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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Photo provided by Mahsa Hansen from limoni limoni

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gift on the Bucket List!

Why not buy that special person a gift on their bucket list? Or better yet, buy yourself a gift on your bucket list? A Points Unknown gift certificate can be made out for any amount and is a great gift idea for those dog and outdoors lovers in your life.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mother Earth News Fair

We're packing up the beeswax candles and heading east to Pennsylvania where we'll participate in our second annual Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs Resort. It's become a family event! Mom flies in from Arkansas and various other family members from the area join us for some selling and some fun! Sadly, Neil must remain home with the dogs this time around but when we return, our sled dog fall training begins!

Won't you join Scent from Nature at the fair?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sweet Memories of Zulu

Me and Zulu teaching a young Klaus how to lead.

 A journal excerpt, February 2004.

The Rocks

I am heading towards the portion of the run we so affectionately call “THE ROCKS”.  I stop to wrap a long piece of rope around one runner to help slow me down before I reach the beginning of the daunting rocky moguls. I’m all set. Rope around runner. Drag pad in place. Heavy duty steel brake ready and waiting.  We begin the descent. Down the rocks we go! But wait…. There’s a problem! Now the sled is on its side and I am hanging on to the brake bar, sliding down the rocks, behind the sled, on my stomach. After much struggle, I finally righted the sled. As soon as I thought all was well, I find myself on my stomach again, skiing down the rocks AND my drag pad is caught up in my heavy duty steel brake. I can’t even lean on the brake with my elbow to try and slow us down. The dogs don’t seem to hear all of the commotion. If they can, they really don’t seem to care that they can’t see me and there is a strange looking object swishing along attached to the sled.  All they want to do is run and run pretty darn fast for a bunch of freight dogs that must pretend they like to go slow because they sure aren’t now!

So I know that at the bottom of “THE ROCKS”, which is possibly 400 more feet, there is a “T” in the trail and I had planned to take a left. So I am yelling to Zulu, who, keep in mind, can’t see me, “Haw! Haw! Zulu, Haw!!!” “Well”, I can imagine him thinking, “I guess she is still with us, I don’t know where but I can tell she’s in trouble.”  So we get down to the bottom of the hill and just about to the “T”, and remember, I had originally decided to go left so I again, shout “HAW!” as I am cruising behind the sled on my stomach, hanging on for dear life. (Because the first rule of dog mushing is NEVER LOSE YOUR TEAM.). Zulu takes a quick right at the “T”. “What?!” I say to myself. “Zulu is disobeying me?!” I set aside the fact that I now had arms that are at least several inches longer than they once were, from being dragged and the fact that I had large amounts of snow packed in my hood and around my head, to discuss with myself how upset I was that I had just been dissed by my ever so sweet and usually obedient leader. I knew I said “Haw” and I believe I said it at least 25 times. (After a while, it become “blah, blah, blah, blah” to my beloved)  Well, the second I ended the dialogue with myself, the sled got caught up on a tree like is does EVERY time we take a right in this section. Perfect! I now have time to get up, untangle my brake pad and plant myself firmly on the back of the runners, not even remembering the anger I had seconds earlier knowing that Zulu had just disobeyed me.  Disobeyed me? He did indeed but that wonderfully intuitive leader of mine KNEW that I was in trouble and he KNEW that every time we take a right the sled gets caught up in a tree. So, that is why he disobeyed me because the second I got myself untangled, he looked back at me as if to say, “You alright now, mom?” and took an immediate left or the original HAW I had asked of him and didn’t even skip a beat. Talk about the bond between dog and (wo)man…….

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Klaus and Sweet Pea Turn ELEVEN Years old

The intense and every so eager-to-please, Klaus and his sister Sweet Pea turned ELEVEN years old on Friday! He barely slowed down last season and continued to be one of our main leaders. I bet his body will tell us when he's ready to retire because I doubt his mind will ever want to leave the "game".


