Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In The HomestretchChristmas Day, at 2:00 am, after we got done wrapping all Ana's presents

It didn't take Ana long to open everything

Larry showing Ana how to play her first guitar

Christmas Day at my family's house. Ana dressed in Maddie's fairy princess outfit

Maddie got a bunch of dress up clothes for Christmas. The girls had a blast running around in all the fancy clothes.

Makenzie, my 10 year old neice, who is the other dog lover of the family. She will definetly do something dog related when she grows up!
Well, the Christmas's are OVER! It has been a very busy month. We enjoyed seeing our families and spending time with everyone. I forgot to bring my camera to the Fortier family christmas. Or as Shane put it, Fortier Family Fun Day. It was a blast! We had an excellent time, especially since Shane brought his "yellow bird" to the gathering. As fun as it all was, it is nice that it is over and we can now take a breath and relax a bit.
We are also in the homestretch of our tough month of training the dogs for our first race, Tahquamenon, on January 10th. Last Friday, before the warm up and rain, I took out our best 12 dogs: Zoey, Cowgirl, Odessa, Lilly, Fender, Star, Prophet, Jackson, Gibson, Boston, and two yearlings, Franklin & George on a 42 mile training run. It was a tough run, lots of trail breaking, but the dogs were awesome! The last 14 miles the team really finished strong, they were like a freight train coming home. All 12 finished very strong and happy. I was so proud! With over 700 miles on both teams, we are more than ready for the 43 miles at Tahquamenon. Larry and I will both run 8 dogs. I will have the main team and Larry will have some nice veterans mixed with a few yearlings to give them experience. I am already getting nervous! I always get a queezy stomach and cannot eat a thing before a race. I do not start to feel better till we leave the starting chute. Then, it feels just like a training run and I start to relax. Larry on the other hand, never gets nervous. I wish I was like that! Well, tonight is New Year's Eve. Happy New Year everyone! Have a fun, safe night tonight! Until next time.......

Friday, December 19, 2008

Birthdays, Holidays and of course, more dog training!Ana turned 4 years old on December 10th. We had a sledding birthday party for her with my family and our great friend Hatch on the Twin Peak hills down the road from us. We used to go sledding on these hills in high school with all of our friends quite often. Billie, my other best friend from high school, always had her birthday parties at these same sledding hills. Ahh, the memories....
This is Hatch, one of Larry and I's best friends and the person who helped get us together. He is up for the month before he moves to Dallas, Texas. Hatch and I became friends in 8th grade when we used to walk to the Community Center every day after school to play basket ball. I really suck at that sport, but we still had fun. We have been friends ever since. Hatch is a city boy, originally from Mustang, Oklahoma, so we had to lend him the above get-up to go sledding. He was surprised he was actually warm all day!

Training is as intense as ever right now. It seems we haven't had one moment to relax between my birthday and Ana's, the holidays and getting 2 teams ready for the Tahquamenon race January 10th. I will be glad when this month is OVER! Above is Star (black dog) and Jersey, a promising 2 year old (Zoey/Strider), leading Larry's team. The yearlings and young dogs are looking spectacular. I even stole Georgie, a big male yearling out of Zoey/Strider from Larry's team and have been running him in mine. He runs like a veteran and was one of my strongest on our last long run of 31 miles last weekend.

Pictured above is Franklin, an awesome yearling male, also out of Zoey/Strider (spotted dog) and Duelly. Franklin is next on the list of dogs for me to steal from Larry's team. He is an animal in harness and also did super on our 31 mile run last weekend. Duelly is the big black male. He has the funniest personality, but is all business in line. He keeps a nice steady lope the entire run, no matter what distance we run.
Well, on Monday I was in a very bad mood. We had a SUPER 31 mile training run on Sunday with both teams, but it was warm out, 36 degrees. Then, it drizzled, then rained and on Monday, it was 7 degrees and everything froze up. I always get a bit cranky when our spectacular training trails get ruined. We took 2 days off and got a bit of snow and were able to go and run again this week. Last night we got hit again and now there is a bunch of new snow for our 20 mile run tonight. It should make for a nice cushion for the dogs. The trails were a bit too speedy the last 2 days, making it hard to slow the teams down. Larry had the ride of his life last night that included being drug down a plowed road. Tonight's run should go well with all the new snow.
Tomarrow, we head downstate for the day for 2 family Christmas's. Yes, 2 in one day! Then, we head back home and Sunday we are scheduled to go 35 miles. We are not done with Christmas though. We still have my family's on Christmas day and Larry's family on the Saturday after. Still training dogs in between those days. Then, on that next Sunday we are supposed to have a very long run and do another checkpoint. Did I mention we are busy??!! I am hoping January and the races come SOON!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Let it Snow!!!!!!Ana with Koyuk (left) and Windows after her first sled run with her team

Ana ready to go! We hooked her sled to the snowmachine and she mushed her team down the road. She loved it! It was so fun seeing her give the dog's their commands just like we do. Koyuk & Windows had fun too, of course!

