Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for April 2018

Our feature photo this month is one of our more tenacious, scrappy and colorful residents, a shrub I believe is a most likely a flowering quince. Planted by the previous owner right next to the well house, Lucille soon outgrew her allotted space.  I moved her some years ago, to a location where she could grow unfettered by human gardening sensibilities. She proved difficult to extract from the hard clay soil, having firmly entrenched herself by sending many roots far underneath the cement floor of the well house. Like the original Disney movie The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, starring Mickey Mouse, the numerous rootlets cut and left behind soon regrew into many, sending up stout shoots between cracks in the floor, and all around the building. It is now a continual struggle to keep her myriad offspring at bay.

Lucille, flowering quince

News from the farm

It has been a long, slow transition from the cold, damp reign of Old Man Winter. He has lurked about longer than usual this year, taking his time moving on down the road. The exuberant growth of spring cannot be contained for long, however, each species in turn rushing to complete its flowering cycle before the next phase. Daffodils have peaked and are now waning with the moon; bud break has occurred in the vineyard; the first iris has opened by the old garage.

First iris of the spring season!

Our only surviving tulips outside any planters, planted in gravel by the garage. Too much work for gophers and voles?

The skies of spring are highly changeable, drawn from the rivers of moisture flowing over the Pacific Northwest and painted with an artist’s eye from a palette of blues, greys, golds and white. Coming down off the foothills into the valley floor below, the sky often opens a bit for the observer. From here, one can see the armada of wind driven clouds sailing up the valley, heading north, some lodging like river foam along the banks of mountains, the Coastal and Cascade ranges. Each cloud floats at a level according to its buoyant density. Dark grey flat bottoms mark the lowest level of the heavily laden cumulonimbus, carrying the lavender grey and stark white mushroom towers and canyons above like floats in a parade. The still angled sun casts its gaze upon these travelers, highlighting their forms in shadow and light, much to the delight of the viewer at the bottom of the aerial river.

Crab apple tree in full bloom. The sky is typical of this time of year.

Our first thunderstorm of the season blew through on Saturday. Some partial clearing occurred that morning, soon followed by a flotilla of heavily laden cumulonimbus clouds sailing up from the southwest, creating an ever changing scene of intense sky blue, dark charcoal to white cloud over spring green and bright gold amid the passing storms. I feel the same sense of wonder at such things as I did as a small child, when such phenomena were fresh and new. Sight evokes a sense of touch at times. One can feel the movement of clouds overhead in the shadows racing across the land, of being in warm sun one minute, then in the cold shadow speeding by the next. Eventually, all became heavy and ominous as the aerial wanderers coalesced into something bigger and more powerful than themselves. The grey ceiling became ragged. Lightning flashed, thunder pealed and rain fell as pent up energy from the day was released.

Redbud tree reaches skyward on April 28th.

Rainbows in both the east and west are many, a promise of peace to come after a long winter and dark skies. The sweet musky fragrance of fruit tree blooms fills the air, most notable towards early evening.  A growing symphony of chorus frogs ushers in the night.

An eastern rainbow created by setting sun and rain still falling as the bank of clouds moved on over the Cascades.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Correspondent Mr. Nano, ever watchful

Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano has called upon Correspondents Miss Hope and Mr. Marcus to file their report for April. Sister and brother, they will be 11 years old this August. They have diligently been observing the farm from the window. Without further ado, Miss Hope and Mr. Marcus will present their findings.

Miss Hope (Left) and brother Mr. Marcus (right)

April came into being a wild, unruly month, not quite fitting of spring, yet no longer winter.  On April 7th, the wind was quite energetic by sunrise, ripping the cloud cover apart; the sun spilled through a break in the east, lighting the undersides of a growing mass of clouds to the west in soft shades of light peach and lavender; the waning moon in its last quarter hung pale gold in a morning blue sky. It was not long before we spotted an intense rainbow to the southwest, a sign of an approaching rainstorm coming up through the pass.

A morning rainbow in the west. Weather was moving in quickly up through the southwest pass.

The weather front moving in quickly obliterated sunrise.

Common Dandelions, Taraxacum officinale, punctuate the green fields with their bright yellow faces, adding cheer as daffodils will not last long now with the increase in temperature. Rain-swollen lichens cling to most every branch, festooning the trees in a vibrant light green-grey.  The remaining daffodils have bloomed as April bids adieu, and we greet the coming month of May.

The last of the daffodils. To the left are developing German bearded iris buds.

