At last

Bill (hubby’s dad), my ‘UK based marketing manager’, has for years now been emailing my blog world wide to his friends, ex colleagues and family members. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone in his contact list has received a link to my blog at some stage. As I have become incredibly slack again with my posting, Bill has been badgering me daily to get a post together! And fair enough too … he’s just what I need!

As much as I love spring and watching the garden’s transition, I loathe the unsettled weather that comes with it. Nasty stuff. The house rocked the other night and it wasn’t from loud music either. There is nothing like living on a windy hill in the country.

My veg garden has been feeding us as it does, with rocket, herbs, spring onions and brassicas, in the form of broccoli, kale, cauliflower and cabbage. I get such a kick out of eating homegrown veg, steamed to perfection and doused with peppery olive oil. You can honestly taste the goodness you are consuming – well that’s what I tell hubby anyway.

The chooks relish brassica leaves as it happens, which get hurled over the fence for a snack after dinner. Strangely enough, they aren’t enamoured with the kale. I wonder why? Needless to say, spring of course means the egg production line is in full swing again, something to do with more daylight hours and lots of good tucker.

Lily – she has a ‘baa’ to remember

Our two rather rotund sheep are particularly good – they are also rather keen on brassica leaves (of any description) and of course, they adore sheep nuts!

Thanks to marauding four-legged critters, my brassicas spent nearly all winter in the confines of a cloche. Not much fun for them given I always over plant. So when I finally unveiled those beauties, you could almost hear the sigh of relief.

Beautiful winter’s day

Wish I could say the same about my garlic though. The rust is back! I kidded myself that it wouldn’t return, so when I finally did spot it I was horrified! So I have been busy snipping off infected leaves and binning them. Truth is, if I keep this up, it won’t be the rust that kills them, it will be the lack of leaves. Oh dear me. That’s it, my days of growing garlic are over – quick pass me a tissue!

Too cute not to include
Muriwai beach

If you have been following my blog you will know that we have olive trees. Due to the serious lack of regular pruning over the years and over planting (cough cough) the said trees had become huge and unruly. Not so any longer as the images will attest … they have finally received a much needed haircut.

Greg who not only presses our olives when we have them, but is also adept at olive pruning, did his magic to our trees with a chainsaw in hand. Do I trust him? Absolutely .. they may take a couple of years to grow and fruit but they will. What about those fabulous wood piles and neatly stacked branches ready for mulching! Yes, time to pat ourselves on the back.

Hubby does the odd bit of cooking – ok the majority of it! LOL A couple of weeks ago, he hauled out our bread maker, blew off the cobwebs and made a rather tasty wholemeal loaf with sunflower seeds. I have to say, I was in heaven nibbling on the fresh brown loaf (sliced and toasted of course) smothered in Bill’s superb plum and cinnamon jam. Since, then hubby has turned into quite a baker! Lucky me ..

Sorry about the jumble of winter and spring shots – yes it’s great to be back!

Just for hubby – the Kereru our NZ wood pigeon

Time to depart dear people and get this posted! At last ..

Happy gardening

93 thoughts

  1. As you are moving into spring we are falling out of summer. Fantastic landscape photos. Lily and the yellow kitty are adorable. I love that wood pigeon. I wrote a song with the neighbors’ sheep, goats and chickens along with a lot of other morning sounds. I have not posted it on my blog but you can listen to it on SoundCloud. I’m sure you can relate. You can listen to it at if you would like.

    • Hi Tim always good to see you at Frog Pond Farm. So pleased you enjoyed the landscape pics, Lily and Jimmi. After lunch today the wood pigeon very kindly obliged with that photo. Couldn’t believe my luck. πŸ™‚ Great SoundCloud audio .. I sure can relate! Loved hearing the rooster – really miss not having one.

