Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mushers Summer Training Camp

I had the opportunity to go to the summer training camp for the Iditarod mushers and dogs in Juneau on September 9th.  There was a light rain falling and it was cool.  When we arrived at the camp, you could feel the excitement of the dogs as they were ready to work.  Alot of the Iditarod dogs come to this summer camp to train on gravel by pulling 6 seat golf carts filled with tourists with their musher behind the cart.  We were lucky to have Jeff as our musher and he introduced us to his dogs.  He told us the golf cart weighs about 500 lbs with up to 6 passengers who have just got off a cruise ship.  Very good training for his team.

We were told not to approach the dogs as they were geared to work and they were already in their harnesses ready to mush.  We all climbed into the cart and off we went.  The trail was gradual up and down hills as well as turns.  The lead dogs are the ones that take the command and the bigger stronger dogs are in the back.  The ride lasted about 10 minutes and the dogs were working really hard.

Our team of dogs were mostly male Alaskan huskies.  These dogs looked like almost any other mixed breed at the shelters but have been breed to be strong, lean, smart, and can excel in temperatures below 60 degrees.  The sled dogs were wet, muddy, and stinky so we didn't pet any of them.

Team ready to mush.

We got a little lecture about the history of the Iditarod and also got to hold 3 month old puppies.  The pair of them were sweet and wriggly.  I was tempted to tuck one into my jacket to bring home, but after being told that these were bred to be working dogs, I could just imagine the destruction at home.  Even after retirement, these dogs have to be working and must live in a cold climate.  That wouldn't work at my house!

Sugar getting a little cuddle.

Pretending to be a musher.

Jeff, our musher, who has run the Iditarod.

Jeff's lead dogs.  He stated the girls were the best at being lead dogs (as in life).

Sweet puppy!

Jeff and the rest of the mushers are getting ready to go home with their dogs to start the real training for the Iditarod.  Jeff is heading back to Wasilla, his home.  When asked about Mrs. P, he stated that he did not know her!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm a Finalist

Well when I fell in love with the Schacht Matchless spinning wheel and acquired one, I didn't know that Schacht was turning 40 this year.  To celebrate their 40th anniversary, they staged a contest for spinning and weaving.  In order to enter their contest, one had to spin up some yarn or weave some cloth on their machines.  The deadline for entry was September 1.  I entered two skeins of yarn as a novice spinner (under 2 years of spinning experience).  One was a 3-ply merino called Plum Crazy and the other was a 2-ply superwash merino called The Wiz.

Plum Crazy Close Up

Plum Crazy

The Wiz Close Up

The Wiz

I entered electronically by submitting my photos of the yarn (2 shots) as well as a photo of me on their wheel.  I guess so they have proof that you did the work on their machines.  The prizes include their 40th anniversary Cherry Matchless spinning wheel or their 40th anniversary Cherry Baby Wolf loom.

On September 16th, I received an e-mail stating that I was a finalist in their contest and requested that I send in both my skeins of yarn.  The judging will be done on October 8th.  Hopefully, I have a good chance to win - I never win at things....

I'm super excited that since I have only been spinning for about 13 months, I have produced a quality of yarn that makes me a finalist.