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pollinator
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My husband and I bought a 2.5 acre property last year to create a permaculture homestead on. We built 3 swales, 8 huglekultur beds, dug a hole for a garden pond and got a flock of 16 chickens last year.

We want to keep developing the property this year. It will be a challenging year for me as I am the main source of labor. I have torn my rotator cuff again so I will be a mostly one armed gardener this year.
We are designing the property to handle my recurring habit of severely damaging my joints while still allowing me to garden. One of our main goals is to design the property to handle my current and future mobility problems. I am always looking for easier ways to do things and I wanted to share what we are doing.

Right now the snow is starting to melt after record snowfall and cold this winter.
 
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I am looking forward to seeing and hearing more as you progress through your project!
 
Kate Muller
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Time goes so fast once the snow melts.
We are celebrating the 1st anniversary of starting our permaculture homestead this weekend. Last year we had a swale and hugelbed building party to create the garden. We had a dozen or so friends come and help include Paul's first ant Evan. The front yard garden is a little over a 1/4 acre and faces south/southeast. We are primarily on the east side of a hill.

These are my hugelbeds.





My husband put up a deer fence for me. We are killing the grass this year and planting a fedge along the fence next spring. I did plant comfrey all along the road side of the fence today. I will be planting more bulbs along the drainage ditch so I it will look pretty from the road and require less scything.


The mounds of dirt toward the left side of this photo will be a pond soon. We dug the hole last year hoping it would seal on it's own but it hasn't happened yet. It will eventually take the over flow from the rain barrels and feed the lower swales and hugelbeds.


Here is our future pond after a good rain.


This swale is 224' long and has plums, peaches, cherries, potatoes, comfrey, asparagus, garlic, daikon radish, shallots, mullen, clover, daffodils, irises and chives planted in it so far this year.



This swale has 2 apple trees and flowers. I know one of the quinces survived but I am not sure about the other one. I lost quite a few plants to the cold winter and deer in the last year.



We have a frost warning tonight so my seedlings are in the cold frame my husband just made me.
We got the windows from friend doing an upgrade. We have 28 windows from these friends and my husband wants t make them into a greenhouse.



Here are a 1/3 of my chickens. They love to follow me around all the time. They free range an have already figured out how to get into the garden already.



Beehives! I got my first boxes of bees last month. The chicken coop is getting moved next week and that space will become another garden bed.


Here is where their new chicken run will be till I decide that that spot is ready to become another garden bed.


I sent Evan some Mammoth Grey Striped Sunflower seeds I saved from these plants.
I don't have a photo of them in bloom but they get 8" to 12' tall and the flower heads are 1' to 2' feet across.


They didn't get eaten by the deer unlike this shorter sunflower.






 
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Kate Muller wrote: It will be a challenging year for me as I am the main source of labor. I have torn my rotator cuff again so I will be a mostly one armed gardener this year.
We are designing the property to handle my recurring habit of severely damaging my joints while still allowing me to garden. One of our main goals is to design the property to handle my current and future mobility problems. I am always looking for easier ways to do things and I wanted to share what we are doing.



I specialize in helping people with reoccurring joint problems. Rotator cuff tears That seem to happen spontaneously usually happen because the body is leaning to one side to avoid some pain and the arm is fixed off to the side to balance the lean. The rotator cuff muscles holding that position do not release from their shortened position when you pull hard in some activity and with repetition small tear become big ones.
I know it sound ridiculous to do massage over the internet but I have been able to help some people this way.
 
Kate Muller
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Hans Quistorff wrote:

Kate Muller wrote: It will be a challenging year for me as I am the main source of labor. I have torn my rotator cuff again so I will be a mostly one armed gardener this year.
We are designing the property to handle my recurring habit of severely damaging my joints while still allowing me to garden. One of our main goals is to design the property to handle my current and future mobility problems. I am always looking for easier ways to do things and I wanted to share what we are doing.



I specialize in helping people with reoccurring joint problems. Rotator cuff tears That seem to happen spontaneously usually happen because the body is leaning to one side to avoid some pain and the arm is fixed off to the side to balance the lean. The rotator cuff muscles holding that position do not release from their shortened position when you pull hard in some activity and with repetition small tear become big ones.
I know it sound ridiculous to do massage over the internet but I have been able to help some people this way.



I don't think it it ridiculous to try and offer some options for relief. Unfortunately this is not my first rotatar cuff injury or major joint injury. I have hyper-mobility issues that make getting a massage very risky. The main culprit for my should is lots of play in the joint and a massive bone spur. The combo creates an impingement when things shift out of alignment which it tends to do. I had both knees replaced in 3 years ago and I am in my early 40's Part of my interest in permaculture is designing a system that I can garden as my mobility continues to decrease through the years.
 
