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The view from the veranda at Pine Hill

 

Friday July 20th 2012
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I slept well and plan to spend the day working on Cloud 9.  As I write this, though, the tree guys are here and setting up to remove the dead wood from some of the pines.  First distraction.  I have to run to town to get cash to pay them.  Second distraction.  While there, I need groceries.  Third distraction. 

I hear some branches hitting the cottage roof.  That is not how it is supposed to happen.  I'm thinking I may need to stick close by.

I see that I do need to be handy to ensure that the job gets done the way we want it done, so I find I am spending the morning watching the tree guy working on the trees.

They put on quite  show.  I stuck around until they were done at three, taking an hour midway through the job to run down to Bala for some cash to pay them. 

After they left, I got to work on Cloud 9 and made the first cut into the mahogany plywood sheet I bought last year.  A lot of time was spent just contemplating how best to proceed.  A little time planning can save time later, wasted materials and even being boxed into a corner.

I had supper, then drove to Bracebridge for parts.  I went first to Home Depot, then Wal-Mart.  The former closes at 9, and the latter at 10.  Canadian Tire also closes at 9.  Considering this is the peak of the summer season in a cottage area, I have to wonder.  All the parking lots were almost empty. Even   the movie theatre which used to be lined up years ago looked almost abandoned.  Where is everyone?  Am I the only one who likes to spend the day in activities and the evening in a store.  Could be.  I'm probably almost the only one without a TV and air-conditioning and living in a 112-year old cottage.

This is your time and it feels normal to you, but really, there is no normal.
There's only change and resistance to it and then more change.
Meryl Streep

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Saturday July 21st 2012
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At 8, I've had breakfast and am ready to raise the mast on Carpe Diem and also continue with the Cloud 9 project.

I have three full days before I need to head north and prepare to fly out next Wednesday at 9:45 AM.  Time flies.  I'm realizing now how stressed I have been and have been unwinding in stages.  Today, I am finally relaxed and soon I have to get back home, prepare for an onslaught of visitors and take a look at my bees.

When I get home, it will be two weeks from the time I last worked them and I'll find out what they have done in my absence.  I should actually leave them pretty much alone for another week so that queens can mate and settle down, but I can add boxes if necessary. 

I can never guess how much space a hive will need, so I always add one more than I expect they will require.  They often surprise me.  Many beekeepers wait until a hive is crowded before adding boxes, but I have learned that the bees plan a ahead and if they don't see excess space, they cut back effort or swarm. 

I saw something curious the other day.  When I arrived here, after the place sat empty two weeks, I noticed immediately that the birdseed feeder was empty, and I refilled it, but the hummingbird feeder was half-full so I left it.  I also noted that there were no hummingbirds visiting.  We have several hummingbirds here, large and small ones.   Both usually visit the feeder several times an hour.  They can empty it in a few days.  Odd, I thought.

Later, when I was sitting here at the table on the veranda working on my computer about twenty feet from the feeder, a small hummingbird came and hovered, looking at me, from about three feet away for about five seconds, then flew away, past the feeder.  Usually, hummingbirds ignore us, except to leave if there is any sudden motion.  I had never seen one come over to me before.

I know that if my dog or cat wants something, it will come and look at me, so I figured something must be wrong with the feeder.  Maybe the syrup had gone bad or maybe Sarah had made a wrong mixture, so I dumped out the syrup, sterilized the whole thing and checked the bee guards for obstructions.  Nothing seemed out of place.

I refilled the feeder and hung it back up, and there has been constant hummingbird traffic ever since.

Sitting here, my blood pressure averages 123/80.  In the doctor's office it is always over 140.  Go figure.

Guess what?  I just managed to kill an hour sitting here.  In that time the hummingbirds came and went at least a dozen times.

Carpe Diem!

I went and looked at the boats and decided there is no rush to finish Cloud 9.  No one will be here before I come back except the girls and they don't like that boat much.

Cloud 9 is a powerful speedboat and the girls have virtually no boating training.  Besides, Cloud 9 has sunk twice and that spooks them.  If I could find a good 9.9 outboard, that would suit them better.

Actually, when I really think about it, I have never really liked Cloud 9 myself, but it has been great for tubing and skiing.  Cloud 9 is a wooden boat made at the beginning of the plastic era, back in 73.  Until I put the trim tabs on it, it was very slow out of the hole and can be a wet ride. 

I started this job thinking it would be a minor repair and it has grown into a big job.  I'll get it done, but now that Mom announced she will not be coming back to Pine Hill, I think this job can go into the background and wait until I come back.

