What’s Up


Excuses for not writing:

1. I’m telling you, I have been in “Neverland” and don’t want to return.  Not!

2. I’ve been in a coma. Not!

3. I’ve had a lot going on in my life. This is true.

4. My family has had a lot going on. This is true

5. I’m depressed. Yes sometimes. Fearful. Yes sometimes….

OK. Now that the excuses are over… it’s time to revive myself.

I’ve been gathering seeds, giving computer lessons, doing resumes, helping others get jobs I can’t do anymore and jumping up and down because my grandson is home from Afghanistan!!  I have to do all this at my own pace … a little bit at a time. Work a little ….rest a little. These last few months have been overwhelming and that’s the real reason. It makes me exhausted in a way I can’t explain.

August brought a new challenge to one of the most painful things I’ve experienced. Something I never expected in a million years. One of my 6 children went to prison 32 months ago and was released in August so he came home to stay here for his re-entry program. I was so excited and so relieved to have him out and to have him here. The process of having him here is not easy .. mostly financially but not only financially since you need to adapt to another personality in the house.  It is hard to watch him conquering the things he must conquer The whole re-entry into “society”, you wouldn’t think it would be hard but it is. I see the struggle in his face. I know his mind is thinking about every little thing that he must remember and do. I know he must feel happiness, hope, but also fear. He seems determined and has a good attitude but he has some rough mountain terrain that he must climb. He is determined to not do anything that would place him back inside.

I know this is crazy….but it weighs on me. He hates our food. We eat so different and we don’t have the money to change it nor did we want to except that we want him to be eating healthy. We had what I call a free meal tonight. Friends gave us a large fish filet so we cooked that steamed in the oven with yummy seasoning on it and Darnell, my husband brought in small baby carrots from the garden and green beans so I steamed them. We live off the land as much as possible. I know there is nothing wrong with what I fixed but he didn’t eat and I’m not upset with him but it still pains me. We have what we have and no room to do something else. Darnell made popcorn later so he had a bowl of cereal and some popcorn so he isn’t starving. I just had to get that off my chest. What a little thing! This is the smallest of our problems. When I was growing up there was a saying: Life has a way of throwing a monkey wrench in the works! I’m glad that tomorrow is a new day………. onward and upward. Don’t sweat the small stuff. (it’s a MOM thing)

It is exciting he is here and I’m glad. We will deal with whatever come and cross the hurdles and make it to the goal.  I have faith…it just wavers every once in a while. 🙂

I know there are tons of families out there that have dealt with this. That’s why I want to share this very private part of my life with you.

Please tell me what you have experienced. I am fearful of the unknown. That’s normal… right? I know that right choices have to be the priority for him and there is no room for mistakes. I’ve heard how many end up back in because of a lapse in judgement. I pray that he will have a clear thought process and will not find himself in a bad position because of an impulse or wrong perspective or whatever makes us do the things we do. He is a man and I hope he has his feet firmly planted toward the future. I hope he will lean on God to give him the strength he needs for every day.

I have been in the valley and on the mountain. Up and down I go at any given moment right now. I’m usually not fragile and I need not to be right now. I pray and meditate on the things that keep me on an even keel. I know it will get easier. I have this thing I do when I’m struggling… I think about what I know for sure and focus on that. Do you do this when you are struggling with something?  The things I know for sure are:

I know that God is always with me.

I know that I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

I know that in God’s Word it says:

God has not given you the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a strong mind.

II Timothy 2:17

He brought me also up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon the rock, and established my goings. And He had put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God: many shall see it and  fear and trust in the Lord

Psalms 40:2,3

I know that I am human so I have to put the fears behind me and trust in God who stays by my side every day. I am taking one breath at a time. That is all I can do and I’m glad I’m not walking alone.

