Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for June 2017

Readers may click on any photo in this post to enlarge.  Our feature photo for June is one of our fine roses that came into bloom this month. Originally planted by the previous owner, this one and its many friends survived being dug up and replanted when the house was rebuilt 5 years ago.  I am forever grateful to the help we received from our friend Lyn in digging up all these thorny beauties and boxing them up until they could be replanted.

This lightly scented beauty begins life a creamy pink, and turns almost white as the blooms age.

Tough girls, they survived hot weather in pots and cardboard boxes covered with a minimal amount of dirt and infrequent watering.  Only one of the group has died back over the years, leaving just the rootstock to regrow and bloom.  The surviving rootstock we believe is an example of one called Dr. Huey.

Dr. Huey, I presume. The photo is from a previous year when the graft (pinkish bloom upper right) was still living and blooming. The Dr. Huey rootstock has taken over with masses of red blooms.

Tim & Laurie Price have some lovely photos of their Dr. Huey and other photos from the Corrales Rose Society annual Dr. Huey tours on their site.

Susan B. Graham is a rose photography judge and avid gardener.  Please visit her sites as well for many outstanding photos, including the famous Dr. Huey rose.

News from the farm

Sundown here at Salmon Brook Farms, view to the southeast.

The troubled weather that came riding in with Spring is transitioning peacefully as Summer asserts her time and place on our little farm in the Cascade foothills. Our first of the month arrived in a shroud of light drizzle and temperatures in the mid 50s, and ended that evening in the 70s watching the molten colors of sunset from a nearby mountain top, deep in conversation with friends.  June has come and gone quickly, mostly filled with snapshots in time of things I have seen, to be replayed in mind’s eye at later times.  I was struck by a quotation I recently saw on Baz & Janet’s Xplore site.  Avid travelers and explorers from Australia, they were visiting Merlin’s Cave, Tintatgel, Cornwall.

The Wisdom of Merlin…

“Spend time not pondering what you see, but why you see it…”

The blooms of the black locust scented the air in early June, attracting bees and admiring humans.

The creamy white, heavily scented blooms of the black locust tree have come and gone along with the irises, succeeded by other species now heavily in bloom. Roses wave and dance, colorful skirts swirling on the breeze, while the orange trumpets of daylilies continue to make a joyful nose of color, accompanied by the butterfly bush which has now joined the symphony.

Make a joyful noise! A bed of orange daylily trumpets at sundown last night. The purple butterfly bush in the background has joined in celebration.

A colorful dancer, she can be seen whirling and waving at the sky on breezy days.

A contemplative member of the garden who has seen several locations, and is much happier now. Planted in memory of my own mother, variety John Paul.

I recall one clear blue, cloudless sky morning earlier in the month; the waning crescent moon was still overhead, white and marbled with light grey like quartz tumbled by the sea. There was little to no traffic on the road, being an early Sunday morning.  It was pleasantly quiet; the land was still and the wind chimes silent.

A few days in the 90s caught my attention. The wind was continually restless and warm, and contained much energy; I could see cumulus piling up over the Cascades. The sky continued to marble with thin, high cirrus clouds, later on boiling with heavy, rolling clouds and widening chasms where one could see to upper levels and bright filtered light. That night, flashes of light over the mountains glowed on the underside of clouds as a storm brewed to the southeast.

Some of June’s many colorful clouds. An eastern view at sunset as the last rays of the sun reflected off the bottom of our aerial wanderers as they crossed over the Cascades.

A few morning cumulus and altocumulus reflected the peach and rose colors of dawn, and at least two clouds were presenting themselves as a colorful example of virga, rain observed to fall from a cloud and evaporate well above the ground.

Clouds in shades of lavender, white hot peach and rose painted in bold strokes against a deepening blue. A pleasant breeze came up after sundown that evening as the land cooled off. Movement over by the back north border head caught my eye. A brushy-tailed grey fox came down from the neighbor’s field across our back lot and into our patch of woods; a handsome little fellow in search of food. I recall Rick saying he had seen a fox a few nights prior to my sighting, but he indicated he had seen a red fox. I saw the grey fox on the border of the hazelnut grove another evening; he watched me intently as I closed the gate and shut off the water. I was probably within 100 feet of him.

