Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow=Happy Dogs & Happy Mushers!

It has been a very busy month this past month, with getting laid off, and signing up for school, a trip out to MN and back, and running dogs, and getting ready for christmas...PHEW! Where has the time gone...

So first thing, yes I got laid off, but not at all bummed about it! I have decided to follow my dream and go back to school and become a veterinary technician! I am excited about the outcome, but not all excited about the schooling, but am very ambitious and motivated to get this done ASAP! Which includes working my butt off in the summer months as well! :)Will be such a help with this degree for sure!

Second thing, we made an awesome trip yet again to MN and back. Just can't stay away from there! We drove straight thru, and arrived right on time. Had some excellent runs out there on sled with the whole crew. Of course Kasey can't go to MN, and not bring anything back that has fur and 4 legs!? So we have two awesome boys here for the next few months to help me accomplish my goals this year. Wat and Roland are 5 years olds, they are brothers and have finished the Iditarod twice! With setting the fastest pure bred team in Iditarod history both times. They are available for stud use, while they are here in New England. It was just an awesome trip, and wish it could of lasted a month or so longer! But responsibilities always seem to get in the way...
Wat & Roalnd
So the next few months are going to be just as busy with training/racing dogs, and going to school, but its going to be so worth it in the end! Team is shaping up nicely, quite impressed with them, and how much further they are ahead from last year at this time. We have our first 100 miler in 3 weeks, and we are a little behind than I wanted to be, but not enough to really set us back too much. Either way we are going to have a blast doing what we love!

At this moment we are getting hammered on with snow, which is what we really needed! Now we can be on sleds as of tomorrow! Just going to be tough going, breaking trail but it will be a great work out for the dogs! :)

The puppies are doing awesome, and not really puppies anymore, they are huge! I mean huge! They are out with the big dogs now, and are such pros! :) They will be on moms team this year, just going out for the fun runs!

Well hope everyone had a great christmas, as did I. Hope you all have a Happy and Safe New Year, and Happy Trails! Below are some photos for you to enjoy!

Until Next Time....

~Fort Illio Kennels~

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What do we do in Fall?

Well we run dogs, run dogs and did I mention run dogs! :) Finally training season is here and we are clicking right along. Team is shaping up nicely, considering a minor slow start in Aug and Sept due to the warmer weather, but nothing that got us too worried. All our race entries have been sent in, and we just can't wait for the season to start!

We just came back from a nice camping trip with the dogs this past weekend. We went to the NH Trade fair, and had a great time, meeting people, talking with friends, running dogs...what more could you ask for? Puppies did great on their first excursion in the dog truck, first night they whined a bit, but second night they were much better! Now hopefully they won't forget about it next time they go on a trip! We have had the pups in harness a couple of times, and WOW! They both did awesome! It only took them each a few strides to take to their instincts. Amazing pups they are!

Well just a quick posts to let everyone know what we have been up to! Busy busy running the dogs!

Talk soon! Happy trails!

~Fort Illio~

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trip to MN, and MISC. News...

Well the trip to MN went great! No issues on the way there or on the way back, PHEW! :) It was a quick trip unfortunately, where we both had to get back to work way too early. Regardless we still had a great visit with Blake and Jen, baby Elena, and dogs. We brought back our newest addition Bones, who is settling in fabulously! He is really taking to me a lot lately, loves the one on one attention of being groomed, but not the actual grooming itself. Mom bought the dogs this Kong ball and he loves it, so while being groomed he constantly has that in his mouth, and taking all anger and frustration out on that! That is the type of character that boy is! Always gets my laughing every time I go in the dog yard, which is many times a day! :) We ran him for the first time last weekend, and he was phenomenal. He definitely did not look like a yearling that's for sure! Some of my favorite pictures for you to enjoy of MN and Bones are below, the rest can be see at this link.
Kotka's nephew (Hickory)
Bones Mom (Domita)