On many mornings, the coverlet of damp grey slowly rends under the rising sun into a patchwork of friendly cumulus, and sails away over the Cascades.   Sometimes afternoon arrives before the sun makes an appearance.

A textured afternoon sky to the south.

The sun made more frequent appearances amid dark skies and rain squalls, making promises of warmer days to come. The contrast of bright golden light against heavy blue-grey nimbus on a freshly washed, emerald green landscape is a delight to behold at this transitional time of year. On some evenings, the sky presents itself as a masterpiece in brushstrokes of light golden cream to many shades of grey cloud on a fading light blue canvas. The days grow longer; the last light faded at about 8:50 PM on April 18th as a bright silhouette of the dark side of the moon appeared with the growing crescent moon, hanging in the sky like a large eye trained out into the greater Universe. A star to the left stared back at the moon, set against the deeper Maxfield Parrish colors of last light.

Petals from plum and cherry trees are beginning their annual descent from the trees, single spent blossoms falling here and there as the apple trees begin their blooming cycle. Soon their numbers will increase until the wandering breezes are filled with them, drifting like snow and settling on the green grass below. The air is filled with their sweet, musky scent; it is a pleasant view of the orchard.

Ox-eye daisy and fallen cherry tree petals. Ox-eye daisy will bloom short and close to the ground if mowed.

The blending of pink and white in the opening buds of apple trees is a visual delight.

The pear tree. Most years it flowers too early, a hard frost or two occurs, and we get few to no pears. This year may be different.

We wish our readers a pleasant evening ahead, and safe travels to wherever their destination in life may lead them.

Heading towards LAX in January. View from the window.

– Resident Feline Correspondent Miss Nod, reporting for Salmon Brook Farms

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

I continue to enjoy playing out again. April has not been any more conducive to finishing projects than March, and I will make no further excuses. Things will be done when they will be done.

For those readers who are new or catching up, do visit the Salmon Brook Farms YouTube channel. Our first Tiny Farm Concerts one song music video was posted at the end of March, 2017. I am 15 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! Do keep an eye on more content appearing from time to time.

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 https://archive.org/details/iuma-lavinia_ross

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.

Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms
http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5
https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

A solar powered frog light, a gift from a friend, watches over one of the front gardens.

 

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83 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for April 2018

  1. Beautiful prose: down off the foothills into the valley floor below, the sky often opens a bit for the observer. From here, one can see the armada of wind driven clouds sailing up the valley, heading north, some lodging like river foam along the banks of mountains, the Coastal and Cascade ranges. Each cloud floats at a level according to its buoyant density. Dark grey flat bottoms mark the lowest level of the heavily laden cumulonimbus, carrying the lavender grey and stark white mushroom towers and canyons above like floats in a parade. The still angled sun casts its gaze upon these travelers, highlighting their forms in shadow and light, much to the delight of the viewer at the bottom of the aerial river.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Pat! Thanks for stopping by and the kind comment! I love to collect my observations in a daily journal, and share the best of what I see with you all every month.

      It’s been an unusual and very trying weekend. I was hoping to catch up with more of you before this post went out, but I will get to you all eventually. 🙂

      I added a new page, The Gift of Life, in the ring menu at the top of this page. It is still under construction; I don’t have all the photos up yet, and I may change the format. Feel free to have a look and let me know what you think.

      Like

  2. Flowering quince are so beautiful. They can be spectacular. There’s one at Dumbarton Oaks that mesmerizes me every year. My irises will be out next week. Yours look lovely. I like your storm descriptions, the colors and the feel. It’s good to keep your sense of wonder. And nice to read prose of someone who has.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Arlingwoman, and thank you so much for the kind comments! I am always happy to share my observations with all of you. I am pleased you enjoy the prose. 🙂 Yes, flowering quince provide such a bright, flamboyant red amid the other colors in the gardens. Tulips are hard to grow unless I have them in a planter because of gophers and voles.

      It is always sad to see the daffodils go, but the irises will also put on a wonderful show.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had no idea that flowering quince could be such a bully! They are very beautiful and flower early in the season which makes their blossom so welcome. Your descriptions of the clouds and weather are excellent as ever. I read them and see your skies in my mind’s eye. How wonderful it would be if you managed to get a quantity of pears this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Clare, and thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! I have also rooted some flowering quince cuttings for planting in other areas where they are more welcome than right up against a building. I do love those beautiful red blooms in late winter and early spring.

