Hoop Jumping, discoveries and tech upgrades

Since moving out here, there have been quite a few things that we’ve tried to do that needed unusual hoop jumping.  The most severe being our issues with transferring our identification, but another has been getting an internet connection.  Since we couldn’t afford to have a minimum 60ft tower installed, we had to go with satellite internet, and then ended up needing to get two accounts, because it was cheaper than going over our data limit.  Satellite internet has more speed limitations, too.  Our internet provider, however, recently gained access to another satellite and could offer higher upload and download speeds, with less interruptions, so we signed up for it.  Someone was scheduled to come in this afternoon to switch it for us.

Before that happened, we got to work on our daughters’ taxes.  In Canada, we have until April 30 to file.  Normally, we just do the TurboTax thing, but it had issues with my husband’s disability information.  So he and I have taken our tax information to the tax preparer in the next town.  This guy (it’s a family business) has done the taxes for my parents for as long as I can remember, and still does them for my mother.  Probably my brother who lives out here, too.  We’d gone to him when we lived out here years ago, so it was a bit funny to be going back to him again, after all these years.

Our daughters, however, should have been able to just do theirs as usual, right?

Wrong.

Turns out that they can’t file their taxes online, because of the new address.

They can’t log onto the Government of Canada website to change their address, because they’ve never needed to start accounts on the site before, and to start one, they needed information from last year’s taxes.  Which was lost when we lost my husband’s desktop computer after the move.

The alternative is to phone Canada Revenue.  The website says to change the address online, or call a 1-800#, providing a list of the information that would be needed.  One of my daughters called the number, got the automated system, went through the whole thing, only to have a recording tell her to go do it online.

Of course, the reason for phoning was because doing in online wasn’t an option.

Which meant they couldn’t file their taxes.

In the end, we gathered their tax stuff, drove into town and dropped it off with the same guy that’s doing mine and my husband’s.

The tax preparer’s wife took their stuff and got their information onto envelopes.  As we were chatting, she made an observation on how much my younger daughter resembles her grandfather (my husband’s dad).  Until then, I had forgotten that he’d done my in-laws’ taxes, too!

That done, we didn’t stay in town long.  Sadly, it seems one of my daughters has caught my cold.  I’m still sick as well, though I am getting better – the coughing fits are still a problem – so being out and about was pushing things.

Speaking of pushing things, before we headed out, I started to gather up some of the branches and twigs in the yard, now that the snow is gone.  There is a LOT of them.  In the process, I made a discovery.

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These little spruce trees were deliberately planted, right by the fence.

I don’t get it.

First off, why are two spruce trees planted in the middle of the fence line like that in the first place.  There are already quite a number of mature maples there, including a couple that will need to be pruned away from the power line to the house, as well as trimmed so that, once the leaves come in, they won’t be blocking our satellite signal.  You can see part of the row of maples on the other side of the fence.  The fence line used to be on the other side of those trees with a gate to the pump shack – the red building in the background.

Second, why so close together?  Spruces get quite large.  They should be planted anywhere from 8 – 15 feet apart.  We’re looking at less than 4 feet apart here.

And finally, why are they planted right at the fence?  As they get bigger, they will grow into and destroy the fence.

Yet there they are, with little support poles and tiny picket fences to protect them.  Initially, I’d thought maybe they seeded themselves, but the fact that they are protected like this shows that they were deliberately planted.

Why would someone deliberately plant trees in such a way that they will destroy the fence as they get bigger?

I don’t get it.

Meanwhile…

When we got back home, the internet guy was here and busily installing two new satellite dishes.

On the sunroom roof.

Oh, dear.  My old brother specifically said he didn’t want them installed on the roof.  Turns out, there was no choice.

Because of the trees.

It was the only place he could get a signal.

The old dishes were already down, and he took extra care to ensure there would be no leaking caused by the satellites.  It took him a couple of hours to finish up.  When he was done, he tested the speed at about 35mbps.  When I had the chance, I tested the wifi signal on my phone.  I got 40mbps for download speed, and 1.89mbps for upload speed.  The first is quite a lot faster than before – I think we were getting between 10-14mbps consistently.  The upload speed is almost doubled.

That should make live easier!

We also got cool looking new modems, with the black boxes replaced with white triangles. 😀

This is what we had before.

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That’s our original dish.  When we got the second account, the other dish was installed above it.

This is what we have now.

