Sunday, November 9, 2008

Road Trip

What is the most important thing to take on a Yukon roadtrip?? It's your bathing suit. Liard Hot Springs is the greatest. 105 degrees, natural surrounding and a herd of wild bison. Will write more later. This is the busy season, pre-Xmas sales, school, still getting the wood in, wishing I was still in something warm....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Puppy Update

Time for an update on the puppies. They are all weaned and running around like crazy. They are trying their best to eat this sled we have on display. You can see one of them trying to eat the runner shoeing off! They ripped this piece of fake fur off the 'photo op', a plywood cutout with holes for people to put their heads. It is of a couple of mushers and a team.
Jazz the orphan pup, only surviver of his litter, is not only still with us, he is finally starting to grow. Still under sized and scrawny, but hanging in there. He is really tough. His big bully cousins occasionally beat him up, but lots of the time he is in the middle giving it back pretty good. Saturday night we will be having our staff party.....the entertainment will be picking the names from our name the puppy contest.

Kiln Food

What a cool birthday present! A great big trailer load of fat slabs. Looks like enough wood for three firings. In fact there is my darling little kiln in the background. Hopefully I'll get some time this weekend to get the old chainsaw limbered up and fill up the kiln shed with food. I have a load of pots all ready to go, just need to free up a couple of day. Next week will be the end of tourist season for us. Dogs will all go back home and start training for the Quest. They are all in great shape and really strong, they need long miles now. Even the yearlings have started to settle down and have spent a good summer learning their jobs.

Friday, August 29, 2008

This Time Is Serious!

The summer that never was!! First we have Caribou Mountain on the way to work this wednesday. The clouds just lifting off, letting us see MORE new snow. Then this evening after torrential rain showers all day a glimse of Jubilee Mountain from our yard....ugh. Let the whole thing be over and let real winter begin so we can await next year and hope summer returns.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mud Bogging in the Yukon

On Wednesday after working in the dogyard I went to Whitehorse to have the oil changed in my van. Of course I had the family mechanic do it.....while there I got to see the latest incarnation of the mud bogger. It used to be blue, with a windshield and was named 'Thunderbox'. Excellent name-hearing damage when that thing roared into life. They put Bobcat tires on it for the trips thru the mud. Right now this thing has a broken piston in the motor, saw the new bigger motor on the floor of the shop. They are going to Dawson in two weeks for the new challenge. Also will be putting heavy duty axels in. They broke one in the middle of the 5 ft thick mud, got towed out and it only took them 15 minutes to change it!
Not my cup of tea but those young guys at the shop think it's a blast!

Coldest July on Record

I went to Skagway last Sunday to deliver some pots and hats. Weather seems to be almost the same as last time except a bit greener and a little less snow. On the way home there was MORE fresh snow on both Nares and Caribou mountains. Did not bode well for the overnight temps. It froze at the bottom of my lot, but didn't lose anything in the garden. Some of my neighbors had a diffrent result, and not a good one. I would be willing to bet that some people lost their potato crops.
The lake in the upper photo is Summit Lake on the top of the White Pass, headwaters of the Yukon river and source of the water we pump out of Tagish Lake. One side is regulare 'lake blue' while the other is 'glacier milky' where Summit Creek roars in.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Getting Water in the Summer

In the summer we get our water from the lake by pumping, no more pails on the snowmachine. We have a black plastic line from our 'swimming' pool down to the beach. 660 ft long. The vertical rise is 80 ft. The pool stores over 4,000 Canadian gallons, probably around 5,000 US ones (a Canadian gallon is 140 fl. ounces). Depending on the weather this chore is done as often as every third day or as long as every third week. Needless to say, when I am running the show I pray for lots of rain!
First you have to load the wheelbarrow with the pump, however much hose you need to connect from the water level to the black pipe, preassure valve so the back preassure doesn't blow out the footvalve, the intake hose with the footvalve, a bucket for the intake hose, misc tools and last but not least your waders. I also bring hearing protecters, bug dope, tea when it is cold, a book or some knitting and my watch. When there is lots of water to pump you also have to bring a can of gas. Then you get to push all this down the hill. there is one part that is so steep you have to put the back of the wheelbarrow down on the ground and slide down. When you get to the lake you push the wheelbarrow into the lake, string the hose, lock in the intake hose, prime the pump and away you go. This new Honda pump almost always starts with the first pull, not like some of the others we've had over the years.
Now the boring part-sitting there for a couple of hours. One day two years ago I was sitting there staring into space when I thought I saw a log with a couple of branches on one end floating around the White Rock, a huge Glacial erratic just off the shore. Then it turned around and I saw that it was a moose. It zeroed in on the pump sound and started swimming right toward me. Great. I called my dog and told her to lay down and quiet. When the moose was hauling out I stood up and yelled at it, luckily it ran off down the shore. They like to stomp on dogs so I was glad she left!
Once the pool is full you get to do the worst part, getting back up that hill. I usually rest twice, hey, I'm not in a hurry. When you come to the steep part you have to go up as far as you can then turn the wheelbarrow around and pull it up in spurts. I always am happy when I get back and put all my gear away and see I have lots of water for my garden.
These photos were taken on Friday, the first calm day in about a month. It was drizzling rain and cold. Not nice!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Month Is It???

