Monday, October 17, 2011

An Alaskan Family Dog Sleds

Written by Jenny

In addition to splitting and stacking our firewood, putting the boat away , and digging out the winter  clothes our family has  been  eagerly anticipating  our new winter pastime…dog mushing.

In less than 10 days our  5 racing dogs will be in our very own back yard.

Yes, we really are that crazy.

Preparing for their arrival has been work. A  lot of hard, physical, wonderful work.

For the past several Sundays our family has been together scraping a perfect dog yard out of the birch grove next to our house. We’ve been digging trenches to lay wire for the lights we will need to feed the dogs and take them out for night runs. We have been pacing off the amount of space we need for each dog’s house. (18 feet.) We have been discussing how to best arrange the houses and where to put the path to hitch them to the sleds. We’ve been clearing and burning brush and roasting marshmallows on the fire.

Sunday suppers have become less complicated as we  push to finish just one more post, just one more bag of grass seeds planted.  Just one more swipe of the bulldozer to perfect the drainage.  

As we sit around the table savoring the moose steaks and mashed potatoes  we share our plans for the winter with the dogs.

Momma wants to skijor. Dad wants to camp in the White Mountains, the 11 year old dreams up his racing strategies , the 9 year old hopes to get a new fur mushers hat to keep her ears warm, and the 4 year old announces that someday she will be a  musher like her hero, Iditarod champion, Lance Mackey. Her lead dog will be named Cinderella.
After the dishes are done and the dirt from building has been cleaned away and the kids are asleep, my husband and I put on our boots and jackets and carry our glasses of wine out to the dog yard. We admire just how much we were able to do altogether on a Sunday afternoon, and sometimes, because we are silly that way, we like to jump on the dog sleds and pretend we are already out on that  moonlit trail .

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