On the other hand, Carpe Diem, my 23.5 Hunter sailboat is my favourite and in constant use when I have the chance.  She suffered over the winter, though since I did not get back to tarp her and is filthy and in need of some TLC. 

So, I stepped the mast and began the cleanup.  I had sailed her in Sudbury, but left the interior a mess and had not cleaned the sides of the hatches, etc.   I cleaned and swam and relaxed until supper. 

Then I had a steak and a a bottle of the cheapest red wine I could find in the liquor store, an Argentine Malbec called FuZion.  For $7.95, I got a bottle of really good, clean, plain wine with no oak.  It was perfect. 

IMO, there is no relationship between price and quality and some of the best wines I have found are the cheapest and some of the poorest have cost twice or three times as much.  Therefore, generally, I look for the cheapest on the shelf and contemplate its source.  Italy and South America often have some really good wine hidden on the bottom shelf.

I closed up the boat for the night and had a nap around seven thirty.  That turned out to be it for the day.  I awoke for a phone call at 9, but otherwise slept through.  I have been exhausted and sleep is the antidote, I hope.

Meditations Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require
not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis.
 Martha Beck

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Sunday July 22nd 2012
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I slept 12 hours.  That's more like it.

John H. called last night and said he and his wife, plus friends will be by this morning for a visit, so I am expecting them around eleven.

In the meantime, I'll continue work on the boat and maybe have a sail later.  First, though, I'll have a swim.  Now, at nine, it is already hot.  Alberta is hot, too.  I hope the moisture holds out.  There is extreme drought in much of the southern US.

John and crew came by.  John and Glen and I had lunch while the ladies went antique shopping.  They left around three.  On a chance, I called John Pat and it turns out he is in Muskoka.  I invited him and his wife for burgers tomorrow and a sail in the afternoon

Then I went back to cleaning my boat.  She has gotten quite dirty over the winter and the fenders were covered with scum from being in the River all last season.  I gave them a good cleaning.  Maybe I should have worn rubber gloves, though, as later, my hands were very dry and I wonder if I absorbed some cleanser.  I felt an allergy and had to take Benadryl to sleep.  I suspect the soap.

 The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

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Monday July 23rd 2012
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Every so often it pays to reexamine priorities.  Sometimes it seems we set ourselves on a track and forget why we planned the way we did.  Executing the plan can get in the way of enjoying the moment when, due to changed circumstances, completing the project quickly may have lost importance.

A case in point is the repairs on Cloud 9.  I've had it high on the list, but why?

When I began on the project. it looked like a minor repair.  As the project advanced, I discovered that the job was much bigger than it looked since the transom was rotten.

At the time I started then job, Ellen was not ill, and I was assuming I would be here much more this year than I have been.  I also assumed that the grandkids would be here and we would want to be out tubing and running around the lake. 

As it turns out, Ellen is ill, our son and daughter decided to make this an Alberta summer, not a Pine Hill summer, and to top it off Mom will not be coming down again.  Sarah and Lindsey will be here for 5 days in August, but they don't much like this boat and are not well trained on it and its use.  I'll be back at the end of August for a month or two, God willin' and the cricks don't rise.  So what is the hurry?  I've decided to take the time to clean up Carpe Diem, relax, and do a little sailing.

Here's my plan for the day.  It is hot again, so a swim is first on the list.  Then a trip to the store for a some groceries since I have guests coming for supper (hamburgers).  Then I'll swim again and finish cleaning the interior of Carpe Diem and have a sail and swim again.  Then, at three, the chimney sweep/fireplace inspector will come by and we'll examine the fireplace and chimney.  After that, I'll sail again with my guests or get ready for supper.

That's my plan.  How often do I follow my plans?  Not very often, but it is nice to have a plan to fall back on.

As planned, I cleaned up the boat and went for groceries.  At three, Richard the chimney inspector and Keith Carr came by and we looked over the fireplace.  The conclusion was that it might all have to come down, but maybe not.  Keith and I agreed that he will pull down the chimney first, then keep tearing out brickwork until we get to the point where we are convinced that the rest is sound.  At that point, we may need to pit in a whole new fireplace, but we may be able to keep most of the current one if it proves to be sound.

John and Diane came over around four and we went for a sail around Tobin Island, returning around seven and cooked up some burgers.

It's not that some people have willpower and some don't.
It's that some people are ready to change and others are not.
James Gordon, M.D.

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Tuesday July 24th 2012
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Today I tidy up and return to Sudbury.

