I've been getting emails telling me about freeze up in Alaska and snow in the Yukon. Mushing friends are talking of taking their teams out with sleds. Although I'm sure they would deny it, I catch a undercurrent of 'nah, nah, na, nah nah' in their emails. Oh well, it is really all good news for me, as I will be north soon, taking advantage of the frozen rivers and abundance of snow!
Here in Perryvale we had a brief warm spell - the city of Edmonton actually broke a 99-year record on Wednesday when the temperatures shot up to 17C. This morning though, it has slipped back down below freezing again. We had a light dusting of snow a week or so ago, not enough to really be of consequence, but enough to get the mushers and dogs attention and get us dreaming!
A couple years ago someone visiting the kennel was asking me about additives to a working dog's diet. Mark, who really has no interest in such things (he claims he just follows instructions when it comes to feeding), listened for awhile and then piped up and said "Footprints are the most important thing one can add to their dog yard". Pretty profound for a beer guzzling, tobacco chewing, guy with a tattoo.
These first snowfalls always make me think of this. At the end of the day, when I look into my yard that was smooth, unbroken snow in the morning and see the tracks and trails left by human and canine telling the stories of the day, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment. It's one of my favorite things about new snow!
The Nook - or the Cabin, as it has slipped into being called, has been put to good use of late. Mike Carmichael of Carmacks Siberians was residing there for almost a week. The main purpose of his trip was to pick up a few dogs that weren't ready to go home with Mike and Kathy in September (little Bang and now pregnant Roary), but he brought 14 dogs up with him and turned it into a training trip too.
He also managed to sneak a few extra dogs out of the yard - Zackery and Spot have gone down to Utah to run with Carmichaels this winter. Although it is extremely rare for me to loan out dogs for racing, I feel very comfortable that this is a good thing for these dogs.
Gwen Ross of BC just vacated the cabin yesterday. She took with her Electra, one of the Grover x Kara daughters. Gwen already owns NorthWapiti's KitKat, NorthWapiti's Rough Ruff (Impi) and NorthWapiti's Chips Ahoy.
While Gwen was getting organized for her trip home we brought Electra to the house. Kara, who is still a severely spoiled house husky, was thrilled to have one of her kids in visiting. She still ADORES her children in small groups or through the fence, but doesn't really wish to hang out with the whole lot of them. The two of them romped and bounced all over the house. It was very endearing and I was actually starting to feel bad about selling one of her children on her, but when Gwen and puppy left, Kara didn't even flick an ear. The house is her domain and I don't think she is interested in sharing for any length of time, even with one of her children.
The rest of the dogs are all doing very well. There are some sore feet and a few mild cases of harness rub, but it is all pretty routine stuff. Q and Jinx continue to be the most impressive of the 2 year olds.
Newt and I have been butting heads on a pretty constant basis. Honestly, he is driving me rather nuts with his obnoxious behavior at hookups and in the dog yard - however, he is being a perfect angel for Mark. Go figure, normally it is the other way around - dogs I have no trouble with Mark will have issues with. I would have cut him from the team by now, but Mark's insistence that he does just fine with him, has me keeping his miles up, although I put him in Mark's team whenever Mark runs dogs. Newt has obviously decided he wishes to be Mark's dog, and that is just fine with me.
Well, I think that is it for today. I've been stalling on shoveling the dog yard and I'll be doing it by headlamp if I don't get to it soon!