Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shaping Succes

 I recently took a shaping class through Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. The instructor was Sue Ailsby and it was excellent.  I've been familiar with clicker training for a while, but I wanted to fine tune my skills. I was kinda blown away by how much I learned. I had several "duh" moments and was honestly amazed at how much my dogs have learned in spite of me.

The two biggest things I came away with were that I really need to up my rate of reinforcement and break it down more. It became very obvious that I ask for too much, too quickly. I need to make sure my dog has more feedback and success.

Today I did a shaping session where I had Kenzi pick up socks and drop them in a crate. We've worked on the behaviors before - targeting, taking and bringing a variety of objects and recently standing with her head over a box (in preparation for this). But today I put it all together communicating with just the clicker.

There are some things I've noticed in this video that I need to improve on, but overall I'm really loving where this is going.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Freebie Friday!

 I've decided to do a "freebie Friday" pattern giveaway for the next several weeks. Each Friday I'll focus on a different set of patterns, you just need to leave a comment telling me which one of the featured patterns that you'd like to knit and how to contact you (email, Ravelry, Nimblestix) and one commenter will be selected to get a free copy of the pattern they choose!

This week - Dog themed patterns! Patterns are available through Knit Picks, Ravelry and Nimblestix

Woof! Socks

Woof! Hat

Puppy Paws Baby Blanket

Puppy Love Socks

Puppy Trails Tote

Woof 2.0 Hat

Monday, November 4, 2013

Homemade Yogurt!

I was recently inspired to try my hand at yogurt making. I've developed a taste for yummy, creamy whole milk greek yogurt. Yup, that's right whole milk - none of this fat free stuff for me. But the whole milk variety is hard to find around here and on the rare occasions that I do find it, the cost  it's $4-$5 a quart.

There are hundreds of websites that explain yogurt making, so I'll just give a brief overview of how I made my thick, creamy whole milk version.

My ingredients -

 1 qt whole milk
 2-3T whole milk greek yogurt

Utensils etc

- 4 qt pan
- quick read thermometer
- 6 cup covered casserole dish
- wire whisk
- insulated cooler
- 2, 2 qt mason jars with lids
- fine mesh colander

I heated the milk to 180* and held it there for about 12 min. When it got to 185*, I turned the burner off and covered the pan. I checked it every couple minute and when it fell to 180* I turned the burn back on low for 30-40 seconds.

After 12 or so min I took the pan off the stove, poured the milk into the casserole dish let the milk cool to 110 degrees.

While the milk was cooling, I assembled my incubation station - an insulated cooler and two, two qt jars filled with hot water.  My target temp for the hot water in the jars was 135* in order to heat the cooler enough to keep the incubating yogurt at the target temp of 110 *

After the milk had cooled to 110*, I used the wire whisk to mix the yogurt into it. I then covered it and put it in the cooler along with the jars of hot water.

After 4 hrs I quickly and carefully removed the jars of hot water, reheated them to about 135*, carefully put them back in the cooler and closed it back up

In 7 hrs I opened the cooler up and - voila! perfectly set yogurt!

One final step to get the super creamy yogurt greek style yogurt (If you like regular yogurt, just omit this) -

I carefully poured the congealed yogurt from the casserole dish into the colander. I had a super fine one that worked great for me, but you can also just line a regular colander with cheesecloth so your yogurt doesn't slide through the larger openings. I set the colander in pan and stuck it all in the fridge overnight. In the morning, much of the whey had drained off and I was left with about 2 cups of thick creamy goodness - yum!

The final cost was about 1/3 of the cost of commercial greek yogurt.