Deer season always falls in the first part of November in Minnesota, and with a large number of deer seen around the elk farm, it was expected to be a good hunt. Three adult bucks were taken, and another was missed at fairly close range, which made it a very successful season. The visiting hunters included cousins Scott and Andy Angstman (the other Andy) Roger Bohm, Dave Ashton and John Jordan. John spends much of his spare time with former ALO employee Jane Imholte, now a public defender in Minneapolis. Jane still talks about returning to Alaska, where she was especially fond of dog racing. She finished the Bogus creek race, and the Camp Out race in her short time as a musher.
The rest of the month was spent doing farm chores and staying on the lookout for wildlife. Of course, a landowner has to be constantly concerned about trespassers, and the crack elk farm security team conducts numerous patrols.
Tanner and Henry log many miles a day on the golf cart, and on daily long walks. Abundant pheasants have made those walks highly entertaining.
Running a farm poses some interesting challenges. Aside from the well known challenges of raising crops and livestock, dealing with the government regulations has become an increasingly troublesome part of the rural experience. The elk farm has had its share of problems with the government. It all started when an eager dirt mover offered to remove some cattails from the pond in front of the newly built cabin. Someone apparently decided that was not OK, because the law descended in large numbers to stop the operation. It was determined that the cattails were being disturbed without a permit, and that no permit was possible because cattails were a protected plant. After much discussion, a ticket was written up and a fine was paid. With that, a bureaucrat called and said that as part of the process we would need to apply for and pay for a permit to disturb the cattails, even though such a permit was not possible to obtain. It was explained that it merely for record keeping purposes. When the application was submitted, another call came back.. "When will you finish the project?" Of course, that was not possible because it was illegal. But the bureaucrat explained that because a permit had now been issued the project had to be completed, or another citation would be issued. The project resumed, and was completed. Two years later it was determined that cattails no longer were protected, but now were considered an invasive species.
Similar permitting problems have emerged with four dikes that have been built to back up water. All four are wonderful projects for wildlife, but only one had a proper permit in advance. After completing the four projects, it is clear that the one for which a permit was obtained in advance was far more problematic than the previous three where the government learned of the project after the fact. Despite all the permit problems, the government decided the farm was looking pretty good.
The cell phone and email have been busy for the past few weeks with Myron handling much of the day to day court work from Minnesota. There are actually advantages in doing routine hearings over the phone. Many involve a lot of waiting time in court, and telephonic participation allows other activities to proceed during the wait (reading the newspaper on the internet?? Napping???) None of these activities are encouraged in court. Amy and Dolly are becoming proficient at keeping everything on schedule, and ALO contract lawyers in other locations are filling in as needed.
Decent dog training conditions greeted the Angstman's return to Bethel at the end of the month. One brief thaw was followed by more snow, and folks are out with snow shoes and skis, which isn't always possible in the Bethel area because of icy trails. Here is a video from Chris Pike, who is helping with dog training this year.
The first race is the day after Christmas, with Casie Stockdale racing one of the Dog Farm teams and hoping to defend her title in the Holiday Classic.