In the Wait

Besides the mud month, this has to be the hardest time of the year for me. The woods are pretty much off limits and there is that carrot hanging on the end of the string at December 1. It used to be exceptionally hard for me when I first moved up here. I was even more excited for the snow play season to start and also had way more free time on my hands. About the only relief I had was to get creative and take Burt and Baileys on a walk somewhere that was safe from vehicles and hunters. I really was not too afraid to be mistaken for a deer and get shot and only a bit more concerned about the dogs. The hunters up here are well-schooled and responsible. It was more that I did not want to mess things up for them.

These days I have a lot more going on and almost have to force a daily walk with the pups. I’m not complaining. The main thing that keeps me busy is beautiful…my family. I would not have it any other way. The free time was nice and I certainly enjoyed my long walks with the hounds on a daily basis, but this next chapter has been even more wonderful.

None the less, I still am in countdown mode for December 1st. It should come fairly quickly, with the Thanksgiving holiday breaking up this week and then next week I will likely be spending a lot of time in the shop. Bleau is planned to head off to his first round of training next Sunday. He will be gone at least a week, if not 2 or even 3 weeks. The initial plan was for him to be gone 3 weeks, but he has come a long way in his behavior, so the trainer will not have as much to teach him.

At any rate, I plan to make the most of his absence by cranking out at least one project that has been on hold since he arrived. He actually does pretty well in the shop and is becoming a “shop dog” just like Huck and Millie, but I cannot leave him in the house by himself without putting him in his crate. Huck and Millie can be left alone just fine. They initially love to join me in the shop, but depending on things, they tend to want to go back into the house after an hour or so in the shop. So when they are hanging out by the door, I take a break and take them into the house and then return to work in the shop. It would be great if I could get more than just the one project done, but I suspect that darn family stuff will get in the way!

It has been a week of weather that more resembles January than November. No big snow storms, but a pretty regular dosing of an inch or so every 24 hours and lots of cold temps. The weather did give the hunters a little gift on opening day Thursday, with a high temp of 38, but otherwise, most of our highs have been in the low 20’s and the high last Tuesday was only 18! Today is another such day, with temps in the low 20’s and a couple of inches of fresh snow and more on the way. It is beginning to look more and more like we may not see bare ground until the spring thaw is over. Temps the end of this week look to warm into the upper 30’s, but only for a day or two and then we look to get back into cold and some snow for the weekend and first half of next week. The snowpack is also not as fragile as it typically is this time of the year. By that I mean it has settled from the big storm on the 9th and more has been added. So the foot + we have on the ground will take some real work to completely melt off. Not that I am challenging Mother Nature. It could happen, but I would put the odds at less than 40% at this point.

We have been making the most of the snow by taking some nice walks in the snowy woods. I am trying to get us all out every day for at least a 30 minute walk. Grace and Nora have even been able to join the three pups and I on some of our walks. The snow is still shallow enough that I can get around without skis or snow shoes, especially when we are walking on the packed trail. Today we broke new trail and I could not have gone much further, as it was a bit of a workout to trudge through the chin deep snow. The pups have an absolute blast. Huck and Millie take off and blaze the trail and explore and Bleau does the best he can to keep up. He is nearly as big as them, but it still more difficult for him to motivate through the snow than it is for Huck and Millie.

Bleau sure is a cutie when out in the snow. His fur has a tendency to collect the snow and at times the only spot on his whole face without snow is his nose. I was not able to get a picture of him in that condition, but in a state where his face was partially covered. The downside to the snow wanting to cling to his fur is the snowballs he accumulates on his legs. That picture was taken on Thursday when the temps were above freezing and the snow was fairly sticky. He hardly had any snow sticking to his fur on today’s walk with temps around 20. We are going to be getting him some of the boots that the sled dogs wear, as he does get snow build up on his paws no matter the temp and I also think we will be getting him some doggy gators for the days that the snow is sticky. There is one upside for him to the snow sticking to his fur. That is the nice warm towel that Momma gives him when he gets back to the house.

So I guess that about covers it for this one. I hope that everyone’s Thanksgiving is a great one and that everyone has safe travels. No traveling for us, we will be hosting the holiday here. Until next time…

Good night from the Keweenaw..