New Heading #1

Since I’m just taking some baby steps trying to reestablish the blog, I think that I’ll dedicate a series of posts to catching everybody up on what Harm & I have been up to in the almost two years since I originally let the site languish.

It seems like a lot has happened in the last couple of years. We closed down our kennel in the summer of 2010, effectively shutting the door on over ten years of hard work and development (30+ years if you really want to get technical), and yes, it was very hard to make that decision. We wrote the book Ballad of the Northland and had our third baby late that summer. Starting a new business was just an idea at that point, but Harm & I had both been self employed for the entirety of our lives, so it was a lock that we’d do something like that as opposed to getting a more mainstream job.

Did I mention that we were heavily in debt and functionally “broke”? No, I suppose not. Well, we were both of those things and then some. Not just a little broke and kind of in debt, but cataclysmicly broke and in debt. Numerous wins at mid distance races around the country and a string of top fifteen finishes at the Iditarod, as well as a solid record of dog sales from one end of the continental US to the other was not enough to save our dog mushing plans. Not even close.

That winter, going into 2011, was a time for us to regroup as a family and consider our plans for the future. The book was selling well, but not nearly well enough to turn into a writing career (as much as I would have liked it to), so we worked hard to promote it as best we could while strategizing our new business plan. That plan turned out to be an opportunity to lease a seamless gutter machine from a friend of ours in Helena–in the spring of 2011 I moved into Helena and began learning the trade of hanging rain gutters and selling said service. I would commute to Helena from Lincoln every Monday morning and return home every Friday evening, sometimes landing one job or maybe even two if I was fortunate, sometimes getting no work at all.

By the end of the summer I had accumulated about the same amount of cash as I would have if I’d pushed a mop as a part time janitor at Home Depot, and learned quite a bit about the gutter business in the process. I was fortunate to have a great mentor who was quick to point out the finer points of running a small construction company, advice that I’ve taken to heart and employed on a daily basis every since.

This is going to be a longish story, so I think I’m going to take a break right here.

More to follow–


8 Responses to “New Heading #1”

  1. So good to have you back

  2. It’s a shame you couldn’t make a go of the dogs, I suppose it’s because it’s not become commercialised? We certainly don’t see it on TV here in the UK, though I’d watch it if it was (and if I noticed it, there is an outside chance it is shown but on a minority channel at a weird time) so I guess it wouldn’t attract enough sponsors and advertisers.

    Congrats that the book is doing well. Usually they reckon you don’t start making actual money until the third book, so if you can keep at it in any spare time, that would be worth doing! 🙂

    • Hi Knotrune–well, life’s path is full of twists and turns, some expected, others not so much…I had over 30 good years living as a musher, LOTS of irreplaceable memories. No complaints. I was really good at that, and now I’m working hard to be really good at something different.

      Thank you for your kind words concerning the book–it was mostly well received and sold quite well for what it was (a self published novel by a new, unknown author), but certainly not well enough to build a future on…more of a sideline, really. I love writing and plan to create more books in the future, just taking my sweet time about it!

  3. Glad to see you back, at least partially! Sounds like you’ve had your work cut out for you, but also sounds like you are making solid progress 🙂

    • Hi Anne. Thanks for the welcome back 🙂 I’m “back” in the sense that I’m writing again and dusting off my web presence, planning on a post per week to start catching everybody up. How is everything going with you?

      • Things are good. I just got married a couple weeks ago. Between jobs at the moment, looking for something new. Dogs are aging but still doing well. I’d love another dog or two for skijoring in a few years, but not quite yet!

      • Congratulations on the wedding, Anne 🙂

  4. Glad to see the blog up and running.

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