Karen Ramstead, Queen of the Tundra herself has just called to inform me that the days do not grow in length until December 24th, and even then it isn't much. She even provided official government data. She has burst the little happy bubble I've been hanging on to for most of my adult life. I slip into a dark, winter induced depression... well not really... MY cup is still half full! ;-)
Let's all take a moment to celebrate the Winter'sSolstice. Why you ask? Because today is the shortest day of the year, the darkest, and I can only hope the coldest. So instead of dwelling on the fact that this can be miserable time of year, I prefer to be a "cup half full" kind of person and remind myself that there will be a little more sunshine tomorrow, and a little more the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that...
Hope and Tell sleep in crates. Mateo sleeps beside my bed, and Bruce...well Bruce pretty much sleeps wherever he wants to. Generally this means he sleeps outside. I tried for months to convince him that he would someday have to fill Mateo's shoes and that he should also sleep in the bedroom. I even provided him with a cushy bed. After months of putting up with his middle of the night requests to go out, I finally caved and let him sleep out. Anyway, the Border Collies have no choice as to where they sleep, and Bruce has all of the choice in the world... so where have I been catching him lately?
Jammed inside Hope's crate. A crate that is really too small for him I might add. Apparently I'm punishing him by NOT crating him.
When I was about 5 or 6 I started a list. Don't ask me why, but I decided to keep track of how many "modes of transportation" I used. I know - I was an odd child. When you are that age, you think it's a fairly short list - plane, train, automobile. Of course, as I got older and broadened my horizons I discovered that there were an AWFUL LOT of ways to get around the world. I've checked off things like elephant, camel, biplane, tractor, cog train, etc., etc.. As a dog trainer, you'd think that by now I'd have managed to clear "dog sled" off the list by now, but somehow I was never in the right place at the right time.
You can probably figure out by now where I'm heading with this.
Yep, that's me - giddy little school girl all over again!
And we're off! What a great way to get around. Quiet, but not quiet. Just the sound of dogs breathing, feet moving, and snow squeaking under the runners. I definitely see how people get hooked on this.
Kicking it into high gear.
Interesting that while it is common in the dog training world to talk about how challenging "northern breeds" can be to work with, that I watched dogs as responsive to command as my Border Collies. Their change of direction was as precise as anything I'd expect from my guys.
Yes, it's about as warm and toasty as it looks... but trust me, there's a BIG smile under there.
Heading back into the dog yard.
The Perk at at the end of the trail - a happy fish. Trust me, he's smiling...so are the dogs.
See, he's definitely smiling too.
Thanks Karen for a great time as well as an opportunity to check another thing off my list!
I guess cold weather and cabin fever lead to "blog games". Jenny tagged me and so of course I had to go digging. This is what I came up with. My pictures folder, 6th folder in, 6th photo in the folder:
I took this photo last March. It was one of the shots that didn't make it into the "Heatstroke!?" blog. Now here's the funny bit. When we went out on that walk, Travis spontaneously jumped into the snow backwards. It was really funny, BUT I didn't have the camera ready (the downside of spontaneouty). However, I knew this was definitely "blog material". Once you begin writing a blog you start to catagorize a whole portion of your life as "blog material" or "not blog material" and you also discuss with other bloggers where to draw the "blogger line", as in "too much blogger information", or "perhaps my reader's sense of humour isn't quite as twisted as mine"... Anyway, as I knew that this was great blog material, I asked Travis to do it again...and again....and again...until I had the shots just right. Each time he found a fresh patch of wet snow and threw himself in with abandon. That sure says something about a man. I THINK it says good things. ;-)
No old dogs were harmed in the making of these pictures. It was -36 when we woke up this morning. This old dog demanded to be let out, then ran around like an idiot chasing dogs much younger than himself. Apparently older does not always mean wiser...
Mateo is getting older. It's just a fact of life. Now that he's starting to slow down and stiffen up a bit, we've tried to do a few things to make him as comfy as possible. I think he enjoys these creature comforts.
So why is it that every time he heads over to one of the dog beds he sees this?
As usual, I went out to visit Mr. Inuksuk in the garden to see what he thought of the weather.
I think he went to Arizona...
We complain about not being able to see the forest for the trees. Do Border Collies complain about not being able to see the sheep for the snow?
And while these guys didn't seem to mind the weather one bit, I did hear their fearless musher - Miss "I love winter" herself, mutter "this sucks" while she suited up after her coffee break here today...
Nicole has been hanging out at our place for a couple of weeks. At first Tell wasn't too sure about her. She apparently didn't meet his minimum height requirement for "HUMAN". He seems to be getting over it, and is busy making friends with typical Tell style.
I mentioned that I have new sheep. Here are most of the new girls. There are 14, however a couple of them were too busy eating to pose for photos.
Louanne and I also headed over to my neighbour Don's field. This was my first chance to get out with the new stock trailer, sheep and dogs into a new field. Originally I was going to turn this into a blog of it's own, but given that I've already blogged three times today I figure it can just get attached to this one.
Don's field is great. It's nice and big (bigger than it looks as a matter of fact) and has some great hills to play on. All of the dogs worked well and we had so much fun we wound up going back again this morning for a little more fun before Louanne and her crew had to go.
Tomorrow I'm heading down south to have lunch with Tammy, work dogs with Louanne and visit with Scott and Jenny. Yep, this is pretty much a perfect week in my books.
Louanne is here for a couple of days this week, picking up some new sheep. First off - congrats to Louanne on making it this far north. ;-) As for the sheep, they'll get their own blog.
Risky and Isla came along, and well frankly, Brucie thinks he has died and gone to heaven. He and Risk have been playing pretty much non stop.
" Love at first sight"
This would be the interactive portion of this blog. Blogger refuses to upload this picture correctly. I've tried a dozen different ways. So, simply pick up your laptop or monitor, turn it 90 degrees clockwise and enjoy the picture...
Now turn your monitor 90 degrees counter clockwise for the rest of the blog...
A picture of innocence.
Today on Sesame St. we're going to about "cooperation"
It's November, so Karen is busy getting ready to take her dogs up to Alaska. This year she has invited me along to help out on the trip. Never one to miss out on an adventure I've said "YES" of course.
This morning we were all set to take the dogs to the vet for check ups, shots, etc.. We got up bright an early, loaded 25 dogs into the truck and headed up the road to Westlock.
Not 5 minutes from home (1 KM to Perryvale to be exact), I saw a buck, head down, running straight at us out of the ditch. Without time to do anything, Karen did exactly the right thing - and didn't swerve - thank you Karen.
The deer hit the front right corner of the truck and did this:
All things considered, it was probably the best place to be hit given that the dog box was full. We managed to limp home.
We're supposed to leave for Alaska on December 10th. Hopefully this won't set us back too much.