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Friday, September 30, 2011

"True Northwoods" Dog Mushing Experience

Klaus and Oken would like to announce our new "True Northwoods" Dog Mushing Experience! This adventure will only be available for four days this winter, February 16th-19th, and is a preview of what we will be providing each winter once Points Unknown moves to our northern Minnesota location.

Our True Northwoods Experience is unlike any adventure we've offered and it promises to be a once in a lifetime experience for our guests.

Please click here for details.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oh Aise, Aise. You Little Stinker

Aise begins her bucking and flailing

Illy does a road crossing

Illy and Ziggy setting a good example

Hey! A moment of good behavior!

More bucking and flailing

Exuberance and excitement are good things. Lack of focus and just plain naughtiness are what Aise contributed to our last canicross hike. Oh Aise, Aise. You little stinker. Illy and Ziggy were setting such a good example; keeping their lines tight and staying focused on the trail head. But Aise... not so much.

This has happened before during our last canicross hike a few months ago but when we put Aise in harness next to Oken during our first fall training run, this behavior quickly disappeared when Oken instantly let her know what behavior was to be expected. We've got to be doing something wrong because we couldn't get that across to her the other day when she flailed, whipped around, bit her harness, bit her line, bit Illy's line, bit Ziggy's line, slashed my pants, nipped at Kristen's pants, nipped at Lisa's pants. We know why she's doing it. She wants to go faster and is taking this 'displaced aggression' out on anything that comes close to her. The proper training method for how to put an end to it is what is coming slow and we've tried numerous things.

Since Oken did such a good job with her last week, I think our next step will be to enlist his help in correcting the current problem. We'll take them both out hiking side by side. His abrupt growl and nip should take care of it and then we'll get a chance to reinforce her good behavior after Oken's correction. The problem with our training session the other day is that there were far too few chances to reinforce good behavior with her because she was so out of focus.

Back to the drawing board to work on solving the new sled dog training puzzle. There is never a dull moment and there is always something new to learn when working with a group of sled dogs. Keeping a sense of humor is at the top of the list!


Welcome our New Handler; L isa Urness

Lisa canicross hiking with Illy

We can't be happier to have Lisa joining us this season for sled dog training! Lisa came to the kennel for the first time last winter with a friend who had attended a previous adventure with us. Her group participated in our "Day in the Life" adventure and I think we hooked her!

Lisa is also preparing for a week in the remote wilderness with us this winter where she will be not only handling for us during a beginner adventure, but will also serve as camp cook.

Thanks for joining us, Lisa!

Oake Lake Orchard Project for Minnesota Food Shelves

The Honey Crisp trees are still filled with fruit

There is an art to picking apples! Never twist or pull; lift or roll the apples upwards.

The orchard is buzzing with activity

It's been a while since I gave an update on the orchard project. The State Fair is over but there are mounds of residual paperwork left to complete so that project may not be wrapped up for another month. Thank goodness we found a good home for the apples this year because, with our schedules, we would either have failed the orchard terrible or be in the loony bin by now, had we taken it on ourselves.

To date, our friends in charge of getting the apples to the out state food shelves have picked approximately 24 - 40# boxes of Zestar apples, 2 - 40# boxes of Sweet Sixteen and 22 - 40# boxes of Honey Crisp. The Honey Crisp trees are still heavy with fruit so an additional 22 boxes is expected. There are also Victory apples to be picked and then three different types of pears. The pear trees didn't set well this year so there are fewer than anticipated. Those will be purchased and picked by a local orchard keeper with the funds going directly to the organization picking the apples to be dispersed amongst the food shelves.

I think this project is going better than expected for all and my hope is that it can continue for next year. Thanks Bill and all for such a great job!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fingers Crossed for Topa/Oken Puppies Around Thanksgiving!

Topa is a 2+ year old Hedlund Husky.

Oken is an almost 4 year old half Hedlund/Half Zulu line Alaskan Husky.

It was so kind of  Topa to wait to go into heat until the day after the fair! She became receptive a couple days ago and if all goes well, we'll be expecting Thanksgiving puppies! Can't tell you how excited we are to have another Hedlund Husky litter (with just a dash of our Zulu line mixed in for good measure)!

Winter Activities Promotion

When Sweet Pea (in the back left) came across someone she really liked, she would hook their leg with hers and pull them back in. It got a lot of laughs throughout the day.

The perfect day!

Copper and Blueberry got a lot of attention too.

