March 29-
   
Well, here it is, the final entry for March 2009. In way's the month has flown by and in others it seems like it was a long time ago that it began. Seems hard to believe that it has only been 3 weeks and one day that we added Huck and Millie to our family. They continue to bond with Nora and I and become more and more of an integral part of our lives. In fact, if it were not for them, I would have very little to write about this week. The weather really did not provide much in the way of excitement. We dodged a lot of the rain early in the week. We actually picked up about a quarter of an inch of ice Monday night and then on Tuesday had some drizzle, but as far as rain goes, I think we did not even have anything that could be considered rain. We had about two inches of snow loss due to the above freezing temps Tuesday, but then by Wednesday, temps started to cool and were below freezing from Wednesday evening on. We did pick up about an inch of new snow on Thursday night/Friday and another inch or so on Friday night/Saturday morning. It melted off where there was bare pavement, but has stuck around on the snow. We still have around 2 feet of snow on the ground in our woods and the snowmobile trails from Mohawk north are still snow covered. You will likely encounter the small bald spot on a hill or corner, but there is still anywhere from 5-10" of base out there and I suppose some spots might still have more. Of course all the roads are bare, so getting to and from the towns is going to be a pain, but anyone wanting to ride still could. Just know it is spring conditions and until we warm up, the snow is rock hard.
    It looks like we will get some fresh snow this Tue/Wed, but just how much is a little up for grabs. The models are all differing on their opinion right now. Some say not that much (a few inches at best) and others say double digit accumulations could be seen. Right now I would either like to see double digit accumulations occur, or nothing. I am kind of ready for the snow to go and if we are not going to get enough to make it worth the effort to move and deal with as it melts, then we may as well not get any at all. The temps look to be cold enough this week that little in the way of snow loss will occur, so for those of you hard core spring riders coming up for one last weekend of riding, looks like you should be OK in this neck of the woods. I am up in the air as to if I will be heading out for any more rides. Obviously if we get some decent fresh snow, that will sweeten the deal and I might just head out. 
    So I have not been out on my sled since last weekend and other than tending to Huck and Millie, about the only other things I have been doing are my regular work duties, some things for the adoption agency in TX, a speaking engagement at Hancock High School and getting a new computer setup. The machine that I used as my main PC for work and this website was really starting to act weird and was starting to make life difficult for me. I am not sure if it is a virus or just some bad memory that is the problem. I am hoping it is just some bad memory and all I need to do is swap out some ram. I am still using the machine as a backup, but have moved all of my regular work duties to the new machine. It sure is nice to have the new machine! I had it custom built by a computer guy up this way. He has actually built three machines for me and all three work well and were setup just the way I wanted them. It is amazing how much stuff I had on the old PC. About 7 years of adding programs and files to it. Plus the entire website was on it. That is probably close to 50,000 files of one type or another, maybe more with all the images. In any case, it was a ton of work to get the new machine up to speed, but it is there now and it is nice to be running with a fresh set of legs. Hopefully this machine will last me another 5-7 years!
    I guess the rest of this entry is the Huck and Millie show. They continue to amaze and entertain Nora and I. They are growing up in more ways than one. Millie is fully house broken. She has not messed the house in over a week now and if she needs to go out will go to the door and let us know. Huck is a different story. He has his streaks where he will not mess the house for a few days and then like yesterday, he will go pee twice inside. Even after just coming in from the outside. We scold him when he goes inside and praise the heck out of him when he goes outside, so it will just be a matter of time before he is fully house broken. 
    We have been working on keeping them close to us. My biggest worry right now is that they can run right across the snow like it is solid ground and the road is not that far from the cabin. They can run very quickly and I would imagine that at an all out sprint could make it from the cabin to the road in under 20 seconds. We also will be spending lots of time in the woods and I do not want to have to have them on a leash, but there are times when they need to be called back to us, so having them stop their current direction and turn around and come on command is very important. I'd say Huck is about 95% of the way there with that and Millie has the stop feature down, but does not always turn right around and come when asked. We have made huge strides with them on this in the past few days though and if the current trend continues, then by next week at this time, they will have it down. Other than that, the only other things we are asking them to learn right now is to not chew on things that they are not suppose to (which includes humans) and they are getting pretty good at that.  Really, for only being 10 weeks old, they are pretty well behaved. In fact, I have seen dogs that were years old that were not as well behaved. The neat thing about a lab is they really seem to want to learn things and they especially want to please you. So our main method of scolding them is to be disappointed in them. They hate that and want to please so we are very quick to praise them when they do something good. I did the same thing with Burt and Baileys and never once struck them and they were very well behaved.
    Nora and I are excited for the snow to melt and the lakes to open up so we can take them swimming. I have a feeling the water is going to be a very strange thing for them at first, but once they see how much fun it is, we will not be able to keep them out of it. As mentioned, the snow is very hard right now and we all can go anywhere we want on it, walking across it like it is solid ground. Starting Thursday I took them into the woods and needed snow shoes to stay on top of the snow, but then by Friday could just walk across the snow like them. Nora joined us on Friday and then we all took a walk in our woods yesterday and today. The pups just LOVE to get out into the woods and explore. One spot that they seem particularly interested in is an old white pine that has taken it on the chin from a woodpecker. There is a bunch of wood chips at the base of the tree and the dogs spend quite a bit of time smelling things there. The woodpecker has really torn into the tree. It is still alive, but probably not for long as there are several holes dug into it that go pretty much into the center of the tree.
    It's neat to see the dogs be so adventuresome in their explorations too. Not that Burt and Baileys were chickens, but it seems like Huck and Millie are not afraid to go anywhere and are quite capable of getting there too. It's not just the smells that will grab the puppies attentions, but the sounds too. Here is Millie listening to something. The other thing that the dogs have started to do is to play chase with each other. Sometimes they chase is just a few seconds long and other times it will go on for a full 60 seconds. That does not sound too long, but keep in mind they are going full speed ahead and having to dart in and around the trees and other obstacles in the woods. A still photo of one of the chases just does not do it justice, so I took a video of one of their shorter chases.
    This next shot was taken to show how much snow is still on the ground up here, but unfortunately it did not give the representation I wanted. At any rate, it is also one of the puppies favorite things to do and that is to climb down into things and explore. By the way, the snow there was over two feet deep.
