Tuesday 25 June 2013

High Ground!

 While I was away in California and Oregon the past few weeks (a blog on that will be coming soon!) the province of Alberta has experienced some epic and tragic flooding. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected.

Check out these 20 images that give a good picture of the scope and seriousness of this event.


Just horrible.

The kennel is fine. Alberta is a huge province and we are a long way - physically, at least - from the flooded areas.
Emotionally we are not at all far away though. My Mom, my brother and Mark's parents, as well as many friends, live in and around southern Alberta. Thankfully, all are fine. Mark's parents were evacuated, but returned home to find no damage to their home. What a relief!!!

I have been inspired in the past days to watch Calgary, the city that I still consider my 'hometown' (I lived there from the time I was  12 till my mid twenties) rally and battle to get through this.

The province really isn't completely out of danger yet either. Today the city of Edmonton, which is MUCH closer to Perryvale, experienced rain that overwhelmed their drainage systems and caused a fair amount of flooding - nothing compared to the farther south areas though.

We are very comfortable that none of this will affect the kennel. We have a couple factors that give us this confidence. First the entire kennel is on sand, so the drainage is exceptional. Second, the Tawatinaw River, which runs through our property is little more then a creek really and there are LARGE banks between it and the kennel.

Bet keeping an eye on the Tawatinaw River.

We will keep everyone posted and we asked that you keep the all the residents of southern Alberta that have been impacted by the flooding in your thoughts! They are in ours!

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Bet the Bear Dog

Yesterday was my birthday. No big party or huge amounts of celebration, but I did fill the day with lots of things I love which made it special.

High on that list of 'things I love' is biking with Bet. I love biking and I love spending time with Bet, so combining the two is sublime for me!!!
I did have a few appointments and errands that had to be done, so didn't have time to head into the city or anywhere 'fancy' - so we just biked around home - which is 100% fine with me. The Tawatinaw River valley is something else I dearly love.

Bet and my bike along the banks of the Tawatinaw River valley
We stopped and checked the game cam...

and twisted and wound up and down the dog trails and a few game trails heading in an indirect way to the river.

The path down to the river goes down a big sandhill which is pretty much 'unridable' due to the deep sand. I rode down as far as I could (not far at all) before climbing off and starting to walk my bike.

I had take only a few steps when I spotted these ...

Now I spend a lot of time in the woods and I love looking at and identifying tracks, but in all those years I have never seen a track that was clearly and unarguably a bear. I've identified tracks from coyotes, foxes, wolves, moose, elk, deer, caribou, wolverine, cougar, lynx, and a bunch of smaller critters!! I've seen bear scat and bears and on a number of occasions known I was close to bears but actual bear tracks eluded me. I was almost convinced the bears were levitating over the trails I frequent - but here it was  - a bear track.

I knew it was fresh too, as it has been raining a lot the last while and these tracks were untouched by rain.

I got pretty wrapped up in photographing the tracks without even thinking about the fact that maybe the bear wasn't far off.

That detail didn't escape my biking companion though. 

When we eventually got going again and got to the bottom of the hill a squirrel trilled in the trees making Bet and I both jump - or that is what I assumed made Bet jump!

We continued the little bit further to the river and played around there for a bit.

As I began the climb up the sand hill pushing my bike Bet started going all 'ninja' on me. She'd take two steps and then spin around and stare into the woods with a focus that usually eludes her.

It didn't take a 'Dog Whisperer' to get the message - we were not alone. Something, pretty obviously our bear friend, was watching from the woods.
I was torn between wanting to get a look at him and wanting to get out of there!!! The recent story of a man in Alaska killed at his cabin by a black bear was pretty fresh in my mind and my 'bear bell' didn't offer much in the way of 'protection'. 

Nor did I expect my 'bear dog' to help me out....

Apparently her job stops at 'detection'.

With equal parts reluctance and relief we climbed the hill and out of the valley.

I stopped at the top and watched the woods for a bit, hoping for even a glimpse - but it never came.

But that was okay. Knowing you are in the presence of true wildness is cool in it's own right - and thanks to those tracks, I for sure knew that!!!

My thanks to the woods for a truly cool birthday gift!

Sunday 9 June 2013

RAGBRAI Swag - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

I must say that I'm verklempt by the outpouring of support in less than a day of our new fundraising-palooza!

As always, there are clarifications, and new pictures, and stuffs and things that go along with paloozas because I'm a busy Border Collie and not good at multi-tasking!

We had a question from one of our wonderful fans:

Wonderful Fan:  If I want to donate more money, but still get a hat or cool water pouch, how do I do that?

Dear Wonderful Fan:  I'm glad you asked!  There is a pesky small link at the very top where you can click on that and donate whatever amount you want!

If you donate $20 - $39, you can still tell us you want the cool Winter Chick Water Pouch.

If you donate $40 - $59, you can still tell us you want the cool Winter Chick Hat.

If you want both... well, we've added a new reward level where you can get both!  How cool is that!

You can still donate more if you want, we're not going to argue with you, but if you do donate more using the "Donate a Different Amount" link and want some Winter Chick swag... just let us know, we'll work with you!

If you use one of the other buttons, you can only get what those buttons give you, so if you want the Winter Chick Swag, don't use the other buttons... is that clear?  Oh SQUIRREL!

The Winter Chick Water Pouch is really cool beans.

It is a 12 oz water pouch that is collapsible AND foldable!  It folds!!!  Drink your water, fold it up and stuff it in a pocket!  If it's full you probably can't fold it up and stuff it in your pocket, but you know what?  It has a carabiner that you can clip it to your pants or something!

