Friday, December 30, 2005

What's this strange stuff falling from the sky?

White stuff! Falling from the sky!


A little pre-New Year run was planned with the dogs. Here they are whuppin' it up before we head out.

Looks like Kuna has a death grip on Harris! And Lucy is about to hump him. Oh, the tough decisions a dog has to make - hump or kill, hump or kill... hmmmm...

Harris made it out of the yard alive though, and here he is with his trusty sidekick, Jack. They did a great job on the 10-mile run. Jack has been a bit "off" in past runs, including last year and I have never figured it out. Not long ago, he got really wobbly on one run and had to be packed on the 4-wheeler. It was then I figured out that he's most likely hypoglycemic - a common thing in sled dogs it seems. I now am really watching him and giving him a bit of food before we head out and some on the trail. He showed no signs of slowing down today.

And he sure looks damned happy. Could that mouth be ANY bigger?!?!

Then it started snowing for the 2nd run. It's about bloody time!!!

It wasn't a lot, but we are desperate for anything here.


Ripper, the spawn of Satan

The rest of the crew took on a 15-mile run. With these two oldsters keeping up a speedy pace in lead.

Kate must be an alien. At 13.5 years old (and on the right), she wasn't even panting when we got back (she did come in and pass out right away on the couch though!).

Loki & Octane


Ripper enjoying some alone time with the gangline


The youngsters, Ivy & Sage


What happens when you are so excited about a miniscule amount of snow, you can't take a steady photo. But I think it turned out kinda cool.


Have a swell New Year's Eve everyone! :-)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

How I spent my Christmas Holidays

BEERY Christmas!!?

Ok, kind of pathetic I know. I was just killing time here waiting for my ride on xmas eve. Boredom does funny things to you... or is it just me? Let's just call it an *homage* to my two very favourite people - Mr. Rickards and Mr. Sleeman. And presents. Mmmmmm.... presents...

A bunch of us spent xmas at a Jon & Laura's cabin way the heck outta town. It was splendid!! Great food and company. It was a cabin dwellers dream!!

Now, THOSE are decorations!


Here's the cabin from the outside.

On the 27th or so (yesterday I guess? The days are really confusing me lately...), Ray and I took out a bunch of "newbies" and a couple out-of-towners on the sleds (thanks to Sara B. for hooking us all up!). It totally reminded me why I LOVE this sport. Seeing the sport through the eyes of someone who has never been on a dogsled is so freakin' exciting. I had the most enjoyable run I've had in a long time (altho maybe I was just giddy to be on the sled again!!!!).

Here we are taking off with the first team/passenger and musher-fool (moi) acting like a tourist by snapping the photos.

And true to this sport (and one reason I love it) - we were not gone FIVE minutes when chaos ensues. Ok, not really chaos, but a bit of an *incident.* I'm driving along and I hear this little "clang clang" behind me. Knowing that's an odd sound and not sure what I'd see when I looked behind me, I was prepared for anything. So I wasn't too surprised when I saw Sage booting it down the trail, LOOSE, behind us with his chain from the stakeout line bobbing along still attached to him. Apparently he snapped off a link in the chain in his excitement of watching us leave without him (little did he know, he was coming on the next run). He looked so happy and excited to catch up to us, as he screamed by me with a huge grin on his face! Luckily, he didn't go far, he just wanted to run with us. So he just started bouncing along in front of Ray's leaders, jumping and dancing around them. Ray finally grabbed the renegade canine and I ran up to grab my little brat of a dog. Without an extra harness (I always carry extras... except this time), I had to hook Sage up by his neckline and he ran with us the whole way. So, the crisis was averted! And he was so energized when we got back, he even came out on the next run!

You can see in this photo - Sage, the black and white guy in the middle on the right. Well, I had to squish him in there somewhere, and later put Gracie's harness on him. She's the little harness-less one on the right, slightly behind him. At any rate - the experienced musher would agree that this is one wonky looking team!


