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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Something Really BIG!

We've done it; taken yet another step closer to our more simple lifestyle in the serenity of the beautiful northwoods of Minnesota! Our new beeswax candle packaging and website have launched.

We deliver product to the very first of our valued wholesale customers, with the new label, tomorrow and hope to have the new packaging in each and every one of our current stores by mid April! WooHoo!

Please take some time to visit our new Scent from Nature web site and know that if you happen to be in one of the stores that carry our product and you buy one of our candles, you are indirectly helping support the Points Unknown sled dogs. We have no online sales at this time but if you send us an email saying you read about our products on the Points Unknown blog and would like to order some, we'd be happy to ship them out to you!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Aise and Illy; Nearly 4 Months Old

Illy's favorite spot. She's a thinker.

Her feet are bigger than Grandma Tuloon's at this point. She'll be a big girl.

Aise is such a free spirited puppy. Nothing concerns her.

Poor Blueberry. Somebody is always hogging the dog bed or laying on him.

Our two girls are growing like weeds! We had them in to the vet today and they both weighed 30lbs give or take a couple ounces.

If you recall, I had commented on Aise being a mud puppy in a recent post. Turns out, it wasn't mud at all! Now that the mud is covered with snow and the puppies have had time to play in the snow and become clean again, Aise doesn't appear to have really been a mud puppy at all. Her coat has just been undergoing some changes and the gray guard hairs are filling in rapidly which made her appear to be dirty. Can't wait to see where her coat ends up.

Illy is a tank! She is big boned and beautiful. AND the most important news of all is that we are no longer seeing head tremors. We haven't noticed one for about three weeks now. What a relief. By all accounts, she appears to be a normal happy puppy.

Mother Nature's Practical Joke

Another blast of winter!

A Blizzard! Right after mud season began and it looked as though spring was just around the corner, Mother Nature blasted us with a reminder of winter. After the blizzard, temperatures dropped down to single digits a night and are expected to remain there until early next week. The lake is blanketed with snow but after several days of temperatures in the 50s, the lake ice is not safe so we either truck the dogs to run them or continue down the path of spring being just around the corner. Sadly, this is the direction we'll take. Honestly, we've had a long wonderful winter and because our next project is knocking at the door, we must abandon the thought of running the dogs behind a sled or cart until next fall. They'll get plenty of fun until that time, just a different kind of fun.

Now we've got an extended mud season to content with; my least favorite season of the year. Such is life. There are plenty of exciting things going on to keep our minds off the misery. More on those "exiting" things to come in future posts. We're not quite ready to divulge the details at the moment so we'll just keep you hanging.....

Monday, March 21, 2011

MUD Season!


The umpteenth load of straw tonight

The dogs' kennels have a different base than the main yard, allowing for better drainage and less muck.

Mud puppies!

Aise is looking a bit like a hyena these days with her markings and coat but very cute!

Mud season is now underway. This is the season I like the very least. The photos speak the words I can not find (or will not post).

For the past week we have slowly begun taking straw out of the kennels so that the ground underneath can thaw. We've waited patiently for the rain to come and put an end to the last bit of snow and it appears it will be coming tonight. We love winter. Once mud season begins we just want to get it over with a quickly as possible and look forward to spring. It looks as if, however, winter will make one last appearance as after the rain comes tonight and tomorrow, we are to receive snow when temps dip down into the teens for the next several days after!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An English Rough Collie

Since I had Australian Shepherds before the sled dogs, I have a special place in my heart for herding dogs.

Olive walking Ebony off leash

Look at those dainty feet!

Hardly a sled dog, Ebony is our new member of the family living in England with Neil's "mum", Olive. She is just a few weeks older than Aise and Illy and about half the size.

Isn't she beautiful?!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Canicross Winter Event

This was Frankie's first run for quite some time this season. He had been ill and we were all concerned for him. We were so happy to see him act his old self!

Lexie tried to control her leaders, McKenzie and Wahya

The dogs were staked out on the ice like "real" sled dogs

Kristen with Maddy and Ziggy as Lexie tries to catch up

Cartwheel time

Chad runs Maddie and his Siberian Husky, Katsu

Chad returns with Maddy and Katsu

Marilyn hooks up Truman for the first time

It worked a whole lot better when Hailey ran Truman and Marilyn was in front cheering him on because Marilyn is his "person".

Our five dog northern breed team consisted of Rich's Wahya and McKenzie and Chris' Frankie, Lilly and Sasha.

Lilly and McKenzie were in lead

Uh oh! We've got a pooper.

The poop stop was just a momentary blip. Ziggy and Maddy were in lead with Truman in wheel while Kristen ran the sled

Ziggy and Maddy came whizzing down the trail at full speed

Hailey retrieved Lexie and her cattail from the other side of the lake where she had been exploring


Ziggy, Maddy and Conan take Marilyn out on the sled

Look at them go!

We set aside last Sunday afternoon, which coincidentally happened to be the day of our last run of the season, for our Canicross Hiking Club to get together and hook their dogs up to the sled to see what they could do. It was to be the last day in the 20s predicted for quite some time which made the lake trail perfect for a group of novice "sled" dogs. I emphasis "sled" dogs because our group not only has members of the northern breed sect but is proud to say we've got Black Lab mixes, a German Shepherd, and, for the first time attending our events, a pit bull.

