You might have noticed over the summer that we didn't have the normal "summer pup-dates." Because we had such a large puppy class last summer, we opted not to have any litters ourselves this year. However, we also like to have youth coming up through the ranks to join our team when experienced veterans retire. So....a couple youngsters recently joined Ryno Kennel! These two gals were born May 25th. They were part of a litter of eight puppies. Their mother is Atigun (Ewok's sister), and their father is Kurtis, one of Nic Petite's athletes. Ewok has been a rockstar these past couple of years, so I was excited by the pup's relation to Ewok. Plus, Nic's team had a pretty outstanding season last winter. Of course, most people probably don't really care about all the genetics and who's related to who. You just care about the puppies! So here are a few photos of the girls! They don't have names yet- any suggestions out there?
The first Saturday in August has arrived, and it's time for the Yukon Quest sign ups!!! We hope you all will follow along this year, and we can't wait to get started!
We're getting pretty excited here at Ryno Kennel- it's August first!!! Normally around this time, the weather starts to cool, and we begin to feel as if winter is just around the corner. It's not that I don't like summer, but winter is just so much better!
As the temps start to drop, the dogs' energy exponentially grows. They get sooo excited for the coming cold and bark and twirl whenever we pull out the ATV as if to say- it's time to run! I try to give the dogs as much exercise as possible. On rainy days, I've taken the pups out for short 2 mile runs down to the Chena River. We haven't been doing as many free runs and loose walks the past few weeks, because unfortunately we've been plagued by foxtails and grass seeds. Pointy seeds can work their way under a dog's skin and cause some issues, so most of our exercise has been in harness.
Overall, the dogs have been enjoying their summer vacation, and I've had the chance to enjoy a vacation or two myself! Jezzy, Sasha, and I enjoyed a short backpack trip in the Alaska Range with friends and fellow mushers, Kristin and Paige. Tom (brother who has being helping so much this summer!) and I took dirt bikes down the Denali Highway for a weekend. And the Zirkle/Moore clan and Barbara let me tag along on a halibut fishing trip in Seldovia. While I do love fishing, the best part of the entire trip was being up close to a large pod of Orcas. With these few trips and all the work on the cabin, I can say this has been one incredible summer!
So what is this Co-op surprise? Well, if you recall, last winter we began a business with our friends, Matt Hall and Amanda Brooks, called the Last Frontier Mushing Co-op. This winter, we're going to include a new aspect of "Alaskan fun"----- REINDEER! Two cows will be joining the neighborhood in a month or two, so we've been prepping for their arrival. Our reindeer will primarily be for viewing during our tours, but we've got a couple other reindeer game ideas up our sleeve. Reindeer have been known for pulling sleds...wink wink.
The past couple of weeks, Rick (Derek's dad) came to visit and helped us make significant progress on the cabin! During his visit we framed in the walls, built stairs, and insulated the roof (among other smaller projects).
First up was the framing of the walls. Tom and Rick tackled this project, framing in a small bathroom, laundry nook, and dog food prep room.
Next was the stair construction. Rick nailed up a couple sheets of dry wall along the stairwell beforehand, then we started the task of slowing building each stair. While our stairway is comfortable to ascend and descend, it's slightly steeper than standard codes would permit. Also, not everything is perfectly square, so we had to get a bit creative at times. That's a log cabin for you!
Our final big project during Rick's visit was insulating the roof. Since temperatures can get rather cold here in the winter, we wanted to make sure our roof was heavily insulated. We used R-38 batt insulation and then covered that with 1 1/2 inch foam board. There's no way the heat will escape through there! The cracks between the logs are a different story... but chinking will be a project for another day.
Most days have been gloriously beautiful with a short shower in the afternoon to keep the dust down. We've been going on regular walks with 5-10 dogs to keep them active and happy. We humans play every once and awhile as well- check out the photo of our redneck slippin' slide! Extra logs, visquine, and staples is all you need!