I called Keith first thing this morning and arranged to get some painting done, so the cottage maintenance is all scheduled now.  I also spoke to the service shop where Mom's car is in for repairs and authorized some work, refilled the bird feeder and took out the garbage.

Next, I have to close up the boathouse and tie my boat for a month's absence.  Tying a boat properly is an art and if it is done right, then there is no chafe on the lines or the fenders.  Fenders should be above the water if the dock is not low so that they stay clean. 

The river water here leaves a dark stain from the oils on the surface.  We drink it after ceramic filtering and swim in it, and the local association claims they test it and it rates high, but the surface is greasy no matter what they say.  I think they draw their samples from below that surface, as do we for our pressure system.  Nonetheless, the water tends to be a bit yellow in summer.  It could be tannin from the leaves on shore, but I blame it on boat traffic.

*   *   *   *   *   *  

That is all done now and I am now in Sudbury for the night. 

Tomorrow, Swalwell.

Nothing endures but change.
Heraclitus

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Wednesday July 25th 2012
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I fly at 9:45 and if all goes well, will be home for supper.

*   *   *   *   *   *  

Now, at 9 AM I am at the airport, waiting.  Mom likes to get me here early.  It only takes five minutes to go through security here at YSB, so there is no need top be an hour early, but I have be somewhere and I'd rather be here sitting, wishing i were somewhere else than on the road, running late wishing I were here.  I'm going to do my reading somewhere so It might as well be here where there are interesting people to look at and I won't miss my plane.

I have almost missed a flight while sitting at an airport after arriving several hours early, though.  I've been sitting at the proper gate wondering where the people are as the flight time approached, then suddenly realised that the gate had been changed after I arrived.

The flights went smoothly and I arrived in Calgary right on time.  Mike picked me up and we went back to Global to pick up my van and to load fifteen boxes of patties for a trial I am planning to do shortly.  We have a new formula we want to test against the current ones.

On the flight, I watched most of Cleopatra.  I had not realised that the movie is longer than the flight, so I did not get to see the end.  It was an enjoyable, albeit imaginative interpretation of history.

After that, I bought groceries and drove home.

The only sense that is common in the long run, is the sense of change-and we all instinctively avoid it. E. B. White

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Thursday July 26th 2012
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Tonight Jon and the kids arrive.  Jean and family will come down before supper so Mckenzie can go with me to pick them up.

There is a thick fog today, but I went out to lift a few lids on the last splits I did.  I checked about eight and was pleased to see the centre four frames in the second box drawn and filled on the first two. I had put on a super with ten new black, waxed Pierco frames before I left to go east two weeks ago. The third hive had lost almost all its bees, but the rest varied from just starting the second box to having four or five frames drawn.  I'll be interested to see how the earlier splits have fared.

I had been concerned that these north yard hives would not be splittable as I had moved them there, just a tenth of a mile from the original location, at mid-day on July 2nd and they had lost flying bees, but they recovered enough that I had to split them all just before I left on the thirteenth, even though I considered some to be marginal for splitting.

At first glance, the black Pierco seems to be drawn perfectly, but I did not pull frames.  Small colonies draw worker cells very well, so drawing foundation with splits may be a good approach to drawing comb and also keeping the bees from making surplus honey.

Looking back, I see I split
      the quonset yard on July 6th and 7th,
      the south yard on the 8th and 10th,
      and the north yard on July 12th.    

Today is the 26th, so figuring to leave them alone for three weeks, minimum, for queens to   mate and begin laying,  I can begin checking
      the quonset yard for queens any time after tomorrow,
      the south yard after the end of the month and
      the north yard after the second of August. 

The job is much easier if I wait an additional week for brood to be capped, but the duds are queenless longer.

Jean and family arrived in time for supper with time to spare to set up their tent trailer.  After burgers, Mckenzie and I cleaned out the red van and put the seats in.  It had not been cleaned for a year and I had removed the rear seats to haul cargo, including the new fridge a while back.

Mckenzie, Zippy and I then drove to Airdrie, bought a beach ball and some air mattresses for swimming and picked up Jon, Kalle and Katrina at YYC.  An hour later, we were in Swalwell.

That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most
important of all the lessons of history
Aldous Huxley

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Friday July 27th 2012
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I checked the other yards and they are about the same. Before I left, I had put a third box, all foundation, onto a few hives which seemed exceptionally strong.  That was after already putting on a second with ten frames of foundation.  At left is a shot of the top box on one of those hives with two supers fully drawn and mostly filled.

