Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We're Moving!

That is, the blog is moving. Nushagak Kennels has a new home at . It'll be the same sort of family, mushing, politics, whatever comes to mind kind of site. Wordpress has some cool features including spell check. Sure Mom's glad to hear about that. It will take a little while to get the site completely configured. Did get all the posts transferred though. Right now there isn't anything in Jo's page, but I think that can be a place where Jo can do her thing. Like I said, still need to figure the thing out. It's much easier to leave comments for those who don't have a Google account. It's got all sorts of cool tools and functions to play with.

It's been fun Blogger, but Nushagak Kennels is moving on!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Uncle Ted

We call him Uncle Ted up here. Senator Ted Stevens has done more for Alaska then any other man alive.

When I was a junior in High School, we were awarded some sort of grant to help our high school athletic program. The first athletic season was about to begin and the money had not yet shown up. My government teacher was explaining how things worked in congress and I figured I'd try working the system. After getting permission from the principal, I called Senator Stevens' office. I Introduced myself, told the person my story, they got another person on the phone who wrote down the particulars, got a pleasant, "We'll see what we can do." and hung up the phone. The money was in the schools bank account within a week. That experience changed me. Later that year at D.C. Close Up I had the opportunity to shake hands with Senator Stevens. I told him about what his office did for us and thanked him. He looked me in the eye and said, "That's what it's all about, Alaskans helping Alaskans."

All of my children were born in a hospital he built, I fly in and out of an airport he renovated, my employment is a direct result of legislation he passed. Senator Stevens is a great man who has done great things for so many. He has been termed, "The Lion of the Senate." He steps on toes and makes no apologies. It is after all about Alaskans taking care of Alaskans.

Then today on my ride home for lunch I heard the news. Senator Stevens was found guilty on all 7 counts. He is a convicted criminal. Just another corrupt politician. This great man. It's all very difficult to stomach. For those new to the state, he may be seen as washed up and past his prime. But for so many of us he is Uncle Ted.

Senator Stevens says he will apeal the decision and maintains his innocence, but to what end? I would do the same if I were him. Try to clear my name and salvage a legendary career of service.

The rest of us have a big decision to make in a week. Senator Stevens is up for re-election. If we did vote him in, what could he possibly accomplish in the Senate. Who in their right mind would support him and risk the political fall out of partnering with a convicted criminal. He has now become the very poster child of Republican political coruption. What are we all to do now? This man we love so dearly has left us in this uncomfortable position. We all must make our own decision and live with the consequences.

No closing for this somber post comes to mind. No profetic thoughts itch to be written into this blog. I'm left with a heavy heart and sorrow. Deep sorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Belleque Kids: Finally updating.....

The day Alethia left Dillingham to go to Hawaii. Jacob was too busy wrestling Sammy to look up. She had a wonderful trip. Karen has all the pictures though so I need to wait for copies to post some of those. She has a wonderful time with Grandma and Grandpa.

Aimee found her thumb. She loves it and it soothes her.

Aimee loves her brother and sister.

Fun in the sun! They were making a snowman.

Here's the snowman. However, as soon as I too the picture, Jacob knocked it over and broke it. Then proceeded to eat the celery nose. We didn't have carrots..... Next time.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Full Freezers

The skiff was launched Thursday afternoon as Ryan and I headed up the Nushagak River on the annual quest to fill our freezers. It was the second year for Ryan and I hunting moose with calling and waiting instead of running up and down the river, in and out of sloughs. Last year proved a great adventure with an exciting and close encounter (read about it at Always looking to improve our techniques, Ryan and I bought a tree stand. Plan was simple. Find a good clearing, set up a stand, and call in a moose.

We found an incredible spot after a little looking, one big spruce tree in the middle of a huge clearing with moose sign in every direction. After packing the stand a quarter mile from the skiff to the tree, cutting branches, setting it up, and strapping the thing down we settled in to call our first moose of the year. At 7:30 PM Ryan let out the first cow call. Cow calling is done by putting your hands together as if to pray, bringing those hands up in front of your nose, pinching your nose with your thumbs, cupping your mouth, and letting out a loud muted nasal moan as long as your lungs allow.

We sat. We waited. Both sitting and waiting are the most difficult aspects of this type of hunting. You feel like you should be doing something. Sitting quietly just doesn’t feel productive. Dusk began to settle on the clearing. We called it a night. After climbing down out of the stand and locating a likely bush a few feet away, I looked up and noticed something at the brush line. Two symmetrical white patches that I didn’t remember seeing there before were now clearly in view. “What’s that?” I asked Ryan in the waning daylight. They moved. “It’s a moose! Let’s get ‘em.” I quietly stated. We repositioned ourselves just a few feet away to gain a better view. It was in fact a moose and he was walking straight for us.