  2. Dear Julie what a good blog I’m sure my friends will enjoy it. I’ve woken up at four am and just been taken back home to Frogpond. Your photos are just amazing, and as someone who knows the landscape as I do, you really capture it. I really miss coming to see you both, but as you know we chat daily, which is some consolation. Glad that Andrew is baking bread again, I remember baking for my darling Joyce, the smell was amazing, I unfortunately gave my bread maker away. Glad my jam is still giving you pleasure. Keep up the good work, and one day your garlic will return. Much ❀️ to you both. Bill, xxx

    • Ah Mr Bonner … I had a feeling you might wake up early! See I told you today was the day … So pleased that you enjoyed the photos Bill, yes you sure do know the landscape. Andrew is doing an amazing job as Frog Pond baker .. πŸ™‚ Yes your jam is delicious! Hope you kept that recipe. I’ve given up on the garlic, although we do have some planted down next to the bananas which don’t have rust – well not yet anyway! Much love right back at you …xx

      • Well I sent it round the world, but somehow they didn’t get the blog . So I’ve just sent it all over again. My friends must think I’m mad ! But it has been sent. xxx

  3. How beautiful the farm is looking! I always enjoys my visits to your gorgeous garden, but I have to ask about your olive tree pruning … I have just one tree, it used to produce amazing olives every year, then about five years ago, it stopped. We gave the tree a light pruning, but later thought we had pruned it too harshly as we have not had one single olive on it since. I see your trees have had a major cut, so it can’t be the pruning that upset our tree after all. Any clues as to what happened?

    It’s wonderful to hear from you today, Julie, and to see all of your happy farm animals. Sending my best wishes to you, as always, across the Ditch. πŸ™‚

    • Hey Joanne lovely to see you here! Glad you enjoy your visits πŸ™‚ Our olive trees when they were in form produced every second year. And then because of their size and density became super difficult to harvest, the yield also reduced. I would be very surprised if your light prune has stopped it producing. I’m really not too sure Joanne why yours is sulking. But I’ll see if I can find out … πŸ™‚ Sending best wishes right back at you.

  4. Lovely shots as always Julie.
    The one of the misty valley behind the drive looks like a painting.
    I too wonder why the chooks aren’t keen on kale. Mine are fussy but it seems kale must be universally snubbed by our chookies.

    • Hello Rom, love your visits. Thanks for your kind words as always. The morning I shot the misty valley pic the light was just gorgeous .. couldn’t believe my luck. Do you think we have bred fussy chooks? LOL I like that … ‘snubbed’ by our cookies! Take care Miss .. hugs x

  5. As Romani says Julie those photographs are absolutely beautiful. Your garden and all the hard work you both put into it spurs David and I onwards! We have put in an orchard plus gooseberries and raspberries and are now preparing for direct drilling bush seeds ( kanuka,manukau,cordaline australis etc) its been very interesting collecting and preparing seeds. We now have vegie boxes and are about to build a propagation area. The ground is still very wet after flooding and galesπŸ˜‚as you say the joys of living on a windy hill.arent we lucky that we have soooo much work to do in a lock down! Mā te wā

    • Hello lovely how super hearing from you, has been ages! Glad you enjoyed the photos – what did you think of our olive tree haircuts? How wonderful growing gooseberries and raspberries – delicious! This direct drilling sounds so interesting. And collecting and preparing seed – big job I’m sure! There are a few benefits to living on a hill .. LOL Yes, there is always so much to do .. never ending. I went to throw some stuff in the compost this morning which is located in the veg garden (on the hillside .. ha ha) the grass surrounding the beds has grown overnight I’m sure. Yes another job! Hugs

  6. I always wish I could move to the other side of the world when summer’s coming to an end. I just don’t like winter and wish summer would last for 6 more months… Thank goodness I can find some comfort in your beautiful photographs, especially the ones when it’s summer, or when it’s about a cat… πŸ˜‰

    • Hey Herman – I know what you mean. I’m not much of a winter fan either. It’s great to know that you enjoy the photos. And of course, the special ones with our furry buddies! Take care, great to see you at our place.

    • Hi Claire … Bill sure is good at badgering. Mind you, Andrew’s not bad either πŸ™‚. Great to see you at Frog Pond Farm.

  7. All looking lush and beautiful as ever Julie πŸ™‚ We always seem to forget that trees grow so big when we plant them and so I can totally relate to the drastic olive pruning – we’ve just had to do the same to the oak trees alongside our farm drive as the lorry drivers were complaining about them. Bad luck about the garlic – it’s such a pain when you can’t grow the things you love. Doubtless you’ll find something else to fill the space though.