The lovely and aptly named, Sweet Pea and her brother Klaus turned ELEVEN years old on Friday! Sweet Pea decided that she'd have no part of fall training last year but did want to get back into the action when we began running on snow. Let's see what she tells us this year. She may very well decide to retire. So many perks come with retirement, here at Points Unknown!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Our State Fair Adventure

This will be our fourth season running the MN Honey Producers State Fair Booth. It is a non profit organization and this is our annual fundraiser. The funds raised by selling anything and everything bee and honey, go to honey bee research and to support our local beekeepers.

It's a venture that fits into our life nicely as the majority of the preparations can be made from right here at my desk and in front of my computer, in the remote north woods of Minnesota's Arrowhead Region, using solar energy! I begin ordering and hiring in March. With 23 employees working 10-12 hour shifts for all twelve days of the fair, there is a bit of organization involved.

We've got three retail booths. At the Honey Booth we highlight locally grown honey from all reaches of Minnesota. When not available in the state, we go outside to seek unique items such as Royal Jelly capsules and Hive Energy Supplements. We also have an exotic honey section where we bring in honey from around the United States for those honey connoisseurs that definitely want local honey and then want something else they can't find locally and have never had before. Want an all natural skin moisturizer or lip balm? We've got that too!

Our Honey Ice Cream and Honey Lemonade Booth is always buzzing. People have made the pilgrimage for many years and through generations for our Honey Nut Fudge and Honey Sunflower Ice Cream. The Honey Lemonade is made from local honey and has a secret ingredient, making it just that much more irresistible.

If Candy is your thing, try substituting sugar with Honey and come and visit us at our Honey Candy Booth! You will find things such as hard candy with honey centers, honey taffy, honey stix, honey English toffee, and many, many more items, all delectably made using HONEY! 

This year, we're collaborating with the Minnesota Grown organization to create a new Honey Candy Booth. Our Candy booth will be moving to THE DIRT wing of the Ag/Hort building and leaving the area right outside of the Bee and Honey exhibit where it has been located for many years. In return for financial sponsorship from MN Grown, we will be adding signage to the main Honey Booth. They've created a delightful logo that appears above.

Won't you come and see us at the MN State Fair? We're in the Bee and Honey Exhibit of the Ag/Hort Building across from the Food Court. You'll be amazed at what you see and taste!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Final Days of Summer

Misquah gnawing on a stick

We've spent the last few days compiling a photo album of all of the dogs playing in the dog yard. You can view it by clicking here.

It has been on BUSY summer, here at our Irish Creek Homestead. We officially moved in on June 1st and two months later, we are finally somewhat settled and have been making preparations to depart for nearly a month to the Twin Cities. We'll be running the MN Honey Producers State Fair Booth again this year. It has been a challenge creating a whole new way of running things remotely while making our home livable, our beeswax candle workshop runnable and making sure the dogs get the time and space they need in order to thrive.

We couldn't be more excited for fall when our wheeled cart training begins with the dogs, in our new north woods location. At that time, photos and stories will be abundant and will fill the pages of our blog. Until then, time is limited and facebook allows us the forum to post quick snippets of our life off grid, in the north woods, handcrafting our beeswax candles and working with our traditional sled dogs. Please check us out there.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On Being an Inside Outsider, Way Up North

Kathleen, sleeping on the job. Rommel isn't the greatest influence.

A proper Points Unknown greeting

On being an inside outsider, way up north
by Kathleen Kimball-Baker
Writer | Editor | Certified Poop Scooper

Part 1

Here’s the truth: mushers are control freaks. They’re constantly calibrating something: how much
kibble to feed per dog; which dog can run next to, in front of, behind of another dog; how hot is
it outside and what’s the humidity, and do those two numbers add up to a total number that is safe
enough for their dogs to cruise through.

Nothing gets past mushers. They survey their environs like military strategists or spies. They’re
thinking ahead, calculating risks, considering the worst-case scenario. Always.  And they don’t
want people messing with their dogs without their permission. Ever.