   As mentioned, the snow right now is rock hard. Even though it is at least two feet deep and in spots I rode with Skylar last week, three feet deep, I can currently walk across it like it is bare ground. That is kind of cool because Nora, the dogs and I have been walking all around our woods. The way things are right now, there really is not anywhere we cannot go. Even the areas that are a twisted mess of blown down trees and thickets are passable via foot due to the snow covering everything. I have wanted to blaze a trail from the cabin to a trail to be able to take the snowmobile and ATV down without having to go down the road at all and have used the current conditions to be able to blaze that trail. I will have to see what things look like when the snow is gone to see if it is a doable route, but at least I have it marked and can go from there. Since my shot of the dogs in the snow cave did not really show how much snow is still down in our neck of the woods, I did take a shot of a path that I keep clear that goes into the woods a bit. The burn barrel is the standard 3 foot one and is sitting on top of 10" blocks. I measured 28" there.
   So I think that about covers it for now. Hard to tell what the week ahead will bring, but I will try my best to capture it with the camera and share it all with you.
Good night from the Keweenaw..

-
JD-

This business directly sponsors johndee.com  

March 22-
    Some days I really struggle with items for the journal and then there are days like today when I hope I have the energy to get through all I have to talk about. I have three main subjects to talk about and probably some other sub topics will sneak in. I also have over 40 pictures to share with you, so maybe I can let them do a lot of the talking.
    My first main topic for the day is the Clean Snowmobile Challenge (CSC) that is hosted every year by Michigan Tech and sponsored largely by SAE International. This years event was the 10th annual event. The event started out in Jackson Hole/West Yellowstone and then in 2003 was moved to the MI Tech Keweenaw Research Center up at the Houghton County Airport. Around 5 or 6 years ago I went to the event on one of the days (it is a multi-day event) and found it interesting, but they were busy with some performance testing and I really did not get a chance to look at the sleds up close and what I did see was kind of weird. Many of the sleds looked more like a piece of space junk than a snowmobile. Other than the track, skis, handlebar and windshield, the sleds had all sorts of tubes, pipes or other contraptions sticking out of them and while I realized that these were all experimental machines, it was hard to picture them being used in any manner for a production sled.
    So I was interested to see what this year would be like and was amazed at how far things have come in the 5 to 6 years I have been absent from the event. All of the sleds look like regular snowmobiles from the outside, yet they all have some very high tech things under the hoods and some of them have some high tech things under the seats. I went to the event on Monday, which turned out to be a good day to go. All of the teams were there and performing last minute setups for the technical inspections. There are two categories for the competition, the sleds that run off of internal combustion (IC) and the sleds that run off of electrical power and are zero emission (ZE) sleds. 
    Not to downplay the hard work that the teams with the IC sleds have done or to make light of the huge strides that have been made in the IC sled arena, but I was actually most interested in the ZE sleds. I am sure that there are those that will argue this, but I feel that the ZE sleds are really the way of the future. It may be a decade or two before they are available to the general consumer, but I know that they are very close to being applicable to the research community for use in areas like Antarctica and Greenland, where they want to try and keep conditions as undisturbed as possible for their studies. Personally, I would not be surprised to see ZE sleds available to the consumer in under a decade. Maybe I am just dreaming here, but technology moves so fast (someone would have laughed their head off had you told them 10 years ago that cell phones of today would have 1000's of times more computing and storage capacity than the highest end personal computer of that day) that I believe current estimates for progress are almost always outdone by reality. I guess we'll see. Another reason why I am excited about the ZE sleds is the performance that they will be able to achieve. Electric race cars and race bikes are already blowing the doors off of IC cars and bikes and to have a sled that has all that torque right out of the box, through the whole power band and needs no gas or oil, plus to have that power available to you no matter what elevation or weather conditions you are in and to never have to worry about the engine blowing up, well, that sounds pretty awesome to me!  
    There were several ZE sleds in this years CSC and it seemed like each team with a ZE sled was looking for different performance traits from their sleds. Some were setup with speed in mind, while others with endurance and others with a blend of the two. Here is a picture of the ZE sled from Clarkston University in Potsdam, NY. You really can see the time that was put into the design of this sled to not only make it work, but make it look good. You drop the hood and you would never know you were looking at a sled that ran on electric power and produced zero emissions. Even the power supply for these sleds is cutting edge. Clarkston uses special lithium ion-polymer battery packs. Here is a shot of the new power packs compared to the old. I cannot remember the difference in power, but know that not only are the new packs smaller and lighter, but produce more power.
    Speaking of power, the University of Wisconsin-Madison had both a ZE and IC sled in the challenge. Their ZE sled makes 100 hp and has a top speed of 75mph, which they were hoping to get even more out of. The sled is more setup for speed and has a run time of around 20 miles right now, but it will recharge in around 60-90 minutes depending on the available power to recharge it. Plus I was surprised to find out that the ZE sleds are not way heavier than an IC sled and come in around 650-690. Still heavy, but not way
heavier! 
    Most of the ZE sleds were direct drive, meaning they had no "transmission" in the form of a primary and secondary clutch like a typical snowmobile would have. Although the team from McGill University in Montreal Canada had a ZE sled that still used clutches in it's drivetrain. As mentioned, all the sleds, including the electric ones, looked like regular sleds when the hood was closed. Some of them fancier than others. Here is the ZE sled from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology with it's hood up and with it's hood down
    The main limiting factor with the ZE sleds is the battery performance. That is improving with technology such as lithium ion. I can remember my first cordless drill would take 12 hours to charge and then go dead trying to turn in more than 10 screws. Today my cordless drill will recharge in about 60 minutes and sink 100's or screws. We still have a ways to go before the batteries will be able to power the sleds for what a consumer is looking for, but like I say, I have no doubt that day will come. In the mean time, the teams do have to come up with some inventive ways to store all the batteries needed to power the sleds. Here is one shot of the battery packs and here is another bank of batteries. That second one was the U of WI-Madison and contained 128 28 volt Milwaukee Tool Li Ion battery modules. Someday rather than having the cc displayed on the side of the sled, you will have the voltage!
    As mentioned, the CSC was not all about ZE sleds, in fact there were 5 ZE sleds and 11 IC sleds, so the majority of the competition is still with the internal combustion sleds. Most of the sleds in the IC competition start out with a production 4 stroke and go from there. The University of WI-Madison's entry was based on the Polaris FST platform. Others were also based on the four stroke turbo technology, while others like the sled from U of WI - Platteville utilized a 2004 Rotax 600 SDI, two-stroke engine. All of the IC sleds employed a catalytic converter to improve emissions, but that was not all. This years spin on the IC competition was that the sled had to run on flex fuels (bio fuel combinations). The teams did not know what the percentage the bio fuel would be, but the range would be from E10 to E85 (10-85% ethanol) and the sled had to be able to recognize what the blend was and automatically adjust it's fuel management to perform with what ever the blend was.
