Bailey the Pomsky Diary #3 – Super Active Puppy

Soon to be eight months old, Bailey is one super active puppy. Outside of the home, he terrorizes dogs and humans alike. With harness and leash, he likes to stand on his two feet capable of hopping forward and backward depending on the situation. He enjoys playing with dogs that are of a similar energy level. He ignores dogs that are too passive. He enjoys taking on dogs that are bigger than him, at times much bigger than him. He enjoys chewing onto furry dogs. Baily, why can’t you be as chill as your friend Elvis the Dachshund?

This stretch of street is his favorite place to do his business. It is a sure win. Don’t judge.

Or Dylan the Singapore Special?

These days, there is no need to set an alarm in the morning. At seven, Bailey would start barking. He would need his morning walk. Then his first meal of the day at home. Afterward, he would need some nap time after the meal. Before noon, he would be super active wanting to play. That is a good time to play puzzles with Bailey. And then pee time.

He has his eyes onto Otis the Singapore Special, a rescue dog, from across the street.

At noon, he would prefer a second nap. And he would be super active again, thereafter. Time to play fetch to burn his energy down! And then pee time.

The afternoon is a tricky time to keep him entertained. On a good day, I could reserve the stuffed Kong toy (with food inside) for the evening. On a bad day when he is restless, I would just give him a stuffed Kong toy in order to keep himself occupied … for 90 minutes initially. Now he is getting better at it … 60 minutes … 30 minutes …

Stop barking Bailey …

Dogs don’t see colors as well as human do. But they have very good nose sense. These days, he likes to eat tall grass and chew on branches.

Late afternoon early evening is time to walk the dog again. After his walk, it is Bailey’s second meal of the day. Then he would toggle in between being super active and having his nap time. A stuff Kong toy would help him to pass time.

At time I ponder, what exactly is going on inside Bailey’s head.

I read that dogs don’t prefer variety. Variety is for humans because we get bored making the same dog snack day after day. Fortunately, I can do boring. For the stuffed Kong toy, it is 70% mashed sweet potatoes and 30% mixed vegetables with a dozen or so pieces of kibbles and one teaspoon of dog-friendly peanut butter.

The same recipe … every … day.

Bailey the Pomsky can be rather adorable … when he is not super active.

Near bedtime, I prefer to play with him for a while and get him excited, so that Bailey would do his peeing business before his sleep.

Now, imagine repeating this routine for the next ten to fifteen years. Because dogs love routine.

At times I wonder why Cynthia would want to sign up for this.

For more Bailey’s pictures, I have set up a Google photo album for sharing. During this pandemic, it is the best time to take pictures of the pets.

Because they don’t need to wear masks.

Bailey the Pomsky Diary #2 – First Time Stuffed Kong … Yummy!

This is a transcript of a video I have posted on Bailey the Pomsky’s first experience with a stuffed Kong toy.

Hello my friends, welcome to my channel. As most of you know, I am a gamer at heart. So this video may sound strange to some but familiar to others, especially my long-time subscribers. And if wish to subscribe, please do so for my gaming videos. Dog videos are my side-hobby, for now.

This pandemic does strange things to people. One day, Cynthia has decided to bring home a puppy. Long story short, I am stuck with this puppy through many seasons or leagues. Cynthia has named him Bailey.

In this video, I would like to share with you Bailey’s first experience with a stuffed Kong toy. Spoiler alert: it was a great success. I am sharing with you my recipe too in case you too have a Pomsky or a puppy. For those who find my accent strange, you can refer to the transcript in the description of the video.

For those who are not familiar with the dog breed Pomsky, it is a hybrid class. Its 10-point talent system spreads between a Pomeranian tree and a Husky tree. Some Pomskys are spec’ed as 7-3 looking more like a miniature Husky. Some are spec’ed as 3-7, which is more like a Pomeranian. As for Bailey, he is too early to tell as he is only 6 months old. Time will tell. Please stay tuned. I suspect he is a 5-5 hybrid.

What I do know is that Bailey is very high in agility. He sprints fast. Super playful and has a very high DPS. Bailey destroys toys. He has destroyed rare quality Kong, which is blue in color. I have skipped the red unique quality because even with the black legendary quality, he can chew through it. At times I think, why spend money buying toys for Bailey? He chews through slippers and sponges and derives the same level of satisfaction.

Having spent too much gold on Bailey’s toys, I have got to come up with a solution. One that can engage him for hours with something that he doesn’t destroy in minutes.

