Friday, November 27, 2009

So what we gon have - dessert or disaster?

We arrived, after a long series of long flights, in Albany yesterday. Thanksgiving. Of course in Canada we call it American Thanksgiving, but here in America they just call it Thanksgiving. We went to Rich's mum's brother's house where a whole heap of relatives and friends had gathered. Rich being home has garnered him celebrity status. But here in upstate New York, he's known as RJ. It's nice here, warm weather, nice peeps and lots of food and drink. My parents and sister and nephew are driving down today from Canada to spend a couple of nights here. Should be interesting. Rich and I brought two cases of wine from the winery, so that should help everyone get a little more comfortable. And by everyone, I mean me. Apparently Roy is doing fine with our friend Patty, though he got a little snippy with her Fletcher at dinner time. Other than that he's been infused into her couch. The other dogs are doing fine, she said. I miss them dearly but am actually enjoying a little time away. It's been a long time since I woke up in the morning and didn't have to think about dog chores. We're staying in a large rental house with a couple fireplaces, a jacuzzi tub and these strange little knobs on the sinks that when you turn, water comes right out of them like magic! This morning we've been watching the news with clips of crazed shoppers mobbing department stores for 'Black Friday.' It's crazy and a little scary. Today we're lounging around waiting for my family and a big list of more friends and family that are expected for dinner and visiting. RJ will be signing autographs on the pathway to the house later this afternoon.
Sunday we all part ways. Rich will head back to AK while I will jump in my dad's new truck and head to Canada for a couple of days before flying out of Syracuse on Thursday to head home and train, train, train the dogs.
OK, enough for now. More soon. Stay tuned, kids. I'll have plenty of stories from this ongoing saga.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ain't no love in the city

Last night, we were getting ready to hook up a team for the second time that day when Kelly came over to chat. 'Jason's gone on a run, but he hopes to be back before the storm,' she said.
Storm. The word made my heart skip a beat. Storm. I marched over to Kelly with sort of a lunatic glaze over my eyes. 'What storm? Storm? Did you say storm??' I was yelling now. Actually, it was more of an excited screech.
Now, if I hear that word before a race, it's more of a have-to-run-to-the-bathroom-every-five-minutes nervous excitement. But if it's during training, when we're been waiting desperately for snow, that word is music. So the storm came and is still here. We've got eight inches of snow so far. Jason's going out to break trail today and we'll have our first run on a sled tonight. We leave tomorrow for Anchorage and then Wednesday we fly out to New York for Thanksgiving with our families. I'll keep you posted on the chaos that will most definitely ensue whilst traveling the day before the holiday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hello out there, we're on the air

We're up! Spitfire Kennels is now online. Some of the pages are still under construction as I have to finish writing them, but click away and see what you can find. Thanks again to Don at Timber Bay Bed and Breakfast, for sponsoring us with the website.
Well, our slump is done. I want to thank Karen Ramstead for her advice. What a great dog driver and mentor. I took her advice and gave the dogs a day off and then a really fun day of loose runs and time in the house. Our training run last night was awesome! We flew! Capiche was in lead and didn't want to come home. She knows where home is but lead the team in the opposite direction to keep on going! Amazing. What a difference.
I was thinking of my Gran the whole time on last night's run. She had a stroke and was in the hospital. She's doing much better now and is expected to recover almost completely. But if I know my Gran, the original Spitfire, she'll recover 100 percent and then some! So, when Rich and I head to New York at Thanksgiving I'll take a couple of extra days to head North to Brockville to visit her. I know that most of you don't know her, but please send her happy thoughts. I know if she could, she would want to be up here in Alaska with us flying down the trails on the back of a dog sled! I love you, Gran!! See you soon!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I try to walk away and I stumble

It was cold here. Now it's not. We ran the dogs this morning in rain but now it's snowing. To be perfectly honest, the dogs and I are in a bit of a slump right now. We need to bump up miles but I'm worried about the dogs and their morale. We took a different trail today and the dogs did well and that seemed to perk them up a bit. Le sigh. Finding the perfect balance between keeping the dogs happy and motivated whilst maintaining and increasing their physical conditioning is, like, hard. Very hard. I'm struggling with that a lot these days. Of course, me being a bit down isn't helping the dogs at all as their moods play directly off mine.

On a lighter note, Don Cotogno is helping with our new website ( and it's nearly ready to be launched. Also, Lead Dog Mead is selling like hotcakes at the winery so that sponsorship should be coming in soon. Just in time, too. We're picking up a ton of dry food and several hundred pounds of meat in a couple weeks in Wasilla.

Random photos to follow.


Puppies!! Ruby leading the charge with big Cinch and lil' Alive behind.

Our dog-water source.

The yard.

Raven marks in the new snow...since I've been writing this it has rained and is now snowing again.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

If dreams were thunder and lightning was desire

Guess what's frozen?? No, not my heart. The trails! The mud bogs and puddles are frozen! Oh, happy day.
That's the most exciting thing I have to report. Oh! I got another sponsor. Lee Smith of Wasilla joined our team and it couldn't have come at a better time! We're making plans for ordering a few hundred pounds of meat and signing up for races this season, so yeah, we are very, very appreciative. Thank you!
We've been busy moving things around and getting dog-yard chores done before everything is buried in snow. It's a nice time of year.
Halloween was uneventful. I didn't dress up, though some woman said I looked 'very festive' and I had to explain to her that I wasn't wearing a costume. Sigh.
Everything else is great, especially- despite what some think - my fashion sense.