Thursday, June 22, 2017

Something To Boast About

Fishing started off a bit slower this spring, but soon the fish barrels in the cleaning house were getting filled up.  Here are a few of the catches that were sent my way to show you.

Gary Erickson   36 inch Trout

Reid Erickson  38 inch Trout

Matt Grubb

Chris and Matt Grubb

Phil Trzeb  29 inch Walleye

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Extraordiary Circumstances

Last March when Joanna and I were at her last dogsled race of the season, the Copper Dog in Calumet, MI, she felt fortunate to breed her best female leader on the team to a super dog from a top winning kennel in Canada.  The timing seemed to be perfect. 

As she waited in the weeks to come for Viva's belly to begin swelling with puppies, she noticed that nothing was happening and felt very disappointed thinking that she didn't take.  We went on vacation down in the states and she would check with John who was home to see if Viva was getting any bigger.  The answer was always no. 

But when we got home and it was closer to Viva's due date, Joanna did feel some movement in Viva's belly indicating there was at least one puppy in there, hopefully two. 

The due date came and went and still nothing was happening.  Almost a week overdue, Viva finally went into labor.  Joanna was right there on hand in case she needed to assist in any way.

After many hours of labor and nothing happening, Joanna became worried that she wasn't going to be able to deliver and rushed Viva to the vet in Dryden, about two hours away from us.  The vet tried pulling the puppy that was stuck out with a special tool, but was unable to do so.  A cesarean operation had to be performed to get the puppy out because he had grown too big and his shoulders were getting caught in the birth canal.  He was the only puppy in there and that's probably why he grew so big.

We have kept mother and puppy in a dog kennel in the basement just to keep and eye on them and keep Viva's incision clean.  Joanna and I took out the staples a few days ago.  We can hardly believe how big this puppy has gotten in such a short time.  Of course he gets his choice of nipples for sustenance and is truly fat and happy.

Because there was only one puppy, the breeder is giving her another chance to breed her in the future.  Hopefully we will get more than one the next time around.

Our New Grandbaby

Saturday morning we got a wonderful surprise.  Jonathan and Reseth were waiting for their new baby Evemarie, to come into this world.  We knew it had to be soon.  All of a sudden the day arrived and that beautiful little nine pound six ounce girl was born.  She has two adoring brothers, Aaron 6 and Titus 4 who have been looking forward to this day with great anticipation. 

All nine months of the pregnancy, they were repeatedly hugging and kissing her through Mommy's tummy and telling her how much they loved her.  Now they get to hold her on the outside and they are mesmerized by her.  She will be totally surrounded with loving brothers and parents.  What a doll.  I can't wait to hold her in person myself.  There's nothing quite like a newborn baby.  What a miracle life is!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Headin' South

                   Nicki and I soaking our feet by the shore

Picture from surfing museum in New Smyrna Beach of my first win at a surfing meet

                         Cherish and baby enjoying the ocean
This is the house I grew up in.  The large oak tree in the middle was where we hung a long rope swing and would swing over the lake and jump in.  Pretty thrilling.
  Lake Sylvan where I grew up.  We used to swim across the lake and back.
House where I grew up in Winter Park, Florida.  Used to be lots of orange and grapefruit trees and a bigger yard where we played ball every day.
 Genius Drive was a dirt road through pretty trees where peacocks lived.  We could hear them from our house.                                           
Park Ave. in downtown Winter Park is very unique with brick streets and fancy stores and restaurants.
 Knowles chapel at Rollins College in Winter Park where John and I got married.  It has a huge pipe organ.
Dinky Dock where I rented canoes for a summer job after high school.  Tough job.  ;)
Cranes that liked to hang around Nicki's front lawn on the lake in Florida
     Nicki on her first ride in her new kayak.  She's quite a sport.

With winter hanging on here at camp, Joanna and I were eager to head south to the states for some warm weather, spring flowers, green grass and lots of visits with family and friends.  We really criss crossed the nation to take in all we could in a month's time.  John was left home to manage the home front as usual.  Someday we hope he can join us in our southern adventures.

We first drove to Chisholm, MN to stay with and visit Joanna's four cousins and their children for two days.  All three of our children used to spend lots of time with their cousins growing up and are very close to them, so we relish every opportunity to see them.  Then, we headed over to Ely to stay with our daughter Cherish and her husband Patrick over Easter weekend.  Cherish is 6 months pregnant with their first child who we just found out is a boy.  They are overjoyed.

Next, we drove down to Minneapolis, MN to spend the night and fly out the next day to Asheville, NC to see my Dad and sister and brother.  It was a bit rainy, but everything was blooming from apple trees, dogwood trees to all kinds of flowers.  They desperately needed the rain as they had some terrible fires rip through the area last fall.  What a sight for sore eyes to see all the green grass and trees.  Dad was in great spirits and has even learned to play the harmonica.  He's on oxygen, so he has to play in spurts to get his breath.  He just loves music so it's wonderful he found a means to express it.

