Friday 29 May 2009

Thank Goodness I Wasn't 'Outted'

I’m jetting my way to Tennessee today to do a presentation for the Siberian Assist Rescue Group. As a wonderful treat, my friends Barbara and Jerry Lake, who donated my tickets to the Rescue Group, booked me to fly FIRST CLASS on the three hour leg from Salt Lake City to Atlanta. What a treat!!! Pillows, blankies, huge comfy seats, warm facecloths, a free meal (with REAL turkey in the sandwich – not processed turkey roll), wonderful service….this is traveling in style!!!!

I hope all the fancy people around me don’t figure out I’m a fraud!!! I brushed most of the dog hair off my clothes and I’m being careful about showing my hands, as the dirt embedded in my fingernails is bound to give me away!!

The water drops on my laptop screen probably don’t help either – they were splashed there when Bet shook after her bath the other day – but maybe folks with think it was spray from using my computer on my yacht (yeah, I can’t even spell yacht without spellchecker!!)


I’m sure it would all get old for me fast, but today I’m enjoying living outside my means!!!






Karen L and Mark Ramstead

NorthWapiti Kennels

Iditarod Finishing and Best in Show winning Siberians

"Pretty Sled Dogs"


Sunday 24 May 2009

Happiness is a Warm Puppy!



Crackle, Snap and Pop


Crackle, Pop and Snap



In case you are missing the theme - they are the 'Rice Krispies' and more pictures of them can be found at

Friday 22 May 2009

Growing Up is Never Easy.

Even bratty little princesses eventually need to grow up. Yesterday the adorable and very spoiled Kim and Kelly took a big step towards their future careers as rough, tough sled dogs and moved out onto stakeouts.



They complained with great enthusiasm about the injustice of it all.



Astro, the 'ol hat' he is at this stakeout thing - throws a disgusted look the girls way!
Barq and Runner are unimpressed by the rantings of the Twins as the enjoy the early summer sunshine.

Kara was most unimpressed of all. ...

...she hung around pretending that she had never even seen the girls before!!

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming....

With the recent miserable weather and my cold, about the most exciting thing around here was watching Bet and Kara's 'passive aggressive' battle over the Cloud.

I'm really not sure how this is going to end up playing out, but my money is on Kara winning!

However exciting that is, yesterday morning we got back to real world

- running dogs!

Since our lives had been lacking excitement, we decided to up the anti and harness break young Astro!
Here he is hanging out with TopDog and Hector on the 'ready chain'

That's him three dogs up on the left!! Looks like a pro already - doesn't he?

There were a couple more 'firsts' on this run too!

NorthWapiti's Hillbilly - aka 'Billie' who just arrived back at the kennel from New Hampshire took her first run with us.

"Smile for the camera Billie!!!"

And NorthWapiti's Bango - aka 'Bang' ran lead for the first time for me.
All three had a great run! After 2 miles we swung back into the yard to drop of Astro (don't want to get those pups in over their heads) before heading out for another 3 miles.

Stopping for a water break!

Happy, tired Huskies!

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Snow Day

I took a few more pictures of the snowfall today, including some of young Astro out on a chain for the first time. You can see them on my Picasa site -


I Should Have Believed Her...

When I was talking to Lisa yesterday about booking a private lesson for Utin and I she insisted that we do it that day. She was babbling something about a heavy snowfall warning for the area for this morning and Wednesday. Frankly, I paid no attention. Spring is here - the woods are waking up, I've planted some plants, and purchased more that I intended to plant this way it was going to snow.

I should have listened....

Monday 18 May 2009

A Knead for Bread

A million moons ago, shortly after Mark and I got married, Mark's Aunt Joanne taught me how to bake bread. I really enjoyed it and for a brief while all the bread in our house was homemade. However busy lives soon pushed that onto the backburner.

When they first came out, I bought a bread machine - but honestly, I never found tossing ingredients into the machine and closing the lid to really be rewarding - and the bread never really tasted that good. I'm not even sure where the machine is anymore.

For the last few months I kept telling myself I should make time to make some bread, but know how these things go. This morning, despite the chilly weather I wasn't up to running dogs (still very run down from that nasty cold) - so I decided I needed to knead.

I forgot just how rewarding pounding and kneading bread is.
And, of course, the smell of baking bread filling the house was divine.

Before Utin, Bet, Toni, Corky and I headed over to Lisa's (private obedience lesson for Utin and I; Toni and Corky played on the agility equipment; and Bet got to hang out with other flop earred dogs) I tossed a stew in the slow cooker, so dinner tonight was thick slices of homemade bread dipped in stew.
Can it get much better??


Sunday 17 May 2009

A Walk in the Woods

I've been doing a fair amount of walking this spring - part of a commitment I made this winter to start taking better care of myself. Walking helps alot, both physically and mentally. Especially when I have such great company to join me.

For the last 3 days I've been mostly laid up with a nasty cold (yeah, that whole 'taking better care of myself is working out SO well), so walking hasn't been a priority (okay, I did stumble down the driveway in my pyjamas the other night at 9:30pm so Bet could blow off some energy - but that's been about it) but this morning I thought I was feeling a bit better so Kara, Bet and I headed out. Cricket usually joins us, but she was off in the woods on some important 'guardian dog' business.

Bet stretching her legs

Spring is always late coming down here in the valley. While leaves are already out up out of the valley, buds are still just forming down here. That's okay though, as it is interesting to watch the woods wake up - and there are signs that spring is coming!

