General Discussion, Monday, March 6, 2023

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35 Responses to General Discussion, Monday, March 6, 2023

  1. Sharon says:

    What a restful place that looks to be! Do you know the location, Stella?

    Liked by 4 people

  2. WeeWeed says:

    Mornin’ kids! It’s that time again!

    Liked by 6 people

    • weather257 says:

      Mornin’ Wee!
      Wonder what the average lifetime of a sled dog is. I’d like to know what the formula those breeder/racers have for saying goodbye to their beloved animals. Hard enough to lose one doggie per 10-or-so years!

      Liked by 4 people

    • Stella says:

      Mornin’ Wee!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Tundra PA says:

      Thanks, Wee! You get up a bunch earlier than I do!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Tundra PA says:

      Iditarod Update: Day 1 is almost complete.

      I was following the race yesterday, but there wasn’t much to report. The first 12 hours of the race is simply a giant pack of teams moving along at about the same speed, without much distance between them.

      This, and all long- and mid-distance races do not use a mass start beginning where all the teams line up at the start line, the gun sounds, and all teams leap forward together aiming for a single-file trail up ahead. That would be a recipe for disaster. Instead, the teams begin one at a time, every two minutes, until all teams have left. So the last team leaves anywhere from one to two hours (or more with a really big field of teams) after the first team. That difference is made up at the mandatory 24 hour layover, taken at the musher’s choice of checkpoints. The first team(s) will have to layover an hour or more longer than the last team. This is calculated for each team, down to the minute. It is considered an advantage to have left early for several reasons, but the longer layover time of the early teams means that much more rest for the dogs at the long stop. This time difference at the start is why the raw stats of who is in front don’t mean much until after the “24”.

      Much is being made by the pundits of the fact that this year’s race has the smallest field of teams (33) of any Iditarod, including the very first back in 1974 (34). It is a transition year for the race, with many of the big-name mushers having retired in the last few years. Aliy Zirkle, Allen Moore, Jeff King, Paul Gephardt, Martin Buser, Mitch Seavey, Lance Mackey. Most full-time mushers stay “in the game” for about 10-20 years.

      It takes total commitment and a LOT of hard work to breed, raise, train, and run anywhere from 20 to 75 dogs. The more dogs you have, the more work it is. But the joy, the beauty, the quiet, the overwhelming appreciation for God’s creation is the reward when you are out on the trail in the Alaskan wilderness with a team of well-moving, eager dogs who love you as much as you love them.

      It’s important to understand that sled dogs are working animals, not (for the most part) pets. They live outside year-round, and it doesn’t help them to be brought into a warm house, except for brief periods for socialization. And that is usually limited to young puppies and adult leaders. Sled dogs are not housebroken and they shed ferociously in spring and fall.

      Each dog has his own “circle” in the dog yard: a central post with (ideally) a 6-ft chain attached to his collar; a dog house built of plywood, about 3’x2’x2′ with a thick layer of straw; and his food and water bowl. They are fed twice a day in the dog yard: breakfast is a meaty broth and dinner is kibble with meat or fish. Every musher has his own special formula, including various supplements (protein, vitamins, etc.). The musher takes them out one team at a time usually 2-3 times a day (different dogs each time). If he has handlers, then several teams may go out together. Ideally each dog gets to run every other day (2 to 6 hour training runs). Depends on how many dogs and handlers the musher has.

      To answer your question weather, the average life of a sled dog depends on several factors. Like most dogs in the 40-60 lb weight range, they are able to live 12-15 years. The productive working life of a sled dog is 5-7 years. They are trained to the harness and gang line starting about 6 months old, and taken on puppy runs for short periods (30-60 minutes) over easy terrain, paired with older, patient dogs who slowly teach them how to act like a good sled dog. They start working productively at around 18 months, but are generally ready for long distances at age 2 years. Exceptional dogs may work past the age of 9 years, but not many do.

      The hardest thing a musher has to do is to put the old dogs down. Out in the Bush where I lived for a decade, there is no vet in town to provide euthanasia, so putting down usually means a last meal of steak and then a bullet. With thanks for what that dog gave to the team and lots of tears. The one promise a musher makes to a new puppy is to provide a good death when the time comes.

      I wrote a lot about mushing on my blog, Tundra Medicine Dreams, while I was a musher living in Bethel. It is now historical, but the mushing parts really haven’t changed much. Better equipment, maybe. If you are interested, you can find it at

      Goodness, it is so easy for me to get sidetracked talking about dogs. I haven’t even gotten to the race update yet, and at 2:02 pm Alaska time, the race just finished the first day! Iditarod Days start and end at 2 pm each day. OK, I’ll get to that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sharon says:

        Thank you for all that good info…going to find your blog now – so much information that is shared in such a blog is not time-sensitive.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Tundra PA says:

          Thanks, Sharon! You can click on the dog mushing link and it will bring up just the mushing posts. A few friends have suggested I make the blog into a printed book, but I don’t have a clue how to go about that. I know I’d need a webmaster to whip it into shape, as it is somewhat disorganized other than being chronological.

          Liked by 1 person

    • The Tundra PA says:

      Iditarod Update (round 2): Day 1 is complete.

      The field of teams has moved along now, with differences in speed and strength between the teams beginning to result in more distance between them. They are now spread out over 45 miles from first team to last.

      The terrain of the race begins in a relatively flat area for the first 3 checkpoints. At the third checkpoint, Finger Lake, the trail begins climbing over the Alaska Range to the check point at Rainy Pass. Then begins the terrifying rocket ride down the Dalzell Gorge on the other side to the next checkpoint at Rohn. About half of the field is either resting at Rainy Pass or has started down the white-knuckle trail to Rohn, and the other half is grinding up the mountainside to Rainy Pass. In most years, the first team to scratch will do so at or before Rohn.

