Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by mischief, Sep 26, 2013.
something happened or got fixed or?
Looks like it.
I was having mean withdrawals!!!!
The days are warming up...out of that cold wind and I am looking forward to being warm, with having to huddle in front of the fire or smother myself in clothes.
My fruit trees are flowering, or starting to and I find myself trotting around the yard looking to see which has the most bees on them, which one they are for longer, which one thy are taking pollen from/nectar....
There are of course other things flowering that are covered with bees. The Rosemary probably tops the lot.
If anyone wants to know what to plant for bees in spring, I would say-make it Rosemary, but maybe more than just one. I have a few plantings. The one that is most visited right now is the one thats a metre right behind the hive. Its a small 4 metre long hedge, only 3-4 feet high at the moment but now in its second year of flowering. Being in full sun all day long, its started flowering earlier than the others and has been for weeks.
I was told that beekeepers are wasting their time trying to grow flowers for their bees- they will just go elsewhere/you cant plant enough to keep them home.
I think they missed the whole point. If everyone planted something specifically for bees, doesnt matter whether its for native bees, honey, bumbles; every little bit makes a difference.
I was told bees would not forage within 50 m of their hive, yet I have spent this afternoon, sitting by the hive, watching some of them fly out of the hive and go straight to this little hedge. They were on it all afternoon,(I wasnt home this morning so I dont know but assume they were visiting them then as well).
At the moment, I also have the Luisa and Hawera plum in full swing as well as a couple of unnamed Nectarines and a Blackboy peach that has just started.
I spent a delightful afternoon trotting around to see which had the most bees on them throughout the afternoon.
While the Hawera is a larger tree, having been grown where my old compost heap had been for years, its rather 'leggy'. The lower branches are more horizontal than the upper ones and have been flowering for longer/ have more flowers on them. I was contemplating on doing a severe pruning or even chopping the tree back at the knees in order to get a more compact tree when a native bird landed on it- a Tui, which is a nectar loving bird. I had seen this in the taller nectarine tree last week. Both of these trees are quite tall compared to all the others and I know that Tui's prefer taller trees....so the Hawera gets to stay its leggy state....sigh.It isnt exactly a pretty looking tree at the moment, but the Tui obviously think differently.
The Luisa Plum tree won the day with the most bees on that tree.
The rosemary hedge won overall because it had more bees on it for much much longer.
i love how our seasons are reversed. it's great to read of things just warming up and flowering
for you while things are winding down here. and it's always interesting to read about bee
the bean harvest is coming along, a challenge this year with way too much rain the past several
weeks but the coming next week at least is clear and nice weather for being both warm and
where i can get out and get some work done (carefully). i had to harvest rather wet soggy
bean pods many times and then get them dry enough and shelled out when i could. still it's
been ok as compared to last year where i hardly had much return at all for the work.
yesterday was the first day in about a month where i got out and accomplished much. i hope i
can keep the trend going as long as the weather holds. and gradually increase my efforts and
strength again. i'm going to look like a lop-sided Popeye if i can only use one leg and the
oppostie arm all the time so i do try to make sure i'm using both sides for something, but the
image in my mind is still amusing enough to make me smile.
huzzah to being warmer, having flowers in bloom and happy bees (of all sorts).
On friday I was finally physically able to inspect the hive- I had dropped lump of firewood on my middle finger and then, somehow strained the tendons in it. Still cant bend it properly but can at least hold things properly now,.
I am really glad that I did decide to take a holiday from my normal winter season work or I would still be doing 7 days a week til mid October.
Why am I so glad?....cos if I had been working per usual, I probably would have lost my hive.
The man who helped me do my legally required AFB check last year, offered to help me do my first inspection for the year and just as well.
I had messed up by not doing the Oxalic Acid vapour treatments as regularly as I should have done over winter.
The result was a failing hive.
It had looked good according to what was happening at the entrance, but I failed to take into account that the activity inside the hive- going by the debris on the sticky board under the hive was not also increasing in size.
When we looked at it, there was alot of Varroa damaged unhatched bees and a small amount of house bees.
I had to allow a strip of Apivar treatment to go in in order to make sure it lived and put the frame feeder in right next to the brood nest so they had a ready source of fuel...not too sure why that had to happen, seeing as there was alot of capped honey available, but I bowed down to a more experienced beekeeper for their sake.