Fish Lake was very vocal that day. Lots of booming, eerie sounds coming from the shifting ice on the big lake. Yeah, we hugged the shore.

And... the highlight for the visitors... and me - PUPPIES!!!!

gahhh... mmm.... dinner....


These are Ray's little guys. Now a whole 4 weeks old!




Nap time after the big, exhausting dinner. After Christmas, I can relate. Except, WE mostly stayed out of our food bowls(aka: plates).

This is my absolute favourite shot. Sure, it's a puppies butt, but it's so fat and pudgy, how can you not love him struggling to get his big furry butt in that doghouse? Besides, a little after-dinner exercise is good for them.


Oh yeah, and GO VOTE for this blog!! The contest is winding down and we (um, I) need your vote! Clink on the link on the right. Less than three days and it's all over, so jump on board and I'll have one big cabin party (you're all invited) after the contest ends. Ah hell, even if I lose the party is on.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that Jazz!



Here's wishing you and all of yours (canine friends included of course!) a super swell holiday season!


Hope you all find as much happiness in the next year as a slobbery puppy brings me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Solstice!! (and misc. crap because I'm bored)

I have to have a Solstice Post!!

The longest night of the year. Every year I say I'm going to go out and whup it up to celebrate. There's always a lot of cool things going on around town on this night. Yet again... I'm a slacker. After doing the fish farming thing all day, and coming home wet, tired and cold, I am realizing that I'd better get my butt in gear to prep for xmas. Hey - I've still got a couple days! The dogs were certainly happy I came home. Ok, they were mostly happy to see me because I came home with a couple hundred pounds of fish for them. Greedy buggers. But... I do what they want. I am their slave.

So... in lieu of being a lameass and not going out - it's my very own "Make Your Own Entertainment" Evening:

Since we're always discussing on here what goes on in a dogs head - here's one for you. Any suggestions as to what Ivy's response might be to me putting a teatowel on her head, laughing hysterically to myself and snapping a dozen photos before she got annoyed?

It's funny what you find when you look over photos for the second time. This was originally intended to showcase Ivy in her leading debut, but I ended up interrupting some kind of love-fest between Harris and Octane. Hmm... I'm ALWAYS the last to know!


Kinda like "Stars on Ice" - but this is way less annoying: Pups on Ice!!!


The little guys cautiously make their way out. We had 10 pups out on a walk to the river that day.


The Pondering Puppy:

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

How to vote

Yet another post on that damned contest!

So for anyone who is confused about voting (and there seems to be a few of you) - follow these helpful steps!

Use the Fast Register box in the header-
Enter a username, email and password.
It brings up a page where you can customize options, but NOTHING IS REQUIRED on there- simply scroll down and hit submit.
Log in while voting, or from the Index page.
www.heartlandoutdoorsman.com

The Index page has a banner/button under the Poll Forum to click and vote- and of course there is a quick link at the top in big bold letters "VOTE" on the Blogger Network page ; )
www.heartlandoutdoorsman.com/blog

There ya go! Give it a whirl folks!! I don't know what's going on over there because I still can't check it, so if anyone wants to send me updates, go for it. Like most times, I'm pretty much in the dark.

In dog (weather?)news - we got some snow today! Not much, but I can honestly say that I've never been HAPPIER being pelted by snowflakes for the whole afternoon!!

And we had a great day - Ivy and Sage led (separately, with co-leaders) for the whole run! And there no major disasters.

Sage had a few troubles at the beginning, only because he was with crazy Rupert at first and a bit freaked out. Yes, I explained... Rupert IS mental - sorry 'bout that. So I switched and here he is with Ripper.

Rupert-the-Head-Case:

"Um, what's the problem?"


Ivy's run was practically flawless. Ok, so she tried to run down the neighbors driveway in an attempt to lead us home (thinking it was ours - I came back a way we usually don't use), but on the other hand - she got one turn right when Kate was out to lunch, daydreaming about invisible squirrels off in the trees or something.