    • Hi Anne – so good seeing you at Frog Pond. Oh you are so right tree planting and their growth. We have been caught out so many times! That olive pruning was drastic, but so needed. They honestly were out of control. Funny about lorry drivers complaining about trees lining the driveway, I know that one well LOL. I’m so sad about the garlic, such a shame. I do have a card up my sleeve though. We have a garden which is hidden away down by our forest – and I have garlic growing in here. No rust to be seen .. and hopefully it will stay this way. I suspect that the rust spores in my veg garden even though I rotate regularly are there to stay.

  8. So lovely to see your beautiful photographs here Julie and a big thank you to Bill for nudging you into posting again! Your homegrown vegetables look delicious and sweet Lily and the cat are looking in fine form too. The scenery in and around your farm looks amazing – what a blessing to call this home. Wishing you all happy days ahead πŸ€—πŸ’– xxx

    • Hello lovely how wonderful to see you at our place. Oh it is such a blessing to be able to call this home, I’m so very lucky. I must thank Bill too, he is continuous with his nudging and then sends out the blog to all his friends! What a great guy .. Glad that you enjoyed my photos. Wishing you happy days ahead too! xxx

  9. Thanks, Bill, for pushing our dear Julie to do a long awaited blog post. Such beautiful images πŸ‘ I’m glad you’re keeping well and busy. Having a paradise like yours means so much in this crazy world. Our hubbies have a lot in common too. πŸ˜‰ Enjoy spring and the pleasure to be found in garden and nature. Love to you both xx

    • Hello Annette. Oh so good seeing you at our place! πŸ˜€ This post is so overdue I know. How bad have I got! We are well thanks Miss and always busy. Clearing up after the olive pruning was a huge job and there is still mulching to go. I laughed when I read about ‘hubbies having a lot in common’ … πŸ˜‰ I’m enjoying spring, the sun is shining and my garden is calling. Much love to you both xx

  10. NZ looks and feels wonderful. We are hoping to visit from the UK when we can. The Blog is a refreshing reminder of the things in the world that bring us to thinking of and trying to exult the finer things of humanity and nature. Some of the photos are so wonderful in making me ask is it real.
    Best wishes and thanks

    • Hi Albert so good to hear from you. I think NZ is wonderful too! Especially living out here – we are so very lucky. Yes, the photos are real – I’m so pleased that you have enjoyed them. You must come and see us when you visit NZ, that’s a must! Thanks so much for stopping by and your lovely comment.

  11. Welcome back Miss. And what lovely pics, especially the one of your valley in the mist. I’m glad Bill gave you a prod from over the ocean. Great to see those olive trees back in line. Dried olive sticks sounds like a nice wood to keep for a BBQ. Bruschetta on olive wood coals. Mmmm. It’s time you gave up garlic… can you do a swap with someone? Plenty of swappable produce at your place.
    I would like to visit, but impossible once again to make future plans, so just sending you a big hug in the meantime, beautiful lady. Xx

    • Hey Francesca how are you both? I can’t honestly believe how long it has taken me to get this post out! Thanks to Bill for his constant badgering πŸ˜€ Yum bruschetta on olive wood coals. I’ve said it before, I really wish you lived closer! I know what you mean about the garlic, but I’ve been sneaky and have a garden planted with them which is tucked away down by our forest. No rust here yet! LOL Got that big hug beautiful lady .. thank you! And when the gates do open again, which they will, you must come and stay! Much love xx

  12. I enjoyed reading this newsy post with delightful photos, and learned some new words, like chooks! Thank you for taking the time to write. The olive tree pruning by Greg, now that’s a sight to behold. πŸ˜‰

    • Oh you are so welcome Hien. I always enjoy your visits. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Laughed too when I read that you had learned a new word – chooks! The olives are a sight to behold indeed. But at least now, they will be manageable … πŸ˜€

  13. Thanks to Bill for getting us closer to you n.n Now I will add the sound of wind to your home. Wishing you a lovely soon to come Spring, Julie! πŸ€πŸ‘πŸ˜Ίβ˜˜πŸŒ³πŸŒ²

    • Hello Francis – I so enjoy hearing from you! Yes, do add the sound of the wind, and the sunshine. πŸ˜€ Today is just beautiful and my garden is calling. I miss your blog!

