Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wood Shavings are great!!!
Every 2 years I get a load (35-40 cubic yards) of wood shavings from Northland Woods here in Fairbanks. It is a small ski hill when it gets delivered and I always think "how am I going to use this much??" But starting in the spring I pull large loads of them down to my dog yard and the pile slowly disappears. A trick that I learned from Carol Kaynor is to use a large blue tarp. You can load a BIG pile of shavings onto the tarp to be pulled into the dog yard. (I use a large snow shovel) I used to use a wheel barrow and that took forever. Last night Don and I did about 12 loads each and all the dogs have a fairly thick layer of shavings. We raked it out around the dog houses and a lot of the dogs slept outside last night in their clean piles!
I use the shavings to fill in any holes, where there are muddy spots and along well worn paths. The shavings eventually break down to "dirt" and I just keep piling the layers on as the summer progresses. I never have any mud after a rain and in the spring time during break up, it certainly helps with the drainage and keeping those muddy spots cleaner.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Spring Cleaning 

This is the time of year that I deplore. And it looks like we are having a VERY early spring with temps in the 40's already.
One of the first things that I do is take off every bit of snow from the top of the dog's houses. I tend to leave a thick layer of snow for insulation all winter but now I grab my shovel and the whole top snow block comes off in one huge slab! But the houses are dry within hours with the sun shining and the dogs are sprawled on top, being lazy and soaking up the rays.
This also keeps the snow from melting on the top and seeping into the dog houses or dripping through any cracks. It is a good time to check for any warping of the wood and screw down any loose places on the tops.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Spring melting 

It won't be long and we will be starting to get ready for the spring melt. The single best thing we have ever done in the pens is to dig trenches (about a foot deep and 8 - 10 inches wide) in the ground before it freezes and then as the snow gets movable we dig out the trenches. That gives all the snow a place to go when it is melting. Making for less standing water in the pens. And, over the years we have also raised the level of the pens higher than the other ground with gravel to allow for better drainage.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at dimon@northpole-ak.com

Cathy & Tom Dimon
Dimon Freight Dogs
North Pole, Alaska

Friday, January 21, 2005

What to do about cracked paw pads 

A while back I asked the SCL list what to do about cracked paw pads. Below is a compilation of answers I received. Thanks to all who responded!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I was just thinking about writing about long roofs on my dog's houses and I read Lynn's post and she said it for me! Thanks Lynn!
It definitely makes a huge difference. With the overhanging roof, the dogs don't drag much snow into their houses and it keeps the wind at bay. Another BIG advantage is that a male dog won't pee right at or inside the door of the dog house! With the overhang they don't want to kind of squat under it to pee!
When cleaning out dog houses in the winter I use a short ended rake. I can put the rake directly into the house and pull out all the old straw. Tom McGrane uses a small hand type rake which you can get at a gardening store. It is used to churn up the soil but does a great job at grabbing the straw in the houses.
This last warm spell followed by an extreme cold spell is really hard on straw!! I try to keep all the houses cleaned out when it is warmer for it is hard to chip out the straw after it freezes solid. I was truly surprised that after the warm spell, the houses with the overhangs weren't damp at all....my ones with just the open door were soggy and I had to change them all out.

I have also learned when making my dog houses that I put the door higher than "normal." You can get a very deep layer of straw in there without it pouring back out the door or the dogs dragging it back out with their chain as they go in and out. The one draw back is that often a dog will hits it's snap hook on the bottom of the opening and it will pop open. I have often come home to dogs running loose with their chain inside their house! It doesn't happen too often and I'm glad that I have a fenced yard....but you might consider Swedish snaps if you go this route.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Tip when a dog is lost 

If you lose a dog in an area the dog isn't familiar with and you can't stay around, but will come back, tie a piece of your clothing--the smellier the better--to a tree. It might encourage the dog to stay around the area.

(This tip was originally posted to the SCL mailing list by Tom McGrane)

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