A stuffed Kong toy.

It was my first time stuffing a Kong toy and it was Bailey’s first encounter with a stuffed extreme Kong toy, a black legendary quality Kong toy. Here is a recipe that I am sharing with you so that you too can craft your very own stuffed Kong toy for your Pomsky or puppy.

To make 5 servings of yummy stuffed Kong fillings, I first peeled and cut 7 grams of Japanese sweet potatoes into one-inch-thick cubes. You could of course cook more for your own consumption. Then I steamed the sweet potato cubes over a slow fire for half an hour. By then, the sweet potatoes should be soft and nice. Good for human consumption and good for dogs. Mash them well using a spatula.

Add 1 gram of frozen mixed vegetables and half a gram of kibble onto the mashed sweet potato. Stuff that into the extreme Kong toy. Leave a bit of space and seal it with a teaspoon of Adam’s 100% natural peanut butter. You can use any peanut butter of course but please make sure there is no Xylitol as it is toxic to your canine friends.

Wrap the stuffed Kong toy and put it into the freezer. As for the rest of the filling, wrap it up and put it into the fridge for future use. If you are making extra mashed potatoes for your own consumption, please label the food so that your family members would not eat the one with kibble. You would not want your family members to sprint as fast as Bailey and chew as hard as Bailey.

As it was the first time Bailey tried to tackle a stuffed Kong toy, I left it inside the freezer for three and a half hours. If you wish to lengthen the playing time, you could extend the freezing period up to six hours.

As you can see in this video, Bailey is having a good time with the stuffed Kong toy. He has spent more than 75 minutes playing with the toy. That is 75 minutes of quiet time for me.

I hope you enjoy this video. Bailey and I will see you soon! I shall leave the camera on in case you wish to see more.

Bailey the Pomsky Diary #1 – Before You Bring Home a Puppy, Read This

On March 20th, Cynthia has decided to bring home a puppy. We, of course, deliberated a great deal at a hawker food center next to the pet shop. I was still am against the notion of having an animal living under the same roof. After two hours of discussion, I thought I have achieved my goal. She said she would spend the weekend thinking about it. Then we passed by the pet shop. She stopped and looked at the dog inside the cage waiting for a new home. One pet shop assistant whom we met earlier on came out and invited Cynthia back into the shop. The rest is history.

Meet Bailey the Pomsky. Photo taken on March 25th.

At one point while we were going through the paperwork at the pet shop, Cynthia did show signs of hesitation. This is happening. Is it really what we want? By then, it was too late. I said you have made a decision. Let’s stuck by it.

So, we brought home a puppy that managed not to pee or poop inside our car as we drove from Ang Mo Kio to Tiong Bahru. At home, the puppy peed onto the pee tray (it happened to be a one-time-only occurrence and our excitement was short-lived) and shortly, pooped in our living room.

Ugh.

When Bailey is calm, he can be rather adorable. Photo taken on March 25th.

Before you bring home a puppy, allow me to offer you what to anticipate, especially when you are a first time dog owner. Ironically, I have fully anticipated this and more. But the draw to a wolf-like puppy that no one seemed to want (this puppy was stuck in a pet shop for a while and was more than 5 months old when we brought him home) was too much for Cynthia.

  1. Is your home suitable to have a dog or a puppy? It is hard and almost impossible to get rid of saliva marks on the floor. Can you handle the hair shedding of a dog? You will need to ringfence a part of your home for the dog to be unsupervised. Can you put up with the ongoing inconvenience of accessing different areas of your own home?
  2. Puppy destroys stuff when unsupervised (even when supervised). Bailey tore off wallpaper, scratched the wooden floor, bit off a bit of the wall, put a hole onto the curtain, and etc. Would you be okay with it?
  3. Training a puppy takes time. It also costs if you are a first-time owner and when you need to engage a professional trainer.
  4. A dog can be a constant attention seeker. Can you handle it?
  5. A dog needs to be mentally stimulated, emotionally bonded, and physically exercised every day without fail. Can you do it?
  6. Are you good at sticking to a schedule … every day? Walk the dog, feed the dog, play with the dog, train the dog …
  7. If you are unable to take your puppy out for peeing every so often and you need to train your puppy to pee at home, are you ready to put up with dog pee smell throughout the day, every day?
  8. Puppy can have accidents and pees in random places. Are you ready to clean up every time when it happens?
  9. Dog food costs. Medical fees cost too.
  10. The different breed requires different attention. How well do you know of the dog’s breed? PS. Don’t trust the pet shop fully. Their job is to sell puppies.
  11. Training a puppy or a dog can be frustrating, especially when it doesn’t seem to listen. There will be days when you would ask yourself, what have I done?
  12. And then there are other daily activities such as cleaning ears, dental care, and brushing the hair. Every week you need to shower the dog. And etc. A dog doesn’t really grow up and learn to do things on his or her own as humans do. You have to look after the dog for the rest of his or her life.

