Feather your Nest Friday, 16th June, 2023.

It is mid June already!   It was a rainy, wet week with a pretty big storm included.   I used some of the forced time indoors to sew.   I hand dyed all of my roll of silk and began to make it up into pillowcases.  Normally I hate ironing but to iron this was so lovely as it went from crinkly to smooth and silky!   I got them all cut out and finished three....  another is almost in almost done.   Each is a slightly different colour. 

I went to town to run errands and shop so I also went to the thrift store.  I found two gorgeous rose plates.  Had to have those for $1.   I was watching for jars but as I didn't see any I asked if they might have any jars out the back.   So glad I did!  I was shown to the back room and they let me go through a whole table of jars.   The going rate is 30c each.

I love the quilted canning jars... the ones at the front - there were 29 the same.   Then there were medium and large jars for dry storage.   It was great fun and so lucky!

My food preserving table is now restocked and I have been filling some with freeze dried veggies.

The freeze drier was busy again this week.

I made a double batch of scones and stocked Mum up and some for the freezer.

I cut Andy's hair.

Andy spent a lot of the week cleaning up storm damage.

Chloe and the boys were here.  We went out to feed the cows.  Chloe has been around cows her whole life but she wouldn't let me put her window down!  Instead she took photos of me feeding the cows.
Tom had the basket of apples and was official helper, handing me each apple.   

This is Doris, the formerly wild cow.  Now reformed!

It had been pouring with rain and the cows came up to the fence absolutely saturated and unbothered.   Check out Doris in the background.

In the garden I moved a lot of seedlings to more protected places,  away from any possible frost.   Also I had succulents to pot up and plant out.   Some went into an old kettle for a planter.

There were still another ten ripe tomatoes to bring inside.

Today was sunny and we made full use of it.   We pruned the fruit trees so they remain contained inside the frames.  Scout and Molly supervised.   A few apples and a pear were still hanging on which were past their best but the cows don't care!   

In the news we have been told electricity will rise again by 25%.   This is again, again, again and again.  The news tonight said for some though it will be more like 50%.  A lot of households and businesses are really struggling with this.   One of the media reports on this read "Aussies feeling the pinch urged not to use heaters as cold weather sets in."   Now isn't that helpful?   It went on to say that people could save hundreds a month by not using heating.   What helpful advice hey.  They have utter contempt for people, for the old,  for small children.   This becomes more obvious week by week.    This is one of the reasons I bang on endlessly about building up your pantry,  saving like Nana did and making our homes the nicest sanctuary from the world that we can.   It means we need to help each other, watch out for each other,  share knowledge and encouragement.  

I hope you had lots of opportunities and good things this week and would love to hear about them! xxx


  1. Annabel your cattle are just gorgeous. Doris knows she is onto a good thing so it's no real surprise that she has settled down so well. I love that Thomas was happy to be the helper. The pillow case is lovely. It is definitely Annabel pink.
    Today is Spencer's 2nd Birthday. However celebrations have been postponed due to his Mummy and Daddy coming down with Covid this week. The only upside to this is that Spencer is too little to know this is happening.
    I make sure that I always leave some plants to go to seed in the garden. This allows me to collect seeds for future planting and also means there are a lot of self sown plants that pop up. I have been busy moving self sown seedlings around the garden. Free plants are just the best. It was also nice to be outside in the sunshine thawing out.
    It's been a week of sickness here with Bluey and I gradually getting over what we had. Now Katie and her family are in the throws of illness. Here's hoping next week will be a better one.

    1. Dear Jane, I hope Katie and her family are doing ok. It is very hard being sick with little kids. Spencer will have a lovely time when you get to celebrate his birthday.
      I am doing much better with seeds and seedlings. I think I am at a point now I never need to buy tomato or basil seedlings again. Some seedlings I am still trying to identify but I have a lot! It keeps raining and more come up. I have transplanted a lot to safer/warmer spots.
      I hope you and Bluey have a restful weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  2. Dear Annabel,
    You had wonderful finds at the thrift shop! I, also, love the quilted canning jars. What lovely things you find at thrift stores in Australia. Sadly, we don't find such lovely items in our area at thrift stores; those items are in small antique shops and marked way up.
    I have been slowly going through our home eliminating items we don't use, love or need. Our children have been asked to come and take what they would like now and what we are still using to voice their desire to have it when we are gone. We will be having our wills redone this summer, so we want lists of choices to include in them.
    Our garden is doing well, thus far. We have had way more rain, this year, than we have had in the past 40 years here. We are truly grateful. There is some flooding in low areas, so that has been a problem for travel for workers.
    I love seeing the cows. They are so calming. Your farm is beautiful.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    With love,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      A good clean out is great. I dont have a lot of stuff after several moves but I have a full pantry, full room of sewing supplies, full medical cabinet and so on. This is entirely difference to how it once was.
      It is amazing you have had such great rain! So good for the garden!
      If I need to relax going into the garden, feeding the chickens or hanging around with the cows works every time. Have a good weekend! With love Annabel.xxx