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Kate Muller wrote:
We are celebrating the 1st anniversary of starting our permaculture homestead this weekend.


Wow Kate, that's a lot of progress in the first year! Thanks for the inspiring writeup.
 
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Hello Kate, yes with your challenges and the winter you had, you two should be really proud of the work you have gotten done. I lived in NH (Merrimack) for many years and had my kids there too. Currently I live in Beechgrove, TN. I do distance energy healing and would be pleased to make your acquaintance and see if there is anything I can do to help with your issues. check out EFTforWomen.com I am not selling anything. The site was developed because of my issues and my abilities over the years to bring that healing to other seekers and certainly permies!! Blessings. Love the pictures and the posts. Thanks, Natalie
 
Kate Muller
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Progress continues. I still have a lot of plants to get into the ground but I am slowly making progress.


Today my photography assistant followed me around while I was taking these photos. She did not join me in the front yard garden because my husband finished the fence.


The big swale is surrounded in netting. The deer were destroying the asparagus bed and eating all the new shoots on the fruit trees. The chickens were also doing too much damage to the berm. Now the chickens and deer are leaving it alone.


We are letting the grass grow on the hill and mowing around patches of flowers in the rest of the yard for the bees. The clipping from the mower are being used as mulch for the veggie beds.


Thanks to much needed rain I have a full rain barrel to water the recently plantings with.


The chickens and the bees love this bird bath.


This one is just for the bees. I have 3 more planter trays that I picked up at a flea market that I need to set up as bee watering stations.


The coop has been moved! I will not have a 2 inches of water in the run next spring!


The herb bed is filling in nicely. I have a few more things to plant in it and I need to finish weeding the grass out if it.


Here is a shot of a bunch of perennials in 3 different beds. I still have a good deal of plants to get in the ground.


Peppers, tomatoes and herbs.


These are most of my main annual garden beds. There is one more to the left with onion sets and peas in it.


Here is the onion and pea bed. I had a mix of greens, peas, carrots, parsnips and turnip seeds in planted here but the crab grass grew first so the peas and onion sets were the only ones to survive the weeding.


Here is a shot from not quite the bottom of the hill.


Peppers, eggplant and tomatillos


pole beans, snap peas, crab grass with carrots and parnips, bush beans, and assorted brassicas in this bed.


I have planted a lot of peppers this year and I still have more to plant. I am trying to find a good short season sweet pepper so I am trying a dozen or so varieties.


My large tomato bed with the herb bed in the background.


Here is another shot of the annual beds


These will be planted everywhere!


I love having fresh strawberries. The herb bed is filling in nicely.


The bees are loving the comfrey.


Here is the flower bed. The poppies are just starting to bloom.


I let a lambs quarter go to seed hoping the chickens would like the seeds. They don't. They did manage to seed an mulched bed by dust bathing in it. It will take me weeks to weed this out since the keep popping up.


This is my view from the gate. I also planted grapes on next to each of the gate posts.


I planted corn seeds in this covered bed. They haven't sprouted yet. Next year this will better protected location will be the new home of the asparagus bed.


Now that we have deer netting around the big swale I need to create some mulch for the peach tree that the mullen and comfrey have been hiding from the deer.


The deer have worked hard to try and destroy my asparagus bed.


I am still working on planting the big swale berm. I added hazelnuts, sea buckthorn, a crab apple, potatoes, sweet potatoes to the fruit trees, buckwheat, irises, daffodils, garlic, shallots, asparagus, comfrey, and fruit trees I planted last year.
I will be putting my excess celery and pepper seedlings in here. Sunflowers, nasturtiums and other goodies will find there way in too.

I let my honeybees get crowded and they started producing new queens. I split the hives yesterday and the growing queen cells are in nuk boxes with some frames to get the new hives going. Hopefully I can keep the original frames from swarming. This is my first year keeping bees and I am sure I will make more mistakes but with any luck I will have 4 strong hives this year. I didn't take any photos since it was my first time doing this.















 
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I love seeing your swales develop and it makes me feel a bit nicer about the state of my own 1 year old swales. Except mine are completely covered with grass.
 
Kate Muller
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elle sagenev wrote:I love seeing your swales develop and it makes me feel a bit nicer about the state of my own 1 year old swales. Except mine are completely covered with grass.



I am constantly pulling grass out of the swale berms. I did heavily seed the swales with cover crops last year. It has helped.