Hope this is of help to someone out there who may be feeling something similar to what I’m feeling. Feel free to stop by any time and leave a comment. I’m praying for God’s help for us all.            Jan

Live and Survive Within 25 Miles of Home


 

Please Shop Local

You  know, I spent the last couple days shopping within 25 milesof home. We have been only buying what we absolutely have to purchase and for sometime we have bought meat when it’s on sale and purchasing extra to freeze so that we don’t have to buy meat every week. I also have Vegetarian Meals also. We have friends that bring us things from time to time which helps a great deal. Our garden and the church garden has supplied much for our table. The local farms and farm markets supply the rest. I love giving my money to the local farmer and not to CA, WA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and China or some other foreign country when it’s in season here. I see these states or countries constantly at the grocery store. It isn’t that I don’t want other countries to have my money.The reason I feel this strongly about this is the jobless rates here in the US. As a loyalty to my fellow countrymen, I want my money to benefit my local community. If things were better, I would have no thought about spending money for the benefit of any another country.

Soaker Hose for the Garden

During the summer months, there are so many things available to us locally. Fish from the lake is one thing that we are able to do to stretch our food budget. It provides a tasty choice for us and is restful, stress relieving, and enjoyable. I have not tried it yet but I have thought about frog legs and turtle as a food source that we could try in the meat area. As for vegetables and fruits, as different crops come to harvest, if I buy locally, it keeps our local economy going and provides food for us all year-long by freezing and canning. I bought corn on the cob and was able to put some in the freezer. The drought has been hard on our farming community. We were having trouble getting our garden to produce. My husband went to a yard sale and bought 2 soaker hoses for $4.10 and we laid them up and down the rows in the garden. Our beets and carrots went crazy and they grew to amazing sizes. I just love what comes from the garden. Very healthy and so good too.

Our grand-daughter went with us to the farm markets.

Watermelon with yellow flesh

Watermelon with yellow flesh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They had a melon cut open on display. it was a small size watermelon with a yellow insides. We gathered corn and a regular sugar baby watermelon. We were at the checkout when she came carrying the yellow watermelon that was cut in half up to the check out wanting to buy it. I said to her, “I don’t think they want to sell that one. That’s so people can see what it looks like inside.” Then I turned to the woman who was helping us with our purchase and said, “I think my grand-daughter wants this and a spoon!” She just laughed with us. We did bring home one of the yellow fleshed watermelons and it was delicious.

We went to another farm market and bought eggplant which we don’t have in either garden that we get our veggies from and blueberries along with a few other garden goodies. In the summer, I need two refrigerators to keep up with the vegetation that comes through our house. Again, I am so thankful.

There is a potato farmer that lives about 8 miles from us. We like to buy our potatoes and onions there. When fruit comes in season, Darnell will help me can some for the winter. Tomatoes are something we use a lot of all year-long, so we need to can some of them.

Food and Farmguide

I was looking on the internet, and saw that if you search for “food and farm guide” and put your zip code, town, state or county, almost always, you can find a guide to find local resources. I looked under my county name here in Michigan and found this site: http://vanburencd.org/farmguide. Here is the actual print download for this guide: http://vanburencd.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/FOOD-GUIDE-2012_1.pdf

I even found Food and Farm information available for the UK at this site: http://www.bigbarn.co.uk/ and I imagine many countries have those resources available online. Please support your local community by purchasing what is needed for your family from resources within 25 miles of your home.

I hope this is helpful to each of you.

Come and visit me again as I journey along the garden path.      Jan

 

The Best Foraging Rules I’ve Found


On April 30, 2012, I published a blog called: Precautionary Warning! The Other Side of the Coin.

I wanted to make sure if anyone read about the foraging, that the readers were safe as they explored this area in the wild. I came across the site I’m going to show you and thought this was a more concise list that seemed more understandable. You decide. If you are going to forage, please save this list and follow the rules that are there for your safety.

May Apple Plants on the Forest Floor

The Rules of Foraging


These rules are for your own protection when investigating plants that are new to you. If followed closely, they will protect you in the field.

