We’ve made it to December. It’s strange to think that this time last year I was preparing to move across the country. I’ve been back east for awhile now and living upstate for just over a month. It feels like longer—I first saw this place in the summer time, moved in during the fall, and winter definitely came early with the past three snow storms.

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Speaking of winter, I’ve decided that I’m not going to buy a plow truck this season. I’m still a little uneasy about it, but I think I’ll get by with my snowblower and local plow truck drivers. Even if I spend $100 on plow services every month from now until spring, it will still be a heck of a lot cheaper than even the crappiest of plow trucks. And most trucks that are in halfway decent shape start at $3,000. Since I work from home and don’t really need to go anywhere, I think I’ll be OK. The dog truck has 4WD and a new set of tires with better traction, so even with snow on the ground, we should be able to get around.

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As I type this, the snow from our most recent storm is quickly melting. For the first time in weeks, there are no major snowstorms in the forecast. It’s possible that the meteorologists were right and this winter will be mild for the Northeast. I definitely want snow, don’t get me wrong, but an easy first winter wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

December also means the holidays are in full swing. I’m so happy to be within driving distance to home (er, old home). I’ll be able to see family and friends for all the parties and traditions. But until I head south, this time of year just seems to amplify my current single-ness. Do you know how many songs there are about missing someone at Christmas time? Because I’m pretty sure it’s ALL OF THEM.

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I’ll abruptly change the subject to dogs because I rather not make this blog too depressing. This past weekend, I attached my new snow hook holders to the Prairie Bilt sled. Now that the hooks are secured, we can go out on the trail and successfully anchor down (assuming there’s enough solid snow) without having to find a tree to tie to.

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Snow hooks are pretty essential for the safety of myself and the dogs—I need to be able to secure the sled and quickly get off, like when a dog gets tangled. They’re also really helpful in non-emergency scenarios, like gathering wood. The last snowstorm brought down a lot of branches all over my property and trail, so we went out with the gear sled dragging behind us. I stopped every so often, hooked down, and gathered up branches. So now we have kindling, the dogs learned a lesson in patience, and our trail got packed down in the process. Sadly, it’s all pretty much washing away, but we’ll be able to do this again next storm.

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The changeover from fall to winter often sucks for mushing. The trails are either oversaturated with water or a sheet of ice. That, combined with Christmas preparations and travel, means the dogs just don’t get out as much. In past years, this would drive my crazy, but this season I’m just rolling with it. Buying this house alone has taught me a lesson in patience—and not to take on more than I can handle.

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