So....not happy with myself at all at the moment.
On the up side, they had a huge amount of pollen which means the new larva will be well fed and they do have a plenty of honey, so even if we do have the cold snap as per usual, somewhere between now and mid november, they should be okay.
I am still intending on continuing my plan to regress them down to the small cell size.
Last year, I put in some frames that just had starter strips in, so they could build whatever sized cells they wanted, then (probably to late in the season, but ...oh well, better late than never), added some bought small cell plastic frames to try to get the bees down to a smaller size.
These frames did produce a smaller looking bee, but not a relatively shorter bee.
This year, what I am going to try to do, is make the frames narrower by shaving down their widest ends.
Because I messed up, I actually have a lot of these tucked away from the bees by a follower board- acts like an end wall, which currently is dividing the majority of the hive away from the bees.
So, on Friday- my one day off at the moment, I will be going in, pinching these frames and making them narrower.
If its a nice warm day and not too windy, especially not COLD windy, I will also go check on how the bees are progressing.
There is one brood frame that I am hoping to be able to put in on their side of the follower board- all brood comb on one side and all honey on the other.
I have all fingers and toes crossed at the moment.
Wow, your holiday really paid off. I had to look up oxalic acid vapor: https://www.beeculture.com/oxalic-acid-effective-easy-on-bees-but/ as a varroa mite control. Sounds pretty good!
Got my fingers crossed with you ...
I have to keep that nasty chem treatment in for 10 weeks as per instructions first.
Things seem to be picking up and I will do another inspection on friday.
I dont usually like going in so often except in emergencies, which I think this is.
My mentor suggested that I keep topping up the frame feeder til they dont use it any more. I dont like feeding sugar syrup, but will have some on hand if it looks like they should have it.
The other day, I saw something really odd... and funny.
There was a wasp on a dandelion flower, I was trying to decide if I should squish it when a honey bee flew onto the flower right beneath the stinger of the wasp and started working the flower too, going right underneath the wasp.
The wasp lifted its left legs up and over it and moved off to the other side of the flower, then, when the honey bee had its back to it, walked up to it, put both antennae on the bees back and then stepped back.
When the bee turned around to face the wasp, the wasp stepped up and head butted the bee in the face twice,knocking it completely off ITS flower and then continued to work ITS flower as if nothing had happened.
What the bee did then was interesting as well.
Instead of going onto another dandelion flower, it flew over to the brassicas and started foraging on them instead.
I found this interesting because everything I have read has said that honey bees ONLY forage on one type of flower at a time....Obviously, this is not always the case.
i think bees can do all sorts of things people don't expect them to do. just like people.
i would have loved to have had that head butt on camera.
I am a new me, had to sign in all over again. not to sure what that was all about, but finally. I worked it out.
this is going to be a rant.....
One of the permie ethics is....'care for people'.
As a woman on her own, self employed and doing reasonably well, I have had so many abusive incidents, since my partner died, with males mainly, that I am almost at the point where I just do not want anything to do with other people, full stop.
Sadly, its not just the men, it almost feels like women see you doing well, feel jealous and have a go too.
Give me dogs, bees and chooks, they are much better behaved!!!
Why do men feel threatened by an independent woman?
Why do men feel that a woman living on her own must be in need ...of them? and then get offensive when I say that I am not in the slightest bit interested?
I have had to go back to having my back yard gate locked 24/7 to stop unwelcome advances and still I dont feel safe...and thats with a now mature dog in my back yard.
My daughter says that is just something to do with the area that I live in.
I think it is to do with the people of my age. The younger ones from her generation dont seem to have a problem with the likes of me.
Now to change the subject slightly.
I have had to move my beehive thanks to you guessed ...another abusive male neighbour.
I initially thought that it was dying from a viral infection called Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus, until someone sent me a link showing the difference between that and poisoning.
My bees had been poisoned, most likely with a herbicide going by the sad state of affairs with my poor potted Bay tree and my 6 year old native tree fern, known over here as a Punga.
So far, they are hanging in there, all three of them, plants and insect.
I did have to cut off all the ripening grapes that were growing in the old hive spot after I noticed that even after moving the hive, I had bees falling on the ground and dying. Since these have been put in the rubbish, I havent seen any more dying at this spot, which tends to indicate a contact spray was used.