Having said all that, if you can handle all of the above and more, it can be rewarding for some when your furry friend would greet you when you return home and love you unconditionally. Because you are all that he or she has.

Bailey is still a puppy and need to sleep rather often. Photo taken on March 25th.

Sonos Roam – An Honest Review

Update Apr 24th – After 1 week of using Sonos Roam, this product has stopped working. It just cannot be switched on. I shall update this post once the tech team has resolved this issue.

I am among the first batch of consumers in Singapore to receive Sonos Roam after more than a month of waiting through pre-order. TLDR – It is a superb product with great sound quality supported by innovative technology. It is especially fun and useful working in conjunction with other Sonos products. Yes, you can bring it outdoor and play sound through Bluetooth. After one week of usage, Roam has stopped working and cannot be switched on. There may be quality issue especially with the first batch that you may need to be aware off.

Sonos Roam compared to Sonos One SL. Same price, different purposes.

The Sonos Ecosystem

When it comes to Sonos, it is always about building it up slowly by modules if you have a budget constraint (or when you want to test out the suitability of the products). My first Sonos product was Playbar. The sound was amazing. Then I added a Sonos Sub. I love the punchy bass. After that, I have added a Sonos One SL for my study room and another Sonos One SL for my bedroom.

I was tempted by Sonos Move, which is battery-powered and hence, portable. But it is a bit too bulky for me to carry around and outside my home. Now, here comes Sonos Roam.

Why Sonos Roam?

When Sonos Roam was announced, I have made an immediate pre-order. What attracts me is that Roam is small enough to be truly portable. It also can bounce music back and forth to existing Sonos speakers. All you need to do is to hold it close to another speaker and hold the play button. It can also create that stereo or spatial sound effect with my Sonos One SL. How do I use Roam every day you may ask.

In the morning, I would bring Sonos Roam to the bathroom. After my shower, I would bring it to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. I would then bring it to the balcony as I have my breakfast. Afterward, I would head over to the study room and bounce the music from Roam onto One SL and I would start to get ready for my work from home.

In the evening, I would group Sonos Roam with my Playbar and Sub (in the living room) and listen to music with a glass of wine in the dining area. Grouping speakers that way create a much fuller sound especially when I am not sitting directly in front of the speaker.

It is really fun to use Roam not just for bouncing music back and forth to or grouping it with existing Sonos speakers. Taking it outside my home, I could use it through Bluetooth connectivity.

Sonos Roam vs Sonos One SL

Believe it or not, both are very similar in terms of sound quality. I can set up a spatial effect with One SL on one side and Roam on the other and I can’t tell the difference.

One SL has a bigger sound, of course, due to its build. Also, Sonos One SL has a touch design while Sonos Roam’s buttons are physical clicks. It is much easier to skip or rewind a track for One SL while for Roam, I need to click the play button two or three times.

Both are of the same price here in Singapore. One SL requires a power cable while Roam doesn’t. Each has its purpose.

In Summary

It is a strong recommendation. If you already have a Sonos system, Roam is a fun addition and it is practical. If not, it is good to start with Roam and slowly build it up from there.

Pros

  • Superb sound quality.
  • Portable around the home and can play through Bluetooth outdoor.
  • Fun to bounce music back and forth from existing Sonos speakers at home. Just hold it close and press and hold play!
  • Great to group with existing Sonos speakers for a much bigger sound.