And then there’s Linda Newman.

Safety first and foremost

I really like her. Not until my third visit to her kennel did she permit me to open a double-locked
kennel gate by myself to let out one of her extraordinary huskies for a romp in a double-secure
fenced-in play area. Linda shares her life with Hedlund Huskies, a line of big, agile freight sled
dogs from Alaska that are primitive in their looks and personality. Linda is part of a project to preserve
these special huskies. They’re bigger than the Alaskan Huskies that run races. And Linda doesn’t
race. She exemplifies a niche of mushing that tends to see less publicity than the racing side of
dog sledding, events like the famous Iditarod or Yukon Quest. Linda's goal is to engage the public
gently, to introduce people to the beauty and wonder of working with a team of smart dogs in the
landscape of a boreal forest — without having to enter the stress-filled grind of racing.

What Linda offers is an introduction to and immersion in "recreational" mushing. It's a way of dog
sledding that is accessible to more people than the public may realize. So Linda teaches newbies
and novices how to mush safely, with excellent technique, and how to build upon and advance those
skills. Then she takes them on adventures far into the woods to overnight in a remote cabin.

Her associates in this endeavor are the elegant Hedlund huskies. To the untrained eye, many of them
look like wolves: sinuous lines, big paws, wide angled faces, long snouts, coats that blend into
the woodlands. They’re observers who size up a situation before deciding how to act. They can come
across as aloof, but if and when they let you inside their world, it’s like earning admission to
the VIP suite of an exclusive sports arena.

In preparation for the liberty of unsupervised time with her dogs, Linda has observed my every
movement, the tenor of my voice when I speak to her dogs, where my eyes land, which direction I
open the gate (inwards to bring in food; outwards as a cue the dogs that they could come out),
whether I remember myriad details, in the right order, and how her dogs respond to me.


Linda’s the kind of person from whom I learn best: She’s confident, centered, patient, kind, not
dismissive of new ideas, and she doesn’t pull any punches. What you see is what you get, and her
intentions are honest and good. She wants you to succeed, she’ll break down the steps until you
understand the logic and can succeed. The slope of my learning curve, which reaches back to 2007,
resembles the electrocardiogram of someone with an erratic heart rate: a bunch  of hummocks, a
sudden spike, scary dips, more hummocks, spikes, dips, flat lines -- in no predictable order. Linda
is helping me even out the slope.

Twice now, Linda has entrusted me with her dogs while she’s had to be away from her kennel. The
first time was in May when she was making a move from the outskirts of Minneapolis up north some
300 miles, into wild and wooly parts of Minnesota, almost to Canada. And the second time was this
month, at her new, magnificent homestead (more about this in part 2) that she and her Brit husband,
Neil, have chopped, chipped, shoveled, and plowed into their heavily forested acreage on the
Arrowhead Trail, 7 miles from Lake Superior as the crow flies.

For me, minding Linda’s kennel is like being on retreat – in the company of sled dogs. Divine, in
fact. It’s a time for introspection, muscles singing with exhaustion, senses awakened, fears faced.
You might think being off the grid in the middle of one of the nation’s most gorgeous forests would
be quiet. It’s anything but. True, you don’t often hear the steady swoosh of cars on roads or the concussive rush of air traffic overhead. But rarely are the woods silent. Especially with sled

Room with a view – and a sound ‘system’

Linda has a perfect view of her kennel from her desk. It’s positioned right by a row of tall
south-facing windows that are open to fragrant North Woods breezes. Through these windows comes a
progression of sounds with a predictable rhythm. And through those windows come sights that tempt a
person wax poetic. As the sky lightens, there’s a full-throated trill from a single song bird –
doo-daaa dootadootadootadoot. . . doo-daaa dootadootadootadoot. And the powerful and freewheeling
buzz of dragonflies swooping around the dog yard to feast on mosquitoes. And winds brushing leaves
against leaves and needles against needles in the tall canopy of birch trees and conifers. Stuff
you don’t hear in the city unless you try really hard to. And then there’s the stuff you don’t
typically see, like a “puddle” of yellow butterflies striped in black who’ve circled around a
fairy-sized pond, which is just a tiny depression in the gravel where I dumped water the day before
when I freshened up all the dog’s buckets. They beautified it.

