The weather has started turning. We’ve seen snow once or twice now, brief flurries but it doesn’t really get our hopes up just yet. It’s still early for snow, especially in Seward. Although our friends further north in Fairbanks are on sleds, we wait and take the ATVS out with the sled dogs. We’ve continued finishing projects from around the house and kennel. It’s amazing how much work there always seems to be: building dog houses, fixing things, putting things away. The days seem both long and short, we look forward to bed but never seem to have accomplished all we have hoped to complete. Everything is always ending too soon.
My cellphone went missing earlier in the week. We have a thief in our midst – a cute two year old part sled dog dog named Max who, by now, I know was the culprit. He’s taken many things from us over the past two years we’ve had him: balls of yarn, our house phones, knives, kitchen plates, empty beer bottles… and now my cellphone. It hasn’t been that big of a deal: I am not a huge talker anyways, but I do miss being able to take pictures and videos — especially because we have Pippa, a young 6 week old sled dog puppy, living inside and she is always doing something adorable like falling asleep on my slippers or curling up next to Betty. On more than one occasion Pippa’s gone “missing” only to be found in the dirty laundry pile or under a heap of blankets.
Things continue to go well and we are slowly heading in the right direction. Today I went for a walk and discovered that there were 24 salmon in the small drainage ditch by our house. Considering that the ditch is less than 2 feet wide and less than 2 feet deep in most places, I was fairly impressed. There were also lots of other fish, which I am assuming were fry (young salmon). We pass by this area frequently with the dogs but the dogs usually scare most of the fish away — with good reason too. Last year, our dogs Bud and Weiser (the Clydesdales) both caught themselves fish on a few different occasions. I’ve seen a young pup look at the fish with a tempted eye but we no longer stop our teams near the fish as we want to promote the run — even if it is in a ditch.
Our house dogs are also doing well. They seem to be getting older and we are reminded that the only fault our dog’s possess is that their lives are far too short. We watch Archie struggle to get on the couch more and more frequently. Still, he seems undeterred. Any action, of course, is surmountable if there is plenty of kibble involved. He is an old dog though, 13 or 14 by now, and well travelled too having run in numerous Iditarod’s and Junior Iditarods and countless 200 & 300 mile races. Often, we find that he will go in the dog lot and steal another sled dog’s house and make them curl up outside. When we run, he is always there. He barks at the dog team while we hook up and chases us when we leave — never far — but enough. I’ve watched Perry, his partner, shiver with excitement when the dog team rounds the corner into the yard and gives him the opportunity to chase. Old sled dogs, perhaps, but always young at heart.
October, with the cold air blowing down off the mountains and the leaves fallen off the trees, is a month that leads to wistful thinking. I’ve thought a lot about my dog Chena, who will have been gone three years at the end of the month. She was with me for such a short time but impacted my life in such a profound way. Dogs, I suppose, will do that.
We leave now on another adventure… a story, perhaps, for later on in the week.