Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Blueberry is one of my young stars. I did some skijoring with her in the spring, and I have just started running her in lead. We went five miles today, and she was terrific. She is a favorite with visitors, too, because of her friendly personality. She will be two years old next month, and I hope to race her this year.

Blueberry's mother was
the lovely and talented Holly, who was bred and raced by Neal and Carolyn Johnson and was a winner of many top sprint races. Her father (not pictured) was the excellent leader Pinto, who led Buddy Streeper to two wins at Yellowknife and a second place at the Open North American.

Blueberry has always been a standout. Here she is in her first day of life, closest to the camera, and again closest to the camera at three weeks of age.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dusting Of Snow

We had some snow over the weekend. It was enough to create a dusting on the mountains near my house, but not enough to stick on the flats. We did have to fire up the wood stove, though. You can also see a touch of color from the aspens on the hillside.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fall Colors

Fall is here, and I thought I would show you some of my better seedlings. The currant has dropped many of its leaves, but the ones that are left still look beautiful. I can't wait to see how beautiful this shrub looks when it gets big and broad.

The native mountain ashes have very nice fall color, mostly orange. This is the one I planted for the dearly departed puppy Smoke.

The Gambel oaks have a nice red color. I love oaks and have planted these ones just south of the kennel so I can enjoy their beauty and shade while I am doing dog chores.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Last Flowers

Common tansy is the latest blooming flower in this area. It also happens to be on the noxious weeds list. It was brought over from Europe by the pioneers for medicinal purposes, but it has been found to be somewhat toxic, so it is no longer recommended as a medicine.

Tansy shoots up from ground level to three feet tall in the space of a week or so at the beginning of fall. It is only found in one spot in my yard, so I am not too perturbed about the possibility of it spreading and displacing my native flowers. I will probably just clip the blooms for indoor display every year, and that will keep it in check.

Not quite as late as the tansy but overlapping in bloom time and also a noxious weed is the beautiful musk thistle. I do not have this one on my property, but there are a few plants on the neighbors properties. It also makes a beautiful indoor display, and the flower stalks are free of thorns for several inches, making them easy to handle.

The worst noxious weed of all is the Canada Thistle, which spreads by its roots, making it especially hard to eradicate. Here is a lush patch on the neighboring Arctic Cat property. The blooms are very pale and uninspiring.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fall Is Here

Not much time to write tonight, so I will just share this one picture of my Rocky Mountain Maple. It turned a beautiful red last month. The color lasted a few weeks, and now the leaves have dried and curled up. I have read that this is one of the first plants to turn color in the late summer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Last weekend we got rain for the first time in two weeks, but that is not what this post is about.

Rain is a big, fluffy, beautiful dog who is currently on the slacker team while he learns how to pull all the time instead of just when we are starting. Rain has a habit of jumping back and forth across the gangline when he wants us to get moving. Invariably he ends up on the left side once we are moving. A few days ago I decided to train him to run on the right side. Lets just say I failed miserably. No matter how I worked with him, he would wait until I released the brake and then make one last leap back to the left.

Today I had a special trick up my sleeve for dealing with Rain. I ran him next to his brother Hail. Hail also likes to jump across the gangline and also likes to end up on the left side, but even more so than Rain. I figured I could sit back and watch the battle of the leapers.

Sure enough, it worked beautifully. Hail almost always had the last leap, and Rain was forced to run on the right. I stopped the ATV frequently so they would get lots of practice in taking off with Rain on the right. A couple times I timed the release so that Hail was on the right, just to keep him from getting too one-sided, but most of today's training was for Rain. This ended with a very happy Rain because I never felt the compulsion to holler at him, and not once did I throw him across the gangline. It was just a happy run with a happy musher.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Fireweed is the signature plant of the far north. In less northerly regions, it can be found at high altitude, such as my yard.

It also grows in profusion on the north side of the neighboring Arctic Cat snowmobile building.

The blooms have long since passed on to seed, and now the fireweed is showing its fall color of orange and red. You can also see how smoky the sky is today, but unlike yesterday, the mountains are vaguely visible.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Puppy Team

This morning I awoke to thick smoke filling the valley and obscuring the mountains. There have been some big forest fires this year, but this is only the third time that the Island Park area has been impacted by the smoke. Strenuous exertion is not healthy when the air is full of smoke particles, so I did not run any dogs this morning.

In spite of nothing more than the slightest breeze all day, the smoke cleared out enough towards evening that I decided to run one team before dark. The puppy team was at the top of my list.

Sox was a naughty girl and chewed her neckline in half, so she got to run without a neckline. That girl has tons of drive and energy, so there was no problem with her not facing forward or trying to slack off or wander away from the team. She seems pretty smart. She will be a year old next month, and her speed has improved greatly since this spring.

Cinder and Soot are just a few days younger than Sox and are looking really great, too. Soot is probably the better dog, with more speed and a better stride, but Cinder drives hard and has such enthusiasm, that I am sure she will be an excellent sled dog too.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Yay! Pictures again.

Eggnog caught a bat in the house. I took it away and let it loose outside, but it was damaged, so it might die anyway. You can clearly see the hole in the wing.