And now, a dog stirs.


While I stayed at Points Unknown, Ryden was always the first up. And when Ryden is up, his kennel
mates will be soon. Ryden is an extrovert with a mind whose gears, I swear, are almost visible. He
likes a good challenge and someone else to play with him. Ryden’s snout is longer, almost collie like. He was born with an overbite and has required a lot of dental work to keep his bottom teeth from boring holes into his palate. But it makes him oh-so-handsome, a Humphrey Bogart of dogs, with a personality like a mix of Cary Grant charm and Hugh Grant silliness. He’s pretty irresistible. And White Feather, a fluffy husky
of pearlescent fur who is the focus of his attention right now, will not be able to resist him for
long. He wants her to get up and play with him. He’s relentlessly play-bowing and tilting his head
this way and that, pawing and poking her here and there, whining, yipping and yapping until she
finally responds in her languid way. Ryden’s getting to be a big boy, long torso, long legs, big
brown eyes that tilt upwards, but his demeanor is so puppy-like, you’re tempted to cut him some
slack when he’s slow to mind you.

It’s all about discipline

Linda, however, doesn’t allow such slack. She’s teaching me how to be in charge, despite my short
stature. She’s shown me how to straddle these big dogs, with their backs to something solid so they
can’t wiggle out, how to apply anti-fly goop to their ears and clip their nails. She’s modeled for
me how to grab the ruff of fur and loose skin along the back of their necks to direct them, like a
mama dog would a puppy. It’s kind of heady to be able to manage these 70+ pounders and have them
mind me.

Linda takes her dogs as puppies to obedience classes. Honestly, I’ve never met such well-behaved
sled dogs. A lot of mushers believe you shouldn’t try to train out of them their natural instincts
of drive, exuberance, and pushiness. Linda’s dogs have shown me there’s another way. They’re submissive to her and respectful of the human in charge, but they’re not fearful, cowed, or intimidated. Neither are they unruly. They understand the rules, and it’s important to keep those rules consistent for their safety and own sense of security and to preserve an environment of mutual respect. Their personalities flourish in this
setting, and they have ample opportunity to free-run, work on social skills, perfect their peer-
to-peer manners, gang up playfully, and regroup. But they are not allowed to be aggressive. Period.
Case closed. Linda is helping me understand how to be the human force that ensures peace in this
potentially volatile interspecies milieu.  I’m learning to be a constable – and a benevolent
dictator. It’s a strange role for a natural-born-and-nurtured people-pleaser. I like it.

Morning antics

Ryden is wily; he pushes the boundaries and he keeps me on my feet. I just love him for that. I’m
not sure White Feather is as entertained. But she engages him and there’s a growing stream of soft
growling, huffing, and tumbling. Soon, Journey, a pretty, smallish girl who looks the most like a
Siberian husky among this pack, wakes up and begins to mill around. Ryden plies his trade with her,
but she’s better at ignoring him than White Feather. And good ole Ilo, the alpha of this group,
gets up, too, stretches from atop a wooden house and has a look at the antics going on in the 4-dog
section of the kennel. He always seems to be smiling, quietly, like a kind and knowing uncle.

The other dogs follow suit, and soon enough there is the sound of water being slurped from full
plastic buckets and the reassuring murmurs of dogs greeting each other, moving about, and anticipating breakfast. And then they begin looking in my direction—in earnest.

That’s my cue. Time to stop observing. Time to deliver room service. I rather like the “tips” that
come with this service: happy faces, wagging tails, little canine “shouts” to hurry up.