  1. DO NOT collect plants closer than 200 feet from a car path or contaminated area.
  2. NEVER collect from areas sprayed with herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals.
  3. DO NOT collect plants with RED STEMS, or red striations or stripes.
  4. ALWAYS BE FAMILIAR with all dangerous plants in YOUR area of collection.
  5. POSITIVELY IDENTIFY all plants you intend to use for food.
  6. Take a piece off the plant and roll between your fingers. SNIFF CAREFULLY. Does it smell like something you would eat? If it doesn’t, DISCARD IMMEDIATELY. If it does, go to rule 7.
  7. Take another piece off the plant and roll until juicy. RUB the tiny piece on your gum above your teeth.
  8. WAIT 20 minutes.
  9. DOES YOUR GUM ITCH, BURN, TINGLE, SWELL OR STING? If no reaction occurs, go on to rule 10.
  10. Take another piece of the plant and put in a teacup. Add boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. SIP SLOWLY for 20 more minutes. WATCH FOR NAUSEA, BURNING, DISCOMFORT.
    If no reaction occurs, you may ingest a small amount.
  11. WAIT ANOTHER 20 MINUTES and watch for any reaction.
  12. Keep all samples AWAY from children or pets.
  13. Store all seeds and bulbs AWAY from children and pets.
  14. Teach children to keep all plants AWAY from their mouths and DO NOT ALLOW children chew or suck nectar from any unknown plants.
  15. AVOID smoke from burning plants. Smoke may irritate the eyes or cause allergic reactions QUICKLY.
  16. BE AWARE of your neighbor’s habits with chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.
  17. BEWARE: heating or boiling doesn’t always destroy toxicity.

Disclaimer


This is information about wild food. The owners of this website (www.ofthefield.com) make no claims as to the correctness, safety or usability of the data.

The information contained herein is intended to be an educational tool for gathering and cooking wild plants. The information presented is for use as a supplement to a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. The nutritional requirements of individuals may vary greatly, therefore the author and publisher take no responsibility for an individual using and ingesting wild plants.

All data is to be used at your own risk. Using the Rules of Foraging, above, greatly help to reduce that risk, but they are not foolproof.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

English: Hiking trail Soonwaldsteig

I got this information from a site called: http://ofthefield.com/

Click on the “Ongoing Information” link on the left side of the screen and below a list of  several plants that you could look for and what they are good for, is The Rules for Foraging. This list seems the best to me. Foraging is a wonderful experience as long as you are well-informed and cautious. Remember the saying, ” An ounce of prevention (or caution) is worth a pound of cure!”

One of the plants she listed is the Red Clover you read about in my blog post: Gathering Red Clover (5/27/2012). The following is what Lind Runyon has to say about Clover:

CLOVERRed Clover

When I homesteaded in the Adirondack wilderness, the intake of calcium and protein was my main interest. Reading references about wild foods became a very necessary occupation when I went to the town library.

Red clover is one wild food that is high in vegetable protein and calcium. Red clover buds are sold in health food stores as a tonic for the body.

I began by putting red clover leaves between two pieces of whole wheat bread and pretending it was cheese. After a week or so, I began to forage freely on red clover leaves and buds for my sweet candy.

Little did I know the plant would eventually supply casseroles, teas, stir-fry and flour for baking. For a few months, red clover was added to spaghetti sauce and cream sauce for a halfway normal diet.

English: Trifolium pratense, Fabaceae, Red Clo...

Red Clover
Photo Credit~Wikipedia

When foraging for any plant be sure include careful, 100 percent identification. For a complete set of foraging rules, please see below in the Dandelions section, “Rules of Foraging”. For red clover, rub the plant on your upper gum and wait 20 minutes for any reaction. If no reaction, make a weak tea then consume small sections of this new plant.

You may be fortunate to have a weedy backyard. If not, locate an access field and call to inquire how long ago the field was cultivated and what was grown there as far back as five years ago.

Most chemicals are washed down below the quick-growing weed root system and wild food roots are in the first 4 inches of topsoil as a rule. Hardy and fast-growing, these plants are the very ones the agricultural system needs to eradicate.

English: Trefoil crop in South Hams. Tramlines...

Clover Crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clover: Trifolium pratense (red clover), Trefolium repens (white clover), Legume Family, LeguminosaeTrefolium pratense (L.)

History: Throughout all cultures; a Native American vegetable.

