Winter 1957/58 Training Blacky.

Blacky was big and heavy he was 19 months old and it was time to start training him to be a sled dog and the best one. It was late November and enough snow, the river was frozen. I had built a sleigh about 7 feet long and 3 feet wide. I had no steel or copper tubing for the runners. But got the pail of black earth that my grandma told me to keep for the runners. I said grandma what do I do with that black earth. She get me a pail of warm water, with this she pour a little in the bucket of black earth and started mixing like dough to make bread. When it was thick enough we went outside and started building up a thick layer on the runner. About 2 inches thick, we did the same thing with the other runner. We waited until it harden, well froze. Then we scraped it smooth with a knife, watered it with a cloth until it was smooth and slippery. Turned the sled over and it was sliding by itself. My grandma said every time you the sleigh after a long sit, you water it with the cloth. Oh yes my grandmother made a canvas harness for Blacky, on went the harness, tied him to the sled and go. I jumped on the sled; he stopped, turned around and got on the sleigh to. I had to get some weight on the sleigh, and walk beside him that’s what I had to do. My grandmother was watching and laughing at me. I said grandma you Said you would like to have treated water from the power house at the hospital. Well that’s what I’m going to do. The power house gave the heat and electricity to the hospital and there was a water hose that anyone could use for fresh water. I got the 45 gallon water drum onto the sled, tied it solid, put the wooden lid, grabbed Blacky by the harness and away we went to the power house. It was in the village one mile from home. I walked beside Blacky all the way. At the power house I said to myself I’ll fill it only half full, which I did, patted Blacky and said lets go, I said, hike and we were on our way. Did not even help him, it looked easy for him to pull. Once at home grandma was all surprised and said you have a good and strong dog, treat him well. I emptied the drum with a pail into the drum in the porch. All that winter and few more to come I hauled drinking water and not just half filled it was filled to the top. We hauled a drum of drinking water every week