Here is a photo from last fall on the morning of my first frost. I let the buckwheat and diakon radish go to seed and the plants were 3 to 5 feet tall
 
Kate Muller
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I forgot I started this thread.  I am going to try and be better about updating.  We have made so many changes in the last 7 years since we bought this house. Looking at this thread reminds me just how far we have come.  It is so easy to focus on what you need to do and the things you want to get done that one can easily forget how much you have accomplished.  

Here is a link to some pictures of our place a couple of years ago.
https://permies.com/t/36459/Kate-Hampshire



 
Kate Muller
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Here is an update on how we our property is progressing.  


This is a photo of the lower part of the garden.  It has our lower swale berm and our main annual vegetable garden.  On the left side of the photo is our neglected raspberries and blackberry patch. It will be getting the unwanted plants weeded out of it in the next couple of weeks.  The asparagus patch is back there too and it has the raspberries taking it over.  Along the fence we added 5 American Hazelnuts but they are only 8" tall at the moment so you  can't see them in this photo.  We lucked out this spring and got 70 cubic yards of wood chips delivered and my husband has been putting them to good use.  The 2 swale berms in the garden had most of the herbaceous plants die off and the crab grass has taken over so they got cardboard and wood chips.  Next year a new round of plants can be added to these beds.  From right to left the plants in the berm are Elderberry, sweet crabapple, elderberry, black currant, sour cherry, highbush cranberry, sour cherry, aronia berry, highbush cranberry, and a blueberry.  


The Annual beds used to be hugel beds but they turned out to not work for us.  I couldn't safely reach the center of them, they dried out to fast, and the voles loved them far to much to make them work for us.  I also had a sizeable lost of functionality  due to a progression of my connective tissue disorder and my wonderful husband rebuilt all the beds so I can work them safely while sitting on a small step stool.  

Wood chips are fairly easy for us to get so my husband mulches the pathways for me every year.  He also broadforks, adds compost, and sets up the trellises for me ever year.  He prefers digging and landscaping than going to the gym.  The wood chips are inculcated with  wine cap mushroom spores.  




I am in the process of mulching these beds.  We get mulch hay from a friend's neighbor every year for the annual garden. Due to our cold wet spring you can't really mulch annual veggie beds till mid to late June or your soil may stay to cool to get decent germination.  Don't worry all of those garlic scapes were harvested right after I took this photo.

We also have more annual garden beds near the south side of the pond and up by the house.  




Here are my early spring crops.  Snap peas, more garlic, parsnips, and spinach.  Bush green beans will go in when the spinach bolts.  In the right side of this photo is our middle swale with apples, blueberries, rhubarb, black currant, sour pie cherries, irises, daffodils, and day lilies.  It was also mulched this spring to suppress the grass and other weed so we can replant more herbaceous plants in there next year.  We are on a cold windy hill so a lot of perennials tend to die off in the winter if we don't get enough snow cover.  The grass takes over so we are doing a mulch reset.  


These are some of our newest annual beds.  They were built last summer and tarped till this spring.  They have sweet potatoes that are not doing well.  I will plant some beans and summer squash in the open spaces next week.    The bed in the background with the flowering bunching onions is my favorite garden bed.  It has the least bug pressure because there are always frogs and toads in it.




This has some of my seed saving plants in it.  The parsnips are 5 to 6 feet tall and the leeks are about to bloom. I have some lettuce, dill, onions, basil, and more brassicas in this bed too.  The white silage tarp is kill the grass for another new bed.  My husband's goal it to eliminate all the grass in the front except for the area around  the house  that will be used for entertaining.  He builds the bed when he has time and the weather is cool in the spring and fall.  We tarp them over the winter  to kill the grass and other really difficult weeds.  With my physical limitations and my husband's need to stay employed we use a lot of mulch and tarps to save labor and time.


This is my cutting flower garden.  It is full of sunflowers, cosmos, poppies, zinnias, nasturtiums, calendula, and I started adding some Shasta daisies, Cone flowers, and Black Eye Susan.  











 
Kate Muller
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The heart and soul of our garden is our natural swimming pond.  You can see the beginnings in the first post in this thread.  Since then my husband hand dug a wide shallow ring around the additional hole.  We had friends help install the liner since our soil is far to sandy for it to ever hold water without one.  He has since been adding rocks and gravel to the pond.  I have been adding plants in and around the pond.  Alec is still working on the seating area and adding a rock wall around it as we find more rocks.   The pond is hooked up to our house gutters and the pond overflow goes into a swale just downhill form the pond.  We are currently aerating it but we are hoping to not need to once we get enough plants established in the pond.  The pond berm is planted with  a mix of flowers, herbs, veggies, strawberries and raspberries.  I may move the raspberries in the future.  We were gifted a bunch of fall bearing raspberries this spring and the pond berm was the convenient  spot to plant them at the time.