    • Lovely to hear from you as always. It’s always a busy time when the seasons change. I went out before to pop something in the compost and I’m sure the grass has grown overnight .. another job πŸ˜€ I’m so pleased you enjoyed the photos.

    • Thanks Michael – I’m pleased to say goodbye to winter! I’m not so sure the olive trees are happy, but I am, they are going to be very manageable from now on! LOL Good to see you at Frog Pond.

  14. I love your farm, your beautiful world, all the delightful animals and birds, and reading your Spring post! Your winter is our Spring…I would like that…just Spring, Summer, and Fall. Ah well, here we are heading toward our next huge switch…it’s suppose to freeze in six days or so. Take joy where you can…of which I know you do for your lovely blogs speaks volumes of joy.

    • Hello Linda … so good to see you here Miss! Oh thank you – I’m glad you think our place is special, me too.Pleased too that you enjoyed the spring read! Yes you are heading into the next huge switch – I always find winter a bit tough, although our winter is relatively mild in comparison to yours. I like that, take joy where you can πŸ˜€ I know there’s plenty of that in my garden! Thanks for your lovely comment xx

  15. How nice, you are here dear Julie, please let me say this, “Thank you dear Bill!”… I really miss you, you are my New Zealand, and you know with the Grand Design, NZ, Chris Moller… The distance between us, can’t be problem, as now, I am there… Gardening, farming are not easy I know this, but you both doing great. All these beautiful photographs giving a feeling of peace and infinity… like a dream actually. By the way I read a news, about the name of your country, I hope not to change… Be sure, I felt all smells, from the kitchen. And lovely cat! Thank you dear Julie, Blessing and Happiness for you all, it should be now to take a rest, it is summer now for you. Love, nia

    • Hey lovely Nia, how are you? So good to see you at Frog Pond Farm. I’m sure Bill will read your comment and smile! I just love your enthusiasm Nia. And thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m so pleased that you enjoy the photos and my post. Oh and you are so right about the kitchen – I adore the smell of bread baking, it’s just divine. I knew that you would like the photo of Jimmi, he is just gorgeous and a real character. Happiness to you my friend .. there is much to do in the garden and we have a few more months and then summer!

  16. Julie, as always, your garden is beautiful. I loved the shot of the mist in the valley- so serene and beautiful. Good on Andrew for the bread! We also have dusted off our bread maker and are so enjoying the delicious homely smells of freshly baked bread. We are puddling around in our garden but would adore to be able to go to a garden centre for the needed supplies for our future vege garden. Hoping by next week we will be allowed out of lockdown prison!
    Love to you and Andrew xx

    • Hello lovely so good to hear from you! How good is it making your own bread. And that wonderful smell .. up there with coffee πŸ˜€ I started sowing some seed the other day as I know what will happen when finally we are able to go to the garden centres … Fingers crossed we move down a level next week. Pleased that you enjoyed the photos – that one of the valley is a special shot, one of my favs. Great to see you at Frog Pond. Much love to you both xx

  17. Hello Julie,
    So happy to see this update from you. A part of me wishes that I could be like the migrating birds and travel across the hemispheres to experience Spring again πŸ™‚ Hoping you and your husband continue to stay safe.

    • Oh thank you! Lovely to hear from you and nice to know that you stopped by πŸ™‚ Spring is such a pretty season isn’t it? I love watching the trees bud up, the orchard boasting blossom and the pop of colour in the flower beds! Wonderful …

    • Thank you! Great to see you at Frog Pond Farm πŸ™‚ It sure is a pretty season. I just love watching the garden come to life. So pleased that you enjoyed the photos ..

  18. So lovely to see you and the farm back again – beautiful photos of your little Eden. I’m sure a lot of us can relate to your discomfort at the storm since everywhere our weather events get more violent.

    • Thank you! It’s fun when I finally do post. I so enjoy writing and it’s so good being about to share our place! I’ve always thought this might be little Eden, we sure are lucky. Lovely to see you at Frog Pond Farm. πŸ™‚

    • Lovely to know that you enjoyed the post! That’s my favourite pic too. There is something special about mist in the valley πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by ..

    • Hello Bob! How are you? I do miss leaving comments on your blog .. might have to send you an email πŸ™‚ Glad that you enjoyed the photos and long overdue update! I sure will pass on your thanks to Bill ..