Characteristics: Biennial or perennial herb. Red clover reaches the height of 10 inches or more, with hairy stems. Red or purple blossom with oval nectar sections; elongated leaves form trefoil with white vein when mature. White clover reaches the height of 2 inches or more. White blossoms have dozens of nectar filled sections; round leaves form trefoil at end of stem.

Location: Fields, roadsides, backyards.

Collection and Storage: Plants are most succulent in spring and early summer. Gathering a winter’s supply of clover takes only a few minutes. Clover can be frozen by placing it in a single layer on freezer wrap, folding over 2 sides to hold the clover in place, and freezing. After the clover is frozen, roll the paper to make a compact package, fasten, and label. Dry seed heads separately for an attractive potpourri.

Parts used: Leaves, blossoms, stems, roots. All can be used raw or cooked, dried or frozen.

Medicinal Value: Red clover is used as tea for cough, whooping-cough; blood tonic or purifier. Clover syrup used for chest congestion and bronchitis.

Hot Clover and Rice

1 cup milk or water
2 cups washed clover leaves
4 cups fluffy cooked rice

Add rice to a greased baking dish. Stir in clover and water (or milk). Stir again and serve hot. A protein delight. Serves 4.

Clover Sprout Muffins

3/4 cup partly cooked clover sprouts
1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
5 teaspoons baking powder (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar (or honey)
1 cup milk or water
1 egg (optional)
2 tablespoons melted shortening (author uses water, no baking powder or egg, and sesame oil)

Stir flour, baking powder and honey together. Add milk or water and egg. Mix well. Add sprouts and melted shortening. Bake in a well-greased muffin tin at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Serves 3.

(Medicinal remedies suggested by this column are intended to be used solely at the discretion and responsibility of the user.)

CAUTION: Always check identification of wild foods with photographic sources. Some wild foods are toxic to humans. So when in doubt: DON’T! Also be aware of the use of chemicals in your lawn and neighbor’s lawn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wonderful information! Thanks Linda

I hope there are those out there that are opening their eyes to what is around you. Knowledge can add to our lives and bring joy as you shop in the free grocery store that is fields, your yard, woods nearby or places you may visit. Hope this is helpful.

Come and visit a bit when you can. Love to see you every time.

Jan

Love and Kale and My Battle


What are whole foods?

Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little

Whole Foods

My Husband’s Favorite Department(Photo: Sifu Renka) 

as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat.[1] Examples of whole foods include unpolished grainsbeans, fruits, vegetables and nonhomogenized dairy products.[2] Although originally all human food was whole food,[2] one of the earliest uses of the term post-industrial age was in 1960 when the leading organic food organization called the Soil Association opened a shop in the name selling organic and whole grain products in London, UK.[3]

  • (It could make a difference between some people living and dying.)

The term is often confused with organic food, but whole foods are not necessarily organic, nor are organic foods necessarily whole.

The United States Food and Drug Administration defines whole grains as cereal grains containing thebranendosperm and germ of the original grain.[4] Federal Dietary Guidelines issued by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in 2005 recommended the consumption of at least three servings of whole grains each day, as there is evidence that they help cut risk of cancer and heart disease.[4]

Whole foods

My Favorite Department  (Photo: parislemon)

“Diets rich in whole and unrefined foods, like whole grains, dark green and yellow/orange-fleshed vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, contain high concentrations of antioxidant phenolics, fibers and numerous otherphytochemicals that may be protective against chronic diseases.”[1]

A focus on whole foods offers three main benefits over a reliance on dietary supplements: they provide greater nutrition for being a source of more complex micronutrients, they provide essential dietary fiber and they provide naturally occurring protective substances, such as phytochemicals.[5]    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_foods

  • I told you that I was trying to buy things at the grocery store with 5 or less ingredients but that is just a baby step to me eventually buying only whole foods. (For me and not my husband) It is amazing to me how hard that is when you have family members who only want refined foods. When you show my husband healthy foods, his reply is often ewww gross! It’s healthy! We have been together a long time… we give and take. He has made some amazing changes and I salute  his courage!

Here is the address of the site where whole foods are listed. It is titled: The World’s Healthiest Foods.  http://whfoods.org/foodstoc.php

You can click on any of 127 foods listed as the world’s most healthy and find out what their

A bundle of kale from an organic food co-op.

