Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wolf Moon Rising

Last week began with an interesting situation.  Russ was out in the early morning hours of darkness, going through his rote chore list, as he does every morning (24/7/365) when he spied a large dark mass near the area of the cows.  Never wearing a headlamp, he walked up slowly to see what creature occupied the space.  There was Raz.  Munching on the cow's hay. 

In the misty dewey mosture that permeated the atmosphere, something had triggered the electric fence to fail.  Our big boy, Raz, had decided to take advantage of the opportunity and check out the green on the other side of the fence.  You know what they say...the grass er, hay, is always greener. 

Russ gently walked Raz back to his fenced area and reunited him with his buddies, bunnies included. 

The rest of the week reminded me of a long distance dog race.  Each day I felt we were reaching a new mile marker.  Exhausted at the check in, but opting not to scratch once the new day dawned.   

Saturday we welcomed the "Fred Group".  13 folks poured out of their convoy of vehicles into brisk barely 20 degree weather.  Such an enthusiastic group of new dog mushers!  Seven of the folks were slated for rides. 

Rustic Russ had quite an audience, learning how to maneuver a sled~!

AC Ellen was on hand, sharing in lead trail guide duties, driving the lead sled...and assuring safety to those who may need assistance.  She is also the consummate tour guide, sprinkling in stories of the trail and pointing out our cabins and campsites. 

Andie (Andrea) and Amy were also on board as handlers, a non-stop whirlwind of activity.

Ellen, exit, stage Left...and Fred heads for home.

Nice 5-dog team...led by Windows.  We enjoyed the day with Fred and all his guests.  They enjoyed seeing the farm animals too.

Rosie.  She loves dashing outside of her hay filled nest bed to say hello to new friends.  Russ says she's "quite the ham...".

And Rachael, outside stretching her legs on the driveway. 
She loves to show off for a crowd.

Today, Sunday, things have quieted down.  We were looking forward to a visit from Tracy Breen this Sunday morning.  However, he has been on the road so much doing speaking engagements, we have put off our meeting for a while.  We look forward to that day. 

Today, we were featured in the Oakland Press.  Click HERE for article.  Beth Kellman, came as one of the participants last weekend with the West Bloomies.  They are a group who comes yearly for a day of dogsledding.  It's a day we always look forward to. 

It was nice having another photographer taking up the slack last weekend. 

So, today is spent the way it should be.  This morning we ran a couple teams of young dogs that didn't get out yesterday (we don't want to overstress the pups by running on tour teams), and the girls in heat (Windows and Penny Whirlwind) got to head out today on an "all girl" team.  Afterward, we tossed some ham slices on the wood cook stove in the Wee House and had the best tasting sandwhich money can't buy.  (Our ham...from our farm.)

My thoughts run to those mushers out west.  The John Beargrease began today.  Stage Stop is in full swing.  And locally, Fife Lake.  Too many to mention.

What is worth mentioning is that people love winter.  We are getting pounded with snow today and it's as it should be ~ more snow than we know what to do with... 

The Wolf Moon has come and gone.

And now Punxatawny Phil is just around the corner.

We hope you, too, are having a blissful day ~

Until tomorrow ~ God willing,


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Feels like Winter

First, just a reminder that this is our "permanent home".  Check HERE for details. 

We hope you will follow our adventures. 

Today we are prepping for our long-awaited tour with a group of fine folks, led by Fred.

They are excited to be manning the dog sled for the first time.

Check back ~ we'll share our day with you...God willing,


Friday, January 29, 2010

Your Permanent Home at "Our 40"...

This is it folks ~ my/yours/our permanent home.  I knew it was coming, even before I started this "Our 40" teaser Blog, to bring you to our Russ-Stick Ramblings Blog

For the last month, I was having trouble posting text.  I struggled.  Lost posts.  But persevered.

But then the other night, the unthinkable happened.  I was near the end of the Blog...and unable to post another picture.  You can imagine my horror.

So, for the last couple evenings, I have been fiddling into the dark hours of the night trying to make it work.  To no avail. 

I toyed with the idea of calling tech support, but the 45 minute calls have become all too familiar.  It is time to shut down the main Blog and say farewell.  Like Seinfeld.  Johnny Carson.  I'm leaving on a good note.  And, like some stars, I'm switching networks.  As this, right here, will be my new home.  Our new home.

The good news is this...

I will write daily.  I will post more pictures than you care to see.

We will share our daily trials and tribulations.

The other good feature about this Blog format is I will answer your comments. I was unable to do that on our original Blog, so this will be a welcomed change.

There are also other Blogs placed on the page for you to visit.  Friends, excellent photographers and farmers. 

Our other Blogs, "Meet the Mushers" and "Russ-Stick Farm Market" will be there for you to check in on daily. 

