Tag Archives: Handmade

Handmade Home Project

north east house view

click to zoom in

Grandson’s handmade house project is off and running again this year after an infusion of cash received from his income tax refund check. Grandson’s house project is a multi-year project, but, in the end he will not have a 30 year home bank loan to deal with. This project is being bought and paid for as cash and time allows.

The plan. My original plan called for the concrete slab to be 51 feet 2 inches by 30 feet 2 inches. As with many concrete form-up jobs, things did not go by the original plan. The slab was actually closed to 50 foot 9 inches on one side and 50 foot 7 inches on the other. What the heck, what’s 5 or 7 inches one way or the other. Grin… to late to be overly concerned the concrete is poured and cured.

Concrete slab was poured and red iron steel frame up work was accomplished last summer(2016). Wall height is 10 feet from floor to the bottom of the roof sheeting with a 4 in 12 roof pitch. This year(2017) Wall sheeting, roof sheet, trim, windows and outside doors will be in place in another weekend or maybe two weekends.

southwest view of house Once dried in, grandson can work in a dry environment and begin interior framing of room walls and doors. Installing electrical wiring, plumbing for bathroom, washroom and kitchen.

Note: Carport project is on hold until son-n-law and grandson complete drying in the house project.

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First Speeding Ticket??

This is just to good not to pass on.

1896 Arnold Benz Motor Carriage is largely held to be the very first car to receive a speeding ticket.

The 19th century was a tough place to have an automobile. The law at the time required drivers to maintain a speed of no more than 2 mph and be proceeded by someone walking in front of the vehicle waving a red flag. For reference, that’s a little quicker than the average speed of an ambling cow.

Exceeding the speed limit, traveling at an estimated 8 mph. To make maters worse, no one was running ahead, waving a red flag. He was convicted of speeding and made to pay a lofty fine of a shilling “plus costs.”

Car Port project(1)

Summer project: build a Car Port for daughter and family has begun.
1,225 pounds of assorted steel arrived on sight this afternoon.

Just so there are no misunderstandings. When I say build a car port, what I really mean is son-n-law and grandson will do the real work while I set in the shade, drink an adult beverage while I use a long pointed stick to get this thing standing, welded up and bolted to their existing concrete slab.

First wash the oil off of the square tubing. This tubing is made in Mexico and has a heavy coat of protective oil that must be removed before the steel can be prime painted using a red oxide steel primer.

The cut up list has been developed. Steel will be cut to length, purling brackets and base mount plates used to bolt the up-right poles to an existing concert slab will be welded in place. Primed and painted before being installed.

The car port will be a flat top 20 foot by 24 foot structure 8 feet tall. Ample room for 2 full size cars or pick-up trucks to park.

Cut-up List
7 – bars – 8 inch C-purling 25 foot long
7 – 23 foot 10 inches(roof and frame purling)

4 – bars – 8 inch C-purling 20 foot long(roof and frame purling)

3 – bars – 3X3X14ga square tubing 24 foot long
9 – 8 foot long (up-right poles)

2 – bars – 1-1/2X1-1/2X1/8 inch Angle Iron 20 foot long
8 – 1 foot long(corner ties)
14 – 2 1/2 inches long(purling supports)

1 – bar – 2X3X3/16 inch Angle iron 20 foot long
18 – 3 inches long(up-right pole bolt plates)

1 – bar – 1-1/2X1/8 inch flat 20 foot long
20 – 3 inches long(reinforcement weld on purling ties)

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Purple Martins Scouts Checked Out My…

Purple Martin scout birds were seen checking out my house I set up last spring. However the Sparrows have been trying to move in and they are fighting the Martin scout birds away from the house.

In this area we have 3 or 4 different types of Sparrows, but the most aggressive is the common English house Sparrow.

The English house sparrow is native to most of Europe and the Mediterranean region. In North America it is considered a non-native invasive pest and is not protected under U.S. native song bird laws. It has been characterized as a pest, and poses a threat to native birds. It will eat almost any seeds, but where it has a choice, it prefers oats and wheat.
In my case they raid grain in chicken feeders and scratch placed on the ground to feed my flock of chickens.

I remove their nesting materials from my Martin house daily and given the opportunity I dispatch them with my pellet rifle. However this has not deterred them from continuing to attempt to nest in my Martin house.

In an effort to remove them form the area around the house I am building Sparrow traps. The first trap is nearly completed. It is constructed out of 1/2 X 1 inch welded wire and it is 18 inches wide, 21 inches long and 8 inches tall with 2 entry funnels. With luck I will have it in place and baited before noon today.
Total cost for constructing 2 traps will be around $20.00 or maybe $22.00 US dollars.
** Construction Note: Trap size was based on available wire size. Constructing 2 traps from one 30 X 120 inch roll of wire.