      • Hi Julie, regarding your olive trees, I had to do some severe pruning of some of our trees. It makes me nervous to do so, but it has to be done. I hope you are well. Feel free to drop me a line anytime, it would be great to hear from you. Take care. Bob

      • Hey Bob … severe pruning makes me nervous too. Normally we wouldn’t do this, but it was much needed given they were out of control (our fault by the way πŸ™‚). We’re really good thanks. And yes, watch out, I’ve been think about dropping you a line πŸ˜€

      • Hi Julie! I am hoping you see this message. I seem to have lost your email and address. Could you give me your mailing address. I would like to send you and Andrew a card. I hope all is well. Bob

  19. Beautiful photos, Julie. It’s always good to see/hear of life on Frog Pond Farm. Glad the olive trees have been pruned and you’re still getting out to Muriwai. September is the windiest month of the year in Sydney and it seems that’s the same for you. I hope you’re keeping well.

    • Hi Mr Draco. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the pics. Frog Pond is looking rather special thanks to Spring .. Except for the olive trees … LOL! We’re really good, hope you are too! Looking forward to seeing another post from Lignum Draco …

  20. Winter and spring each have their own beauty, and it all looks wonderful as you transition into spring! It is autumn where I am, and time to harvest garden, orchard and vineyard, and prepare for winter. We finally had a couple of days of rain. I was never happier to see rain! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Lavinia .. so nice to see you here! You are so right – the seasons sure do have their own beauty. I’m an autumn fan, no doubt about it! Mind you, spring sure is making Frog Pond Farm look lovely. Enjoy your harvesting – and the rain! πŸ™‚

  21. What a marvelous tour you’ve given us, Julie…I guess your UK Marketing Manager knows what he’s doing. πŸ˜‰ I love that cow silhouette, also the 3rd photo where you’re looking up at the chooks (had to look that one up and my spell check does NOT like it!). How could they go for the Brassicas but not kale? I think they’re just trying to keep you on your toes. Mmm, I adore that shot of the road leading to the misty valley. The olive tree pruning astounds me – wow, interesting. And you are indeed lucky to have a resident baker. I have a resident “chef” but he doesn’t bake because he avoids carbs but my diet is the better for it. On the other hand, your bread sounds so good. Just imagine what he’ll do when the olives start up again…thank you for sharing your world!

    • Hey Lynn … I’m so pleased you enjoyed the tour πŸ™‚ I bet your spell check didn’t like chooks! LOL I really like that cow shot too and the one with the ‘chooks’ and the trees, but that misty shot is my fav. Oh so you have a resident chef too! Wonderful right. I’m just loving the bread – but I’m bad! Great to see you here, thanks so much for stopping by, it’s great sharing our place with you!

  22. love all your beautiful photos. i had to laugh about the kale. it’s the devil’s work! terrible stuff so i can see why not even a chook would eat it πŸ™‚

    • Hey Sherry … your comment made me laugh too! What is it about kale? πŸ˜€ I’m pleased you enjoyed the photos. Great to see you at Frog Pond Farm …

  23. Lovely to hear from you and glad Bill encourages you. Those olives look severely pruned, could be the answer for some of ours and worth trying on some. I’m hoping for a lot this year as I spotted so many of the tiny flowers. Interesting about kale but my daughter’s rabbits live off it. Your cat is gorgeous and deserves pride of place and your spring view looks stunning and you can almost breathe cool clear air. All the best from us coming into Autumn now.

    • So good to hear from you …. Yes those olives received a serious haircut, but it was much needed. I have my fingers crossed πŸ™‚ I think your daughter’s rabbits are very lucky. Thankfully, the wild bunnies that reside at Frog Pond, haven’t taken a liking to it yet. Isn’t Jimmi lovely – such a show off! Enjoy autumn, sorry for the late reply πŸ™‚

      • Am back now and very few olives and right at the top of these old and high trees! I will look around and see which might respond well to a cut and where there is a good water supply. Winter is setting in now with rain and chillier mornings. Enjoy your summer.