Our five dog team of "semi-professional" sled dogs that included McKenzie, Wahya, and Chris' Frankie, Lilly and Sasha took to the big portion of the lake and did a 5 mile lap while the rest of the bunch remained on our private bay, doing shorter runs.

I've got to say that our black lab mixes took the prize! They were excellent and ended up running individually or as a pair with the majority of the other dogs. Our visiting pit bull, Truman, picked up dog sledding quickly and took wheel position behind our stars for the afternoon.

After the dogs and their people had their fill of lake running and after one of our black lab stars fell through a strange hole in the lake (attached to the gangline and pulled out by the musher) and we decided to call it a day, the people component of the group went inside for a warm potluck. So Minnesotan!

The hole in the lake was an eery reminder that a frozen lake is never static and that spring would soon be upon us. How strange, however, as I've never seen such a hole before. Sure, there are perfectly round and oval sink holes that develop to allow the lake to relieve pressure build up. This was no such hole. Whatever the cause; time to get off the lake!

Last Run of the Season


Joel with his team. Left to right - Ilo, Wimzi, Zala, Pheonix and Tuloon. White Feather wasn't able to run due to her surgery the previous Thursday

Hailey with her team. Left to right: Journey, Zodiak, Topa, Oken and Klaus. Ari wasn't able to run due to his surgery the previous Thursday.

Topa's very efficient pace

Down the lake they go

We finally got a smile out of Joel!

Hailey's take off

Zodiak's smiling face

Oken makes sure everyone is back there

Long legged Topa

Journey doesn't appear to be too excited about being next to Zodiak


Tuloon holds the line tight

The serious side of Zala

Goofiness begins!

Caught in full goofiness

That's right! March 12th. Can't believe it. We've had a super long winter and have been running on the lake since December! We've now hit temps of 40s and 50s with rain. Spring will soon be here!

The dogs will take the time during mud season to rest up from their long winter of activity then we'll begin our canicross hikes and obedience and agility classes one the ground is firm again.

Failed Artificial Insemination

Phoenix and Tuloon in lead on one of the last runs of the season

We're sad to report that we've had a failed artificial insemination between our Phoenix and Journey's sister Canyon in Alaska.

Canyon has had a litter before and Phoenix's abilities were proven with his recent sample that was analyzed and sent on the journey to Alaska. The wild card is the timing. The vet tech doing the AI indicated that she had a feeling that Canyon's test results weren't accurate based upon what her instincts were telling her. Well, turns out, she was right. Canyon would have been due last Sunday.

We'll all plan to try again during Canyon's next heat cycle which could be anytime between July and October. There will be "Phoenix" puppies yet!

To Fix or Not to Fix

Sunrise over Oake Lake

White Feather is fascinated by the activity of the Coyote on the Planet Green channel.

Ari's favorite spot

We've done a lot of thinking over the past several months about whether or not to fix White Feather and Ari. The topic has come up in many discussions with some folks in our Hedlund Husky Preservation group and we continued to arrive at the same conclusion.

Are they both good dogs? They are EXCELLENT dogs! Both are hard driving sled dogs with excellent worth ethics. Both have the type of coats we're looking for in our dogs. White Feather has outstanding leader potential. Ari may as well, however, we have not placed him in front of a large team this season because it is his first with us. He comes from a line of leaders. Size wasn't an issue as they are both within the typical range of the ideal Hedlund Husky. Then what was it?

We strive to make the very best decisions we can about each and every dog that is in our kennel; what is best for us as a kennel, what is best for the dog and what is best for the line.

From our kennel standpoint, we have a small kennel and a busy life and we would like to only maintain a very few intact dogs. These intact dogs take much more management. Our Points Unknown breeding program has a vision of only breeding the very best of the best to make certain we maintain what we value most; excellent sled dogs with leader potential and well rounded temperaments, good coats, good feet and impeccable structure and health.

White Feather, although one of only a few deep Hedlund line Alaskan Husky females, has what appears to be a genetic flaw that we don't wish to pass along. She is missing a total of ten teeth. X-rays indicate that they just aren't there, even under the gums. She is able to eat her food and maintains weight but it does take her more time to eat than the others. Large hard treats are difficult for her to eat efficiently. Thankfully, we have her sister, Topa, who exhibits no undesirable traits or genetic flaws and fits our vision of the ideal all around sled dog.

Ari is also a deep Hedlund line Alaskan Husky. He has shown some fear aggression tendencies against other dogs since he was a young adult and although they appear to have settled since his arrival to Points Unknown last fall, they still exist. His structure is also a bit peculiar and not one we would like to pass down. Thankfully, we have his brother, Phoenix, who fits our vision.

Both of our furry friends were fixed last week. We planned this procedure and the subsequent recuperation at this time to avoid mud season. If it hadn't have been now, we would have had to wait until mid April or later. Ongoing muddy dog foot prints in the house are no fun.

Both are healing nicely and do enjoy their extended time in the house. White Feather is often entertained by the Planet Green channel and stands up close so she doesn't miss a thing. Ari immediately steps up on the couch when he comes in and hardly ever leaves it unless he hears a random squeak from one of the furry toys then he must hop off and investigate. On Thursday, they will be healed enough to be back out in their kennels so they can fully enjoy the onset of mud season.