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Farmer Andrea has been busy this Spring getting ready for the 2017 CSA + Market Season! Spreadsheets, Seed Catalogues, Sterilizing Seedling Trays, SEEDS, Planting, all part of the Farm Lyfe.

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson + rashel t

Seedlings Indoors …

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson + rashel t

Seedlings Outdoors …

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Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson

Over-wintered and self-seeded Spring surprises …

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Scallions, Gorgeous Lettuces that popped up in beds, outside of beds, gorgeous Lettuce everywhere! Photo credit: rashel t.

Every year we let a couple of broody Hens hatch out a clutch of eggs. We don’t purposely breed them so they become Tremblay Farm Mixies. Farm child Oddy wanted to make sure we had some new chicks this season and Farmer Mike (Pepe) helped get them all set up before his major heart surgery this Spring.

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These Mamas are very protective of their babies. Here they are showing their newly hatched offspring how to scratch and forage for grains and seeds. After eating very little while incubating their eggs these Mamas are ravenous! Photo credit rashel t.

 

Interesting things found around the farm in May …

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Wallflower, ancient Pear Tree covered in blossoms, Wild Ginger, Fungus, Lilac, Chives with Busy Bees, Kildeer eggs, Scat, Insect Eggs. Photo credit: rashel t.

While Farmer Rashel is taking a break from Market Gardening they are turning their focus towards creating and maintaining a new Wild Space in an awkward part of the farm. This will serve as an Insectary (habitat) for beneficial insects + pollinators, as well as a space for Medicinal Plants. The focus is primarily on Indigenous Perennials and self-seeding annuals with the goal of having the space be self-sufficient and diverse, as well as a place to learn from and harvest medicines.

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Plantain infusing in oil, Chamomile, Nettles. Photo credit: rashel t.

This blog will have a different focus in 2017. Instead of being a weekly round-up of farm happenings and seasonal veggies it will be a monthly update of interesting things found around the farm, musings on gardening with children, current experimentations in permaculture and sustainable ecological food growing.

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Our “little” garden this year – only 15 4×18 ft beds – and our new little helper. Toddler S is a natural forager! Photo credit: rashel t.

More fun around the farm in May …

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The big farm children take the toddler on adventures, pea shoot snacks, plants in flower / seed saving, rainbow, potatoes planted by Rashel + Toddler S in an experimental hay bale bed, carrots, flooding. Photo credit: Mike Tremblay, rashel t.

Unsurprisingly Rashel’s favourite bed is the most diverse one. Lettuce self-seeded, Parsley over-wintered, Sunflowers showed up, and Rashel didn’t want to remove anything so they planted seedlings in the available spaces. Trying out Celeriac + storage Kohlrabi for the first time. Also planted Collards, Brussel Sprouts, and Radnips.

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Photo credit: rashel t

A new experiment this year is Trench Composting. This bed was in need of remediation so it was the perfect first experiment. A trench was dug out of the middle of the bed and in it’s place we placed unfinished compost and seaweed. Various squashes have been planted in to the middle where the compost is. If this is successful we will do a variation on this in years to come. Each year one third of a bed will be dug out and composting materials thrown in as the season progresses. The following year we will plant on top of the trench, rotating which area gets the compost from year to year.

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Photo credit: rashel t

We are also experimenting with more Companion Planting, with plants in closer quarters in our 4 by 18 foot raised beds. Some friends include: Peas + Carrots with Lettuce; Cucumbers + Squash with Radishes + Beans; Alyssum all over but especially near Lettuces; Garlic + Tomatoes with Basil; Marigolds + Pole Beans.

Looking forward to sharing more Cute Creatures, Garden Stories, and Farm Lyfe with everyone ­čÖé

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Newly hatched Praying Mantis in a pot of Succulents. Photo credit: Andrea Nickerson.

 

 

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By the time many of you read this we’ll have officially opened for the season! Our first market is Saturday May 28th and it also marks the beginning of the Community Supported Agriculture – CSA – weekly member basket program!

Our veggie of the week is CARROTS!

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Carrots originally and naturally came in colours such as purple, red, and white. Some are red on the outside and purple on the inside, or purple on the outside and white on the inside. So many Carrots to choose from! These Carrots have been happily living and growing all Winter long and in our experience the best keeping carrots are the purple ones, the orange ones didn’t fare so well.