    Not only did most of the IC sleds have to be able to recognize and run on an undetermined flex fuel mixture and have lower emissions than a base stock sled, but they all generally perform better than the base sled as well. Most have work done to them to lower weight as well. I'm not 100% sure which sled this was, but I believe it is the one from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo Canada and is a Yamaha 4 stroke sitting in a MX-Z chassis, with a turbo charger.
    The hometown entry from Michigan Tech was based on a Polaris FST. One of the interesting things they did was to turn the heads around and have the intake in the front and exhaust in the rear. That allowed them to redesign the exhaust system on the sled. The MI Tech sled also had some custom parts like lightweight A-Arms. My last series of shots is of the sled from ETS. It's a French-Canadian team from Quebec and I did not interview them, but did take some shot of their custom paint job. Here is the right side panel, the left side panel and the front of the sled.
   As mentioned, I was really impressed by not only what these sleds can do, but also their looks. There is some very important technology coming from these events. I got the chance to talk to Jay Meldrum who is the Master Scorekeeper and the one who is sort of the main organizer of the event for the KRC and he said that the ground breaking direct injection technology used in the 2009 Ski Doos was a result of technology born at the CSC. The DI idea was not born at the event, but the team from the University of Idaho were the first to make it work on a snowmobile and Ski Doo was so impressed by what they saw, they utilized it in their production sleds and several members of the Idaho CSC team that worked on that sled are now working for Bombardier. So it's gone from a gathering of some students and their experimental contraptions to a competition of high tech, ground breaking, technological wonders and I hope I keep getting invited back, because I sure want to keep up with things to see all the latest ideas to improve our activity/sport. My thanks to Jay for inviting me up to see things this year.
    The second topic tonight is the latest episode of the Huck and Millie show. They sure are a couple of great pups. They are pretty much fully housebroken. Neither has had an incident in the past 2 days and Millie is incident free for the past 3-4 days. In fact I believe that in the past 10 days or so, she has only messed the house once or twice. I am not expecting them to be incident free from here on out, but it is nice to know that they are very close to the point where we will never have to worry about them messing the house again. Some other milestones for them is to fully understand what "no" means. They may not always heed that request, but they understand what it means and do stop whatever they are doing about 85% of the time with one saying of the word.
   One of the other things I have noticed with them in the past 3-4 days or so is their bonding with us. When we first brought them home, they would play with us and had a certain level of attachment to us, but for the most part, Nora and I were just another vehicle to have fun with. In the past several days I have really noticed them growing more and more attached to us and making us a big part of their world. I feel like we are now considered a critical part of their life and it just feels like we are one big family now. Or in their eyes, one big pack.
    For the most part, they still have just two speeds- off and full speed. Although in the past day or two I have started to see some middle ground. They have had a few moments where they were content to just sit and take it all in. They have been having lots of fun exploring the property. The snow piles are shrinking, but some of them are still very large and they seem to really like to climb on top of them. They are getting bigger, but are still small enough to be able to climb into some pretty small spaces. On Tuesday, they were particularly rambunctious and found their way underneath the wood pile. Not the pile of wood that was cut and stacked for us to burn, but the pile of wood that consists of logs still 8 feet long and anywhere from 8-24" in diameter. They climbed way inside, finding a spot where the logs did not come together very closely. I actually got worried and started calling them. Within about 10 seconds Millie appeared, army crawling out from inside the pile. I kept calling Huck and could hear him rustling inside the pile and then even heard him whine. It was at that point that panic set in. I was worried that in his rush to get out, he took a different way and was now stuck. There really would be no way to safely get down to him. We could have brought a logging truck in and lifted the pieces off with the clam shell, but if the pile shifted even slightly, it could crush him. After what seemed like hours, but was really only about 20 seconds, he appeared out of the pile, army crawling on all four to freedom. Needless to say, they do not get to go down into the pile anymore!
    One of the more harmless confined places that they like to play is inside the stairs to the deck. In fact, Millie will climb all the way underneath the deck and romp around. Poor Huck is a little bigger and does not fit as well, so he will climb up onto the deck and try and follow her around from up there. It's really a funny sight to see. They are getting around better and better and are getting very coordinated. It seems there are very few places that they cannot go and are even good at scaling vertical faces of snow. They are also discovering that their snouts are a pretty good tool for discovery. They have picked up on the scents of animals that roam the woods near our house and here they are sniffing out a squirrel's tracks. I am also proud to report that we have two Labrador Retrievers that actually retrieve! To be fair, Burt would retrieve a stick thrown into the water all day, but other than that, neither Burt or Baileys was much interested in playing fetch. The instinct to fetch is alive and well in Millie and Huck. I think it is so cool how that is just in their blood and does not need to be taught. I just tossed the ball and both will run out, pick it up and bring it back. They do not seem to have a strong fixation to fetch, which I am fine with. I have known some dogs (mainly labs) that once you get them started fetching, they will not let you stop. I hope to not have dogs like that. A game of fetch is fun a marathon- not so much.
    On Wednesday evening, Nora and I headed down to the Keweenaw County Courthouse in Eagle River and took the puppies with us. I figured we could take them for a walk down that way and Nora said we should take them over to see the deer herd. It's quite the herd they have down there this year. I have never seen so many deer in that spot since I moved here. I would guess that there are at least 100 yarded up and maybe more. Huck and Millie took a keen interest in the deer and were content to watch them move around for at least 10 minutes. The deer seem to be fairly used to automobile traffic and we were able to get nearly eye to eye with one. We did take the puppies for a walk and ended up near the beach. The wind was blowing pretty good, so we did not linger in the exposed area of the beach front too long, but I did snap a shot of the still ice covered lake. Before leaving town, we swung by the falls to have a look at them. With the warm weather of late, the creeks and streams are starting to run pretty good and that combined with some lingering ice at the falls made for a neat view.
    The last main topic of discussion for tonight was my rides with Skylar this weekend. He arrived on Friday afternoon and once I was done with work for the day, we took off for a ride. There are several things nice about spring riding. Among them is the warmer temps and lack of other sleds, but also the fact that is stays light out until almost 8 pm. That meant that even though Skylar and I did not head out to ride until around 2:30 in the afternoon, we could still get in what would be considered a full day's worth of riding.
