Posts Tagged With: #ranchlife

Winter Weather Advisory

Well I guess the ground hog was right and winter is not over, weather wise we had a heck of a weekend. Snow, rain, wind, freezing temps and more. However, that does not stop the work from getting done. Saturday we finished the wash rack, built the tie rail and a fence around it. Ben welded, Kicker helped him get the bar set a few times. Toni, the kids and I built the fence, Kicker bounced around from helping us to helping Ben. And the kids also hauled out the excess dirt. We all had wind burnt faces by the time we were done, but getting that wash rack ready for good weather to wash the steers headed to the Spokane Livestock Show is pretty important. The kids wanted to wash this weekend, but we refused with the weather we had.


Sunday we finally had another foal, however, it was a small foal. Foxy the miniature had a colt by Dreamer. He is a cute little guy that the kids think needs packed. I don’t know if he knows how to walk (yes I am joking). We also tied up the steers on Sunday and got in our mares that are for sale. Getting the mares in off 80 acres in a freak snow storm was not the most fun we have ever had. We spent lots of time just walking through the mares and petting them and checking them out. There are some that look like they are getting close to foaling. Once the work was done, Toni’s best friend Shannon brought four foreign exchange students out from Richland to see the ranch. Again, the wind was blowing and the temp was below freezing with the wind chill. 2 of the kids are from the Netherlands, 1 girl is from Paris, and the other boy is from Ecuador. Other than the girl from Paris, the kids were really good sports and went out and petted Rocky and looked at the animals. Diego from Ecuador and Max from the Netherlands seem to enjoy the animals. Toni took them back home and gave them hot chocolate before sending them home. It is great to expose kids to our ag way of life and help them to understand that importance of ag in the world.


Monday morning bright and early Toni and Ben took Kaine and Kade to do their Boy Scout duty. On holidays the Connell boy scouts put out flags in people’s yards. So we had “fun with flags.” Anna and I got up early to check the cows since we had a cold bitter wind blowing. Then, Toni and I met with Dan from Burns, who took home Dallas, Cheyenne, and Whitty. Then, Toni and I sorted out heavy heifers and hauled them to the house and helped the kids tie up their steers. Toni did not have a day off from her legal practice, so she had to go home and get some paying work done. So Kade, Kaine, Ben and I got the bulls in and poured on them, we tagged some calves and then lead the steers for a little while.


We got down to the house and Toni and I haltered the last two foals to halter break (since it is a little lighter again at night). The last two are the Azteca, “Whim,” and Little Blackie. Both did pretty good. However, Double was not pleased that they are in his pen. Smokey was still in with Double so we moved him over to be with his age group. Smokey has never really considered himself to be a foal, so he was very unhappy to be put out with a bunch of yearlings. We are getting ready to separate the colts and the fillies. We thought it would go better if Smokey was with his fellow colts for a week before we move them.


Also, one of Toni and my favorite Hereford bulls left to his new home on Monday, Thanks Terry. Bob from Clarkston came to look and put a deposit down on the ET 2 year old bull. We had two additional groups of bull buyers come out as well to look at the Angus bulls.


It is cousin Jay’s birthday today, and since he told me not to put him in anymore of my blogs, I thought I should definitely mention him today. Toni hauled the Hereford bulls over on Saturday and him, Uncle Joe, and Mar cut their horns for us. Thanks Jay, you have an immense amount of skills that come in handy as our cousin! Also, Jay is a great role model for the kids, he takes them to jack pot shows, helps them with their steers and heifers, clips them, and is a great all around guy. He also will AI for us if we need him, as well as help pull calves as long as he has a driver to bring him over. We are all pretty lucky to have him in our life bringing his sarcastic humor and pithy responses that keep us laughing. Happy Birthday!