George & Tefa, 2 of Larry's dogs. Tefa is one of his main leaders and George is on of our promising yearlings out of Zoey/Strider

Me and my 10 dog team last Friday on a 15 mile run. We have so much snow, our training is awesome!!

Dana & Liddell, another 2 of Larry's yearlings on his team, also out of Zoey/Strider

Larry's 10 dog yearling team, Jersey (2 year old on left) and Star in lead. Jersey is out of the first litter we had with Zoey/Strider. It was so good, we repeated it the very next year. For those interested Strider is one of Pete & Sharon Curtice's main dogs.

Eddie (brown male 2 year old) and Cowgirl leading my team the other day. Eddie is a very promising young leader from the Curtice's. Cowgirl is one of my main leaders from Andrew Cesario

Yesterday we did a checkpoint run with Jerry Papke's team. Larry and I both ran 10 dog teams, Jerry ran his main 12. We went 22 miles to deer camp, layed over for 4 hours and ran 9 miles home. The 2nd leg was supposed to be 13 miles, but the dogs missed the turn. Earlier in the day, Jerry lost his team going out of our driveway. I was first out, Larry was 2nd, and Jerry left third, then my dad followed with the snowmachine. Thank goodness because he scooped up Jerry, sped up to his team that was trying to pass Larry, got right up beside his sled, then Jerry jumped over to his team Roy Roger's style. The rest of the run was smooth. We had so much fun on our trails. Our teams looked very good.

Here is what we feed the dogs. We get asked this all the time. Well, in this bucket is what we feed at night: Redpaw kibble, Eureka meat mix, psyllium (helps prevent diarrhea), fish oil, wheat germ oil (for the Omegas) and we also give each dog 1 vitamin E pill daily as an antioxidant. Looks yummy, doesn't it??

Ali, Jerry's girlfriend tending to his team at our checkpoint

My team, somewhat resting. Eddie is being a good boy nestled in the straw. It took a long time for the dogs to finally lay down, about 2 hours.

Larry's team at the beginning of the layover. Tefa & Star were the only ones to lay down for about the first 2 hours. Then, the young dogs finally got the hint to rest

Prophet (a super 3 year old from Frank Holmberg) and Jackson were the only ones out of our 20 that did not rest well. They were sleeping standing up for 4 hours. Didn't seem to matter though, both did great on the 2nd leg

Zoey (left) and Cowgirl, my main leaders this season

Star & Tefa, Larry's main leaders this season.
Since this snow came, we have been super busy running dogs. It is almost too good to be true to get this snow so early. We have been getting storm after storm. Thanksgiving was great also. We spent Thursday with my family and Saturday with Larry's family. It was very nice to see everyone and the food was GREAT, of course! Today is a day off for training and tomarrow is my 32nd B-day. I can't believe I am that old!! Well, until next time..........

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Deer Camp, Snow and SLEDSSSSS!!!!!Ana in her comfy bunk at deer camp.

Can you see Mr. Camo, I mean Larry in this picture? I really don't think he could ever been seen by a deer in this getup.

Jackson hidin out from all the snow on Friday

Duelly enjoying all the big flakes falling from the sky

Our beloved wood boiler doing its job, oh how we LOVE it!!!

Ana on her sled. Larry was pulling her around the yard with the snowmachine so she can learn to ride her sled