Everything is here.  Easy. 

I'm not one for change.  And I'm not one for easy.  If I were, I'd be living with a microwave, washer, dryer, fridge, or kitchen table.  No, we like a challenge.  But that being said, it's time to check on new horizons. 

We hope you will come along...and remain our friends and fellow lovers of nature. 

Until tomorrow ~ God willing and so full of Grace,


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Game On

See what our buddies, John and Justin Fink, are up to.

Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

From Pups to Pullers

It's always fun to see how puppies turn out.


And little Knik

In ten short months, they have morphed from pups to pullers.

Check it out HERE.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A day of running dogs...

It's here ~ The Invasion of the West Bloomies.

A yearly event for our kennel.

See how much fun we had last year!

Click HERE.

Friday, January 22, 2010

First Sled Run ~ our Newbies

Little "Penny"...

And her brother, "Nikolai"...

Sled dogs the minute they left the kennel...naturals.

Born to run.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hay Burner becomes Hay Hauler

Little Rachael loves to assist.

And she loves helping with chores.

So it only seemed natural to hook her up to harness.

She took great pride in hauling that hay to the cows.

And making sure they ate it!

And to think, she is even easier to harness than a sled dog. 

Although goats don't give sloppy kisses...

(Want to see Rachael do the happy dance?  Go here...)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Endless Chatter

Just a reminder...there are countless opportunities for entertainment and learning at Tim and Gena Dewey's Sled Dog Podcast.  (Click on SDP and hear the stories!)

Tim, who also happens to be our sound guy (and my prayer partner) for Meet the Mushers, also says Thanks~!

Let's support the hard work these folks do ~ for you!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dog sled addiction

At one point today, I told Russ "...we are getting too old to keep doing this..." But then after the equipment is put away, the dogs are souped and content, and we have cheesy brats on the woodstove in the Wee House, dog talk is flowing and all attention is focused on the next outing. Addictions are like I hear.

Heading Out ~ with the Snow Dogs

Running the dogs today ~ Stay tuned for pictures of happy faces, such as Malakai...:)

Until then, enjoy your winter activities.

You can also see us here...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's time ~ to put our plan into action!

Made contractual arrangements yesterday for our big boy, Raz, to be trained in harness in the spring.

He's smart and willing and will catch on fast.

Before you know it, he will be taking us to town and beyond.

We're on our way to our dream of travel by horse power.

Not to mention all the work he'll gladly do with Russ on the property.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Ladies on the Runners

This is for the local mushers ~ who love to rock and roll.

You know who you are...

Though your teams may be small, think BIG.  (Click on BIG)

(Like Kelley, Michelle and Agata did...
in Dog Gone Addiction ~ racing the Yukon Quest!)

You only live once...

Postscript ~ Agata, the Polish adventurer, passed away shortly after this film was completed. 

Rest in peace Agata ~ you lived life to the fullest...


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life in the fast lane...canine style.

Our dogs at Last Chance Kennel like to take things slow, just like us. 

However, we have friends who like to take things fast!

Meet the dogs of Coyote Run Sled Dog Kennel ~ fast dogs!

And today Joann Fortier has something to smile about. 

She just won the 8-Dog 43 mile race at the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race, which happens to be one of my favorite race sites ~ located at the Rainbow Lodge in Newberry.   Home of the Two-Hearted River, made famous by writer, Ernest Hemingway.

Joann's husband, Larry, came in 2nd with the "B" team out of Coyote Run, which has him smiling too. 

Bruce Magnusson, of RPM Kennel ~ in the yellow hat, is shown here at Meet the Mushers this past August.

Bruce came in 2nd in the 12-Dog Pro.  A 63 mile race.

Think about it folks.  63 miles on the back of a dog sled.

Starting conditions were in the negative double digits.  Good for the dogs, rough on the humans.

Sidebar:  This past weekend was also rough on Bruce's wife, Monica, who held the championship record for the 8-Dog race the last two years at Tahq.  Upon loading up the dogs on Friday to head up north, her lead dog, Mary, suffered a freak heart malfunction and was unable to be revived with CPR or by the vet.  We all wish Monica and Bruce the best as they mourn the loss of this great dog. 
Rest in peace Mary...

What do they have in common?  Larry, Joann and Bruce?

A burning desire to keep learning, to keep growing as a musher.

And I'm happy we are able to provide this opportunity to folks in Michigan and the surrounding states. 

Yes, including Beaver Island...

I hope you will come to the next "Meet the Mushers Rustic Retreat".

Either as a lover of the sport and way of life, or to keep learning and growing as a musher who goes for the prize.  Either way, we guarantee a good time.  And guarantee you will learn something in the process.