Saturday, November 14, 2009

It has been a terribly long time since I last updated this blog. Sorry.
I hope this makes up for it a little.

In August I went to the USA for a visit to folks, friends, and family. It was a little tough leaving Norway without Kaia, but I had a good time anyway. I brought a little puppy called Marge with me to Scott Bailey. She was from the good litter of pups born here in Lillehammer this spring. It is a hundred times easier to get a dog from Norway to the USA than it is the other way. Little Marge was a little rockstar. She was happy and relaxed when I picked her up and apart from barfing in Scotts BMW on the way to his house, she was a picture perfect little norwegian. She instantly fell in love with one of Scotts dogs, and now they are going steady, they sit together on the couch holding paws, and lick eachothers noses when they think no one is looking.

I worked a bit for Outward Bound while I was there. It was great to see everyone again, and i had a good time relaxing in Greenville...wait, did I say relaxing? It was busy in Greenville, but the people there were great.

Yoda has moved on to live with Jen for the moment. He is going to be a sled dog again this winter. Nickolai is thrilled to be reunited with his long lost brother, and they are running (and barking) together.

After coming back to Norway after a big hug from Kaia we went out training the dogs. our first training run was on the 1st of September, and was a smashing success. We trained our first run with several other mushers, and picked up two new dogs that we are borrowing for the winter. Brutus and Blåmann are brothers coming from Jan Frydenlund. We borrowed them because they are extremely talented lead dogs, and we were in terrible need of some good lead dogs. A few days later, we got a call from Steinar Dagestad, the local veterinarian. He had decided to run the Femund Race in 2010 along with his friend Bjørn, so they had built a kennel at Steinars house and borrowed 16 dogs from several of the good musher in the area. Steinar called us because the dogs were barking and his neighbors were starting to get upset. So we agreed that he should move his whole operation up to us in Mesnali. We sat down with Bjørn and Steinar and worked out an agreement, and within 24 hours we had 16 Alaskan huskies joining our ranks! The dogs quickly settled down at the kennel, and after a few days of work we had their new kennel finished, and they were relaxed and quiet. Bjørn and Steinar have been training up with us since that time and have been a great help and added a great new atmousphere to the kennel. Bjørn and i have been training together a bunch since he arrived, and it has been great having someone to train with after spending the entire winter training alone last season.

Mike Bateman has joined us as what Bjørn and Steinar jokingly call the "handlers handler". He has been here with us since the beginning of October. It has been great to have Mike around! He has been a massive help in the kennel, doing every bit as much work as I have done. The dogs took to him immediately, so his entrance into the daily scene here at the kennel was pretty seamless. Mike has been out training with me almost every time I have trained since he arrived. He has been doing a great job with training, showing remarkable patience when the dogs screw with him as "the new guy".

After several weeks of training it became clear that we did not have enough dogs for two teams this winter. So we went back to Jan Frydenlund and borrowed 3 more dogs and bought 1. The three we borrowed are 2 siberian huskies ( Santi and Comkom) and 1 alaskan husky (Splint). They have been great additions to the team.
The dog we took for keeping is Farmor (Grandma in english). She is a small grey dog and we have had a ton of fun with her. She and I decided that we really liked eachother on the first day, so we have become fast friends.
The other new addition is Stratos. Stratos was a puppy that I tried to get last winter. His owner decided to sell him to someone else so I did not get him. The person Stratos went to died in a work accident, so i was contacted and agreed to take him. Little Stratos is named after a candy bar here in Norway and is a really incredible little dog. He is full grown now, but is still on the smaller side, but is a really fantastic sled dog. So we have a great team this year! Our plan is to race in the Amundsen Race at the end of March. It is 480 km long, so a good start for us!

Today is the 14th of November and we have been running on sleds for the last week. That is the earliest I have ever seen snow.

Updates as events warrent.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Time and the living is easy.

