Sunday, May 10, 2009

Still alive......just busy

Pups at 9 weeks

Fresh order of dog kibble

One of my new buddies
Kelly and Neil hanging with one of my pals

Ok, Quick rundown of whats been going on around here. Easier to relay some of this via pics to save time and boring details. Last weekend had a nice visit from cousin Kelly and hubby Neil. They made a wise move coming up for the weekend and were rewarded with a couple of great days on the river. Rain last week got our fire danger back under control and hopefully if the forecast holds we will have some awesome weather coming up for recreatin outdoors.

Work, as usual this time of year, has been keeping me hopping. Trapping has been good......for badger anyway. Always adds to the excitement releasing these feisty little buggers. On top of running the line things at good old Borchers Canoe livery have begun to pick up. We are officially open for canoes and knocking off projects left and right getting the place all spruced up for the year.

Still sitting with 5 pups. This weekend Mio and Oscoda head to Canada to their new mushing homes. I hate to see them go as I have spent so much time with them and am super attached but Vince and Abby will provide great homes for them and keep me posted on their upbringing.

Great weekend currently. Ma and Pa Riley in town for Mother's day (happy day to all you moms out there). Pops cruised the line with me yesterday and enjoyed watching me dance around with three different badgers. Today put Dad to work helping install carpet and get the feed shed and coop wired for electric. Ma did her thing keeping us fed and on task. Sure was nice to see them both, especially my Mom on her special day.

Well that is about all I can remember for now. Thanks to everyone who has left me a message lately to see if I am still alive.....just busy that's all....


Friday, May 1, 2009

Pups on the move.....

Afternoon Nap
Busy as normal around here, even for spring. Pups turned 8 weeks old Thursday and received their first shots. Michelle came and picked her pup up last night. She took Alcona, a vocal little blue eyed male. Today the second of the pups went to it's new home. A local guy named Mike and his family are going to give the pup I called McKinley a wonderful home. She took very quick ly to Mike the day he came to visit, and when she saw him today it seemed like she new he was going to be her new home.
Pretty tough seeing the pups go. Even though I told myself they are going to good homes, it does not make it any easier watching them leave. Two of the pups will be here another week or two before we make the journey to drop them off in Ontario. Then the final three I decided to keep here as our kennels future. I only planned on keeping two (Wakeley and Grayling) but that little Burton is such a nice pup, what will one more hurt?
Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Canoe Season is Here?

I am not sure if anyone is happier about the arrival of spring than Cash. You see all winter long poor Cash plays second fiddle to the sled dogs. He gets to spend most of his time lounging in the cabin. He does make it out to help with trail breaking duties and snowshoe trips, but really just gets plenty of R&R and a little chubby as a result. But come spring Cash is the top dog again. Now his days are filled up with walking puppies, floating the river, keeping an eye on the chicks, scouting turkeys and even a nap thrown in for good measure while I am away to work.
This past weekend we spent Saturday at Borchers and actually had our first canoe customers of the year take a trip down river. With the way the weather has been I am a bit surprised more folks did not take the chance to get out. Today we are back to spring like weather with cooler temps and rain. Trust me I am not complaining as the dry spring we have had so far had the Forest Service reporting extreme fire danger. If we get the rain they are calling for this week I think we will be in good shape though.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Badger of a Day

What a beautiful spring day in Northern Michigan. I woke up this morning to temps already in the 40's and as the sun came up and I headed out for chores it quickly climbed to the 50 and then 60 degree mark.
Today I spent another day in Alcona county running my government coyote line. It was a pretty productive day, especially for only having the traps set 3 nights ago. My first stop was unproductive but as I came to the next pair of sets I had caught a gorgeous yearling female coyote. Her coat was still pretty heavy from winter but starting to thin as the weather warms. This was my first coyote running this line in Alcona.

After gathering the biological samples we take and resetting my trap I cruised through some more empty sets until I got to a place I call the "Slash". The first three sets were blank but as I came over the hill to the fourth in this group I was frustrated at the thought the trap had been stolen. As I walked towards the set it appeared someone had found the trap and looked as though they had used a shovel to dig the anchor out. But then I could see the trap but no critter. As I got closer the scene started to look all too familiar from past trap lines. I had a Badger. I still could not see him but the site was in a state that only one of these critters could dig. As I approached the set I could see down a small hole my little buddy sleeping the morning away. With a large stick I got him turned around, much to his disapproval I might add, and was able to get him released without any incident. He sure was a grumpy fella, but I guess I am too for a bit when woken up from a nap.

Once released I was able to remake the set again after a lot of back filling and smoothing. Then it was off to my next series of sets 10 miles North. As I parked the truck and strolled towards the next location it was Deja Vu. Same scene, only this time Mr. Badger was not sleeping and did not appear too happy to see me from the get go. After a rather lengthy conversation about keeping cool while I let him go and with a little help of a strategically placed log I was able to pin the grump long enough to get my trap open sending him on his way. Standing back watching both these guys run through the woods as we went our own separate ways I was reminded like every time I see a Badger on the move, looks just like a pancake flopping its way through the woods. Always brings a grin to my face.

So all in all a fun filled day at the office playing with these cool critters and getting some valuable data for the Tb study.

This evening I had the pleasure of my good friend Sherry's company for a bit of conversation. Sherry is the one responsible for this lifestyle of dog sledding I have gotten myself into and coming over to see the pups for the first time was like a proud grandmother visiting her new grand kids. And as always Sherry came bearing a gift. This time it was some blueberry preserves she picked up at her latest visit to Amish friends in Claire. Cannot wait until morning toast to try some out.

