Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Now why don't he write?"

In the motion picture "Dances with Wolves", one of my favorite lines occurs as a teamster is gazing at the body of someone who has obviously been dead for quite some time and comments "I'll bet his folks back east are asking now why don't he write?"  I'll bet followers of the Old School Alaskan are asking themselves the same question.

I don't really have a good explanation.  Yeah, I've been keeping myself busy, but I always keep myself busy so that isn't terribly unusual. 

Since October 4th there have been two events worthy of note.  Thowra was injured in the dog yard and required some care, and the weather has presented an interesting array of challenges. Let's start with Thowra, as it is chronologically logical and was the more serious of the two.

On October 29th I was feeding the team and found Thowra, who was housed in a pen with Capella, bleeding from the neck.  He was acting like nothing in the world was wrong, but the blood was flowing at a pretty fair rate.  As much as I tried, I couldn't move enough of his thick underfur to see the actual wound, but the bleeding was persistent so I decided a trip to the vet was in order.

Once the fur was shaved from the injury site, it looked like he had been bitten by Capella, with one deep puncture below his throat, and a laceration higher on the side of his neck, as they she had snapped and he'd jerked away, causing the laceration.  It required irrigating the wounds, installing a drain and several sutures and some fancy bandaging to keep everything clean to prevent infection.

Thowra's bandages

Once bandaged, we improvised a cervical collar from a folded and wrapped back towel to prevent him from clawing at the suture and drained.  He required daily bandage changes for several days, we had to remove the drain after three days, after which Trish was left in charge to continue his care and remove the sutures while I was away at work.

Throughout the process he was exceptionally well behaved, allowing us to do what was necessary with a minimal amount of fuss.  He has healed very well and the fur is starting to regrow over that big bare patch behind his jaw.

While I was at work the weather took some interesting twists and turns.  Winter was late in arriving, but when it did come it throw us a bit of everything to announce it's presence.  It started with a really nice fall that led me to think we'd be able to break out some really nice trails.  Then came the storm.  It started with very warm temperatures and "frizzle", freezing drizzle that put a crust of ice on the snow.  That didn't seem too bad, so the next act was freezing rain that melted down a lot of the snow and turned it to more solid ice, especially on the roadways. 

I guess Mom Nature decided slippery roads weren't hazard enough, so she tossed in some wind.  Wind like the Fairbanks area very rarely sees.  It toppled trees and powerlines, and left most of the valley without power.  We were lucky at our place, electricity was restored after only 15 or 16 hours.  We've have some neighbors who didn't get power back until just yesterday. 

Getting the power back on was important, because the NEXT act was the first cold snap of the season, with the thermometer plummeting to -30 degrees F (-19 C).  That's where things are at right now.  The forecast for today is warming to around zero, with (sigh) more wind.  We don't expect the big winds similar to the other day, but with trees and powerlines already weakened by the last big blow I wouldn't be at all surprised if there are more power issues, and in this bitter cold that can become a pretty significant issue.  Frozen water pipes are NOT a good thing.

So, my plan for today is to dig the snowmachine out of the snow and ice and, if the temperature comes up enough, start it and get it ready for some serious trail work.  Tomorrow I'll try to break out our feeder trail and scout our training trails, remove any fallen trees or other obstructions, and get ready to start running the dogs more seriously.  We are way behind our original training schedule.  The dogs, and the mushers, are all anxious to get out on the trail and start running.  Hopefully we can be doing that before the weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Guess I will quit complaining because its in the 30's here......