Monday 26 August 2002

August 26, 2002

First off, I would like to congratulate Karen Yeargain of Tumnatki Siberians for the recent addition of NorthWapiti’s KitKat. Yes, we sold KitKat to Karen in Oregon. She was REALLY hard to let go, but I know she will fit in beautifully in Karen’s life and kennel. Karen has an awesome sprint team that is kicking butt in the western US and we are very flattered that she feels KitKat will be a strong addition to her team.

Karen has been in contact several times since KitKat flew out there on Tuesday to let us know how happy she is with her and how well she is adjusting. That helps make things somewhat easier for me on this end!

It was a really busy weekend around here. On Friday, my brother Jim and his girlfriend, Melissa showed up for a weekend visit. Mark’s youngest brother Brian and 2 of his children showed up for a short visit on their way to Mark’s older brother’s place. Older brother, Kelly and family live just 6 miles away, so they showed up too and we had 7 adults and 5 children in the house for dinner. For those of you that have visited our 950 sq. ft house, you know this was a tight fit! But a good time was had by all anyway!
The puppies got a lot of socializing with the nieces and nephews! It was terrific for them (the puppies, that is).

Mark got a cold on Saturday and wasn’t up to doing much, but Jim, Melissa, he and I puttered around the yard anyway. Jim and Melissa got out and did some blueberry picking – the crop this year is the best ever – the ground around our land is literally blue! I went out to round them up for lunch and took Visa and Fly out with me. Visa quickly discovered how tasty blueberries are and was gobbling them up off the bushes as fast as we were picking. Lucky there is LOTS to go around.

For dessert I did up a recipe from one of my Alaska cookbooks – fresh blueberries, sprinkled with brown sugar, topped with a scoop of sour cream! Sounds weird, but very tasty!

On Sunday we marked some of the trails for our Fall Warm Up next weekend. We put in a nice 1.5 and 2.5 mile loop that will be wonderful for folks with carts. Mark and I will guide the longer runs on 4 wheelers, so no need to mark those trails.

Well that’s the news for now! The temps have been warm and I only got one day of running in last week. They are predicting temperatures closer to normal for this week – my fingers are crossed!


Monday 19 August 2002

August 19, 2002

All kinds of things happening around here last week (like what else is new?) 

First off, Lynn Alfino, who wrote that great article on me that appeared in Homemakers magazine showed up for a visit. Lynn is working on another project, which I let everyone in on at a later date, and wanted to do another interview with me. It was a lot of fun to do this one in person, rather then on the phone. Luckily, she stayed overnight, as we were chatting well into the evening – much past my usually 9:30 – 10 bedtime! 

NorthWapiti’s Alpha CD, SDX, TT (aka ‘Allie’) made a trip to the vet for surgery on Wednesday. Allie is almost 13 years old, so any surgery is worrisome at that age, but she has been having some coat problem that the vet thinks was hormonal and she had some mammary tumors that needed to go. Minus a few internal parts, she is back at home and doing well. Real well, in fact – I have lost my place on the couch, as she likes to hang out there with her Dad, who is her favorite person in the world. Oh well, she is entitled. For those of you that don’t know Allie, she was the last-born pup in our first litter. She was Mark’s obedience dog and finished her ‘Companion Dog’ title in only 4 tries. When we began doing longer races she and her half brother, Buddy were my main leaders (if any of you have seen our business cards or letterhead, Allie and Buddy are the dogs in that artwork). Allie was key in my 1994 Quesnel, B.C Gold Rush Trail win. She retired from the main string after the 1997 season, but for years after that helped train a number of the up and coming leaders in the kennel. We hope this surgery will allow us the pleasure of her company for, at least, a few more years. 

We were pretty excited; at least I was, to have the ‘Return of Psycho Coyote’ on Sunday. ‘Psycho Coyote’ is this brave, deranged, but entertaining coyote that lives on the ‘government land’ next to ours. Whenever we would go through what she perceived to be ‘her’ territory, she would charge down the trail after us barking and yipping. We didn’t see her at all last season and I was worried that she had moved on to torment someone else or that something had happened to her. On Sunday we were coming down a road a mile from home, when all of the sudden their was a bunch of barking, yipping and complaining from alongside the road – ‘the Return of Psycho Coyote’. True to form, she caught up with us and ran in the trees parallel to my team for a bit, taking short breaks to bark in her strange ‘psycho’ way. When we turned onto another trail, she fell in behind us. She followed for about 1/2 mile, even impatiently waiting 30 or so feet behind my 4-wheeler when I got off to undo a tangle. Then, I guess as we crossed out of her area, she vanished silently into the woods. I’ll be taking my camera on the next few runs to see if I can’t snap a picture of my favorite little weirdo of the woodlands.

The pups are growing like weeds – big, fat weeds actually. All three are wonderfully playful and cute - definitely my favorite age. As I’ve been leaving the yard with the dog teams the last few mornings, there has been a little line up of faces peering out from their house – learning by example, I hope! 

That’s all for now!!

Monday 12 August 2002

August 12, 2002

I've been pretty pleased that I've been keeping my diary pretty up to date lately - that was until I actually went to look at the diary page and realized that it has been almost 1 month since my last real entry. Where does time go? Unbelievable! Of course, lots has been happening in the kennel in the last while. We are full swing in training. The weather has been cool enough that I'm running almost every morning. We are up to 8 - 9 mile runs and I can honestly say that I have never seen the dogs look stronger! All the teams are even getting up the hill on our driveway - and those of you that have visited know that that is a nasty hill - without any breaks or help. That has always been something that didn't happen till much later, if ever in a season - I'm excited! I'm continuing to work some new dogs in lead. I've been surprised at how well these dogs, some youngsters, are doing. Olena has got to be the star - she is amazing! The rest of the dogs don't seem to share my enthusiasm for her, though - she is so focused and driven that she can really carry on at the start (and during, for that matter) a run. I swear the other dogs throw me dirty looks when I hook her up next to them. This morning I had Denali up front. He did really well - lots of promise there too! Last week or so I had Freya up front. Freya is probably the smallest dog on my team, but she has a BIG work ethic that more then makes up for her size. We were running the ditch of Highway 2 for the first time this season and the tall grass had absolutely no trail in it. Little Freya was totally lost in the grass, but never slacked up on her tug line, blindly taking commands without hesitation. I would have been impressed if that were one of my fully trained leaders, for it to be a young leader made it that much more wonderful!

Joey's pups continue to grow and do well. We have named them (with some help from friends) - the black/white, brown eyed girl is NorthWapiti's Born to Run 'Lou'; the black/white, blue eyed male is NorthWapiti's Long May You Run 'Junior'; and the piebald, brown eyed girl is NorthWapiti's See Spot Run 'Spot'.

We are disappointed to report that Jumper didn't have any puppies. She had been bred to Orion, but maybe she was planning to go to Iditarod this winter. She is happy to be back in training!
One very exciting bit of news that I was saving for last - Smiley has finished his Canadian Championship. This makes him the second Canadian Champion in the history of the breed (the first was our 'Mannie' - Ch. Kainai's Anchorman) to finish Iditarod. It was a real chore to keep that white coat clean for the show ring and I'm very happy, as I'm sure Smiley is too - he was getting dishpan paws and I was getting dishpan hands from all the bathing, not to have to be working on it anymore! Watch for show pictures of our handsome boy to be posted on the site soon. Gosh, I'm proud of him! Next in the ring will be Nik - but we are only planning on one or two more shows this season. Things are going to be getting really busy really fast around here.

All for today!