The sun shone brightly on the 12 acre hay field completely covered with well settled snow.
It was a nice change from the wind-bitten, below zero, snow laden, days that seemed to endlessly drag for the two weeks previous. It was Sunday morning about an hour before noon. I found myself on the gentle curves of a winding trail, previously marked out for the purpose by a so guided snowmobile. The trail was marked to include, give or take a foot or two, a full kilometre in length. It was on this trail that some sled-dogs were being trained, and I just happened to find myself standing on the foot pads of the protruding back runners of the sleigh, hanging on to the up curved handles.
On being quietly instructed to do so, I called clearly hike, hike, hike. Let me tell you the second and third hike was not necessary; those excited dogs, born and bred to pull sleds, were up on their feet and running the very moment they heard my voice. 
My son and his family purchased, a couple of years ago just prior to their move to their Markdale Farm, a couple of Siberian Husky puppies. Just recently they acquired two more adult sleigh dogs. Those were of mongrel mix crossed back to the Alaskan Malamute strain, which fortunately picked up both the colour and attractive looks of the Alaskan sled dog. Though six or eight make a more attractive balanced team, four dogs are adequate to pull a one-man, no load sleigh. Believe me folks, I had fun. On checking my pocket-watch, twice around the track, and they were back at the starting line, in not more than ten minutes, ready and anxious to go again.
In addition many, many long time, fond memories came boiling back.
Years ago, for ten years post to the time of our wedding, the Little Lady and I lived at a rural route address in an old farmhouse that was placed well back from the road. As a hobby, for fun and profit, we raised White Siberian Samoyed dogs. Those, though slightly smaller, are husky shaped, with thick snow white coats, dark eyed, black lips, lolling pink tongue, with a permanent smile, and a plumelike curled tail forever flagging friendly over their backs. They are extremely clever, attractive, tough, animals, whose breed can brag of wolf ancestry, and, too, they are the oldest known dog still in existence today.
As our long country lane was usually snow bound from mid December to the first week in April, they also came in handy there, too. The unbelievable fact is that our second born, cradled in the arms of his warmly wrapped Mother, the Little Lady, with a two year old sister tucked securely between her knees, had the pleasure of his fist toboggan ride, over the drifts from the road to the house, when he was only four days old.
Compared with today’s standards and modern equipment, it may appear as though the times were then tough, and perhaps they were difficult. But, being young and full of energy at the time, the Little Lady and I enjoyed every minute of the close to ten years, that we lived there.
Of all the addresses that we have favoured since, that old farmhouse, our first home, was the one that we felt the most freedom within, and though lacking comforts of today, the most at home. The Little Lady was a stay home mom, and it was a change of employment, on my part, that caused us to find homes for our Samoyed dogs and our Siamese cats, and move on with our life. The only sad part, of this just past weekend was the reality that the Little Lady was no longer with me, bundled up on the sleigh’s deck, reliving the good times of long, long ago. They were fun filled fond memories.
Incidentally, speaking of great fun, get out your big pencil, mark your calendar, sticky note the fridge, mom’s purse, dad’s windshield, and grandma’s and grandad’s foreheads, for coming up is a must do, family fun outing. Greenspaces for Wellington is holding its fourth annual birdhouse workshop Monday thru Sunday, 10am to 4pm, March 10 to 16. Make and take, $7.50 per each, at Greenway Blooming Centre, just off Highway 7 at Shantz Station Road, Breslau. For more information call Barrie at 519-843-4544 See you all there.
Take care, ‘cause we care.

Barrie Hopkins