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Seed starter soil bocks

This is way to good not to share.

One of the things you see a lot in the garden center of the hardware store are little “seed starting kits” that come with disks of expanding peat moss and little customized plastic trays. These are charming, and hold lots of promise for the imaginative beginning gardener, but there’s a reason why gardening books don’t […]

via DIY Compressed Soil Block Maker — From the Ground Up

Don’t Water Your Garden And Orchard Weeds

Starting anew this spring.
I am attempting to make watering a few trees and grape vines easier on me yet insuring desirable plants get the maximum amount of water and undesirable weeds get a minimum amount of water.

Visiting my local farm store I found all the nifty parts to construct a ‘portable’ drip watering system.

Last summer I bought 2 new 50 foot water hoses. I got 2 – 50 foot hoses so I can disconnect at 50 feet to water chickens and a near by Maple tree without the need to drag 100 feet of hose behind me.

This spring I went to my local farm store and bought:
2 – brass quick disconnects – $4.99 (for 2 quick disconnects))
1 – brass ball shut off valve – $3.49
1 – mechanical water shut off timer – $9.99
* why is it everything cost $?.99 or ?.49 cents???

The layout:
Water shutoff timer is connected to freeze proof faucet. Attach water hose, use lots of duct tape to secure water host near the ground to the freeze proof faucet riser pipe. This should keep me or others from damaging the water timer by pulling on the hose and damaging the plastic parts of the timer.

Hose #1 attach to timer and attach quick disconnect ‘securely’ to other end of hose.
Hose #2 attach quick disconnects to female end and your ball valve shut off valve to the male end of your hose.

With this setup you can control your water supply and apply no more that about 5 gallons an hour directly at the base of your tree or grape vine. I plan on watering trees and vines once a week starting about the 1st of May through the end of September, maybe less if the mulch holds as much moisture as I am hoping it will. More control can be had by setting your timer to 15, 30 or 60 minutes before it automatically shuts of the water supply.

The pro’s 1. your don’t forget to check and shut off your faucet.
2. your hose is not setting in the hot summer sun under full water supply pressure, a real hose saver.
3. You are only watering your desirable plants and not your unwanted weeds.

The con’s, you will likely loose 1/4 to 1/3 faucet volume passing through the timer, quick disconnects and hose end ball valve. If you water by sprinkler this very well maybe a serious water flow reduction problem.

I have taken this one step further. My good neighbor delivered free of charge about 4 yards of wood chips. I am in the process of putting down a 4 foot circle of wood chips 6-8 inches deep around each tree and grape vine. Wood chips will help keep the soil cooled in out hot dry summer weather. It conserves soil moisture and is helpful in controlling unwanted weeds near the base of trees and vines.

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Salads and Pickles

bamboo cucumber trellis

Cucumber Bamboo Trellis

Cucumber is a tender, warm season vegetable that produces well when given proper care and protection. The vines of standard varieties grow rapidly and require substantial space. Vertical training methods and new dwarf varieties now allow cucumbers to be grown for slicing, salads and pickling, even in small garden plots.

Recommended Varieties

2017-02-03-18_40_03-ez-gardening-e-507_cucumbers-pdf
Long Green Slicing

Burpless (hybrid – 62 days to harvest; the original sweet, long, Chinese type hybrid; does well on a trellis).

Marketmore 76 (68 days; very uniform, dark green, straight fruit; multiple disease resistance).

Straight 8 (58 days; AAS winner a long time favorite; excellent flavor evenly dark green fruit).

cucumber wire trellis

Cucumber wire trellis

Long Green Slicing (compact plant)

Bush Crop (55 days to harvest; delicious; 6-8 inch fruit on dwarf, bushy plants)

Fanfare (hybrid – 63 days AAS winner; great taste; high yield; extended harvest; disease resistant).

Salad Bush (hybrid – 57 days; AAS winner; uniform 8 inch fruit on compact plants; tolerant to a wide variety of diseases

Pickling

Bush Pickle (48 days to harvest; compact plant; good for container growing)

Carolina (Hybrid – 49 days; straight, blocky fruits with white spines; medium-sized plant with good vigor; disease resistant)

When to Plant

Cucumbers are usually started by planting seeds directly in the garden. Plant after the danger of frost has passed, and the soil has warmed in the spring. Warm soil is necessary for germination of seeds and proper growth of plants. With ample soil moisture, cucumbers thrive in warm summer weather. A second planting for fall harvest may be made in mid- to late summer.