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Living in a Dream World

So I have not helped much on Toni and the kids’ fence, I think I have helped twice and they work on it every night after school. So Toni informs me that I think fences magically appear around here. And I would DEFINITELY like to live in that dream world. And as far as their fence on top of the hill goes, it kind of has magically appeared like fence fairies are coming during the day while I am at work. But, we do have other fencing projects and temporary fences we have to work on on the weekends, and for some reason she does not let me out of those. So, when the sun shines here, it means we can really get down to work, or business, and last weekend that meant a lot of fencing. Dad also decided that we needed to replace some of the older gates, he is on gate three today. Dad and Toni have all kinds of strategies for their gate hanging. Don’t worry, Dad told me that Toni may think she is the boss, but she isn’t. Dad still considers himself to be the boss around here.


With the end of hunting season we can utilize more of the corn fields, so we spent about half of Saturday fencing off the corn ponds, or one very large one. Saturday afternoon Toni, Kaine, Kade, Jaxsen and I got the horses in closer since we should start foaling any time. We took Stinger, Cleo, Comet and Izzy to the house. We had a couple more mares we would have liked to take to the house but they did not willing jump in the trailer. So since they are still out on 80 acres, they kind of get a choice right now if they want to leave or not. We did get to pet most of them after we brought them in and remind them that they are good horses. That gave us a chance to check out their parts. We think we are still a bit out from foaling, but there are definitely some that are starting to have the look.


Saturday night Toni and I got to have a girl’s night with our cousin Leslie. Leslie is the current president of Franklin County Cattlemen’s so she is basically required to go to the neighboring annual dinners. We all went to the Benton Cattlemen’s banquet to have fun. Toni talked her and Leslie’s friend Ron into buying our desserts at the dessert auction, we had some awesome lemon and apple bars and a chocolate torte. The dinner was great and we got to talk to a lot of people, and even get grandma some walnuts in the silent auction. Even though we had to get all of our work done very quickly to give us time to get to the dinner, it was worth it to have a night out with some good friends.

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Sunday morning we had some more fencing, we just can’t have too much fun. We went back out with the mares to give them another look through. Considering they have all been out on desert ground all winter, they look really good. Our Friday (going to be 4) looks like a mare now. She needed this winter to finish maturing. We also took an inventory of the mares we think are open, there are a few. There are always a few that don’t breed back and we factor that in. Toni finished cutting up poles to use on the fence in the H braces with her new reciprocating saw. Then Toni and dad put out grass bales to the mares and Toni did chores so her and Kicker could take the boys to a Super Bowl party. Go Eagles! Anna and I had to run to town for some supplies, then we fed cows, and sold a bull.


This week we are all gearing up to help at the BB Cattle Co bull sale on the 12th. Dad is going to go to Spokane to work at the WCA Booth at the Spokane Ag Show, and we have Jackpot’s first show on Saturday. We don’t have any expectations for him. He is a supremely nice horse and we hope that he does well in the show ring, but having a show record really won’t change our plan for him. We LOVE our filly out of him, Yo. What a little powerhouse. Toni keeps telling me we don’t need to sell her, but Toni is the one that says we keep too many. We just hope that Jackpot’s foals are all as nice as Yo. We don’t plan to breed with him this year, we want to focus on giving him some time to see about a show record. Anyway, if anyone is bored on Saturday, Bonina is having a warm up show to get all of the people and horses back into the swing of things. Hope to see some friendly faces at the show.

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Blog Post By Toni

Spring is Definitely Here

You know spring is here (no matter what the calendar says) when studs are running through fences and bulls are acting like bulls. We have both. Leroy, who is super gentle and easy to be around, managed to break down panels and run through an electric fence to try to get to some mares. Not his finest hour, but he comes to his name, so it was easy to get him back in.

We moved Smokey and Whitty over with our old pony mare, Smoke. We thought getting them out of the mud was a great plan. They didn’t like being away from Double, so they ran through a fence. A different fence than the fence Leroy ran through. We have gotten that fence fixed and moved them back again. They are doing much better this time around. They are out of the mud and have lots of room to run. We are going to move the other coming yearling colts in with them soon.

 

On the actual fencing project, the first 500 feet of fence posts is in. The wire isn’t up yet, but that can go up at one time, so we started the second half of putting the posts in. Not only do we have to put all new posts and wire in, but we have to take out all of the old posts and the old wire. That makes the job take twice as long. But it will all be worth it when the new fence is in. We are hoping we don’t have to fix it again during our lifetime. Anna has also been helping on the fence, but did not get in any of the pictures.

