Tuesday 26 October 1999

October 26, 1999

We had a great weekend with the dogs! Despite some warmer then normal weather we still managed to put over 70 miles (in three separate runs) on the dogs. We are aiming to put a straight through 50 miler on them this weekend! Their training is coming along really well.

On Saturday, we were finished running around noon, so we packed up and went into the city for the day. We went to a gun range in town and I practiced some with firing a .44 magnum. This is the caliber of gun that I plan on carrying in the Iditarod, so it is important that I get comfortable with it! MOOSE BEWARE - I'm getting pretty good. We also took the time to treat ourselves to a movie - something we used to do lots, but can't seem to find much time for anymore. We went to see the 'Sixth Sense' with Bruce Willis - pretty good, I thought!

I had read the scary story on Jon Little's homepage of his moose encounter last week and wanted to tell you all some of the 'dangers' of the trail that we face during training. We do also have moose (luckily not quite as big and ornery as Alaskan moose!), in fact, Mark chased a young bull moose down the trail with his team on Sunday. However, we live in a mostly rural, farming/ranching area, so most of the animals we meet during a run are loose farm dogs, cows, horses, and such! Actually, the farm dogs are great distractions and good 'On By' training for the team! In addition to all this, we live 1 mile off of Highway #2 that runs from Edmonton to Athabasca, many of our trails are accessed by running 2 or 3 miles along the highway in the ditch. The ditches are wide and safe to be in, but the semis roaring by are unnerving at the best of times! It's also a pretty big distraction for drivers, dog teams in Alaska might be a common place, but in our area, we are quite the novelty! Drivers honk, hit their brakes, and some even stop to take pictures! I just keep my fingers crossed that there will be no accidents and remind my self what great training this is for Day 1 of the Iditarod, where we run through downtown Anchorage!

I spend all day yesterday in a town about 1 hour from us, called Smith. I did 6 presentations to the school kids there (Grade 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6, and the junior High Kids) on dog sledding and the Iditarod! Camilla and Mannie came along as well. Mannie was unsure of his footing on the linoleum flooring and didn't have a very good time, but Camilla was very well behaved and enjoyed meeting all the kids! I did my slide show and showed the Idit-a-Rock and Roll video, which is a BIG hit with the kids! I always have fun at school visits - the kids are always so interested and ask some of the coolest questions! I've been doing around one school a week for the last while, but we are going to have to start putting visits off till after Iditarod, as training is taking up more and more of my time!

Well, that's all the news for today. It's kind of warm again, but cloudy so it shouldn't get too hot, so I'm off to do a 20 - 25 mile run with the team!

If anyone is reading this :) and has questions that they would like to see answered here, just email them to me at (removed old address)  and I will certainly try to get them answered!

Thursday 21 October 1999

October 21, 1999

My goodness, I almost forgot that I have a picture of my 'new' dog truck online! (actually, it's not new - just all refitted and repainted!!! But it looks NOTHING like it did before!). Our sincerest thanks to our good friend, Roger Morey - he put a lot of time and heart into making them look so good!!

Not much new here. I've been having sleepless nights thanks to a coyote that is hanging around the edge of the dog yard. This is the first time in 10 years that we have had an ongoing problem like this! I'm not really worried about the Siberians, in fact, they don't even seemed bothered much by the visitor, but my 15 year old, half blind, mostly deaf Sheltie X house dog is a worry. He is only allowed supervised time outside right now. I got Mark up at 4am when the coyote was out at the entrance to the yard. He fired a few shots into the air, but it only scared our visitor away for an hour or so. I'm worried that if they keep getting braver, they might start bothering the Sibes. Mr. Coyote is going to have to take the hint that he is not welcome here - or we are going to be forced into looking at getting rid of him :(

Well, yesterday was too warm to run the dogs, but today is a little cooler, so I'm heading out to run right away! Talk to you all again soon!

Friday 15 October 1999

October 15, 1999

Well, we are back from Jamie's and working hard at the training! The trip to Minnesota was great. We put a lot of miles on the dogs and Jamie, once again, showed me that I need to up my expectations on them. They are now doing 20+ miles per run and have even done a 40 miler, although with a 4 hour break in the middle of the run! I'm having a great time playing with all my young leaders, in fact, I can't remember the last time I had one of the 'old stand-byes' in lead!
We had some problems with Mork. The day we were leaving he somehow badly sliced open his foot. Cut right through one of the toe pads. We packed him up and took him along and one of Jamie's vets in Minnesota did surgery on him. For awhile there was speculation that this might end his running career, but he has healed well and was back in harness again 3 weeks after the surgery! That was the vet's 'best case' scenario! I'm very happy to have him back - now he just has to catch up in miles!
Breezy, Mom of our summer pups is back in harness! And speaking of the pups, I have a few new pictures : Hugi and Kara, Thor, KD, and Stripey. Stripey has actually moved to her new home in Edmonton with a very nice couple that think the world of her! It is hard to let pups go, but a little easier when they go to such terrific homes!
We also have a new addition - Pirate. Pirate comes to us from our friend, Karen Yeargain in Sisters, Oregon. I had tried to buy Pirate when he was a young pup, but Karen wouldn't let him go. Then, sadly, within the last few months he developed a habit of eating rocks! Within 2 weeks he had to have 3 surgeries to remove them from his stomach! Because our kennel is on sandy soil with no rocks it was in his best interest to try living up here! He is still a young dog, just over 1 year, but I'm happy to take the chance on him - he is soooooo nicely built!!
Well, I think that is all the gossip and news for now. Now that the page is up on the new site, you should see it being updated on a more regular basis!!! PROMISE!! ;)