  3. Hello Annabel and lovely Bluebirds,

    I love all your pictures and your findings in town but most of all I love seeing Molly and Scout! I just love dogs - for me is puppies instead of diamonds, always.

    The storm must have been a big one - to do that damage. The wild cows are beautiful, I am sure Tom enjoyed the day. Doris seems such a character!

    I love your hair!

    We have rain day after day and some more rain forecast so not much time was spent in the garden other than picking strawberries - they are pretty damaged by the rain, so half goes in the kitchen and half goes to the chickens. They don*t complain at all. The black currant bushes are almost ready to harvest.
    1. Sadly, because of the late frosts our orchard is beautifully green but no fruits. We didn*t have cherries at all from the two cherry trees, and there are no fruits on any of the apple trees although they are different types. We hope we will have some sour cherries, grapes and wallnuts.
    2. More sadly - Finally the teachers* strike has ended this week, in time for schools to do in a hurry all they have to do to close the term and the school year. Also sad, both for the teachers - they did not get everything they asked for - and for the children, for all the obvious reasons. I believe a good teacher can represent the turn for a better society and can be the hope for our children. I feel like somebody doesn*t want people to be educated and self thinkers. You know, knowledge is power.
    3. The most sad part is our new government. I am not political at all but yesterday I watched a bit the appointment of the new government. Aside their dumb faces, blank eyes, all of them were talking bad, almost NOT fluent in Romanian and all lies and stupid promises. They remind me so much of the not so old communist party, it is like all over again. I feel anxious about the future.
    Annabel, feel free to delete everything you want, as this is not a place for political writings and I won*t do that here.. It is just to highlight what you have said in your last paragraph. (#They have utter contempt for people, for the old, for small children. This becomes more obvious week by week.#)

    I feel like shutting the door to the outside and try to make my home the nicest sanctuary, as you said. And I will come here for knowledge and encouragement.

    I get new orders for two knitted cardigans - one has a more complicated pattern but I love a new chalenge. So I am set for rainy evenings. I have finished my beautiful green wool cardigan and its name is officially The Australian Green Cardigan. I will cherished it forever.

    Thank you.

    Have a nice weekend - sending love from far away. Laura_s_world from Romania

    1. Dear Laura, Thank you so much! It is fine to say your observations. Also what you say describes much of what I am seeing both here and abroad. Politicians that cannot speak properly, make sense, address relevant issues at all. I think this trend may be because they are just dimwits easy to control by larger globalists. Some I feel are installed rather than elected. So it is fairly depressing. However God is greater!
      Meanwhile building up our home, keeping it as lovely as wet can and all we do does make. big difference to our families. I am so glad you got knitting orders! I saw on Insta the finished cardigan for your husband. It is magnificent! I will check to see if you posted the finished green one... I am so excited to see this!
      I do hope that you get more fruit than you think... even maybe if people know you preserve and use it maybe some fruit will come your way. Make sure everyone at works knows you are a cook and preserver!
      Yes knowledge is power. The teacher problems are unfortunate... our kids in Aust missed so much school during covid and now they say well that was all a big mistake. Its the kids who suffer.
      I hope you get a restful weekend with lots of knitting! With much love Annabel.xxx

