Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moving around the world

This past week was very exciting because we got to finally meet our new friend Eduardo who arrived from Sweden over the weekend. He came all this way to pick up his new acquisition, Deer Creek's Jersey. Eduardo was able to spend a few days with our family and getting to know Jersey in order to make the transition a bit easier on her. Thursday, he arrived back home in Sweden with Jersey in tow. We will miss Jersey so much, but are very happy to know the caring man who is now her owner and will take very good care of her. Lots of luck Eduardo and Jersey!

Next month, Cat, BJ, Trapper, and Tiberius will make their long journey to London. They have grown into such beautiful dogs. It will be a bittersweet moment when their time comes to leave Deer Creek. However, I am confident they will be well received in the UK.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Facebook is where it's at...

Just to let you all know, we do a much better job of updating photos and things on Deer Creek's Facebook page as opposed to keeping up (timely) with the blog and website updates. So click on the Facebook badge on the left to see what is going on around here.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Still moving along

The summer has just flown by! It is only a matter of weeks before full-out training starts. I don't remember such a busy summer considering the very little traveling we've done. Between all of the construction/destruction projects and all of the new additions to the kennel over this past year the days are filled before we even get out of bed in the morning. Most all free time has been spent rearing last fall's Hope and Jena litters. No complaints in that department!!!They look amazing and all have really sprouted in a gorgeous set of yearlings.

This past year has been bitter-sweet in terms of the Seppala kennels we've lost to the economy or impending retirement, which is always sad to see. However, we've been able to acquire some super dogs from those sell-outs/retirments. We are particularly pleased with the addition of Seppaltas Rosie, Yanna, 3 of Seppaltas "A" litter, and a number of others. Specifically, I have been a long-time admirer of Rosie. We've owned others with her pedigree like Vixen and Vira, but it always felt like Rosie was the real deal! She has all the characteristics of a Seppala that I think are important to being a Seppala.

Although I wasn't able to maintain a cohesive race schedule last year due to the stream of new additions, who were all at varying levels of conditioning on arrival, I was able to run Rosie in a couple short races. Her style is so similar to Velvet's style. They run like rabbits everywhere they go, but best of all they do it with the biggest smile on their faces! The next best part is they are both hardcore Gee/Haw leaders!

I am certain that Rosie and Velvet will play a big part in training my yearlings and 2 yr olds over the next couple years. Collectively speaking, we are confident we have finally ended up with the best of the best. It is now up to us as mushers to cultivate, grow, and maintain the level of performance that is inherent in these dogs.

As far the constuction/destruction projects, we finally got around to extending the female yard a few rows. Then moved on to replacing some old, temporary, 100 square foot kennels with 500 square foot kennels in order to better maintain future litters. Replacement of dog houses are next on the list, but seems to be one of those conitnual projects that will never really go away. Next, we expanded the exercise yard. It was really more for organizational purposes than space, but it worked out perfectly. There is a second exercise yard in the works, but with training season on our heals, I am not sure that will happen until spring.

Other big news from the summer was our arrival Zen, Zuri, Zeke and Zephyr (Seppalta's Hank x Sepp-lok's Velvet). As onerey as they are cute :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Time sure does fly when you're havin' fun!

I am not sure where all the time went. I think about updating this blog all the time but just never quite get there. I suppose I should break this down into months...if I can even remember what all has happened since December!!

Part of what has kept us so busy is raising the fall litters. It certainly isn't ideal for us to have fall litters. Between our work schedules and training, it really is an extra effort to bring them up properly and make sure they are socialized. I suppose sometimes it is necessary though. No more often than Hope comes into heat, we had to take what we could get! The Hope pups are all I had hoped they would be. Nicely built, healthy, loving, GREAT eaters, and ready for anything! The Jena pups are for sure going up fast and big. They are all going to very good sized dogs with LOTS of attitude. Deer Creek's Maxie is going to be staying with here, Radar went to his new home in Colorado, and the other four are awaiting to complete the pet passport red tape before they jet off to the UK

December did end up bringing us *some* snow although not nearly enough. Allan got into full swing of training for the Seeley 200. Many, many late nights of just running and camping his team. Even though the snow didn't really come early enough, we are fortunate enough that he could make long runs from our yard with the 4-wheeler. Not ideal and not how we would prefer to train, but better than not training at all. I suppose the biggest down side what the extra attention that had to paid to feet so early in the year. 800 miles of dirt training does take its toll on feet. Lots of booties. Despite the training method, the dogs came from it very strong and happy. Not one time did they hesitate to leave the yard or camp site.

We see all the time through races how sleddogs can march through the Iditarod or the Beargrease, but our dogs? We were truly humbled by the stamina and determination. More fairly, we now have more faith in the abilities of our dogs and ourselves. I expect in the future you will see Deer Creek dogs stepping it up

Friday, December 4, 2009

Where the heck is the snow?

It is already December 4th and really no snow to speak of, just a few inches. It seems like maybe last year it was late coming as well, but once it started we were hammered with more snow than we'd seen in years. Hopefully, it dumps soon as the races are all fast approaching. West Yellowstone is just a week away. Although, we won't be heading up there this year, our thoughts, sympathies, and prayers go out to all friends and family of Rodeo. His sudden passing was very sad news and we will alway remember him. May Rodeo's race be a HUGE success and serve as a celebration of his passion and life!