A bundle of kale (Photo: Wikipedia)

benefits are, how to prepare it so you lose less of the nutrients and last but not least, what nutrients are contained in them. Please go there and check it out. This site is awesome!  Here is a sample. Probably one of the most nutritious vegetables, I believe is Kale. There are a wealth of incredible nutrients in it. For instance, Kale has 1327% of the required daily requirement of Vitamin K. That is only one nutrient. Kale has 21 other nutrients in it. The top three are K, A and C. in one cup cooked Kale that only has 36 calories. That is a super-food undoubtedly. This is only one example. I hope I’ve convinced you to go check it out. Besides the nutrient information you will find recipes after they convince you that it is a good thing!

  • At the same time I’m telling you all this, I will show you my humanity! I live with a junk-food junkie. I can’t tell you how  hard it is to eat healthy with his influences around. For me to live, I need to eat right and he just doesn’t get it.
  • The way we are raised to eat is so ingrained. I don’t expect him to change but I need me

to be strong and I’m having such a hard time with being strong.  I’m having such a pity party! Those sweet potato fries are calling and I’m such a wimp.

I’m glad we love each other, my husband and me, and …like I said…my battles with food are one day at a time….

It’s onward and upward…… Come again,    Jan

The info from the site: http://www.whfoods.com, check it out and let me know if it helps you make decisions about the whole food you want to put in your life. It certainly did me. Inch by inch, life is a cinch….just keep going onward and upward.  Bye.

Yogurt, Ice cream, and a Busy Weekend


This was such and exciting project! I was so happy with how it turned out. It is very creamy and I added a teaspoon of raspberry preserves to it.What an Awesome Breakfast!!.  

Here is the recipe:

8 cups Milk – any form 

Milk Warming in the Crock Pot

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1/2 cup store-bought yogurt (it must say “with live active cultures”)

2 Tablespoons Honey or sugar to feed the culture 

 Tools Needed

A Crock Pot that holds a little over 8 cups or more.

A Candy Thermometer

Colander and Bowl to catch liquids

Piece of cotton cloth that will fit down into the colander and hang over the sides enough so you can strain the yogurt

Towels or smaller blanket

Directions:

1.Take the 1/2 cup yogurt and put in a 2 cup container. Leave set out on the counter so that it is room temperature.

2. Place 6 cups milk in the crock pot and turn it on to low setting. Take 1 cup of dry milk powder and add gradually as you actively whisk the remaining 2 cups of milk in a bowl. Mix till smooth.Add Honey or sugar of choice. Add back to the milk in the crock pot. With the lid on, heat this way for 3 hours.  Check the temperature midway through and toward the end of the time. The range you are aiming for is 150 to 180 degrees. I sometimes start mine of high and lower it  after an hour.

Keeping The Yogurt Warm

3. When you reach the target temperature, turn it off. Check every hour.Note your temperature and watch for it to drop to between 110 – 115 degrees.When it reaches that temp, do the next step.

4. Take out 1 cup of hot milk (110 degree). and drizzle it into the yogurt slowly using a whisk. Once it’s mixed, add the mixture to the crock pot. Put the lid back on and cover the crock pot with several towels. (to keep it warm and draft free.Check the temperature every hour for  a few hours keeping it at the 110 temperature. If it drops below that  temp, turn on the crock pot to warm for about 5 minutes then turn it off.Continue keeping it covered and warm. do this till you go to bed for the night

 The Towel Wrapped Crock Pot will just sit until you get up in the morning.On Sunday morning when I got up, I was happy to see a                                                                                                           good batch of Yogurt waiting for me

5. The Whey is the liquid you see in the pot with the yogurt.

Looks Like Yogurt

This has to be drained off so that you have a thicker yogurt.

Take a colander and set it in a bowl that will keep the bottom of the

colander up out of the liquid. The liquid will drain quickly at first.so

drain off and empty the whey into a storage jar and refrigerate.

  

Draining the Whey

Put the Colander in the refrigerator with a bowl under it to finish

draining. I left it in there about 6 hours and the product that emerged

is the consistency of Greek Yogurt.

