Sunday 30 September 2012

I'm a Mess - Bet


Hey.  It's me... the not so roving Border Collie reporter stuck at home AGAIN!

I'm having some issues, oh nothing to be worried about, but there's been a lot of drama here.

First off... I lost a tooth.

The Musher found it in the dog yard and didn't figure out it was mine until a week later.  I didn't want to say anything because... well... she worries about me and all.

It just fell right out... well, it was attached to a Crampling at the time... they're getting really big... and really rough, and we got a little carried away playing and stuffs and things and bloop, out it came.

That means I'm down to only half of a canine because I broke the other off gnawing on a fence... because it was there... and I was gnawing on it... stop asking so many questions.

Somebodies on Facebook suggested I could get some replacements teeths.  Check it out!  They have really cool caps they can put on dog teeth now!

So I showed the Musher and she said NO!

Seriously!  I was all ready for a really cool grill, then I would start my new career as a Border Collie rapper Bit O Bet!

Rappers have really cool ensembles and the Musher and Musher Mark never use that big clock on the wall... but she said NO.


Then the other day I hurt my leg.  I've been on double secret home confinement since then.  I can't patrol, or run the puppies, or ride on the ATV, or do ANY of the fun things around here... I'm stuck on the cloud or the chair, or the couch, or the bed... ok, frankly it's like any other day except I can't go do fun things in between napping.

This means that my trip to Utah with the Musher and Wolvie is off... I can't go... sniff.  I'm stuck here.  At least Brittany handler is coming tomorrow, so I can just sit in the window and watch her get squished by something.

Last night Wolvie came into the house to get his pre-show dog grooming.  You know how those show dogs are... a woman in every town, tell you they'll call and they never do.  He tried to dazzle me with his dance steps and smooth talk, but I'm all like "Um, excuse me, I'm your puppy aunt".

Does this picture make me look like a cat?
It was straight out of one of those Lifetime movies where Shannon Doherty plays the babysitter that gets hit up on by the dad, only to find out that the wife is full tilt bozo crazy person.  In this case I'm Shannon Doherty and Tramp is full tilt bozo crazy wife... and she is really.  I don't need Tramp all getting in my face accusing me of stealing "her man", then I would have to point out that she actually has a lot of men, she'll call me names and it'll just go down hill from there.

So, yeah... I'm stuck at home, can't run around... sigh.

- Bet

Friday 28 September 2012

Smile For The Camera Girls.

Okay Tramp and Boo, let's get a nice portrait of the two of you in lead. need to look at the camera.

 Yes, yes...all the boys think you two are hot (and, of course, any of them on Iditarod last year KNOW you two are easy!!!)

 Tramp, Snap did not say your butt looked big.


Come on Girls. Let's get this done and get moving....
 So close....
 Tramp quit closing your eyes.


(This is for all you folks that might think every photo I take makes Facebook or the Blog. The biggest trick to 'good' photos is to shoot lots and edit HARD!! LOL)

Thursday 27 September 2012

Dog Days???? Not quite yet.....

Pretty soon the days around here will be all dogs, all the time....okay not ALL DOGS, ALL THE TIME, but pretty darn close!!

Not that I'm dogs are the coolest creatures and I dearly love (almost) all the time I spend with them,  but I do have lots of other things in my life that feed my heart and soul too.
As fall and the first fingers of winter reach out here, I scramble to squeeze in some of those 'extra' things that I know will take a backseat for the winter.

This is one of those things....

Thanks to my friends - Gabi, Cello and Cookie for a really fantastic evening.

\I hope we squeeze in a few more of these times before the 'Dog Days of Winter' completely take hold!!!!

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Passing of the 'Shutter'

I'm tough on gear. Just no doubt about that. I demand a lot out of my 'stuff' and I don't treat it particularly well. The same could likely be said about the people who share my life, but that is another blog for another day.

Back in 2006 Mark and I were heading to Cuba for our slightly delayed (20 years) honeymoon and bought ourselves a new point-and-shoot camera. Because in my days as a photographer/camera salesperson I had been very impressed with the Pentax point-and-shoots we bought a little Pentax Optio. Weatherproof, somewhat shock proof and very compact, it seemed like the perfect camera for our crazy lives - and indeed it was.
The first day we arrived in Cuba the camera had an accident and hit a tile floor in our hotel room. I was crushed when it quit working. A week in Cuba with no functioning camera seemed like torture to me. Unbelievably, the next day the camera got dropped a second time and proceeded to work like a charm for the rest of the trip!!!!

