Friday, April 27, 2012

End of April

Well another big chunk of time with no update. I’m afraid that this one will be relatively devoid of mushing material, as the last couple of weeks have been packed with plenty of other action.
Towards the beginning of the month, I spent a week at home in Chicago for family reasons, and as soon as I got back, Morgan and I took off for a few days of camping and hot springing, which was a pleasant surprise. Our friend Scott came up for a week to learn the lay of the land from Morgan, and then took on the ranch by himself so that we could get away. Even though it rained throughout our trip, we were both excited about the relaxing (and free!) vacation.
Once we got back, we managed to get in a few days of running the dogs. We ran teams of 16 on quads and got some good, slow miles on almost everyone in our yard. I’m starting to see how the increased level of control on quads plays into some pretty strenuous training for the dogs. Hopefully the high expectations we’ll be asking of them this off season will make a big difference once the snow starts sticking again.  
This past weekend, a friend and former employee of Twila’s came up to show Morgan and me the finer points of grooming the dogs. With Shandi’s help, we managed to groom nearly 30 dogs, which was quite a feat. I never knew how involved the process of grooming Malamutes was, much less an entire yard.
Since then, we’ve taken several days to prepare for two upcoming events here on the ranch. The first is a mushing boot camp with our friend Gery Allen, which is going to be put on by musher extraordinaire Jamie Nelson. I’ve gotten to hear quite a bit about Jamie and her expertise, so I’ll be looking forward to lots of learning while she’s here.
Immediately after boot camp will be Malapalooza: a chance for people from around the country (world, possibly?) to come together to run their Malamutes, share secrets and enjoy each other’s dogs and company. I’m not sure how many people will be on the ranch all at once -- latest number I got from Twila was around 20 --  but I’m sure the cabins will all be past capacity. It will be a different scene from the usual four person party up here.
On top of everything I’ve just covered, we’ve been adjusting to the barn morphing into a nursery. Almost all of our ewes have had their lambs, and three of our four goats have had their kids. In addition to the 20 or so adult stock in the barn, we now have over 20 young’ns running around, as well as the rescued Great Pyrenees that still remain. That’s a lot of energy happening under one roof right now.   
Hopefully that should catch you up to speed. I hope I’m caught up too; Jamie is arriving tomorrow evening, which is when the real work will begin. I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the babies (including more of the puppies, which I forgot to mention amidst all the other babble – they’re doing great, getting cuter and squirmier by the day). Until next time!
-          Peter 

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