Once again, I have to apologize for not posting much on here. It’s been like a whirlwind the last couple of week with closing on the Pump House, working our day jobs and then heading to the gym until at least 8:00. Then the last two weekends we’ve been moving what we need into our rental…in town. Yes, we are now “townies”.

We are all still trying to adjust. Don’t get me wrong, our rental is great. We are renting a house that  Bill and Cindy Hansen of Sawbill Outfitters have in town. They bought the house when their kids were in school so they didn’t have to make the 1.5 hour drive home after late-night school activities. With their kids grown, they don’t use the house much any more and we are grateful they are renting it to us. What is really nice, is it’s furnished so we’ve only had to move what we really need. The first weekend it was mainly clothes (and of course Mark’s TV) and last weekend we brought in our bed and Mark’s recliner (need the recliner to watch movies ya know). Our bed was a necessity as the biggest bed in the house was a double, not quite big enough for Mark and I, let along Buster and Takum that like to sleep with us! We all slept much better on our king-sized sleep number bed on Saturday night!

With the business, Mark and I haven’t had much time to notice how close the neighbors are. Well, Mark has complained a little bit, but we are adjusting, knowing it is just temporary as we will sell the cabin someday. Buster doesn’t care where he is, but we can tell we aren’t around much because he’s a huge pest at night. Who is having a hard time adjusting is the dogs. Hercules and Tucson are in a kennel in the back yard. While they were kenneled at the cabin when we weren’t home, their kenneled area at the cabin has more square feet than the whole back yard at the rental! Their kennel now is about 12×16 so they don’t have as much room to roam during the day. We’ve took them to the cabin with us on Saturday and let them run around. Even Takum seems a little confused. While he’s very happy that I come home from my day job and take him with me to the gym to hang out in the office with me, he’s confused because there isn’t enough room in our yard for him to chase his soccer ball. I’m wondering if we are being fair to Tuscon and Herc, I guess we just need to start taking them out for walks and when we can on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, drive to places where they can roam.

Oh well, hopefully this will be temporary, with the cabin selling soon so we can buy something with more breathing room. Until then, we’ll all just have to adjust to being “townies”.

The Beginning Of The MBF Era

Sorry I have left you all hanging so long, but when you see what our “big” announcement is, you  may understand why. Are you ready? Drumroll please…

As of Wednesday night, October 5, 2011 MB Fitness, LLC is the owner of the Pump House Fitness Center in Grand Marais! Yep, we weren’t busy enough, we just HAD to find something to fill our spare time. Actually, if you think about it, it’s not much different than what we’ve been doing for the last 22+ years. The only thing that changes is how many legs the creature has that we are helping them reach their nutrition and fitness goals!

As time allows we will post more pictures. Although I’m not sure if I will be keeping this website up and running since we won’t be “Off The Beaten Path” full-time starting tomorrow. We have found a rental in town and are moving there. For just the couple days that we have been owners of the gym, it’s been hard as we both are NOT quitting our day jobs. The two extra hours we will save in NOT having to commute home (not to mention the savings in gas) is going to be awesome. The gym has 24-hour swipe card access and we are only staffing the office on weeknights and Satrudays without employees. Yep, just us. Just like when we started out with sled dogs, no handlers. Does that mean it’s going to be 15 years before we have “help”? Oh well, we’re used to it!

End Of The BMK Era

I guess the era of Black Magic Kennels is officially over. Saturday afternoon what was left of our dog gear, we auctioned off at the annual Fast E Streeper auction. We brought over a pickup bed full of plastic totes full of gear and the only thing that came back home were most of the totes. I say most as we gave some of them to the people who bought gear since they bought a bunch!

It was a bit strange watching the auction and not be tempted to buy harnesses, snaps, collars, etc. at bargain prices. I couldn’t sit back and NOT buy something, so I did by lawn and wall art. Takum’s former owner makes these cool planter hangers out of salvaged car/truck rims and the metal rim from old wagon wheels…just HAD to have one of them. Then, young musher (now young woman I guess, as she is engaged) Erin Lindquist (who bought Chena and Yogi from us years ago) had a few of her oil paintings in the auction and I bought one that she painted of Lily of the Valley flowers. I just HAD to have that too as Lily of the Valley is the flower of May, which is the month of both Mark and my birthday’s and our anniversary. What was really strange was settling up with Amy Streeper at the end…she wrote me a check! In the past, I was usually writing her a check asking her to hang on to it for a week so I could get the money into my checking account!

We had a great time even though we didn’t buy much as it’s a great chance to catch up with other mushers and just hang out without having to drop dogs before or after a race, have a few beers around a bonfire and just plain have fun. The photo at left is Mark with good friend/fellow “Old Guard” distance mushers, Vern Schroeder and Mike Bestgen. Ironically, Mark is the youngest of the three, but the first to retire! Well, Vern kind-of retired a few years back, selling out what he had left to his son Nathan (who won the Beargrease two years ago), but didn’t completely get out because he’s been helping Nathan by training and racing his younger dogs for him the last five years! He’s REALLY not retired as he is signed up for the marathon again this year (silly guy). Although Mark has the most years behind a dog team…

It wasn’t just a “fun” time for us, it was also family time for Mr. Takum. The photo at right is of Takum with his nephew, Flip. Flip’s owners Steve and Sharrie, lost Takum’s dad this summer to I think it was cancer. Flip, who is part Border Collie along with Australian Shepherd, is their future breeding male. Flip is the same size and just as cute as Takum was two years ago when we brought him home. I’m bummed I didn’t have a camera with me when Eddy and Amy’s house dog, Tess was hanging out with the two boys. Tess is Takum’s Grandma and Flip’s Great-Grandma. Tess is 12 years old and is getting around kinda slow these days. How she looked reminded me a lot of Roxy in her last year, so we don’t know if we will see Tess next year if there is another auction. (We just can go to have fun, not buy anything). Hopefully, she will be around and the only era that ended at the auction was our sled dog racing career.

Don’t worry, we won’t be complacent. We will have an announcement later this week on what will be taking up our “spare” time.  Stay tuned! :-)


In “Bread” Dogs

I’ve been a bit busy lately and haven’t had much time to write a blog. Sooooo, I thought I would share this photo I got in an e-mail titled…”Please spay and neuter your pets. This is a tragic example of an in-bread dogs”. Lol

Who’s Your Daddy?

Loyal blog readers won’t have to guess long as to who the daddy is of this puppy?

What former dog of ours that moved to Canada do you think is the father of this little guy?

And the rest of the litter?

There is no doubt who the daddy is...

In case you haven’t been a long-time blog reader. The father is none other than…

...everyone's favorite puppy from 2008, CALVIN!


Yep, Calvin is a daddy. If you remember, Calvin, Amber and Cassie moved to their new home in Winnipeg with Gordon and Braeden Pope last winter. Calvin went to live with them after the White Oak Race and Cassie and Amber moved after Mush For a Cure. The fun part about Calvin’s kids is that Cassie is the mom! I guess they didn’t plan on the breeding happening, but sometimes, it just does.

We’ve heard from them that all the dogs have been doing great. Now if Amber has puppies, all our dogs that moved to Canada will be parents. A few months ago we got pictures of Elbrus’ pups! Braeden, tell your dad you need to have one more litter of pups! :-)