THE BIG NEWS FOR 2017 — WE MOVED!!!!
We are not getting any younger and found we were just too busy to really enjoy what we love doing sharing trails with family, friends and some great people! So we decided to downsize to get back to the reason we started Hastings Huskies almost 20 years ago.
Contrary to popular myth we did not go “out of business” but we are no longer taking on boarders, have cut back on our lesson and daycamp offerings which enabled us to reduce our herd to a core of six good trail horses and of course a few of our old retired friends.
We started our search for a new location in July 2016 not an easy task to find something that works for both the dogs, the horses, the people and easy commutes to work (yes Laura and I are still working FT) and the trails we use for our core business. With lots of help from our friend and awesome RE agent, Sue Bezdicek, we narrowed it down to three different locations by the end of July and started the permitting process for all three locations.
Anyone that knows me, knows I have spent too many hours in local township meetings!!! Yet here we are again dealing with three different municipalities and all the public hearings that go along with that. The ease of working with Cannon Falls Township and Goodhue County zoning was very much a deciding factor for the location we decided upon and we got our final approval for our kennel permit at our new location on October 4th 2016. Offer was accepted on the property on October 13th and then we went to work!
The new location had nothing set up for the dogs, poor fencing for the horses and only a four stall barn with no other storage or out buildings. The area for the dog yard was heavily wooded and overgrown and I was now converting our dog kennel into a traditional mushing dog yard! Fortunately the sellers were very cooperative and let us get started immediately on clearing the dog yard, building individual dog houses and swivels for 40 dogs, fencing for the dog yards, fencing for the drylot and goat pens before closing on the property. At the same time we were sorting through stuff at the old place, selling and giving away what wasn’t need, salvaging fencing and materials that might be needed at the new place and moving them into storage for springtime projects at a good neighbor’s place. Thank goodness for family, friends and a little cooperation from mother nature!!!!
The plan was to make our big move the week of Thanksgiving week with closing scheduled the Monday before Thanksgiving but the bank denied the loan that they had assured us was approved for over five weeks THE DAY BEFORE CLOSING because when they finally got the appraisal they had been waiting for they discovered the house is a bermed house and they didn’t finance bermed houses! REALLY!! Quick thinking on my part, I called the sellers, asked them who carried their loan because obviously they didn’t care if it was bermed house and thanks to a wonderful loan officer with BankWest SD and my super agent we finally closed on December 30th, finished moving everyone and everything in the ice and snow and still celebrated New Years Eve with the grandkids using packing peanuts for confetti!
The New Place—
We are now located in Cannon Falls—Cannon Falls is a very friendly little community and we are settling in nicely. We are only 5 miles from Lake Byllesby trailhead for our dogsled rides, 10 miles from Phillippo Scout reservation for our horsemanship programs, 6 miles from Cannon Falls Fairgrounds with a very nice arena for horse daycamps, 1/2 mile from Hwy 52 for easy travel to Lebanon Hills RP and Hay Creek (via Goodhue CR9 to HWY 58) and Zumbro Bottoms for trial rides and camping, shorter commute to Northfield for work and about same commute to Eagan for Laura and we can ride to the Dairy Queen!!
We have 16+ acres with the front part being heavily wooded with LOTS of tall Jack pines, I love sitting on the deck to listen to them, and the back part is up a hill (yes we still have to hike up a hill to get to the pasture), that is open field with tall grasses and of course buckthorn & sumac. The house was built in 1981 when passive solar designs were popular so it is on a slab with cedar log siding and the whole south side of the house is floor to ceiling windows with more transom windows along a split roof but that is it for windows— the north side is in the ground and it is not uncommon to hear animals walking on the roof (will be fun for grandkids to hear Santa on the roof at Christmas). We did have to redo all of the flooring in the house except for the tile in bathrooms and kitchens. We went from a 5BR/3Ba with a full basement to 3BR/ 2Ba w/no basement AND no outbuildings to store anything so we had a huge garage sale and I am still selling stuff on CL and FB! The whole house is built like a horseshoe around an indoor pool (that the grandkids are enjoying very much) with the whole west side of the house pretty much dedicated to a master suite, complete with four sinks, a huge whirlpool tub and a full cedar sauna. I finally finished the MBR in August complete with a new bed frame I made our of cedar boards to match the huge brick and cedar fireplace in the BR. It also had a huge garden with SIX patches of rhubarb that have kept me in rhubarb crisp all summer long and now I just go out to garden for dinner. I have always wanted a garden but just have never had much success at it. It took me about a month to get it worked up and planted but it was worth it— YUM!