This could have been titled 'Snow in July', just a bit depressing. On my way to work yesterday I saw this dusting on the top of Caribou Mt. Took the photos through my windshield, a few dog nose prints and squished mosquitos make it kind of blurry. When I got outside to take a clearer one my camera batteries died. You can see that all the snow from last winter hasn't melted off from the avalance shoot in the cirque.
The temp in Teslin was 0.7 for the low. It was around 5 at our place because the wind was blowing all night. Think the wind has blown almost steady from the W/SW for a month. Gets up to the 20-30 K mark almost every day. We had a high of 12 yesterday to really make it a good one. This is nuts! According to the Anchorage newspaper this is looking to be the coldest summer recorded. Lucky us!
Note on the orphan puppies-the little girl has died and Badger isn't looking like he'll make it. Monster Boy is still eating and looks okay at this point.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Name the Puppy Contest

On the days when work is slow we really don't have much to do but sit around and talk to each other. Sometimes we come up with the most brillant ideas, and I think this is one of them. Name the Puppy! For the small sum of $1 you can buy a slip of paper with spaces for six names. Each of the puppies has a diffrent coloured collar to identify it. You fill out the names and when we do the draw for names you get six chances to win the great prizes. They are a poster, a book and a stuffed baby husky toy, all visable in the photo.
The most difficult part was getting those guys to hold still for a picture. I got Rika to try and hold them...fat chance! They will be five weeks old on Saturday and are big enough to go the way they want. We woke them up from a sleep so I thought they would cooperate, not likely.
These guys should be super dogs. their mother is Patti, the sister of Axel, another excellent leader and quite the personality if you like dogs that have small dog syndrome. She is small and tough and thinks she is a pit bull. Right now the puppies are a pretty big hit with our tourists. Being raised at Caribou Crossing is wonderful for the socialization process of baby dogs. They are handled by tons of people and turn into excellent cookie beggars....yes, we sell healthy treats to people so they can feed the friendly dogs. When they grow up and are working at the dog ride they love being petted and handled. we are now working last years yard pups and they love all of us. Not a kennel shy one.
Last week Franchesca, another white leader and previously freatured on my blog on a winter camping trip, had four huge puppies. Will post a shot of them when they come for visits.

Orphan Pups

We had a tragedy at the kennel. Taz, a beautiful white leader with bright blue eyes, died four days after giving birth to five puppies. The grandfather of these pups was the foundation dog of Ed's kennel so they really wanted to save them. The father is Axel, one of the main leaders of the Quest team and a great dog. Out came the baby bottles and puppy milk replacer.
Puppies need to feed every two hours in the daytime and every three in the night so this is like having cranky triplets! Hello sleep depravation. Until today Ed has been the prime caregiver. Today he needed a break so we had them at work and got to take care of them. Ed is just posing for the picture, he left to cut lawns as soon as I took these. He is feeding Monster Boy who is always starving and is twice the size of the other two survivors. He has developed the habit of sucking on the other two and has to be seperated from them lots of the time. A couple of night ago Ed and Michelle brought him in bed with them in the night when they were just tired of dealing with him (hey parents, remember those days??). Michelle got to wake up to him crawling on her head and peeing in her hair!! Fun and games....
In the photos Michelle is feeding the little girl and Maren is practicing for parenthood feeding Badger the holstein guy. Their eyes are now open and they are starting to eat some solid food. We hope that they will catch up in size once they get to eat meat and other goodies. Right now they are thin but pretty vigerous, bodes well for their continued survival. As they grow I will update the blog.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting There!

