Friday, April 28, 2006

The homestead, DOGS and apes!

Alright, back online! Here's a photo of the ol' homestead.

Ah, good times!! I spent many a year flinging myself around that front yard. And the backyard. And terrorizing the poor neighbors. I really do remember more trees back in the 70's!!

I also *love* hearing about the ridiculous price my parents paid for the house back in 1969. What was it? About $62.00? Now worth a wee bit more. I thought Whitehorse housing was out of control, but looking at Calgary makes me think twice.

A very cool mailbox of my parents:

They are VERY proud of it! It would look good in my future country home - if we got mail delivery that is...

On to the dogs!! Friend's dogs, Jasper and Indy. Sweet malamutes.

Jasper used to be Kuna's playmate when I first got him. Way back when he was my only dog, I would drop him off at Vic's place for the day, and they'd play and beat the crap out of each other. They really loved each other. And it was funny to see those giant beasts running and wrestling around the yard. They were good friends... until Kuna dared to go near Jasper's food one day. Holy crap! She showed him who was boss. I believe that was the only time he was on the receiving end of a fight.

Indy came along after we left. She is a sweetheart.

And, you gotta love a dog who follows a human onto a trampoline!

Here comes Indy!


Both gals - looking warm, as they haven't shed much coat yet. This was the first warm day, hit a whopping +20C!


The visit has been fun. Can't believe I go home in a couple days. I've forgotten what's it's like to have 14 dogs consuming every moment, but I'll be reminded soon enough!

Here's a preview of the Zoo visit. What a blast that was!!

Gorillas Rule!! (after dogs...)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Ooohhh, the big city...

Holy crap it's busy down here!! Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the traffic, people, buildings and lights. And the lack of trees in my old neighborhood. I don't understand the concept of cutting down trees in your yard!?! But then again, I don't even like to see other people from my home. If I lived in a neighborhood, I'd be the freak that lets my grass grow to be two feet high (at least), and I'd be surrounded by trees. Or, even better - a barricade.

So far, it's been a whirlwind trip of shopping and bombing around to visit. My favourite thing so far is Yogen Fruz - the frozen yogurt counter in the food courts. Damn! We need that on Main Street in Whitehorse. Then again, it's freakin' +20C here so it hits the spot. I feel like I've come to Mexico, compared to the +5 I left in Whitehorse.

I do have some great photos - most notably the ones of my ol' friend, Vickie's MALAMUTES!!! Oh, those two sweet females made my day today. I was covered in doggie drool and dog slobber in about 3 seconds flat. The familiar smell and swipe of dog hair on my clothes made my eyes well up (ok, I'm REALLY in dog withdrawal). One of the pooches even joined me on the trampoline. Now, that's a cool dog. If I can find a way to download them on my parents old clunky computer, I will. But, let me just say... don't hold your breath.

I also managed to gravitate to the Carhart section of the local Work Wearhouse. Oh, the variation!! Again, started to get weepy...

As for my furry beasts, they seem to be having a hell of a time without me there!! They were doing their "Happy Howl" when I talked to the housesitter on the phone. Excuse me? Happy Howl? Um, it SHOULD be "miss-our-favourite-human-in-the-world-terribly-distraught-howl."

I talked to the housesitter and he was having fun, letting the groups loose often to play and run around. He said he was sitting back and enjoying the entertainment when the goofballs were let loose (that's the kuna/3 monsters/jack-harris pen) loose. He couldn't believe how much those yahoos played together. Like one big, semi-happy, semi-cranky, let's-have-fun-but-don't-piss-me-off family! Yeah, just like a normal family.

Alright, we have a big day at the zoo tomorrow and I think I have to get up before 10:00. Man I love the freaking zoo! Do they have dogs there? Either way I will have a full zoo report filed later on!!

Viva la cowtown!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bone Strategy 101

How normal dogs eat bones:


How over-protective Rupert mows down on a bone:

Look at him work it!! He's using his back feet for leverage to get more power into that bone chewing!!

Uh oh, look away! He's getting paranoid!!

(haha - you can see Ivy's little face poking out of the house in front)

And I swear to God, I went back out ONE HOUR later and his white furry butt was STILL hanging out of that house!!

I guess they learn quickly sharing a pen with 7 other bone-crazy canines eh??

