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Veteran Iditarod and Yukon Quest musher Bill Pinkham stopped in recently, introducing his wife, Jodi, to area dog kennels on the Kenai Peninsula and other areas in the state. Bill and Jodi had been married two weeks. You might remember that Pinkham proposed to Jodi from the podium of the 2008 Yukon Quest finishers’ banquet.

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I was outside in a sweatshirt and jacket this afternoon, tinkering with the fish smoker to get just the right mixture of smoke and heat, as if I knew, when Bree said, “Why don’t you hook up 10 dogs and take Salem on a two-miler?” She didn’t have to ask twice.

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Last year, I drafted a basic 12-day Iditarod schedule for a couple of teams that wound up running near the back of the pack. It was nothing more than a simple goal, a framework to hang a journey on. I thought I’d post it here for anyone who thinks it might help.

This schedule is not for those hoping to finish in the money. You don’t get to Nome in 12 days and expect much of a paycheck. But here’s what the schedule does: It helps a rookie, for example, see how to manage his or her time in a way to make the best use of daylight. And it helps them see the need for predictable run times and predictable rest times — critical elements for the dogs’ attitudes. Once those dogs can bank on the fact they run run about six hours at a pop, it eases their minds as the journey progresses. They can also bank on a nice long rest between those runs.

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My family really enjoys its fresh eggs, not to mention the entertainment factor from having a few chickens around. But by default, we do play it fast and loose, considering we also have 32 sled dogs within 50 yards of the hen house. Every once in a while, a free-ranging dog homes in on a free-ranging chicken, with the typical result being a very contented canine, on the one hand, and a pile of feathers on the other.

Yesterday, our most ferocious and unrepentant chicken killer, Adidas, bolted from the dog yard while our hens were out munching on grass and bugs (which makes their yolks turn the richest shade of yellow). For some reason, the stitching on Adidas’ collar gave out at that moment, and she ran over to the house.

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