Homestead Improvements

The summer has been flying by, and temperatures have been HOT! Most days, temperatures hovered in the mid-high seventies if not eighty to eighty-five degrees. Normally, the dogs sleep through the hot days, basking in the warmth. Of course, that means when it’s finally a bit cooler around 1AM-3AM, the yard becomes alive! The dogs start barking, playing with their neighbors, and bouncing off the walls. We’re all looking forward to when the temperatures drop again and darkness returns. Our saving grace has been the Chena River. Several nights a week, a big group of pups and I head for the river to swim, fish, or cool off. Typically we meet Amanda, Janelle, Saeward, or the Borealis Peony gang for a massive dog party!

During the past two weeks, we’ve also had father-in-law (and Ryno Kennel Founder), Rick, at the kennel to help with projects. Our primary focus has been:

1- Building an uber-insulated battery shed

2-Staining and chinking the cabin

Lazy workers

Rick- with a Founders shirt that’s still in good condition!

The shed before Tyvek. We’ll then add siding and a pole barn over the top. The structure in square in an effort to decrease any wasted space (like the peak of a roof).

The shed before Tyvek. We’ll then add siding and a pole barn over the top. The structure in square in an effort to decrease any wasted space (like the peak of a roof).

This past year, we’ve been turning on the generator whenever we need power and shutting it off when we’re finished. That means any time we needed water (except for a brief period when our pipes froze and we had to get water from the Chena River in the middle of the winter… oops), work on the computer, use a vacuum, or do anything energy related, we had to turn on the generator. I don’t like to turn on the generator for simple tasks (like charging a computer), so I’ve mostly just done without (which I’ll blame for my lack of blogs this year). Excitingly, in the near future, we’ll have a battery bank and solar panels!! We can’t wait!! Solar panels should cover all our energy needs from March-October, but we will have to turn on the generator during the dark winter months. However, with the battery bank, we’ll be able to store any excess power generated, rather than waste the extra output when all I needed was to work on the computer. Our main energy needs will be water, lights, washer, dryer, computer, and phone charging. Our fridge is powered with propane as is our oven. Having a 10-inch thick insulated shed for our battery bank, generator, and inverter is going to be a ginormous improvement for us!! Anyways, I was explaining all this to say that our battery shed was one of Rick’s main focuses during his “vacation.” A big thank you to Rick for helping building the shed!

Once the battery shed was complete (save the siding and pole barn over the roof), Rick started chipping away on the main cabin. On the to-do list for this summer is staining and chinking the cabin. Rick scraped all the old bark that was stubbornly hanging to the logs and began staining. Wow is it looking excellent! Now just imagine chink, a big porch with a rocking chair and dog couch- it’s going to be heaven! Can you spy Kindi in her favorite sleeping spot?


Girls to Mushers

Next year, we’re excited to be a part of a new trip offered through Last Frontier Mushing Co-op-

You can check it out on our webpage-

Girls to Mushers!

FREE for 14-18 year olds!

Are you between the ages of 14-18 with the dream of becoming a musher or just simply love outdoor adventures? Come learn with the best! Here at the Last Frontier, we want to provide a once in a lifetime opportunity for FOUR young dog lovers to get fully hooked on mushing. This three day, two night adventure is designed specifically for young girls to get out of their comfort zone and build self-confidence for whatever challenge they tackle next. You’ll learn to mush your own team, camp in the Arctic, and basic wilderness skills.

Expedition Details

March 8th - March 10th 2020

Maximum of 4 mushers

The trip begins at the Last Frontier Mushing Co-op in Two Rivers, Alaska. Each gal will drive her own team of 4-5 dogs and will have the same canine athletes every day to establish a bond between musher and team. No prior mushing experience is necessary, but we do ask that you are active and relatively fit. You should be prepared and able to stand on the runners for 4-5 hours each day with intermittent stops for snacks, lunch and photo op's.


Our first night will be spent in Arctic Oven tents, while the second night, we’ll rough it and camp outdoors. Not to worry- we’ll teach everyone how to build a fire to stay toasty warm outside!


Day 1: Meet the crew at 11:00 AM at the Last Frontier Mushing Co-op. Partake in a Mushing School & lunch, then hit the trail and mush to our overnight camp in the Chena River Valley. Two mushers (that’s you gals!) will present a 5-10 minute presentation on a topic involving Alaska, nature, or canines.

Day 2: Mush 15-20 miles and arrive at our second campsite. Learn how to camp outside as well as wilderness survival skills. The two mushers who didn’t present the night before will give a 5-10 minute presentation on a topic involving Alaska, nature, or canines.

Day 3: Mush back to the Last Frontier Mushing Co-op, arriving at approximately 3:00 PM.

How to Sign Up

This trip is FREE. That’s right, completely free for four future mushers. To sign up, please write a 500 word letter telling us about yourself, where you’re from, prior dog experience, and how this trip could help you accomplish future goals. Be creative.

If selected, be prepared to create a 5-10 minute presentation to be given during the expedition. The presentation should be about an issue you’re passionate about involving Alaska, nature, or dogs.

Please attach the letter to an email and send it to Include a profile picture and a short biography of where you’re from, age, school grade, sports, hobbies, etc. This will be shared publicly when we announce our winners on September 1st. Please specify if you would like for this info to remain private.

*Air fare, lodging & transportation (to and from the Mushing Co-op) NOT INCLUDED.

Be Part of LFMC’s Girls to Mushers Initiative

Our three-day trips are valued at $2,000 per person. Would you like to help us make this trip possible by sponsoring a future musher spot? Any amount is greatly appreciated, whether it’s $20 or the full $2,000. Your contribution will not influence the final musher selection.

Walks Walks Walks!

Not too much to report from Team Ryno. We’ve just been walking! The yard is split up into 8-10 dog walking groups. We load the groups into the ATV trailer dog box, drive about 1/2 mile down the driveway, then let ‘em rip! The first few minutes are normally pure craziness as the dogs sprint around, yipping, and peeing on shrubs. Eventually, the group settles in for the walk and only the most high energy of the group continue to zoom around. Here are few videos from recent walks of the pups enjoying their summer outings.

Nick, Tom, Ryne

The dogs aren’t the only ones walking. My little brother walked at his graduation from Birmingham Southern College! YIP WOO!! Ok, it’s not really dog related, but we’re very excited for Tom, especially since that frees him up to come be a part of team Ryno next winter! That’s right! Tom is going to spend ALL winter at the kennel! We can’t wait.

Stormy's Cabin

Every kennel has a story of a dog who started it all, and for Ryno Kennel, that’s Stormy. I fell in love with Stormy at SP Kennel. After leading my first Iditarod in 2012, Stormy retired to my couch and was the nanny to all the pups at Ryno Kennel. Stormy taught kindness, calm confidence, and manners. I’m not sure her hackles even worked, or if they did, she never used them. Stormy passed away last summer, but her calm presence is still felt at the kennel in the actions of all the pups who grew up under her guidance. The first cabin we built on the property has been named “Stormy’s Cabin.” She oversaw the entire building process as well as ensured that the wood stove was warm enough and functioned properly. Thanks for the sign, Cody!

2012 Iditarod

2012 Iditarod