Unfortunately, the day after arriving home, I accidentally knocked it off our kitchen counter and onto the floor (I told you I'm hard on gear). This time it totally rolled over and played dead. I didn't have the nerve to drop it again to see if the problem would resolve!!! I took it in and paid to have it repaired.

Since then it has shot off tens of thousands of pictures.....
It has been mushing, ATV'ing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, para-sailing, jet boating, flying, kayaking, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting......
It has been all over Canada, Cuba, the US, South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia....
It has been dropped, frozen, scratched, banged, and soaked.....

....And it has always taken fantastic pictures, although lately composition was hit and miss because the viewfinder was so scratched and the camera required the flash for all shots that were not pointed into the sun.

The writing was on the was time for a new one.

Of course, with how good the Pentax had been over the years, I pretty much had to go with another one. In fact, I went with the same camera as my old one, just the 2013 version.

Optio WG-2

I figured that it was only fitting that the first images the new camera took were of its predecessor.

I think I felt the new camera "shuttered" a little when it got a look at the old one.
Hang in there, Buddy. You are in for a hellava ride!!!!

Sunday 16 September 2012

Tales of the Trail 2012 - Koyuk to Elim

I knew pulling into Koyuk that a long break was going to be necessary. The team had been 'on the edge' since leaving Old Woman Cabin and that tough, tough 12 hours had taken more of a toll.
Q and See - both key dogs - had some issues that meant there was a good chance they were going to dropped, but for now we just enjoyed being in a village and off that darn sea ice.

Travis and I were parked next to each other and chatted quietly away while going through chores with the comfortable comradery of people that have survived an 'epic' together. Let me say it again, he is a fine young man!!!

All the dogs ate, which was a good sign. I massaged out Q and See's shoulders and jacketed them up. We were in a nice spot out of the worst of the wind and I laid down a bunch of straw for the dogs, loving up everyone really well before heading up to the community center.

I guzzled coffee, tang and any other liquids I could get my hands on once inside. The last leg was not just hard on the dogs.

Race officials were gracious enough to give me a few supervised moments on the computer so I could get messages out to folks to let them know that, despite the lack of GPS progress, I was alive and well.

My plan was to rest here for 12 hours before hitting the trail again. It was my belief that if I didn't give the team a good, long rest here getting to Nome might be in question. That's how tough that section of the trail had been. They had done a great job out there, but I knew that mentally and physically they were at their limit..

The twelve hours went by quickly, but the dogs and I managed to get refueled and rested. Sadly though, Q and See's shoulder injuries hadn't improved during the break, so they were going to have to head back to Willow.

Despite that, I felt confident when leaving Koyuk that the team and I were back on track. Quickly those hopes were dashed. The dogs left horribly! I was so disappointed, but I tried to keep my spirits up and just go about doing what I know I have to do get the dogs attitude up.
They were glancing wistfully over their shoulders back towards Koyuk. I switched leaders and eventually resorted to what I normally see as a sign of desperation - I switched runner plastic HOPING that there was a 'physical' reason for their flat state.
It actually worked, not in a HUGE way, but they started to move forward with a bit more enthusiasm. Oh, thank goodness!!!

Tess and Bang were in lead when we dropped down onto the shores of Norton Sound again. A vicious blast of coastal wind slammed the team and Bang came to a screeching halt. She had had quite enough of the wind, thank you very much.
I moved her back into the team. Before heading back to the sled I leaned over and whispered into Tess's ear, explaining that we were running out of options here and I could really use her help.
 I really don't know if she understood or was just happy to be up front on her own again, but things really started to click. I was so, so pleased!!

The wind kept blowing hard though. Thankfully there wasn't alot of snow, the wind was coming from the side, and the markers were all up, so we could stay on trail BUT the waves of blowing snow across the flat ice made for an interesting and kind of dissy-ing illusion.

