Monday, August 5, 2013

A Nice, Quiet Weekend - not so much.

The pace of life has been pretty hectic around here the past couple of days.  We nave a visiting dog on the property, a giant labrador retriever who belongs to a friend who is working the next 6 weeks at a remote hunting camp in the Alaska Range.  Imagine a dog the size of an English Mastiff and typical human-oriented temperament common to labs, and you may get the picture of a 100 lb. plus lap dog.  Yep, that would be Patrick.  He's proving to be well behaved, but with his size and our house-dog's agnostic temperament it requires a fair amount of management to keep everyone comfortable and safe.

Meanwhile, Trish and I are also tending a kennel belonging to some friends who are traveling Outside for a few days.  So, in addition to our twice-a-day kennel chores at home, we are doing twice-a-day at their place and all of that in addition to our own daily tasks.  In exchange, we get to keep whatever eggs their hens lay, and we'll be getting a well-used 10 compartment dog box for our trailer project.  It will require some work and materials to get the old dog box back into shape, but a whole lot cheaper than building a new one from scratch. 

Saturday was my "quiet day", in relative terms.  It was my 59th birthday, so I decided to celebrate.  I did kennel chores here, then at my friend's place, and then headed to town for a brief errand and then to hang out at the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race headquarters, to see who would show up for the first day of sign-ups.  Many of the 'usual suspects' were there, including Mike Ellis and Brent Sass.  Cody Strathe signed up to do it again, and Judy Currier submitted her paperwork, too.  You can read the whole list in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, who announced that between the Fairbanks and Whitehorse offices, thirteen teams have signed up for the 2014 race.

Yesterday wasn't particularly quiet, but it was productive.  After kennel chores (I did our kennel while Trish did our friend's), I fired up the tractor and filled holes in our dog yard.  That's one of those 'on-going' summertime tasks that keeps us busy around here.  Many of our dogs are diggers, but Aumaruq continues to earn the prize.  He's a big, young dog who needs to keep himself busy, and that keeps me busy. 

After filling holes I grabbed a grooming comb and went to work brushing out some of the dogs.  Most of the Stardancers are blowing their coats right now, shedding their underfur in preparation of growing a new downy undercoat for winter.  While shedding the dogs can look pretty ragged, and I'm sure that dead underfur has be uncomfortable and itchy.  Even if it isn't it looks like hell so I'm inclined to brush out the worse of them from time to time. 

Nels' was looking particularly ragged and Selene has such a plush coat that by the time I finished them it looked as though a dog had exploded in their pen.  Seriously, it's hard to believe how much underfur these guys carry.  I also brushed out Friday, Midnight's Son and Amazing Grace.  I spent some time combing out Thowra, not because he needed to be groomed but rather to spend some one-on-one handling time with him. 

With that task out of the way, I grabbed Trish and we took a short four-wheeler ride up the hill to pick ripe wild raspberries.  I discovered one of the better raspberry patches in the area, and we took full advantage of the opportunity.  In just a couple of stolen hours we picked a gallon or more of sweet treats.

Trish in the berry patch
From the berry patch we headed home for kennel chores at our place, kennel chores at our friend's place, a nice chef's salad with fresh raspberries for supper, and a well earned good night's sleep.

Today's plan includes kennel chores at our place, kennel chores at our friend's place, and then I need to start working toward replacing the roof over the dog food storage shed.  I've ordered another ton of food, and would really like to have the storehouse finished and ready before it arrives.  Once I've finished that project I can focus on the dog boxes for the trailer.  Will I get it all done?  I guess time will have to provide the answer to that question.

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