Tag: Dogs

Fall / Winter 2017

Fall / Winter 2017

Summer has come to a close and school has started up.  We are missing the sisters being away at school all day. Dog training season has began. Damon has started to put miles on the team after the temps dropped below 60 F degrees.  Tillie, our hunting dog, got to run with the team as long as she was having fun, but about a month into training, she started to slow.  Then she sat  down on a run, which in the mushing terms means, I quit.

Our old girl, Olive, still tries to hobble out to get hooked up, yet can’t even walk on her own most days.  But she still tries.

The team howls and howls to run.  They can’t wait to put on the miles. The amount of howling is almost ridiculous. They cry if Damon leaves in the dog truck without taking them with or for taking them for a run.  It’s really something to experience watching these dogs howl and howl to run.  It is so noisy before they run but the second that they start, it’s silent.

The training started at five miles at a time.  It increases no more than 10% a week to keep the team injury free. And  48 dogs started the training process.  Being in Minnesota, you would think that we would have plenty of snow to run on.  But no, it’s only been in mid-December that we have had enough snow to run the trails.  All the other training miles have had to be on the roads and with a 4 wheeler instead of a sled.  The gravel is really hard on paws, so Damon hasn’t been able to increase the miles like he wants. He’s only getting in 40-50 miles at a time. Crazy amount of miles to a newbie like me.  I can’t imagine going five miles with 18 dogs in front of me, in below 0 temps, on the back of a four-wheeler. Holy smokes, I got bored on the three-mile ride I took with them one day.

As the season has progressed there continues to be highs and lows.  Damon came home tonight excited to share that he put some of our young girl dogs up in lead for the first time and they were rock stars.  And you would never know it from their personality and size.  One is painfully timid.  The other surprise of the day was our “little sisters”.  They are two little girl dogs named Norma and Aurora.  Both are tiny and sweet, but they are some of the hardest working dogs on the team.  They keep the tempo fast and pull hard.  It’s been great watching them mature.

However, on the low side, the team had two cuts tonight.  Our Koyak just doesn’t seem to be pulling with intensity and Damon worries that he’s just not enjoying it.  It might be the roads/ four wheeler versus snow/ sled running. And he’s doing so-so, but they have to make seven cuts in the next week.  Also, our little Yettna seems to have hurt her shoulder.  I guess that it has something to do with running on the roads, but she probably won’t be healed before they leave for Montana.  It’s not worth pushing her too hard and ruining her experience or possibly hurting her for a longer period of time.  The next time they run and don’t put these two in, they are going to be heart broken.  The  mournful howl that follows sounds absolutely depressing.

So far it’s been the dog’s decision or an injury to cause the cut.  But now it’s the Musher who has to make the heartbreaking decision on who gets cut. The Musher takes into consideration the dog’s performance, health, and heart.  Like the little sisters, for instance, they are small but have lots of heart.  There are stronger dogs that do just fine, but heart and attitude carry more weight than size and strength.   A lot of decisions have to be made in the next four days.  I am not envious of those decisions that have to be made.

Well, for now, I better sign off.  I have another ten days of single parenting (not including the eight days before this), seven visitors coming for the weekend, packing up Damon and the dogs to leave for Montana a week before the race starts, and then packing up myself and the kids to leave for eight days in Montana.  I’m excited, but lots of work to be done.

Stay with me, I may need a hand to hold.

Dog Days of Damon

Dog Days of Damon

Did I mention that my husband has boundless amounts of energy? Oh yes, we have previously discussed that. Well in the midst of building our yurt by hand, going to school part time, working full time in the ER, and being an intentional and hands on parent, Damon is becoming a Dog Musher. If you know Damon, you know he loves dogs. If he had a past life, he would have been a dog. (He would totally take that as a compliment).

15 years ago, Damon started skijoring. He loves to ski and loves dogs, so put them together and you get skijoring. Skijoring is skiing behind a pulling dog. It’s fast and scary if you ask me. Skijoring naturally started to morph into dog sledding for Damon. He started out with our pound “puppy” and his hunting dog tied together and taught them to pull.  He learned to groom his own trails with some kind of polk groomer that he made to pulled behind himself. And so on and so on.

In 2014 he was told about a lady that has run the Iditarod for many years and had recently moved to our area. She has a number of dogs and trains here in southern MN. Well that sure peaked his interest. He looked her up and met with her.  And…. My husband will never be the same.

Long story short, Damon started to train and learn the dogsledding ropes. Damon has learned fast and she remarks on his ability to not only manage all that goes on with the dogs, but his ability to read their needs and personalities. He is very in tune to the dogs.

