Thursday, October 21, 2010

Team Improvement Day

Craft Fair:
I had a pretty busy day today.  After giving the dogs their morning water and scooping the yard I jumped into the little car and headed to town.  The Alaska Federation of Natives conference is happening, along with an excellent Native craft fair.  I saw a lot of really beautiful work but only bought a new wolf ruff for my parka.  Nothing else really jumped out at me though I was searching for a gift for a close friend.  I just didn't see anything that was quite "her". 

Back at the house, Ted and I ran two teams today.  They weren't perfect runs by any stretch, but they were a vast improvement over yesterday.  As we continue training I expect our issues will resolve themselves.  After all, that's what "training" is all about.  Here is today's entry in my training journal:

Dog Training:


First team – 2.5 miles.  Speed not recorded.  Home to Boyce place and return in 2 laps.

Starting line-up;
Nels & Grace
Orion & Rose
Seamus & Capella

It was a rough start.  Nels was pretty clueless and he tried dragging Grace up into the lawn a couple of times.  It was obvious he wasn't up to leading, so we made a quick leader switch.  Okay, it wasn't real quick, but it was a leader switch.

Rose and Grace
Orion and Nels
Seamus & Capella

We got up off the driveway and onto the main trail, but now Nels was running slack, looking back and four-wheeler and behaving much the same as yesterday.  Meanwhile Grace and Rose were trying to sort through issues between themselves, which nearly led to a big tangle. 

I stopped them for a few seconds and then, and a fit of brilliance, called them up and picked up the pace, running the team at about 12 miles per hour.  Now in a full-on lope Nels had to focus on his job and he did great.  Rose and Grace responded to the "haw" cue to run the loop perfectly.  Back at the bottom I called for a "haw" down the power line.  They took that nicely, but stalled on the "gee" to go back down the driveway to do another lap.  We sat on the machine waiting for them to sort it out on their own, which they finally did.  The second lap went much more smoothly than the first.

Seamus, Orion and Capella all managed quite well, in spite of the chaos up front. 

When we finished the second lap and headed to the yard I was generally pretty pleased with our progress.

Second team:  1.25 miles.  Speed not recorded.  Home to Boyce place and return.

Just & Torus
Cassiopeia & Beau

Just and Torus had issues at the start.  I'm not sure what caused it but Torus had Just cowed and balking.  Once we got started they ran well together and the run went very smoothly.  Cassie ran quite nicely and Beau was his usual professional self.  Chinook had difficulty with the speed and after the run yelped and snapped at Ted while Ted was trying to unharness him.  He appears to have a sore left wrist.

Looking Around in the Woods:
After feeding the team and scooping the yard I headed north of the house to look around in the woods.  I didn't see any moose sign at all, but did enjoy a nice break under some birch trees.  When I stretched out on the seat of the four-wheeler the view of the trees reaching to the sky caught my fancy, so I captured an image:

While I retrieved that photo, I came across another I captured a few days ago.  High bush cranberries generally ripen during September, and only rarely survive into October.  I came across a few that remained on the bush long enough to be frozen and snow-covered.

OK, that's all for tonight.  I can hardly keep my eyes open even though it's only 8:30.  Grace and Seamus are the "inside" dogs tonight, and I think the three of us are about ready to call it a done day.

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