Visit our Photo Albums!

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.