Part 2:
One awesome off-the-grid home, the dog yard, more about each dog, daily chores,
mosquitoes, and a walk in the woods with the house dogs

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Topa and White Feather Birthday

Topa turned 4 years old last month

White Feather turned 4 last month

Beautiful and smart sisters, Topa and White Feather turned four years old last month. Both are exceptional leaders, hard-driving sled dogs and they love their jobs as embassadors of Points Unknown.

Happy Birthday girls!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Visit from Jeff Morgan; Dog Behaviorist

Jeff gets a lick from Journey

Ryden's got to check him out thoroughly

Aise getting some attention while Rommel remains outside of Jeff's boundary "bubble"

Jeff, Linda and Delayne

Jeff takes a "pack walk" with Irish and Oken

Shortly after our arrival to our new home and kennel in Minnesota's Arrowhead Region, we received some special visitors. Jeff Morgan, visiting from the east coast, had come to the area to provide private training lessons to an up-and-coming dog behaviorist, Delayne Duhaime. Together, they put on a special workshop that I just couldn't miss despite the stacks of boxes I was facing and the general chaotic state of our new home.  Click on this link to learn more about Jeff Morgan.

When he came to the kennel, I was most interested in learning about his "energy" work. Having a dog with major boundary issues, I thought this could come in handy. I was also interested to see how his technique would work on Journey, who has a very cautious temperament, going out of her way to avoid contact with most people.

The dogs loved our guests and made sure to get up and close to get to know them. Rommel did the usual, jump-up-in-your-face greeting despite my never-ending attempts to curb this behavior. He also has a habit of blocking his kennel mate from getting any attention, always going between a person and the other dog. Jeff's energy work seemed to work on our young fella and I was amazed to see him at the other end of the kennel, waiting his turn, while Aise got attention.

Here's my understanding of this technique as it pertains to our boundary issues with the dogs. When exiting each kennel, my command has been "back" and I stomp my feet gently to let them know that if they rush the gate, their feet will likely get stepped on. With the energy work, I am using my body and an imaginary bubble to keep them back. It seems to be much like a stay command, however the dog is allowed to freely move outside of your bubble. Every time the dog enters the bubble, I move myself forward and toward the dog, backing them up with my forward motion and energy. It's working. For those needed a bigger hint, if they get too close, I can also gently scuff the tops of their feet with my shoe as I walk toward them.

In the case of Journey, who goes out of her way to make a huge boundary bubble around most people she doesn't know, the energy is used to STOP the movement. Stopping the movement allows her to create a new mental picture of the situation and she can heal from all previous habits of motion away from people.  Journey began to circle around the kennel, getting as far away from Jeff as possible. I watched Jeff passively and non aggressively block her movement in any direction by just moving toward her as she ran, from one side to the next. At first, I anticipated that this would create more stress for her, possibly making her feel trapped and thus bringing to the surface the fight or flight response. To my surprise, this blocking of her movement actually calmed her down to the point where Jeff was next to her in a corner of the kennel and she reached out to lick him. As I like to do in much of the training with my dogs here at Points Unknown, Jeff allowed the other dogs in the kennel with Journey to help her feel comfortable with this exercise. I do believe other dogs are the very best trainers of dogs.

Now it's my job to remain consistent with this energy training. I feel as though I have just enough information on the topic to be dangerous. Now I need to do more research to try and understand it better so it can be used effectively in a number of other training applications here at Points Unknown.

Many thanks to Jeff and Delayne, for taking time to show us here at Points Unknown, some new tricks!

Sled Dog Play Area Complete!

Sinking our recycled posts

Nylon fencing strung and logs placed at bottom to detour diggers

Fencing attached to wood posts

Final adjustments to the entry gate for both yards

The first dogs are out!

The dogs love it and we do too. Neil and Nick, our friend from the UK, did an awesome job!

The play area is finally complete! We anticipated a week for completion but really underestimated the magnitude of the project. It took three weeks.

