Saturday, March 10, 2012

And So Begins Mud Season

                It’s been almost a week – time for another update. The first is a sad one: it seems that our litter of four baby goats arrived too early – of the three premature kids that survived the first night, we now have only one. It was hard to watch such cute animals struggle to survive and fail, but at least we know that we did everything we could. The good news is that our kid, Jelly, is thriving. He’s finally learned to nurse on his own, and he seems to be handling the milder temperatures outside well. I've realized that, with so many births on our ranch, death will also play its part.  
                I had a couple more firsts this week – a few nights ago we took two teams out just as the sun was setting, and did 20 miles by star and moon light. I ran six dogs for the first time, and also ran my own team at dark for the first time. It was a little unnerving not being able to see everything that was going on with my team, and I had several moments where I was sure I saw a limp or a hitch that wasn’t actually there. Even with the added stress of the dark, it was still extremely enjoyable – I could have never pictured that experience a few months ago.  
                We also ran on quads for the first time this season. The weather has been warm and sunny, which has taken away much of the snow on our roads, so today found us sloshing through the mud with two 12 dog teams. Since we were on four wheelers, we were able to have much more control stopping and correcting any mistakes or undesirable behavior. After 3+ hours, our mileage wasn’t nearly what it would have been with sleds, but we got lots of valuable training in, practicing passing, stopping, turning around, and geeing over among other things. We also got plenty of pull training in: I was amazed to see 12 dogs pull 1000 pounds five miles up the mountain; it gave me a new respect for their strength.  
                Right now it’s at least fifty degrees outside, the sun is shining across the Sapphire Mountains to the west, and I can think of nothing better to do with my evening than to sit on my porch and enjoy the view - I trust you'll forgive me for stepping away from the computer. I hope the warm weather and sunshine is finding you too – I’m off to enjoy them. Until next time! 

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