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.

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