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They are aimed in a very different direction.  No wonder he couldn’t get a signal through the trees!  The other satellites were aimed through a gap between threes.  In the same location, these would have been aimed right into the trees.  From here, they are now aimed through the gap over the big gate into the yard; the one that can be driven through.  Mind you, there are still trees on either side that will need to be pruned, because they are overhanging the gate.  Plus one that’s shorter, but close enough that its branches get in the way when I have to make a wide turn into the yard.  Pruning is still in order.

I like trees.  A lot.  They are wonderful things to have, and can be very protective.  We intend to eventually plant more trees in the future.  Preferably food trees.

But they are also potential problems.  Many of the trees that have been planted in the yard seem to have been done without much thought given to what would happen, once they reached maturity.  From the Chinese Elm in front of the kitchen window, planted too close to the house with branches damaging the roof, to the pair of Chinese Elm on either side of the small gate, whose roots are now making the sidewalk blocks uneven.  Even the original maples on the north side of the house have been allowed to reach too close to the house itself; they should have been cut back many years ago, when they were smaller and it was safer to do so.

It’s going to be interesting, during our first summer living here, to get a good understanding of what all is planted around the yard, what we can keep, what needs to be gotten rid of, and possibly, what can be moved.  Those little spruce trees, at least, as small enough that they can be easily transplanted.

There is much to do here, that’s for sure!

The Re-Farmer

 

 

 

Detail is Back!

Okay, I thought I was done for the day, but then my daughters let me know that more deer had come to the window.  I was so excited to see that Detail and her boy were back, that I just had to share!

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The light was failing fast, so most of the photos I took didn’t work out too well.  I was hoping to get a good shot of the boy’s antler nubbins.  This was the best of them.

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You can sort of see the one nubbin there, right? 😀

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Detail stayed farther from the house, so zoomed in photos just didn’t work out.  I don’t mind.  She’s such a pretty lady. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Deer Thoughts

As I had hoped, some deer did show up today.  Hungry Girl and Barbecue came by, though Hungry Girl never came to the feeding area.  She disappeared somewhere behind the house, then I saw her again walking by in the background to go through the garden, and that’s it.

Barbecue came to feed on what the birds had left behind, though she got startled away a couple of times, before finally running off completely.  Not before gracing me with some silly faces, though! 😀

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At this time of day, in the shadow of the house, they can probably see quite well into the living room.

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She would run off towards the opening to the garden, stay there a while, then come back to feed.  I don’t usually get pictures of her from this side.  As I was going through the photos, I noticed something.

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I had commented previously about the marks in the fur on her neck, and that my conclusion is that they are from scarring.  It looks like she’s got even more scarring beside her mouth.

I think this girl has had quite a history!

The Re-Farmer

Birds, Birds, Birds!

Well, today has definitely been a day of the birds!

From what I’ve been able to find, the “new” birds are dark eyed juncos.  They would be returning from overwintering elsewhere.  There were only a few yesterday, but today, there was tonnes! I now realize that we did see them last year.  I had just not been able to look at them so closely at the time.  But I definitely remember seeing this…

(I don’t know why the video quality is so bad after uploading it to YouTube!)

There were masses of juncos and redpolls swooping in and out, with many, many bounces off the windows.  Even the dining room window was getting hits.

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We are starting to see a lot more of the male redpolls now, too.

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Of course, all that activity attracted a watcher…

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Trüllbus wasn’t able to do much more than watch from the lilac bush, though! LOL

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Love how my daughter caught this redpoll, peeking at her through the twigs.  He looks angry! 😀

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From what I could find, there is quite a variety of juncos, but it does look like these are dark eye juncos, and the lighter coloured ones are the females.  The one in the photo above would be a male.

At one point, as I stood near the window, something startled them and the whole flock took off.  Three or four of them bounced off the window, right in front of me.  After they were gone, I realized that one had been left behind.

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At first, from inside the house, I wasn’t even sure if was a bird or if it was some darker foliage.  After a while, though, I could see the beak.  Ever so slowly, the beak opened, and stayed open.  Eventually, I decided to go out and check on it.  When I got close, it was aware enough to watch me, and even start to move a bit.  I was able to pick it up, though, and then it flew away from my hand.  No injuries.

Besides the birds, some deer did make a showing when my husband was up bright and early, but I have not seen any since.  I’m hoping some will show up this evening.

The Re-Farmer

New Birds today!

