Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yes We Do Have Snow Here!

Beautiful day on the trail
Well, despite all of the doom and gloom in the news with regard to the "winter" weather this season we have had decent conditions here in Lake Elmore. We certainly haven't had the type of winter we have in the past here and there have been many dramatic temperature swings but I have been able to make due with what we have received. I typically start grooming as soon as we have an inch of snow on the ground. This may seem silly but I find that it does begin to smooth things out and fill in the dips and ruts on the trail. My groomer does take a bit of a beating but luckily it's a pretty rugged piece of equipment and so far with the exception of a few broken sheer pins it has held up well. I have had to groom more this winter than in any winter past to create a safe surface for sledding. We have received most of our snow fall in one inch increments and with rain/sleet/snow every seven or eight days it's a real challenge keeping a nice surface. We have finally gotten to where we have about five inches of hard packed base on the trail though and that should be able to hold up to pretty much anything Mother Nature throws at us; for the time being at least. If things continue the way they have been I suspect we will have an early spring here in Vermont. As warm as it has been this winter I won't be surprised if it's 70 degrees at the end of March.

Sled view, beautiful snow!

Pax on a hike this fall
On other fronts; all of the dogs are doing very well this winter. We are feeding a combination of raw and a new kibble this year. The kibble is called Inukshuk and the dogs seem to be doing very well on it. It's a 35% protein, 35% fat food and the love the taste so there have been no problems with them eating. I'm also feeding them chicken every other night as well as their usual moose or venison stew for breakfast every day. We have the same group of dogs there that we had all of last winter so everyone is well settled in at this point. That makes things much more enjoyable for me. The only new addition is our latest puppy Pax who came here this fall. Pax is just over eight months now and has already been out for a few runs with the team. He loves running with the big dogs but won't get many miles in this year. We will wait until next year when he is going on two before we let him run each day. I'm very excited to see how much he enjoys running and look forward to many years of enjoying his company out there!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mushing Boot Camp

Fall dogsled training season is in full swing here at Peace Pups. I just spend the past two weekends at dog sledding events and have been having a great time with the dogs. Next to winter this is my favorite time of the year with cooler air returning, the hillsides covered with fall colors and the anticipation of the coming snow.

Two weekends ago Shelby (who works with us) and I went to Maine for to attend Mushing Boot Camp. It was a great learning experience for me and the dogs. Even though I now have ten years’ experience working with the dogs it is always amazing what you can learn from someone else watching what you are doing.  We did a lot of passing with other teams and even some basic agility work. There were eight other dog teams at the camp so there was plenty of opportunity for the dogs to be socialized. I brought puppy Pax and Shelby brought her dog Kanzi. Neither of them participated but they had a good time being around so many other dogs. The best part of it all was the fact that I got to spend four full days with nothing else to think about but the dogs and my interactions with them.
Our home for three nights
Tired puppy Pax. It's a lot of work hanging out with the big dogs!
Passing practice on the trail
This past weekend was the annual Sled Dog Trade Fair in New Hampshire. I had a booth with scooter demos as I have the past two years. Even though it was a rainy weekend it was still a lot of fun to hang out and talk dogs with many old and new friends. The pot luck dinner on Saturday night was a nice addition to the trade fair and a good opportunity talk even more dog talk in case you hadn't had enough during the day! As usual there were many interesting presentations on dogsledding and dog training by some very knowledgeable speakers.

We're back home now and settling into a steadier training pattern as we head toward winter. With the cooler temperatures the dogs will begin to increase in strength rapidly. It won’t be long and we’ll be back on snow!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Where Does Time Go?

I'm not sure where this summer went but it's clearly past. With leaves beginning to turn and many even falling to the ground already it's sure looking a lot like fall here in Lake Elmore. Not to mention the frost warnings in the forecast for the next two nights!

Summer Gardens

Summer really did fly by this year. I kept busy with the garden and working on single track mountain bike trails in the back yard. The garden has done quite well again this year despite a very wet spring. Things always seem to even out in the long run and a very sunny July allowed most things to catch up. I was able to ride more than I have any summer in the past ten years and so far have logged around 1,200 miles this season. This helps keep me slim and makes it easier for the dogs to pull me up the hills; not to mention keeping me healthier. We didn't have any extreme heat this summer which is always a bonus for me. I think we had a total of three days that approached the ninety degree mark. Otherwise it was a lot of mid-eighties and many days in the seventies. Now that's my kind of summer!

We've started running the dogs again and our run yesterday brought a huge smile to my face. We have the same dogs on our teams this season that we had all of last year and most of the year before that. They all seem very well adjusted to working with each other (finally!) and with yesterday only being our second run of the year they blew me away. Granted they have a lot of strength building to do yet but what a nice straight gang line! Both leads stayed to the right of the road perfectly, everyone had a tight tug meaning that they were all contributing and it was a beautiful afternoon. All of which left me smiling and once again reminded me of why I do this.

Puppy Pax

We've had one new addition this fall. I bought another puppy from my friends at Husky Works in southern Vermont. His name is Pax and he is now about three and a half months old. He has brought a lot of joy into my life and I enjoy every minute I get to spend with him. Puppy hood goes by almost as fast as this past summer did! We have enjoyed morning walks every single day rain or shine which has gotten me out into the woods much more than I typically would and it's a great way to start the day. As a bonus this year Pax and I have found several nice patches of Chanterelle Mushrooms on our walking trail. Not only are we getting in nice walks but we're bringing home treats for dinner. Pax won't be running with the team for a while yet but he will be riding shotgun and going along on all of our winter outings so if you come to visit this fall or winter you'll be sure to meet him.