Good job kids!

Yukon Christmas Party



So my first xmas party of the year had nothing to do with puppies whatsoever, but that doesn't really matter does it?

It was at the local FISH farm. And it was actually pretty fun and quite unique I have to say. Here was some of the entertainment:

Now THIS is floor hockey!! This hilarious kid and her brother practically passed out from the 4-hour floor hockey game and sugar rush they were on. I was exhausted just watching them. Her face was so red I thought her head was going to explode. But damn! Could she shoot that puck!!

Other entertainment included ping-pong, office-chair races down the hall, dancing on tables in the lunchroom (no, not me!), spilling root beer on Stacie's parka and not realizing it due to a, um... "beer-induced haze" (Ray!), throwing what you thought was an empty beer can at someone, only to have it sploosh all over them (whupps!), and watching one kid hide for an hour straight while the other refused to go look.

Making your hazy way home after a xmas party at 9:30 am really has it's benefits....

SUNRISE!!!


SWEET!


Gratuitious puppy pic.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bribing the masses is not beneath me...

"Cast your vote today!"


Ok folks! If you haven't voted for your favourite Outdoors Blog (this one right?), HEAD HERE. As of today, you are required to register to vote, so according to Mike, the site administrator over there, you can vote again if you haven't registered yet! Yeehaw! I'm getting my arse whupped, so we need all the votes we can get here.

What I've forgotten about puppies...



...they chew the crap out of everything! I now have less hair on my head, less skin on my hands, new holes in my pants and jacket, am covered in puppy slobber and god-knows-what-else-was-on-them... but yeah, it was worth it.

Sweet, sweet puppy-ness...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Attempted sled run


So since there was a mere *skiff* of snow, I attempted to get out on the sled from my place. This was really pushing it as there was only about 3cm of snow, so it was time to take out the dogs who LISTEN when I might be flung off the sled or flailing behind it. These guys will come back and respond nicely to my cries of desperation when left behind on the trail.

The crew was Jack/Harris in lead, and the 3 sisters and Gabe in behind. It was a cool day, -20C or so and they just flew down the trail. They really seemed to dig the lightened load after dragging the 4-wheeler around for months. We did our 8 mile loop in record time, with me and the sled bouncing off of every little piece of gravel and twig on the trail. Hmmm... turns out that it's really flippin' HARD to steer on windy, narrow trails when the snow cover is sparse, or non-existent.

This is what the "trail" looked like after we'd gone over it. *gulp!*

Wasn't able to snap many pictures since I was seriously concentrating on making corners and avoiding trees. I had trouble just stopping the dogs for a few seconds to get photo above. Yeah, the dogs really don't care what's going on behind them.

The new dogbox is a big hit with all the pooches! There are 4 in the box and Lucy in front hogging all the glory. Some of you may have noticed that pose is her favourite. It consists of sitting, staring me down and not moving for 45 minutes straight. A high strung sled dog she is definitely not.


What better place to relax after a run?


The rest of the crew had to wait as I came to my senses and spent the better part of a 1/2 hour getting the 4-wheeler going with the propane cooker (hey, it worked! And that's quite the flame that sucker shoots out!!). So we had a much more relaxed run this time around... a bit less exciting, but safer.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Did someone say... PUPPIES!!??!!


Holy crap - don't you just want to grab all of them and squish them up against you??!!? Or... is that just me?

These little adorable things are actually Michelle Phillips' pups. Michelle is running the Quest this year and I snapped this photo when I interviewed her. I kind of lost focus when I spotted them, and pushed past MIchelle, full on obsessed with this house full of puppies. I proceeded to snap a bazillion pictures of them - she was a good sport and stood off to the side waiting for me to finish the puppy picture frenzy.

Then I got home and wondered why I had only a couple photos of Michelle, one of which was totally fuzzy. Crap. But I got puppy pictures! I tell the editor, who says um, yes, but we want PEOPLE pictures you maniac.