Monday, March 7, 2011

It has begun!

Iditarod had its cerimonial start Saturday and the real race began Sunday. So, I'm keeping tuned to the race, watching the blogs of other mushers and enthusiasts.

Everyone has a different take on the race, and the insights of veterans of the trail are always welcome. Once again, my thoughts and dreams wander the trails I hope someday to see firsthand. Not that I'm overly interested in racing in the Iditarod, I am thoroughly fascinated with the wilderness of Alaska, and someday would love to travel the Iditarod trail in a more liesurely exploratory fashion. A race would not allow me to see and enjoy the scenery like I would want to.

Of course, here there was rain. Lots of it. Just short of flood stage, but still a lot of rain. Rain here means mud. The yard has not stood up well to 6 yearlings and five adults through the winter. There are three layers of straw out there, and still the mud is overwhelming. We have washable rugs laid out to catch most of the wet mud, but the pups still find ways to leave their paw prints on my carpet, my chair, my pants, my coat, and most puzzling of all, on the sheets of my bed (that was made and a cover over the pillows!) Has anyone else had huskies mysteriously leave pawprints in astonnishing places?

I think they secretively plot on what they are going to do next to confound my senses.

The puppy kennel is up, though I need to cement in the bottom to puppy proof it. I have it up on the lee side of the house (Southeast to catch sun in the morning and shade from noon on) The wind invariably drives in from the west, and on the east side the hill shelters from any stray eastern winds. Once we've found homes for this litter, we will probably use the kennel for fosters or as an isolation kennel should one of the dogs get sick. Though we have a pen already, it is inside the main yard. This new kennel is outside the main yard, and could, if needed, be moved away from the fence so that no contact could be made between dogs in the yard and dogs in the kennel.

We took a look at dog houses and will probably pick up a long-entrance medium igloo. Just the right size for Freya and some pups. The area is roughly 200+ sq ft and shaped like a pentagon. It is easily accessed from the front door, and meant to be easily supervised. The puppies will probably spend a lot of the warm spring days in the kennel as weather permits, and be indoors at night. Should make for very easy housetraining.

With this litter, I plan on taking 3-4 of them to the local community park for socializing on the weekends. We have a few improvements both in the house and the vehicles to help with keeping and transporting puppies and dogs. Our kennel is starting to come together, and as we continue to make improvements, I can see we are better and better prepared for the life we have chosen.

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