I was elected to the Board of Directors for the United Braford Breeders. They will be doing a brief article on her for the next Braford News. This isn’t the first time I have been on the Board. Our family has been on the Board for the UBB off and on. The meetings are down South, so it makes it hard to attend. I am being allowed to attend via Skype to make attendance much easier.

We plan to move the mares out of the winter pasture this weekend and into their foaling pasture. We could start foaling as early as this week, but we don’t think they are quite ready to go yet. It is really a toss-up over which foals we are most excited to see. It may sound lame but we are always happy when we get a live, healthy foal. We do have 2 AI foals coming this year, our first Bishop foals, and our first Leroy foals. We also have some new mares in the mix that we got last year that we are really excited to see what they produce. A few of those new mares are maiden, so this is really a new experience all around. Hopefully the weather remains nice when the foaling gets started.

Breeding season is coming up fast. Bull buyers are starting to get interested in buying bulls for the 2018 breeding season. With this warmer weather, and rain instead of snow, we are getting anxious to see what 2018 brings.

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Second Week of January

The second week of January has been relatively uneventful, as far as ranch life goes. Just the normal ranch stuff is happening here, more new calves, bangs vaccination the heifers with Dr. King (now Schneider) checking horses, checking cows, feeding horses, feeding cows. Which is good, Great Grandma, who is 105, needs some extra visiting this week, so we have all gone down to see her and Uncle Manny, who has flown in from Alaska to be with us during this time of need.


We have gone from being iced over to being flooded. All of the fields are full of water and mud, with more rain expected. Being in the desert, we need this moisture. The days have been getting into the high 30s, so this is pretty nice weather for January! The mares are starting to get big, with our first set right around the corner to foal. With all of the mud and rain we still haven’t started those last 2 foals to halter break. Whim, being an Azteca, is only getting taller. We need to get the halter on him and get him started before he is too big to handle. We haven’t had an Azteca before, making this a new experience on that front. Little Blackie is the other foal left to halter break, and she is not big. She is also a Double foal so we expect her to be easy. Let’s hope that expectation is proven true.

 


We also had chore helpers on Saturday, Joe and John Hallowell from the Prescott area. They came to pick up their colt Nicky, then they like to stay and hang around and help for the next few hours, whether we want them or not. Three of Joe’s kids came too so they got to play with our kids.


When the weather is like this, it puts a person in the mood for spring. Good weather always gives us a bit of optimism. The horse market also starts to pick back up once the bad weather is behind us (which we hope it is). We get asked frequently on trainers; who do we use? We have used Katie Whetzal out of Pullman for many years. She has been our go to gal. Katie can be reached at 208-301-1170. Rachael Hamby is a fantastic hand. We have known her for years, but she wanted to get done with her degree before devoting herself to training. She is now at that point. Rachael has ridden quite a few horses from KT and puts a good handle on them- 509-688-4153. In the last few years we have become acquainted with Josh and Crystal Hoelscher out of the Palouse area. Josh specializes in colt starting and harder to break animals- 509-592-5601. Nina Lundgren at Bonina in Eltopia has been a cutter and horse trainer for longer than I have been alive. She shows, trains, and is a fantastic horsewoman and person. Currently Nina has a colt starter at her facility as well, Blaine Davies. Blaine is riding Jackpot for us and we are excited to see Jackpot in his first show next month. Nina can be reached at (509) 539-3435. We aren’t saying that there aren’t more good horse trainers out there, these are just the ones that we use.


The boys are back in boy scouts, so they get to build their Derby Cars this month. The race is the day after my birthday.

Also, we have some terrific Hereford and Braford bulls for sale for anyone looking for a bull. Go to our bulls for sale page fore more info.

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Yearlings in the Snow

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We are thankful for Long Johns and Insulated Coveralls

Winter has finally made its appearance. Cold weather, freezing fog, and drizzle don’t make things fun, but it does kill all of the bugs! We are just thankful for the long fall weather that allowed for an extended growing season. We are also thankful for long johns and insulated coveralls!