I think what upsets me the most, is that the Bumblebees that were all over a plant up by the hive got hit. This time of year they are now normally all over my pineapple sage, making holes at the base of the flowers which then makes it easier for other insects to access the nectar.
No Bumblebees at all and no other insects on these plants.
I can replace the honey bees if I have to, but I cant buy in new Bumblebees.
Looks like I've lost posts again, thats annoying. I did want to go back over the last one on fruit trees.
This (growing) year, I havent had to buy any fruit at all. I have been getting enough and more just from my own trees.
The Pears just finished and now its Apples from my old tree in the front yard.
The Persimmons are starting to colour so I expect them to be ready for munching by the time the apples have finished.....then the Feijoas should be ready.
My Chestnut tree has dropped most of its nuts, but....they seem to have mostly fallen on the neighbours carport roof, so I didnt place this far enough away from the boundary and will have to take cuttings, get them to grow, then remove the existing tree before I start getting complaints!!! Dumb.
Wow, a lot of missing posts (since November!). I'll see what I can find out this time ...
Thanks Bill, You are my hero!
Its been an interesting week.
I went off to two different parks where I knew mature Chestnut trees were. ( Most of the nuts from my tree dropped over onto my neighbours side and i dont dare go over to recover them).
In the first park, the two trees there were only just starting to drop their nuts and theses were quite small compared to last year. I think last year, I went later.
The second park had only one tree but that had huge nuts and lots of them. It must be different type because it had almost finished dropping nuts everywhere. Jack (dog) wasnt too keen to get too close because they Were still noisily dropping.
So, I came home with a 10 litre bucket of mostly, lovely fat chestnuts to dry out. I dry them out in a steaming basket popped up on either another pot or just a trivet depending on how hot the fire is burning. I did have a few burnt ones last year.
I do like roasted chestnuts, but when I learnt how the Italians dried their Chestnuts mainly to then process into flour, I decided to try it. they last for ages. i still have some left over from last year, just to see how long they will keep for.
These nuts are the only ones that are high protein but no fat, as far as I have been able to find out....and they taste sweet.
They dry into seriously hard nuggets that you wonder if they will ever plump up again, but they do.
Today, I had the person who does my American foul Brood check come over and do a pre-winter inspection.
I havent asked for this before but was seeing things that didnt make sense, along with the, ahem, alledged poisoning incident.
I havent seen much mite drops all year and initially put this down to the fact that I had had to have a chemical treatment put in during spring. But when it came time to do my late summer early autumn treatments.....still no noticiable mite drop. I didnt want to get my hopes up and was worried that I had not been doing things properly.
The inspection went really well.
There wasnt alot of capped brood but what there was looked healthy. The queen had obviously had what is called a brood break where she stops laying eggs due to, usually at this time of year, a drop in food coming in.
There was a really nice frame of eggs, which was excellent news. These will be what is called winter bees. They live longer because they do not go out to forage for food. They dont have to, there is tons of capped honey and open nectar in the hive at the moment and a good amount of pollen already stored away. Some of the bees already working in the hive will also be winter bees, but apparently, those that are foraging for food wont be.
I was really pleased to hear about the brood break. To me, this is an excellent trait for the bees I want to have. They take a break from producing more bees based on the level of food available locally.
Less new babies to feed during times when there is low food available means less stress on the hive.
Some bees dont do this and wind up starving.
No sign of mite damage in the brood or visible on the bees.
Dan was impressed with how they had built up from almost nothing to a normal sized hive for this time of year. He didnt have an answer to the low mite count, but that may be because he is more of a commercial, or at least semi-commercial and treats his hives differently. He also doesnt have mesh floors where the mites can fall to be counted.
Thats okay, because my online mentor didnt have an answer for this either. Me, i just watch, learn, cross all fingers and toes and try not to mess up any more.
We differ in our setups and styles.
I have a horizontal hive, he uses standard Langstroth hives, but does have a few Warre hives too.
He wants his hives to be big and booming before the spring takeoff in order to get them to produce as much honey as they can; I want a hive that is smaller and so less likely to rob other hives,less likely to swarm every year, but big enough that it can provide all its own food with some for me too.
He feeds heavily with sugar syrup, I only do so if they absolutely need me to.
