Chicks!

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They’re now 16 days old, and our three little chicks are certainly growing fast. We bought them as one day olds to put under our broody hen, Betty White (a white Sussex). This was about the fourth time that Betty White had gone clucky, so we decided to get her what she wanted, some little bubs. The trio are Ostra, an Australorp, Goldie, a gold laced Wyandotte and Sylvia, a silver laced Wyandotte. Betty White doesn’t seem to care that her chicks are all different, and all very different to her. We purposely bought these breeds as we have a bit of a collection of chickens; as well as Betty White we have Hawk the Welsummer, Speckles the speckled Sussex, Penny the Isa Brown and Maggie a leghorn-cross.

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Maggie, Penny and Speckles

It’s amazing to watch Betty White mother the chicks, and all of the instincts she has and things that she just ‘knows’ how to do, made even more amazing as Betty White herself was not raised by a mother hen, but was hand-raised under heat lamps.

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Profile on Pippa

Pippa has been a very good model for me to try out my new camera. After years of using my little point-and-shoot Panasonic Lumix (which has been very good) and my iPhone to take my pictures, I’ve finally bought a Canon EOS M Compact System Camera, partly for my New Zealand trip (so it better take good scenery shots!), parlty because I just wanted a proper, good camera. I used a DSLR at uni for one of my subjects, so I know a bit about ISO, shutter speeds and the like, but realise that I still have a lot to learn! These photos were taken while playing around with different settings and have not been edited.

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What a little model

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Pippa was doing her cutest little facial expression, while just sitting so nice and neatly underneath the coffee table. Those big yellow-rimmed green eyes, the little smile, the shiney silver furr – you’d hardly recognise her from the scared little thing we adopted back in May. I know one shouldn’t really gush on about one’s own little cat – but Pip’s just too cute!

Pip in the sun

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Though it’s been a bit cooler this week (and quite cold today!), Pippa has been enjoying the sunshine. Though she’s still too scared to go outside, she loves lying in an open doorway or on an open window sill, letting the breeze in, not to mention all the smells and noises.

Also, Pip turned 1 last week (according to her RSPCA records), so happy first birthday Pippa! You can be assured, she was most spoilt on the occasion – much as she is every day.

An Unusual POV: Weekly Photo Challenge – Pippa

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Standing at only about a foot high, Pippa is very little thing. It is easy to forget how big we must seem to her, so when playing with her this morning, I lay down and took this photo from ground level, looking up on our little cat. As children, we spend much more time down low, playing on the floor, sitting on the floor in class, etc, but as we grow up, we don’t get down that low nearly as often, so photos from this angle look quite particular to us.

What’s Pip looking at so intently, I hear you ask?

Maggie the chicken, who was taking herself for a walk around the yard (no particularly special POV, just a rather funny picture of Mags!).

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Find the weekly photo challenge here.

Lemon Curd Marble Muffins

On a very wet Friday night, baking muffins can sometimes be the best option, and this is just what I did tonight. I had planned to make these muffins over the weekend, using some of the lemon curd I made last week. The recipe (which I have been eyeing off for as long as we’ve had the book), comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Everyday. The muffins are very easy to make, and are delicous fresh out of the oven.

Makes 12.

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Put 12 large paper cases into a muffin tray. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk lightly to aerate and combine.

Mix the egg, yoghurt, milk and melted butter together in a jug. Pour them into the dry ingredients and mix lightly, stopping as soon as everything is combined – it’s essential not to over-mix or you’ll get dense, cakey muffins.

Spoon a some mixture into each muffin case and top with a generous ½ teaspoonful of lemon curd. Add a final spoonful of muffin mixture to encase the lemon curd and three-quarters fill the cases.

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Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C/gas mark 4 for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Eat on the day you bake them, ideally while still slightly warm.

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PS: When I’m cooking, Pippa always sits on the stool next to the bench and watches/supervises, and is usually extremely well behaved. However, tonight she just couldn’t resist the temptation of a bright yellow patty pan case, and stole one from the muffin tin! Oh, Pippa, you do make us laugh

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