    The snow is very set up and even the steepest of hills are not much of a challenge, so the main thing to do now is to just explore. It is very difficult to get yourself into a pickle out there, so you can go just about anywhere you want without fear of not returning. We did hit the trail for a brief time and found them to be in excellent shape Friday afternoon. There had been almost no traffic up here during the week and the groomers were able to get out and fix things up from the busy weekend we had. Here is a shot of Skylar and our rides
    One of my missions for the day was to try and find my lost helmet cam. The day that Teddy picked up his new sled, a bunch of us went out and rode and I lost my helmet cam. I knew the spot where it was most likely to have come off- a spot where we ran out of trail and just picked our way through the woods for a while. I figured that with some of the snow melted, I might be able to come across it, so we headed for the spot, but were not successful in our search. I have not given up the search. I doubt I will get back out there on a sled, but will so a search or two via ATV.
    There is still a considerable amount of snow in the woods. Some spots more than others, but at the low end, we came across about 2 feet still on the ground and at the high end around 3 feet still on the ground. Here is one of those spots with at least 3 feet still on the ground. As mentioned, you can go just about anywhere you want and here is Skylar getting ready to drop into a steep river ravine we had to cross in our travels Friday afternoon. Our explorations on Friday led us to some areas I have never been and we also discovered some routes I was hoping to find this season. They will be nice to be able to use in the future, but will also be saved for the right situation where I know I can take someone though and have the spot remain a secret.
    At times on Friday we were traveling in spots that no one had been in several weeks. We have not had enough snow in that time to fully cover any tracks and these spots had no tracks at all. Other areas were pretty well worn and with the snow still being very firm, both Skylar and I were glad to have ice scratchers. Kind of weird to be using them off trail, but they came in very handy! On the way home Friday, I had my drive belt basically explode. Amazing how they can just disintegrate. Thankfully it was not too cold and I had a plastic bag to put all the pieces in and we were back on our way in about 10 minutes.
    There was talk of the gang getting together to ride on Saturday, but then that never came to be, so after going to town to pick up a spare belt and some other items, Skylar and I headed out on our own for Saturday's ride. We did pick up about 1 1/2 to 2" of new snow Friday evening, so that was nice for getting from my driveway to the trail. The day was heavily overcast and just seemed like one of those lazy days. That was reflected in our riding Saturday as we took a mix of trail and bush up to Lac La Belle, had lunch and spent about 2 hours talking with owner Troy. We then took the bush all the way back from LLB to our house. Along the way we passed by a friends camp out in the woods and snapped a shot of one of his out buildings still covered in about 3 feet of snow.
    We made it back safe and sound Saturday evening and had a nice dinner with Nora. We watched some of the video from out west this weekend too and with all the talk of high marking, Huck decided he would give it his own try and put his own high mark on the bank of snow. We figure with a little tuning and maybe a few more dog powers, he will be able to put a mark at the top!
    I can add that the trails on Saturday were in worse shape than we found Friday. Not as bad as they could be, but they were pretty full of moguls, with the exceptions of the west LLB loop. I guess most folks are not heading down to LLB and are sticking to the main trail, because the west LLB loop was flat and white, while the main trail was bumpy and getting dirty. I wish I could say how much longer our trail system will hold up, but things can change in a hurry this time of the year. The sun is getting stronger and stronger and just when you think you still have at least a few days left with decent snow on the trails, it is gone the next day. Our weather looks to be above freezing through Wednesday, with some rain starting up Monday night or Tuesday and continuing into Wednesday. There are then signs of a rather large snow storm for later Friday and into the weekend. In fact some ideas are for the biggest storm of the season, with 1-2 feet of snow possible. Still a long way off to have much faith in, but will be my main focus this week. I am ready for the snow to go, but one more day with powder over the hood would be nice too!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-
JD-
March 15-
    It sure seems hard to believe that it has only been a little over a week that we have had Huck and Millie bless our house with their love, energy and entertainment. With all that has happened with them in the past 8 days, it seems like they have been with us a lot longer. In fact, the memories of what it was like to have a still household are fading fast! No complaints though. They are a bundle of energy, but are good for their age and a ton of fun. Just now as I was typing, I heard the TV go quiet and then the pitter patter of paws running up the stairs and then a few seconds later, Nora ask if one of them had the remote and sure enough one of them had grabbed the remote, causing the TV to change channels or turn off and then they ran up the stairs. You just have to laugh and the stuff they do.
    They still only seem to know two speeds, full blast and off. When awake, they just go and go and go. They just cannot sit still for one second. They do sleep and when they sleep, they sleep hard. I think you could light their tails on fire and they would not care a bit. It is during those quiet moments that both Nora and I will scurry to get things done that we need to and then get ready for the supervision to resume once they awake.
    We did take our first family picture this week, it was actually for our adoption portfolio, but still the first shot of all of us together. We took a few, but in every one, the dogs were looking at the camera, it was Nora and I that had the problems in the others.
    It has been a week of firsts for them too and I am sure that this coming week will also prove to be a week of some first for them. We had some snow and a lot of wind earlier this week and there was no school on Wednesday, so Nora got to stay home and after their morning romp, they started to quiet down and get ready for their nap. So we introduced them to the bed. We had debated whether or not we were going to let them up on the bed and figured that sooner or later they would find their way up there, so we broke down and let them up. We only let them up there when we are napping and they still sleep in their "night-night" (crate) at night, or when no one can be with them on the bed. Nora and I are being very careful to not let them do anything now that we do not want them to do the rest of their lives. We did not mind having Burt and/or Baileys on the bed at times and will be OK with Millie and/or Huck too.
    It also seems like every day they find some new adventure or thing to do to keep themselves occupied. One day it is to climb under a chair and play and the next it is to climb the stairs and play. They now have no problems running up and down the stairs, so I have frequent visitors stop by when I am up here working. The other day, Millie came up and laid down right across my feet, it sure stirred up some memories of Baileys as that is exactly what she would do every time I sat down at my desk to work. They have more similarities to Burt and Baileys, but also have their differences and are and will always be treated as their own selves. I was a little worried that I would fall into a trap of comparison with them and Burt and Baileys, but it is not happening. I see the similarities occur when they do, but I do not compare them or judge them to Burt and Baileys at all. That has actually happened without me even trying and I am glad it happened that way. Burt and Baileys were super special dogs and hold a place in my heart that will always be filled by them. Huck and Millie are their own selves and are finding their own special place in my heart that will be theirs to keep forever.
    As mentioned, they do have their quiet times and sure are cute when they slow down. They enjoy going into their night-night to take a nap or to go to bed for the night, which I am also happy for. They have never messed their crate and really identify it as their special place to go to lay down and rest. We had been just putting some soft towels in there for them, figuring that if they did mess in there, then it would be easy to clean the towels. With them never messing the crate, I got them a nice bed for their night-night and they like it.