Cons

  • Build quality issue. Sonos Roam has stopped working after one week of usage. The orange charging light goes off after a few seconds of connection with a wired charger. Roam cannot be switched on at all even as the device is being charged. Sonos app cannot detect the product.
  • Not a Sonos Roam problem per se, it is always frustrating to use Spotify (Android) with Sonos products. Especially with Roam, the track on the Spotify app would appear to have stopped playing but the music would continue. I could use the Sonos app to play Spotify but that Sonos app doesn’t allow me to like songs in Spotify and add tracks onto my playlist. Also, connecting to Sonos speakers directly through Spotify can at times be frustrating. It just wouldn’t connect at first try.
  • I have experienced random music stoppage when connecting Sonos Roam through Bluetooth.
  • In theory, I could project sound via Bluetooth (e.g. YouTube) to my entire Sonos wifi-enable system through Roam. But I have experienced sound stuttering that could be due to my midrange phone. It is a novelty that I see little usage.

Making Sourdough Starter & The Story of Thanos

These days I am into making sourdough. For those who are not familiar with the process, the concept is surprisingly simple though the execution is more like an art than science. Whenever I feed my sourdough starter at night, I would imagine myself being Thanos. Hang in there. I will explain.

Today’s breakfast was omelet and sourdough with butter.

Sourdough Starter, What?!

Unlike making bread that uses industrial yeast, sourdough uses wild yeast. You can read more on the benefits of sourdough and the difference between yeast and mold through a Google search. Meanwhile, just take my words for now. Sourdough is a healthier option than bread. And yeast is not the same as mold.

To create wild yeast, you can ferment flour by adding an equal amount of water (by weight). Yeast and bacteria that occur naturally in flour (again, take my words and hence, don’t eat raw flour) and the environment around us. That mixture is called sourdough starter. There is an excellent article written on how to create one.

Every day, the sourdough starter that you cultivate would consume the flour and water you feed it with, grow in size, and fall back to the original size once it becomes hungry again. Each day, you feed your sourdough starter with more flour and water.

The rubber band shows the original size of sourdough starter before it grows as I feed it with flour and water.

Unless you bake every day, your sourdough starter would grow exponentially. Because as you add more flour and water each day, the population of wild yeast and bacteria will explode requiring double of what you feed the day before.

Unless …

… unless you do a Thanos on your sourdough starter. You discard half of them, into the bin or into the toilet. The portion that left behind, you feed them with the same amount of flour and water as yesterday.

In short, during each feeding interval, you wipe off half of the wild yeast and bacteria population randomly. The remaining part gets to live for another day. The part that doesn’t, vanishes from the kitchen and into oblivion.

Just like Thanos in the Avenger movie.

I made this sourdough with my own hands! Imagine, say, the first batch of viable wild yeast appeared on day 2. Since I baked this on day 12, only 0.1% of the original wild yeast survived as I discard half of the sourdough starter every day!

Baking Sourdough

I was so excited about my first sourdough so much so that I have stayed next to the oven throughout the entire one hour of baking. Making sourdough is a labor of love, for sure.

Mixing the ingredients is straightforward. No kneading is required. I followed a recipe that uses a sourdough starter (my creation muhahaha), warm water, olive oil, bread flour, and salt. Because wild yeast works so much slower than industrial yeast, the mixture took six hours to rise to a point that I could bake it. Each hour, I folded the mixture and left it alone for another hour. Each hour I observed its size and made a decision if I shall bake it or leave it alone for another hour.

How long does the whole process take?

It takes 12 hours after feeding the sourdough starter for it to attain its most active state. It takes 1 hour for autolyze to take place before rolling the mixture into a ball and another 5 hours to rise with folding to be done in an hourly interval. It takes 1 hour to bake and another hour to cool down.

Morale of the story? Do plan ahead when making sourdough.

I have been feeding you for 10 days. Thanks for making my sourdough rises. Time to go to the oven!

Was It A Success?

When I shared my sourdough making adventure with my friends and family, the first question would be, how does it taste?

Consider the fact that this is the first time I have done any baking, I would say the result is pretty decent. The texture seems right. It has this unique tangy sourdough taste. It isn’t too dry even though I have left it overnight covered with clothes. I am not a sourdough expert. But I am happy with the result.

In retrospect, I wish the sourdough starter could double in size every day instead of just expands for 20% in volume. I wish the sourdough could double in size during rising, although I must say, it was pretty close. I could make the top cut a bit deeper and perhaps, the sourdough may look prettier after baked. I may bake it a little bit longer and crack open the oven door toward the last 10 minutes of baking.

So, the sourdough starter is indeed active. It is just that for some reasons unknown to me, it doesn’t double its volume when it becomes most active in between the daily feed.

To that, I have decided to change the flour origin and give it another shot.

Stay tuned.

Look at the bubbles. My sourdough starter is indeed active!