The hats are really cool too... as in they're keep your head covered from the nasty sun and keep you cool!  They're made of a lightweight mesh-like breathable fabric.  From what I understand, you won't be able to actually feel or hear the hat breathing on your head, which could be disturbing.  It just breaths all nice and quiet and keeps your head cool.

The front sports the really cool © Winter Chicks Logo embroidered on there all good and tight

The back sports the © North Wapiti Kennels name also embroidered on there all nice and wonderful.  The hat is sizable and fits most heads, except it won't fit the Cartoonist's head, she has a freakishly small head.

The Winter Chick RAGBRAI items will be shipped out as soon as possible, most likely right after the RAGBRAI.

All other Iditarod Items will be shipped out after the 2014 Iditarod!

Hope that clears things up!

- Bet

Saturday 8 June 2013

Iditarod 2014, Let's Get Ready! - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

We've been busy, busy, busy here at North Wapiti scheming and planning, plotting, and meeting, confabbing, coordinating, and thinking outside of the box.... well, we threw Bait inside the box because he's annoying.


We are pleased to announce that Team North Wapiti Kennels will be racing in the 2014 Iditarod!!!!

I'll hang out here until you are done cheering and dancing.


Ok, now you all better sit down... because the 2014 Iditarod will be the LAST Iditarod for Team North Wapiti Kennels.

I'll hang out while you totally freak out.


How about now?

Ok, seriously, stop fretting, keening, and rocking back and forth.  Just because it will be the last Iditarod that doesn't mean that's the end end of things and stuffs! 

There will be plenty of new stuffs and things going on.  For instance, we'll be chaining the Musher to a desk and forcing her to write a book or two, and there's always the continuing adventures of the Pretty Sled Dogs, maybe some shorter fun races here and there, but oodles and oodles of things that will be happening, so it's not like we're just going to go away and disappear or something.

It's like they say "when one door opens... bugs usually fly in until you open another door and more bugs fly in..." or something inspiring like that.

Since this is the LAST Iditarod (ok, seriously people, stop wailing I can't hear myself think) we're starting our 2014 Iditarod Fundraising a bit earlier than usual.  We want to make sure that the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails have everything they need to get there, race there, and get back.  We also want to involve all of our wonderfulistic, awesomely fantastical fans (you) as much as possible.  After all, you are all a part of North Wapiti Kennels too!

We're doing things a tiny bit different this year.

We have already opened up the "Karen Ramstead's Last Iditarod" GoFundMe page.

This is the officially official fundraising page for Team North Wapiti.  They won't let us link it to our fan page because they insist that only real peoples can link their facebook page and it's all very complicated, so we didn't, but it is the officially official page that we set up, so let other peoples know that.

We will be using the "Karen Ramstead's Last Iditarod" GoFundMe page to post different types of sponsorship and fund raising stuffs and things up until the start of the Iditarod.

PLEASE NOTE!!!! The dog sponsorship stuff will be done like we've always done it!  Heather Minion will be contacting each and every past sponsor to see if you want to sponsor again!

As you can see from the page, we put the higher end sponsorship stuffs on there along with two smaller ones.

You may be saying... "what the heck is a WC Hat and WC water bottle?"

I'm glad you asked, because it is our first fundraising fun thing with gifts!!!!

The Pretty Curly Tails dared the Musher to do the RAGBRAI,  and she has accepted the challenge.  The The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) is ... annual, and peoples ride bicycles across the state, all 440 miles of it.

The Musher's team is Winter Chicks!  Here is her RAGBRAI logo for the event designed by the fantabulous Tom Marple!

If you donate $20, you will get this AWESOMELY COOL Winter Chicks collapsible water pouch with the Winter Chicks logo on it (this is a composite picture)

If you donate $40, you will get this EVEN MORE AWESOMELY COOL Winter Chicks hat!!

If you want to donate more, there's a link for that and just let us know if you want the water bottle or the hat, we're cool like that.

This Winter Chicks RAGBRAI fundraiser toward 2014 Iditarod expenses is open ONLY UNTIL THE START OF RAGBRAI, so you have until 21 July 2013 to get your official RAGBRAI logo stuffs.

Once you have your RAGBRAI swag, then all that's left is to sit back while we track the Musher through the state of Iowa, so get up there and get it!

- Bet

Sunday 2 June 2013

Pokey Pokey Beaks - Bet

Sigh... howdy ho everybodies

As you can probably guess, it is that time of the year again... sigh.

I was dreading it for months, and I had hoped that winter would just go all year long so I wouldn't have to put up with those beady eyed pokey pokey beak things again, but here they are.

Just look at them!

 Swarms of them!  Literally swarmed by those nasty hummingbird things!  They are attacking me and sucking my precious blood!  I told her hummingbirds were evil!

They even have the GALL to land on my nose!  MY. NOSE!

I'm almost afraid to keep my eyes open because they even try to poke me in the eye!  I'm not a flower you silly hummingbirds!

OOOH, I think I squished one!  I hope the Musher won't be mad.

 I can feel it buzzing under my paw even!

 It doesn't seem very happy to be under there... let me lift my paw up a bit and ...

OH crap!  His buddies are dive bombing me!  Fine! FINE!!!!

 I'll just sit here and maybe they'll go away... shoo shooo you stupid hummingbirds!

 IEEEEEE they're in my ears!!!!

 They're going for my eyes!!!  They just won't leave me alone!


 Maybe if I roll around, I can squish some of them!

 What?  These aren't hummingbirds?  They're mosquitos?  Well, they're big enough to be hummingbirds.  I wouldn't be surprised if they carried off one of the stupid cats, they are just that big!

I think they've exsanguinated me.  I'm pretty sure the only thing that will save me is some waffles...

 ... and some shrimp and pasta... and a full body mosquito net.

- Bet