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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Journey Turns 7Yrs Old!

Journey in the winter of 2013-2014 leading with White Feather
Our beautiful and talented Journey turns 7 years old today! She's a half Hedlund Husky, half bush trap line Alaskan that came to us at 8 weeks old. Journey has an awesome work ethic and loves to lead the team. Happy Birthday, Journey girl!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

North Woods Garden Update

Soaker hoses where added to the tops of the bales. Stakes were placed on either side and wire was strung between them for the climbing plants. We also added cattle panels to either side for the same reason.

The bale continued to be conditioned with organic fertilizer and soaked with water

This fun planter will look nice with our veggies in them

A few snowshoe hare have been spotted scoping out the garden. I would recommend staying clear, my little furry friend. They also can carry fleas and we don't want those anywhere near the sled dog yard

The final conditioning was done yesterday when wood ash and a bone meal blend was added. We'll be able to plant next week!

Spring 2014 Firsts

Ilo visits Lake Superior for the first time this Spring

Spring took a while to arrive and now it seems to have passed quickly with Summer taking the forefront. Here are some Spring firsts in our balsam and birch heaven:

Last snowfall (18 inches!)  - April 25th
1st Mosquito spotted - May 18th
1st Hummingbird returned - May 18th
Heat turned off - May 24th
Leaf out began - May 25th
Unplugged the Wood Boiler which heats our home - May 28th

Spring Activity in the Dog Yard

Shade cloth was put up in the kennels where needed

Our picnic canopy was put up in the smaller play area

The sprinklers were turned on for the first time last weekend when it hit 87 degrees!

Hoses are run down the top of the center panel to the kennels, attached to sprinkler heads.

Despite the heat, Journey and Illy decide to hide in their houses to avoid getting sprinkled.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Some Goings On at Points Unknown

The new dog houses have arrived!

One of the sets has a nice "cat" walk above and a shade rest below

Dog poop! It's carted to our compost pile in 5 gallon buckets every few days

The compost pile consists of dog poop and straw. We turn it often and in a year or so, it should become nice black dirt.

Points Unknown from the Air

Points Unknown is the little tan spot on the left.

Thinking out of the Box

Mosquitoes are definitely an issue in our remote location in the woods. We're thinking out of the box and are trying a container garden of mosquito repelling plants, thanks for friend of Points Unknown, Francine Alt-Greene. We've got the dirt all ready and now we just need some warm to get them planted. I have a feeling they'll be too small to do much good this bug season but if we keep them inside until next spring, they should be filled with mosquito repelling power.

I began some seeds in the house several weeks ago and they sit in a bright window, waiting warmer temperatures.

We've come to realize that if we want a garden up in our north woods paradise, we have to think out of the box and use a bale! You see, we have no soil to speak of so our research brought us to the use of straw bales for planting vegetables. Not only is this value to us but the blossoms will be valued by the honey bees. As far as the sled dogs know, it's just another object for urination. Thankfully, they're only hitting the sides!

It takes 10+ days to condition the straw bales to make them ready to plant. We've been using organic fertilizer and water in various amounts on specific days. Now if we could only get some nice warm temperatures so that the bales begin to "cook". With a low of 25 degrees expected over night, I think we're a ways off! Stay tuned.

Once the bales are set out with the cut side up, we've been adding organic fertilizer every couple of days and soaking the bales with water each day.

The bales still need to be conditioned for several more days and then we'll pound stakes into the ground on either side, put a 2x4 in between them at the top for stability and then string them with electric fence wire so the vine crops will have something to climb. Stay tuned for updates. If you'd like regular updates about this and our life with the dogs, "like" and follow us on facebook!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Zola Turns Two Today!

Zola at 10 weeks

Zola in her Mush for a Cure outfit on Gunflint Lake this winter

Our smart and beautiful rusty colored girl turns two today!
Happy Birthday, Zola!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Points Unknown in Cartoon World

This cartoon was inspired by a photo of the Points Unknown sled dogs heading into the woods on an early winter run. From Dik La Pine - "Last November Linda Newman of Hovland ordered some greeting cards from Ice Box Cards, and I blotched up her order. She was so gracious not to be upset with me that I had to look her up on facebook to see what she was all about. She is living my cartoon dream of living as a dog sledder in the Far North regions of Minnesota. On her page she had a pic displayed that I tried to make into a cartoon. Let me know if you all think I caught it. I call the pic, "Not Knowing Where We Are Going But Getting There Fast." Thanks, Linda, for the purchase and the inspiration for this cartoon."
Here's the photo that inspired the cartoon. How fun is that?!

Friday, May 2, 2014

We did it!

Well, we did it! We finally made our move up to the remote north woods of Minnesota's Arrowhead Region where we're living and working entirely OFF GRID using solar energy. It's been a long and complicated journey to get to where we can begin living more simply.

Having just finished a very successful winter season for Points Unknown in our new location, we are looking forward to putting our efforts into creating another exciting set of dog sledding experiences and adventures for our guests for next winter!

What projects, additions and excitement do you have planned for 2014, you ask?

  • Once mud season disappears in the dog yard we'll begin installing our new kennels! When we made our move, we had to move quickly so smaller temporary pens were constructed to get us through until we could take the time to plan the permanent ones. Each pair of dogs will get a new kennel that will be double the size of their current kennel and they'll be configured in such a way to provide more privacy with less neighbors, sharing two sides with other kennels versus three. They will also be more play areas added!
  • More dog houses will be made.
  • We're looking into having an Open Dog Yard for summer tourists to come up and meet the dogs.
  • More trails will be added to our existing system of trails.
  • Our current covered porch will be transformed into a four season porch which will be the perfect spot for the dogs to pass through before coming in the house. During mud season this will allow muddy feet to dry before tracking mud into the rest of the house. In the winter, this area will house a number of crates so that our senior and more vulnerable dogs have a warm, yet not too warm, bedroom of their own. It can get too hot in the main part of the house for them during the winter. In the spring, it will be the perfect place to frisk them of mosquitoes before those blood suckers can hitchhike their way into the main part of the house on the dogs. This is also where we will set up our whelping box when we have a litter of puppies in the future, with a doggie door going out to a fenced in area for mom to get away from it all.
  • AND we hope to add two puppies from a frozen artificial insemination between Phoenix and one of our Topa/Oken 2011 puppies, Chetan, who now lives in Alaska. Frozen Phoenix will be shipped over to Thom Swan at Star Dancer Historical Freight Kennel at the right moment and they'll take it from there.
Follow us to hear about our progress! You can also check us out on our Points Unknown Facebook page. Be sure to "like" our page!

Happy Spring, everyone!