Now some sad news, we lost our Ryder boy on the 19th of Aug. Shortly after we got back from MN. He wasn't eating, checked him all over and his gums were yellow. Turns out after taking him to the vets that he had Liver cancer. His liver levels were 3634
and 2614, where they are supposed to be between 100-200. How this happened so fasts and sudden is beyond me. It was very devastating and shocking for us. He was only 8. And prior to the lasts 4 days of his life, he was fine...that just shows us once again how quick cancer works its way through. He was a very valuable team member, and is going to be deeply missed off the team this year. Fortunately we have some pups from him, that hopefully will carry his same drive and determination he had.
Bonnie Lundburg had sent this to me when I lost Ryder, I think it is perfect! :) "Doggie Heaven"

On a brighter note we have been out a couple of times with the cooler mornings here in Maine. Team is looking good, and it looks like we will be able to make it out towards the end of this week as well. I imagine within the next week or so, training will be a lot more consistent, once the weather cools down for good. I am looking forward to this racing year, we are signed up for 2 100 mile races, as well as the Can Am 60 again. Should be an adventurous year... but than again when isn't it!?

Well I think that is all the news for now! Phew! Hoping to get some more pictures of the puppies that are not so much puppies anymore, and the new boy Bones soon. Stay tuned!

Hope for cooler weather!

~Fort Illio~

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Well I can say the kennel is done for the mosts part!! We just have a few odd and end stuff to touch up on, but when don't you!? The dogs love the new kennel, and can really get moving in it, but they still arn't so sure of the play yard yet. When we turn them all loose they have all three sections of kennel to run in, the boy yard, girl yard and play yard. So of course they run out in the play yard, but as of right now they spend mosts of their time in eachothers areas scrounging for food or smelling everything. I believe they will be enjoying the play yard a little more in a few weeks when we can really start training heavy. They will never want to leave the play yard! LOL! With this new setup we can leave right from the yard. We got to practice that last weekend where it was cool enough to run! Oh what luxury it was to hook up at your own yard and not have to truck somewhere! It was so nice! :) Dogs were great on the new trails, and listened well to all the commands. We definately had the leaders on their toes with all the new commands, and coming out of the gate and going back in, all did so well! Pictures below.

Now we have been trying to get the dog building done ASAP. It's always a working progress, but we are coming along on it, and it will be so nice to have a building just for dog stuff! Can't wait to get it all organized. Pictures below as well.

Puppies are growing like weeds! In a week or so they will be on tie outs, so I am sure they will be telling me off about that. :) It's that time. They are so smart, and fun to have around! :)

This week we are heading to MN to get one more addition to Team Fort Illio. Stay tuned for more details. Well thats all the news for now. Enjoy all the photos! And pray for cooler weather!

~Fort Illio~

Dog building
4-wheeler ready for some dogs!
Exit Gate
Play yard
1st Training run of the season :)
Dixie and Waylon
Tippin with my camera case.
Waylon and Tippin
Dog Building
Handsome Waylon
Dixie and Tippin

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Moving forward...FINALLY!

First off it has been a really busy summer! The dog kennel has taken more time than we all anticipated but no doubt it will be done in less than two weeks and that is including the play has to be!!!! There is no choice. I want to start training no later than mid August, with hoping to hit the trails around the first or second weekend in August, providing the weather cooperates like the last few years. All depends on the kennel right now. We are making head way and by this weekend the main yard should be done, and we should have a big dent on the play yard. I keep looking at this new and improved area for the dogs, and just can't wait to turn them all loose in it and to see their reactions!! I have some that I believe will just open up their four barrels and let it rip! Can't wait to witness it. Their will be pictures for sure! Hoping to take some this weekend after we get most of it done!