The area had to be cleared of trees. The trees then needed to be cut and stacked in various piles. We decided to recycle those trees that were cut and sink them in the ground as fence posts. A chipper was rented for a few days to remove the majority of the brush. It took only a few hours to string the nylon fencing and attach it to the posts.  The fence is 8' high and there is 2' on the ground to act as dig-out material. We placed logs around the perimeter and on the fence to secure it to the ground and to detour potential escapees.

Once complete, we introduced the dogs to the area, one group at a time. Because the fence is nearly invisible, we needed to make certain the dogs were aware of the perimeter. I had thoughts of walking each around the perimeter but then decided that would be too time consuming and came up with a more creative plan. It would be a test of their knowledge of a certain dog mushing command that they have all heard many times before.  "Whoa!"

Klaus, Sweet Pea and Tuloon were first to "christen" the area. As they darted around the area, I watched as each came closer and closer to the fence. When they were within a few feet I shouted "Whoa!". All three obeyed and each avoided hitting the fence but did take note of its location as they then ran along the entire perimeter. Most dogs reacted the same way. There were a few, more head- strong dogs, on the other hand, that received a nice, painless, self-inflicted correction when I shouted "Whoa!" and they did not obey. Zodiak, bounced off the fence, looked perplexed, noted the fence and didn't do it again. Let's see how he reacts to the "Whoa!" command in harness this winter. I have an idea he will remember this time.

After having been out in the area several times in the past few days completely supervised, they're ready to be out in regular play groups throughout the day semi-supervised. This means I can actually get some work done while they play. Because it is nylon fence, they can not be completely trusted and I must visit each group several times during their play time, with treats. They're used to this and come right away when called. There have been a handful of times when dogs have gotten out of a fenced area or off of their camping chains in the winter. They either have come immediately when called or just go directly to the front door and wait to be let in.

It will be so nice to get them back out in an area where they can really stretch their legs every day. We've been relying on a much smaller play area since our arrival and although it did get us through, I could tell that the dogs really wanted more activity. I was worried that anything we were able to create here at our new place wouldn't be nearly as diverse in topography and interest points as the play area at our Watertown location.  Watching them run, sniff, socialize and play in this area that is even bigger than they have had previously, I can say that I really think it will keep their interest for years to come and that makes me very happy.

2014 Points Unknown Dog Sledding Adventures

Heading across "the burn".

We're happy to announce the 2014 Points Unknown Dog Sledding Adventures! Click on the link and you'll find them at the bottom of the page. Would love to see you this winter!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tuloon Turns 9 Today!

Tuloon, the matriarch of the Points Unknown Kennel, turns nine years old today! It's been a tad wet out there today but now she's all snuggled into her dog bed watching the National Geographic Channel.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Irish/Ilo Puppies; 6 mos old!

Kamotz - 6lbs, B'Zhoo - 58lbs, Akai - 55lbs (Misquah in lower left and Phoenix in upper left)

Wyakin at 6 mos old - 60lbs

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Get more "Quick" Updates

Temporary play area is in!

You can get more quick updates on Points Unknown and our Irish Creek Homestead by following us on facebook! Here's our link - Points Unknown Facebook Page

Wicked Welcome-to-the-Northland Storm!

Last Friday, May 31st, the day we closed on the sale of our property in Watertown, I was driving to our new home in Minnesota's Arrowhead Region. As I entered Grand Marais, I thought to myself, as I looked out over Lake Superior, "Hmm, that's a very interesting sky. I might just need to stop and take a photo." The feeling passed as I drove through Grand Marais and was distracted by the hustle and bustle.  As I continued several miles northeast of Grand Marais, this apocalyptic sky appeared and it was now necessary to stop. WOW!  I panned the sky from left to right and saw the most magnificent clouds. It was nothing like I had ever seen before.