With great excitement, Joanna and I then flew down to Orlando, Florida and headed over to New Smyrna Beach to stay a week with my older sister and two brothers.  We also met up with our two adopted brothers Hamilton Fish and Fred Baker.  There's no place like the beach to rejuvenate this ole' Florida girl.  The salty ocean, blue green water, warm sand through my toes, walks on the beach, basking in the warmth of the sun, boogie boarding, eating out, shopping.... it's all so wonderfully fun and relaxing.  And it's over too soon.  Maybe in our retirement years we can spend a month there.  :)

After the week at the beach and another three days in Casselberry, Florida with my sister, we flew back to Minneapolis, MN, picked up our car and drove six hours to Omaha, NE to visit our son Jonathan, wife Reseth and two darling grandsons, Aaron and Titus.  A new baby girl is about to pop out of the oven near May 18th.  Her name is Evemarie.  The boys have been loving her and kissing her from the outside the whole time.  They are so eager to welcome her into this world.  What fun it will be for them to dote over a sister.

So, we are mightily excited to be having a new baby boy and baby girl coming into our family soon.  There's no greater blessing this side of heaven.  We arrived home safely May 9th and are in high gear to prepare for opening fishing.  We are looking forward to greeting our guests for another summer of fishing.

                         Joanna and I preparing to leave Florida
                           Sister Nicki, Fred who we met surfing, Daryl                    
                              Daryl , brother Rick and Joanna
                     South New Smyrna Beach.  Used to surf here.
 Intracoastal waterway.  I recall Rick telling us to stand next to the snakes in the palmettos for a picture
                                  South New Smyrna Beach
                                   Sunrise at New Smyrna Beach
Day with family at New Smyrna Beach.  Left to Ron, sister Nicki, adopted brother Fred, wife Marilyn, adopted brother Hamilton, brother Rick, daughter Joanna, daughter Cherish, Daryl
                    Grandma having heavenly moment with Titus
                      Reseth with boys surrounding baby Evemarie
              Capt. Jonathan on his birthday with Aaron and Titus

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Midnight Run and Copper Dog 150 Dog Sled Races

 Top two pictures are from the Midnight Run and last one from the Copper Dog

This year Joanna and I left for the Midnight Run on Feb 13th and stayed down in the states till March 8th through the Copper Dog Race.  There were about 2 weeks in between the two races and it saved time and money to do that.

Joanna did well at the Midnight Run.  She was in first place at the halfway point, 45 miles.  Then on the second leg of 45 miles, two teams caught up to and passed her but she continued to run with one of the teams. They kept trading off second and third position for a long time then eventually Joanna pulled ahead. Near the finish line a husband and wife team both passed her, she was able to re-pass one of the teams but then got re-passed near the finish putting her in 4th place instead of 2nd place by 28 seconds.  It was a race to the finish to be sure.  

After the Midnight Run we vagabonds stayed with a dear friend and her husband near Munising, MI.  Mary and Dan were over the top hosts and warmly welcomed, fed and housed us for several days in their beautiful lake home.  Dan even found an 11 mile trail for Joanna to run her dogs to keep them in shape for the Copper Dog.  Mary is a long time friend from our 20 years in Ely, MN, so we had lots of catching up to do.  Such a great time of fun and fellowship. 

Then a retired musher from Chatham graciously invited us to stay with him for a few days.  We barely knew him, yet he generously helps all kinds of mushers who need a place to stay for races etc.  He has an apartment setup in his basement so you can eat and sleep there comfortably.  But he insists on making breakfast for his guests and does he ever put out a fine banquet.  Lloyd Gilbertson is his name and is very well known in mushing circles as a champion.  To me, he's a big teddy bear ( he must be about 6 foot 6 inches tall) and he encourages everyone in the sport , young and old alike.  He too found a trail for Joanna to run her dogs to keep them in shape.  Also at this time the weather was quite warm and there were not many places left that had any snow to run on.

Our next place of habitation was Irma, Wisconsin with the Schouwiler family.  Joanna first met Chad and his mother Martha at the Marquette sled dog race.  They are a mother/son racing team.  Chad is an excellent trainer and racer having won first place at the Gunflint Mail Run this year.  Martha seems to truly love the thrill of racing.  This year at the age of 61, she won the Beargrease race for the third time in a row; she won the Bayfield , WI race and came in third at the Copper Dog race with some VERY stiff competition.  She's an amazing woman.  She and Chad are a formidable team.

They invited us to stay with them for the week preceding the Copper Dog.  What a grand time we had with them.  They were so gracious in helping us in every way possible, from taking an ailing dog to the vet in their pickup truck, serving us the most fantastic gourmet meals, packing snowmobile trails for training, freezing our dog treats, taking us to church, entertaining us with bone tickling humor, and making us feel so warmly welcomed.  In fact Mark, Chad's Dad, commanded us to feel welcomed and we surely did.  A week is a long time to impose on people you barely know, but now we all feel like family.