His hives are closely spaced in accordance with normal practises, I have only one and when I do get more, they will be as widely spaced as I can get them, following Tom Seeley's recommendations in whats called Darwinian beekeeping.
he moves his hives to take advantage of different areas nectar flows, mine have to learn to live with what is here locally.
I think my way is better, but then I also acknowledge that he needs to make money and do the things that will achieve this.
I want a healthy hive that ebbs and flows with the seasons and have resigned myself to the fact that some years there will not be any for me, especially if I mess up like last year.
I also acknowledge that commercial beekeepers are at least 51% right in what they do and how they do it because they Do produce the honey that the rest of us are then able to buy and enjoy. Not everyone is able to keep bees or even wants to, but most do like to consume it.
Its all too easy to jump on a band wagon and deride the efforts of others when they differ from your own. I dont think Permies should do this. Care for people, surely must also include stepping in their shoes and at least trying to understand their path.
Ohhhh! Talking about paths!
My sloped path up to the back lawn is 2/3rds done. Actually the three sloped sections are done, I just have the last flat part to go...and I got another camara, so hopefully, I will be able to show you how great it looks.
This time I will try to remember to bring it inside with me. They just dont seem to like to cold or the wet.
The hive seems to have adapted very well to being moved form what should have been THE best spot on the property to down by the lawn at the very back of the yard.
Another neighbour was kind enough to help me move it. I made sure that he came over to see what he was getting himself into before I would accept a 'yes' from him.
We could have moved it right then and there but I hadnt realized that now that the bees were semi regressed to small cell, that they could fit through the rectangular slotted ventilation holes, meaning the foragers were all out. they could just squeeze through the holes.
Interestingly, they didnt bother to go back into the hive to deliver their harvest, but fed it through the gaps to the house bees.
The next day was actually a work day for me, but by mid afternoon, I was home again. Went off to collect my helper only to find he was inappropriately dressed.
Had a swandry on, leather boots, leather gloves a beany hat...but seriously....Shorts? I made him go change into trackpants just in case we accidentally dropped the hive and they came buzzing.
Not that I would know, but I do feel there would be nothing worse than bees up your shorts.
I did have two bee jackets, so we were both well protected.
The move went really well. We walked the route first and made sure we both knew where the steps were and how we were going to do this.
Neither of us have done this before. This hive is not the sort you just up and move.
We had to move the actual hive first, lay it down on blocks, then go get the stand and put it in place. In hindsight, it probably should have gone on the other side of the Orange tree close to fence line on that side, but ne'mind.
I had some weedmat down, the stand got put ontop of that an then, much to both our relief, we managed to pick the hive up off the 4x4 blocks and set it in place.
Then, back down to my now beautiful courtyard for a much needed cuppa cafe and a good ol' chinwag.
I learnt something very interesting.
Bees do not always go home at night at least during summer and early autumn when its still quite warm/hot.
There were about half a dozen bees that were trying to get into the hive and would not move from the entrance disc that was set to the smallest holes possibe for ventilation.
They could not possibaly have got out through those small holes, so they must have been out of the hive overnight.
I had to carry the hive on the entrance side- I didnt think it was fair that my helper should have to worry about possibly getting stung because he accidentally leaned on somebody.
In order to make sure the foragers knew categorically that their hive had been moved and to make them re-do their orientation flight, I had to make it very obvious.
In order to do that I thought...how would it be if 'their tree blew over'.
I usually have a piece of windbreak sitting on the roof to stop the bees from getting stuck on the roof when it is wet from rain.
Luckily, this is reasonably long, so the part over the roof was 'pegged' down with 4 bricks.
I then had the rest of it draped over the front of the entrance and held down on the ground with another couple of bricks. This was pegged down away from thee hive, leaving a small area where they Could fly..just.
Just in case this didnt alert them to the fact that they were somewhere else, I collected up all the fennel stalks, complete with leaves and empty seed heads and blocked most of the sides.
So in order to get out of the hive, they had to pretty much crawl through all these stalks to do so.
The traditional rule is 'three feet or three miles', when moving a hive. But if you do something like I did, they know they are somewhere different.
I was told that you should always put a bait box at the original site, so I did that...then opened the hive entrance up and ran for the house just in case.