    The other day, they were exploring the woods behind the cabin and discovered where a squirrel has made a home in the snow and spent a good 15 minutes with their heads stuck in the snow, trying to get at what ever it was they were smelling. I have a feeling that this is going to become a no-squirrel zone pretty quickly!
    Another one of their firsts this week was to discover how nice it is to lay in the sunshine on a cold winters day. It was still cold out on Thursday and after they came in from being outside for a while, they went over by the sliding glass door in the front and laid in the sun like a couple of old dogs.
    I have been having so much fun watching them explore and discover all the things around them. They have about a dozen play toys and that number seems to grow by a couple every few days. But it is not always the store bought toys that fascinate them the most. Sometimes it is not even a toy at all. They played with that broom for a good ten minutes and finally I had to go in, so I had to take it away and put it up where they could not get at it. For the most part they are really good. They know their names and are somewhat housebroken. I say somewhat because they still have the occasional accident. They have never gone poop in the house- ever, so we are pretty much just having to soak up some pee off the laminate floors every once in a while. They do go to the door to let us know they have to go potty, but then every once in a while, they just squat and pee without any warning. Even though it is not too big a deal to clean up, it will be nice to have them fully house broken.
    We took our first walk today. It was in the mid 50's and sunny and just a perfect day for a walk, so we drove out to a country road that is about 2 miles long, is a dead end and only has one house on it, so it does not see much traffic. Even though we knew we did not have to worry about cars, we still hooked them up to leashes. That was a new experience for them, but they took to it pretty well. We walked about 1/2 mile and then turned around and by the end, they were tired. They both fell asleep on the way home and once at home they took a nice long power nap. It felt really good to be walking with dogs under foot again. I know I am looking forward to having some partners for exploring the woods up here again. it's been too long since I went exploring on foot.
    Before sitting down to write today, the pups woke up from their power nap and were full of energy. They romped inside the house for a while and then we went outside and they ran around the cabin for about another 30 minutes. With the snow so setup, they can just walk right across it and go where they please. They really like sticks and trees and that is good, because we have a lifetime supply of them just on the other side of the door for them.
   In other news... I briefly touched on our weather, but we did have a bit of a storm up here Tuesday and Wednesday. It snowed all day on Tuesday, but we only picked up an inch or so of wet snow. The main event was suppose to hit on Tuesday night and that is when the main brunt of the snows did hit, although we did not get as much as was thought. I had predicted 6-10" for the general area and we picked up around 4.5-5.5. So we were close to the low end of the range. Had the storm tracked about 50-75 miles to the east, we would have picked up about 10-12" and had the lake been open, Wednesday we would have seen another foot of lake effect occur. We did see lake effect fall all day on Wednesday, but only picked up an inch or two more. The winds then kicked in late Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday and at times blew over 50 mph. That was the reason for the snow day up here and it was cold too. Single digits all day on Wednesday and we made it to 10 above on Thursday. So my front of house shot from Thursday was still a very wintry one, and included Huck and Millie for the first time too.
    A while back, I had made plans to ride with friends on Thursday, so I was hoping that we would have seen more snow fall with the midweek storm, but we did get enough to freshen things up a bit and at least give the appearance that we had some fresh powder to bust. In reality, we had about 4-5 inches of snow on top of a hard pack base to play in, which is better than a hard pack base only. With the snow so setup, you can go just about anywhere on it with a sled and we tried just that on Thursday. Most of our mission on Thursday was to find some hills to climb and we found them. I got bored climbing them straight up, so I started side hilling them. At one point I bit off a bit more than I could chew, or perhaps a bit more than the sled would stay upright on and ended up getting tossed off the sled and thrown down the hill around fifteen feet. The sled ended up just about upside down and came to rest against a tree. It did not hit it, just came to rest against it. Pretty neat how those EFI's can run while upside down!
    I also had made plans a while back to ride on Saturday. The plan was for me to ride up to Phoenix and meet up with the others and then ride the backcountry the rest of the day. We did break the freezing mark on Friday and there was sunshine and quite a bit of traffic too, but the groomers got out Friday night and we also dropped back to below freezing and my ride up the trail to Phoenix on Saturday morning was on a really nice trail. Flat and rock hard. I was glad I had ice scratchers to keep things lubricated and cool.
    My riding partners on Saturday were Bruce and Dan from Rt 12 Arctic Cat. Those are the guys that were generous enough to give me the M8 to use for the season, so I was glad to be able to repay them a bit by taking them out into the woods for ride. We mostly rode north and found our way to Lac La Belle for lunch. Then it was back into the woods to ride some more. The manager at Lac La Belle Dave had told us about a snowman he and others build out in the sticks a few weeks back, so we made it one of destinations to see if it was still standing. We made it and it was. The lost snowman of the Keweenaw.
    On the way back we took the trail part of the way and the bush part of the way. The traffic this weekend was heavy. In fact it was busier up here this weekend that at any other time all season. Combine that with the fact that the temps actually found their way to 55 degrees on Saturday with clear skies and that would be enough to take the perfect trails I was on Saturday morning and turn them into a mess. I was actually surprised to find them in not that bad of shape Saturday evening. They were by no means perfect, but a little 6 inch chop is about all we found in our travels. It got to below freezing again last night, but made it into the mid 50's again today, so I have no idea what the trails look like now, but there is still plenty of base, so with traffic dying off during the week and some grooming, they should be able to make somewhat of a recovery. We look like we will remain warm until around Wednesday and then cool off. No new snow to speak of, so things will not be great from here on out, but should not be a disaster either. The warmer temps actually were about the best thing that could have happened to the backcountry- short of a dumping of 12+" of snow. The warmer temps softened up things out there and I can say it was nice to be able to stop and sit comfortably and chat! This winter has been too cold. We did not have too many rides when you could stop and chat and not freeze your fanny off. 
    So it looks like spring riding has arrived. Quite honestly, I feel like I have gotten my fill. I feel that I do not have to ride the rest of the season, but should the opportunity present itself in the right circumstances, then I would get out. In fact I am sure that our group will be getting together for that one last spring ride before we gas up the ATV's and take them out for the first ride of that season.
    With spring right around the corner, it is also time to focus some attention on the Laurium Glacier. I will be starting up the guessing contest for when the giant snowdrift that I have nicknamed the Laurium Glacier will be melting. That will start tomorrow at around 9 am in the Misc. section of the General Discussions. So start your calculations now and have your guess ready!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

-
JD-
March 11-
    Togwotee 2009, Chapter 2-
    Day three started much the way that day two did, with a monstrous group and plans to try and break into sub groups. We started the day riding in some sunshine, much like the previous two days, but then clouds rolled in and it started to snow a bit. Not heavily, but still nice to see the flakes falling. Dave, Brian, Al, Dave G, Bob and I did break free from the main gang for a while, while Rick filmed the Yamahas. I had my helmet cam going and we played on some hills ourselves. Nothing too big, but lots of powder on them as well as some trees. I suspect the trees is what kept other off of them and allowed us to be able to have the untracked snow to play in. We did have a few stucks and here is a shot of Brian's Green Kitty stuck in the snow.
