Saturday, April 20, 2013

Catching up

First, please accept my apology for not posting recently.  I just haven't had much news to share.  After my last two-week tour of duty at work I spent an additional week of clinical training down in Kentucky, where I enjoyed some warmer spring weather.  When I returned home I had to spend a day running errands in town, but finally yesterday I was able to take a team out on the trail.

I wanted to give 7 1/2 month old Friday an opportunity to run with the team, his first ever chance to do so.  Though he has been introduced to his harness yesterday was his first taste of the job he was bred and born for.  He did a marvelous job. 

Winter has been lingering in our area.  Down in Kentucky, as well.  Usually we have thawing weather by late March, and by mid April the trails are at best mushy, and usually not runnable with sleds.  This year they are holding out longer than usual due to colder spring weather.  Based on today's forecast, it appears that is changing.  It looks like we'll be seeing temperatures well above the freezing point for some time to come.  Though I may get another sled run in later today, odds are better than even that by the time I return from my next rotation at work we will be running dogs with the four-wheeler rather than a sled.

Of course the change of season will mean a change of focus here at home.  Last year's chicken raising experiment was successful enough that this year I plan to raise more, this time a hardy breed noted for egg laying as well as for meat.  My friend Ted Kirby has been raising these birds with great success and has offered to help me get started with them.

I need to do a lot of clean up by the handler's cabin and that upper dog yard, so I can put some of my dogs up there during the hottest weather of summer.  That yard offers more shade than does the big yard here by the house.  That will require cleaning and sanitizing the ground, moving some dog houses and repairing some fences. Construction of a chicken coop and the work on the upper yard need to happen just as soon as the snow melts down enough to permit.

For the most part, this will be a summer of relatively small projects around the place.  I want to install an electrical plug in the equipment shed to prevent the power cords needed to heat vehicles from being buried every time snow slides off the roof of the house.  If I do that job well I'll only have to do it once, and it will save a lot of inconvenience during upcoming winters.  I may also install a gate at the back of the equipment shed to make one of the two bays a "drive through", again making it more convenient to do things around the place.

Perhaps the biggest project I have planned for this summer is to build removable dog boxes for my trailer.  I have more dogs than capacity to move them in an emergency, and this project will remedy that situation entirely. 

I can't start any of those projects until a lot of snow has melted away, but it looks like that process is starting, so I can look forward to another active summer. There are some other things in the works, but those can wait for a future post.

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