The Copper Dog race is a 10 dog pool.  In other words, you can use all ten dogs for all three 50 mile legs of the race or you can trade dogs in and out during that time, just using 6, 7, 8 or 9 dogs.  If a dog gets a treatable injury one leg, you can box the dog for the next leg and bring it in for the last leg which is helpful to both the musher and the dogs.

Joanna ran with all ten dogs the first leg, but then noticed that two of the dogs had some minor injuries.  So, she left them behind the next day to recover and just used eight dogs the next day.  At the end of the second leg, she was in 6th place which was great seeing as there were at least 10 mushers with great teams who could have won the race.

On the second night of the race we have stayed each year with our lovely host family, Mike and Suzi Borlee, whom have become dear friends! We look forward to seeing them each year at Copper Dog and they go out of their way to take care of us in every way possible! They even brought us cheesecake and pizza on the first night of the race!!!What a blessing they and all of our other wonderful hosts throughout our trip have been to us!!!

On the third day, Joanna put in the two dogs that had rested on the second leg and left behind two others that had minor injuries after running the first and second leg.  The team looked fantastic leaving the starting gate on the final leg of the race.  They were banging their harnesses and screaming to go.  But about halfway, the dog we thought had recovered from his injury on the first night , starting limping again.  He was a huge 60 pound dog as well.  Joanna stopped along the trail three times to try to load him in the basket of her sled, but he wrestled and fought her, determined not to sit this one out.  So, she had to put him back in the team.  And still he pulled.  What a dog.  She lost lots of time trying to load him and slowing the team speed down for him, so dropped down to 9th place in the overall standings.  But that's dog racing.  You never know what will happen.

We had such fun adventures and wonderful encounters on our trip.  We are so grateful for the kindness of all those who helped us along the way.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gunflint Mail Run 2017

Joanna placed 2nd in the Gunflint Mail Run this last weekend near Grand Marais, MN. Her team did quite well and she was very happy with the results. She moved up one position from last year when she placed third in the same race. The trail was in excellent condition as it had been groomed the whole way, making it much easier and safer to pass other teams.

Chad Schouweiler placed first this year which he definitely earned. Last year he was ahead most of the race and in the end lost by just seconds due to an unexpected tangle in the team. His excellent training skills have produced the desired results. It was his time to win. His mother handled for him at this race, but she has also run their team and won many times as well in past years.

I'd have to say the directors of the race have done a fantastic job upgrading every facet of the race so that now it is one of our favorites. The volunteers who help run the race are spectacular. Imagine standing out in the extreme cold for hours on end to make sure road crossings are safe for the teams coming through. Ham radio operators staying in place at different points along the trail to inform the folks back at headquarters the time each musher comes through a certain road crossing. Sarah and her gracious staff of waitresses, waiters and cooks at Trail Center Lodge where all us handlers hung out waiting for our mushers to come back, waited on us hand and foot and provided the most delicious meals all during the race.

The purse for the race went up a great deal which is a big plus for attracting mushers to register for the race. I also liked the fact that everyone who entered got a piece of the prize money to take home because everyone has worked hard to prepare their teams. It gives them a sense of accomplishment.

One of the greatest facets of these mid distance races is spending time with a lot of the same mushers throughout the winter season. You get to know them personally the more often you are together and there is a great family feeling that that has grown through the years.

The winner of the 12 dog race, Ryan Redington, is from Alaska and is the grandson of Joe Redington who help start the Iditarod Race. When receiving his prize, he commented on the great sportsman like conduct of the racers. Once when he had to stop his team because of a problem, another team stopped to check on him and see if he needed help. He really liked that. And it is true. Each racer wants to win and have their team perform well, but there is also a camaraderie among the mushers and handlers that makes the whole experience a lot more fun.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas and Family

Did we ever have a wonderful time with Cherish and Patrick joining us for Christmas! We took advantage of the warm weather to get outside and enjoy the beautiful woods heavy with snow. Patrick rode in Joanna's sled on an 18 mile dog sled training run. John followed with his snowmobile to help if needed and Cherish and I rode the new snowmobile just for fun and to watch Joanna and Patrick on the trail.

We all went on our first cross country ski run of the year on the frozen trail alongside the river and out onto the lake and then up the trail into the tall jackpines. Gorgeous!! The next day entailed another dogsledding adventure with Patrick mushing his own team of seven dogs and Joanna with a larger team. Patrick had lots of exclamations on his return and seemed to be in awe of the whole experience.

Our chilluns were planning on heading back to Ely on Monday so Patrick could be to work on Tuesday, but the weather was quite brutal with lots of snow, some rain and high winds making driving too treacherous, so we hiked along the river trail to the overlook of Indian lake for an outing, taking all three female dog cousins too. They became quite good friends during their time together. After that outing, we were all so pooped, we took some restful naps.
It's a good thing we had so much outdoor activity because we ate and ate and ate some delicious meals and continuous delectable treats the whole time. The only thing we were missing was Jonathan, Reseth, Aaron and Titus. At least we got to visit with them via Skype which was fun.