We start calving in December because Ben is off for the month. Having someone around to be on watch makes calving much easier. We have a heifer and two bulls on the ground. The first wave of AI cows should be all calving this week or so. With the timed AI all of the cows get AIed at the same time, making calving easier.


We are still halter breaking but not having to ship. Usually the cold weather means we are done showing horses until the weather gets better. This week we had 2 sets of people brave the cold weather to come look. Both sets of people were great and it is always fun to meet new people and make connections. We have Felix and Dynamite in to get halter broke. Felix has had work prior, just getting him to remember and put the pieces together. He was our first 2017 foal and is very large. He is also very sweet and likes attention. Dynamite is another story. We had her earmarked for Kade as she is out of his Dyna mare and Gunner. She is a bit quick for Kade at this point so we are talking about putting her on the market. She hasn’t done anything wrong; he just needs more of a Double type foal at this point in his life as a 9 year old. Dynamite is more of a big kid or adult type of filly. She is coming along very nicely with the halter breaking though. When we get all of the foals done, Major will come back in as he isn’t where we want him to be with the process.


It is so nice to look into the weaned pen and see a few for sale and the ones we are keeping and that is it. The biggest issue is that we decided to keep too many. We HAD to keep Smoke, as he is our orphan foal. He is a grulla roan and considered a “stallion prospect.” Then we had to keep our AI filly out of Little Cielo, and we had to keep Stunner out of Gunner and Stinger, and Anna has insisted that we keep Little Blackie out of Blackie and Double. That is four foals in the keep section. We are supposed to keep 1.


Speaking of stallion prospects, the joke around KT Ranch is that Toni is going to run a stallion station as she wants to keep all of these stallions (and as everyone knows I want to keep all of the fillies). Check out our website, ktranch.com, then the Stallion page for most of them. We are all insisting that she sell Sagebug if we keep Smoke. So he has a price listed. Then we have Reed, who will hypothetically replace Double at some point (we hope not soon). Jackpot is a late 3 year old in training at Bonina out of City, a son of An Educated Guess and he is a stallion we lost. Then we bought Bishop out of Utah to have a non-creme HZ stallion, we will have foals by of this young stud in 2018. We bought Leroy, the dunalino stallion out of Canada based on his pedigree. He is a great fit for us and we should have foals by of him in 2018. Then our others, Double, Dude, Colonel, and Gunner. It makes it difficult to find places for them all, but we feel that these stallions all bring something to the table.

 

Also on Saturday our farrier came out to give our two grulla roans pedicures. We would have done more, but, he comes to our house last so we just fit in whatever he has time for.

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As a family we had our annual November, December, January birthday party at the bowling alley in Connell. Many people know that as a family we are very close. Bill and Norma Bennett have 12 grandchildren and 10 of us are girls that are close in age. We love our 2 boy cousins too. Big family parties, seeing each other often, and being there for each other is how we were raised and how we continue to live. Our cousin Whitney made Toni and I really neat Merry Christmas signs with our brands on them for our birthdays. We absolutely love the signs. On Sunday, cousins Leslie and Jolene took the kids shopping for Christmas (so they can but their parents presents). This is also an annual tradition that the kids love. Kaine’s birthday is on Tuesday and he will turn 10. Uncle Skip came down for the weekend so we could celebrate Kaine’s birthday separate from the big family party. Kaine and Kade are also in boy scouts and this will mean Kaine moves up to a Webelo. Kaine and Kade both received badges and the last troup meeting on Thursday. Jaxsen can join boy scouts after his next birthday in October.


This week we will switch out to halter break 2 new foals, keep an eye on those heavy cows, and keep water troughs free of ice. We also have our KT Ranch Calendars in stock if anyone wants to come get one for $20.00 or we can ship you one with shipping added on. We take all of the pictures ourselves and it will feature some great ones!