Finally! Sid the electrician and his helper/girlfriend Brianne are almost finished with the wiring of the new shop. Won't be long before I can get my electric kiln in there and can bisque fire at home. No more tender packing and transporting greenware over the bumpy gravel road. It is nice that I can fire for free at the school, but a total pain in the rear to pack them up, drive slowly for the 5 km to the chipped road, then unpack, fire, repack blah, blah, blah.....
Then there is the pugmill I bought last winter. Got a 20 amp circut dedicated for it. Can move it in once I get the place inspected and the power hooked up.
Of course we still don't have the doors up, have to insulate, do the floor, figure out what we are putting on the walls (thats a big one, too many options and I hate drywall). Still it is exciting to see some more progress.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Painting with Fire

I had a couple of fairly big orders for pit-fired pots to fill. A couple of years ago I got this old beater wood stove in a trade for some fishing flies. It has lots of fire brick in it and it weighs a ton. The damper is broken and inside it is a bit of a mess. Would be VERY dangerous in a building. I put a three foot chimney on it with a spark arrester and parked it by our new shop (and close to the door of my pottery). Works great for the 'pit fires'.
The photos tell the story. Wrap the pots with their goodies, salt, seaweed, copper and handfuls of fireweed, place on a good layer of ash, add lots of thin wood, newspaper and light. I prop the door so it is open about half an inch. When the first batch of wood is burned down a bit I refill it. Takes about three hours for the burn, then about 8 to cool enough to take the pots in the house. I stack them on my cookstove until there are 50 or so then wash them, leave them overnight to dry, then apply a coat of Future floor wax. Then they are signed with a permanant gold marker pen and priced, the most difficult job of all.
It was nice to take them into Whitehorse today after work. Hopefully I can take the ones to Skagway on Monday. Time to start making for the next wood firing.


Took this photo off my deck a couple of days ago. Pot of Gold?? Hey, this is the Yukon! There is gold almost everywhere. As I have mentioned before this is the third rainy summer in a row. Temps have been about 5 degrees C colder than normal, in the 15-16 range. Occasionally there is a semi-warm day. Only good thing is that I haven't had to pump water very often. Also the dogs at work like it very much. Only one day so far that we have had to shut down early because of heat.
Outside vegies are looking good. Summer turnips are ready, some chinese greens are already finished, spinach is in the freezer, sno-peas starting to bloom, lettece and herbs are beautiful, potatoes are huge. Of course it is raining again so will post a garden pic when it stops..don't know how many days away that will be.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Photos from Kiln firing

Here are the photos from todays fun. All that smoke comes from sidestoking. Fried mosquitos on the firebox lid. Sky at 4 am. Side shot of kiln with crummy fibre on top that will be experiencing its last use. The red truck is a 1977 Ford crewcab three quarter ton four wheel drive, my husband's pet. It is our wood truck. Shop in the background, siding is on, windows in, ready for the Electrician!!!!

Mosquito Death Trap

Just got in from the latest kiln firing. I started at 9 pm last night, fired for three hours, stuffed the kiln with big logs and went inside for a four hour nap. At 4 am it was nice and warm with lots of coals, ready for small slab pieces.
It seemed to fire faster than the last times, probably because it is above freezing this time! Now I have to wait a couple of days for it to cool down. Oh yeah, an airplane came by to see what was going on. One of the photos shows what happens when you sidestoke. The 'smokeless' kiln puffs big time. The fire hazard is low (from all the water in that snow) and we had a couple of showers during the day.
Because it was so humid the mosquitos were daunting.....only high point was watching them kill themselves on the firebox lid. Instant frying.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beautiful Begonias

I Can't believe that it was just a few days ago that we had snow. Today was 20 C. We had to run the soaker hoses on the dogs at work, this cools them down when they come back from a run. Of course we also get all wet and muddy when they jump on us. What the heck, it comes off with water!

I had pulled the begonias out of the greenhouse the same day we had the snow. It turned cold in the night and the rest is history. They were covered with old sheets and row covers. Not one fried leaf, luckily. I guess enough heat comes off the house windows to keep them from freezing. I really had no choice about bringing them outside, it was too hot inside, then too cold outside. Poor plants.

For now it wants to be summer. Who knows for how long. The saskatoons are finally in full flower too. Hope we get some heat so we'll have berries. I am off to eat some dinner (with tomatoes from the greenhouse) then start the fire in my kiln. Been waiting for this for a while. I have some new clay bodies in there and a couple of fun experiments. Let the fun begin.....