    We hooked back up with the main group for a while and ended up going by this old cabin and outhouse. I have been past that cabin several times, but I took a pic of it to illustrate how much snow is down out there. When you are riding, it is hard to tell, until you come across something like that and see that you are riding across 4-5 feet of snow, even though it may be pretty packed down.
    We were able to find some fresh fields of powder though and Dave even made a 3 leafed clover in the snow. I asked why it was not four leafed and he said he should have made one of those too! We played on some more hills and then started to head back as one giant group when one in the group started to have troubles making it up a hill that also needed a bit of a sidehill to get up as well. Dave drove up to help and got the sled and rider out of the pickle they were in, but then decided to ride down into the bottom of the hill where a snowed in creek bed sat and ended up sticking it pretty good himself. Here is a shot from up top.
    Day four started out with clear skies and a bit more of a chill in the air than the other mornings. There was snow in the forecast off and on for the day and that is exactly what happened. At times it would be coming down heavily and at other times the sun would be out. Typical mountain snow showers. Rather than go out as one big group, the boys from the Keweenaw as well as Lefty and Chuck decided to just head out on our own. Lefty is a guide for another lodge out there, so we entrusted ourselves to his talents and he showed us a great time. It was nice to be in a smaller group for the entire day and not have to worry about getting back to a rendezvous spot at a certain time. Plus with the smaller number we had, we were able to get around much better.
    We had a mix of hill climbs and boondocking and even a bit of jumping on our ride Wednesday. We can't forget about the stucks either. However, I think that was Brian on his way up to help Matt out of a stuck and not Brian stuck. At one point we came across a creek that needed to be crossed. It was still flowing, so you had 4-5 foot tall banks on either side of it so you did not want to end up in it. One of the ways across was just to ride up to it slowly and then bunny hop across it, which is what Al, myself and a few others did. The other way was to side hill above the creek and then get to a spot where the snow covered the creek and cross there. At least in theory you would cross there. Here is a shot of Lefty and Brian digging out Lefty's sled at the creek crossing.
    At one point during the day it really started to come down. Here is a shot of me in the heavier snow squall. Here is Lefty and Bob and here is Matt helping Chuck out of a little pickle. We did find some fun hills to play on. Some of my favorite ones are almost like ski hill runs. The are not straight line shots up, but also are not sled wide shoots through the trees. So you do have to have a bit of technical ability to work your way to the top, but also can tackle the really steep terrain because there is enough space to run at full throttle. Here is a shot of one of those ski run type play areas. Here is a shot of Pat heading up one of the hills and here is Matt stuck watching Pat climb. This particular spot gave us both the high hole and the tin horn doe the day. Pat got stuck way up high on that climb and then once Matt got unstuck, he rode up to help Pat get unstuck and had his sled roll on him. Had Matt not been able to grab his sled after two barrel rolls, it would probably have been the death of his sled as there was a steep slope and a lot of trees where the sled was rolling into. It was also the end of the day, so those two episodes pretty much sealed the deal for the trophies for the day.
    Day 5 started out with a bit of fresh snow on the sled and some snow in the air. Not a ton of fresh snow overnight, but what is at the lodge is not always representative of what is up in the hills around the lodge. I know that we have had just a few inches of snow fall while at the lodge, but then have found snow over the hood in some spots not too far away, but higher up. That morning, Brian found Dave doing a little bit of last minute tuning to his sled before the ride and Dave was very adamant the whole trip to point out that he was riding just a "600". Of course few were able to buy into the fact that it was just a stock 6. As that was going on, Rick and Deb from Dobson Entertainment rode by, so Brian snapped a shot of them heading to the cabin to get ready to ride.
    We all went out as one big group again, but ended up splitting into smaller groups once out there. We were able to find some spots with some pretty good snow in them. By Thursday, it had been snowing off and on for 2-3 days and the lodge had picked up around 3-4". As I mentioned, you are likely to find some deeper snow out there than the lodge gets and we did find some pretty deep stuff in spots Thursday. Matt found a spot where one could jump a creek and with the soft snow to land on the opportunity to get some decent air was there. So he got Rick to get over there with his camera and the jumpers in the group took turns getting some air. As you can tell, Matt got a bit higher than I was anticipating in that last shot. Here is a video of Matt taking another jump.
   With the deeper powder, it did afford for some stucks. Here is Al's 900 buried in the snow. Ahh, but it's not what you might think. It was not Al at the helm of his own sled. It was Brian. For that one, Brian got the high hole and for letting Brian ride his sled, Al go the tin horn.
    The last day of riding ended up being one with most of the Keweenaw Boys as well as Lefty and his buddy Mark all going out as one group and the others going as their separate group. Our group was even smaller than the day before, as Matt, Pat and Chuck decided to go with the other group. So we were even more nimble than on Wednesday. Lefty led us again and we went and played in an area that I actually spent a whole day in with the guide Carter my first trip out there. The area has tons of little paths through the woods and occasionally they break out into meadows of differing sizes. We spent more time in the woods than the meadows. There were some rather challenging hill climbs through the trees. Here is a shot of Dave stuck and here is my sled stuck on a different run. Here is a pic showing the path I took before getting stuck.
    The highlight to the ride on Friday had to be a little ravine that Lefty took us into. Things were going pretty well until we reached a point where a fallen tree blocked our way any further down the ravine. Rather than try and turn 7 or 8 sleds around in the ravine and ride out, Lefty and a few others at the front of the pack did a little reconnoitering on foot to find a way around the tree. They found a way, but it did include a nearly vertical drop of about 30 feet with a 90 degree turn at the bottom to avoid hitting a big old pine tree. The first three sleds made it down OK and here is a shot of Dave and I making out our wills before we headed down the hill. Here is Bob getting ready to take the ride. Everyone made it down OK and one of the rewards to taking a path that only someone with a few screws loose would take is a meadow with some untouched powder in it
    We actually found quite a bit of fresh snow on Friday's ride and I would have to say that with the size and members of our crew along with the snow conditions, Friday's ride was the best of the 6 days. Lefty did a great job leading us through the backcountry and as long as you knew when not to follow him, you did just fine. All joking aside, to follow him and watch him ride with just one arm is really something. He does things better with one arm than about 95% of the riders I have seen with both arms. 