.

            

 

 

Isn’t this super looking Greek Yogurt? Believe me, it tastes

Great Results!

really good and you can use it to eat like Greek Yogurt and as

sour  cream, where ever you use it, for cooking, and making

awesome smoothies.It takes a day more or less. If you are busy that

will be hard..

If you are busy but at home … it can be done. I make cottage

cheese by the same method using rennet instead of yogurt starter.

I hope you will try this and get to enjoy the spoils of your labor.

Now you say, weren’t you telling us about an ice cream project? What happened to that? The base Chocolate Ice Cream ~ done without an ice cream maker ~ Recipe, is unbelievable! So far our sugar-free trials have failed but we aren’t giving up yet. I think soon I will go ahead and give you the ice cream recipe that takes regular sugar and when I have news about the sugar-free project, I will let you know.

I hope you enjoy the Yogurt recipe as much as I have. As a diabetic, this is a great tool. The nutritional information for 6 oz. of the Greek style yogurt is approximately:  Calories – 80    Carbohydrates – 6   Protein – 15. If you take 6 oz yogurt and 1/2 c. frozen strawberries, unsweetened combined in a blender with a little splenda. Like the snap of your fingers.. dessert around 119 calories and 16 carbs. Such a treat. These kinds of food tools are helpful to help control your blood sugar and also to give you variety in the diet.

Thanks for stopping by my garden path, Like we say in West Virginia, ya’ll come back, hear?!!!

Jan

What? I’m a Pit Bull?…


I have been called Savvy Grammie and sometimes Pollyanna.  One day when I was surfing the internet, there it was; What DogWhat? I'm a Pit Bull? Are You? It is like the great vortex that sucks you in and before you know it you are taking the test! When I completed it, my jaw dropped to the floor and as I reached to pick it up, I read, “You most resemble a Pitt Bull” I was horrified! I kind of think of myself as a gentle soul, a bit of an introvert, and I could in no way see how they could set me in line with these powerful, active dogs. I am such a klutz and when it comes to excelling at extreme sports….NOT!!  Once I calmed down and began looking at the character of the dog, I could see some slight similarities. The Pit Bull is loyal, competitive, protective and if they must fight then they bite down till they get to the other side. Yes, I can see I am all those things when it’s needed. I just hate it when I get sucked in like that.

The Savvy Grammie moniker was hung around my neck because anywhere I worked seemed like they would all come to me for answers. I am the mother of 6 children and now have 9 grand children. I am the encyclopedia, dictionary, and tutorial program all mixed up in one. Besides that I am the best darn researcher around.  Pollyanna on the other hand is there because I believe that if you do what you can things will work out in the end. Yes there are occasions when they don’t. That’s where I say, “The tree that doesn’t bend breaks.”

I have a patio out front of my house. Almost every morning, I make a pot of coffee and go out and sit and read and drink coffee till the first neighbor drops by.  I either do that or I have a basket I load up with cups, coffee in a thermos, and some goodies and go see a friend who can’t come to my patio. Ar either place we discuss all the ills of the world and the challenges we face each day. They have definitely increased in number and see if together we can figure out some solutions. Never hurts. They say “Two heads are better than one.”

I do a variety of things. I’m a foodie that’s loosing weight. Inch by Inch life is a cinch! I thought if what I’m doing helps our household then surely there are others out there this would help.

I learned how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. Yumm!! My grand-daughter says it’s better than any in the store. I make yogurt and cottage cheese in my crock pot. I do other things that have nothing to do with skills in the home also. I just waded through the medicare Forrest of horror. Whatever things I need to face, I just dig till I find an answer. Next thing I know they will be calling me Digg Dug!! We just joined a medication mail order group and I’m still questioning that. I feel a little singed around the edges.  I have some thoughts about politics. I have a list a mile long.

I’m going to lay out the welcome mat and just see who comes to my door and what kind of solutions we can provide. I hate to let experience go to waste.  Hope you will come so we can talk.

Hope to visit again soon.

Jan

Aside

Journey Along the Garden Path

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