Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's a family affair

Tonight, as the temperatures dropped outside, it warmed my heart to see my seven year old, Elise, outside scooping while I was cutting up deer meat. As I walked outside with two buckets of food for the dogs, she ran toward the kennels excitedly.

"You guys get meat tonight!" she exclaimed, waving her arms in the air, strawberry blond hair flying.

It takes a lot to keep even a small kennel like mine running efficiently and to make sure all our creatures have everything they need to keep them happy and healthy. We all chip in around the Ranch, and I am happy for that. Growing up with animals teaches the kids responsibility and compassion.

Elise brushing Kerouac
Elise is my super helper. She brushes the dogs, scoops the poop, feeds and loves the chickens, and helps feed the huskies. And the best part is, I usually don't even have to ask her. She enjoys her time with all of the animals and being outside.

Elise with our favorite chicken, our Speckled Sussex hen, Peep

Sophie, my 12 year old, is a little more difficult to motivate as far as scooping! But she's happy to go on training runs on the four wheeler or the sled!
Sophie on a training run with me

A few people have commented to me over the years about how I manage everything: being a mom, working, caring for our animals, etcetera. I don't manage everything; it's a family affair here. Some people have even criticized my raising two girls and trying to be a competitive musher on a farm with 20 dogs. If they saw how happy my kids are with our lifestyle, they would not be so quick to judge or to criticize.

Shooting Star

Recently, my father, who will be 72 in a week and has significant emphysema among a host of other health problems, collapsed while heading to the shower. He was unresponsive when my mother reached him in the bathroom, and when paramedics arrived, they found his oxygen saturations at 48% and were unable to revive him.

Luckily by the time my father arrived at the hospital ER, he was awake and his oxygen level was back up to 95%. He has been in the hospital for three days as I type this entry and has a lengthy history of health scares. He is the reason I started this blog so many years ago.

Today, when I talked to my mom, she said my dad had been telling his hospital roommate about me and the dogs. It made me smile. I know my dad is proud of me for what I do, although it's difficult to see it sometimes.

Tonight, I took 10 dogs out on a cold training run. The sky was clear and stars shone bright and all around - a zillion of them. It was a gorgeous night.

As we ran back into the woods on what my kids have nicknamed "the creepy trail," I looked up and saw a shooting star. I said a quick prayer - but then I thought, "I need to see about five shooting stars."

There's been so much going on here lately, I need that many stars to wish on.

Here is a picture of the dogs on our run tonight. I love seeing their breath in the headlights of the four wheeler on a cold night.

As I finish this entry, the dogs are all howling out in the kennels. It's nice and cold here, and they're very happy tonight, with deer meat in their bellies, a nice 12 mile run and fresh straw.

I am thankful for all I have. 


May you see plenty of shooting stars, too.

UPDATE: Here is a photo from a training run this weekend. Of course, it's Elise. Tell me she isn't a natural with my dogs?!

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