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The Dog Sledding Chauffeur: Grocery Getters, Russ-Stick Style

Snowy road

As the week rolled into the weekend, it was apparent winter was well on its way to the 45th Parallel.

Driving in the snow

By Friday morning, life at Russ-Stick Acres was taking on a different look.

Truck stuck in snow

Our driveway, as we know it, is now defunct.


Tractor and horses in snow

Even with the assistance of our tractor.

The drive covered in snow

We don’t have a short drive ... we have a journey.

Dog team pulling up to the cabin door

That Friday night, at the start of the weekend, I was picked up on my return home from work by several friends – Ranger, Astro, Solo, Charlie, Jeff and Rustic Russ.

Dog team. And driver.

Russ on the dog sled

I had stopped at the store earlier in the day and loaded up on some staples.

Upon parking at the end of the drive by the road, we transferred all the groceries, my camera, and essentials into the sled bag to haul to the cabin. We did this in the dark, bitter cold, blowing snow.

I then stood on the runners, shared by Rustic Russ, and experienced a frosty, cold drive through drifts back to the warmth of the woodstove in our main cabin – Rustic Russ, sometimes running along the sled, assisting the dogs through deep drifts.

Dog sled team in the darkness

It was good to be home.

A roast from our own steer, braised to perfection, was poised for consumption. The aroma filled the air like Yorkshire pudding.

Warm, safe and sound.

The dogs were more than happy to oblige. They love to feel like a part of our working farm.

Home via dog sled.

Dog team home after a job well done

The most reliable transportation on earth.

Until next time – God willing,


sherry 'woodswoman'
2/28/2010 5:55:03 PM

We love our critter-powered travel, albeit horses or sled dogs. ;) We hope to sell our truck one day and be completely dependable on hoof and paw power. We, too, have had blind sled dogs over the years. One was an Iditarod dog, Teaspoon, a hearty Alaskan. We got him at age 12 and he lived until 18 years of age. We were somewhat relieved when he passed, as it isn't as romantic as it sounds. I'm sure dogs miss their vision, just as a human would. Right after Teaspoon passed on, we realized another great Alaskan of ours, Buddy Jr., had become blind ~ almost overnight at age 8. (I realized it by shining a headlamp in the dog yard one night while doing chores... and Buddy's eyes didn't shine back.) Buddy, being an amazing dog, did well, and never let it get him down until the day he passed on. Perhaps it is tougher on the human owner, than the dog. Dogs have amazing resiliency. We, as humans, can certainly learn from them... Sherry

cindy murphy
2/25/2010 2:41:53 PM

Hi, Sherry. I've cross-country skied to run errands and get groceries - just whatever would fit into a backpack, and mostly just to play along the way. Very cool that if need be, you have another form of transportation when there's too much snow for motorized vehicles. Last night there was a nice side-story on the Olympics airing about a couple who has sled dogs. My family was fascinated watching their grit and determination, especially of one dog who unfortunately and unexplainably, went blind. Afterward, the family tried to keep her inside as a house dog, but she would have none of it. She wanted to run; she wanted to remain part of the team. It is what she loves, and was meant to do. Blind for the past five years, she's been pulling sleds with the guidance of her team mates. It was neat telling my family what I learned about sled dogs from reading your blog. Enjoy your day. Cindy