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.

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!

Take You To The Moon / Wild Passion – Two Doodles

Towards the end of 2020, I have explored a different art direction. My interpretation of cubism, which requires precision. Hence, I have switched to papers for marker pens.

Somehow, I still miss the fine-grain heavyweight paper that I used to draw with. Sure, that consumes more ink and the paper is harsh to the marker pens. It costs more in the long run. It is harder to draw because of the ink feathers. But I prefer fine grain heavyweight paper.

Titled as “Take You To The Moon”

In a way, it is like when people tell me that I should use an acoustic guitar to play music instead of strumming using a classical guitar. It is probably ‘wrong’. But I have made it my own, going against the norm.

In another word, I create art for my own consumption. It doesn’t make sense, I know (Jason my guitarist used to remind me that songs have to be written for general consumption, just stick with the general expectation and we would be fine).

I think I am a rebel.

Take You To The Moon is my latest work that inspired me to write a song that I have recently published on YouTube. The objects I use are very recognizable when you examine my previous work. That is a deliberate effort as I intend to form my signatures on my drawings. That is to say, by looking at the drawings, one would relate to the style of an artist. The cat, the couple, the half-moon, and the thorns. The difference for this drawing is that instead of roses, I drew stars to better suit the theme.

Titled “Wild Passion”, which is the predecessor of “Take You To The Moon”

On New Year Day, I stayed up late having this urge to return to the previous paper type (as mentioned above). I wanted to draw something abstract, free form, and to inject a sense of freedom and urgency. Personally, I enjoyed drawing Wild Passion a lot. The end result may not be as refined as other drawings of mine. It was liberating. I suspect those who are into interpreting art may find Wild Passion more interesting.

And yes, Wild Passion is also the predecessor of Take You To The Moon. I may do more abstract art. Perhaps in a more controlled manner.

The Tale of Cats – A Doodle

Recently, I have read a short story from Folklore written by Italo Calvino. It is called The Tale of Cats. Long story short, a girl has discovered a cauliflower once lifted, there was a ladder leading to a world of cats. She went down, helped the cats, and was rewarded with a delicious dinner, a nice dress, and a ring.

When the stepmother heard of the girl’s story, she sent her daughter to the world of cats. Instead of working as the girl did, the daughter did nothing and didn’t get the same reward at all.

The ending was rather abrupt. Both the stepmother and her daughter died and the girl has found a nice man, a happily ever after.

Titled as “The Tale of Cats”

That story has inspired me to draw. There is cauliflower, the ladder, the cats, and the couple. I am thinking of using a Japanese theme. Hence, the Sake, inari sushi with prawn and avocado, salmon dumplings, and saba fish.

Looking at this drawing makes me happy. It brings back fond memories. It is good to be with someone you want to be with. I am happy for the girl.

Home-cooked Food – A Cubism Doodle

Modern-day photography and videography capture a snippet of life. The reality in its entirety often leaves little for our imagination. Call me old school. I still prefer words and drawings. Such artwork too captures a snippet of life yet leaves much for the imagination. An alternative reality within the realm of actuality. A private interpretation of the hidden messages forever imprints onto the likeminded ones. Book clubs. Painting appreciation. Call me old school. I have my preference.

A cubism doodle titled “Home-cooked food”

Covid-19 has changed the way we live and the way we socialize. Many friends of mine now cook at home. We were used to catching up during lunch. Now, during dinner. As for me, I prefer healthy home-cooked food to outside food. I know what goes into the cooking. I know how the food is being handled.

Onto this particular drawing, I further explore the construct of cubism, or rather my interpretation of cubism. My third attempt and it took me a lot longer to draw than most of my previous ones. I love Coste di Moro – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – an Italian red wine. And I would imagine, that bottle of wine would have been moved around. From the kitchen counter to the dining table. To various positions as it is poured onto the glasses.

I love salad these days. I think of avocado. Capsicum. Quinoa. Chicken breast. Salmon. Potato. Lettuce. Pickled onion.

An alternative reality. A parallel universe. A drawing that is no less than a photograph or a video clip.