Monday, 31 October 2005

October 31, 2005 Happy Halloween!!

Not that we celebrate much down here in the valley – a lonely mile from the next nearest house and surrounded by howling ‘wolves’ – our place is just not a hotbed for local trick or treaters! We do make sure we have enough candy on hand to justly reward anyone brave enough to venture down here though.

Winter is certainly moving in! It’s still early (4:30 am, as I type) but it looks like the temperatures are going to drop into the minus double digits this morning, as it was –9 when I got up – and it is always coldest right before dawn.

We’ve lost A LOT of daylight too. It doesn’t get light until after 8am now and gets dark again before 6 pm. (Check out this cool chart I found on local sunrise/sunset/hours of Illumination - enter ‘Athabasca’ in as the city). Not that I’m complaining too much. I love the night sky and actually miss it during the summer when it doesn’t make an appearance until long after I’m in bed. The puppies, the ‘Bitch Pen’, Gus and Herman have the most wonderful view and I often take a break with them while picking up bowls to looks for northern lights, favorite constellations and satellites.

It seems the dog yard has been stripped of all color now. First my pails of flowers, with the exception of a few tough pansies (Why is it that pansies have such a bad reputation? They are the hardiest flower I’ve ever seen! I’d be honored to be called a pansy! Next year that is all I’m planting in the dog yard.) have died off and yesterday I went through and removed all the water buckets from the sides of the doghouses. The blues, greens, reds, purple and silver (some dogs eat the colored plastic ones and have stainless steel buckets) really brighten up the yard and things look very dull without them now.
Without water buckets out, our workload definitely picks up. We are back to twice a day feedings – of both kibble and soup. Very time consuming!

We also scurried around like the squirrels yesterday getting other ‘pre winter’ tasks done. Hoses were dragged into the garage to dry out before being stored for the season, the water trough was skidded home from the woods and emptied (it claimed one more squirrel victim just two days before being brought home), the rain barrels were emptied, straw bales used to cover the water line to the garage (which has a tendency to freeze when temps get really cold), and straw for the dogs brought home.
The puppies all got straw in their houses over the weekend. It takes them awhile to figure out that it is better bedding then food and every time I walked by the puppy pens over the weekend, they were running around with stalks of straw hanging out of their mouths.

It was also ‘tattoo day’ for them yesterday – that added some color to the yard, as they are all running around with green ears from the tattoo ink. Because they lick the ink out of each other’s ears, we will have festively colored puppy poos for the next little bit too!

There have been a few additions and subtractions in the dog yard in the last while. Sparky (yes, Sparky – The Cutest Puppy on the Planet) went to live with Colleen and Marty Hovind in Craven, Saskatchewan. He’s living with other NorthWapiti kids – Thunder and Blaze (from the Storm litter) – and Hovind’s agreed up front that he would always be referred to as Sparky, The Cutest Puppy on the Planet. I’m going miss him something FIERCE, but it was the right move for Sparky!

Spottie Dog also returned home from her year in New Hampshire. Along with her came her young son, Nitro (Kelim’s Nitro at NorthWapiti). Nitro is only one day older then Kara’s Superheroes litter and he has adjusted to living with the 7 siblings very well.

Mike Carmichael will be arriving from Utah today. Primarily, he is here to pick up Roary, who they are leasing for a litter, and Bang (from Nahanni/Draco’s Mosquito litter), but he will also stay a few days to train with us (he is bringing his team up with him).

We’ve made a few cuts to the ‘A’ team too. We are now down to 29 dogs in the pool. My next diary entry will introduce you to all 29 and talk about the ones that have already been cut!
All for this chilly morning – I’m off to finish off my cup of coffee and then out to feed dogs!


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