Now for the puppies, they don't really look like puppies anymore, more so like mini adults! But they are great and I have been having a blasts with them being around! I have been taken them on all kind of fun walks, and took them to the brooke about two miles from the house to swim on those blistering hot days, of course they loved it, photos will be below. I need to get new photos of them so you all can see how well they have grown and see the legs they all need to grow into! Nanuk finally made it to Denver, CO to his new home, where I believe he is getting spoiled! :-) (Thanks Will & family) It was a chore and a half to get him on the plane, but it all worked out in the end. Remind me to never deal with DELTA again! Pictures of the big boy in his new home will be below as well.

Just thought I would give everyone a quick update. Hoping to update in a couple weeks with the new kennel pictures with the dogs enjoying it! Stay tuned! And enjoy the photos below!
All the pups enjoying the water, we took all 8 dogs to the river at once! What fun!!!
Nanuk at the office with his new dad!

~Fort Illio~

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lots to do!

We have been busy with getting things ready to start the new kennel project. We just got a lot of building supplies for the new dog building that we will start building this week/weekend. Got 250 feet of fencing at the new area right now. We still need to go and take down 477 feet that we located and bought! Now just need to take it down and transport it. So all together with all the fencing we have now, its close to 1100 feet. Which is about what we need. Now you have an idea of how big this new kennel is going to be! :) Its going to be BIG!

Puppies are growing like weeds and are at the age now of keeping me on my toes! They are such a joy to have around. They will be 5 weeks old on Wednesday. Where does the time go? It's cute how all their different personalities are starting to come out. Dixie is the fiesty female, that is really smart! Waylon is the clown, he is just so silly and happy ALLLL the time! Jackson is the wanderer, always on the go, and trys to pull fasts one on me quite often, which he accomplishes more often than he should! :) And typically Tippin is the momma's boy! Whenever I am near or around the pups he is usually all over me, or whining because he can't get to me. He is so cute! :) He is the only one with his ears up!

As far as the big dogs, they are just resting and enjoying the sun and cool breezes they are getting, probably dreaming about their new kennel, I keep telling them about! Yesterday was hot so we let them play for over an hour and changed all their bedding to fresh clean shavings! :)

To end this update enjoy some puppy photos! I will check back in soon.

Pups in the laundry basket after they filled their bellies!

Happy Spring!

~Fort Illio~

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Finally we have some puppies!! Cree delivered four healthy pups April 14th in the evening, started at 8:30 at night, and it went well into the next morning. All pups and mom are doing great! Cree has been such a good mom through the whole process! . She had 3 males and 1 female. 3 white and 1 gray and white. Very similiar to Cree's litter when she was born. Her's was 3 whites and 1 gray and white, but opposite sex, 3 females and 1 male. Pretty interesting! We are naming these little critters based on the country band theme. So introducing Waylen, Tippin, Dixie, and Jackson! Some photo's to enjoy!

More to come when they start to grow!! Until than, Happy Spring everyone!

~Fort Illio~

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring is here...

First off, want to say sorry for taken me so long to do a post, but I have a good reason! I have been trying to buy this house I wanted sense October, and finally last Thursday was closing, so the week after the Can Am, I was busy packing, so I could move the following weekend. So I have been busy! Now that I am all settled in the new house, I have a little time to do an update! First about the new house, its got a very large back yard for the dogs when they move up here in just a few short months. We will be working on the new kennel shortly, and hope to have it done by July! I am doing a lot more different things to this new kennel. Setup is going to be heaven! There will be a puppy kennel/retiree kennel. Females will be in one yard, than in the other side of the yard will be the males, than out back there will be a big play area for when we turn them all loose. Hoping this summer we can build a jungle gym thing. With a tunnel, ramp and stairs. I have all these ideas now I just need to put them together the best way possible! Hoping to have pictures through the process, so you can follow!