Next day was a work day as well, so before dawn I blocked the entrance to the baitbox and moved it to the new location. I was going to open the hive up but then realized that it was still dark- DO not do that!!! they might not fly, but what they do is worse- they crawl and then they Sting.
Off inside for another restorative til it was light.
Before I opened the hive up, I thought I'd just check to see if I did actually have any bees in the bait box, so I opened the lid away from me and took a peek. Just a small cluster of maybe 50.
I didnt bother to open the hive, just unblocked the entrance to the baitbox and left it under the hive itself. They would smell their hive and look for it.
I was a little late for work but not by much.
I had the entrance closed down to a couple of bee spaces for the first couple of days so that they did not have the added worry of having to defend a wide entrance.
After day, I removed the baitbox as the foragers were not going back to their old site- well some were, but i got the impression that these were the ones that were affected by either a viral infection or the alleged poisoning incident.
I had been walking them back to the hive but stopped doing that, just in case they reinfected the rest with what ever...
After a few more days, I opened the entrance a bit more after seeing a traffic jam.
So far, they seem to be adapting very well and I dont have any concerns about them.
On the second day I did. I saw so many bees swirling around the old site, I my heart sank, but as the afternoon went by and it started to get dark, they started doing bigger and bigger loops and headed off to their new location.
I had heard about them doing this, but didnt really understand how or why it happens.
It appears that the old foragers are stil so use to the old spot that they automatically go back there, then remember- oh we have moved, and start looking for the hive.
This is another reason why I made sure the top of the hive with the windbreak and bricks, looked exactly the same as it always had.
And now, they seem good going into winter.
My Persimmon tree is loaded this year. Jack and I have been busy eating as many as we can. Right now its his fav fruit and he has given up waiting for the ones that the birds have emptied out to fall. The other day I saw him grab one and yank it off the tree- they are rather stuck onto the branches, I have taken to cutting them off with secateurs to stop damaging the tree.
I have watched a few You Tube vids on how people in Asian countries dry these and thought I would try their methods.
The first half a dozen turned out okay and are in the final stages of drying out, but the rest went moldy after I had to bring them inside due to rain and then leave them there due to staying at a friends place for couple of days, so I have had to ditch them and try again with the next lot.
I'm not too sure how the difference in climate plays a part in how you should go about drying these, so I am just going to go back to what I did last year.
So from Monday, the fruit are being cut off the tree and just left on my wide window sill til they start going a bit soft. then I will be massaging them at least once a day.
I plonked it down in exactly the wrong spot, right in the middle of my three long vegie beds and to be honest, have struggled with it ever since.
This week, my son and daughter in law visited and insisted in helping me with whatever project needed to get down while they were there.
When I mentioned the problem with the glasshouse, that became THE project, so two days later, its now all neatly stacked up out of the way so I can get the vegie garden back to its former glory.
I have so far managed to avoid spraying nasty things over the property but have been having trouble keeping the parking area looking good.
Recently, I discovered a weedkiller that uses vinegar, salt and a little dish liquid which I will be trying when it stops raining.
Meanwhile, my weedeater has been sent up to my son in law who may be able to fix whatever I did to it that stopped it from working- he is a mechanical wiz!! and even got mums lawn mower to work again after she bought a brand new one and forgot to put oil in it.
The main path up to the back lawn (and vegie garden), got finished and I am thrilled with it.
I was a bit worried that it would turn into a waterfall when it rained heavily, but that hasnt happened.
I can now get the lawn mower up to the lawn without having to drag it up those curved steps and a completely full wheel barrow is easy to get up thanks to breaking up the slope with the two 4 feet of flat section.
I have a new camara and have just swept the path clear of all the leaves from the fruit trees, so now it doesnt look so old.....so I should be able to put up a pic or two of it. I was supposed to ask my son to teach me how to do this, but we forgot.
I didnt use up all the concrete rubble that my neighbour gave me and have been asked to take away more that is in her back yard, so I may be able to pave all the main paths around the garden. I hope so, cos this is now part of my divide and conquer strategy to over come the convovulus and couch grass issues.
This is turning out to be a warm winter so the bees are still flying.
My turning the hive around so I can see what they are up to now that the window is on the sun side, has proved to be a good move.
The mite drops have continued to be low and even with applying the Oxalic Acid Vapour (OAV), I havent seen any spiking in numbers. I dont know what to make of this and nor does my mentor.