Sundown, northwest view.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Mr. Nano has been occupied with important duties this month, so he has assigned Mr. Marcus and Mr. Lucio the task of filing the June report. The farm photographer was sent out to provide documentation on activities they have seen.

Mr. Nano has been very busy this month.

Without further ado, Mr. Nano presents Resident Feline Correspondents Marcus and Lucio, and their report for June, 2017.


Mr. Marcus (left), Mr. Lucio (right). Time to wake up and get to work!

We have observed the transition in the weather from cool and wet to drier and sunnier.  The mornings are still deliciously cool and pleasant, and often accompanied by the missives of small birds outside the office window as they cling to strong-stemmed plants and eat the seeds from neighboring dandelions. We have noted with alarm the distinct drop off in the number of bees, especially honeybees, this spring, which we attribute to wetter and cooler than usual weather.  Although there is much clover growing amid the grassy areas, few honeybees have been sighted feeding on it.

The vineyards and garden are now receiving much attention as the season progresses.   Tomatoes, corn, peppers and a few eggplants starts have already gone in, soon to be followed by squash, cucumbers, red cabbage and broccoli this weekend.

Rick carefully tending a pepper plant start.

Placing a cage around the pepper plant to support it as it grows.

The table grapes and pinot noir produced many flowering clusters, and barring hail or other calamities, should produce a good crop, and perhaps some good wine, this autumn.

Cascade table grapes in progress!

Pinot noir wine grapes in progress!

Flowers continue to bloom in succession, both domestic and wild, presenting a visual feast from any window.  The heirloom roses on the north border provide a riot of color in June.  They bloom but once a season, unlike our other roses.

The Shogun tiger lily collection, safely growing in a barrel planter away from tunneling gophers.

Colorful purple spires of the butterfly bush at sundown, growing crescent of the moon just off to the right.

Wildflowers in the meadow. Perhaps Clare from “A Suffolk Lane” would know what they are?

Heirloom roses on the north border, growing wild and carefree.

Cherries are now coming into season, along with blueberries, native trailing blackberries, strawberries and raspberries, providing delicious, healthy deserts.

Non-native blackberry in bloom will provide much needed nectar for bees, good eating later on for us. Wild blackberry provides the main honey flow in June for the Willamette Valley. There are far more of these about the farm than the native trailing blackberry which has ripe fruit now. We keep it in check as best we can. These plants can throw 20 foot, very thorny canes.

The black tartarian cherries, soft and very sweet, will become inky purple when ripe. There are also bing cherries here, as well as many wild cherries about.

A favorite image from back in the old house. our own roses and fruit. Wine is from Sauternes.

We would like to end this report with Michael’s Tree.  Planted in honor of GP Cox’s son Michael, USMC.  GP runs the site Pacific Paratrooper, dedicated to Pacific War era information.

Michael’s tree at sundown. This redwood will grow tall and strong, providing shade and shelter. It will outlive us. It has already put on much new growth this spring.

Birds overseeing the photography at sundown. We believe these are the ones that were nesting in the eves of the old garage.

We wish our readers a pleasant day and evening ahead, wherever you may be.

– Resident Feline Correspondents Mr. Marcus and Mr. Lucio

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

For those readers who are new or catching up, the Salmon Brook Farms YouTube channel now has content, and our first Tiny Farm Concerts one song music video was posted at the end of March. I am 14 years older and a good bit more grey since my first and only CD was released back in 2003, but still in the saddle. It has been an interesting ride, with more to come! I have received a request for a video of “Believe in Tomorrow” from the Keepsake CD, so that task is still in my work queue, which gets longer and harder to keep up with in summer.  I have no new videos for June due to all the activity here, but do keep an eye on more content appearing in July.

For those who have missed previous posts and wish to view the channel content, here are links to the  previous two videos.

