Saturday 31 October 2009

A Hard Day's Work

It's a miserable day here today. Mix rain and snow, muddy - just basically yucky! I'm trying to avoid running dogs by busying myself catching up on emails and other projects that have been on the back burner for a bit.

Heather Walls mentioned to me that online sweatshirt sales were not going too great and suggested maybe a blog entry would perk them up. "... we could use a Kara photo and plea from her--that usually generates some orders."

So I woke Kara up and asked if she would consider posing for a photo for me.

"Talk to to my personal assistant", she said.

Her personal assistant?? Kara has a personal assistant??

Apparently, she does...

...apparently that is why she allows Bet to live in HER house and share her Cloud.

So, Bet was roped into posing. No surprise - she hated the whole experience.

I made kissy noises, I scratched her ears, I whispered encouraging words to her...all to no avail.

I went back and broke the news to Kara - her stand in was a flop. She was going to have to do this on her own.

"FINE", she announced,"but this will cost you!"

Kara dreaming of the Denta Stix this is going to get her.

And here is the 'money shot'...

Thank you Kara! You certainly know how to work it for the camera!!!

And now for the details...

The sweatshirts are Hanes heavyweight, 90% cotton

Front pouch, drawstring hood

Deep red

Sizes M L XL 2XL (if demand, more S and maybe 3XL)

Logo in silver/gray with swirls in shaded of blues, from dark navy to
icy blue. "Iditarod 2010" in dark navy.

Heather Walls is handling the orders for us. You can order through
PayPal account - hewalls@gmail. com
or with a check made payable
to me,
mailed to Heather at 132 Ramage Rd Pittsburgh PA 15214.

They are $45 each plus shipping and handling ($7 to anywhere in the
lower 48; $10 to anywhere in Canada or Alaska. For multiple shirts or
international shipping please contact Heather).

Right now the Canadian dollar is virtually at par with the US one, so
don't worry about conversion. I will alter the blog if
changes on that front.

Getting There..

Well, you gotta give the weather credit for trying. Yesterday when we left on our run, this is what it looked like outside -

Not bad, but unlike our snow from a few weeks back, the ground isn't frozen now, so in a few hours things looked more like this -

The dogs were not impressed!

I asked them to smile for the camera, but this is all I got -

It was still a good solid 27 mile run and if you ignored the dripping trees and mud at your feet - the scenery was pretty!

Hopefully it won't be too much longer until winter comes back!

Friday 30 October 2009

Dog of the Day - Bingo

NorthWapiti's Bingo
DOB - July 25, 2005
Sire - NorthWapiti's Draco
Dam - NorthWapiti's Nahanni
Nickname - BEE-ingo and B.I.N.G.O.

Finisher of the Goose Bay 120 and Don Bowers 200.

Out of the 'Mosquito' litter (a fictional rock band that ran to Gilligan's Island to escape their rabid fans!). Bingo is a littermate to Bang, Bongo and Irving!

Bingo is as cute as a bug. Sweet, lovable and easygoing. I know I've written a few entries about Bingo in the past - one about her 'coming out' as a lead dog and one about her VERY bad habit of taking cheap shots at other girls when she thinks she can get away with it.
We are still working on the cheap shot thing (we all have to have a bad habit or two, don't we?) but on a good note Bingo is really starting to live up to her early promise as a leader. In fact, the last two runs she has been on she ran lead - doing an awesome job, first beside Dasher and next with Jinx.

Bingo is sponsored by Mary Atkinson of Aumsville, OR

Thursday 29 October 2009

Dog of the Day - Billie

NorthWapiti's HillBilly
DOB - June 24, 2007
Sire - NorthWapiti's Detonator
Dam - Chlout's Hilda of NorthWapiti

Billy is out of our 'Hillbilly' litter - littermate to Grit, Roscoe, Bubba, Fritter, Daisy (now known as Addie), and Bango (now known as Tidgy).

