Sunday, August 29, 2010

End of Summer, In Gentler Valleys Roaming

Now moving to our winter blog:

End of summer...
It is bittersweet to bid adieu to Medio. The sweet side is that he was such a happy dog. Each day he led us through the trails, crossing back and forth. We hope that he is now "In Gentler Valleys Roaming."

Robert Service, "L'Envoi", 1909

And, so dear friends, in gentler valleys roaming,
Perhaps, when on my printed page you look,
Your fancies by the firelight may go homing
To that lone land that haply you forsook.

And, if perchance you hear the silence calling,
The frozen music of star yearning heights,
Or, dreaming, see the seines of silver trawling
Across the sky's abyss on vasty nights,
You may recall that sweep of savage splendor,
That land that measures each man at his worth,
And feel in memory, half fierce, half tender,
The brotherhood of men (and dogs) that know the North.

And , farewell Summer 2010. We move now to our winter blog,
Winter at Summer Place Kennel,
where soon we will share our days as we get back to hooking up and running trails, some of them new, and some in gentler valleys.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Medio, we miss you. Anchorage Bear Site.

Every hour we miss Medio, he was unique. Such a free spirit (which contributed to his run to the highway), but most gentle dog. He always came to the front porch when running and left his paw prints on the door, but not the night of the accident.
He loved to eat sunflower leaves, seeking them out for treats. When we walk he isn't with us as the advance scout for wildlife (bears). Such a loss.

Separate subject: this is the link to the site that reports on grizzlies in the urban Anchorage area.

You click on each bear's number and you'll see multiple colored markers of its sightings. Very interesting if you are treking the large trail system.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Medio, age seven, son of Skinny and Liller, sweet spirit of Summer Place Kennel, leader and pal of the five dog walking gang, gazelle like runner, was terrified of thunder. We had just repaired two gates he had ripped apart in storms this summer, but it was not enough to hold him in yesterday.
He tore his way out in a storm and ran into something that killed him instantly on the highway, early a.m. We are stunned and deeply saddened by this tragic loss , so sad. He had raced various sprint races and the Jackpine 30 with Julia. He was welcomed in any pen by any of the dogs.
He was a shy,special, sweet and wonderful dog, with unlimited endurance and speed. We love you and miss you, Medio. Godspeed!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Finally, a Break in the Heat; Hornets

With a rainstorm came a wonderful break in the heat and humidity. It was getting almost unbearable. Tonight it is 67, breezy and wonderfully cool.

Hidden on a bottom branch in a small maple tree was a very large hornet's nest, we discovered last night while mowing. A brave friend sprayed it and knocked it down today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Where are the Dogs?

It has been HOT, hot with high humidity. I've been feeding the dogs at 6AM to give me the cooler hours (before 10AM) to get the pens cleaned and the water pails scrubbed, rinsed and refilled. Each day the algae builds up and nothing is less palatable (to me anyway) than greenish water. Reasoning that we want them to drink a lot of water, we're scrupulous about clean water pails with cold water tempting them. The dogs have not overheated in this extended heat wave. Not the same can be said for the kennel human. The forecasts keep saying 'tomorrow cooler' and it doesn't happen. We hope it does happen tomorrow! (The dogs are tunneling deep into their self designed caves).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New Trails!

Many thanks to our loggers, Dennis and Dan, who spent the summer doing a select cut in the woods and finished it up with well groomed new trails, adding some miles and new challenging connections to our previous routes for dogs. The dogs will love being able to run through the woods on new explorations. It's still much too hot and humid to run with dogs so we'll just ride the trails until cool fall weather.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rain Rain Rain

As if the plumbing has gone awry, the rain is stored up until the sky can hold no more, then it falls in a deluge. My sunflowers are now ten feet tall, tropic like weather for gardens here in the north land this summer. The blackberry crop looks to be the best in a long while if it continues to get good rain.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In Full Swing

Summer is in full swing, heat, humidity, thunderstorms and a lot of lake activity for the family. The dogs are coping well, still digging deeper hideouts. They love the visitors who come up the driveway. The garden and the wild berries are loving the growing conditions, zucchini very early, even ripe blackberries already
(tons of them). The choke cherry trees are dripping with fruit.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Midsummer Heat