Second off, the can am and why we chose to scratch at the checkpoint. The team did really good the first 18 miles, and that is when Phoenix came up sore with a shoulder and wrists, same leg, trail was punchy due to it being so warm. Remembering how bagging her was I just slowed the team right down and kept on chugging along, where she ran a lot better with a slower pace. At about that time my good friend Becki passed me, and we both agreed that the temperture was absurd! It was way too warm for Fort Kent, but that is something us mushers can't control! And boy wouldn't we all like too! Anyways, at that point, plan was to drop Phoenix at the half way point and than continue on. At about Mile 23 the team was really getting hott! It must of been close to 50 degrees in the sun, because I was sweating. I NEVER SWEAT! Two of my dogs get hot faster than the rest of the team, they just kept throwing themselves in the snowbanks all the time. I would stop and let them roll in the snow, than when I tried to get them to go, they would but not with a lot of enthusiasm. This to me isn't good, I want my team to have enthusiasm and want to go, not want to roll in the snow all the time because the temperture is taking a lot out of them. I watered them quite a bit the day before, and gave them their morning water/breakfasts a few hours before the race, but it didn't seem like it helped them that much. So as we were getting closer to the checkpoint, I didn't want those two that were getting way too hott way too quick to get to the point of overheating, you can ruin your best dog that way. So instead of dropping 3 dogs and continueing on, I made the decision to scratch. I knew we could do the Can Am 60, we have completed it before, I needed to remind myself, Kasey this is just a race, take care of your dogs and make the best decision based on the team. And that I did so. Of course I was dissappointed, and wished we could of finished it, but I wasn't going to put more pressure on the pregnant female I had on the team at the time, with dropping 3 dogs, granted she was only 3 weeks pregnant, but puppies are way more important to me than any race! Oh and I am sure you are wondering who the 8 I chose for the Can Am team, they are Kaleeta, Cree, Aryan, Wallace, Phoenix, Yoda, Ryder and Lumos. Blazer didn't go, and I regreted not taking him, but due to a shoulder injury he had 3 weeks prior I was worried that would come back and haunt me on this punchy trail. Kotka and Marocca sat out for the same reasons.

Well thats all the news for now, I will check back in, if and when we have pups!

Happy Spring!

~Fort Illio Kennels~

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Girl Scouts

We were asked to attend a girl scout meeting in a town near us, and talk in depth and detail about the sport of mushing. There was about 18 girls, with teachers and parents as well. Everyone had a great time! I brought Kaleeta, and some gear to show the girls, how to boot, wristwrap, harness and etc... The girls had a lot of fun, and were very interested! We have never really done educational programs on this sport, but it was a lot of fun, as always when it is something you take interest in! The girls had a lot of great questions to ask, and were very interactive with Kaleeta! Enjoy the photos below.

Training in NH

This past weekend we went to Stratford NH and trained with some friends (Jaye & Becki). The trails in NH were in great shape, and it was exactly what the team really needed! They needed to be on the road before the Can Am came around where we are on the road for 4 days. Everyone ate well on the truck! The team had a great time on new trails, and having the trails not be hard packed was a huge plus and perk for the team. The hard packed stuff we have been running on at home the past few weekends isn't doing justice for the team at all! So it was great to get away, explore new trails, and have some actual snow to run on!! Enjoy some pics below!

~Fort Illio~

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Greenville 30 Mile Race

We always love this race and the effort the crew puts into it! We had a great time as always. Trail was in beautiful shape considering the rain we got, and the toll it took on most trails. I was very impressed. It was a hilly trail, and the views was just to die for. Times were very close and we placed 14th out of 18 teams, with a time of 2 hours and 46 minutes. The team was Cree and Kaleeta in lead, Wallace and Kotka, Yoda and Aryan, than Blazer and Lumos. Ryder set this one out, due to him loosing focus when we pass teams or teams pass us, I had to be very picky, where I couldn't decided who to leave out. Phoenix and Marocca set this race out as well. And Storm and Kody are now running on moms team for the remainder of the season. Storm so he can heal properly and go at a slower pace, and not run as much or as hard for the meantime. Kody well its his official time to retire, this saddens me, because he has always been on my race team and usually is my go to dog. But when we ran on sunday and mom ran him in solo lead on her team, his face made me feel a WHOLE lot better. He deserves this and very much appreciates it! We hooked up moms 5 dogs first because they were going nuts, and got her off. Than I hooked up my 9 by myself which was easy. I came up behind her, passed her, and glanced back at Kody who was smiling ear to ear! He was loving it! HE can set the pace, HE is running lead, and HE is KING! :) Or so he thinks he is, we won't burst his bubble!! So hang on mom, Kody will throw you a lot of obstacles but they will all turn into great memories!! I know I have plenty with that boy! Enjoy!