We had sold Billie as a youngster, but she never really seemed to find her place until she made it back to our yard this spring. This is where she is meant to be.

There is nothing warm and cuddly about Billie - she is a tough little tomboy of a dog. She doesn't like to snuggle, but she does like a good scratch and really seems to appreciate verbal praise.

She is solid both in build and performance. It took her some time, but she has figured out that scrapping is frowned upon here. Now she is quite tolerant and accepting of things in harness. Yesterday she was paired up with Casey who was on Billie's side of the gangline as much as her own, but Billie just put her head down and worked. She will not stand for Cricket trying to push her around though. She is one of two dogs in the yard (Sprite being the other one) that will stand up to Cricket.

Billie has even done a turn or two in lead. Give it another year and I am confident that she will be a race leader for us!

Perhaps her most distinguishing feature is her light, almost wolf-ish eyes. They seem to be off setting to some, but I like them. In my mind they are a mirror to her independent, sort of wild nature!

Billie is sponsored by LaRita Skipper of Ward, AR!!

Stopping to Pay Respects

One of the disadvantages to leading a busy life in a small town is that unless you make it to the Store on a regular basis (which I don't), you have no clue what is going on in the neighborhood.
Last week Mike was giving his 'apprentice' handler, Richard a tour of the valley and as they drove down the hill was explaining what a small, quiet community Perryvale was. Imagine their shock when they turned the corner to find cars spilling out of the community hall parking lot and up and down both sides of the road. Rhonda (the postmistress) explained that it was a funeral.
I was saddened the next day to find out that it was Allan Baker. Al is one of the neighbors that we saw more then most as he was an AVID berry picker and spent a lot of time down on our land. Most early fall evenings we could hear his ATV quietly puttering around as he checked on berries and picked up bottles and cans carelessly left in the 'green land'.
One of my favorite memories of him was coming screaming around a corner on my ATV one day with 5 or 6 older puppies furiously chasing me. Al was off the trail picking berries and when the pups figured out he was a person, they swarmed him. It took a few crazy moments with Al trying to hold his berries high out of the reach of puppies mouths before I got them all focused and chasing me again! He took it very well.
Al had lived in the valley for most, if not all his 77 years, so when I had questions about the history of the area he was the one I always turned to.

We will miss him and I was sorry to have missed the funeral, so when Mark and I passed the Perryvale Cemetery on our run on Tuesday we let the teams rest while we walked up and found Al's grave.

It was nestled among the graves of a number of other 'Bakers' Many of them, Al's included, decorated with flowers and other remembrances.

That's one of the things I adore about the Perryvale Cemetery, unlike the sterile and spotless cemetery that my Dad is in in Calgary, they don't discourage folks from leaving flowers and other special remembrances. Everything from small toys to garden gnomes to antler racks grace the graves in Perryvale.

It's really a quiet and lovely place.

Rest Well Al.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Dog of the Day - Beauty

NorthWapiti's Black Beauty
DOB - June 13, 2007
Sire - NorthWapiti's Sir Galahad (Surge)
Dam - Ch. NorthWapiti's Valkyrie Kara
Beauty is one of 'The Blacks' - Black Beauty, Black Tie, Black Top (TopDog), and Pitch Black.

This 'beauty' is way more then skin deep. Even though Kara has given us a bunch of little 'Kara clones' in looks, this one is a clone both in looks and work ethic. Like her Mom, Beauty kind of snuck up on me as a working dog. She wasn't one of those that really grabbed me when she was harness broke and was not a 'stand out' as a yearling, however, this season she is really stepping up, especially in lead. She isn't one of those dogs that you look at and immediately say 'oh, that's a sled dog' - but when you are behind her in a team, there is no doubt.
She is mature beyond her years and doesn't seem the slightest bit phased by leading 16 dog strings on 20+ mile runs.
On yesterday's run I had her in swing and anytime the leaders misstepped she was getting tangled with them - that is a sign of a dog that wants to be up front!