In other news, I'm heading out of town for a couple weeks. Or as Yukoners/Alaskans refer to it - I'm going "outside." That's the big crazy world outside of our cozy little not-so-frozen world. Wish me luck. I'll be gracing cowtown (um, Calgary...) with my presence, and no doubt going on a whirlwind tour of shopping malls (ACK!!), musicals (yay!), visiting (yay! and Ack!), and who-knows-what-else my mother has planned for me. Should be fun. I am packing the camera and although I'm not really sure how to take pictures of things other than DOGS, I'll give it a whirl. Oh, I know - photos of Calgary Dogs!! Prairie dogs... no, wait. Those are different.

In case anyone is wondering, I have a couple friends sharing housesitting duties here. So I'll be able to rest easy knowing the crew is well taken care of day and night.

As for Gracie, I'm sure she'll survive not being on the couch every single night. Dogs belong outside right? Yeah. YOU try telling her that.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

They're BAAAAAAAACK!!!!

The wild n' crazy pups that is!!

Just two of the little maniacs though. Ray was starting to get a bit frustrated and annoyed by these hyperactive 4 month old furballs. Yeah, how could he?? But sweet little Smokey(above) and her new favourite game of "Beat-the-crap-outta-my-siblings" was starting to test Ray's patience. So before he turfed her over the fence, I suggested they come for a visit with their favourite other human. Or, pretty much the *only* other human they know.

And in the deal, I got to also take my favourite pup-goofball, CHUCK!! Man, they're getting big! For starting off as the lazy, mellow runt of the litter, he's now the lazy, mellow behemoth of the litter.

He's the only one who can handle Smokey-the-tyrant. Only because he weighs twice as much as her and his strategy to control her involves merely sitting on her.

But, most of the time, they got along and had a blast.

Introducing them to the tennis ball game. They caught on fast!

Smokey is a speedy thing compared to the bulk of chuck. But then again, even a 80-yr old sea turtle could beat Chuck to the ball if it really wanted to. I hear sea turtles like tennis.

Once Smokey had the ball, there was no stopping her.


Chuck adapted fast though and when Smokey relaxed momentarily, that was Chuck's cue to pounce and use his brawn to *yoink* the ball out of her mouth. Like this:

(closest possible view of a dogs mouth)

Run Chuck, run!!!


Go Chuck-ster!

A rare moment when he is actually in front of Smokey.

They loved tripping through the wood pile. And I loved watching them flail through it!

Oh, HOURS of entertainment...

They'd trip and wipe-out, yet that wouldn't stop them from going BACK to the woodpile again and again...

Chuck is so oblivious at times - he ran right into me while I was kneeling down and smacked his shoulder right into my knee as he zoomed - well, walked slightly faster than normal - by me. He let out a yelp and limped for a bit. But *whew* - by the time Ray picked them up, he was no longer hobbling. Yay! Uninjured puppies!! It's a good day when they don't maim themselves.

Smokey kept herself quite entertained with the ball.



"Hey! 'Git back here!"


"My ball. NOT Chuck's ball. My ball..."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The absolute LAST race of the season. Really, I mean it this time...

This little impromptu race last weekend ended up having an amazing turnout! We had been throwing around ideas for races for next year, but Jon came up with having one last-of-the-season blowout out on his trails. It was a 4-dog (sled), 2-3 dog (skijor) race. And in this race, the sleds and skis were equal. No separate race for both, like most races have. Instead, they all raced together!

There were only five teams, but a whack of volunteers - of which I was one. Our snow had long been melted, so I hadn't had the dogs out for a while. So I was quite happy to volunteer. We must have had 15 volunteers in total!

But what a great vibe all around. Everyone was in great spirits, and there just to support the race. It was amazing. We all really didn't know what the heck we were doing, so the theme was "Fun Race - no seriousness allowed" and the mellow, relaxed attitude prevailed!

Good thing, 'cause the name of the race was the "Copper Haul Twister" - and it lived up to it's name, esp. due to the somewhat icy conditions. One skijorer dropped out after they saw the map and description of the route!

I think this was the first time I was ever on a snowmobile! I wasn't sure what to make of this giant powerful beast. As I drove it to my spot on the trail, I was amazed, and frightened by the power. I immediately thought "a dog team is way safer and easier to control" - ok, not so much on the "easier to control" part, and actually, not so much on the "safer" part either. What was it? Oh, I know, dog teams DON'T GO 100 MILES/HOUR!!!! That's just crazy.

