Saturday, May 30, 2009

Get me a chicken sandwich and some waffle fries...for free!

We had a rude awakening this morning just before two when ol' Bully decided to Norwalk all over the only tiny piece of carpet in our cabin. Rich and I awoke to the distinct sound of watery poo being sprayed every which way. Being the considerate canine he is, he must not have wanted to disturb us by whining to go outside and unload, so he just went where he was. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've been on my hands and knees in the middle of the night....wait for it...scrubbing the floor after a poo-pee-vomit incident. Part and parcel to owning a heard of dogs, I suppose. Roy's been acting weird lately. Not sick or anything, just more anxious than usual. Maude and Mr. Lahey are getting sick of being in the playpen together and have starting scuffling over food, toys, bones, a piece of grass...anything, really. Time to separate the sisters. Other than these minor episodes, the dogs are good, getting loose often to frolic in the neighbour's hay field. Libby has a cool little two-wheeled cart for training dogs. I can't wait to take it for a spin. It looks like a death trap, kind of, but it'll sure be nice to get the dogs in harness, albeit just two at a time. Oh well, better than nothing. Anyway, the pups are growing and getting very brave. They're at a really fun age right now and I wish they were stay like this forever. Work is great and getting really busy. OK, enough blathering. Photos and video to come.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Splashing the wine with all the rain dogs

I have found a new love. The blueberry wine from Bear Creek Winery. Oh. My. God. So good. 'Nuff said.
The winery is getting really busy now and it's been so much fun working there and getting know the many locals that come in. Rich and I love Homer and are here indefinitely. I have some really fun news about a potential sponsor, but have to wait until it's confirmed. We had a day off yesterday and wandered around the Spit, had lunch and then came home to play with puppies. Ruby, Cinch and Alice are almost eight weeks now and are huge! They are so much fun and so friendly. Summer's getting a little sick of their shenanigans so we'll probably take her out of the pen soon. Not much else new, just busy with work and dogs. Libby's coming home in June and we're hoping to take a tour across the bay to Seldovia. I heard from some tourists the other day that the tide-pooling over there is far superior...they poked an octopus out of its hole! I want to do that! Either that or go on a bear-viewing/flight-seeing trip across Katchemak Bay. Or maybe razor clamming in Ninilchik. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.
Here are Ruby (left), Cinch and Alice a couple days ago.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Feeble I was then, but now I'm grown

Lots of crazy stuff happening 'round here lately. First off, the fire. A week ago today, a downed power line started a fire down East End Road, just a few miles from us. The fire spread quickly through the dry grass and pines and within one day it was over 200 acres. We were on edge at the thought of evacuating our 18 dogs plus Libby's 40. But I had a pressing engagement up in Fairbanks on Thursday, so I took off as we thought the fire was under control. Six hours into my 12 hour drive north, Rich called saying the wind had shifted and picked up and the fire was out of control again. It spread to about 1,000 acres. We both got on the phone, he in Homer and me somewhere near Wasilla on the Parks Highway, and figured out trucks and help should he need to get the dogs out in a hurry. I continued on, got some loose ends tied up in Fairbanks and headed back to Homer on Friday, arriving in the evening to rain and cool temperatures. The fire was partially contained again, and the weather was cooperating. Yesterday they announced the fire was 100 percent contained. And so, life goes on.
On my way back to Homer, I stopped at our old place in Big Lake to visit with Greg and Chris and pick up a couple dogs. Maude and Mr. Lahey are sisters and two of four dogs that Greg is letting us keep and train and race and love. Thanks, Greg! We'll pick up Bubbles and Wayne on our next trip North.
Also while I was in Fairbanks, Rich got bored and picked up my big camera. I only had to explain a couple of things over the phone and he got to shooting. Turns out, he's got a good eye. So, here are some really great photos of the dogs that Rich took while I was away, followed by a couple shots from that first fire night and a bumper sticker I saw in my travels north that made laugh out loud.

This is one of Libby's yearlings. His name is Shaman and his eyes are speckled brown and blue. It's kind of creepy until you meet him. He's a big sweetheart!

This is Shaman with his sisters Feather and Diggity.

Our newest dog Maude.


Our boy Cinch.

Bully. I think Rich really captured his demeanor here. Calm, cool, wise and sometimes pouty...even though he's on the couch!!

I kind of liked this one. It's the fire as we drove by in the truck. Eerie

Smoky haze.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I spent a year in the mouth of a whale

Summer (the season, not the dog) has arrived!
Puppies are growing and growling, grass is greening, muck is drying, cranes are flying overhead, dogs are a little bored but soaking in the sun and well-deserved down-time, and the tourists are arriving in droves every day. Love it. Love Homer, love everything!
Libby has gone to her summer home in Juneau so now Rich and I are here with her 40 dogs and our 20. We get up early to make (strong) coffee, play a quick hand or two of cards them get busy with dog chores: feeding, watering, scooping (always with the poop!), fixing broken things, running dogs loose, playing with pups, cooking up fish stew, etc. I also feed Libby's fish and water her plants. Then we clean up and head to work at Bear Creek Winery (more on that in a minute) where we work between seven and eight hours, then home for another round of feeding, watering, scooping and dog canoodling before we head into our cabin to cook dinner and collapse into bed. Sometimes we watch an episode of The Wire, which we're loving at the moment, but usually I end up falling asleep partway through. I love being busy and exhausted from hard work.
Rich and I both landed a job at the local Winery, which has been the most amazing gig I've had in a while. Besides getting to sample all their berry-licious creations, I do wine tasting for guests, give tours of the winery and help make wine. It's so totally different then anything I've done in the past and the people, especially owners Bill and Dorothy, are amazing. The hours are good, the pay is good, the perks are better and I'm learning about something I had no clue about before. Visit them at They are open all year round and have a B&B too, with discounts for Alaskans. Rich builds things and does handy work around the winery and the compound and is loving being able to work outside and learn new skills (plumbing, carpentry, electrical, etc.) Once the outside stuff is done, he'll be Bill's apprentice wine-maker. Even though he said he doesn't like wine, I've been easing him into it, starting with the sweet stuff (strawberry rhubarb wine, blueberry wine and raspberry mead). He sure likes it now! It's hard not to, really.
Alice, Ruby and Cinch are growing like weeds. Here's a short video of them from today.
I'm heading North for a few days and will post photos of the winery upon my return home.