Another sick day for me today, so not much accomplished!  My husband put out the food and water for the animals outside this morning.  Now that the snow is pretty much gone and the risk of falling is reduced, he wants to do that more often, as the pain allows.  He informed me that we were now out of deer feed and almost out of cat kibble, which meant another trip into town – our own hamlet for the deer feed, then the next town over for the cat kibble.  We can get the kibble locally, but the brand they carry is something even the outside cats don’t like.  I don’t mind going farther afield.  It gives my younger daughter and I a chance to play Pokemon Go for at least long enough to get some achievements in the game.  Still, I look forward to when I’m not the only one with a valid driver’s license!

When we got home, I pulled up near the house to make it easier to unload the bags, then we took advantage of the situation to clean up the garbage and recycling (yes, I keep recycling bags for sorting in our van, too! 😀 ), refill the cooler we use to keep water bottles (that came in REALLY handy when we had to keep adding coolant the day the hose broke) and reorganize things a bit.  So the back of the van is now all open and ready for when we do our monthly bulk shopping.

It didn’t take much to clean up the van, yet it was enough to wipe me out.  I may be feeling a bit better, but wow, am I running out of energy fast.  By the time we were done, I had broken into a sweat and my chest was on fire.  Ugh.

Have I mentioned how much I appreciate that the girls are with us to keep things going when I’m out of commission?  Well, even if I have, it’s worth saying again.  I so appreciate that they chose to stay with us.  They didn’t have to move out here.  They could have stayed behind and done their own thing.  Instead, they chose to stay and help us.

I am so blessed to have such amazing daughters.

Who also happen to be good cooks.  Supper is smelling so good!

On the wildlife front, once again, we had very few deer visits.  My husband had to get up insanely early, when it got too painful to be lying down, so he was there to see a couple in the wee hours.  We didn’t see more again until about 7pm.  I had hoped all our regulars would keep coming back; I really wanted to see how the antlers on the young males are coming in.  Hopefully, we’ll still get visits from them.

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The squirrels are chasing each other all over the place, but only one seemed at all interested in the seeds.

I love those little paws!

We also got a new type of bird today!

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There was only one of this greyer one.  The rest were much darker.

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I’ve gone looking through my bird book, and there’s nothing quite like them in there.

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There were quite a few of the darker ones.  They are slightly larger than the redpolls.  Their behavior is also more… sedate, shall we say.  They seem downright chill, compared to the non-stop motion of the redpolls, chickadees and grosbeaks.

If anyone knows what they might be, please let me know in the comments!  I’d love to know what they are.

Then Hungry Girl and Barbecue showed up.

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At first, it was just Barbecue on her own, then Hungry Girl came trotting in from behind the house.  She was much more antsy, though.

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It didn’t take long before she took off into the garden area and stayed away, though I did see her grazing on the far side of the garden for a while.

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Barbecue ran off, too, then came back for a bit, before finally taking off for good.

I noticed something interesting as they were leaving.

As the more shaded areas of snow slowly melt, we now have a kind of long, narrow “river” of melt water running across the opening to the garden, and then a bit past the spruce grove.  After that, it’s still ice and snow, where it only gets sunlight for a short time in the mornings.

Both Hungry Girl and Barbecue carefully skirted around the water, to where it was still ice and snow, then cut across to the row of apple trees and into the garden.  Going through the water would have been much shorter and faster, but I guess even deer feet don’t like getting cold and wet, if they can avoid it! 😀

I look forward to seeing who shows up outside our window, tomorrow. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

 

 

Critter pictures, and feeling better

After another very rough night, and some major quality time with an electric heating pad, I can finally say that I’m starting to feel a bit better.  This morning, I had even managed to get an audio recording of the weird noises my chest is making.  While some was definitely cold related, the squeaking noise actually happens fairly regularly and is related to my chronic cough, so I figure it would be good to have a recording for the next time I go to the doctor about it.

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Hungry Girl and Barbecue came by today.  We are getting significantly less deer visits since the weather has gotten warmer!

Thankfully, the girls have been able to take over for me while I’ve been down for the count.  As I type this, they are busily making supper.  I don’t know what they’re making, but it smells delicious. *L*

Though still feeling sick, I did have to drive into town to pick up a few things.  I’m the only person with a valid driver’s license right now, so it’s not like I could foist it off on someone else, though my husband was willing to do the drive.  This, in spite of having his own rough night and still having really bad pain days.