“Live like it is heaven on earth” author unknown

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Crazy Chickens

The new Flock

The "Exotic"
The Barred Rock Chick

After a couple years of planning on getting chickens I finally bit the bullet and did it. So now I am not quite sure what to call DCK. I mean it is still first and foremost a dog sled kennel, but as of late feels more like a hobby farm with the 27 new recruits.

The "newbies" here are almost 2 weeks old now and came from McMurray Hatchery in Iowa. Pretty cool deal. All you do is leaf through their catalog or online, decide what you want, call it in and BAM! a few days later they arrive in the mail. Pretty cool getting a call at 7am from your friendly neighborhood postman informing you your chicks have arrived and you can come to pick them up even though they are not open until 8, "just come to the back door and ring the bell".

Anyway I boogied in to pick up my order of 25 barred rocks. The reason I picked this particular breed was because of their hardiness to the cool climates of the north, their ability to lay nice brown eggs, and the sentiment that they are one of two breeds we had down state when I was a youngster (the other being road island Besides the 25 Mcmurray threw in 1 extra B. Rock in case one did not make the transit in good health as well as what they call the "Free exotic chick". This is a bird of no specified type, just that it is exotic and you have to wait for it to grow up as kind of a surprise. I think this is excellent!

So the chicks are all doing well. I have a coop constructed, just waiting on some nice weather for a coat of paint. I snagged the old hen boxes and large tube feeder from my folks since they no longer have chickens and in just a summers time I should get some return in my investment in the form of the way anyone in the area who desires farm fresh eggs (27 a day is a bit much for one guy) I am hoping to set up a weekly delivery route Saturdays on my way to town for folks interested in some super tasty free range eggs.

Pups went on their first official puppy walk today. We did not go too far but made it past the kennel with the big dogs successfully and even had them running the last 100 yards home to the puppy pen. Sure is fun spending time with these guys.

Tomorrow looks to be another amazing day and I hope to get an early start again to the day so I can spend the afternoon here at the kennel....or on the river.

"Love the Madness" Moosejaw

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring, Pups, and Running the Roads...

Pups waiting for dinner

Just another typical day here in northern Michigan. Woke up to cool spring temps and witnessed a warm up throughout the day. Enjoyed the day driving two tracks in search of coyote in Alcona county. I am back working for the USDA researching the effectiveness of their use as indicator species for tuberculosis in the wild. Anyway it is a great way to spend the day in the woods in pursuit of these wily critters and all the side benefits that come with it.

Today's highlight was my first Woodcock sighting of the year (a sign spring is surely here). I am pretty sure it was a male as I watched for over 5 minutes him take his time strutting across a sandy trail I was driving. It was comical the way he walked, very slow and Egyptian like, bobbing his head as he walked forward.

Tonight as I did the kennel chores it really hit me how quick the pups are growing. When I got home from work they were all out to greet me at the gate and as I opened it to say hello they poured out and ran all over the yard. It seems they are all outgoing and still fearless in their minds. It sure is a fun time to be at DCK. Tomorrow they will be 6 weeks old and this is the last night they will have Mom (Wanda) in their company as I have been weening them slowly for the past week off her milk.

Looks to be in the mid sixties for a couple of days coming up. Sure will try to get an early start to the day to allow for a late afternoon canoe float!

"If you want to make your dreams come true you must stay awake" Keith Kirkvold"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mondays.......gotta love them!

This is what happens when you get up to grab another cup of coffee at Dream Catcher Kennels....move your feet......lose your seat......

OK here we go with this thing. For a couple of months now I have been getting asked about the frequency of my journal detailing the happenings at Dream Catcher Kennels. To be honest the way I had things set up made it a pain in the butt to update leaving me at best a weekly post. But after some advice from a friend, I figured out what this whole blog thing is all about.......

Lots going on here at the DCK. Chickens arrived last week (more on this to come), puppies are growing like weeds (now 5 weeks old), USDA work is in full swing, temps have been reaching the 45 degree mark on a regular basis, and the days are getting longer. You just gotta love Spring in Northern Michigan!

Today is my favorite day of the whole week. Most of you probably think I am crazy to love Mondays but I see them not as a dreaded return to work but as a step towards progress in my life. I always seem to wake up before the alarm on Mondays ready to get the week started and accomplish something, anything, just be productive. Today was like all the others, turn over in bed glancing at the clock to see I could stay under the covers for another 45 minutes before the buzzer sounds, OR spring out of bed, make that pot of coffee I cherish so deeply and settle in the big arm chair with a note pad and pen scratching out the list of things to accomplish for the week.

Now "The List" is a multi use list that I carry with me the entire week. One side has work related tasks and goals while the other has projects around the kennel I see in need of completing. Then in various random spots throughout the margins I always seem to scribble a random thought or two, maybe a song, or a movie title I want to check out or a quote needing remembered. By the end of the week it is amazing the stuff I have accumulated there. But the best part about this list is fast forwarding to Saturday morning when I can sit back with that same cup of pre dawn coffee and look at all the scratch marks crossing off completed tasks. Sure makes that Monday morning planning session all the more meaningful.

Well here's to Mondays, and may your Tuesday be just as amazing.

"Dance like nobody is watching" author unknown