Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Paws in the Park, Part III - Coral Lure Coursing

Last year, Coral and I discovered a new (to us) sport called lure coursing. It's typically done by sighthounds, but since Coral has a high prey drive, I thought she'd enjoy it. And did she enjoy it. She sucked at it, but she had a blast. So when I found out they'd have lure coursing at Paws in the Park, I knew I was bringing Coral. This course was set up differently as last time, the path was bordered by 2 foot tall plastic orange fencing. Which does not bode well for my sweet Coral, who doesn't exactly turn well. One of the turns was a sharp 90 degrees. When she got to it, Coral sailed right over the fencing, and then couldn't get back in. We tried a couple more times, but she jumped at the same point every time. And got confused about how to get back in each time (I told you she was dumb).

One of the teenage volunteers offered to try to block her from jumping, but when I said she could try, but Coral can't turn, so 80 lb Coral might slam into her, she opted not to block her. Can't say I blame her.

Amazingly enough though, her best time was about 17 seconds. At the time, the time to beat was 13.5 seconds. My 6 year old lazy lab/dane mix did pretty good, considering she lost time by getting stuck outside of the course each time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Paws in the Park, Part II - Flyball. ur doing it wrong

At the park this weekend, there was a flyball group doing a demo. But when I walked by, I thought it was completely unfair that one competitor didn't have to do the jumps! And as I watched, I realized they were even giving that competitor a HUGE head start. And the little black and white border collie still managed to win.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paws in the Park, Part I - She's pretty. Pretty special.

This weekend, the pups and I attended a frisbee tournament in Pearland. They had a number of other competitions and demos, including DockDogs, agility, flyball, and Coral's beloved lure coursing. I just brought Coral and Heidi on Saturday, but the whole herd on Sunday. I opened the back of the Jeep, and we kind of camped out there most of the day. Doesn't it look cozy?

At one point, I told Heidi "ok" to come out of her crate, and Coral apparently thought I meant she should hop out of the Jeep. (My fault, I use the same release work for all dogs--from now on, I'm teaching each dog their own release word.) I asked her what she was doing out of the Jeep, and she hopped back in. Into Heidi's crate. Somehow she had enough room to jump in and turn around.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How I know it's feeding time at the zoo

This is how most of a day in the life of Coral and Duke is spent. It's a rough life, isn't it? And yes, they prefer a mountain of bed, so when they get piled up when I vacuum, sometimes it stays like that for days.

This is in the evenings, when their internal clocks tell them it's feeding time.

Creepy, aren't they? Duke likes to remind me that he hasn't been fed yet, just in case I forgot. He comes and sits right in front of me, and roos at me briefly. Usually I stifle a giggle and ignore him, so he sighs loudly and lays down, defeated. But sometimes he flops his big head in my lap to remind me how cute he is.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Long sit/stays

I had Miss Heidi doing some long sit/stays earlier today, and was cracking up because she was starting to fall asleep sitting up--slouching, closing her eyes, head bobs, swaying side to side.

So, by request, here is a video of Miss Heidi about 3 minutes into a long sit/stay. Not very exciting because well...she's in a stay, but still funny to me.

We normally want a more active stay, with the pup making eye contact with us, but Heidi had been working on stays for close to 2 hours at the point.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Maybe she is a dog after all...

After three months, Duke is finally getting used to Heidi. First he would just run away from her. Then he'd give me a sad "make it stop!" face as she bounced around, pawing and licking at his face. And now he's just given up, and started playing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Pi day!

And how does one celebrate pi day? With pie, of course!

It's been a busy week, so I wanted a quick and easy recipe, and it really doesn't get much easier than this simple chocolate truffle pie from Paula Deen. I wanted to decorate the pie with nerdy goodness in whipped cream on top, but since I was taking the pie somewhere, and the chocolate filling already mounded pretty high, the whipped cream didn't happen. But that's ok, the pie was ridiculously rich as it was. I was afraid bittersweet chocolate would be too much for me, so I used semisweet instead.

I didn't feel like cranking up the stove, so I heated everything in the microwave. Nuke 2/3 cup cream until it's boiling, add to 6 oz chocolate, let sit 1 minute, then stir, stir, stir. For the whipped chocolate filling, I added the chocolate and cream in a bowl, and microwaved for just 30 seconds. Stir well, then microwaved in 15 second increments. Be careful heating chocolate, so it doesn't scorch.

Next time I make this pie, I'd probably skip the chocolate ganache on the bottom, and just do the whipped chocolate filling and whipped cream. Blasphemy, I know. But seriously, this pie is that rich. The whipped filling is also just heavy cream and chocolate, but since it's whipped, it's deceptively "light."

Truffle Pie

Source: Paula Deen

Truffle Filling:
* 2/3 cup heavy cream
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
* 1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Whipped Chocolate Filling:
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped Cream Topping:
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

* 1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate
* 1 1/2 ounces white chocolate
* 1 1/2 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate

For the truffle filling, in a saucepan, bring 2/3 cup cream to a simmer. Place the 6 ounces chocolate chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then gently whisk until smooth. Spread truffle filling over the bottom of the prepared piecrust. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the whipped chocolate filling, in a double boiler or a microwave set on low power, heat the 6 ounces chocolate chips with 1/2 cup of the cream until the chocolate is just melted, stirring often. Let cool to room temperature. In a chilled bowl, beat the chocolate mixture, remaining 1 cup of cream and the vanilla until soft peaks form (tips curl). Spread the whipped chocolate mixture over the truffle filling in the crust. Refrigerate overnight.

For the topping, just before serving, beat 1 cup cream on medium speed of an electric mixer until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and whip until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie. Using a grater or vegetable peeler, make pieces or shavings of milk chocolate, white chocolate, and semisweet or dark chocolate. Garnish pie with chocolate pieces. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beating up pit bulls and walking babies

We let Heidi play with some puppies this weekend, and of course, she picks the biggest one of the bunch to pick on. She was a bit overwhelmed at first, because she's not used to other dogs acting as crazy as she does--Coral plays nicely, or plays chase, and Duke just runs away from her.

Baby was "walking" a tape measure, which we immediately took away from him because babies+sharp objects aren't the greatest combination. So I traded him the tape measure for Heidi. By the time I grabbed my camera, baby got bored with walking Heidi. But it was really cute while it lasted, I promise.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fun with a nylabone ring

It's like the carnival game, except with a dog.

Heidi's a silly monkey. I did not pose the shots...she did this to herself, including getting the ring around her neck to begin with.