The Orchard, our distributor, has placed some of our music from the Keepsake CD on YouTube. Anyone wishing to see the entire track listing and stories behind the songs should visit my personal page under MUSIC in the menu at the top of this post. Depending on what country you live in, the music placed on YouTube by The Orchard may be blocked. Readers can also access some songs from the CD via the old IUMA archive site. See

In the meantime, in your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep your own local music alive. Go out and see someone you don’t know, host a house concert, download songs or buy CDs. Or even just stop for a minute to hear someone at a Farmers’ Market. Live, local musicians provide a wealth of talent most people will never hear about in this age of iPods, Internet and TV.

Bookings and home-grown produce:
Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

Sundown here at Salmon Brook Farms. I often think of the last lines of Desiderata. When my father died, he left all his children a copy of Desiderata, which I value above all else. “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.” Having survived many battles in the Pacific during WWII, including Peleliu, he understood far better than any of us what this actually means. I regret that he did not find true peace until the end of his life.


82 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for June 2017

  1. Timothy Price says:

    Great looking roses, flowers and plants, as always. If you still have a live graft on the one rose, cut the Dr. Huey canes off where they come out of the main rootstock and the grafted rose might recover. Thanks for the call out. We had a 4th annual Corrales Rose Society Dr. Huey Tour this year, but I didn’t post anything about it and I don’t think Susan did either — the tradition continues. The kitties are looking good and they are great correspondents. We have lots and lots of bees. Even though the early morning temps are still quite cool, it’s been warm, so the purple salvia, the hardy lavenders and lamb’s ear have been blooming like crazy and the bees love it. Great sunsets photos. Have a great 4th of July weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tim, thanks for stopping by! I haven’t seen the rose graft this year, yet. We fear the worst. Good to hear the Corrales Rose Society annual Dr. Huey Tour still continues, and that you have lots of bees.

      You and Laurie have a great weekend, too. Looking forward to your photos of 4th of July in Corrales!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Chloris! Thanks for stopping by from The Blooming Garden, and for the kind comments. June has been a very busy month and I hope to get caught up again with all of you soon. Your gardens are always lovely!


    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Jill! Yes, that copy of Desiderata from my father is a real treasure to me. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend, and I will be catching up with everyone’s posts this weekend. June got ahead of me before I knew it. 🙂


    • Thank you for stopping by from Scotland, Mr. Tootlepedal; the roses thank you for you kind comment! 🙂 We are also hoping the grapes continue to behave. Based on last year’s experiment, we have a chance of making some very decent wine from the pinot noir, if all goes well the rest of the season. 🙂


  2. Such an enjoyable newsletter! What a tough but beautiful rose that Dr Huey is! No wonder it is the go-to rootstock!
    I’m sorry to say I don’t recognise that pretty wildflower you have. I hope someone can tell you its name.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Roses are so beautiful, and then of course, there’s the scent! You’ve had some lovely, colorful sunsets and it looks as though the cats have all the good news on the farm and growing plants. Did you know you can eat those black locust blossoms? Fresh, mind you, with a cream sauce over pasta. They taste like peas, and locusts are legumes, believe it or not…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate, thank you so much for stopping by from Barn House Garden, and for the kind comments! Summer is such a wonderful season with all the flowers and fruit coming in now. Glad you enjoyed the daylilies and roses, and those fine words of wisdom from Merlin. 🙂

      I hope to get caught up again with you all shortly. June seemed a very short month for some reason. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for the updated picture of Michael’s tree. I copied it of course. It has character, don’t you think?
    Glad you could save the roses, I am awful in growing roses or orchids. But, your entire farm is blooming beautifully and I’m thrilled all is thriving. I have heard about the drop in bees, have the scientists come up with any possible fixes to that problem?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, and the kind comments GP! Michael’s tree does indeed have character. I would expect no less! 🙂

      All those roses except the white one I planted for my mother were planted by the old owner or his parents. They did well in this soil and liked the climate, and deserved a chance at being saved. My friend Lyn is a good gardener, and has helped out on many a project here.