As the massive ominous cloud/fog structure in the lowest photo approached, I thought it best to get in my car and continue driving home. The storm hit the shore and it was as if the Gods and Goddesses of the Big lake were hurling fistfuls of marbles against the right side of my truck. The dime-sized hail soon ended but the wind was severe and the rain so intense I had to stop several times because I couldn't see through the windshield. The scent of balsam that had been shredded from the hail wafted from the woods abutting Lake Superior and through my truck windows. I was in complete sensory overload.

Knowing that Neil and my dogs were several miles north and potentially out of the range of the storm didn't seem to lessen the angst. I was sending as much positive energy up the hill as I could muster, hoping that the storm would dissipate before reaching them.

Arriving home, I found no damage, only wet ground and remnants of tiny bits of hail left by the storm. Relief!

The storm was a reminder from the Northland not to take nature and this wild new place we have chosen to live, for granted.

Point taken!

New Scent from Nature Labels

You'll see our new Scent from Nature labels on the shelves soon. What's new? We've been approved to display the FSC logo (Forest Stewardship Council) promoting our recycled packaging. Our new Sun Power logo was designed just for us and we added text about the fact that our candles are now handcrafted using power from the SUN! Last but not least, we've moved and added our new location in Hovland, MN.

You may continue to see the old location on many of our candles until we run our of those labels and packaging but know that you can easily reach us by going to the website.

Thanks so much for your support of our Calm, Clean and Green product!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sold and Closed!

Dog houses are IN!

Well, we made it through the month of May, closed on the Watertown sale yesterday and have officially become residents of Hovland, Minnesota. We now live on our Irish Creek Homestead which is our little slice of Minnesota's Arrowhead region.

We are somewhat settled in to our cozy shell of a house, but more importantly, the dogs finally have their own houses instead of the temporary travel crates. You wouldn't believe the joy in the kennel to be able to jump up on a dog house today! I have to say, I was just as happy. The travel crates served their purpose for a few days while Neil went down for the dog houses. Next on the list is a temporary play area so they can get out and stretch their legs. It's been too warm to run them in harness.

So, I no longer look out the window at the vastness of Oake Lake with all of the entertainment created by the passing water fowl. I can say, however, that I am no longer in mourning over this loss. Living on Oake Lake was a cherished chapter in our lives that has now passed. Our new chapter comes with the thick and magical forests of the north woods, the heavenly aroma of balsam fir trees and the mighty presence of Lake Superior, just down the road and right alongside us on our 19 mile "commute" to Grand Marais down Highway 61. Out my window I do not see the vastness of a lake but I see the living forest and the ever-changing sky above our clearing. I watch the dogs rest and play right outside my office picture window. Very different scenery and just as good for the soul.

In the early 90s I dreamed a dream similar to this one I am now living. I'm here, on a journey that doesn't end with the realization of a dream but is just the beginning of one new wild-ride chapter in my life.

What's your dream? Life is just too short not to live it.

Journey Turns Six Yesterday

Journey is on the right with Zala next to her. We can't believe that Journey has turned six years old already! She's a super sled dog and an irreplaceable member of our furry family. Happy Birthday to Journey!

Friday, May 24, 2013

We're Here and Live!

Furniture moving day! We're here and we're live! Our solar energy system is working brilliantly and our satellite internet system is functioning exceptionally well, so far. Dogs come up on the next trip!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Over the Rainbow

One final rainbow for us here on Oake Lake. By this time next week, the dogs will be settled into their new temporary kennels, in the woods, on Irish Creek Road.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hovland Arts Festival 2013

Come join us at our first event in our new town!

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Sun Power Logo

We LOVE this new Sun Power icon that our designer created for our candle packaging! You'll see it on our Scent from Nature packaging beginning this fall.

Zola Turns One!

Zola at a year old.

