Silver Linings

21 May 2014       6.00 PM       65 F       Cloudy

Regular readers will have been poised on the edge of their seats awaiting the “Spring Break Up” edition. Occasional readers will be much more of the “meh” , he’s going to whine about break up again. And any new readers who have happened to stumble upon this are doubtless wondering what the heck I’m babbling about.

In the interests of clarity, break up is the period of time between a lovely, happy, cold, snowy winter and the endless weeks of daylight, sunshine,  fire risk and mosquitoes. It refers to the time where daily life is judged by how many times you fall through the rapidly melting snow crust into a pool of frigid water, or find yourself up to your knees in the stickiest, gloopiest mud known to mankind. It’s not much fun for us humans, and I suspect that most the dogs don’t enjoy it greatly either.

6 boys 2014
Snow, mud, water and holes.

We are quite fortunate here in that our dogyard has been well designed, has been graded to a gentle slope and is predominately sand. These factors all help move the water that a winter’s worth of melting snow generates. However, it’s never quite as simple or easy as that, and some of the areas are a bit more of a challenge. The natural mess is often further complicated by some of the dogs’ predilection for creating a lunar landscape everywhere they can. We try to fill the worst of these holes (or caves in some cases) before the ground freezes and the snows fly, but sometimes they get dug back out as quick, if not quicker, than they are being filled in.  This usually means that the guilty parties have swimming holes during break up . This is also a good time to remember where that hole actually is before finding it feet first.

Those of you who experienced this year’s winter in Alaska, or followed the Iditarod will be aware that we actually had a very mild winter and fairly low (or none depending on where you looked) snow fall. We also had our usual January thaw which managed to make quite a dent in the snow levels at that time. So, by the time Spring arrived, we were quietly hopeful of surviving break up without tears or tantrums. And so, it proved to be.  There were a couple of weeks where we had sump pumps running to move the water from the girls’ pen, but generally it went by quickly and without too much fuss. We had lovely warm sunny days and crisp, cold nights – the perfect combination.

And now, we have had weeks of sunshine, the ground is completely dry and the dogs are back to digging holes and playing in the sand.  So, I could either moan about how poor our winter was, or be happy that break up was a bit of anti-climax and definitely over far quicker than in previous years. As I said, silver linings and all that.

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