Break out the polar fleece – it’s fall. It never fails to amaze me just how fast the landscape makes it’s transition from summer to fall. It is almost like a curtain of yellow, brown and rust is dropped over us all at once. Every night for over the last week (except last night) temperatures have dropped down below freezing. In fact, almost everything in my gardens, except for a few hardy pansies have surrendered to the approach of winter. A couple mornings the dog’s water buckets has a layer of ice on them. It was hilarious watching the yearlings try to figure out what happened to their water. The older dogs just break open holes for themselves.
Luckily, the weather was perfect for the Fall Warm Up Weekend. The nights were cool and days pleasantly warm. We had a tremendous time and thank everyone that managed to make it out for a visit.
Two years ago, when everyone but Jackie and Rick cancelled at the last minute (now you know why they got the honour of sleeping in The ‘Nook’), I vowed we were done with the whole scheme, but perseverance seems to be paying off – as about 2 dozen people and an extra 156 dogs joined us for the 5th Annual!
I was especially pleased at the interest and feedback in the talk Dr. Veronica Devall did for us. There aren’t a lot of seminars for this kind of sled dog care information in western Canada and I was very pleased to have been able to make this one happen.
On a much lighter note, also a tremendous success was Mark’s 1st Annual Scavenger Hunt. The list was as follows:
10 – blueberries
5 – cranberries
1 – rose hip
1 – yellow wild flower
1 – puff ball mushroom
1 – live grasshopper
1 – bra
1 – 8 inch stick
4 – dog booties
1 – empty foreign beer bottle
1 – automotive fuse
5 – wooden matches
1 – raspberry
1 – article of clothing with ‘Iditarod’ on it
6 – sunflower seeds
Folks had one hour to complete the ‘hunt’ and points were deducted for any minutes they checked in over or under the allotted time. Did I mention Mark took everyone’s watches away before we began? The only places off limits were our house and garage. Many clever contestants raided our old dog truck and were able to come up with matches, fuses, dog booties and sunflower seeds from there. Everyone missed the Iditarod armbands on the sun visor though. Shame only one or two folks spotted the big raspberry bush in the middle of our dog yard.
Sadly, although I have a score sheet and know that ‘Team 6’ was the winners – I don’t recall who exactly team 6 was. I do have some honourable mentions to make though! Hats off to Gerry and Rose who selflessly polished off a number of bottles of Corona beer - before noon even, so there were more ‘empty foreign beer bottles’ around. Special Kudos to Lorne and Eric – even though their team consisted of two guys, they managed to come up with a bra (we are all still wondering about that!).
Many thanks to Eagle Pet Foods, who donated 40lb bags of Eagle Power dog food to the winners (okay, they gave 6 bags and Mark and I donated 2, so everyone got to go home with some!).
Mark is already plotting for next year.
Oh, we also got some dog running in too! We had everything from 14 dog teams and 4 wheelers to brave Linda on a scooter behind her two speedy Belgian Malinois dogs. The first night Linda got here, we were just coming back from our run. Mark offered to go out with her on an ATV to show her the trails, but she shot out of the yard in the wrong direction at warp speed. Took the guys over a ½ mile to catch up with her so they could steer her in the right direction! Man, those dogs can run!
And did I mention the food?? Copious amounts of great food!! (Which reminds me Kathy, I want the recipe for that ‘to die for’ corn casserole). I’m sure the dogs were watching us pack away all that food and rolling their eyes about having to haul our butts down the trail later.
Hope even more of you can join us for the 6th Annual next year.
By Monday evening, the campsites in the meadow were mostly gone and our little valley mostly peaceful again. I say ‘mostly’ as it seemed we couldn’t get rid of one set of campers – Kathy and Mike Carmichael from Utah. Okay, that’s not quite true. Mike and Kathy had approached me earlier in the summer and inquired if they could stay for 10 days or so after the FWW and train with us. We agreed and had a very pleasant time with them.
I tell ya, that Kathy is one dedicated employee – while Mike and I were out running dogs, Kathy was sitting up in the cow pasture by the highway participating in conference calls and receiving emails (lucky the cows weren’t in the field at the time – or I’m sure they would have been hanging over her shoulder). Apparently, there is a ‘sweet spot’ up there for wireless Internet and cell phones. Despite my many offers, it wasn’t until the day the rain clouds rolled in that Kathy agreed to just use our phone.
On the 14th the Carmichaels ‘finally’ packed up and went home – taking with them NorthWapiti’s Sepp
. He joins NorthWapiti’s Lightning
and NorthWapiti’s Robert E Lee (aka Squeaky
) who were already part of ‘Team Carmacks’. Look for some more ‘dog dealings’ between the kennels in the future!
Bright and early the morning after Carmichaels left, I hopped on a plane and headed for Thunder Bay to judge the Sweepstakes and Unofficial Classes at the Siberian Husky Club of Canada National Specialty. I awarded Best Overall Sled dog and Best Overall Working Dog to Brigitte Hunter’s BISS Ch. Kiaya’s Klondike’s Diecho SD CD WD TT; Best in Puppy Sweepstakes to Highlander’s Follow Yr Dream owned by Diane Glenny; and Best in Veteran Sweepstakes to Am.Can. Ch. Hurricane’s Gin Fizz, owned by Kris Brown. Many thanks to all the entered their lovely dogs under me.
Also congratulations to Candace Cook and Zoom (Ch.Shakula’s Zoom Zooom Zoooom AOM WL) on winning the Specialty under judge Olga Gagne. I just love seeing dogs that work in harness do well in the show ring!
So now I’m settled in back at home – and Mark and I actually have the place all to ourselves!
There have been a few dog ‘goings on’ that I should bring everyone up to speed on. First off, we have a ‘guest’ - Nokken Av Vargevass. Nokken
is owned by Al and Ann Stead of Northome Kennels. They imported him from Vargevass
Kennels of Sweden in 2002.
I have been interested in the boy for quite awhile and actually left Kluane
in Minnesota one year to be bred to him. It is rather a long story, but the breeding never happened, so this summer, when Ann made the offer of letting Nokken come out here for a visit, I jumped. He’s a big, hard working, happy go lucky guy – we are enjoying his company! Watch for some Nokken puppies in the kennel this spring!
We did have one dog leave us (in addition to Sepp) – Atigun
has returned to his breeder, Jamie West in Alaska. Nothing went ‘wrong’ with Atigun, but I felt he was a better match with Jamie’s team then mine. Besides, Jamie had always struggled with Atigun leaving her place and dropped many, many hints that he was always welcome back there – so it was probably for the best – and I’ll get to visit him this winter too!
is doing well after his surgery. It did take him alittle longer then I thought to ‘get over’ it all, but he is now back to his opinionated, crotchety, 14 year old self!
We had a cancer scare with Kaylinn
too. I found a small lump on one of her mammary glands, which was quickly removed (lump and gland). She seems to be recovering well. No word yet on whether the tumour was malignant or not.
All this weekend I’ve been cooking up a storm getting some meals done for Quest. So far I’ve done a big batch of French toast sandwiches (I love these – basically they are a cream cheese sandwich dipped in egg mixture and fried like French Toast.. My recipe was inspired by Peter McClelland of White Water Wilderness Adventures! Thanks Peter!), pesto chicken with sun dried tomatoes over pasta, and lasagne. Still a few more dishes in the works!
Well, my fingers are quickly tiring out, so I’m going to wrap this long-winded entry up.
Promise it won’t be so long before the next one!