Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 2009: Puppies, Berries, and Training!

Greetings from Manitou Crossing Kennels!

Ripe blueberries and raspberries can only mean one thing... Summer has flown by and we are gearing up for an amazing 2010 Racing Season!!

We have an awesome crew of handlers arriving in the next month, and we are sure to have a great time preparing for the races. We plan to have teams running in the White Oak, Beargrease, UP 200, Iditarod, Ely's Wolf Track Classic, and the Red River Dog Derby. The Can-Am is a possibility but we will see how the season progresses. Perhaps I can be in Nome to see the team arrive!

We will have our hands full with preparing three teams for the Beargrease Marathon (Blake, Jen, and Phil each racing teams), raising the 20 beautiful pups that have been born here in the last month, and most excitingly, getting Blake and his team prepared and to to Alaska to compete in Iditarod 2010!!

The ATV and lines are all set and ready for the next cool morning so we can begin training teams in harness. Naturally, it has been a very cool summer, and as soon as we are ready to begin hooking up teams, the heat wave arrives! No stress though... the dogs have been free-running for the past month in their newly expanded exercise hard and are in great shape. Even today, the hottest day of the year, they spent three hours running and playing early this morning before enjoying some cold meaty soup and settling in to nap during the heat of the day.

Live is Good!

Our favorite Georgian handler is packing her car, and tomorrow she will begin her trek North with her two faithful huskies, Susan and Calypso. We look forward to seeing Alice and sharing another great season of long snowy trails with her! Alice is planning to run in the Mocossin Run in Decemeber, the Ely Wolf Track Classic, and possibly some other races depending on how the season goes.

It has been a busy summer here at MCK with a lot of great things happening. In May, we were in Pennsylvania to speak and met a lot of great folks, including Kimberly Wagner who mentioned she was looking for an opportunity to handle at a sled dog kennel. Kim arrived at MCK June 23rd to spend a few weeks working with us and getting to know the dogs. Kim will be back at the kennel the end of August and joining the crew here at MCK and the "World Famous Australian Musher" will be getting on the runners of a sled behind a team of for the first time this winter!! We are really looking forward to Kim being a part of our team this winter. Kim began scootering with her dogs in Austalia several years ago and has made the move to get serious about dog sledding! Welcome to the crew, Kim!!

Meanwhile Phil, Stevie, and Rebeca visited from Ireland and went on some back-country tr
ips into the BWCA and Canada. Phil will be returning to MCK in mid-September and begin training our yearlings to run in this year in the Beargrease Marathon. Phil will likely be traveling with Blake to Alaska and be Blake's handler for the Iditarod.

Just before Phil and Kim returned home in July, they
helped us build a great exercise yard addition onto our kennel. We put up 650 ft of fencing off the back of our existing kennel complex. The dogs now have over 2 acres to run and play in during free play time, and do they ever love it!

Our new arrivals are thriving. Karhu has 2 males and 2 females sired by Baldy, Domita has 7 males and 1 female sired by Punto, and Kimber has 4 males and 4 females sired by Frog. The next generation has arrived!

Ziggy's orphans, born St Patty's day, have grown to beautiful, healthy young dogs! We look forward to seeing these promising youngsters in harness this winter for some fun early training runs. They are really wonderful, sweet dogs!