Our plan was set in muted one word phrases two experienced hunters understood clearly. We would simply wait for him to walk right up to us. About 300 yards out we saw his tactic. He began circling to get downwind from us and determine just what we were. This required a revised approach on our part. We needed to cut him off. We slowly worked to intercept his path as cover allowed. Just before getting directly down wind, he walked behind a tree. I hustled to cut the distance. He walked out from behind the tree at about 150 yards offering a broadside shot generously choosing to fill our freezers. He was a big full grown bull measuring 54 inches across his antlers. Darkness was coming quickly so we cut off a couple quarters and removed his guts planning to return the next morning when we would finish cutting and hauling him out.

After seeing to proper care of the meat, eating a hot meal, and getting a good night’s sleep, we again found ourselves sitting in our stand in the same clearing belting our nasal moan to every bull moose for a mile around. The gut pile was roughly 350 yards away. We looked that way and noticed how quiet the area seemed. No ravens or magpies fluttered about, seemed nothing was there. We climbed down to take a look at the day old kill site. There in an area the size of most kitchens was an enormous pile of grass and dirt. A brown bear had been there to cover his lucky find. By the looks of the pile, it was a big bear at that. It made no sense to call in this clearing any longer. With a day and a half left in the season, we calculated a new plan.

We chose to relocate to one of a couple sloughs and try calling in another bull. We set up in one slough and heard a moose being shot very close by. Then we moved to another slough and had a boat drive right by. Evening was turning to night when we picked one last slough. After the second call, we heard another volley of close shots followed by a voice, “Bubba! Over here!” Ryan’s brother shouted. We figured that was it for the evening.

“We can help them cut it up and pack it out,” we agreed. Repositioning our boat to another bend in an adjacent slough, we saw two moose, one sporting the requisite antlers of a young bull. They stood well giving Ryan all the time he needed. We were quickly loaded in the boat and headed back to camp making the run down the river in the dark. Ryan’s brother, Bubba, and a big “meaty” moose arrived just after us.

We’ve been enjoying the moose in the weeks since the season closed. Johanna’s planning a nice steak dinner tonight. Empty freezers were filled and we are thankful. We are thankful for the animal and the choices it made to fill our freezer. We are thankful to live with a river where waters flow deep, cold, and clean. Pray we keep those waters clean and our freezers always full that we shall remain thankful.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Huskies Available for Adoption

I'm offering two dogs for adoption. I'm not asking for any money, but will only offer them to quality homes. In seven years I've never sold a dog. I've bought plenty, but never taken money myself. It would seem strange to take money for my hard working huskies. My sprint dogs on the other hand, I probably could sell them. But selling a working dog would be akin to selling your hunting buddy. My promise to each dog is a quality working life from womb to the grave. At times I fall short of that promse, but it is always my goal. From the night they're born to the end I always dread, their existence is my responsibility. Past homes I found for dogs have lived up to this promise. The next owners of the two dogs below will be kept to the same standard.

This is Ginger. She is out of my first big litter from Lucky and Hagar. I'm not offering her as a sled dog. She needs to live out her life as a pet. Mushing just isn't in her future. She's 4 years old, spayed, current on all shots, and one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met. Ginger borders on timid. She doesn't know lots of commands, but has always come to me when loose. My neighbor Lisa worked with her at healing this summer. She did well, but is very fearful of cars. I knew Lisa was walking to the dog yard this summer because I'd hear Ginger yipping and fussing about on her chain. About 5 minutes later Lisa would walk down the driveway. During a run last fall, she was bumped with a vehicle and it has really made her nervous around them. I've never seen her growl at a person or another dog. She loves kids and would be a great dog to enjoy in the house and still able to be put outside when it's -30. Ginger would not be a good first dog, but would be an absolute gem for the right owner.

If I had to describe this pup in a word, it would be "Potential". She is Lucy and Bing's pup. The litter of 11 was way to much for me so I've given away some of the females. Part of my kennel management plan is to own a minimum number of females. Most of my yard is big males. This isn't a very good picture of her. I set her on top of the dog house so she would stay still for a minute. Every sled dog puppy is a crap shoot. But just as every gambler knows, you always look for the best possible odds. With Bing and Lucy for parents, this little girl has every potential to be an outstanding sled dog. She'll probably be a 55 to 65 pound dog, with a thick coat and a need to work. She would be a good bet as a ski-jor dog.

Both of these dogs can be shipped. You would have to pay for that. If intested in either dog shoot me an e-mail at . I'd be happy to tell you more about them. I never tire of talking about my dogs.

On a different note: A few friends have told me they aren't able to post comments on this blog. Last winter I loosened up the settings so anyone can post comments, but that doesn't seem to be working now. I'm considering switching to another free blog service where folks can easily post comments. Comments are a fun part of blogging. If you know of another good place to blog please let me know. You'll have to use my e-mail due to all the reasons I just mentioned.

Aimee Pictures

Aimee and her daddy. Yes, that is puke on my sleeve.

Aimee working hard at "Tummy Time".
Aimee and her buddy Sammy.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pictoral Update

Johanna and I with our baby girls

Alethia's first day of school


The other two
House pictures