For the first time since stores started putting them out, I actually used the disinfectant wipes on my hands and on the cart handle, then hid my hands in my sleeves to push the cart, while my daughter did all the touching of product that was needed.  I sure don’t want anyone else to get sick because of me!

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I’ve noticed for some time, the odd fur pattern on Barbecue’s neck.  I have come to the conclusion that it is the result of scarring.

We are really noticing what a difference it has been, not doing that monthly Costco shopping trip in the city.  We’re having to go into town for groceries far more often, and it’s costing us a lot more per item.  We’re still not spending as much as we normally budget, simply because our budget had to be re-adjusted to pay for the work on the van; the money isn’t there to overspend.  However, it’s more because of what we’re NOT buying, that what we ARE buying.  It has set back making up for the costs of the move by at least a couple of months.

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Hungry Girl was nice enough to give me a silly face picture! 😀

But we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and the bills are being paid, and that’s the important part.

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I think this is the first time I’ve seen a chickadee, just resting on a branch, rather than in constant motion!

Still, we are really looking forward to being able to do the monthly bulk shopping again, and restocking the cupboards and freezer!

The Re-Farmer

Garlic Soup

Well, I’ve gone from having an irritating cough to a full blown spring cold.

Ugh.

As I was sitting with my lemon tea, feeling awful, it occurred to me that I had all the ingredients to make garlic soup.

This is a recipe that my late mother-in-law shared with me, many years ago.  She told me that it was an old pioneer recipe that was especially made in the late winter/early spring, when everyone was getting low on energy.  This was a time of year when people’s stores of preserved food was probably starting to get low, too, so between the long winters, lack of sunlight, lack of vitamins, and nary a fresh vegetable to be seen, people were getting worn down.  This soup would be made and apparently resulted in a big boost of health and energy.

Oh, how blessed we are to be able to get fresh fruits and vegetables, any time of year!

I don’t know about it being a boost to energy, but garlic has long been known to help fight off colds and boost the immune system.

Plus, it’s easy and tasty.  What more can you ask?

Quantities are pretty loosey-goosey, so this is more general instructions than a recipe.  You will need:

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garlic cloves; about 5 per person (I used a whole head, just for myself)
butter (enough to brown the garlic)
milk (about a cup or two per person; I used 2 cups this time)
bread (1 slice per person – I used a thick slice of sourdough bread)
shredded cheese (cheddar or whatever kind you like; about 1/2 – 3/4 cup per person)
seasoning to taste (this time around, I used onion salt, pepper and a dash of paprika)

  1. Peel and prep the garlic.  It can be whole, crushed, chopped, minced or whatever you wish.  I like to pass it through a garlic press.  Then scrap all the bits stuck to the press into the pot, too.  Big pieces are not a problem, here! 😀
  2. Melt the butter on the bottom of a saucepan on medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook gently until transparent.
  3. Add the milk and heat until scalding.  Do not boil!garlic.soup.2
  4. Season as desired.
  5. Place a slice of bread on the bottom of a bowl.  Top with shredded cheese.garlic.soup.3
  6. Pour the hot soup over the bread and cheese.  garlic.soup.4
  7. Eat while as hot as you can handle it.

You can also give the bread time to soak up some soup, then break it apart and add more shredded cheese to the top.  I had to do that, just to be able to fit all the soup into the bowl. 😀

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Now that I’ve had my bowl of soup, I think I’m going to go back to bed.

The Re-Farmer

Almost checked off the list (plus critter pictures!)

The goal for today: get my younger daughter’s learner’s license transferred to our new province.

2018-04-18.squirrelBirth certificate: check
Health care card: check
Something with physical address on it: ______

It was the third item that was the stickler for us.  Usually, it would be something like a utility bill, but she has none in her name.

So that meant a trip to the bank.  She had updated her information online, but it only had space for her to add our box number – the mailing address.  There were other things, like her employment status, that it didn’t have the option for her to change.

The nearest branch of her bank is in the town my mother lives in, which is a 20 minute drive away.

No worries.  We could get the letter she needed, like the one I got from my branch in the nearer town, and get her driver’s license transferred there.

When we got there, I showed the lone teller the letter I got as an example of what we needed.

Turns out, she couldn’t write up a letter like that, and her manager wasn’t in.  She could, however, update my daughter’s information and print out a statement.