You can see the rock wall project in this photo.


Here is our little bog plant nursery


The frogs love our pond.  We have a least 3 species of frogs that use our pond and on type of toad.  Last year the salamanders moved in.  We also added some little feeder goldfish.  

]




My favorite lily pads.

The north side of the pond berm



I am going to have a lot of Red Russian Kale seeds this year.

The East side of the pond berm

The path way is a swale that catches the pond over flow.  It wasn't always right next to the pond berm.  My husband kept making the pond bigger and bigger till the berm had to but up against the existing swale.  


This photo was taken form the south east corner of the pond berm.


The south side of the pond berm has flowers and strawberries planted in it.  




 
Kate Muller
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This little project was put on hold for a few weeks while my husband helped me get the annual garden beds prepped and moved 70 cubic yards of mulch.



It is 36' x 34' greenhouse and I am so looking forward to it being finished.  
It does have a bunch of drainage tubes and insulation buried under the greenhouse for thermal banking.   The goal is to have it fully finished in time to plant a fall garden in it.

We also want to get more of the yard fenced in.  The deer have hammered the plants in the big swale berm.  This swale is also on the list to rehab once we get it fenced in.  




 
Kate Muller
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Mixed in with the annual garden beds is a lot of edible landscaping.  


This swale berm has elderberry, sweet crab apple, irises, oregano, black currant, aronia berry, high bush cranberries, blue berry, and sour pie cherries.


We added 5 more American Hazelnuts to the garden this year.

The fence supports 3 hardy kiwis and 3 grape vines.


This is our male Meader Kiwi. The 2 females are newer and only a foot tall  so far.

Here are a couple of the grape vines.  




I am experimenting with bagging my fruit to keep the bugs off it.  So far it is working.  I am using organza draw string gift bags around apples, peaches, and pears.  






This swale berm has a couple of apple trees, a cherry tree,  blue berries, black currants, sour pie cherries, irises, day lilies, rhubarb, and daffodils in it.


This is our blueberry patch.  It also has strawberries,  rhubarb, lovage, thyme, day lilies, sunflowers and milkweed in it.
Our cat Frank spend a good deal of his mornings chasing chipmunks and voles out of this part of the garden.

The tree next to the pond and surrounded by the rock wall is a pear tree.


Our brambles patch and asparagus bed are both in need of a lot of attention.  





We haven't done much with the rest of the yard.  Once we get it fenced in we will be working on making it just a productive as the front yard.  





 
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Gorgeous! You folks have been busy.
 
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Looking at your picture I was wondering what mushroom you're using to fill the swales with growing space. I suggest hand seeding wine caps as they break down chips fast.
 
Kate Muller
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We are using Wine Cap mushroom spores in our wood chips.  We have a bed of them that we use to inculcate all our new wood chip piles.    I should have a rather large flush of them next spring.   I am not worried about the wood chips breaking down too slowly.  It anything I would like them to last more than a year.  We can never seem to get enough of them and our main source of them has stopped suppling them.  
 
Kate Muller
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Here is the beginnings of the 2022 garden season.  I am starting lots of extra seedlings this year and currently and starting a bunch of extra early stuff in the greenhouse.  
I am sharing seeds with friends and hosting a tiny seed swap this week.  It should be fun.  

I will be growing more than ever. I am hoping to not only supply al our veggies for the entire year but also produce enough to give some to friends and neighbors.  We are still eating primarily from last year's production.  I did break down and buy some frozen broccoli last week. It is the first veggies we have purchased since July of 2021.  Other than broccoli we on track for not needing to buy any veggies till we can start harvesting early spring crops.  
 
Kate Muller
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The greenhouse project is coming along.  We still need to get electricity out there for the fans and vents but that will have to wait till the ground isn't frozen.  



In the mean time my husband built me these beautiful raised beds.   I am a very spoiled gardener.



The beds are 16" tall 3' wide and have 1/4" hardware cloth in the bottom.  I also painted bone sauce to the underside of the wood that frames the top of the beds to discourage nibblers. These beds are for season extension of annual veggies and take up about half the greenhouse.  The rest of the greenhouse is storage at the moment.  We want to get a year of temperature data before we start adding long term perennials to it.  



I have some cold weather crops started and they have survived the last couple of days with low temps of 17 F without any additional protection.  These include snap peas, spinach, arugula, diakon radish, kale, and  pac choi, and swiss chard.  The 2 sad looking plants in the back of the bed are a bay laurel and a rosemary  in pots that I tucked into the bed for the winter.  They are not quite dead and the rosemary is starting to add new growth.  They are normally annuals where I live so I am hoping will survive long term in the greenhouse.  