These Carrots are best suited for cooking so here is a collection of recipe ideas to spice up the humble Carrot ~ http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/20-carrot-recipes/16/ – these recipes also use other seasonal veggies such as kale, parsley, and garlic, and includes easy pickled carrots ; http://damndelicious.net/2015/01/17/garlic-roasted-carrots/ – also uses thyme and parsley ; http://www.therawtarian.com/raw-carrot-refrigerator-cake-recipe┬á ; http://www.theroastedroot.net/raw-carrot-pasta-ginger-lime-peanut-sauce/ ; http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/recipes.html Carrots have their own museum website!

Jokes of the week (a new weekly item that the farm children wanted to start) :

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Q: What did one carrot say to the other carrot?

A: Is it orange in here, or is it just me?

Q: What did the other carrot say back?
A: Hang on a minute while I root around for the answer!

 

 

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?

A carrot!

 

How do you make gold soup?

Put 24 carrots in it!

 

What’s a vegetables favourite martial art?

Carrottee!

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Carrots make for the funniest pictures

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Since we’re being joined by the Cheese Bar for our opening day a cheese joke:

What cheese is made backwards?

Edam!

One last joke for one more seasonal item we have this week:

What is small, red, and whispers?

A hoarse radish!

(We have horseradish root available!)

Other seasonal veggies we have available for Week 1 (items vary depending upon location: Scallions (green onions), Baby Garlic (we’re debating calling it Scarlick or Gallions as it’s a mix of Garlic and Scallions – a truly unique product! an experiment that we tried that turned out perfectly!), Parsley, Salad Mix, Baby Kale, Arugula, Chives, Fennel Fronds, Leeks, Portabello Mushrooms, Potted Basil, Dried Herbs and Herbal Teas, Seedlings (including Sweet Peppers, Ghost + Scorpion Peppers, Kale, Chard, Scallions), Potted Coneflower, Flower Bouquets, and Maple Trees.

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Walking Onions, Salad Mix, Baby Garlic, Spinning Lettuce, Fennel

 

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Local honey products and pickled products

The farm children are inviting you to come this way ….

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Updates on what we’ve been up to ….

We’re trying a new pest control method this year – Nematodes. They are soil dwelling creatures that prey on other creatures while not harming beneficial insects such as earthworms. If this shows success we’ll switch to this method of insect control completely.

Scanmask organic pest control ~ http://www.biologicco.com/products/scanmask/lawn-and-garden-scanmask

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We had a busy weekend planting most of our heat-loving crops. First we have to lay down the plastic mulch…..

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Then we can use the water wheel planter…..

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Squash Seedling, Cooperation, Baby Watching us work

This year we’re going to focus on harvesting more medicinal and beneficial herbs to share with our members and out community. We’ll be drying them for teas and making tinctures and salves.

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Nettles + Motherwort hang as though in an art gallery

 

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Mint + Lemon Balm hanging to dry

Even our Plantain is a magickal purple colour ….

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Plantain will make it’s way into healing salves

We’re adding new herbs to our gardens as well …

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Lavender, Sweet Grass, Yarrow, Bee Balm, and more

On Mother’s Day we found the time to hold ceremony with some very special local Knowledge Keepers (Elders), and to plant Trees. We planted over 100 different native species.

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We held our first Seedling Sale at ShopEco on Mother’s Day weekend and it was so successful that we’ll be holding it again next year! And this time we’ll be ready for the hordes of folks interested in organically-grown seedlings for their home gardens.

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Photo courtesy of ShopEco

New this year, we’re trying to grow Celery, if we’re successful it will be for members only. So far they look great!

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Every blog has to have an amazing photograph of the simple beauty of the farm as captured by our amazing farm friend Andrea.

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Bumblebee and Magnolia Tree

And last but not least a cool panaromic view of our HUGE Garlic patch….

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….we have planted the last of the seeds for the season – carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, winter radishes, lettuce, and kohlrabi. Sadly, despite all of our efforts, the brassicas and bok choy seedlings were devoured so there won’t be late season cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower.

bedsIt’s also the end of field cucumbers for the season though they didn’t perform very well this year, and the end of tomatoes is sadly coming closer then we’d like it to.