    I was really happy how my sled ran out there. I did end up making some modifications to it. I was put in touch with Dustin from SLP and he recommended one of their Y-pipes, pipes and exhausts, as well as some V Force 3 reeds and a high-flow air intake. I did not ride the sled here in the flatlands with the mods on it, but can say that the HP it made out west was equal or perhaps even a bit more than it made here at home stock. It carried me to make some high marks and quite honestly if it did not leave the high mark, it was not the sleds fault. I am actually pretty excited to see how it runs back here with the thicker air. Not that it needed any more power for this elevation, but more power is never a bad thing!
   Time was running out on us on Friday, but we found one last area to play in and Brian managed to get his sled stuck. Actually we gave him a hard time about riding a green sled and bring a tree hugger. Here is a shot of Bob coming to the rescue, well sort of and here is one of me on the M, getting ready to head back to the lodge after a six day romp in the hills of northwest Wyoming.
    All in all, it was another great trip. A few things could have been different to make things better like a smaller riding group, but we managed. The snow was not the best that we have encountered out there, but was still ample enough to have lots of fun. I would like to extend my gratitude to Jeff, Ben, Rebecca and the rest of the crew at Togwotee Mountain Lodge. We were all taken care of extremely well, including being well fed and well watered. I just can't imagine someone going out there and not having fun.
    Back home, we had a storm last night. It ended up giving us the low end of the expected totals, but will freshen up the trails and backcountry. I have some plans to ride, so was hoping for more, but will make the most of what we have. There is still around 3 feet of snow on the ground up here, so there will also be some fun spring riding to be done. My fingers are getting a little numb, so I think I will sign off for now.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

March 10-
    Going to get a start on the Togwotee 2009 trip recap tonight. I am not sure if I will be able to tell the whole story in one sitting and believe that the past few years it has taken two entries to cover the entire trip. I was hoping to get an earlier start, but went to the eye Dr today and they put those drops in that dilate your pupils and mine are just now starting to get back to normal. Looks like some reading glasses are in store for this old Buck, but that is the reason why I went to him in the first place. The small print got too small for me to read! Nothing wrong with my eyes, other than normal wear and tear and a bit of far sightedness.
   Anyway, as I mentioned in the previous journal, things went well out west. Snow conditions were not the best, but still good and combine that with the awesome terrain and it is pretty much impossible to not have fun when you go there. Like Dave once said, if you go out there and don't have fun, it's your own darn fault and he is right on. We have had fun with powder over the hood, 6" of fresh, a foot of mashed potatoes and hard crust. This year we had a few new riders to the group and a few regulars that did not make it. We lost Luke and Ken and gained Bob and Pat. We also gained a dozen or so more somehow, but not to our specific group, but to the gang that all heads out with our group. The first day of riding found us with something like 20 in our group, which is basically beyond the size that can be handled realistically when riding off trail.
    The solution is to basically break off into smaller, more manageable groups and go play, so that is what Dave and I did pretty much right off the bat. We found a nice hill to play on and took turns heading for the top. It is actually a hill that we used in a previous year with the Tetons in the background. After playing there for a while we decided to head back to the main group and see what they were up to. Seems they found a nice cornice to drop off of and were filming some footage of those daring enough to drop off it. Here is a shot of Matt dropping off the cornice. I don't think it was on that particular spot, but on another drop, Nick overshot the landing a bit and landed on the flat and not the downslope and ended up breaking his back. He did not find out until the next day when he went to the hospital and actually ended up riding the rest of that day, but the poor guy, for the second time in 3 years he was out after day one. Here he is sporting his tricked out back brace. Matt also ended up re-injuring a torn shoulder on the first day and had to nurse things a bit the rest of the week, but was able to ride every day. Even Dave had a casualty on day one, but it was not with his body, but rather his sled. He busted his steering post. They rigged up a tow for his sled and luckily he has some good welding skills and was able to borrow a welder back at the lodges shop and got things repaired and the weld held the rest of the trip.
    Day two provided us with even more in our group, I think we were up to something like 25 and again we would split up into smaller sub groups to try and make things more manageable. On the way down the trail one of the sleds had a belt give out, so some of us stopped while he replaced the belt. The rest of the group continued up the trail and so those of us that stayed behind knew we had to make up some ground, so we got into race mode and then hit the trail and hooked up with the rest of the group. 
    Once we were to a play/filming spot, we broke up into the sub groups and had fun playing on the hills and making some high marks, while others looked on. Here is a shot of Lefty making a climb as another recovers from a mishap. Here is a shot of Dave (I think) putting his mark on the hill and here is a shot of me looking on. I had given Brian a camera to use and take pictures for me on the trip, so some of them I do not even know who they are of and this next shot is one of those, but it is of someone stuck. I know who the two characters are in the next shot and they are Chuck (on left) and Matt taking a lunch break
    After lunch, it was back to playing and here is someone heading up the hill to play. It looked sort of like Dave on the sled, but it did not look like his sled. I guess we can call him mystery rider #2. Here is Lefty, Al and Dave G taking a break. Here is a shot of Bob heading up the hill and the more I look at it, perhaps he is mystery rider #2. We had some interesting stucks as well. Here is Dave on his cat that must have gotten spooked, as it tried to climb a tree. Here is a shot of Al and I taking a break, while they pulled Dave's cat out of the tree and here he is all ready to go. That was not the only stuck in that spot though. Chuck's sled augured into the mash potato snow.
    Back into the play spots we took turns making high marks on some hills. Here is a close up shot of Dave heading up the hill and here he is turning out and if those two were not enough, looks like Brian took a third of Dave heading up for one more try and a fourth of him making it past the trees, but not taking out the high mark made by a certain person:).
    After tracking up that hill, we moved over to another one and being all proud of myself for making the high mark on the last one, I headed up to be the first to put a mark on the next one. As I reached the top to turn out, I glanced down to make sure my turn out was going to go where I wanted to and at that same moment hit some mashed potato snow and ended up coming off my sled! I tried to reach for the brake, but it was too late. I tried for the rear bumper, but all I got was a slippery grip on the snow-bunje I store back there. So down my sled went all on it's own, with me sliding down on my belly behind it. Most of the guys were there to witness the spectacle and Brian got a shot of me taking the walk of shame down the hill. You can see the path my sled took and the mark in the snow my otter slide on my belly did. The sled made it to the bottom of the hill just fine and I got picked up about halfway down the hill. Here is a zoomed out shot of the hill and me walking down it. It was quite the moment for me and for the group. Lots of laughs and joking. We also had our two awards, the High Holer and Tin Horn and that little dilly won me the Tin Horn for the day. In fact, if you were to be able to look up Tin Horn in the dictionary, you would likely see a picture of me in that situation. Just in case Webster is looking to add that to their publication, the gang was sure to make sure there were plenty of pictures and video taken of the moment. Al got stuck on the same hill and claimed that my sled heading down on it's own was such a sight to behold he lost his concentration and got stuck. So I guess I get credit for his stuck as well. For what it is worth, Al almost had the same thing happen to him (have the moment on video tape) and I was able to redeem myself by putting a higher mark on the hill and staying on the sled all the way down!