For a 10 month old puppy, Illy was extremely well behaved for her first event of this kind.

 We spend a day on Lake Superior in the Bay of Grand Marias, helping to promote winter activities in the Arrowhead region with Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply.

Camping with the Sled Dogs

Aise's first run!

Running back to our campsite on our property on the northshore of MN.



Look who's in the tent! Copper liked it better on his pad in the tent and out of the bugs.

White Feather

Wimzi is still a big puppy!

The skies before the hail storm came in. The odd color of the sky is due to the smoke from the BWCA fires that as of yesterday, had destroyed over 100,000 acres.

The trees appeared fluorescent against the tannish smokey background.

We had only a few minutes to get the dogs in truck before the hail come down.      

After the storm a triple rainbow appeared over Lake Superior.

Two loads of firewood. Done!
Camping out at the home of friends just before our event in Grand Marais.

MN Honey Producers State Fair Booth

All ready for business!

The smiling faces at the Honey Ice Cream/Honey Lemonade Booth

Warren was the "Celebrity Beekeeper" and served samples of all of our different varieties of honey

The Honey Candy Booth

More smiling faces!

The view from my "office" on top of the booth where things were so much less crowded.

Wacipi (Pow Wow)

What an inspirational event! Everyone should show as much pride in their heritage. The energy was infectious. The evening began overcast but by the time the veterans were lined up, ready for the grand entrance, the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine shown down upon them. To add to this glorious scene was the rainbow that then appeared just behind them. How uplifting!

Playing Catch Up!

The view from our picture window reminds us to slow down.
Life has kept us far too busy since my last post, well over a month ago! From Klaus and Sweet Pea's Birthday, we quickly moved into MN Honey Producers Booth at the State Fair mode. But first, in the name of "balance", I brought Neil to his very first Wacipi (Pow Wow). It had been ages since I had been to one and had been longing to go back but the timing was never right. We just made it happen.

Despite the down attendance at the State Fair, the MN Honey Producers Booth did well which helps bring the mushers at Points Unknown through the winter. The State Fair is a grueling 12 days of crowds and noise, which are not my favorite things but the fact that we can do the majority of the work for the booth at home before and after the fair, makes it worthwhile. Not to mention, the satisfaction of supporting a non profit that supports honey bee research. My favorite quote by Albert Einstein - "Once the Honey Bees disappear, mankind is not far behind." I've learned an awful lot about Honey Bees over the years and have finally decided to move that knowledge further. I'll start by taking the beginner Bee Keeping Course in October that the University of MN offers then Neil and I will start our own hives next year and keep them up north. Our daydreaming for apiary names brought up a winner - Arrowhead Apiary.

Within a week after the fair, we loaded up all 17 dogs and hit the road. We spent several days camping on our land in Hovland, MN just 7 miles inland from Lake Superior. We kept so busy and were extremely productive despite my terrible upper respiratory sickness that continues to cling to me after 10 days and despite the hail, the rain, the sleet, the snow and then more rain. Did I mention rain? Between the raindrops we managed to cut, load and deliver two trailers full of firewood to our two different adventure trip locations for the winter, ran one team of sled dogs, flagged out the clearing areas on our property for our house and kennel "compound" and various other miscellaneous camping activities.

After being sick out in the rain for a few days became too much for me, we packed up and headed to the home of friends that invited us to stay while they were out of town. What life savers! Sincere thanks to Kay and Jerry for their kind offer. They've got a large enclosed dog play area that our dogs just loved. They spent their time there, being rotating from the tie out line to the play area.

Our last day up north was spent sitting on the shores of Lake Superior on the bay of Grand Marais with the sled dogs. We worked in cooperation with Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply as we promoted winter activities in the Arrowhead Region, including, of course, dog mushing!

Now here we are, back home, trying to settle in from a whirlwind of activity over the last month. Things are beginning to get back to normal and we are making plans for our winter activities with the dogs. Oh, YES! And I can't forget some very exciting news. We had planned to breed Topa with Oken in the Spring but Topa had a silent heat and it never happened. Well, Topa was courteous enough to wait until the day after the fair to go in heat! She just became receptive and has been bred with Oken. All being well, we will be expecting puppies around Thanksgiving! This litter has been eagerly anticipated for quite some time so you can imagine how excited we are right now! Neil will begin building a new whelping box in the next week. He'll be having all of the fun while I go back to my real estate appraisal work. But the real fun comes when the puppies are born!