Our race, the Green River Classic, in Pinedale, WY is just around the corner--January 2nd and 3rd. Entries are rolling in. We may not have all the extras (like the tent) this year, but we were extremely happy to have BP at the top of our sponsor list providing the $8,600 purse. I've always liked the GRC because there is always such a variety of entries from all levels of compititon and it somehow still seems so FUN!

On other kennel news, we are happy to announce the arrival of 4 healthy girls and 1 boy from Seppaltas Griffen of Windyridge x Hope of Seppalta. I have been thinking about this breeding since I began in Seppalas, but the reality of it set in just over 2 years ago (since Hope came to live here). And now they are actually here :-) They are just over a week old and seem to really be thriving. Hopefully, they will prove to be as well rounded sleddogs as their parents! If you have any name ideas, please feel free to comment. I haven't had much time to put a lot of thought into it yet, but whatever we come up with, it'll be special!

Jena's puppies are just over 3 weeks and they are growing fast. They have exceptionally outgoing personalities and are very beautiful. We are quite happy with their progress. They are getting to that age that their personalities are forming and they just want to PLAY!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who's the best?

People often ask us, 'who are your best dogs?' It is never as black and white as one posing the question seems to think. There are so many factors that make up the best dog.  Just like people they each have qualities that make them stand-out. Generally speaking, our best dogs are the ones that have a consistant run most every time, the ones that are well built and angulated, the ones that don't have disruptive habits, the ones who get minimal injuries, the ones that drink and eat when put in front of them, the ones that have an easy nature and super tempermant, the ones that are team players, and the ones who consistantly make the team year after year. I think I could go on and one with more qualities that make the "best".

It is often said by racing naysayers that race dogs are only crazy machines and all that matters is speed, speed, speed. The implication that all other factors like health, temperment, and husbandry are secondary is utterly ridiculous and an extremely naive theory.  I think most kennels that are successful in the long-term know that more goes into "the best" than MPH. I often like to say "Performance First". While some take the phrase quite literally, in the context that I use it, the phrase is meant encompass all those *secondary* factors--when well balanced in these areas, performance will follow more often than not!

So back to the question on who is the best?

I suppose the answer is the retiring and aging dogs, atleast in this kennel.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

New friends, Old Friends, New Seppalas, New Seppala Owners!

We've had an exceptionally busy weekend! Wednesday brought a very beautiful, healthy Seppala litter (Corcoran's Junior x Deer Creek's Jena) including 4 males and 2 females. We managed to get their due claws done and mother settled in the living room with them so we can keep an eye on them and handle them regularly. They will probably stay inside the first two weeks, then we will gradually acclimate them to the whelping pen just behind the house. I can't wait until they are 3-4 weeks old!

We were finally blessed with cooler weather late this week and during the weekend (but, only a very thin sheet of snow Friday morning). I managed to harness break all the March puppies that had yet to be put in harness. This is one of my favorite parts of mushing. The Seppala is so natural in harness that harness breaking puppies is not much different than taking out my older experienced team. The first mile is usually a little bouncy and I try to maintain a very slow, steady speed while they think about what is happening to them. By the end of the first mile they usually have figured out I simply want what they run! The majority of them find pulling as natural as running. By mile two, everyone was properly lined out loping a slow steady pace. The picture is hard to tell but I mixed 7 older dogs in with the yearlings. 16-Dog team front to back: Griffen and Eden, Brody (yearling) and Java, Rustov and Oquirrh (both March pups), Leticia (yearling) and Gambit (March pup), Ismene (March pup) and Bristall, Rhea (March pup) and Junior, Hoodoo and Russia (March pup), Leroy (Yearling) and Hank. Rock Stars!

On Thursday, we finally had the opportunity to meet our new friend Heinz Bieber. He flew over from Germany to pick up his new Seppala, Kaya. Having only phone and email contact with Heinz over the past several months, we really didn't know what to expect from our visitor, but it was quickly evident we had a new life-long friend. Heinz was able to spend quite a bit of time with our family and Kaya. We even found time to take the team for a couple runs with Kaya to see what she was made. And of course, being a suberb Seppala, she was SO GREAT! We were so happy to have Heinz spend his time here with us and we are looking forward to his next visit with his wife Antje. We also intend on taking him up on his offer to visit his second home in Sweden!

Finally our good friends, Danny and his daughter Kayla, showed up on Saturday to spend the weekend running our trails and to socialize. Kayla and Taylor are both intend on running the Junior Race to the Sky this year, so they have both been working very hard to get the kind of conditioning on their dogs they need to be successfull. We LOVE it when the Corcoran's visit! The first pic is Taylor with her Seppala team. 2nd picture is Kayla and her Alaskan husky team. And the 3rd picture is Danny Corcoran with his Seppala team.

You can click on pictures to view bigger.
Taylor's Team front to back: Ophir and Aargon; Marshall and Google; Alanta and Trixie; Iris and Queche; Gaia and Heph

Kayla's team front to back: ? and Echo; ? and Rookie; ? and Otis; Opal and ?; Stoner and ?

Danny's Team front to back: ? and Oreo; Uther and Unik; Timber and Yeti; ? and Layla; Rodeo and Waldo