I’m not sure if I should call this a late entry for last weekends entry or an early entry for next weekends entry. I guess, technically, it will be both! I have a pretty full dance card this coming weekend and early next week, so will not be able to write then.
There is not a whole lot to report from up this way. Winter is pretty well entrenched. Even though we are probably getting close to being 60-70″ behind our average snowfall for the season to date, the snow pack is very solid and very healthy. 2 to 3 feet in the woods up here in Keweenaw county. Much of the snow so far this season has been from very wet and warm systems, sometimes even mixed with something other than snow. The up side to that is the fact that it falls and is already settled. So there is not much settling going on. The down side is we do not have our typical waist deep powder at the moment, but that cold be changing with lake effect indicated to get going tonight and then continue right on through the weekend.
It has also been a very mild winter so far. Not too mild, at least by my standards. Most of the daytime highs have been staying below freezing and when it does pop its head above freezing, it has not caused any real melting. Its actually been a nice treat to have the milder temps, as we have been able to spend lots more time outdoors and not freezing! Just about every evening we have free, the pups and the humans all go out and play. Nora and I usually toss a ball or fetch toy and the dogs run after it and return it to us. It really has been nice to be able to be outside in the evenings, get some fresh air and then come in, relax a bit by the fire and then head off to sleep. It has been good for the pups as well, especially Bleau, who still has lots of genuine puppy energy!
In addition to the play time in the driveway, we have been taking fairly regular jaunts into the woods. Grace has an early release from school every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. Not quite sure why, but I have a feeling it gives the teachers time to re-stock their liquor cabinets. Anyway, last Wednesday I picked her up and then we came home and went for a romp in the woods with the pups. She was on skis and I was on snow shoes and pups just roughed it.
With the deep snow in the woods, skis or snow shoes are a requirement, unless you want to over exert yourself! The pups all have their webbed feet and do not sink in as far, but still far enough that poor Huck and his sore joints usually will stay back with me and we both watch Gracie, Millie and Bleau go exploring further out into the woods. Huck and especially Millie are still getting around very well for 10 year old dogs. Their birthday was a week ago, January 9th. It is just that Huck had knee surgery a little later in life and I think there was more damage done to the joint before it was fixed than Millie had when she had her surgery at just a bit over a year old. Millie actually gets along so well, you would never know she even had any surgery to rebuild her knee almost 9 years ago!
I am not sure if Labradoodles or in the case of Bleau, Doubledoodles, are prone to joint problems. He sure is getting big and I know that the big dogs tend to have more issues than the small ones. I am just hoping that he can escape having to have any joint work done. He sure loves the snow too! He is content to play in it all day if given the chance. He still has some problems with the snow clumping up on his paws and fur, but it is not as bad as it was when the snows first started falling this winter and the consistency of the snow does not seem to make a difference. I feel sorry for him having the snow ball up on his feet, as I think it bothers him. We are going to get him some boots, but are waiting for his growth to start slowing. So far, not happening! I can say that when the snow sticks to his facial fur, he is extra cute!
His training is going pretty good. I think the biggest issue is that we keep forgetting he is just over 6 months old! He is so big and pretty mature for his age, that we get to thinking he is as old and wise as Huck and Millie are and that is just not the case. He is very smart, but to me, smartness is the ability to learn and recall what is learned, where as wisdom only comes with age and experience. He still has his puppy moments for sure. Mostly barking when excited and occasionally finding something to get into that he should not. Last week, he found the payment slip for our mortgage and decided to help me out with it! No worries though, we actually are set up for automatic payments for it and they just end the payment slips anyway.
He is also developing a pretty good internal clock. Feeding times are pretty well recognized, but more impressive to me is the fact that he will sit in front of one of the front windows and wait for Nora and Grace to get home from school at about the time they are suppose to be home. Today for example, he is planted in front of the window, looking out and they would normally be getting home in about 10 minutes, but today Grace has piano lessons right after school, so they will not be home until later.
This past weekend, we headed down to Jacobsville so that Grace could spend some time with her two friends. The weather was not too cold, so they were able to stay outside and play for several hours. The downside to that is that we were out in the middle of nowhere, so the adults had to be out for that long too! Actually the adults were able to get into our vehicles to warm up some. Much of the fun was had sledding on a road out there. A little later on the day, it transformed into a ski hill. When we moved to our current location, I always thought that we lived in the country. My definition of living in the country has since changed. It is now as follows: If you can use the road you live on as a sledding and/or ski hill in the wintertime, you live in the country!
I have not gotten out for a ride since New Years Eve. I am strangely OK with that. There have been some moments that I wish I could have gone for a ride, but was busy with other things. Then there are times when either my back is bothering me too much or a few times when the weather was not too suitable. This weekend will be one of those weekends in which I would probably opt out if I had my choice. I initially had some friends coming up, but then had to change those plans as other things popped up and took up my time. The temps this weekend look to be in the single digits for highs and that tends to be a bit cool for me. I remember when I used to put the limit at around 10 below and now it is more like 10 above! Call me wise or a wimp, doesn’t matter!
The cold temps will make for some pretty good trail conditions. I know that the groomers have been out every night hitting all of our trails and some of them are getting some day grooms as well. We look to be opening up trail 133 from Gay to Lac La Belle soon. There is logging going on where we typically go and that has kept us from being able to use the regular trail. We did find a re-route and are in the process of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s with land owners and the state to get the re-route for this season established. With a little luck, it could be open by this weekend.
Not much else is going on. I can put in a plug for the Keweenaw Snowmobile Clubs trailside bonfire coming up the day before the Super Bowl. It will be Saturday February 2nd from 11 am to 3 pm at the Trailside Lodge in Calumet. Free food and refreshments. We will also have the Arctic Cat ZR200 youth sled that we are raffling off for this years fundraising. We will also have a jumbo bonfire going to keep you warm, so be sure to stop by and say hi if you are up here that weekend!
Good night from the Keweenaw..