Until next time we are all crossing our toes, finger, and paws here at Fort Illio in hoping to get some snow very very soon!!! We need it so badly!! So we don't really know yet where the racing and the season will go at the moment, its all up in the air until we get some snow!

Happy Thinking SNOW!!

~Fort Illio~

Monday, February 1, 2010

KI 30 Mile Race

Team at the finish of the race!

I always enjoy this race, the crowd of people, the work the club does to put this on. I can't say enough good things about this race! Always a pleasure to attend it!

The team was Kaleeta and Cree in lead, than Wallace and Kotka, than Yoda and Aryan, Marocca and Phoenix, Ryder and Lumos, Blazer and Kody. We had a great run, team did awesome! They were used to pacing themselves, with taking in consideration of running the 100 miler next week. Hence that is how I trained them. I just kept calling them up and calling them up, CREE was loving it!! She loves speed anyways, so the faster we went the better she liked it. I had a blasts! We came in 5th out of 12 teams with a time of doing 28 miles in 2 hours and 42 minutes! According to my GPS we were averaging over 11 mph! :) The trail was very hard and fasts, but it was in great shape considering what the rain did to all the trails around us. The team came in just as strong as they went out, loping in! NOW that to me is a successful race, I like nothing more than to come in with the team looking like the photo above!! Very proud of them all! :)

Now the bad news, the 100 mile race in Greenville got cancelled. Big bummer considering all the work we did as a team to be ready for it, but I guess that will just help us get more prepared for next year. We can't control the weather unfortunatly! We need SNOW!! We are going to still do the 30 mile race that the crew worked so hard to get together! :) Now I just need to pick the 8 dog team out of 13 dogs! UGH! That will be a hard one. This is a fun race as well, so we all can't wait for it! :)

Until than...THINK SNOW!!!!!!

~Fort Illio~

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good times...

We had a great weekend, with some great friends. On Saturday we went to Brownville and put in a nice 36 mile run. I borrowed one of my friends dogs (Maggie Wey) Lumos which is my Phoenix's brother. He did great! He can trot for miles beyond miles, he would make a great distant dog. I put him next to his sister Phoenix and you can see the photo below, its just too cute! He is much bigger than her.

Cree ran lead on Saturday, and I got thinking that this was the longest run she had ever ran lead before, and she handled it perfectly! I was happy to realize this because now she should be ready to lead at some of the races! She just keeps impressing me more and more.

On Sunday we ran at our normal training area and did a nice 20 miler, the team needed a break, with putting on 100 miles this week. I had Lumos in my team again, and he did great as always! Boy does he love food!

Last Wednesday we did a nice long run with a camp out, to get the dogs used to resting...They did great as far as eating immediately on the line, everyone ate! But the resting part they must of forgot about, because they didn't want to rest. Next time we will have to run them further to get them to rest. Plan on doing that this week! :) So stay tuned. The pictures below are from our camping trip with the dogs. At one point you can see for miles, and that is at 2556 feet in elevation! It's a climb for sure!

Nothing else going on, we have just been working our butts off trying to get in gear for the 100 mile race we are entered in at the first of February. I have to say so far everything is going smoothly...knock on wood! Well to end this enjoy some photos!

Happy Trails!

~Fort Illio~

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Here are some photos that Maggie's friend took of our team this past weekend! Thanks Tyson!

Kaleeta and Cree lining out!

Kaleeta and Cree again, such good girls!