 
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You've made such incredible progress over the course of a few years.   It looks like your first year or so in the garden was a bit chaotic. Do you attribute the organization and tidiness of your more recent successes to focusing on a single area at a time and not attempting to "do everything" at all once?


I'm curious as my gardening attempts at our old place functioned similarly, I jumped in with both feet and it took several years for things to sort themselves out(me to learn what each area needed and finally get it to a point where it didn't require so much maintenance), and as we are working to set up our gardening space at our new place, I find that when I overextend myself, things tend to start getting away from me in all areas.
 
Kate Muller
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The chaos in the first couple of years came from several different factors.  We did the earthworks with help from friends.  They made the hugle beds wider than I requested not realizing that with my physical limitations (due to a connective tissue disorder) that I was injuring myself trying to reach the center of them.  So we figured out rather quickly that we needed to adapt our design.  We have embraced constantly redesigning our systems and work flow.  We try not to make anything too permanent.  The other big factor was learning our new site.  The soil and water situation were very different from my previous gardening experience.

We know I am going to continue my physical decline and a lot of our design decisions are based on me being able to keep gardening.  My husband builds infrastructure a year or a season ahead so we ready when plants or animals arrive.  We always try incorporate being able to change things. We are both big proponents of iterative design.  We are just starting to work on the back part of the property because we needed to learn more before planting food forest.  We are currently working on the earthworks and will plant in cover crops and annual flowers this year.  We won't plant trees and shrubs till next spring.  This will give us time to make changes and remove any vines and shrubs that pop back up. Picking one or 2 projects to add each year makes management easier of existing systems easier.  Spreading the workload over a year makes it much easier to add new elements while not getting overwhelmed.  It also helps that we both work from home.  

I will post updated photos when my FRC Robotics Team is done competing this weekend.
 
Kate Muller
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Location: New Hampshire
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I should have been a little more careful in what I was wishing for. Now that we are into our 9th growing season our permaculture farm is really starting to thrive an flourish.  I am discovering when the diverse mix of perennial and annual crops gets to the point where they are producing enough that you no longer need to  buy fruits, veggies, and herbs from outside suppliers like farm markets and super markets. This is great and has been our long term goal.  Of course in a cold wet climate with a short growing season you only get about 5 months of the year to get the food you need for the other 7 months.  

Now that my spring producing plants are established and cranking out enough food to carry me through the year if I can get it preserved.  Of course the addition of the green house had been an amazing addition for extending the season of fresh veggies which has added an additional layer of work and complexity.   I am finding the work load of food preservation this early in the season to be a surprising amount of work since I am still working on getting the spring planting in.  

So am working on finding the balance to make all of this work.  I will need to since we are also working on add a food forest to the back yard. So far we have done most of the earthworks, water catchment, and planted cover crops.  This summer fencing, more cover crops,  and dealing with the invasive unwanted plants will keep us busy.  The plan is to add the trees and shrubs next spring.  

In the mean time I need to take more photos.

 
Kate Muller
pollinator
Posts: 386
Location: New Hampshire
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hugelkultur forest garden chicken food preservation bee
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Here are some spring updates.  



We added a second chicken coop and upgraded the covered part of the run.  The covered run is covered in left over plastic from our greenhouse project.  This is where we have the food a water for the birds. It main function is to give them a dry place to hang out in bad weather.


We also have been clearing out the vines and invasive over grown stuff so we can add a food forest to the back yard.  





This area is now sprouting cover crops.  We still need to add fencing so we can plant in the fall or next spring.  


One day this pit will be another garden pond.  We have too much going on this year to work on it but it the end location for a drainage ditch we are adding along our driveway.  

The greenhouse.
My husband built me these beautiful raised beds and it is amazing.  I am a very spoiled gardener.






We added a partial shade garden to an unused part of the front yard.  



There are Paw Paws, currents, jostaberries, apples, peaches, and apricots planted in it so far.  I need to add more to it but the annual garden is keeping me a little  too  busy.



Mu husband did a major wedding and pruning of the raspberry patch.  It is doing so much better and we should have a good harvest this year.


The asparagus patch is  still very much a mess.  If we can keep the larger weeds at bay all season I will be happy.


The garlic is doing amazingly well.   At the time of this posting I just harvested all the scrapes.  I make and freeze a large batch of pesto and dehydrate the rest.   I love garlic scapes.  


We added another asparagus patch and planted strawberries along with the asparagus.  

I need to take more pictures of the other projects we are working on.  It is a busy year and I am hoping to be better about documenting it.



 
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