They still seem completely happy with their new location and I am enjoying watching them in the hive at a time when I wasnt able to before.
This has turned out so far, to be a really warm winter. My pink Manuka tree has flowered, I have Nasturtiums flowering when they should have died off and even have a new bean plant turn up.
We have had the odd frost but nothing much really. Even so, I brought my Potted Pineapple inside just in case.
Night have started to turn cold, so the hot water cylinder is off and the fire is on, with a nice pot of pea and ham soup sitting up on the trivet keeping hot.
This winter I am not working during the week or running around after other people, which has felt rather odd.
I'm going to be sorting through my seeds, getting my little library back in order and having a go at making homemade pasta, working out my battleplan for the garden for the next season...and having a holiday for a change.
Funny how busy we can be, even during winter!
I decided to try to have a holiday for a change over winter, but.....I alternate between feeling unmotivated and lazy to just crazy. lol
Cos the weather was so good, I have made a start on getting the vegie garden rebuilt, starting with part of one that runs along side the sloped path. I just got one board of retaining wall after seeing how heavy it was-waterlogged, pity Terra couldnt have some of it.
So, a 6m length. I learnt that the supplier will cut to it up for me...so long as there are not too many at one time. I got 2 pieces cut off, one 1200mm and one at 1340mm.
The longer one was attached to the last mini post for the paths retaining wall, so it had to be 1200 plus the width of the post plus the width of the retaining board. Even with those cut of, I found the long piece too heavy to lift by myself so had to flip it onto the parking area, get my chop saw and cut another 1200mm off.
Thats okay, now means I have both ends of the next door bed, when I get to that.
After carefully sorting the almost broken down woodchip away from the bits of tree trunks I had enough 'soil' to fill the first part of the first new bed.
This has been planted out with shallots and a small amount of garlic.
My fav trellis- re-inforcing mesh is now in place waiting for me to sow peas down the middle of the bed.
We still had nice sunny days, I worry that they are too nice, but it gave me time to sift halfway along the next door bed. Hopefully, I will be able to finish that part this week.
For this bed, I just need the two 5.6m lengths and I am going to get them to deliver it so I can get help lifting these up to where I need them. Cut to length before they get here. I wish I had known about this service before.
It was really interesting to see the difference between how the wood chip had broken down and what was happening with the bits of tree trunks.
The bits of trunk were still whole, fully waterlogged -very heavy for their size and although easy to pull apart once you broke through the bark and still completely in one piece.
This area has once again been invaded by convovulus, so I need to make sure there are no roots inside the trunks before reburying them in the beds.
The woodchip is almost soil, in fact in some parts it was with that beautiful black slippery feel that I associate with Humic acid and absolutely chocka with worms.
The Feijoas are almost gone and the Persimmons are not too far behind, mainly because I enjoyed watching the Tui's eating the fruit that I left a lot of them on the tree for them. I did cut of a dozen more for myself today, that should be, for me and Jack seeing as he just loves them too.
I decided to replace the sad Mandarin that just had not grown much at all this year, so now there is a new one which, if I got my timing right, should either next year or the year after, be ripening about now.
As the Feijoas have now dropped all their fruit, I have pruned them so I no longer have to crawl under the lower branches to pick up the fruit. All the crossed branches and droopy ones have been pruned back and the middle of the trees have been opened up, first time and I am quite pleased with how they look.
The lemonade lemon has also been pruned. This has really long sharp thorns, unlike the a tree I grew decades ago up in Auckland. being maybe a bit too close to the path, I needed to shape the tree so it stayed inside its bed. Hopefully, the borer bug hasnt noticed that its a warm winter and is still hibernating.
I forgot to bring in the Banana plants resulting in the large one seriously frost bitten. Its now in the bathroom along with the two baby plants. These did okay cos they had been under the picnic table with the wasabi and are completely okay.
I do need to pot the smaller ones up at some stage because they are still both in the same small pot.
"but.....I alternate between feeling unmotivated and lazy to just crazy." Yes I know exactly how you feel!
About your wasabi, is it real? I've recently found out that almost all "wasabi" here in the US is actually horseradish and that it's likely I've never tasted real wasabi. Been wondering about that ever since.
waving hello in passing, but i did have to read up on the bee exploits.
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