The dogs have gotten into the routine of things here and definitely like their new digs (and I do mean digs literally). The horses seem happy here too and while we still have not gotten them out on our 10A of pasture yet, they still have grass in the drylot and riding paddock. They all have plenty of shade, nice breeze most days blowing through tall Jack pines. The chickens and guinea hens are free ranging during the day and roost themselves in one of the stalls at night so the horses have gotten pretty good about birds flying up at them. The fencing in the pasture needed some work but first we had to clear a path up there, then clear the fenceline to work on it. We are going to put in a line of fence in the middle so we can manage the pasture. We are close to getting the north end of the pasture finished but the south end will have to be a project for next year along with running water and electricity out to the barn and the dog yard (we will just have to deal with hoses and hauling water out to barn and dog yard for another winter), adding onto the barn for storage of hay and perhaps trying to level off an area to park equipment (right now everything is on a slope or at a slant).
Probably the hardest part of this move was all the different goodbyes we have had this year. While I WILL NOT MISS the Ravenna Town Board, I will miss my good neighbors and all of our Special Olympics families that have supported me over the past 15 years in my battles with Ravenna Township. I will miss having teenagers hanging around the farm. I will miss the smiles of our daycamp kids. I will miss the 15 years put into literally building the place from nothing. We bought the old place in 2002 and all that was there was a bean field, we slept in a fifth wheel trailer for two winters while building the house ourselves, my sister landscaped it for me, my mom bought me lillies the fall before she died that were delivered and planted less than a month after she died in the spring, my boys learned how to build a house and used that knowledge to remodel the homes they now own, they built me a waterfall for my wedding which also was in the barn, my family helped with fencing 61Acres and I built HHH Ranch.
I said goodbye to a lot of good horses this past year— Tucker went down in Spring of 2016, Jesse went down the summer of 2016, we sold Jackson, JJ, Chino, Rocky, all three of my pretty girls (Haflingers), Rosie retired to a farm in Illinois with two of her daughters, gave away several others including Radar (a Radar hug would have been very appreciated this past year) nd Big Mama (who did quite well at the fair BTW) but the hardest of these was the decision to put my old Buzz down this past fall. Buzz was a gorgeous sorrel Arab w/ flaxen mane and tail and was the first horse I purchased on my own as an adult. He was 35 YO, was with me for over 24 years and there was just one day that I could just see in his eyes that he was ready and even though I knew it was coming, I was not but this is a kindness that is owed to those that trust us. A lot of kids learned how to ride on Buzz including my kids and grandkids, heck I learned a lot from that flighty Arab as we both aged into steady parntners. He took me on a lot of camping trips including Missouri and the Dakotas, he was the mount that I got married on. He will be missed, I have two more 30+ horses that I have had for 20+ years that I watch for that sign that they too are ready to join their buddy and we can only hope that when we cross our bridge they are all waiting for us.
While these are all sad goodbyes, I look forward to new adventures. I may not know God’s plan for me but I know there must be one because I surely could not have survived the past two years without his help. He provided the resources and the help I needed to get me here today for a reason whatever that is. Amen!
2017 Dogsledding Season
Thanksgiving week is usually when we are doing all of our switchovers from horse season to dog season— cleaning and storing horse trailers, mounting dog boxes, etc. but this year we had to convert just one truck to cover the ArliDazzle celebration in Arlington, MN the first weekend in December. That event is always a fun start to our dog season but honestly it even more so this past year since it was a wonderful break from all the stress of the move. We actually did not get our boxes on the trailer and the big truck until the Thursday before our first trip to Tomahawk because we needed the truck, trailer and all the horse trailers for the move! Normally that week is a busy week for us here at home with Christmas celebrations and out of town visitors looking for some dog sled rides. We had a full calendar but there was just no snow, so we cancelled our rides but it worked out for the best since we ended up moving that week instead. People often wonder why I am not a big planner of events— Life Happens and it is best to just roll with it rather than waste a bunch of time making plans that usually are interrupted by LIFE.
We had a great season at Tomahawk but not so good here with a lack of snow for most of the season only spending time at the park perhaps 3-4 weekends. I am looking forward to a much better season in 2018! We are only 5 miles for the trail head, there is rumor of a big game and lots of visitors in the area at the end of January and the first weekend in February, and LaNina promises lots of cold temps and snow. I have developed some partnerships with Superbowl event planners and local ski resorts to hopefully not be as dependent on the weather this season. We have four new Alaskan yearling pups to add to our teams and they are fast (at least compared to the rest of my Siberians) so it should be a lot of fun working with them this year.
For those of you that follow the Ididtarod— be sure to follow the lady in pink this year! Dee Dee Jonrowe has announced that this will be her last race with 30 Iditarod starts in her career. She may have never won the race but at 63 years old surviving breast cancer and a fire that wiped her kennel out, she’s a winner in my book! I am also looking forward to perhaps seeing Lance Mackey in MN this racing season. He has announced that he will be coming to the lower 48 for some sled time this season. Still working on trying to get him to help me with the Superbowl— wouldn’t that be something for visitors to talk about!
Webmaster Dawn Lanning ©September 2017
Sharing Trail Experiences