It took several attempts before she could get a printout that included both the mailing address (which was part of the basic information) and our physical address (which had to be input somewhere else and was not normally included in any printouts).  It was part of the paperwork needed for direct deposits, so when my daughter is finally able to go job hunting and gets a job, she’ll have that on hand.

Great!  It took a while, but it was done.2018-04-18.deer

Next: finding a place where we could transfer her license.

We couldn’t find one.

I realize this is a small town, but you’d think they’d have a public insurance broker somewhere.  Maybe they do, but just not in the business area?  There isn’t much else to the town for us to have explored.

We did go to a department store in hopes of finding some underwear for my husband, that didn’t cost $15 for one pair!  We did find some – three for $15 – but none in his size!

Who knew it would be so difficult just to buy some gitch?

So getting her license transferred meant driving another half hour to the town we usually go to.  No worries.  It’s a pleasant drive with pleasant company.

Besides, the staff over there knows us pretty well by now!

2018-04-18.catMy daughter had everything she needed and a file was started.  She’s never had a license in this province, since she was 9 when we left it, so that actually made it easier.

The hang up?

She doesn’t have a full license.

To get a learners license in this province, she will need to write the knowledge test again.

Which isn’t done in this town anymore.  We’d have to go to another town that’s about a half hour’s drive north of our place, or a small city that’s about an hour’s drive away from home.

The main difference is that the small city has places where we can combine errands and do some shopping.

We have an appointment booked for next week, when the CPP Disability comes in.  That way, my daughter has time to go online and study a bit, in case there are differences between provinces, and we’ll have money for gas and groceries.

At least this is the only delay.  Everything else is just fine, and the paperwork she printed out for us has the file number she’ll need, and we can finish processing for her temporary license in the same place as where she needs to take the written test (assuming she passes, which I have no concerns about).

Meanwhile, they had to keep her old learners license.  Because we’re past the 90 days, she’s not allowed to drive, anyhow.

At least it should be easier for my older daughter.  Hers is just a photo ID, not a driver’s license.

Little by little, it’s getting done.

The Re-Farmer

Deerly Deer

I only saw Hungry Girl and Barbecue come by today.  They were much distracted by the antics of the cats while here!

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Hungry Girl kept a close and nervous watch on the cats, and ended up taking off fairly quickly.

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Barbecue took off and came back, several times.

Barbecue also graced me with some entertaining faces!

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Such a silly girl! 😀

As for me, though it is still early, I am done for the day.  Time to have some tea with lots of lemon and head to bed early.  Hopefully, I will be feeling better tomorrow!

The Re-Farmer

Cats, cats, cats!

Definitely not feeling well today.

Woke up and discovered I’d lost most of my voice, and what speaking I could still do had me sounding like Barry White.

It was a beautiful day, though.  My husband actually made it outside.  Not only that, but he was able to walk to the end of the driveway and back.  Twice!

Okay, that second time was pushing it a bit, and he did have to stop and sit in his walker a couple of times, but it’s the first time he’s been out of the house, aside from doctor’s appointments, in months.

While out, I took a look at the area in front of the shed where we are storing my mother’s stuff.  Right around it, things are clear of snow and dry, but there is a large area of water and ice that I’d have to drive through to get to it.  We probably could still do it, but I’d rather not deal with all that water while hauling household goods.  I’ll check it again in a few days.

Not feeling well meant getting some quality time catching up on projects – I finished a rope basket I was making and got it blocking, along with another basket I’d made a while back, with a lid.  I’m testing out a stiffening method that uses Epsom salts.

Blocking 3 dimensional objects is definitely a challenge.  The round basket and its lid have a forest of bamboo skewers sticking out of it!

I also got a couple of beaded bracelets done.  Need to get my Etsy shop going again, and new inventory is always a good thing.

Which all meant I was near the living room window for much of the day, and finally got photos.  Along with the deer, I got cats, cats and more cats!

And a story, in pictures.

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Nasty Crime Boy: So there I am, munching on a rodent, minding my own business…

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Nasty Crime Boy: … when suddenly BAM!!!  I get attacked!  Like, out of the blue, Man!

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Nasty Crime Boy: And then he was gone, just like that.  And I was like… whoa.  What just happened, Man? 

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Squishum: I know nothing.

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Squishum: The leaf!  I caught it!  I have vanquished mine enemy! Bwahahahaha!!

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Trüllbus the Crime Eater: I am not associated with those guys over there.  I just want my sun spot.

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The Hand disapproves.

The Re-Farmer