Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bitter bitter C-O-L-D and Dogs

Dang, was 32 below at 0630 today and didn't rise above ten below all day.
Still, had to get some chores done: fill the woodbox, run the dogs, shiver.
Not that I actually shiver now at ten below- the body tends to get used to cold when you're out in it a lot. Seriously- the more time you spend in the elements, the more accustomed your body is to accepting them, reacts totally different than it does when you baby yourself.
So the dogs and I are panting and frosting the moustache with icicles and I'm watching their tails bob as they lope along. Gawd, those critters love to run! We're zipping past the shacks and I see a thread of smoke rising from one and the dogs are barking up a storm and I'm waiting for someone to come see what the ruckus is about.
No one shows. Oh, well- we met last spring when they began hauling in a trailer load of supplies so it isn't like they don't know who I am. Or the dogs.
But it's watching the dog's tails and their frosty breath-cloud and seeing my glasses fog up from my breath, and I start thinking again about getting some sled dogs.
Like I need another mouth to feed. Especially a dog. Or four. Four minimally for a team. Two dogs couldn't handle any real load on a sled or make having them worthwhile in a survival situation.
So four more it is. Now, what kind?
I don't want monster size critters that eat more than they weigh. Big dogs can do a lot of work, pull heavy loads and, for the most part, ain't too fast. Oh, they can be raced, but most racers have smaller dogs, about 70 pounds (but look like a hundred with all their fur). Long legged pups are out, too. Good for speed, but the longer the leg, the less power they can generate pulling. Don't want a really short legged dog, either. They won't have the lunge to get through much snow. So it's a medium sized dog with leg and body proportionate for me.
Can't really think of anything bad about having a team of dogs other than feeding them and the neighbors not liking the barking- and bark they do. Sled dogs are good for two things. Pulling sleds and making noise when they ain't. Sometimes even when they are.
Ever see a team of sled dogs? Those critters live to run, cannot wait to get into harness and just GO! To have a team for EOW wouldn't be bad: trips to town for whatever and hauling back groceries (if there are any available) or other goodies. Hauling in firewood from fairly distant locales (remember: we're talking EOW, not just a depression). Even or especially with running a trapline or fishing, or hauling the moonshine to customers, dogs could really be helpful.
I wonder if I can trade off these Russel Terrors and Golden for a couple sledders?
I sure hope my Lady don't read this post'r I'm dead meat..she likes these mutts!
They're forecasting another 40 below tonight and some windchill to fifty below. Dang- sled dogs are big and furry critters...furry? Foot warmers are furry, aren't they?

Bless God, God bless,

Ever see such a happy grin on a dog?
Addenda to earlier: News weatherman did a couple of demonstrations during show tonight. It's 26 below and he: drove a 16 penny nail through a 2x4 with a banana that had been frozen outside, and threw a pan of boiling water in the air to show how rapidly it froze: immediately. The water went into the air and became a cloud (the rest of his forecast was obscured by cloud).
Somewhere around 1990 I went out early one morning to start the truck to warm it before driving off. In my hand was a cup of fresh brewed coffee. I got in the truck, set the cup on the dash and immediately proceeded to crack the windshield like a spider web. Learned that lesson quick.


  1. Sounds like a good idea. They would be a lot of work to upkeep, but still a good idea.

    On the note of accustoming yourself to the elements kind of goes back to what I was talking about the other about letting body do some of the work in fighting down colds and such. It makes your immune system stronger.

  2. Shy, I have always wanted dogs and sled. When I was a boy I used to trap Muskrats, read every trapper book out there too. Every one of 'em had a sled and dogs, I could just see myself with my sled and dogs runnin my little trap line. Well, I made me one. Made a little box of sorts and put an old set of snow skis on the bottom. Only problem was...no snow or dogs! It was fun though, when we did get a little snow me and one of my buddies would pull it up the hill, yelling mush the whole time at each other, and ride it back down. We would take turns sitting on the sled and the other in the mushers position. Good times I tell ya. I think my dad finally hauled that old thing off years ago. It worked really well, for a couple of ol' boys anyway.

  3. Amen, Ontological- it's all in preparing yourself for the worst. I'm continually amazed how well my body adapts at the begining of fall. Even today I was out with no hat, wind howling and didn't freeze my ears or hands- and the wood got hauled in.
    Chuckling, Bullseye- you're like me. You watched Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. For the longest time I thought the word to get the huskies going was 'mush'. Turns out the actual word is 'HIKE!' and mush is what the dogs get fed. Too, !HIKE! is the official name of the sled dog magazine. Makes some great dog reading.

  4. Man...I'm cold just seeing the mental images that formed while reading your post!

    Makes me appreciate the Texas weather even more!

  5. Went to Newport News Va. First of Dec. To visit only Son on leave from Iraq, Temp was low 40's stayed inside. Not going north of the Mason-Dixon again.


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