I expect that she may follow her Mom's pawprints on the trail and in the ring!!!

Beauty is still available for sponsorship!

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Dog of the Day - Barq

NorthWapiti's Barq's Got Bite
DOB - July 1, 2001
Sire - NorthWapiti's Butch Cassidy SD
Dam - Alaskan's Jumper of Anadyr
Barq is part of the 'Soda Pup' litter - littermate to Sprite, Pepsi and Fresca (deceased). Full brother (different litter - same parents) to Dew and Gator.
Nickname - Barkus

Finisher of Iditarod, Don Bowers 200, Goose Bay 120, Taiga 300, Sheep Mountain, and Knik 200.

I used to refer to Barq as our 'Attention Deficit Disorder' child, as his attention span as a youngster was less then that of a gnat. Harnessing or checking feet on him used to be a sure ticket to a rodeo, but in the last few years he has actually settled down and - as I was sure would eventually happen - turned into a wonderful hard driving team member.
He is still not really a leader but he is such an asset to the team, it just doesn't matter!
One of Barq's more endearing features are his eyes - one blue; one half blue, half brown!

A very cool boy!

Barq has a long time sponsor in Cheryl Dawson!

2 Pygmy Goats and a Llama...

This is what we passed on our run yesterday - seriously!!

I guess if we ever run into 2 pygmy goats and a Llama on Iditarod, we'll be ready.

Monday 26 October 2009

Dog of the Day - Bang

This is usually the time of year that I do a big mass introduction of the main string. Well, actually I normally do it earlier, but well...I'm running behind (surprise, surprise!) - so I thought I would do something different and came up with the 'Dog of the Day' idea.
I'm going to go through (in alphabetical order, so as not to cause any bickering among the main string dogs claiming to be favored and all!), one dog a day until the whole main string is introduced. I'm sure I'll miss the odd day or two, but I'll strive to do one a day! These will be alittle more detailed intros then previous years, but they are the stars of the show - they deserve it!

First up is Bang - and here are her 'stats'.

Official name - NorthWapiti's Bango
Out of the 'Mosquito Litter' named for a fictional rock band (based on the Beatles) that ran away to Gilligan's Island to escape their rabid fans!
Littermate to Bingo, Bongo and Irving
Color - piebald
DOB - July 27, 2005
Dam - NorthWapiti's Nahanni
Sire - NorthWapiti's Draco
Nickname - 'Bang Bang'

Bang was sold to Mike and Kathy Carmichael of Carmacks Siberians when she was a yearling. She quickly became a valued leader on their team and finished Race to the Sky and other races with them.
In the spring of 2009 when Kathy was dispersing their kennel, she and I worked together on placing all her 'NorthWapiti' dogs - except for Bang. Kathy made it clear that she felt Bang needed to come back here. Something about her being 'too good' to go somewhere else. Kathy was completely right and I'm grateful to her.

Bang has settled back into the kennel quickly and easily. She is already a solid leader,although she is still working on perfecting 'Gee' and 'Haw'.

She is a sweet little gal who doesn't like to get in trouble or start a commotion.

We don't have alot of pictures of her, but I'm sure that will change after this season!!

Bang is sponsored by her former Mom - Kathy Carmichael!

Sunday 25 October 2009


“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”
-Susan Polis Schutz

Saturday 24 October 2009


"Mud is not one of the 4 food groups"
-Bart Simpson

Well, maybe not if you are a lead dog...



...but it might as well be if you are a team dog...




...and especially if you are a wheel dog (or right near the back of the team!)



Smartie wants a promotion!!!

Wednesday 21 October 2009

A Frosty Morning

...followed by an overcast dreary day!

Well, as dreary as a day running sled dogs can get!!!

Which really isn't very dreary at all!