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Fall Back Sucks

Well fall back sucks. I am pretty sure most animal owners feel the same way. Toni and the kids pretty much are the chore doers now during the week since I don’t get off until 5, and am not home until 5:30. And as most of you know Toni works for herself out of her house, so she can take her “break” from 4 – 6 instead of 5-7. Toni is also working on a blog post on how the Youth Development Foals that we donated worked out, so if you have one and she has not contacted you, please contact us. We don’t have your contact information.


We weaned all of the foals Sunday, except the baby 4; Yo, Whitty, McCoy, and Eclipse. We have officially started halter breaking the middle 4, so after these 4 we are over the half way point in halter breaking. Toni is super excited by this news. We are halter breaking Gypsy, Rimfire, Ellie and Yokel this week. The fun thing about this batch is that Rimfire and Gypsy are uncle and niece both by Gunner. Ellie, Gypsy, and Rimfire are all by Gunner and Yokel is a Double foal. It is cool to compare each batch with each other and other sibs. Historically we will both tell you that the Double and Dude foals are generally the easiest to work on. The Gunner and Colonel foals have a touch more heat and react, but not by much. With that said we can definitely see the mares genetics coming out too. Halter breaking is both one of the funnest things we do and one of the most frustrating. Two left last weekend, Dottie Dee and Wright on Laddie, both went to Northern Idaho into the snow.


We hauled 6 more mares out to the winter pasture and took the 7 riding horses back up to my house, since the studs are in and Dude is not out in their pasture anymore. Hopefully next weekend we will be riding them to get the cows in out of the cornfield to work them. Speaking of that, we also built fence around the cornfields this weekend (mainly Ben and Kicker but I helped a little) and then turned all of the spring cows out on the cornfield. The Hereford bull, “Waffles,” is also out with them. But, he is going to be pulled in soon and go out with the fall Hereford cows.


Toni is headed off Wednesday through Friday to the Washington Cattlemen’s Convention, this week. It is just in the tri – cities, so she is coming home most nights. Our cousin, Leslie, and Toni both are chairs for committees within the WCA and have meetings to head and speakers at the main WCA convention. Toni will also be speaking at the Cattlewomen’s annual convention on Thursday and she has court that day. Toni is the chair of the Water and Ecology section, so there is quite a bit to talk about and learn at her meeting. So I guess that means Wednesday through Friday it is the kids and I that are doing chores.

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Last Week of October

Wow, what a week already. Halloween last night, the kids didn’t have school Monday, so today kind of feels like Monday. We have officially hit the half-way mark on weaning foals. We won’t hit half-way on halter breaking until we start the next four this coming weekend. We have had a few blips, but for the most part these foals have been great. Shelby was a bit more of a challenge than we expected, but that is a problem that was solved. C decided to somehow cut his neck after weaning, so he is requiring attention. The great news about C is that he might be the size of a yearling, but he is a rock. We have a halter on him now, but he was injured prior to the halter breaking process, he would still stand there and let me spray the wound. We are now halter breaking him and he is coming along great. With as many foals as we have, there are going to be a few issues, but so far things are working out.

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We can officially announce our two Youth for the Young Horse Development Program. Grace Ryan from Beaverton, OR and Jenny Rossey from Cheney, WA have been selected to receive foals from our ranch. Both girls turned in exceptional applications. This program has been a huge success. This year there were 119 applications and 47 foals. At ages 16 and 17 respectively these girls have a great chance of winning part of the scholarship money and prizes awarded on top of the fact that they receive a free foal. We are looking forward to meeting them in the upcoming month. Now that we know where our foals are going, we will begin weaning the two foals and getting them ready to meet their new owners.


As already posted, we shipped out 5 horses last week. This week two foals go to Idaho, one goes to Yakima, and C will now stay with us until he is healed up. The two foals going to Idaho were haltered last Friday so that we could get a handle on them to get them into the vet for coggins/brand/health. On Monday Anna, Kade, and I loaded Dottie Dee and Wright On Laddie and took them on a trip to the vet. They hauled like little superstars. This was their first hauling without their dams. Both loaded well, hauled well, and I tied them in the trailer as they have been doing so great with that. Very impressive foals.