      The bees have multiple problems ranging from parasites and viruses, insecticidal exposure from agriculture and home owners, to weather conditions. It is a tough problem to solve, and all it takes is one uneducated or uncaring neighbor spraying to wipe out your own hive of bees. I stopped keeping bees when we took on Rick’s mother, as the amount of work involved in caring for them was too much for me at the time. I will be setting up a new hive again, hopefully next year. Wish me luck!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kerry, thank you so much for stopping by and the kind comments! Writing is something I enjoy doing, and it is all the more pleasurable when someone finds words of meaning there.

      It is a beautiful time of year in this part of the country!


  5. I’m happy to see that everything is happening at your farm.
    Wonderful flowers and beautiful sunsets!
    Bees disappear everywhere and once that happens to more extent we will be in trouble. Therefore we have to preserve every space we just can in order to prevent them from dying. That would be very serious interruption of the food chain, and it is certainly alarming. We don’t want humans to follow, but the amounts of chemicals and their killing properties are having big impact. I don’t know whether we can turn back to where we were in pre-chemical era.
    It’s nice to see that you are also playing music and cats are fine. I wish you fruitful and good summer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Inese! Always good to see you! Any progress that can be made by humans in the arena of using fewer chemicals would be a boon to mankind as well as to Nature.

      Have a wonderful summer, a bountiful garden and the warmth of family and friends, Inese! 🙂


    • Joe, thank you for stopping by and the kind comments! Michael’s tree is the center one of a line of five redwoods, all planted in memory of someone. They will grow tall and strong over the years, and outlive us.


  6. It is another hot June morning here, dear Lavinia! I am at my desk with your beautiful song and voice… I read all your June reports how beautiful souls you are both there . Your farm like a heaven garden, with so beautiful flowers, plants and lovely cats. The links of the flowers fascinated me. Thank you, Thank you for you too, lovely Mr. Nano. Have a wonderful new month, Love and Hugs, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by all the way from Istanbul, Nia, and thank you for the kind comments! I am honored you enjoy the farm, cats and music! Roses are such lovely flowers, and hardy souls.

      The mornings are still cool here, sometimes overcast and misty. The cats love the cool air coming in the windows. We have had days in the 90s, but it always cools off at night, with very little humidity.

      Love to you and your family, dear Nia, and your Princess kitty, and all the Cats of Istanbul. I love little Grace and her kittens. They are getting big! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely photos, and there is so much love of people and place in your post. I am always amazed at the hardiness of roses eg “The early settlers to New Zealand brought rose cuttings and seeds with them on the long voyages from Britain for their gardens and when a family member died they often planted a rose by their grave. Some roses found growing in the Burial Ground are believed to be from original plantings and these are considered “living history”. Roses have been rescued from historic sites and local roadsides where they are in danger of being destroyed by development or weed killing.–Judgeford-and-Whitby/Historic-site–Pauatahanui-Burial-Ground-and-Rose-Project

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Gallivanta, and the kind comments! Roses are incredibly tough souls, and living history. Our clay soil here seems to be good medium for propagating them.

      Thank you for the link to the rose project!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Lavinia,
    Thanks for the tour of your farm and all those beautiful roses! Actually all of it. How exciting – not to mention labor-intensive – to get your garden growing. Speaking of honeybees … I had a rather exciting moment sitting on my own back porch this morning and overlooking the lawn beyond which has quite an amount of clover this year – I saw 3! honeybees getting nectar from the clover flowers. I did not see a one last year and I took it as an encouraging sign. Hope yours show up soon! Best,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeanne, thanks for stopping by and the kind comments. Yes, labor intensive it is, especially right now. It is hard for me to catch up with everything, and everyone.

      I am glad you saw bees in the clover in your yard this year. I see some here, especially on warm sunny days like today, but not the large numbers of past years. I hope this trend reverses itself soon!