      I enjoy sharing what I see here with you all. If you can see what I see in mind’s eye based on my descriptions, then I am accomplishing what I set out to do with the writing. Thank you! And I look forward to those delicious pears! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome aboard Andrew, and thank you for stopping by! April was not so disappointing so much as it was more on the cool side. That has its advantages in suppressing bud break in the vineyard and orchard (and blueberry patch) from occurring too early. Each year is a bit different, presenting its own challenges. Our normal “rainy” season runs from October to the end of June, with most of the precipitation falling in late fall through early spring. There is little to no rain from July through September. The temperature swings 30 to 50 degrees over the course of the day in summer.

      An untidy quince! Beautiful they are, but hard to contain. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Phenny da Weimeraner, Katty and Mark! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! I have the page up now with Easy’s flowers. It is in the ring menu at the top of this page, called The Gift of Life. I’m still adding to it and may change the format a bit so I can eventually make each memorial a slide show, if I can with the current blog theme.

      Like

    • Always good to see you Jill, and thank you so much for stopping by and for the kind comments! Spring has a way of coming even though Winter may take his time leaving. 🙂

      I’ll be by to visit soon, Jill. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The weather in your world seems so dramatic, and lovely in its drama! Your post makes me look forward to our coming spring–our daffodils are just getting ready to bloom as yours fade . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Kerry! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! Being a transplant form the east coast, I really appreciate the wide open, dramatic skies here. I can see the weather coming from a long way off. Sometimes I feel I can reach up and touch the doors of heaven from where I stand.

      The succession of spring and early summer blooms is something I look forward to every year. The seasons have a flow to them, defining the time of year to me more so than calendar seasonal boundaries.

      Like

  5. A wonderful report, as always, from the farm. The feline correspondents have an obviously glorious view from the window. Sorry to hear about the tulips, but the survivors sure have a magnificent color to them – what would you call that?
    Give my very best to all at the farm – oh, that includes Rick and Michael’s tree too!!
    Have a great week, Lavinia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, GP! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! The cats thank you, too! Check out the page I put up The Gift of Life. It is in the ring menu. I am still adding photos, and may change the format a bit. Michael’s tree is there, too.

      The tulips, to my eye, look like a very deep reddish-purple. I’m not sure what to call it. When Rick’s mother was alive, we used to get her live plants to put at her place at the table, and then plant them afterwards. Those have done well in their protected space.

      All the best to you! I’ll be by to visit soon here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Mr. Tootlepedal! Thank you for stopping by from Langholm, Scotland! The storms come and go quickly here, providing an impressive number of rainbows and cloud forms. Many days are comprised of multiple storms with a little sun in between shows. I am always quite happy to see winter move along, but it is also good not to have excessively sunny, 90 degree weather in April, which is what happened one year.

      Like

  6. We too have had a disappointing spring so far. More rain than we’ve seen in years (good for the vines at least) but temps that are certainly lacking. Spring is here though as a broken lawnmower can attest to. Fingers crossed for your vines at this rather susceptible time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Annie! Thank you for stopping by! I will keep my fingers crossed for your vineyard, too. So you have lots of grass to mow as well? At least we are both going into summer with a long cool and wet spring. The blast furnace of summer will be here soon enough. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The flowering quince around here is called ‘Japonica’. I had some in my garden but in a very awkward place. It was fiendishly difficult to remove because of its roots and its thorns. I was sorry it had to go because it is very pretty and also has small fruit which make wonderful jelly. Lovely to see your new Gift of Life page. It is also a Gift of Love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Gallivanta! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! Thank you for stopping by The Gift of Life page, too.

      The flowering quince is a pretty one, but oh so difficult to contain! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Jason! Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind comments! That crab apple tree and its companion on the other side of it (which is slower at opening) came as 1 foot tall saplings obtained from the Arbor Day Foundation 14 years ago. They have grown tall and beautiful. I forget what varieties they are now. The companion tree has pinkish blooms.

      Readers, please visit Jason and Judy at https://gardeninacity.wordpress.com/ “Notes from a wildlife-friendly cottage garden”. They garden in Evanston, Illinois. They also travel from time to time, and have some wonderful photos of their trips to Japan and the gardens there.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. angela1313 says:

    A beautiful and poetic posting by both cats and humans. I’ll be checking all you music links. I am happy to live in an area where local music is well supported. Several of the new microbreweries are offering new venues for musicians of all types and just an hour or so south the bluegrass scene is strong. This was a lovely read, a nice accompanyment to my Maiwine as the day winds down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Angela1313! Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind comments. The cats thank you, too! I’ve been trying to learn from them. 🙂

      It is good to hear local music is well supported in your area, especially all types of music. I think that aspect is very important, too.