  4. Dear Annabel, Good morning from Florida! What a haul from the thrift store! Those waffle pattern ones are very nice and only 30 cents. Right after Christmas I went to our Dollar General store. They had put all Christmas stuff out for 25 cents. I got round jam and pint and qt jars, tinsel, hanging signs: a big box and a couple bags for $6. Jars all had sealing lids, too!! You just have to look when you can.
    Supermarkets have 1 lb. strawberries 2/$5, butter $4., 5 ears of corn are $3., mayo $7., toilet paper 16 mega rolls 11.50, first of the black cherries $5./lb.
    The discount grocery has red cherries $3./lb., fresh chicken wings 2.19 lb., 2lb bag of yellow onions 1.59.
    Gas 3.43/ gallon. 12oz generic coffee 10.
    Love your cows! They say you shouldn’t name the or you’re never able to sell or use them. I like names!
    Hot, hot days mean watering most days even with sprinklers 3 times a week. Have a beautiful deep red orchid blooming.

    I agree that tell the consumer to save and cut back while they raise prices on your electric, etc. is just a slap in the face. Seemingly oldsters, young families, etc can just “economize” at will. Minimum wage up to $15 now, so dinners out now at $15 and up plus minimum tip suggested is 18%. Just absurd.
    Love what you’ve done with your silk bargain! So beautiful And a lovely color!
    Enjoy your week and your family Annabel, and all the Bluebirds!!
    Love from Rick in Florida
    PS: Will see what I can do about getting a report from Donna, too! She also sends her love.

    1. I have friends who always raise a steer for meat. The kids know and understand that their job is to give that steer the best life possible. They give them names such as T-Bone, Ribs, Hamburger, etc.

    2. Dear Rick and Donna, Yes we have to have our eyes open for deals and swoop on them! You did great on the after Christmas clearance stuff!
      A deep red orchid sounds amazing! Now I would love cherries at that price. Cherries (when in season) are more like $12 a pound here.
      Another way of getting info from Donna could be to ask her one question per visit and record that and build this up over time. She must be a wealth of knowledge and interesting stories!
      Yesterday I took a photo of Kangaroos and rainbow in the distance. Then I thought mmm will these show up clearly in a printed copy for Donna? Maybe they will look like uninteresting dots in the distance. Before I didn't not consider my photos if printed!
      Have a great new week! With much love Annabel.xxx

  5. Dear Annabelle

    I am glad that you talk about building up the family pantry, and share ways to prepare and save.

    I am in the US. We have had 5 straight weeks of rain, some of it very heavy. We didn't even get leaves on our fruit trees till well into the first week of June, one month late, and we have zero buds or blossoms on our peach tree and plum tree. We dont know if the cool spring set it back and they just haven't formed yet, or if the heavy rain knocked them off..
    But unless something changes in the next week, there will be no fruit for canning and no peach or plum jelly or jam making. This is why we have to have pantrys. This means the farmers trees in our area probably are under the same circumstances.

    I am truly sorry to hear about your heating prices rising yet again. And for media to tell people to just not use their heat is just heartless, flippant and absurd.
    Those with wood burning fireplaces are blessed to have them. I would be investing in long johns (long underwear) and extra blankets and such. My heart goes out to people who will suffer in the cold.

    We really are entering a time when we are grateful for every blessing, but we must put our focus and effort and labor into doing whatever it takes to get better prepared for hardships.

    You are a blessing!

    1. Dear Elaine, I really hope your trees are just running late. One of my favourite apple trees this year had not one apple. I think it might have been hit by hail. But luckily I had other trees in different locations and still ended up with apples. One bad season though makes us realise how much putting up food means.
      You are right about warm clothing, blankets etc. When power was cheap people had it up high and walked around as if it was summer in shorts and t shirts. These times were when I picked up so many pure wool blankets and such things which are so valuable now. Thank you for your kind comment! With love, Annabel.xxx

  6. I always find your posts so calming Annabel! They are full of beautiful pictures and lovely stories. The pillowcases look so pretty, what a great idea it was to dye the silk! Do you have an overlocker? The small jars were a great find, they will look beautiful filled with lemon curd and jam. I absolutely love the succulents potted up in the kettle.

    I’ve had such a messy week, one thing after another. Nothing too major, just messy and frankly a bit annoying!

    For the first time ever I was unable to get an appointment at our local doctor for two of my children. I couldn’t even speak to a nurse. So I had to take them to an urgent care doctor. This cost me $110, had we been able to go to our doctor it would have been free. This was really frustrating, and made me wonder what about families who can’t afford to do that? As it turned out, one of them had fractured a bone so I’m pleased we went.