      All the best to you there at Still A Dreamer! I love my decaf coffee, by the way: organic, fair-trade Sumatran decaf. We buy from a local roaster. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you stop by from Frog Pond Farm in New Zealand, Julie, and thanks for the kind comments! I keep forgetting you are in winter now, where you are. New Zealand looks lovely in any season, though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. We stay in awe in front of the first picture . What a delicateness . This rose is admirable .
    I like also your description of your garden where The sky , the clouds take a part to enhance the beauty of the various flower beds , of roses especially.
    I love also your comment with well chosen words,Lavinia.
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michel, thank you for stopping by from France to visit, and for the kind comments! The unsettled sky is very beautiful as the seasons change. Some of our mornings have been almost like coastal weather though, cool and cloudy. Much of our weather is determined by the gaps in the Coastal Mountain Range, which allows cool air from the Pacific to pour into the Willamette Valley at night and cool things off, and one of the reasons pinot noir does so well here, and is the flagship wine grape of the region. One of the most notable gaps here is known as the Van Duzer Corridor. I found this video on the Van Duzer you might find interesting.

      Love to you and Janine,
      Lavinia ❤


  10. Our success with roses has been mostly to feed the leaves to caterpillars. We do much better with berries. We stopped at a local pick-your own yesterday and hauled home 20 pounds for canning and freezing. We will mix these with the raspberries, which grown in our fields… thanks to the birds planting them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oscar, thank you so much for stopping by from the Hermits Door, and for the kind comments! There is nothing like the summer season for fresh berries, of any kind. The birds plant blackberry around here. We have several invasive species of blackberry and one native trailing blackberry. I haven’t seen the wild black raspberries I remember from back east that my parents used to call “Scotch Caps”. Those were good too! I also remember a patch of wild red raspberries up a hill near where I grew up. Locals called them “Wineberries”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have not heard of “Scotch Caps”. Must investigate that. We do have Wineberries, which just came in this week. The locals do make wine from them (actually, more of a liquor in that the press the juice from the berries and add vodka… not really wine, but whose checking.) If found out recently that these are native to Asia and have naturalized in the Eastern USA. Speaking of wine and berries, our summer drink at dinner is whatever berries we picked soaked in red wine. Makes for a sangria type wine for dinner and desert in a glass. Cheers. -Oscar

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Kev says:

    The blooms are absolutely marvelous, Lavinia. Great post.

    I eagerly await your contribution to Talk Music. Once you have your article ready email it to me along with links and pics. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments, Kevin! And thank you for being patient with me while we struggle with summer’s work load. I will definitely get that music project done, and send it along to you.

      We’ve gone from cool and wet to variable and dry now, and the grass has started turning brown. Rick noted deer damage in the table grapes which are not behind 8ft deer fencing like the pinot noir. Usually deer only go after the early spring growth and leave the older shoots alone. This is a first. Every year is different, presenting unique challenges.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Annie, and the kind comments! The season has started well, and I hope finishes well. We did get some insect netting to try on a few select rows, and I hope to have some good pinot noir to crush for wine this fall.

      Yes, the summer season with all its work is upon us, and I am having a hard time staying current with everyone. I am stronger this year, and trying to carry a heavier load around the farm, in addition to getting back into music. Too many projects needing attention!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Teagan! Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments. The cats and crew here send you and Crystal lots of hugs! 🙂

      The summer season with all its work is upon us, and I am having a hard time staying current with everyone. Enjoy the season and all it has to offer; it feels like fall just around the corner. It was 43 degrees this morning, although it will get into the 80s later today.


  12. “Spend time not pondering what you see, but why you see it…”

    I like that statement…. Good advice by Merlin.. the photographs are beautiful and I enjoyed reading the updates. You are so lucky to live surrounded by Nature (I am telling you as an urban woman: or suburban, better said… both ways: it gets noisy!).
    Love the featured rose above and I am listening once again to “Weary Stranger” ⭐ excellent!- The other song in which you play the guitar is great too.
    Thank you so much for sharing you magic, dear Lavinia. Much love! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, and the kind comments, Aquileana! Always good to see you, and I am glad you enjoy the music! Yes, we are very lucky here to be surrounded by Nature and all her creatures. There is a family of foxes living out back in the wooded area now. We see them sometimes, in early evening. They appear to be two adults and two kits. One was very curious, and I was able to get a photo of the one I think is a dog fox, the adult male.