      I’ll be by to visit soon. Life has been going by in a blur these days, and I have seriously fallen behind. I enjoy your posts! Not enough hours in the day, and I am attempting to get a reasonable amount of sleep. It’s hard, especially in summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I had a smile at reading the resilience of Lucile . It wants to remain and conquer your well house; Finally it is like Ivy , this is a coloniser. we have one in our driveway but I never took out it ! 🙂 The flower of this flowering Quince are the first other than white at spring ( with crocus )
    What you describe about your fruit trees may be apply for us . When they are in bloom, this a magic . To complete we have also a quince tree and muddlar tree .
    I envy your weather . it allows a good gowing of the plant . Here we got a dry April and like you a day of big rain at the beginning of May followed by a dry wind . What I sown does not grow well . The ground is hard and dry n and cracked . ( because of the clay )
    About Daffodil like yours it is the end but we still have some Narcissus ( white )

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always so good to see you, Michel! Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind comments!

      I am sorry your spring is starting out so dry. We have heavy clay soil too, which bakes hard like a brick in hot, dry weather. It cracks open, leaving fissures in the ground. Our normal rainy season is October through June, with most of the rain falling from November through April. Little to no rain falls in the summer months, and we have to mulch heavily and spot water. The sun is rather intense here, too.

      Lucille is doing a good good of conquering the well house. She is a pretty shrub though! 🙂

      Yes, the white narcissus seem to bloom later and last the longest. Our big King Alfred daffodils, yellow ones, seem to come and go early.

      One of our peonies actually has blooms this year. Hopefully they make it and I will have photos later.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the description of the climate in Oregon It is more balanced than ours now.
          About peonies, they are here in buttons and I confess that this is how I prefer them (when the button remain swollen, ready to open).

        Liked by 1 person

      • The peony flowers can be difficult to keep upright after they bloom, especially if it rains. The one plant that is doing well is at the button stage.

        The first of the bearded irises are now blooming. 🙂

        Like

  10. Hey Lavina .. lovely post! Spring is with you .. adieu April. Does your quince fruit? The blossom is glorious. Your photos are super … that rainbow with the pines in the foreground is magical. And your pear tree ..smothered in blossom. We had a nice crop of pears this year, whereas the year before there was only a handful. Love the pic of brother and sister .. sweet kitties

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Julie! Thank you for stopping by from Frog Pond Farm in beautiful New Zealand, and for all the kind comments. All the cats, especially Mr. Marcus and Miss Hope thank you, too! 🙂

      Rainbows seem to be a specialty here. I feel fortunate to see so many. 🙂

      The quince has only flowered, no fruit has ever set. We are looking forward to a good crop of pears this year. Rick makes really good poached pears, and they are good all on their own, too. It bloomed late enough we have most likely avoided late frost unless May throws us a surprise.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Well! Spring has sprung and you and the feline correspondents certainly have her number. I am always in awe of your brilliant nature-writing. And I love all your pictures — Lucille, the flowering quince, the first Iris (what a beauty) the tulips growing in gravel by the garage, the apple, tree, rainbow — all of it. Does the quince bear fruit, or is it only ornamental?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, Cynthia! Thank you for stopping by, and for all the kind comments. You have been a very supportive friend of the farm, and my writing. Your comments mean a lot, and help keep me writing. 🙂

      The quince has only flowered, no fruit has ever set on ours, although I read in Wikipedia that some do produce fruit. A few people I know here grow real quince, and one year I tried to make a quince-applesauce. I made the mistake of using a porcelain stock pot, and the quince juice stained it. The mixture was good though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. hello hello Salmon Brook and everyone who calls it home. How sublime your spring is . A feast for the eyes. It seems like every single tree blooms and that must smell heavenly. On our street, there are a number of gorgeous flowering tree’s but they’ve as yet began to bloom. We’re really only into the first week or so of spring weather. Loved reading you post today Lavinia. It’s like a song in itself. Even a raining day sounds magical here at Salmon Brook. Busy day for the kitties and I, we have Vet visits to look forward too, eeep! xo ❤ K

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Kelly! Thank you for stopping by from Canada, and for all the kind comments! I am glad to hear spring has finally arrived in your part of Canada. 🙂

      Most of the trees here bloom, with the fruit trees putting on the biggest show. Even the hazelnuts put on a lovely show of pollen bearing catkins in late fall and early winter. The female flowers are tiny red blooms appearing in February. It is a wonderful place to be, even on rainy days!