  24. Just so beautiful Julie the air feels fresh and warm in you photos and one day perhaps I will grow a few vegetables like you πŸ€“πŸ’šπŸ… I love to see your farm as well … I also love the land πŸ€“πŸ€πŸ•Šsending peace and joy hedy πŸ’«

    • Hello Miss Hedy … always lovely hearing from you. When we moved here I had no idea that I would end up with a green thumb and love my garden! Go on, grow some vegetables – it is so rewarding! Sending you peace and joy πŸ˜€

  25. Hi Julie, good to see that you are well and still posting outstanding images of your farm and NZ. Enjoy the summer. We are slowly diving into the autumn season and winter is near. Happy days. Reinhold & Boomer.

    • Hi Reinhold how lovely to hear from you! I’m so pleased you enjoyed the photos. I sure will enjoy summer. We have had lots of rain this spring which is so good for the garden. I hope you enjoy autumn, my favourite season. Happy days to you – pats to Boomer πŸ™‚

    • Hi Steve … we sure are enjoying spring. The garden looks amazing, probably something to do with the rain we have been having πŸ™‚ Great to hear from you, happy autumn

  26. It’s always good to have a #1 fan, right? Sounds like you do! These pictures are gorgeous, as usual, and my blood pressure lowers just looking at them. The pigeon photo really pops–that one deserved a frame!

    • So pleased to hear that you enjoyed the pics! I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw that wood pigeon, and thankfully my camera wasn’t far away. Great to see you at Frog Pond Farm πŸ™‚

  27. Julie, I of all people know how busy busy is and to post something like this I understand the work involved. Loved every single one of your pictures as you show all who do come to view this the abundance you and your hubby do have. Truly fantastic. Pruning those olive trees reminds me of what I did to our lilac trees (bushes) and our red bud bushes for they over the years were not pruned heavily enough and got unruly. Do I trust myself? Yes. But I have no idea what the outcome will lead to so I have next year to see. Your images absolutely stunning and I enjoyed and savored each one slowly. You brought memories back when I was a kid and my mom grew our veges. There truly is nothing like homegrown veges and fruits. Mouth is watering just thinking about it. LOL

    • Hi Amy … oh thank you for your lovely comment. I so enjoy sharing our place – it’s hard work but so worth it. I couldn’t believe how big and unruly the olive trees became. And given their planting on a hillside, pruning has always been difficult. But trust me, after this serious haircut, we won’t let them get out of control again. Best of luck with your lilac trees – I sure do understand. I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the photos Amy. How wonderful to think that they brought back childhood memories. There are often times when I’m in my garden that I think back to when I was young – my father was such an amazing gardener! And I have his green thumb. Yay! Super seeing you here my friend xx

  28. I don’t have a vegetable garden but I love to buy fresh organic vegetables home grown from local farmers, not only am I eating good for me vegetables, but I feel good knowing that I’m supporting the local farmers. Gorgeous photos. Thank you xo

    • Hi Masha … I’m pleased you enjoyed the photos! I too like buying veg from local growers, it’s great being able to support them. Thanks for visiting Frog Pond Farm.

  29. What a wonderful post! Great updates about the farm, and the most beautiful photos, Julie. I have missed your posts and thank you for sharing this beauty. Sounds like between the brassica, hubby’s baking and Bill’s jams, you’ll be well-fed! Stay well and enjoy your spring! We’re having uncertain weather here too, though we are in winter now. Gale force winds so big the other night, we woke up and rushed to see if any of the trees in our little valley had come down. Re: Garlic – did you try moving them to another area entirely? So sorry to hear the rust is still there.

    • Hi Cynthia .. so good to hear from you! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the post. How I loathe winter gales .. mind you, spring if often our windiest. And it just happens to be blowing today! I always rotate the garlic, but last year I planted in a bed near our forest which didn’t get rust till the end of the season. Yay! I must get a Frog Pond Farm update out soon. Thanks so much for visiting. Happy New Year to you!

    • Hi Karen … how lovely to hear from you! We did have a wonderful Christmas – hope you did too! πŸ™‚ Happy New Year!

  30. Hey Julie: Bill’s not the only one that needs a new post from you. Get with it, girl! Your fans are waiting! Big hugs from me in Canada, where just yesterday, we had the powerful winds of which you wrote.

    • Hi Cynthia how lovely to hear from you! I smiled when I read your comment … just what I needed! Gosh we have had more powerful winds this week too! Hugs right back at you 😊

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