Damon assisted in her preparation for Iditarod 2015. Training started in the fall (under 50 F) and they started with 32 dogs in training. Training runs started at 3 miles and ended at 100 mile increments. The two of them and 24 dogs made trips out to Montana for training and races. Then they made the long haul through Canada to Alaska for the Iditarod. They again did more training and Damon was able to ride with her in the Ceremonial Start in Downtown Anchorage.

The two of them make a dynamic duo.  With her knowledge and experience and his strength and MacGyver skills, they are nothing more than amazing.  I’ve never seen two people with such similar spirits. While retirement from the Iditarod hasn’t quite suit her,  she has stopped growing her kennel.  And from the looks of the growing number of dogs in my yard, We seem to be growing our kennel.   As time continues, I see these dreams growing and festering inside of my husband.  He hasn’t verbalized anything yet, but I see the wheels turning.  I’ve been with this man for over 16 years… I know what is coming.

Stay with me, I may need a hand to hold. -Ky

Welcome to the Deep Root

Welcome to the Deep Root

Yup!  We are the crazy people that built a spaceship looking home called a Yurt and moved in our family of 5 on a week that reached -25 F.  We know how it looks, it looks crazy.  But we hope that opening up our adventure and family life will show that a relative mainstream family can succeed at something so unconventional.

This blog will primarily focus on our family changing their lifestyle to be better stewards of our talent, time, money and relationships. Through this experience we hope to be closer as a family, spend more time on the things that we hold dear, positively impact the environment, bring a fresh approach to mainstream housing options and continue to set ourselves up for financial success. Who wouldn’t want all those things?

For starters, I’m Kylie.  I am a coffee addicted, environment conscience, Jesus loving, mediocre long distant runner.  I am wife to a man that never runs out of energy and kindness, and I am starting up my own business all while attempting to raise 3 loving, balanced and responsible small humans.  And now, added to this, we are living in a self-designed, family constructed 700 square foot yurt.  However, in spite of all this, I’m actually very vanilla and conventional.

Damon, my husband, is far from vanilla.  He looks like a normal (but very hairy) guy on the outside.  He’s humble and down to earth, but has boundless amounts of energy. His energy allows him to dream big and to achieve these dreams. For example, he ran 54 miles one day to see how many miles it took before he found his breaking point.  It wasn’t a race, he didn’t get a medal or a shirt, he just ran it Forrest Gump style (without the tall tube socks) and just kept on “run’en.”  He lives carefree of what others think and is very true to the man God created and intended him to be.  And simply, he’s happy.

His energy and drive brings all sorts of “adventures” to our lives.  Instead of going on normal Mexico/Florida spring break trips in college, he was either snow camping and ice climbing with friends or convincing his girlfriend (me) to take a 100 mile canoe trip.  His dreams and energy have spurred us to hike, climb, and backpack all over the US and internationally.  Adventures have been had and memories have been made from backpacking desolate llama paths in Peru to swimming in hot flowing rivers in Iceland to name a few.

We did most of our traveling before children came into the picture, when we had much more time, energy and money.  So now our adventures are closer to home. We lived in Minneapolis for many years, but once we started to have children we wanted to be closer to family.  We are blessed with a huge family. My Father in law is #11 out of 17 siblings.  It’s truly an amazing family.  They mostly live within 40 miles of where they grew up.  There are TONS of cousins and the family is a tight knit group.  It’s been an adjustment moving from the city where you schedule play dates 3 weeks in advance to having 4 uncles unannounced stop in for coffee one morning.  Coffee leads to lunch and I’ve learned that you always should have something in the house to feed at least 6 people in 30 minutes. They always have great stories, can really jab at each other while loving each other deeply. Its genuine and simply one of the largest blessings in our lives. We want our children to be surrounded by such a rich blessing and prioritize family.

Ruby is our eldest child. She is one of the most kind,  giving persons you would ever meet.  A true beauty inside and out.  We are in awe of her maturity, work ethic, and the example that she leads as the big sister. She is completely good to her core and loves all.

Our middle child is bold and authentic.  Lucy has a personality that is fierce and strong.  She doesn’t enjoy conventional learning and songs, but loves to layer her clothes, make lots of experiments, and run as fast as her dragon shoes will take her.  She either doesn’t give a crap about you or loves you intensely. Once she warms up, she will hug you tightly and make you laugh by her genuine free spirit and deep throat laugh.

Walter, our third, is all boy.  He loves dogs, mud, tractors, bugs, his daddy and grandpa’s.  Playing monster and scaring his sisters gives him the biggest thrill.  He loves to work and having a job to do.  And oh his smile.  He has a crooked smile that will light up the darkness of days.  He loves to hug and give kisses. He has a very open heart to love and be loved.  He’s easy going and fun to be with.

So what made us decide that a Yurt was the way to go? Oh, such a good question!  Which I continue to ask myself at times,“why again was this the right answer?”

Stay with me, I may need a hand to hold. -Ky

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