      I wish you and the kitties good luck at the Vet. 🙂 Love to all of you up there! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. We have a few patches of wildflowers here and there, and plenty of dandelion. We hope to have a proper garden next year. It’ll be tough year for many with the return of drought conditions, and hopefully not too difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David, good to see you! Thank you for stopping by from hiddenlens.wordpress.com! Those dandelions are a real treasure for bees, and for humans. The greens make good eating.

      We mulch our gardens heavily here in summer, as we get little to no rain during the summer months. Good luck with your garden next year! And I wish your daughters all the best as they pursue their medical careers. They will make outstanding doctors.

      Like

      • Thank you for your best wishes. It is much appreciated. Until they start school, it’s all horse riding.

        My grandma grew dandelions in her garden. My mom asked her why she was growing them. Grandma said she was making tea with the dried leaves. I know some use the leaves to supplement their salad greens, and others use them as an herb.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I learned to eat them as a small child. My grandmother and aunt would send me out with my little apron to pick them in the yard. I would come back with an apron full of greens. The leaves got boiled up and served like spinach.

        Like

  14. Dear Lavinia, I’ve been meaning to look you up (since WordPress simply won’t send me emails). What a lovely, lyrical treat you’ve given us again. You have such a variety of beautiful flowers at the farm. Even with my allergies, I enjoyed looking at them. Huge hugs to you, Rick, and all the kitties from Crystal and me. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Teagan, whenever you come by. Thank you for looking me up! I am always behind catching up with people myself these days, some more than a month now as I slide into the abyss of late spring and early summer. I look forward to an uninterrupted time slot very soon here to thoroughly read your posts, and they do require a thorough reading!

      All the best to you and Crystal, Teagan. And please keep our old Willow cat in your thoughts and prayers. Her advanced age is beginning to catch up with her now. Much love to you both. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Steve! Thank you for stopping by from portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com, and for the link to the poem.

      A warm sunny day in the mid 80s here. The days are getting longer and sunnier as summer solstice draws near. A Happy Spring to you, too! 🙂

      Like

  15. Hi Lavinia, Been a too-busy last couple months, but finally I am getting around to visiting. Thanks, as always, for your lovely descriptions of nature and all her happenings transpiring on your farm and the accompanying photos. That apple tree shot was a favorite. As for red buds – I’ve never seen them around this way (though they may be here somewhere) – the last I saw redbuds was a long ago trip to western Kentucky. That trip I saw my first-ever Pileated Woodpecker, too! At some point soon, I need to take a little nature walk with my camera in my own environs – I fear my arms are starting to meld with my keyboard some days like a bad sci-fi-fi movie!
    Continue to enjoy your Spring and hello to all kitties! Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you Jeanne, and thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! I am looking forward to seeing more of your area and local wildlife through your lens. Enjoy the rest of your spring, too!

      I, too, have been tied up with many activities, and fell behind on visiting many blogs. We have about 5 weeks now until summer solstice and I see no end in sight to all the activity. 🙂

      Like

  16. Miss Hope and Mr Marcus are excellent observers and fine meteorologists .
    They notice also the lichens hanging to the branches . This shows the air is not polluted
    you live in a marvellous place, Lavinia .
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Michel! Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind comments! Miss Hope and Mr. Marcus are sister and brother cats, and will be 11 years old in August. They have had many years to develop their fine skills and are quite proud of their achievements. 🙂

      The air quality here is pretty good until fire season in mid to late summer. The air can get pretty smoky then, and limits outside activities.

      Love to you and the family, ❤
      Lavinia

      Like

  17. At the end of May we have violent storms with heavy rains. It is impossible to enter the veggie garden.
    In the south west of France (Bordeaux) some vineyards were totally destroyed
    Our roses Polyantas have withered and lowered their heads. We have a very contrasted climate.. June will be more balanced I hope.
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michel, I am so sorry to hear of the violent storms in your area. We can get such weather in June, and have been hit by serious hail some years. That is bad news about the vineyards in Bordeaux. My heart goes out to the farmers and vintners. I hope your June will be better, and ours will be uneventful.

      Love to you and all the family, ❤
      Lavinia

      Like

  18. Sorry I’ve been away so long. Quince is great for early colour, but why do they always seem to grow in such inconvenient places. My mother-in-law had one growing from a crack in a path and we had one growing from they seem impossible to kill, though to be honest I don’t try too hard. You have to pay some respect to a plant that survives so well.

    Liked by 1 person

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