now most of the leaves are littering the ground and making a beautiful blanket of yellow for the dog teams to run across! The blueberries stand out spectacularly against their now red foliage. 

Virtually everything in my garden is dead. Luckily, I rescued a few tomatoes before the hard frosts came. Within the next week, I will try to clean up and cover up the beds so I don't have to worry about them later in the fall. 

My sense of anticipation about the upcoming winter has turned more into a sense of panic as I think of all the things that still need to be done and yet, running dogs is now the biggest priority. 
The dogs continue to do great in harness. I make it a fast rule to not make any judgments on dogs until I have over 200 miles of training on them for the season. The wisdom of this has become pretty obvious this month. At the beginning of September, if you had asked me to 'rate' the 'H's' (Hector, Hilda, and Herman) I would have glowed about Hilda, spoke fondly of Hector and told you I was considering selling Herm. Here we are September 28th and I'm speaking fondly of Hilda, glowing about Hector and totally awed by Herman!! 

Snickers developed a bizarre abscess on her jaw that required a quick trip to see Dr. Jackson at the Westlock Vet Clinic. Tannis drained it and put her on antibiotics for a bit. The swelling is almost gone now and Snicky is back in the team working her heart out. Phew - it would be such a shame to be forced to 'shelf' such a promising young dog for this season for something so fluky! 
Last week saw me somewhere I haven't been in a very long time. Many of you may know from the Iditarod info put out, that I was born in Toronto. We moved west when I was 11 (in 1975) and I have been back once in the last 28 years (My dad used to say that Toronto was a good place to be FROM!) - but last weekend found me visiting again. This time it was on behalf of one of my sponsors, Eagle Pet Products.

I did a couple presentations - one for the Eagle Canadian sales staff and one for the Ontario Federation of Sleddog Sports.

It was a terrific weekend. The Eagle folks are first rate and treated me wonderfully. We even went out to see 'The Lion King' (the live version - not the cartoon one). The staging and special effects were remarkable!

The OFSS seminar was in Marmora, Ontario - about 2 hours from the city. The drive out was quite lovely - that is a nice area! It was nice to put a few faces to names I've 'known' for awhile. I was especially thrilled to get to meet Don McEwan, who ran Iditarod with a mostly Norris team of Siberians in the early '90's. Don did a short talk and showed some footage on his World Record holding 78-dog team that he hooked up for a British TV commercial. Absolutely incredible! 
As a 'thank you' for my presentation, the OFSS presented me with a lovely hand forged knife made by a local craftsman. That's a special gift that will certainly be useful on Iditarod! Lucky I remembered to put it in my checked luggage and didn't try to get onto the plane with it - or I'd probably still be answering questions to the airport folks! 

One of the best parts of the day was that Smiley came back to me!!! As you may know, Smiles has been summering in New Hampshire with Kim and Kelly Berg of Kelim Siberians. Friends Scott and Corina Alexander came up from NH for the seminar and brought Smiley up to me. 
After a 4-month separation, his greeting seemed pretty low key. It wasn't until we got back to our hotel room that I was convinced he had missed me - once out of his crate he followed me everywhere and whenever I sat down he'd stretch out beside me so as much of his body as possible was touching mine. 
Smiley and I spent Sunday working the Eagle booth for a Pet Industry Trade Show and flew back home Sunday evening. 

All for today!

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