A Few Updates, Odds and Ends

First off, I've had questions about the follow up on the dogs from the 'porcupine incident'.
Many wanted to know if we are seeing an increase in porcupines in the area. The answer is YES. The first 11 years we lived here I believe I saw 2 porcupines - none of them in our yard. In the last 12 months we have had 3 incidents with the 'quill pigs' and our dogs and I've seen more on my travels. When I was speaking with my vet yesterday, he reported an increase in dog/porcupine encounters. He also said that the incidents seem run together, so he suspects some sort of 'migration' type behavior that puts them in the path of dogs a few times a year. Hopefully, they will 'settle in' for the winter soon!

I've also been asked if the dogs are all on antibiotics. No, they are not. My vet, Trevor, is adamant that you want any quills that might be all the way in the dog to fester out of the dog rather then continue to travel around in the body. When Moses had his incident last fall we saw the value in that, as about 10 days after his quill removal a quill festered out on the completely opposite side of his face.

And most importantly, folks want to know how the dogs are. We were very worried about Q yesterday, as he was 3 legged (he had had some quills in his foot after the encounter, but none seemed to be deep in his foot and we were sure we had gotten them all) and we could find no missed quills. I spoke with Trevor about it and following his suggestion we soaked the foot in warm water and Epsom salts last night. After a nice long soaking, Mark found a tip of a quill between 2 of his toes. He was able to get a grip on it and pulled an inch long piece of quill out. PHEW! He still is not 100% and we will be soaking and checking that foot regularly for he next few days to make sure their isn't anything else in there. Unfortunately, that is about all we can do. Quills will not show up on either an x-ray or an ultrasound. Keep your fingers crossed for him!
Runner also has me a little worried, as he vomited up some soft and not fully developed quills yesterday - and passed a few more in his stool. However he is active and as keen for food as always which is definitely a good sign.

Thankfully, everyone else is looking good!

Sprite is also doing well. She has been wonderfully good about not chewing or bothering her stitches/drainage tube. The tube was suppose to come out on Monday and I had mentioned it to Mark in the morning. Later in the day he asked me if Mike and I had taken it out. Ewwwww - no way!! However it was out. It seems like Sprite must have heard us talking and removed it herself. Mark took out the rest of the stitches around the tube site and all appears well. She has other stitches that are in for another 9 days but I think she is going to start spending some time back out in the kennel as she is definitely a disruptive influence on our happy household!!!

We have a handler change happening today when Richard arrives from the UK to take over handling duties.
Mike has been with us for a little over 2 months and we have really enjoyed having him around. He has been a tremendous help.

I'm very confident that he has enjoyed being here, as we can't quite get him to leave! He is going to stay on a few more days to finish up some tasks around the kennel that he wanted to get done - like leveling out the dog yard!! Very cool!!

After a few days of unseasonably warm weather -

(she looks so miserable as she knows I'm about to throw her in the tub!)

- things have got more back to 'normal'.

(Who can resist a sort of Cricket checking out some new winter sleeping locations?? She is very thankful I got all those pesky flowers out of 'her' barrel.)

The dogs have been running well. I've bumped them up to 23 mile runs now and we are probably ready for a few big camping trips over to the Forfar Campground (one of my favorite hangouts!)

As we start to increase the distances we are faced with all kinds of new adventures on our old trails - like new farm dogs.

This monstrous pair of Cricket like creatures live at a nearby sheep farm. They have 2 Pyrs that live full time with the flock of sheep to protect them from predators (like the wolf pack that has been spotted in the area lately. I actually think they have been around for years, as I've seen a few signs every now and again - and am pretty sure I actually saw one a couple years back)

- and these monsters that run loose.
I'm sure they will eventually figure out we are harmless but in the meantime it is great distraction training for my team.

(Utin suggesting to one of the dogs that they should leave the team alone. Despite the dramatic picture, no contact was made between the dogs and mine continued to keep moving, as they should!)

And to close it up, here a few fall shots that I just couldn't resist sharing. It really is a very 'pretty' time of year!

On and in case you were wondering if Bet survived her bath - she says it was touch and go - but she made it!

Have a great day!