      Much love to you, too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I comment here Nano ‘ s report ! I am a amazed by all of the species you get in your garden and meadow. And I do not speak of the wineyard.
    About the honey bees you are right. This year I saw less honeybees but at the opposite I saw a lot of bumblebees of various species on the rhaspberries then on the clover .
    I discovered you were a talented guitarist and singer, Lavinia . I went to You Tube to see and hear the video.
    At last I have been moved by your father ‘ s last letter .
    Your post is very rich in contents , always interesting.; It recalls me my first xanga posts in the years 2000’s when I described the all of my garden . Now I tend to focus on little things but are there little things? 🙂
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • So good to see you, Michel! Thank you for stopping by, and all the kind comments on the blog and the music!

      I am seeing more honeybees now than earlier this year, but still far too few. We have grey foxes now, a family, that visits the farm. I was able to get a couple of photos of them, and I will post those at the end of this month.

      This is the busiest time of year for us, and when I am most deprived of sleep with the long days and workload. Blueberries and cherries were delicious fruits this month. The cherries are almost done, and we still have some blueberries left to pick, but those too, will be finished by the end of the month. Plums followed by apples and then grapes, will follow.

      The little things in life are not so little, as you have noted. They provide rich, colorful threads to weave into the tapestries of our lives.

      Much love to you and Janine, ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Janine’s raspberry jelly sounds wonderful! I tried making grape jelly once, but Rick and I don’t really eat sweets. We just eat the grapes as is, or now, try to make wine from them. Last year’s wine experiment worked well, so we’ll be trying that again. We will be insect netting a section of the pinot noir vineyard, so hopefully the birds and bees will not be able to get at those grapes, and we’ll have some good grapes to make wine from.

        Love to you and Janine ❤


  14. Here it is, nearing the end of July and I’m just now visiting your beautiful farm. We traveled in June via the Rocky Mountaineer. It’s luxury train travel that departs from Calgary and ends in Vancouver with stops throughout the Rockies. It was so fantastic. Then July, well it has just flown by.
    I’m wow’d by the oppulence of blooming plants you see in June ! We’re at least a month behind your growing season I should think. My daylilies are only now just blooming but most everything blooms in July. I supplement my perennials with baskets and pots of annuals for summer colour. Although, with so much rain this past week, I see aphids on them now. I’ll need to Google a natural Rx for that.
    The roses are all fantastic! I have only one in my yard. It’s a pink climber, now finished blooming but will make a 2nd, much less showy, appearance.
    Like you, I’m not seeing too many Bumblebees. While the rose bloomed, I was excited to see lot’s of them everyday. Buzzing happily along the stems and disappearing inside the layered petals. Since then, not a one! It’s worrisome.
    I’m sure you’re working harder than ever at this time of year. I’ve planted a lot less than usual since we were going to be away in June, so yard maintenance has been quite easy. I think I might have stumbled apon something I appreciate 😀 Cheers my dear. Enjoyed my visit, as always x Boomdee

    Liked by 1 person

    • So good to see you, Boomdee, all the way from Alberta, Canada! Thank you for visiting, and the kind comments. I would imagine where you are that your growing season is a good 4 weeks behind ours, and shorter. You are correct, we have been flat out in June and July, and I have been behind catching up with all of you.

      Our daylilies are done blooming down here,and the roses are taking a break from the summer heat. All is hot and dry now, and we probably won’t see rain again until late September or October. I saw some bumble bees yesterday, and there are more honeybees now that the catnip, oregano and mint are in bloom. Still not the numbers I would expect, but I am glad to see them.

      Cheers to you all up there in Canada! I enjoyed your visit too! 🙂


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