    I cleaned the pantry and made a box up of food we need to use up. I’ve used about half of it and will keep working on that this weekend. My pantry is looking much better without those things in the way.

    I’m hoping for a relaxing weekend with some crafting and soup. I love soup lol.

    Have a lovely weekend
    Jen (NZ)

    1. Dear Jen,
      No I dont have an overlocker. I have a basic Brother machine.... maybe one day I will invest in a fancier machine but not sure...
      Well it is such a good thing you went to urgent care instead of waiting ... a fracture isn't good and could be pretty painful even as it heals up. As you mention what happens to those who cant come up with the $110? You did the right thing and I know you will find ways to catch up in the budget!
      I hope you did get a restful weekend after all that. I agree soup is good, nutritious, comforting and good! Hope this week goes smoothly! With love Annabel.xxx

  7. I can’t believe that we are just about half way through the year already! The weeks are slipping by 😩

    I pressure canned some chicken breast this week, so I now have 8 jars on the shelf.

    2 weeks ago we received a quarter of a cow 😂 it was grass fed local beef, I am so happy with it. It is all vacuumed sealed and packed into portions for our family, it’s cheaper to buy the beef this way, and it feels good to have a big stock of meat in the freezer. Later when I have time I will pressure can some of it. I actually linked up with the farmer through your blog Annabel!

    I have been sewing old sheets up into cleaning cloths in fits and starts as time allows.

    From Cheryl 🐦

    1. Dear Cheryl, A quarter of a cow is a lot of meat. How great to be so far ahead. Great work on the chicken too! I am thrilled you found a farmer via the blog! I think everyone needs a farmer connection, this is very helpful.
      Yes being mid year is amazing to me. I am enjoying the winter and things seem to slow down a bit! With love Annabelxxx

  8. Thanks for an inspiring post Annabelle. I have just finished week 1 of my enforced rest with my feet up after my operations on my legs. Lots of reading, crocheting,Netflix and embroidery.
    I have been lucky as well as having many meals already prepared in the freezer, my friends and neighbours have rallied round with casseroles, soups and muffins so my husband has had only to heat things up.
    I also have been notified that electricity prices will rise on July 1 and our local Council has just been granted permission to raise our rates by 45%! That is outragous ! Over 50% of my community are over 60. We have one of the oldest residential areas in the State according to the last census. Many people don’t know how they will be able to manage to stay in their homes.
    Australia is supposed to be the lucky country but I think our luck is running out. Thank goodness we have sites like this to help us get through these tough times. Thankyou.

    1. Dear Sharyn,
      Thank you! I am so glad you are resting and that you have so many things to work on. It really makes a difference! And you are probably getting lots of embroidery done.
      Oh my... 45% on the rates! This is scary. With mortgages going up also surely this will mean people lose homes? And the electricity... I just dont know how a disaster isn't coming. I know what you are saying, it is sad and very confronting. We have to be really on the ball! With love Annabel.xxx

  9. I was able to get 2 one-pound packages of strawberries for 99 cents each. Mangoes for 29 cents each. Cherries for $1.99 per pound. And peaches for 99 cents per pound. We will eat some fresh but most will go towards our winter pantry. I'll make jam, salsa, dehydrate and freeze it. The strawberries are in the freezer. I think I'll freeze the cherries and use some for jam. I want to try making mango salsa and peach salsa. I'm going to dry some peaches and mangoes, too. They need to ripen some more before I use them.

    I also sewed 2 pairs of shorts for my grandson using remnants. He's still small so I don't need much fabric and making them is so quick. Probably faster than going out to the store and trying to find a pair! I used the Sunny Day shorts pattern from Oliver +S. I love this pattern. It's so easy.