Last weekend we also weaned Gypsy, Rimfire, Yokel, and Ellie. Weaning Gypsy required getting in a pasture far from the house and hauling home. We decided since there were only four pair left in that field to bring them all home to make weaning a little easier in the future. That put too many mares at the house, so we continued to work dry mares at the house and haul out to winter pasture. It is officially November 1. It has been such a warm and nice fall that it makes it hard to accept that winter is on its way. We ended up hauling 8 mares out to winter pasture. There are still about 10 more mares that need to go out, but getting in 8, catching them, deworming them, and loading them is time consuming. We will continue to slowly move the mares out as they come in. The other factor is that we can’t move each mare out until she is ready, meaning she has accepted that her foal is weaned and is ready to go. Otherwise this moving process is just extra stress on the mare, which we do not want.


This week we decided to put our first and only Jackpot foal, Yo, on the market. We have toyed with keeping her as she is out of Pistol, but we already have our AI foal, Charlie, Stinger’s filly, Stunner, and Little Blackie earmarked to keep. We also have to keep Smokey our bottle baby because you always have to keep the orphans. This may be hard to believe, but we really do try to limit how many foals we keep each year.

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Another Big Week

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We continue to wean, halter break, and work our butts off. Toni, Anna and I had a great time at the Evergreen Exclusive Angus show last weekend. We met quite a few new people that we do not normally see at the Jr Angus Shows, and we also got to see old friends and family. We brought two heifers home, one for Anna and one for Kaine. The heifer and steer we tried to get for Kade both went for too much. This is a great Sale for the industry and allows sellers to see a wide variety of Angus cattle. Steer numbers were down at the sale this year, so the steers sold really high.

 

Con went to his new home on Saturday after we got back from Moses Lake. He made it to his new home safely and he looks like he really likes his new home in the pictures and videos we have received. Blurose is leaving on Thursday and Chrome is leaving next week for California. Once Blurose leaves, Smokey the bottle baby is going to get halter broke for a few days before the next group comes in. He has already had a halter on multiple times, including today, but isn’t really into people directing him as he thinks he is the boss.

We also weaned Double Pecan, Peeps, Shelby and Latte on Sunday. So far all four foals are doing great and started eating right away. We have a low stress weaning system with their dams right across the fence from them the first week, the foals cannot reach through the fence to nurse. All of these foals have been good sized, but Latte is huge. We have four more foals scheduled to be weaned this weekend. The four weaned last weekend will be haltered and the halter breaking process will start this weekend.

Kade’s game Saturday was postponed to Monday, so only Kaine had a football game Saturday. However, Kade had a game Monday, Kaine had a game Tuesday and Kade has a game on Wednesday. Then both of them have games on Saturday. Saturday beginning at noon is Grandpa’s 90th birthday party in Connell. We also have our little boy, Jaxsen, turning 7 on Saturday.

Tuesday Dr. Jennifer King was out to preg check some heifers, coggins and vet check Chrome, fix some hernias, float an old mares’ teeth, and take a look at some other foals. Another full day!

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Living the Dream

We are going to try to keep this up once a week.

            Life is great, the foals we are halter breaking have been doing very well; and it is always great to see them head off to their new homes with their new families. Three foals left Sunday and Monday, Bliss, Fooler and Quinn. Four more got weaned, Chrome, Blurose, Con and Smoke E. We also sorted out the heifers we want to keep, the heifers we want to sell as replacement heifers and the cull heifers. We turned all the heifers back out except the cull heifers. We also sorted the bulls and banded around half of them. Now we need to sort back through the steers and pick out the show steers. It sounds like the kids already have their eye on a couple.

We also pulled Gunner out of his mares this weekend and he and Maggie Eilers are up on the hill. Gunners mares were put in circle 6 with some cows and the dry mares are getting turned back out onto the desert. There is still a lot of grass out there and that way we can wait longer before we have to start feeding hay. Gunner and Maggie are not that thrilled with being locked in.

Since we are in football and soccer season, we also get the pleasure of spending Saturday mornings watching Grid Kids Football. Kaine is on ¾ Purple and Kade is on ¾ Gold. Jaxsen plays soccer, so some weekday afternoons we get to watch Jaxsen kick a ball around.

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