Hey All,

The summer is in full bloom here in Eastern Norway. The weather has been warm and have used the time to get good tans and fish a lot of fish. The lake we live on has Pike and Perch in it, so we have had all of the whitefish we can eat since I started fishing in early June. In the last week I have pulled in two 3-4 pound Pike that were both over two feet long, (Herlig fiske!). Kaia, in her first three minutes fishing with me, caught a two pound perch. So the fishing is good.
The dogs are loving the fish also. They are doing very well. The little puppies are not so little anymore. Still very sweet, but full of energy and getting into trouble. If you are a shoe lace, the puppy kennel is not the place for you. Fenris and Freya have been hiking with us this summer, Fenris is proving to be much more adept at hiking with a doggy backpack than he has been as a sled dog.
Our doggy family has grown a bit again. Two dogs from this kennel have been given to us. Grim and Epo both ran with me last year in my distance team, and rather than see them leave the kennel, I asked to have them. They are very good boys and have established themselves in our team. Epo is named after the doping drug, and Grim means "ugly" in Norwegian. (We didn't name them).
My Norwegian is beginning to be pretty good. I can not yet talk of advances in medicine or rocket science, but I can have basic conversations and talk about dogsledding with no problems!
I will be back in the states on the 1st of August. Kaia is staying here to start her new job. I'm working again for Outward Bound for a few weeks when I come back, but I will make time to see everyone!
Cheers og Ha Det Bra fra Norge.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Summer is here finally. We have had some days in the high 80's and the dogs can go hours without moving a muscle. The sun us rising at 3:45 AM and setting at 10:42 PM these days. The new puppies are doing great. they have started to eat puppy kibble soaked in water, and have taken to toddling around their pens. We had a big work weekend at the kennel, and got some dog houses built and the new gate that Kaia and I built hung up, so things are starting to come together! Arne and Asbjorn are getting serious about preparing the kennel for competition in the 2011 world championship in open class sprint. The WC is taking place in Hamar which is where this kennel does most of its racing, so they seem confidant that the new puppies and possibly one more litter will set them up with two competitive teams.
Kaia and I are busy planting trees and amusing puppies. We took this past weekend off and went to Kaia's family's cabin to spend the weekend with Ingema, Bob, and Marie. Great fun was had by all, and George got some practice being a cabin dog.

We will be coming back to the States in the beginning of July. We will be there for a few weeks, so those of you back home can expect us to pop up!
Starting in early August, Kaia will start work at the Kindergarten and I will keep planting trees and begin the training training season with the dogs. We will start again in the mornings on the Four Wheeler. Kaia and I have big plans for doing a lot of fun stuff, with the dogs this year so hopefully it will snow early. Until then we are going to enjoy the sun and soak up as much vitamin D as we can before the sun sets for the winter.
Also! as soon as he is done sailing across the Atlantic our friend Mike will be coming to stay with us for a while. He has been a tropical guy for some years, so now he wants some quality winter time, and there is no place like Norway for finding quality winters.
Updates as events warrent.
Happy Summer,
Barry, Kaia, and the dogs.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


We are happy to announce the arrival of 16 new puppies at Lillehammer Husky Farm. All puppies are doing great, and both Moms are healthy and settled into puppy life. The first litter was born on the 1st of May with 9 puppies. Barry won the how-big-the-litter-is raffle and earned breakfast in bed. The second litter was born on the 4th of May and Kaia won dinner and dessert for guessing 7 as the number for that litter. The ice on Sørmesna lake is gone, and the yard is finally completely snow and ice free. The dogs are fat and out of shape, but enjoying their much deserved time off.
Barry started work planting trees and has found it to be as boring as he feared. He has stolen Kaia´s I-pod and plans to use that to break the monotony.
Kaia will start working at the kindergarten next week. She will only work a few days between now and when she starts her full time position there in August.
The dogs are doing very well. Sub-chief has completely healed from his run-in with a Malamute. Fenris has completely healed from his run-in with his food bowl, and Orions wounded pride has healed following an unfortunate falling asleep and then falling off his dog house roof incident.
Updates as events warrent.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

Monday, April 27, 2009

It is spring time now. With temperatures in the high 60´s and little snow left we have packed away the harnesses and sleds, and the dogs are enjoying some much needed down time. The winter was a great one. Kaia worked a little to much but otherwise our time was filled with little projects all dog related.
The team of dogs I trained for the Femundløpet race in February were a great team of dogs to train, and we had some really fantastic runs. The team and I were not ready for the race in february so I decided to withdraw and start focusing on creating a solid foundation for next years season. With the long distance plans shelved for the winter, I was able to spend a lot more time with the yearlings and the older dogs that had not been getting the attention the deserved. I spent all of february and march harness breaking the four yearlings and using the experienced older dogs to help settle the youngsters down. The big surprise of the season was Freya, who at only 16 months old turned out to be the best lead dog in the kennel after running most of the season in swing position right behind the leaders. One of the most challenging things for a lead dog to do is to find a trail that has been blown full of snow by a strong wind. After many hours of leading the dogs myself or even worse, breaking out the trail with a snow machine, I put Freya in lead and she led us for almost 10 miles on a lake with no percievable trail, finding her way by the feel of the snow beneath her feet. After that, Freya and Jedi spent a lot of time running together, building up Freya's confidence by running her with a very solid leader.
We had a great surprise around christmas time when five puppies joined our ranks. Calvin, Hobbes, Lille Spro, Chewy, and Satchel are nearly 30 lbs each now and have of course turned the damp ground in their puppy kennel into a No-Mans-Land mud hole. We moved them to another kennel to let theirs dry and they muddied up the other kennel. So despite our best efforts they look like little swamp creatures whenever it rains.
We topped off the season by giving rides to families effected by Cancer at the Monte Bello Center. We gave mile long tours of the lake that Kaia and I live on, on Easter sunday for children with Cancer. The kids had a great time and the dogs were perfectly behaved.
We have lots of work to do in the kennel this spring and two litters of puppies that will be born any minute so stay tuned for updates as events warrent.
Ha Det Bra fra Norge.
Cheers, Barry and Kaia