    1. What a fantastic deal on Strawberries! On all the fruit! I cant even imagine those prices! How good for now and the winter pantry!
      Good work on the shorts! Shorts could also be pyjama bottoms in the warm weather paired with a t shirt. Thanks for mentioning the pattern you used! Hope the new week is going well! With love Annabel.xxx

  10. Just go without heat. Just cut out water usage. Just add bugs to your diet. Just drive an electric car. Oh goodness gracious!
    I have real tomatoes on my plants...and just as they begin to bear fruit, there are Japanese beetles and horned worms. Found some of each over the last two days and so I now feel I must check plants twice daily in order to circumvent any possible issues. I harvested a handful of herbs. It smelled so good as I carried it around while I patrolled the plants, lol. The onions I planted are doing brilliantly. The eggplants continue to grow. I have sweet potatoes in jars of water to set roots so I can plant those. Must get my bucket of soil and compost ready for my late potato planting using the sprouts from some older potatoes.
    We had a lovely week of rain, much needed here. We went weeks without. Peaches and berries are flooding our farmers markets. I love this time of year!

    1. Dear Terri, Our states are low on electricity supplies already I am not sure where all this electricity will be coming from to run the cars!
      I am not sure but is it the horned worms that glow if you go out at night with a flashlight you can see them more easily. Your garden is going really well! The smell of herbs is just heavenly. So good about the rain! I hope you find some good deals on the peaches and berries... yum!
      The week is already flying by! With love Annabel.xxx

  11. I had a time in my younger life where I could not afford to run the heater in the apartment I was in. I did more baking in that season and stayed in the kitchen more -- where the stove/oven was. At it's coldest, I wore my jacket, hat, and scarf in the house as I sat in the dark at night. Having a thick robe to wear over clothing was helpful too. I definitely dressed for the season. It was not a good experience but, I got through. Double your socks if you don't have nice thick ones, definitely wear a little beanie, scarf, or hat. Keep your neck warm with a scarf and consider long thermal underwear too. Dress in layers, consider window quilts, use winter bedding like flannels and wool...layer.
    Bake multiple items when using the oven and plan more warming meals like stews and hot soups. Have blankets or afgans available. Visit warmer "free" places more, like community centers, libraries, or family/friends who can keep their house warmer. Having a spouse or buddy like a lap dog or cat will keep you warmer as you cuddle. Some find it more comfortable to set lower temperatures for the house at night and just having the heat on a small amount first thing in the morning to take the chill off. Be more active. Unplug electrical cords for things not in use. Don't be afraid, be empowered and prepare for how you will deal with this new situation of rising expenses.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips! A scarf makes a surprising amount of difference. I do also think window quilts or very heavy curtains make a huge difference too. Exercise warms you up greatly I do notice that. Thanks for many helpful ideas! xxx

  12. Love the succulents in the kettle! We like to visit a local family-owned greenhouse and they had some similar planters for sale this spring -- succulents and other plants in pretty reused containers such as teacups and bicycle baskets. The prices were high though, something like yours would cost around $30 to $50!

    This week we made most meals at home and enjoyed the leftovers. I tried to avoid shopping except for groceries. We had a little bit of leftover stew that no one wanted, so I picked out the beef and carrots to give our older dog as a treat, and put the soup over the puppy's kibble like gravy. Saved the tomato cores and strawberry tops for the chickens. I had a few kitchen scraps that the chickens wouldn't have eaten, so I buried them in the flower bed to compost in place.
    I put away a couple more batches of dried herbs and flowers to save for the chicken coops this winter. I divided a few plants (herbs and flowers) to help them grow better, and to fill in the garden in other places. Also rooted some herb cuttings in water -- several have already developed roots, and I have another batch started. I was having trouble getting them to root before, then realized they do much better when I use the filtered water from the refrigerator. Transplanted some seedlings that were ready to get resettled. We are a day or so away from getting our first yellow squash of the summer. It seems later than normal, but we've had an unusually cool and dry June. The tomatoes are coming on strong, I've been gently tapping the blossoms every day to pollinate. We ate a couple of salads using the lettuce from my containers, and one day we used the lettuce for taco toppings. Enjoyed clipping flowers and herbs to make the house look and smell nice. My garden is such a place of contentment for me, I just love it!
    In our small town, we've had a huge rash of car burglaries and theft. Several houses in our neighborhood were hit this past week, and the thieves hit about 30 cars between 5 neighborhoods. They finally caught some of the people doing it (young adults and teens). We have been reminding each other to lock our cars every time we drive, even if we're just going into the house for a couple of minutes in between trips.

