Saturday, October 29, 2005


Remember when I said we had too many females? Well, I found out two or three weeks ago that Comet was pregnant. Two months ago, I saw that the boys were trying to mount her, so I moved her into the bitch pen. Sure enough, she was in heat, but apparently she had already been bred before I noticed. Big bummer since we don't need any more dogs. Two days ago she delivered six beautiful puppies - two white, two brown, and two black. Three males and three females. The biggest one is a white male, and the smallest one is a white female.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

World Series

Baseball is one of my favorite sports. This time of year I am glued to the TV every evening during the Playoffs and World Series. I am a dyed-in-the-wool National League fan, and I was pleased to see the Houston Astros make the World Series for the first time in their franchise history. Unfortunately, the Chicago White Sox won in four straight, and we only got to see the legendary Roger Clemens for three innings in the first game. I feel gyped.

Right in the middle of game number two of the World Series, a puppy was born. She is a beautiful, glossy, black and white female, and I will probably call her Sox, even though I was rooting for the Astros. Daddy is an outstanding two year old named Helium. He has 1/8th pointer in him, so puppy Sox is 1/16th pointer. Momma Abba is a beautiful, graceful husky with speed to burn. I would have preferred two puppies so they could play with each other, but one is good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Every musher knows how important straw is. Dogs love a nice fresh bed of cozy straw in their houses. It improves their comfort level, keeps them warmer at night, and reduces the amount of food needed to keep them in good weight in cold weather. We have been without straw since we moved because the dogs do not necessarily need it in hot weather, and we had not yet located a local supply. Well, yesterday Mike had to drive 60 miles away to get a load of straw from the closest source. Today, every last dog house got stuffed with fresh straw. It has been warm and sunny, but rains are predicted for the rest of the week, and it should start getting colder by the weekend, so I know the dogs will appreciate their fluffy straw beds.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Calm, Cloudy Day

Today was warm and not windy, but the cloud cover made it feel much more pleasant. There were a few raindrops but not enough to wet anything. I ran two teams at a much faster pace than usual. This was not because I thought the dogs needed the speedwork but because I was chasing the sun, trying to get finished before dark. For the first team I used Walnut and Voltage in lead and hooked up all of Luna's litter behind them. Walnut loves to run fast, but Voltage is less enthusiastic about pushing the pace. He did fine for half the run and then wanted to jog along a bit slower. Perhaps he is just out of shape. Luna's litter is two years old, and they did surprisingly well at the faster pace, especially considering that they have not had very much time in harness yet.

For the second team I used Charge and Current in lead. They are quickly becoming some of my favorite leaders. They are very responsive and willing to go at any pace. I had mostly veteran dogs in the team behind them but also hooked up youngsters Thunder and Hail. Those two are very enthusiastic about running, but they definitely got tired towards the end of the run. They still screamed to go, but they did not have much power left. I am expecting these two to be really super once they get in shape.

The fall colors have peaked and disappeared, but I still have the wonderful mountain scenery to enjoy on every run.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hot, Windy Weather

We are having a long spell of hot, windy weather. For this location that means highs in the high 50s F with full sun and lows in the 20s F. The wind feels hot, too. My tree transplanting activities have continued, and I am up to a count of 49 newly planted trees. We are now past the recommended date for fall planting. Transplanted trees need time - perhaps as much as six weeks - to grow new roots before the ground freezes solid. However, I am considering planting a few more seedlings while this mild weather lasts. My reasoning is that if I dig up a really big root ball relative to the size of these tiny trees, they won't need to grow as many new roots as a bigger tree that would lose more of its roots in the digging process. Therefore, they should survive with fewer weeks before freezeup.

I have been training the dogs, but because of the heat, we go really slow and take lots of breaks. Robin and Meadowlark have been on two runs each, and they are absolute naturals. I have been thinking that Meadowlark is small, but she only looks small next to her huge brother Robin. She is actually quite average for her age. The next youngest pups are the Holly puppies who have now passed their first birthday. I am trying to be very consistent in running them every other day, weather permitting, and they are looking super and getting much stronger.

In other news, that Great Pyrenees puppy that was hanging around here last month has been adopted by one of the employees from the store across the street from us.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Snow and Rain

This weekend we had rain, but last week we had our first snow. Well, technically it was our second snow, but the first snow a month ago happened while we were away, so we never saw it. This time the snow fell on three consecutive days, bringing perhaps a couple inches at a time and melting by late afternoon. It also rained a time or two during those three days. My newly transplanted trees stayed nice and moist all week. The rain and snow interfered with training the dogs, but I was able to get three runs in at the end of the week.

I took my newest puppies, Robin and Meadowlark, out for their very first run. I put Robin all by himself in wheel with six dogs in front of him. He took off like a pro and loped beautifully, only beginning to trot and possibly tire a little toward the very end of the five mile run. He was not concerned at all about the noisy ATV behind him, and he merely startled slightly at the truck traffic roaring by when our route went close to the highway, and he very quickly learned to ignore it. Robin is a huge pup, and at five months old, he is already getting too big for my smallest harness. This harness is almost always a bit large on a five month old, and it is often big even on a six month old.

Meadowlark got to run the day after Robin. She is so much smaller that I wasn't sure if my little harness would fit, but it worked okay. She also got to run in wheel, but I put Blackberry next to her. I usually run pups in single file on their first run so they will not be distracted by a companion that they invariably want to play with. However, I wanted to run all my Holly puppies together, and that did not leave me with an extra spot to run Meadowlark by herself. Nonetheless, she did really great with Blackberry and did not try to play or get tangled. She took off great, driving hard and wanting to run, but she also required lots of little breaks to reassure her that she would not be pushed beyond what she wanted to do. She would always wag her little tail at every break and then yip and jump to say that she was happy to keep running.

Monday, October 03, 2005

More Trees

A lot has happened in the last week. I harvested three Douglas firs from the Targhee National Forest. I had to search rather far away to find them since most of the forest around here is strictly Lodgepole pine. It was difficult to find any that were small enough to transplant, and that is why I only dug up three of them. Next time I will know where to search and how to spot them, and so I would expect to have more luck. I also got permission to dig up young trees on a friend's property here in Island Park. Most of the houses in Island Park are situated on heavily wooded lots which can benefit from a certain amount of thinning. Lodgepole pines grow extremely tall and slender when crowded and can be a danger during the high winds that are common to this area.

I dug up and transplanted quite a lot of trees during the course of the week. Most of them were Lodgepole pines, but I was surprised to find two more Douglas firs and a white pine amongst the group. I also moved two tiny spruces that were growing on my property. In total, I transplanted 30 trees last week! I am very excited to think of these trees growing and adding to my landscape. Since the smallest trees are supposed to have the best chance of surviving the transplanting and recovering their growth rate sooner, I picked the smallest ones I could find. Some of them were just sprouts in their first or second year of growth. Most of the trees are completely hidden in the tall grass which grew to between two and three feet this year. I placed the trees near the eastern fence line, which borders the highway, and then turning the corner to follow the southern fence line, which borders a dirt road. There are now 20 trees on the east side and another 10 trees on the south side. I have been hauling water buckets out to water them every day.