I had a bit too much fun photographing these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.

I had a bit too much fun photographing these gorgeous heirloom ‘Copia’ tomatoes.

There is only a little bit of fennel left but there is more coming later. If you haven’t tried it yet then you have time to try this recipe that a member shared with us.

Fennel Fronds Pesto
Ingredients:
2 cups fennel fronds, stemmed removed and packed
1/2 cup almond flour or slivered almonds
2 tbsp hemp hearts
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Directions:
  1. Add all ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth.

There will be small amounts of rainbow kale and rainbow chard again, perfect time to try this recipe from chef Dan at the Beacon Alehouse

Caprese salad on a bed of kale and chard, with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, boconcini cheese, and a balsamic reduction.

Caprese salad on a bed of kale and chard, with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, bocconcini cheese, and a balsamic reduction.

Also available this week: delicious salad mixes, broccoli, parsley, beans, salad turnips, sweet snacking peppers, eggplant, slicing and sauce tomatoes, very limited amounts of cherry tomatoes (for the rest of the season), limited amount of onions as our stock has almost run out (this was a trial year for growing onions so we didn’t grow very many but they performed very well so they will get more space in the gardens next season!), limited amounts of scallions, a variety of squash (if I find the time this week I will post a full list of what varieties you might find throughout the rest of the season), herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, and basil – this is a great time to order extra basil for making large batches of pesto that you can freeze for the winter just send us an email and we’ll make sure to bring you extra. No picture but we found big and beautiful purple top turnips as well this week! And of course we’ll have garlic. In case you’re not convinced of the power of locally-grown garlic here’s an article we shared on facebook this week about garlic grown in China….http://www.realfarmacy.com/bleached-chemical-garlic-china-how-to-spot/

And as a follow up from last week’s talk of the health benefits of colourful vegetables – Surprising Health Benefits of Purple Carrots.

Last week's market displays.

Last week’s market displays.

Coming soon….

Can we make Halloween cool in September? We'll see....

Can we make Halloween cool in September? We’ll see….we will see….

As an experiment we are going to try cooking up some rainbow chard root – if you’ll remember it’s the same plant as beet but with an “ugly” root – stay tuned for those results because if it’s yummy….you’ll be seeing this new root soon enough!

As a final note, some folks are getting concerned that they may not be able to use up their credits before the end of the season. Please feel free to ask me or whomever is at the market tables what you can buy in larger quantities and easily preserve for the winter. There are always pickles and honey, too. But also, please let us know if there is something you want to see us bring in larger quantities that you can buy in bulk or just some veggies you’d like to see more of. Some examples are potatoes, sweet potatoes, storage onions, portabello’s. We will see what we can source locally that is ecologically-grown and what other growers may have in abundance. Let us know what you’d like to see and we will do our best to bring it in!

Dried herbs ready to be jarred and used for winter cooking.

Dried herbs ready to be jarred and used for winter cooking.

ps. I had the twelve days of Christmas song in my head as a title but nothing clever to go with it, sorry folks!

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It’s hard to believe that after all that Rain and flooding – and some areas that are STILL flooded – that we had to irrigate this week. But here we are. It’s important for Tomatoes and Peppers to have consistent watering and this year they have been accustomed to a lot of water but the soil has turned into cement underneath them and they are full of fruit! So we irrigated and fertigated with molasses (for calcium) to avoid blossom-end rot. Time will tell if it helps. With irrigation brings the inevitable holes in the irrigation lines that need to be repaired…

IMG_7694This broken line in the Rainbow Chard reminded me to take pictures of a Chard root. Most people are quite surprised to learn that Chard and Beets are the same plant – one was bred for it’s leaves and the other for it’s roots. But Beet leaves are tasty and edible just as Chard makes a Beet-root but a rather “ugly” one…

IMG_7707Around the farm this week … one of our broody hens hatched out 4 little chicks, each a different colour. We’ve been feeding them tent caterpillars to hone their foraging skills (the alternative would be to burn the caterpillars).

11754326_805178066269549_5341734747503205271_oGrowing around the farm this week…

Around the farm: various types of Squash; Kohlrabi starting to beautifully bulb out.