    1. Dear Dianna, I love looking in nurseries and gift stores etc. It gives us so many ideas and understanding of the prices! What a good week! I love all you did with the stew, soup/gravy, moving the seedlings. feeding things to the chickens and so on. Nothing at all is wasted! One I do is any egg that is cracked I put that on top of the dog food. They love it and so good for them. Same with any pan drippings etc. It is all goodness.
      The garden sounds like it will be producing steadily now. The burglaries are a worry. I dont like the idea of those people hanging around at all either. I think we all have to up our security and have a lot of situational awareness too. Loved your comment! With love Annabel.xxx

  13. Hi Annabel! You are always doing such nice things! Everytime you post! And I appreciate you "boots on the ground" letting us know what's going on in other places. Things in Delaware seem fine. but I know what others experience are yet to come to my area. Andrea p.s..I think the quilted canning jars are freezable. That's why I like them!

  14. Dear Annabel, I love your jars. DH has jumped on board with saving all jars now, lol. He washes them up and saves them for me. I will have to keep a look out at op shops too. I need to buy some new lids. I love your hair, it is beautiful. Doris has worked out how lovely it is to be at your farm. Beautiful baking and freeze drying. What an asset. I love those silk pillow cases. What a beautiful idea. I am sorry for not commenting of late. Since my Dad has been diagnosed with cancer I haven't been up to writing- thinking that I am not doing much. But I have been- crocheting wash cloths, making meals, dehydrating bananas, and just keeping the home fires burning for our family has been happening. I am trying to get physically fitter as Patera would say to be mentally stronger. Dad's surgery is next Wednesday and I appreciate any prayers, thank you so much. I think our electricity is going to go up a lot too. I hate it when they suggest saving ideas....they aren't feasible at all. Grateful to be a Mum and a daughter. lots of love, Lily

  15. Annabel as usual you have done so much with your week and the light pink silk pillowcases are beautiful. The jars and lovely plates were a great pickup from the op shops to store all that wonderful freeze dried food that you have preserved too. Doris is adorable and looks stand offish but is getting there and if anyone could tame the wild cows it could be you.

    You are so right so many people are struggling with the cost of everything and the power bills going up anywhere from 25 - 50% is not going to help, or the excess profit margins of many companies keeping prices high on just about everything may I say that many in my opinion are so greedy while many families suffer big financial trouble. Would love to see those that said well just don't turn on the heating live here at the moment with -5 oc temperatures and see how they go. We have the slow combustion stove going all day today as it hasn't warmed up.

    DH has had some day back surgery to relieve his pain but is recovering nicely so is taking things slowly until he heals.

    In the home
    I went through a lot of the clothing I had grown out of and sent it up to the men's shed to sell so they will earn a commission and with what we make I can buy more new clothing that we need.
    Did some winter cleaning and swept under the bed and kitchen counters to get rid of more dust and then DH vacuumed those areas too. Dust bunnies just accumulate.

    In the kitchen
    Cooked 4 loaves of wholemeal white bread in the bread making machines saving $14.48 over buying them locally.
    - Cooked all meals from scratch.

    Added more money to the bills and emergency funds after paying off our mortgage to build those back up again.

    Purchased long sleeved cotton t-shirts on sale at Best and Less for $8 ea instead of $12ea saving $52 on usual prices.
    From Lowes Menswear I noticed my favourite thick unisex track suit pants on a promo for $15 off a $75 purchase. I bought 8 pairs and put them through as two transactions to save $30 instead of $15 on usual prices.
    On sale at Rivers purchased 3 x fleece hoodies for DH reduced from $49.99 ea to $20 saving $89.97 on usual prices.
    On eBay on sale we purchased 11 fleece hoodies, some for each of us, for $13.29 ea saving $73.81 on usual prices.

    Hope everyone has a frugal week ahead.

    Lorna ( SW Queensland Australia)

    1. Dear Lorna, Thank you so much for for your encouragement. It is cold here too but you are colder. We have a low of 2 tonight. That is cold enough.
      I do hope DH's surgery was really successful at reducing his pain. I guess some healing has to happen before he knows how much difference he gets. Well I hope it is a lot! Also I hope he can rest it and let things heal well.
      Your mens shed sounds like a really active good one and how handy having a place to send things to sell!
      You did amazingly on the warm clothing. Also you would be ahead for a while. Wonderful savings! It is so good to hear you're emergency fund is topping back up. This year has been big already, you have achieved a lot! With much love Annabel.xxx


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