As well as lots of signs of things that had to work hard to survive the cold, snowy winter we had.

And signs of some things that didn't survive...

We walked up the trail along the river bluff to my bench overlooking the big beaver pond. There I took some time to do some Tai Chi while Bet debated leaping over the cliff to chase ducks in the pond ....

and Kara took time to just hang out.
It was a very enjoyable walk. I can't wait to get completely over this annoying cold to get back out in the woods more!

Thursday 14 May 2009

One Cool Raven!

If I haven't made it clear before, let it be said now - I love ravens. I think they are just the coolest birds and I have had many interesting and memorable encounters with them over the years.

My friend, Kelley Griffin, who shared one of my coolest raven encounters with me forwarded me this very neat video.

Hope you enjoy!


Saturday 9 May 2009

The Free Ride is Over...

No one here rides for free. So this morning Bet started to earn her kibble.

Bet and Jack

Good job Bet!!!


12 Hours and Counting....

Just 12 hours till I pick Helen up at the airport!!! Yup, THAT Helen!! She is flying out with NorthWapiti's HillBilly who is coming home from New Hampshire, visiting for 4 or so days then flying back east with Comet, who is going to a new home in Vermont and Odie, who is going for a 'summer holiday' in New Hampshire with Kim and Kelly Berg.
It's terrific that Helen is able to help out this way, but even better is that she is coming to visit! I can't wait.

Actually there is all sorts of things going on around here right now!

Toni is leaving to go home and 'dog sit' for her Mom for a week. Mark is busy working 'shut down' at the Mill. I'm busy working on a few presentations that I have in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Mussfreebro, Tennessee later in the month.

My Mom and our mutual friend Marlene Daniels were up for a 2 day visit earlier in the week too! I hadn't seen my Mom in a LONG time (almost 2 years, I believe), so it was GREAT to see her!

Bet is continuing to settle in well. She and Kara are flaked out side by side on the floor right now catching a nap. Kara would never say it out loud, but I know she likes her new house mate!

Sprite's puppies are growing like weeds. They are a noisy and demanding threesome, but Sprite still seems to be enjoying them.
Seeing that their Mom is a 'Soda Pup' and their Dad a 'Chocolate Bar', I had been leaning towards 'junk food' for a theme for this litter. Things like Pretzel, Cheesie, Dorito, Nacho, etc, etc - however the other day when the valley was filling up with smoke I was thinking of Ash, Smoke and Blaze. And my most recent idea is Earth, Wind and Fire!
Still lots of time to mull it over!

Well, I need to get a bit of housecleaning done and a few loads of laundry through the wash before Toni and I head for the city, so time to polish off the last of the coffee and get on with the day!!

Hope you all have a great day!

Thursday 7 May 2009

You BET!

A number of weeks ago, after searching the woods for the 4 male Toon puppies that we had been atttempting to free run (the older they are, they harder they are to keep around when free running), I got thinking. After the smoke cleared I phoned my dog training/sheep herding friend Lisa to bounce an idea off her -"Would a Border Collie be able to run with my puppies and lure them back when I called?"

She agreed that would probably work and after a bit more discussion I set the criteria of what I was looking for - an adult, smooth coated (one hairy beast - aka Cricket - in the yard is enough), small (I have aspirations of having a second house dog), working line (I like the spirit of Lisa's working line Border Collies) Border Collie.

Lisa mentioned that one of her mentors in the Border Collie world (and NWN list member - hey Jenny!!) Jenny Glen might have the perfect dog for me - a small, 2 year old female named Bet that was a bit of a 'wash out' at the 'sheep thing' (for the record, Jenny and her hubby Scott are not lightweights in the herding world - they demand alot from their herding dogs. Check out their website at

The Glens had just headed down to the US for 2 months of trialing and left Bet with a friend in southern Alberta. I emailed Jenny and she agreed with Lisa that Bet would probably be a good match for me. She told me to take her on a trial basis, so after a few impatient weeks of waiting for a ride north (thanks Lisa!) Bet arrived on Sunday evening.

Bet has been settling in very well - and today sent this email to her 'former' Mom -

"Dear Mom,

I hope you and the rest of the kennel are having a good time in the US. It pains me to write this letter, but it is only fair to keep you posted regarding the recent changes in my life.

As you are likely aware, while you have been away I have been pursuing some other career paths for my life. It’s not that I don’t love sheep but, as you know, I just don’t have the passion for it that you, Dad, Maid, Drift and the rest of the family have.

I recently stumbled across a sled dog kennel in northern Alberta. They are in dire need of someone to watch over the cats, snuggle with the owners at nighttime, hold down a few dog beds, exercise the house dog, run with sled dog puppies and generally help coach their Iditarod team. We are still ironing out a few details on the contract – like how much I am allowed to watch the cats – but we are all confident that negotiations will succeed. I have dazzled the kennel owners with my speed and snuggling ability – and am working on my confidence around the rather boisterous sled dogs.

I want to thank you for the great opportunities that you offered me in life. I hope you are not too disappointed in my career choice, but I must follow my heart. I am mailing home my ‘sheep dog’ collar, as I was recently given my very own ‘sled dog’ collar.

My new owners say that you are welcome to come visit me anytime and they will keep in touch with you regarding my progress and well being.

Much love,

Bet "

Jenny emailed back, sending Bet her love and best wishes. So I guess it is 'official' -

And here are some real pictures of Bet -

Kara actually seems to like her - honest!

Bet and Bait - a complicated relationship!