Tess continued to storm across the ice - pretty much the nicest run I've ever had across this section of trail. Travis's team caught and passed us as we were just about across the bay.

Once on the road up that wraps up and around the mountain on the edge of Elim the dogs drove hard and then loped on the downside into town.

They were moving so well, I actually debated keeping going, but in the end decided that I wanted to play it conservative and count on a strong finish from them.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

A Family Day!!!

I woke up at 5am to the first '0' reading on the thermometer for the season! Yeah!!!

After a (okay .... several) cups of coffee and a bit of breakfast it was out the door to run dogs.

Tramp, Billie, Smartie, Rocket, Skecher, Wonder, Kelly, Ryka, Irving, Turtle, Charge, Q, Astro, Wolvie, Pop and Wifi put in a GREAT 5 mile run!

After putting dogs away, finishing up a few things in the kennel, and tending to a few household chores Mark, Bet, my bike and I headed into the city.

"Have you ever considered buying a bike rack??"
Mark's birthday is coming up and what he asked for is a bike!!!! YEAH!!!! Obviously that wasn't a very hard sell to me!!!
After a bit of shopping this......

...joined the 'family'!!!

"Looks like it will do"

Of course, we had to take it out for a 'welcome to the family ride'. Bet choose her favorite 'Tewilliger Park'. Smart Bet, allowing both bikes and off leash dogs, it was the perfect choice!!!!

Trust me, there was's just hard to take pictures of each other while riding!!!

"Yup, there was biking!!"

"Lots of biking....."

"....but would you guys PLEASE buy a bike rack???"

Yes, Bet, we are working on it!!!

Running dogs and biking....yup, it was a good day!!!!

Sunday 9 September 2012

Trail Work

Thankfully the weather has 'improved' (in a musher's eyes') this week and I've been able to get the dogs out most days.

They have been running great and we have been having a lot of fun. In fact, they have been running so well that I wanted to throw some more challenges at them and increase the distance of the runs some.

We have a lot of trail options at this time of year however some are not wise to to extenuating circumstances. Like - the cows are still in the 640 acres of 'green land' next to us.

While I am still welcome to train there (and have in years past), my ATV is having some 'issues' right now, namely, the automatic start and parking brake are not working.

While I'm getting around these problems (and developing some seriously ripped shoulders from pull starting the machine 20 times a day!!) 'Dancing with Cows' with such issues doesn't seem prudent!! So, the trail I chose to use is one we call the 'Widowmaker' (it's not as bad as it sounds, but it does have a few rather 'treacherous' hills on it - one in particular).

It is narrow, hilly and hasn't seen much, if any traffic in the last 10 months, so I figured I should check things out before charging over there with 16 dogs (I've run into 'impassible' trail with big dog teams before. You 'sort it out' but, trust me, it isn't usually a lot of fun).

So, after dinner and seeing Mark off to his night shift at the Mill, Bet and I headed off into the woods.

 First priority was to clean up a few branches that have been giving us issues this past week. 
I don't worry much about downed trees like this as long as I can easily get the ATV over them. Actually, I think it is good for the dogs to have to learn to pay attention to the trail and what is under their feet! 

I do worry about branches sticking out into the trail that might snag a harness or injure a dog...

... and ones that might do this...

I worked away cleaning up things like this...

and this....

While Bet caught up on the local gossip...

Overall the trail was in good shape...

I did have to chop down one tree - and anyone that has chopped a tree down with an axe will tell you that it isn't as easy as you'd think. It wasn't a pretty job, but I got it done.

Usually I just make note of where the trees are and ask Mark to go take care of them, but he's been putting a fair amount of overtime in at work lately and I didn't want to bother him with this (besides, I'd rather he use any spare time for such projects as working on my ATV *grin*).

We also came across some cool things in the woods. Like this little bird nest tucked in a pine tree...

... and this torn up wasp nest...

And then we came across this....

Not good. This looked like a 'chainsaw/Mark job'.

But I was so close to the end of the trail that stubbornness set in. One way or another those trees were going.

It took a lot of sweat...some grunting...and some swearing....but eventually...


Weather permitting (and sadly, it isn't looking too good), you will see pictures of a dog team through there tomorrow morning!!

It's amazing what a girl and her border collie can do when they put their minds to it!!