Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap year...

Leap year occurs when an additional day is added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. The goal of most calendars has been in keeping the vernal equinox on or close as possible to March 21.The term "leap year" likely originated because a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next. But following the insertion of the leap day on February 29, the calendar advances two days due to the extra day. (Largely taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_year).
It goes on, but you get the point. From my perspective, there should be something different here. The "extra" day really doesn't matter because it's just like having March first twice. Who cares about that? Maybe an extra day to run dogs, so OK, that's fine. But how about if they put it in Dec. 31? There'd still be the correct adjustment for the seasons, since the leap day occurs between the solstice and the vernal equinox, but then every four years you'd have a two day new years eve party. How great is that? Am I the only one who thinks of these things? Come on, now's the time to start organizing, "the new calendar party". Makes a lot more sense to me than the so called "tea party".
So for a lack of anything else, here's some more dog photos:
Headin' for home through the black spruce.

Nothin' better than all six pullin' their weight up the hill.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Retired...a tale of woe and intrigue

We bought the tractor early in the winter of 92/93 when it looked like we were going to have another record breaking season like 90/91. We had 148" of snowfall that winter (that's over 12 ft or almost 4 meters to the French) and no way to plow it. The JD dealer didn't have any compact/utility tractors in Fairbanks, but they did have a used one, a model 870 in Soldotna, down on the Kenai Peninsula. So sight unseen, we ordered it up. Since then, we have used it for so many things besides plowing snow, it's hard to believe you could survive here without one (Grrrate 6/19/11).
The other day I noticed that a large crack in the sidewall of one front tire was starting to bulge out. Now it's had lots of cracks for sometime, even had a flat that had to be fixed a while back, so I thought no problem, we'll just bring it to a tire shop and they'll patch 'er right up, be just like new. But when I brought it in, they took one look and said nope, can't fix that, needs a new tire. So a couple of hundred bucks later I was the proud owner of a brand new 7X14 R1 tractor tire.
But then I got home and compared it to the other front tire, they're not quite the same, width and height wise. Now that's no big deal with a regular tractor, but this one's special; multi-speed tranny, triple range axle, four wheel drive model, so the tires have to exactly match up. So I call them back and they say that was the only one in stock, but they'll call when they get more in. So a few weeks go by, no call. I finally call them and sure enough, they lost my number but had the tires. When I go out to take off the other old tire, the new ones completely flat. So then I have to jack up and block the front of the tractor to remove both tires. The new one comes right off, but the old one's never been off in 25 years, so it took a breaker bar with a two ft pipe extension to loosen the lugs. By then the tendonitis in my elbows was awesome.
The next morning I took them into the tire shop, expecting the worst. Fortunately, the shop foreman is there, listens to my tale of woe and intrigue, and offers to replace both tires (old and new one) with two new (matching) tires and tubes, while only charging for the one. So now the old JD has two brand new tires. Can't wait to do the rear ones.
The new front tires, good for another 25 years?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Annual Maintenance...

Just like a motorcycle or snow machine, a dog team needs maintenance too. Besides vaccines, food supplements, and regular exercise, the younger dogs need to be trained to take over the jobs that the older more experienced ones have been doing. The most important, of course, is lead dog. Now we're training Jabba and Easter (or little Missy as Andy calls her), to take over for Barney and Spuds, who are both eleven. Jabba's been running up front for awhile now and he's doing great (Out to the Whites and a new leader...4/1/13). Just started with Missy (or pissy Missy, as I call her, cause she's so full of piss and vinegar). She gets to go up front after the turn around and we're heading for home. So far she's doing fine, but it should be interesting the first time we have to pass another team.
Missy and Barney up front, ready to rock. Obi, behind Missy is already rolling.

Headin' for home down the valley bottom.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Runnin' with Bill...

Every once in a while my friend Bill brings his dog team over so we can practice running two teams (Trail Report 2/22/10). The dogs get really excited when there's another team close by, so we do this occasionally to try to get them used to it. Did some passing practice on the way back home. Bill's dogs did great, ours not so much. Like they say, just keep on practicing, but don't give up your day job. But of course this is my day job now, so maybe I need to start volunteering? Had a great day for it though, sunny and about ten above, so really enjoyed getting the experience.
Takin' a break on the way out.

Bill's team on the way home.