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.

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!

Random Events During Chinese New Year 2021

Over time, the Chinese New Year celebration isn’t quite like when I was a small boy. The pandemic changes the way we celebrate. Or not celebrate. Not just Chinese New Year. Birthday. Wedding. Maybe the future of celebration would emphasize something very personal. Like the first time when a couple holds hands and kiss. Or the first time you see a million dollar worth of assets in your account. Two million. Five million. Life then filled with personal badges and achievements like Steam or Garmin. Why not? My Princess is the 160th song I have written. The “badge” was earned on Oct 31, 2020. I am looking forward to earning the 170th song “badge” this year.

Tiong Bahru Market 2 Days Before CNY

Tiong Bahru Market

I cannot think of just one single reason why prices of meat and vegetable go up as we approach Chinese New Year. In my mind, there is a multitude of reasons. Most stalls are closed during the festive season. Hence, we stock up. More prefer to cook at home as we invite families and friends over. Hence, we buy more. And lastly, I reckon we eat way more during this period of time than we used to. Our meals during the Chinese New Year have to be sumptuous. It is the tradition.

Sum them up explains why a1.8 kg large chicken cost $16.50 two days before Chinese New Year. To put things in perspective, a medium chicken costs around S$8 on a normal day. Vegetable price has also gone up too. Curiously, pork and fish price stayed the same.

You would wonder why.

Someone At Work Delivered a CNY Gift to My Door

Two cans of abalone and biscuits for CNY, as a gift received.

I did not expect this at all. I had in the past someone junior at work sent me a bottle of wine during my birthday and Christmas. This is the first item I have received a gift from someone junior at work during Chinese New Year.

As a matter of fact, I am having the biscuits right now with my glass of white wine. I cannot describe what the biscuits taste like. They are savory and have a spicy aftertaste. Was it dried shrimp flavor? I can’t tell. The taste is so unique that … I just love it. I am eating non-stop as we speak.

Yummy.

An Antique Audio Recording Device

My Zoom Handy Recorder H2 that still works!

In the past, I could make do with the audio recording app that came with my Samsung phone. Now that I have right-graded to a budget realme phone, it just wouldn’t do. To assemble a home studio with a proper mic, DI box or guitar effect, and a multitrack recording device, is just so tedious. The wires. So many wires.

Last night I recalled I have a semi-pro audio recording device inside the dry cabinet. It must have been more than ten years old. I was used to having it to record my band’s jamming sessions inside a studio. Or for live recording when we performed live.

Surprisingly, my antique Zoom recording device still works today, albeit with a very inconvenient user interface. The sound quality beats any phone out there. And it is easy to set up too.

I Have “Rewarded” My Recent Active Lifestyle with a Garmine Venu

Meet my second Garmin watch, Venu!

Recently, I have started to resume living an active lifestyle. I walked a great deal more. I even jogged. I said to myself, if my knees don’t give me any problem after my jogging, I would upgrade my sports watch.

I wouldn’t say my knees are 100% okay. But they are well enough for me to take on a more strenuous form of exercise. My last Garmin watch was Vivoactive HR. It is ugly, very uncomfortable to wear. I was very skeptical over Garmin Venu. I even thought of switching from Android to Apple just for the Apple watch.

I have got to say, Garmin Venu has exceeded my expectation. It looks great. Very functional. And it is comfortable to wear. I will post an honest review once I have experienced what this watch offers.

I cannot remember when was the last time I swam. I have moved to my new condo a few years ago. Today was the first time I swam in an Olympic-sized pool. I have to work on the laps though. I have to glide more so that the watch can detect the strokes per lap correctly. And of course, it goes without saying that I have to swim faster.

Chinese Couplets

To loosely translate this, the couplets say “good fortune flows in smoothly every day, good luck comes every spring as each year starts”.

Before the pandemic, I was used to have a dedicated area in the office for my team of ten or more. I would – with the help of my team – have the area decorated. It could be Christmas and it could be Lunar New Year. Because my team was located in the IT department that are mostly Indian, the minority races such as Chinese and Caucasian would find our area refreshing. Something different.

Now with pandemic, we work from home. Since I have paid for these Chinese decorations in the past, I have decided to bring them home and decorate my place to be more festive.

Back to the Chicken Dishes

A 1.8 kg large chicken can easily be made into three dishes, if not more.

Back to the overpriced large chicken, I had to call my mom in Hong Kong and seek her advice on how long I needed to steam the large chicken. I actually knew the answer. I just wanted a reason to call mom and to confirm what I have already known.

We brainstormed on the phone what other dishes I could make from this 1.8 kg bird. My original plan was to invite my sister and her family over for a reunion dinner. But she could not make it. In the end, one dish on New Year Eve was the freshly steamed chicken (bottom left) serviced with soy sauce, oil, and spring onion dip on the side. Another dish was salt “baked” chicken, which was basically chicken thigh and wing marinated with salt overnight inside a frig. I had it on the Chinese New Year evening. It was delicious.

The third dish is going to be chicken porridge. I intend to shred the salt marinated chicken breast and add dry scallops. That will be my lunch on CNY day 2.

That Jog, It Hurts

Last evening, I fell asleep with my facial mask on at around midnight. On my bed, sat by the headboard. Spotify release radar was playing in the background through my Sonos speaker in the bedroom. Feng Timo‘s 世間美好與你環環相扣 woke me up, in a nice way. I took off my facial mask and ready to go to bed. I was expecting a good sleep. I was also expecting body ache.

I woke up at 3.30 am. The ache was rather uncomfortable. From my hips to my legs. My lung hurt. Even my throat hurt. I must have breathed too hard during my exercise.

So I realized that despite all the walks and the gym workouts, I am actually very unfit. My body hurts. But it is good to realize sooner rather than later. I much enjoy outdoor exercise, sweating it out.

I couldn’t go back to sleep because, after an intense exercise, my mind becomes very alert. That’s just how my body operates. I went to the sofa in the living room and continued my sleep. I had some dreams, which I can’t remember.

6.30 am. The birds chirped. I could try to go back to sleep. Or I could take the opportunity to witness the sunrise.

The sunrise was beautiful. I intend to start the day with some readings. That Obama new book borrowed from the library is very thick. And I am behind schedule. Some catch-ups to do!

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