The Birch and Aspen leaves turned brilliant golden colors are falling, making the trail to our yard look a lot like the proverbial ‘yellow brick road’. There is a chill to the air, the sky gets dark at night, and we have even had some glorious displays of aurora.
Fall is crunch time. Both beautiful and somewhat manic. Between dog training, moose hunting, berry picking, Equinox marathon training, puppy socialization, and trying to get the lawn and gardens cleaned up for winter it is safe to say Dan and I are pretty busy.
Here are some highlights:
Fall training the team is always a priority. The hours we spend now training the team with the quad are a big part of (what we hope will be) our success this winter. Fall training accomplishes 2 important things. First and foremost we are laying down the base miles that condition and build capacity in the team. Later when the snow is on the trail they will be fit and ready to get out and have some serious fun. This is really more conditioning then training. Second comes the training, the establishing of expectations. After a summer of free runs and relaxation it takes a few runs for the race dogs to get back in the swing of things. As the Buggers and Monsters are joining the race team this year we have a great groups of younger dogs, but they do not have the years of experience. The youthful enthusiasm is exciting to watch, but now in fall training we also start to try and enrich it with the understanding of what it means to be working team.
Nome has been sponsored! We are very excited to have a sponsor for the Nome checkpoint. There is actually a very nice story behind this sponsorship, and we will be posting it soon. Very exciting to more names on our map.
You can learn more about the Iditarod Checkpoint Sponsor program here.
And now for the Rascals~
Oh my how they have grown! They are now fully mobile, they are navigating uneven terrain, exploring new horizons, and generally starting to find their way in the world. Our puppies live free in the front yard for the first weeks of their lives. (Well till they start to wander off too far and/or start causing too much mischief really) I think this allows them the maximum amount of interaction with us, heck you can not even think of walking to the outhouse without spending a little time with the Rascals. But it also gives them an opportunity to grow, play, develop and explore. Even at this young age they are learning; to trust us, to listen to us, to overcome obstacles. One of my favorite parts of the day is when Sweet Pea (the Rascals biological mother) and I (the human mom) take the kids for a walk. A 3 acre clearing in the middle of our property makes the perfect playground. They naturally follow Sweet Pea, and as I walk with them I can call “come”, so they are already learning what actions to associate that command with. Wonderful to watch how alert they are, they already come charging at you when you clap and call them. And did I mention that they are eating solid food; at an alarming rate!
Here is a little video from this afternoons walk, so you can see them in action:
Slowly other fall tasks are getting checked off the list. Raspberries and blueberries by the gallon are in the freezer. The rhubarb is all cut up and frozen and the bed cleaned up. Picked the last of the basil and made flavor cubes: basil and garlic and whatever else I feel like slow simmered in butter, and then frozen in ice cube trays to be used later for pasta, veggies, whatever. The lawn still needs one more mow, but that may or may not happen. (oh the never ending cycle of grow and mow!) All in all it is safe to say that there is always one more chore that can be done, but that will not stop winter from coming. And luckily we really really love winter, so that is OK.