The dogs and the humans are finding a way to cope with the heat and humidity, but it is unrelenting this summer. Josie and Ruthie win the 'best excavator' award with their crater in their pen. Nighttime brings calm as the sun retreats and there's some relief. We keep adding shade tarps (even shower curtains). We spray the pens
to chase away flies, we treat them for flies and give them garlic sausage as a natural repellent. The pools and water buckets are cleaned and scrubbed each day so they'll drink fresh cold water.
Our day starts earlier so the dogs can get their free runs and walks before the hottest part of the day.
The grass and the gardens are growing faster than ever in this combo of heat/rain/humidity. Today we're craving rain again even though we've had deluges.
The wildlife come out of the shady woods to wander at dusk. We like seeing two does
with fawns, one set of twins, one single fawn.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


We took a six dog walk yesterday and they found a piece of pizza left on the trail.
Some critter must have been garbage digging elsewhere as we haven't recently had pizza here. Of course, the dogs gobbled it up.

More cat tracks too, but possibly barn cat tracks.

Photos: Frita, Medio and
Buddy with pizza; Lillen, Frita, Buddy, Skinny, Sierra and Medio on the six dog walk.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Bee, The Bear and the Full Moon

Last night the dogs howled their alarm at a black bear. I stepped out to see it and to shoo it away and a bee stung me inside my ear. The full moon was shining down, beautifully... the time of high jinx. The bear was unmoved by any noise we made, simply foraging his way along. Couldn't get a great photo but looks to be midsized.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bear in the Blueberries

The field camera caught these two photos in the ripe blueberries.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rains bring Rainbows and Berries

And more mowing. Rain, rain, mow, mow. We are trailwalking every day but soon we need to get out there, too, to mow.

The blueberries are party edible and same with the raspberries. My young granddaughter took a trail walk with her Mama and me yesterday, testing the berries.
The wildlife will have a nice feast. The apples are early, too.

More thunder yesterday but not too much reaction from the dogs. We had so much rain it filled the feed pails (five gallon).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cabin has new floor

We had to go away for a few days for new flooring to be installed. Skinny and Sierra went with me to the cottage. We are all happy to be back home to the routines. It was very hot/humid/rainy while we were at the lake, so the dogs were mostly inside with fans running, but they did enjoy their morning/evening walks.
We had a small dog visitor which enchanted both Skinny and Sierra.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rain and Drought

This is a portion of an article from the Iron Mountain Daily News...

IRON MOUNTAIN - The forecast calls for showers or thunderstorms, off and on, through the weekend.

We do still need the rain.

Despite a wet June, the western Upper Peninsula is the worst drought-stricken region in the nation.
"The total precipitation deficit at Iron Mountain from July 2008 through May 2010 was almost 18 inches," said Kevin Crupi, National Weather Service meteorologist at Marquette.

The months of January through May were the driest on record at Iron Mountain-Kingsford, following dry summers in both 2008 and 2009.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reports extreme drought over most of the western Upper Peninsula, including all of Dickinson and Iron counties and the northern half of Menominee. The extreme drought extends into bordering Wisconsin counties, including all of Florence, Forest and Vilas and the northern half of Marinette.

It is the only region of extreme drought in the continental U.S.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rain Thunder Rain

More rain and more rain. And last night thunder and lightning keeping the dogs wound up until midnight. We need new sand in their pens and I'm looking for a contractor to haul it. We have the sand, acres of sand. These last few rains have been forceful, creating furrows in our vulnerable driveway as well. It also slows up the loggers. We had such a long period of drought and we're making up for it now.
It's great for the plants and fields (not the farmers, too much already) and great for the dogs digging dens.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Summer Day

Today was a typical summer day, starting out with four dogs on a walk, inspecting all they found.
We cleaned pens, exercised every dog (free runs), mowed the grass that has grown from all the rain (no complaints), took another trail walk, changed all the water dishes, emptied the pools, gave meds, p.m. treats, etc....

Dogs in photos: Skinny (age almost 14), Sierra (14), Frita (10, recovering from surgery, and Medio, Skinny's 7 year old son, one of the fastest dogs in the kennel... unlimited energy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rain Rain

It has rained pretty steadily for four days. We dug new drains for some of the pens and the loggers had to suspend skidding the logs out for a few days. This spring has seen quixotic weather... one day feels like snow, next day so hot we can't stand it, dry, dry then deluges of water. The rivers are looking great again. But the pens are rivers too. No complaints, we prefer water to drought (compared to the 'big one' of the 1930's).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Trail Finds

I love to find surprises on the trail. Wildflowers; gone wild domestic flowers; rusted tin cans, an art form of its own; an old farmhouse foundation; heavy equipment; a feeding deer. Nature touches everything with beauty in some form.