Around the farm: various types of Squash; Kohlrabi starting to beautifully bulb out.

From Facebook this week …

Kale and Chard made into soup and mac'n'cheeze

Kale and Chard made into soup and mac’n’cheeze

Some benefits to a wild edible you’ve likely found in your Wild Rainbow Salad mixes –┬áPurslane.

Despite the heat alert last Saturday we had a wonderful turn out to our Foraging Walk. A reporter from the Tilbury Times was there and wrote a lovely article (unfortunately┬áit’s not online), thank you Dan!

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Tasting Mulva (Common Mallow). Photo credit to Susan Platsko.

We will be highlighting some of the Orgunique fertilizers that we are selling on our Facebook page. Right now our featured fertilizer is Green Up – This garden amendment is a 0-0-15 water soluble mix of Kelp and Potash and the perfect choice for Vegan and Cruelty-Free Gardeners (we also carry ‘Rapidgrow’ as a Vegan fertilizer). Potassium deficiency affects plants such as potatoes, brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi), tomatoes, apples, and raspberries. Unlike the production of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, the manufacture of potassium fertilizer appears to be relatively harmless to the environment, not being a major pollution source. OMRI listed, 100% organic, Product of Canada. $12 for 350g. Mix 4-5g in a litre of water. Use every 3-4 weeks or as needed. We carry this at our farm (20600 Morris Rd or Canal St West, Tilbury), every Tuesday at ShopEco from 4-7pm, and at the Belle River Farmers Market on Sundays.

green upAnother new item we have for sale are 2016 Calendars. The photographs were taken by local nature enthusiast and photographer PAWS, this gorgeous calendar features wildlife shots taken in Rondeau Provincial Park.

11755705_805178219602867_2397866539883179801_nNow for this week’s pick list! A note….not all of these items will be available at every location this week, we will be rotating availability to make sure everyone gets all the produce but we don’t have enough quantity of each item to make them available at all 4 of our pickup locations.

Rainbow Kale + Rainbow Chard

Wild Rainbow Salad Mix

Garlic

Fresh Beans – Rainbow Mix

Field Cucumbers

Field Tomatoes

Onions, storage – limited

Red Cabbage and Chinese Cabbage – limited availability

Kohlrabi – I love to eat this raw – just peel, chop and chew. It’s a crunchy Cabbage! The leaves are also edible. Limited availability

Purple + Green Basil

a variety of fresh Herbs

Chinese Eggplant – a smaller version of eggplant, limited quantities

Purple Peppers┬á– limited availability

Summer Squash (Zucchini) – very limited; how strange that the most productive veggie of all hasn’t grown well at all this year.

Rainbow Carrots (very limited quantities, only those grown in a raised bed have produced so far)

Portabella Mushrooms

Recipes to try!

Top 10 ways to cook Kale!

Kohlrabi Coleslaw!

5 Tasty Ways to Prepare Kohlrabi

How to cook your strange CSA vegetables!

Ethiopian Cabbage Dish

7 Asian Eggplant Recipes

Ideas on cooking Chinese Eggplant

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A few notes to start … We will be starting to sell to the public on Tuesdays when we are at ShopEco, I didn’t realize how much attention our stand would garner so we decided we would share our veggies with the wider ShopEco community.

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Market stand our our farm….where we like to be silly and sassy as well as have laughs and share our produce.

More news from ShopEco…..stay tuned for more details…

11112481_799600493493973_7599578116448054026_oThere have been a lot of no-shows lately and while a couple are not a problem we’ve wasted a lot of good food this week and that is a hard thing for us to do. If you know that you will be away on vacation or that you can’t make it please send us an email to let us know, preferably the day before your pickup so that we don’t bring or harvest more produce than necessary. This will save time, energy, and food waste.

Farm update of the week: You know there’s been too much rain when…..even the thistles are dying from being waterlogged.

IMG_7643On to the projected pick list for the week (subject to change and surprises) – Salad mix, Rainbow Leafies, more fresh Garlic, a variety of Herbs,┬á Pea Shoots, Portabello Mushrooms, button Mushrooms, Mini-Cucumbers, greenhouse Tomatoes, Eggplant, and maybe a surprise like Beans (wouldn’t that be so nice!).