These hives have been split twice and left to raise their own queens the second time.  Granted, this is the best and probably was never queenless, having kept an original or introduced queen, and there are some dud hives in the 109, but this method seems to be working well.  I see I have several new swarms in the stacks, too, so the total is 113 -- until I eliminate the duds.

The day was hot and we spent the day in the pool and various lazy day activities.  I am learning about pool maintenance.  I had a small pool previously, but never had many people in it and only did minimum chlorination.  This one is going to need buffering and periodic shock chlorination, apparently, since it is getting a lot more use.

I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision.
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Saturday July 28th 2012
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> I'm preparing a talk for New Bees on overwintering, I normally just lift the back of a Colony with two supers in the fall and if it fells right I know it has adequate honey stores. I know you have been scaling hives over the winter from reading your reports can you give me some idea what a colony should weigh with roughly 2 deeps going into winter with say 40 lbs of stores?

We used to carry one dummy hive around with us with bricks inside to simulate the weight of feed and bees to remind us of what a good hive should weigh. We found we could come within a kg or so when guessing.

In fall, bees weigh 8 or 10 pounds, so add the feed and go from there. 40 lbs of feed would starve a good hive here where I live. 60 pounds consumed is what I recorded mid-March. Of course, consumption really picks up after that.

http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/images/2009/ac10.h19.jpg

Equipment varies. I'd advise taking a typical hive for each different beekeeper, with combs, etc, but no bees and feed, and weighing or hefting it. Then add enough bricks to make up the ideal weight of bees plus feed desired. The bricks should be located dead centre both vertically and horizontally.

We visited and swam on and off until afternoon.  After lunch, I went out to check hives and checked the seven swarm hives before the afternoon thunderstorms rolled though.  One of the two swarms I had split had no laying queen in one half, but it is still a bit early to be sure that a new emergency queen will not show up, as they were split three weeks ago.  There is still capped and emerging drone brood in the splits that are not yet showing a queen.   I should probably wait a bit longer before bothering them much.

I did work on three swarms that had been untouched thus far, placing them on floors on a pallet so they can be managed.  Two were smaller in two and three boxes and one is large, in four boxes.  They are in wood.

(Table courtesy Wikipedia).

I did, however figure that I should super the strong hives and went through 22 hives after supper.  By then, the day had cooled down.  Of those, 7 had no apparent laying queen, but some of them needed a third anyhow.  These queenless hives are populous and many have drawn all their foundation.  Several queenright colonies even had made enough honey to confine the queen to a few frames in the bottom box.  In other words, they were plugged.  In fact, 75% of the hives were plugged or mere days away from being plugged.

I used up all my EPS boxes and Pierco on these hives and started looking through the supplies.  I see I still have about ten boxes of foundation, both PL-100s and Permadent in wood, left from before.

I find I like the EPS boxes to the extent that I really hate to use wood anymore.  The bees love the EPS, too and draw foundation right out to the walls.  They also raise worker brood against the walls on occasion.  I think the reason the EPS works so well compared to wood is that temperatures are far more constant inside the hive. 

With wood, both ambient heat and cold are felt inside the hive.  With EPS, the heat transmission is much less, requiring fewer bees to be required for temperature regulation.  The  downside is that the bees need a communication hole with the outside to know what the weather is, thus the need for auger holes.  Fortunately they also serve as convenient flight holes for the flying bees.

I am also enjoying all the new frames and new comb.  I have always frowned on using a lot of foundation in hives, but these hives are making a lot of honey in addition to drawing perfect comb.  I am impressed

I feel the Pierco is being drawn better than either the Permadent or the PL-100.  This is just a feeling since I don't have any scientific measure, but I see very little burr or brace comb on the Pierco and I recall seeing more of both with the other frames.  Moreover, I see all the frames in a box of Pierco being worked fairly equally, with only a slight emphasis on the centre.   The black colour makes it easy to see where the bees are drawing wax.  The centre is always filled and capped first, but work seems to start on all frames, even in the weaker colonies. 

Of course, I am only adding a new box when the previous box is almost full and I am moving up some drawn comb with or without brood in the plugged hives.

 It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
J. K. Rowling

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Sunday July 29th 2012
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I am contemplating a drive over to get more boxes and foundation today.  If 7 of the 22 I looked at needed more room, then in the remaining 87, I would estimate that I'll be needing another 28 boxes of foundation pretty well right away.  If this season continues into October and the moisture holds out, then I'm going to have to come up with at least 100 more.  I may also need to extract.  Although I will use wood to carry extracting frames to extraction if it comes to that, I don't intend to use anything but EPS for hives.