I was really just happy to have the machine to sleep on. That's one thing you can't do with a dog team - I've tried, and they always end up sleeping on top of me.

Jon, the race organizer, flies by:


Here comes Haines-Junction-Sean:


So I waited for about 1/2 hour till the teams showed up. After the teams went by, I had the exhausting job of moving the trail markers over. After that 2 exciting minutes, I got back to the comfort of the snowmobile seat. And waited for what seemed like hours for them to come back. God, volunteering is boring!!!

Nice job at blocking the road eh? I thought so. The teams were to follow the trail to the left on the way back. They didn't call it the "Copper Haul Twister" for nothing!!

Here comes skijoring Darryl:


Heather (Sean's girlfriend) in her 2nd only race. She actually only arrived in the Yukon late last summer, and didn't even really drive a dog team till a couple months ago. And now, she's already gotten caught up in this craziness!! Haha, we sucked another one into our cult...

She missed a turn in the race, but had a great time nonetheless.

There were only five teams (Ray was the other one, but I missed getting his photo because I was too busy blabbing at him as he went by). And the winner - well, it's not a coincidence that the race organizer won. I don't think. Anyways, it was close, with 2nd less than a minute behind.

There was a bit of cash for the racers, a few donated prizes and Arctic Char fillets for the volunteers! Woohoo! Free fish!!

This is one race we plan on getting going on a regular basis next year. If this race was any indication, it should be a good one come next winter!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tennis game recap

Somebody couldn't wait for the monkey to take the ball OUT of the plastic wrapping!


Focus, foooocussss.....

Why can't they be this attentive the other 99.9% of the time?

Little Ms-I-do-NOT-share - Gracie attempting to *hide* the tennis ball treasure.

However, I think we're all onto her eh?

She is not deterred, so she finds a better spot - the sawdust pile!


And she does a damned good job of hiding it. Too bad we're all standing there watching...


And who could get mad at this?

"Umm...why are you throwing MY ball around for everyone to enjoy??!! It's all about me!"

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tennis, anyone?!?

The Octane!!

Ok, so the snow right around here is pretty much gone. So we have been doing a lot of playing around the yard and chilling out more than anything.

One thing I realized as I was looking through old photos from last year, is that we are very predictable. I guess spring is the "tennis-ball" season since I bought a pack for the dogs this year at the exact time I did last year. I throw them around and most of the dogs want to chase them. Most of them even bring them back! It's a great game for those maniacs who have too much energy (ie:RIPPER-THE-FREAK!!). He just yaps his head off right in front of me till I throw that damned ball and he will not stop. I try to hide it in my pocket, but he knows better. I try to divert his attention to other things, but man, he has a great memory... or he's just obsessed. Yeah, that's it, he's totally obsessed.

I haven't been able to capture this exciting event yet on camera, but rest assured, it will happen. And not just because I'm getting bored around here...

Kate, the oldster, looking regal as usual.

She's not really a fan of the tennis-ball-game. Oh, she'll chase it and knock others out of the way, but has very little interest when she nabs it.

This is what happens when you lay outside on a raised platform for the dogs. Seven dogs jumped on this 4ftx8ft section. Obviously we did not all fit side-by-side, so I was stepped on, layed on, leaned on, scratched at, pawed at, etc, etc.

That is my head at the bottom, with George, Harris and Gracie all playing the "who can slobber on her the most?!?" game.


George can't get close enough apparently.

Well, I've busted out the ol' reliable 4-wheeler for training again, so we'll get back at that. Until it warms up too much, or until the kooky energy-ridden dogs calm down a wee bit and get into their mellower (ha!) summer mode.

Oh yeah, merlinprincesse asked about the daylight nowadays. Sunrise is at 7:15, and the sun doesn't set till 9:51pm! That's a whackload of daylight eh?? It's great. Many people judge the seasons by the amount of daylight, but I like to use the consistency of dog poop.

Really.

Mid-winter is great - it's frozen solid. Easy to pick up. Mid-summer is great. It may be smellier, but it often dries out and is easy to pick up. Now spring. Spring just SUCKS!!! The stoopid little turds are half-frozen into the snow, the top layer slides off while leaving the rest in it's poopy-icicle-tomb. Somehow it finds itself all over the dogs paws, on your boots, all over you when the dogs jump up... arghhh.... bring on summer!!!