I have just a few hours to myself today, while preparing to return to my normal workplace. My supervisor has taken my place at Pump Station 9, where the clean-up project is getting off to a grand start. Once I arrive at Pump Station 7 tomorrow my counterpart, Chris, will head down to Delta Junction to do a turn in the barrel at the spill clean up project.
To my mind, this turn of events with the spill requiring me to return to duty just illustrates even more the importance of having a reliable handler on the property to care for the dogs. I can be called away to respond to an emergency any time. Having the dogs here at home, in the care of someone they know and trust, will save hours of worry and shave hours off of my response time as well.
The cabin is coming along VERY nicely. Allen and Aliy have not been idle while I've been away. Here are some photos showing what they've been up to in my absence.
First, a view of the cabin as one rolls in on the driveway, to your left.
We've set the cabin back in the trees, to provide shade during summer and protection from wind during winter. It's also convenient to the house which is necessary for preparing feed and water for the dogs and access for the handler/caretaker.
The blue-tarp is a temporary roof to shed the rain that is currently falling, and will be replaced with metal probably within the next two days.
Here is a view showing the front of the cabin from the door to the main house.
Here is a more direct view of the front of the building:
When finished, the cabin will have a window to the left of the door as we face it from the outside, and also a window on that currently blank south-facing wall.
It's a cozy little building, but a sleeping loft will help make efficient use of the limited space. Here is a view of the platform that creates that sleeping loft:
In choose the site for the cabin, I wanted the handler to have as much of a view of the yard as we could create. One of the handler's duties is to respond to problems in the dog yard. The first notification of an issue is generally when the dogs all start barking and carrying on - they "go off" like an alarm - prompting one to check things out. Here is the view that will greet the occupants as they step out the front door:
Although they can't see the entire yard, they can see much of it, and at least get a rough idea of what the problem may be. Most commonly the dogs react to one of their kennel mates getting loose from a pen or tether, or a wild animal roaming about.
When finished, we'll have a nice little porch out front of the cabin, making it easier to move around to see what's going on, and providing a nice little space in which to hang out.
That's the progress so far, and I'm very pleased. It is truly nice to see this thing actually coming together.
Here's a view of my house, taken yesterday. The plywood leaning against the wall is actually a couple of new dog houses awaiting assembly. That's one of those projects that got put on hold by this damned oil spill. I'm thinking my next R&R is going to be far busier than I had originally imagined.
I've already hired a handler, a fellow I think is ideal for the job. Ted has experience with sled dogs, having handled the famous Anadyr Siberian Huskies of the Howling Dog Farm kennel of Earl and Natalie Norris. He, his new wife Clare and their Chesapeake Bay Retriever "Levi" will be coming directly from their wedding. Clare has accepted a job as a special education teacher here in the Fairbanks area and both seem excited to be joining the Stardancer team.
Don't you just love it when a plan actually starts to come together?