I did not paint the last bunch of boxes.  I ran out of time.  I figure I can paint them later, but I see the some of the EPS boxes I painted for the first time after ten years of unpainted use are shedding that paint, so maybe not.  We'll see.  I see that the paint was costing me at least a dollar a box plus the labour which is considerable, so I wonder if painting EPS is worth the bother.

Having full EPS boxes of Pierco ready to place on hives is wonderful.  The saving in terms of labour is amazing.  Assembling the BeeMax was a pain and they keep falling apart at the corners. Prying the frames together in a BeeMax box springs corners open if not done with great care.

The Meijer boxes don't need assembly and so far none have not broken in use in my yards. The corners do not spring and crowding the frames for proper spacing is easy.  Pierco frames crowd easily.  Propolis and wax on the frame shoulders are no problem since the shoulders are hollow.  I love them.

> I see that the paint was costing me at least a dollar a box plus the labor which is considerable, so I wonder if painting EPS is worth the bother.

I agree, I have not painted any and Iím happy with the lack of extra work. Sometimes, if I get behind I donít paint wooden boxes until I pull them.

The problems are

  1. later, when I am working the hives and reversing, splitting, etc. , some will have an auger hole where the bees and I expect it and some will not, so I have to drill holes in the yard where I may not have the  drill and template handy, and there are bees in the way.

  2. With Blue boxes and white boxes, there may be some confusion in the bees when I move things around.  My management relies on bees not discriminating much between adjacent hives.

Maybe I should have chosen white paint to match the unpainted boxes?  That might have worked, but  paint that looks white to us may look some other colour to bees as they see different a spectrum from us and the boxes might look some other colour different from the white paint chosen.  There are many shades of 'white'.

I'm using unpainted boxes simply because of time pressure and the fact that I have limited energy as well.  I have overextended myself again with too many hives for the time I have for beekeeping.  Using new, fully set up boxes helps a lot, though.

I see that my "Bees for Sale" ad is running in Alberta Bee News.

A pessimist, confronted with two bad choices, chooses both.
Jewish Proverb

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Monday July 30th 2012
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This morning, I plan to be at Meijers' honey house at ten with my van and trailer to pick up some empty boxes and boxes fill of new Pierco black frames. 

I have yet to ready the van.  The seats are in and it is vacuumed out, so I think I'll only load the trailer. The van carries 40 boxes when the seats are out, but I estimate the trailer can carry 90 boxes easily. The trailer carried sixty last time and that is about how many I need today.

These pictures are from the last load, on July 3rd .

I arrived just before ten and we got pallets of boxes and frames out of the warehouse corners and I got to work putting frames into the boxes. The job had to be done sometime, somewhere, and doing so at the source reduces the size of the load, making tying down easier.  We broke for coffee at ten and I was done just after noon.  Tying down was easy since there was no need for a tarp on a sunny day like this.  I had run right low on gas, so had to borrow a bit, too, before I left.

The crew were extracting full on, with two lines running.  From the looks of it, there is going to be an acceptable crop, but it is still early and the canola is ending bloom in many of the fields, so alfalfa will have to provide the balance of the crop.

I returned home, bucking a wind all the way.  I could feel wind resistance on the load, but did not notice much increase in fuel consumption.

The kids were in the pool and I had a quick dip before Jon and I took the kids to Airdrie.  We had photos taken, bought groceries, and returned home for supper at 7.  We had lasagna, garlic bread and blueberries and ice cream.  All these carbs after the long, hot day knocked me out and lay down and  slept until 9.  It was bedtime about then, so I went right back to bed.

The self is not something ready-made, but something in
continuous formation through choice of action.
John Dewey

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Tuesday July 31st 2012
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The morning passed quickly.  My projects for the day are to lay the rest of the bathroom tile and to clean up the studio table and steps.  I've half-finished the floor now, at 1 PM, and have the rest to do.

The job took the rest of the day and looks good.

Jon and Jean went to Cal's and got Katrina a bicycle.

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.
Robert F. Kennedy

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Three Hills Area Weather Forecast
Intellicast | Yahoo | Weather Channel
Webcams  | Banff  | Banff | Sunshine Village | Calgary
Satellite Pictures 1
Canadian temperatures are in degrees Celsius

allen's Computer Security Page
A collection of helpful ideas and links
Free Online Virus Scans
 Panda | Trend Micro
Free Online Security Check

Convert Currency | Convert Measurements
Convert Celsius to Fahrenheit >
Chart
  Calculator

   "If I make a living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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