Monday, June 27, 2011

Just A Little Star

       What an incredible summer.  I find that hard work pays off, and that sometimes on your day off, it's OK to sit back and relax, stare at a mountain or a picture of one. This type of work is tough.  You get used to the care of your dogs first.  30 dogs, you and a handler.  That to any dog musher is easy, especially when you have help.  Wake up, scoop the poop, feed the huskies, put water in their bowls, scratch 60 ears, and then eat some breakfast.  This schedule has not only trained the dogs and built trust, but has also instilled those things in me, which in turn creates a very low stress environment for my dogs.  Mushers talk about consistency and routine effecting the overall attitude of the dog, and I think it's just as true in them, as it is in us.  Now don't get me wrong, those of you who know me, which most of you should at least a little by now, know that I like to do things on the fly.  I could be cleaning out a dog bowl one minute, then on my way to Skagway for the summer solstice party with Erin the next.  But when it comes to the care of something else, I believe it is only fair that you are consistent and routine-based.  I think that it was those things that helped my mind become creative over the years.  When I knew what was to be done, I found that the time I spent playing music, or doodling, or daydreaming, was perfectly fine.  When I unhook a dog from the team and bring him back to his house, I believe that he owns that little piece of land, and he can do there whatever he pleases, with just a couple stipulations. He jumps up on his house to get a better view, he crawls inside when it rains, he runs around his circle when his friends go for a run without him, and he howls to the mercy of the Gods with 119 of his own kind every day.  This is his life, beating like a drum whose cadence demands hard work and reward.

       Music has been an ongoing hobby for me.  I've played hundreds of shows since my first gig, at lets say "Go Mango" in Rochester Hills about ten years ago.  I must admit I knew I would always play guitar.  As friends of mine grew older, I saw them slowly spend time with other things, like girls, cars, and jobs.  I found a way to work music into my life, or even more thought provoking, music has shaped who I will be for years to come.  In this majestic valley, I find so much inspiration every day.  The garden is blooming, my grass seeds I planted in my dog yard are growing, my dogs are becoming very strong and uniform, and my life in love is exponential.  It feels great finding someone who you love so much, it really makes me appreciate and come to fruition with all the past relationships that led me to this one.  I am blessed, by the love of you.
       The mural.  You know when your buddy does something good, and you hear about until your ears bleed?  That's kind of how I am with this 25' x 30' sepia style painting that I'm currently saturating my brain with.  Now I've never painted anything this big, well maybe if you added up all the dog houses and Carhartt's I've painted white over the years, but I got the opportunity to create and submit an idea to be approved. I am currently 70% done with the mural, and could not be happier with how it is turning out.  I know it might sound like I'm totally into myself, but dammit I do listen to my album while I'm painting.  I mean, how often do you get the chance to listen to songs about the place your at, painting a picture of the mountains surrounding you, while you're being inspired by both at the same time? Haha, that's what I said!
       So onward I go, slowly writing more stories for my book, and beginning the thought process of my travels next winter.  My parents will be moving to North Carolina in about two weeks, and that will become my new holiday destination.  It's funny how that state has become a part of my life.  So many family and friends there, and the winter's are beautiful and for this mountain man, warm and inviting.  I can hardly wait to see what's in store for this little star.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gold Miner's Love

       It's hard to type this morning, with a 95 pound Alaskan Husky cleaning his face of on your right arm, but that's just the life us dog handlers have chosen.  I should feel really luck that I have internet service up here in the Sheep Creek valley of Juneau, Alaska.  I have been here for a month now, and so much has happened, that it seems like it wouldn't be fair to just list it all out with a two sentence explanation.  Erin and I have made our small cabin our summer home, and Tut and Ketza are so happy to be back in the team pulling tourists around the woods.  Thus far I have run about 70 tours, or approaching what I like to call about a quarter of the way through the season, and I couldn't be happier with the huskies I am running.  I have a group of 30 from Willow, Alaska, and they have all been such a pleasure to hang out with all day.  In total there are 120 dogs in the yard, four mushers with 30 each.
       I have taken on a new hobby which started with some sign-making around camp.  I am currently painting a mural that is about 30 feet by 25 feet and is one of the first things tourists see before they enter our summer dog camp.  I am posting its progress at's facebook page for those who want to see it! 
       The Alaskan Bar has seen me a few times now, and I've even pulled in a few friends from our glacier camp on the Mendenhall glacier here in Juneau to come downtown and enjoy the show.  I'm curious to see how the summer pans out with my music scene, I already feel like I am at the highest level of my guitar playing that I've ever been at, and the inspiration, well, I've got the prettiest girl, the happiest dogs, and live in a cabin in the most beautiful place on Earth.  Happy Man. 
       The upcoming weeks will be busy as our days become longer and as we approach the Summer Solstice here in Juneau.  The salmon will start to run, the eagles will once again be on the hunt sharing their bounty with all the forest dwellers.  In about a week, 8 husky dressed dog mushers will be pulling one of our silver carts downtown for a "only fools run at midnight" gala event in the downtown area.  We all signed up for a one mile race where we will be dressed up to the nines and pulling a tour cart for all to laugh at while we dance and trot along the Gastineau Channel. 
       Because I am working, and also due to a focused mind designed for the moment, I apologize to those who have been following me or checking for a new blog post recently. I know no explanation is needed, for those of you who know me know that if you don't hear from me, I'm busy chopping wood, or maybe sharing a story from my marching band days, but please feel free to follow me on Facebook for pictures of our Summer Camp as the season progresses, as well as photos of our litter of puppies from Mouse, who all got named after......Microbreweries! 
       I hope that everyone is having a great summer, it seems like the winter was busy for everyone, so maybe some much needed time off is in order.  And if you find yourself bored and looking for a tent to stay in, let me know and you can come up the Camp for a bit and relax...maybe I'll even give you a shovel to use:-)