We've been so busy packing and moving that we let a post about Zola's big one year birthday slip by! This beautiful girl turned a year old last Wednesday, the 15th of May. She has really grown in the past year and has evolved into a dynamic and well rounded sled dog and furry companion. We just love her to pieces!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ugh! Kennel Cough

Pill Station
  One of the puppies was exposed to kennel cough at puppy socialization class a couple weeks ago. No more puppy class for a while! We now have 14 dogs (half the kennel), so far, on medication for this doggie "cold". Here's a photo of our medication station. We've got bottles of whole pills, bottles of pills cut in half, bottles of pills cut in 1/4, a pill cutter (but of course), a log of who began showing symptoms and when and a daily planner to keep track of who went on medication when and for how long. The only thing not in this photo is the brick of Velveeta I will begin using to put the pills in tomorrow. My hand is a prune tonight after giving pills the old fashioned way.
 All this, of course, has to come when we're busily packing to make our move to our Irish Creek Homestead.  Just like a sibling with chicken pox, we tried to expose everyone to the systematic puppy right away so that this doesn't perpetuate for months. So far our plan seems to be working and everyone seems to have a very mild case. Lots of playing and running around as usual but with a slight cough and snotty nose. In 20 years of training dogs, we've never vaccinated for kennel cough and have never gotten it. Just like the lyme disease shot, dogs can still get it even after the vaccination.
Here's to hoping it passes through the kennel before everyone is loaded up for the move at the end of the month!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ice Out!

Ice out on April 28th. Much later than normal and MUCH later than last year. I have a blog post from 2012 entitled "Ice Out and 80 Degrees on March 17th!"

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Our Irish Creek Homestead in the making

Our Watertown property has SOLD! And more good news is that our buyers are also dog people who will be able to appreciate it as much as we have. We're one step closer to making our move. Closing is set for May 31st and until then, we pack and wait for the appraisal to be completed. Speaking of which, I've not done an appraisal since June of 2012. It will be one year, the day after we close. It has been a nice sabbatical and, honestly, I don't know how I would have had any extra time over the last year to include appraising in my schedule. Trying to sell the house has taken its place. I am in the process of taking my required continuing education to renew my license that expires this year. Time will tell if there is still a place for this in my life.

So!  It will be a busy couple of months for us. Since our Irish Creek Homestead is only half finished, we'll be doing some glorified camping for a while. One of the first considerations, since the house will have heat, some electrical and will be fully set up for outside communications, was the dog kennels. We've got all of the materials up on the property and they're currently under three feet +- of snow. Now, that's not going to work. So we resort to putting up temporary kennels until we can find the permanent fencing, not to mention, also having the ability to sink posts in an unfrozen ground. And with how long it's taking winter to say its goodbyes this year, this may not be until the beginning of June.

We're planning an on-going kennel raising "party" that begins somewhere around the first weekend in June and hopefully ends the weekend of the 14th and 15th. If you'd like to join us during this time for some hard work, good fun and time with happy sled dogs, we'd love to have you!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Irish/Ilo Puppies; 4 Mos Old

Kamotz is 46lbs at 4 mos

Wyakin is 46lbs at 4 mos

B'Zhoo is 44lbs at 4 mos

Akai is 41lbs at 4 mos

Hard to believe that Ilo is Wyakin's sire. Just compare the legs and feet!

Friday, April 5, 2013

SFN - New Beekeeper!

Look at that wax!
Scent from Nature has done a lot of growing over the past year and the wax from our current beekeeper, that would have lasted until this September, only lasted until last January! We began our search for a new Minnesota beekeeper early last year and it wasn't until the very end of the year that we found one that fit our special requirements. We care deeply about the quality of our wax, how it is processed and how the honey bees are managed.  It must have a naturally fragrant, sweet honey scent. We found what we were looking for in these northern Minnesota Beekeepers. Our first delivery of wax was personally escorted to our Watertown location a couple weeks ago. We couldn't be more pleased and have already begun making candles with this canary yellow and scrumptious smelling pure beeswax. Our second delivery of wax will come in June and will be the very first beeswax we will receive at our Irish Creek Homestead in the Arrowhead Region of Minnesota.