    Well, it is getting late and I want to make sure I get this loaded before I get too far past my bedtime, so I am going to sign off for now and pick this up tomorrow. With a little luck, Nora will have a snow day and can watch the puppies while I write during the day. One way or another, I will finish the trip.
Good night from the Keweenaw..

-
JD-
March 8-
     Well, the Togwotee 2009 trip is history. I am back home, safe and sound. It was a good trip and we all had another great time out there. I am actually not going to be covering the trip in the entry. I have a bunch of pictures to sort through and stories to organize in my head, so I plan to write again this week. Perhaps even cover the entire trip in 2 entries like I have in past years. This entry will actually be the Huck and Millie show. We picked them up on our way home from the airport and needless to say it has been a pretty crazy past 24 hours for Nora and I!
    We have been almost a year without a dog and Burt was so good that having him around was almost like having another human around. Very low maintenance and a very regular schedule for things, so it was not a lot of work to have him around. Not that Huck and Millie have been a bunch of trouble, but unless they are sleeping or in their crate, they need constant supervision to make sure they are not getting themselves into trouble and that is something that Nora and I have not been used to having to do is all.
    I had a nice uneventful trip home and actually arrived about 35 minutes early into Houghton County Memorial Airport, so that meant that we could get over to pick up the puppies that much earlier. Nora was waiting for me at the airport, so we just shot straight from there to pick up the puppies. We chatted with the owners of the parents of the puppies and played with the parents for a while and then headed home to show Huck and Millie their new home.
    They were a little apprehensive at first, but it only too about 5 minutes inside the cabin to start making themselves feel at home. Here is a little advice, if you want to ease the apprehension in a puppy, just give them a treat. That seems to put their mind at ease and after they had a little treat, Nora took turns taking pictures and video of their first moments home. Here is a shot of me getting a super close up of Huck.
    Some of Nora's friends gave her a little puppy shower at work and so the pups got some toys and treats, plus we did keep some of the toys that Burt and Baileys played with when they were younger, so we broke them out to give the puppies something to play with and help them feel at home as well. It's staying light out later now and we had plenty of daylight left to let them roam the property a bit. The snow is so setup, that they could just walk right across the top. A little scary in a way because they can also just run off into the woods on the snow and we humans still sink in, but they were good about not straying too far. As the evening wore on, it was clear that they were getting more and more comfortable in their new environment and one of the signs to me was that they ate and drank without any reservations.
    One of my main concerns was that they would not feel comfortable in their crates. I learned with Burt and Baileys that crate training is the best way to go and Nora and I had decided early on that Huck and Millie would be create trained. I remembered learning from Burt and Baileys dog trainer that you can actually climb in there and they will likely follow and that will help to ease any anxiety about the crate, so that is exactly what I did last night. It seemed to work because they had a good night. They only cried for about 10-15 minutes when we all went to bed and then other than having to get up in the middle of the night to go pee, they slept the whole night. Huck even goes in there during the day if he wants to get away and take a nap. Right now we are letting them both go into one crate, but have two and will let them each have one as they get older and larger.
    They sure do love each other and love to play with each other. I'm not sure if Nora was as strong into the idea of getting two as I was when we picked them out, but now that she sees how they play together with each other and entertain each other, she thinks it was a good idea to get two. It seems like they have two speeds: Full Throttle and Off. There really does not seem to be much of an in between with them right now. I cannot remember if Burt and Baileys were that way as well. Seems to me that they did have a bit of an in between, where they would be awake, but not having to go full speed ahead. It does not matter to me if they do not develop a mid range to their lifestyle and all I can say is that they sure are cute when they are at play and even cuter when in the off position. Here is more proof. Towards the end of the evening, they did start to tire and slow down a bit and Millie showed her cuddly side. Huck likes to be held too, but also just likes to go off on his own to rest in peace when he gets tired. Here is a shot taken about 5 minutes later with both Millie and I sound asleep.
    As mentioned, we had a really good night. They fell asleep pretty quickly and then at about 12:30, Nora heard them stirring and got up to let them out to go potty. They did their business and then climbed back into their crate and slept the rest of the night until about 5:30 when I heard them stir, so I got up and let them out and once we were back inside, they did not seem too ready to go back to sleep, so I let them play a bit and what transpired was a full blown tug of war. First with the stuffed bunny and then with one of their new toys from Nora's friends. I'm not sure if they woke Nora up or not, but they were quite animated with their actions, making the puppy growl noises and such. Here is one more shot of the battle royal that went on for about 10 minutes.
    They played for a bit more and then decided to take a bit of a nap. The nap did not last too long and then they started in on a new puppy game that they invent on their own. After a while, Nora got up from bed and took a turn watching them so that I could get some work done. We also got some rawhide treats from the son of one of Nora's friends and they sure did enjoy getting one to chew on today. The rawhides are still in once piece, but some how I get the feeling that the days that they last for more than 10-20 minutes are pretty limited.
    So all in all, I think the first 24 hours has gone very well. They came to us well on their way to being house broken. For the most part, they know to go to the door to give us a signal that they need to go out to go potty. We have had a few mistakes inside, but if this is as bad as it gets, we are in good shape. They are learning their names as well. Millie seems to be the most responsive, even seeming to know Huck's name, but Huck responds to his name more times than not. They are also learning the work "no". I suppose because they have been told it a few dozen times in the past 24 hours, but I know from experience that it is best to set the ground rules as early as possible and to be consistent and they road later in life is way easier.
    The one thing that just cracks me up about them is the sliding glass door. They are getting a bit more used to it, but in the house we picked them up from, a door was a door. A solid wall that swung open and then you walked out. This new thingy that you can see through and slides out of the way sure is weird. They have run and walked into it several times and also get fooled by their reflection in it. However, they also have learned that the sound of it opening means it's time to go outside! I think we have ourselves two smart pups. Question is, how long before they outsmart us?!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

-
JD-

 
 

ŠJohn Dee.com 
All content including forecasts, images, layout and design may not be used without consent!