This is the team Larry ran. Cowgirl (left) and Eddie ran lead

My 6 dog team at the bottom of the huge hill. Look to the top of the hill, there is a whole other hill when you crest this one. It is really HUGE!
Last weekend we spent our days and nights at Deer Camp. Ana loves it out there and so do we. It is such a cozy place, enveloped in warmth from the wood stove. I could stay out there forever. It was nice getting out into the woods for the opener of gun season. What sucks for us is we have to take turns hunting. Most men don't have this problem, they go out into the woods while the women stay home and take care of the kids. Well, that is not so with the Fortier's. We both hunt, so the fun of hunting has to be shared. I only hunted one morning and I let Larry hunt twice so he could have a chance to shoot a buck. I'd like him to get a nice one like my 8 point that is hanging on our wall so when his buddies come over he doesn't have to say, "no, my wife shot that one!"
Thursday we had about 6 inches of snow. So, I went out on a 17.5 mile run with the ATV. By the time I got home we had atleast 10 inches. I could not believe how hard it was snowing while I was out. I am glad I went out in the day time or I would not have been able to see a thing! The next morning when we woke up, we had atleast a foot of snow, so out came the sleds! This is the earliest in years that we have been on sleds. Last year it was December 1st, so we were elated to leave that stinky, noisy ATV in the barn and go out on our quiet sleds. Larry took out a 7 dog team and I took 6. It was so fun!!! Yesterday we gave them a day off and today we are going out with sleds again for an 18 mile run.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Halloween & Dogs, of course!!!Ana in her costume on Halloween. She was so excited to be a sled dog. I even had a leash hooked to her harness so she could pull me. She LOVED it!

Ana & her cousin Maddie at Kera & Larry Platte's party they put on for all the kids.
Ana & Makenzie at the party. Makenzie was Wednesday from the Adam's Family

My sister, Jennifer, getting off of the hay ride. The Platte's have a hay ride for the kids and parents and pull everyone around the neiborhoods so we don't have to walk so far to get candy. It is so much fun!

Last week, the kids in Ana's preschool went to Flemming Farm. They had so much fun. Here, Ana is climbing on all the pumkins trying to pick one out to carve. I really think she cared more about climbing around, than picking a pumkin.

Maddie & Ana ontop of the haybales. Flemming Farm set up a haybale maze for the kids to run through. When they got tired of that, they all got ontop and jumped from bale to bale.

Ana's class ontop of the hay bales

Me, with a 14 dog team on a 14.5 mile training run last weekend. Here, we are pulling up one of our giganto hills on Post Rd. It is VERY hilly where we live, so the dogs get a great workout.

The dogs pulling me through the valley on Mushroom Rd.

The dogs after the run. Zoey (left), my main leader, with her daughter, Dana. Dana is only a yearling and very good in lead already. She is a natural in lead like her mom.
Well, a lot has happened since I posted last. We got our wood boiler finished and I am happy to report, we are finally WARM!!! Well, a bit too warm. Larry about heats me out of our house each night. Since we heat with wood instead of propane, we can afford to turn the thermostat up. Larry really likes that!
We also had one of our dogs, Memphis, get very sick after the Shaw weekend. Turns out, on the way home in her dog box, she peuked up her food, it aspirated into her lungs, meaning the food went down her trachea instead of esophogus and into her lungs, causing an infection. Then she got pneumonia. We did not think she was going to make it. I am happy to report now, that she has made a full recovery. She is still inside the house for another week, then will go back outside and start some light training in a couple of weeks when we are sure all the fluid is out of her lungs.
As you can see from the photos above, Ana had a busy week last week as well. I LOVE her preschool. They teach the kids so much. Ana had so much fun at Flemming Farm and trick or treating with her cousins.
Dog training is going very well, except for the recent warm temps. We have not trained since Monday. But, the temps are cooler now, finally, and we will be taking the team out tonight on a fast, fun 8 mile run. Then, this weekend we will do a couple of 14 mile runs.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Shaw's Training Weekend The yearlings finally resting after their run

The two year olds resting after their run

Boston, one of our most promising 2 year olds. He ran on my Midnight Run team last year as a yearling

Zoey (left) in lead with her son Boston

Liddell (left), one of our yearlings, next to Jackson, one of our other super 2 year olds

Odessa (left) and Star

Georgie (left), another yearling and Duelly

Cowgirl (left) and Zoey, two of my main leaders

Star & Tefa leading the team
Last weekend we went up to Bob & Jan Shaw's for our annual training weekend. We had so much fun!!!! Ana stayed home with Grandpa and Grandma and Larry and I headed up with 22 dogs. It was so nice seeing everyone and having a great doggy weekend. The trails were awesome, the weather crisp and cold. Perfect for running dogs! This weekend is esential for our young dogs. There are tons of teams, so we always get lots of passing practice in. This is very important to train before our upcoming races. We are happy to report that every young dog did super passing!! We even had 3 of our two year olds in lead: Eddie, Boston & Jersey. They did excellent and passed other teams like pros. What a wonderful weekend. Only thing, it is NEVER long enough! It sure was nice getting home and picking Ana up though. We always miss her, so maybe next time she will come with us and camp out. It is nice to get away, but soooo nice to come back home. In other news, training is going well. We are a bit ahead of schedule, so that is always nice. More to come later..........