Pea shoots are a favourite of the farm children. A periodic treat!

Pea shoots are a favourite of the farm children. A periodic treat!

No matter how many years I’ve been doing this I never tire of these colours!

IMG_7613IMG_7615We’ve had amazing help this week from members, work-share helpers, and volunteers – community shows up and steps when it’s needed! This sweet family was a welcome surprise at the farm.

11701134_797972586990097_4080887680323772054_nIn the “What you missed on Facebook” segment …

garlicLastly our next FORAGING WALK is Saturday July 18th from 2 – 4 pm, we’d love to see some member faces there as it’s a great opportunity to see our farm! Have a great week everyone!

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Not a very appealing title for a blog post but I’m a big fan of honesty so at least I’m being accurate this week *smiles* With non-stop rain for over a month we haven’t been able to get crops in that would have been ready by now and the crops that are already planted haven’t had enough heat or enough time to be ready to harvest yet.

Note: I know that when a blog post goes to your inbox it looks like an email but when you hit “reply” to send me a message it creates a blog post reply, not an email to me. I tend to delete these as most of you don’t intend to create a blog reply. Just an FYI ­čÖé

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From top L: Squash fruiting; Kale bed; perennial raised beds; Horseradish, Salsify, Scorzonera.

We’ve been busy putting in posts and stringing up Tomatoes using the Florida Weave method to trellis them. The plants are full of big green fruits already!

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From top L: our trusty little tractor; one of half a dozen regular on-farm Snakes who eat mice and voles for us; Master Farmer Mike supervising and directing the farm children in creating removable bed covers; our trusty hunting Cat who thrives on the variety of raw meat available at the farm.

From top L: our trusty little tractor; one of half a dozen regular on-farm Snakes who eat mice and voles for us; Master Farmer Mike supervising and directing the farm children in creating removable bed covers; our trusty hunting Cat who thrives on the variety of raw meat available at the farm.

We still have standby’s like Salad Mix and Rainbow Kale while we wait for more veggies to be ready. We’re pulling up some Garlic this week as a special treat – super fresh and juicy! We’re curious to see which Garlic has fared better – the ones planted in black plastic, the ones planted in a raised bed with hay mulch, or the ones in a raised bed without mulch. At least they didn’t rot with all the rain we’ve had!

This week’s pick list includes: Salad, Kale, Chard, Garlic, Pea Shoots, and a selection of herbs (chocolate mint, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, and more!)

A note on uncured Garlic – we enjoy this very fresh Garlic but it’s strong and juicy and not for everyone so we suggest trying a bit of it fresh and if you don’t enjoy it then just put it in a paper bag in a cool and dry location for a few weeks so it can cure.

In bloom around the farm from Top L (edible blossoms): Lillies; Calendula; Arugula; (pollinator plants) Daisies, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea); Black-Eyed Susan;

In bloom around the farm from Top L (edible blossoms): Lillies; Calendula; Arugula; (pollinator plants) Daisies, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea); Black-Eyed Susan; Hollyhock

A special shout out and THANK YOU to members who’ve volunteered to help harvest – what a wonderful time we have chatting and working – and to new work share folks who have stepped out to help out!

11221431_795465460574143_3983240283797984326_oWhat you missed on our Facebook page this week….

From CSA member Monique:

From CSA member Monique: “My chicken wrap was delish…. Tomato, lettuce, feta, ceasar dressing, green onion and lemon juice in my green wrap!” Collard leaves make amazing wraps!

For local folks – we always try to have salad mix and rainbow kale for sale in our self-serve fridge located on the farm.

We are also now selling Orgunique Fertilizers for your home garden as well as Compost Accelerator. We have these available at the farm and at ShopEco on Tuesday afternoons. Find out more about Orgunique at http://naturelanefarms.com/products-services/orgunique/

Got a new smaller tent to use at ShopEco so I don't have to bake in the Sun!

Got a new smaller tent to use at ShopEco so I don’t have to bake in the Sun! Tuesdays from 4-7pm, get your fresh organic veg on!

See you all next week and may we have lots of heat and sunshine to get these crops growing and this land drying!

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