      The four mushers I know and am following closely this year are Pete, Jesse, Bridgett and Junior. At the moment, Pete has moved into 2nd position, which actually means a lot since he started next to last. The question, as always, is whether he will push the dogs just enough but not too hard. Mushers who go out at lightening speed (10-12 mph) often end up finishing way back at the end because they “blew up” their team too early. Pete always likes to be in the front end of the race, but often doesn’t want to be the trailbreaker.

      Jesse is in 19th position. She tends to run conservatively for the first half of the race and then start moving up. I expect her to finish in the top 20, maybe the top 10.

      Bridgett is in 24th position. This is her second attempt at Iditarod; she had to scratch last year just 30 miles from the finish when a truly life-threatening storm nailed her and another musher flat to the ground in survival mode with their dogs. After several hours of it they had to push the Emergency Button. Doing so means you are out of the race and Search & Rescue is coming for you. Both mushers and their teams were then flown to Nome. Bridgett had a broken arm from a monster roll-over caused by the winds. Her goal is simply to finish with better checkpoint times than last year.

      And Mike Junior (or just Junior to his family and friends) is in 28th position. He has not run Iditarod for the last several years. Work and family intervened. Every musher’s goal is to better their previous Best Time for completing the race, and doing so with healthy, happy dogs at the finish line in Nome. Junior is an excellent dog driver with a lifetime’s experience at it, following in his dad Mike Williams, Sr.’s footsteps.

      More as it all unfolds. Planning and preparation will begin to show over the next 3 days as strategies and run/rest cycles roll out. By the time they reach the checkpoint at Iditarod we should know who the real leaders are. Go to for lots of info if you’re interested.

      If you have questions, please ask them. I’ve done this sort of commentary so many times, between Stella’s Place and the Treehouse, that I can’t keep up with what’s too much detail I’ve covered before and what’s new and interesting. Feel free to let me know!

      GO DOGS!
      GO PETE!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Sharon says:

        Bridgett’s story from last year–it is hard won wisdom that knows how to hit the emergency button. Even in everyday life, week-to-week and month-to-month, the capacity and willingness to honestly judge our condition, our options, and our resources…yeah. So very important.

        Yeah, Bridgett and team. I’ll be looking for your daily reports, Tundra.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. czarina33 says:

    Mornin’ all ya’all! Foggy, 100% humidity. Mist is so dense it feels like drifting rain.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Stella says:

    Morning everyone! It’s in the low 40’s this morning, and most of the snow has melted. Supposed to get a bit more this week, but it will stay on the warm side.

    Liked by 3 people

    • litenmaus says:

      Afternoon Stella….our forecast didn’t call for snow, but there’s been a blizzard raging in North Dakota over the last three days and last night it decided to head our way. It’s been snowing all morning and it’s likely to continue through the rest of the day. (sigh)

      Liked by 3 people

      • The Tundra PA says:

        I feel your pain, ‘maus! We’ve got a good 3’ on the ground. But no snow in the forecast for the next week. Temps are staying in the teens for now, but the sun is getting strong enough to cause some melting. We know it’s nearly spring because there is so much more sunlight now than a month ago. Yay!

        Hang in there, my friend, only a month (or so) to go!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. auscitizenmom says:

    Mornin’ All. It is around 20* here this morning. There is a thin white overcast so it is still bright outside. I know we have a few more months of winter to go through, but I think this is tolerable.

    My family finally got over their colds and they stopped by yesterday after church. Loki was out of her mind, she was so excited. It was really good to see them. Well, got things to do and plans to make. I know I have about 6 months to go here, but I plan to be ready this time if I do have to make another move.

    Have a nice day.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Afternoon All,

    Hope everyone is doing well. I thought I would have more time to read & comment, but noooo.

    Dear Hubby starts chemo & other 2 therapies for the 1st time tomorrow; all three on the same day. We’re praying it shrinks the tumors so he can get nutrition and not spend 6 hours a day trying to sip on & keep down only water & Ensure. He is very weak the past few days.

    After almost 43 years working tirelessly for the same company, we are surprised because he is in his late 60’s they eventually push you out onto Medicare rather than extended long term disability LTD, versus if you’re not near retirement they keep on LTD [I guess]. Seems like age discrimination to me. The people he works with & for want him to work, and he wants to work because it takes his mind off of his illness. He planned on working another 2-4 years. Oh well, can’t change that now.

    We have many things to be grateful & thankful for, so we concentrate on that.

    Enjoy peeking in, usually when I’m too tired to respond, DH likes Caturday & Doggity. Have to keep his spirits up.

    Have a great day everyone…

    Liked by 6 people

    • WeeWeed says:

      Afternoon G&C! Prayers for you both and fingers crossed for a good day tomorrow!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you Wee and everyone for your well wishes and prayers. They are much appreciated.
        On a somewhat unrelated topic ~ Because of DH’s illness and soon to be pump with treatments in it attached to him 2 days a week, I purchased a new mattress and frame. I did a lot of research for a US made bed that would not stink, and broke down and purchased an expensive WINK bed because it had great reviews and people said it did not stink. Well, IT DID STINK! BIG TIME. I slept on it for one night, Saturday, after airing out a month. Not only did it stink every time I moved even with a mattress cover, 2 fitted sheets and a thin quilt over it, it was super uncomfortable! By the time I woke up I had a horrible neck and back ache that lasted until Sunday afternoon, and even somewhat today. So if you need a new mattress, do NOT buy a WINK bed.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. Stella says:

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Stella says:

    Maybe I should watch South Park now and then.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Stella says:

    Liked by 2 people

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