Cucumbers may be transplanted for extra early yields. Sow two or three seeds in peat pots, peat pellets or other containers 3 to 4 weeks before the frost free date. Thin to one plant per container. Plant transplants 1 to 2 feet apart in rows 5 to 6 feet apart when they have two to four true leaves. Do not allow transplants to get too large in containers or they will not transplant well. Like other vine crops, cucumbers do not transplant successfully when pulled as bare-root plants.

Spacing & Depth

row-planted-cucumbers Plant seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep and thin the seedlings to one plant every 12 inches in the row or to three plants every 36 inches in the hill system. If you use transplants, plant them carefully in warm soil 12 inches apart in the row.

Care

Cucumber plants have shallow roots and require ample soil moisture at all stages of growth. When fruit begins setting and maturing, adequate moisture becomes especially critical. For best yields, incorporate compost or well-rotted manure before planting. Cucumbers respond to mulching with soil-warming plastic in early spring or organic materials in summer. Use of black plastic mulch warms the soil in the early season and can give significantly earlier yields, especially if combined with floating row covers.

Side-dress with NPK 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 balanced fertilizer when the plants begin to vine. Cucumber beetles should be controlled from the time that the young seedlings emerge from the soil.

In small gardens, the vines may be trained on a trellis or fence. When the long, burpless varieties are supported, the cucumbers hang free and develop straight fruits. Winds whipping the plants can make vertical training impractical. Wire cages also can be used for supporting the plants. Do not handle, harvest or work with the plants when they are wet.

wood container cucumber trellis

Cucumber container grown on wood trellis

Harvesting

Pick cucumbers at any stage of development before the seeds become hard. Cucumbers usually are eaten when immature. The best size depends upon the use and variety. They may be picked when they are no more than 2 inches long for pickles, 4 to 6 inches long for dills and 6 to 8 inches long for slicing varieties. A cucumber is of highest quality when it is uniformly green, firm and crisp. The large, burpless cucumbers should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter and up to 10 inches long. Some varieties can grow considerably larger. Do not allow cucumbers to turn yellow. Remove from the vine any missed fruits nearing ripeness so that the young fruits continue to develop. The cucumber fruit grows rapidly to harvest size and should be picked at least every other day.

Questions & Answers

Q. Some of my small cucumbers are badly misshapen. Will they develop into normal cucumbers?

A. No. They should be removed from the vines. Misshapen cucumbers may result from poor pollination or low fertility. Side-dressing with a complete fertilizer may help later cucumbers to develop normally.

Q. Why do some of my plants suddenly wilt and die? Dead or dying plants are scattered all over my cucumber patch. One plant in a hill may be healthy, while another dies.

A. These are typical symptoms of the bacterial wilt disease. This disease is spread by cucumber beetles early in the season. The beetles must be controlled immediately when the plants are small.

Q. Is there really a “burpless” cucumber?

A. Yes. Burpless cucumbers are no longer considered novelties and are offered in most garden catalogs. They are mild, sweet and crisp when fresh. The skin is tender and free of bitterness, although many people peel it off. Most varieties are long (10 to 12 inches) and curved, unless grown on a trellis. These varieties are better eaten fresh, using conventional varieties for most picklng uses.

Q. What cucumber variety should I buy for gherkins?

A. Buy the West Indian gherkin. It is a close relative of the garden cucumber used for pickling. The fruits are generally oval, 1 to 3 inches long and more spiny than cucumbers. They are also called “burr cucumbers” but are usually listed in catalogs as West Indian gherkin. They are grown in the same way as cucumbers. Small-fruited, prickly varieties of cucumber are sometimes sold as “gherkins.” If small, tender cucumbers are what you want to pickle and call “gherkins,” then these misnamed cucumber varieties serve the purpose well.

Q. Why do my cucumbers fail to set fruit and yield properly?

A. The first yellow flowers appearing on the plants are male flowers that provide pollen. These flowers normally drop off after blooming. The small cucumber is evident at the base of the female flower (even before it opens) and should develop into an edible fruit if properly pollinated. Anything that interferes with pollination of the female flowers reduces fruit set and yield, including cold temperatures and rainy weather that hamper bee activity or improper use of insecticides that kill bees.

Q. What are gynoecious hybrids?

A. Gynoecious (“female-flowering”) hybrids are special hybrids of slicing and pickling cucumbers that are advertised in many garden catalogs. Because they have all female flowers, they may be earlier and higher yielding than other varieties. Usually, the seed company mixes in a small proportion of seed of a standard cucumber as a pollinator.

Q. How far away from melons should I plant my cucumbers? I am concerned about cross pollination.

A. Contrary to popular opinion, cucumbers do not cross-pollinate with muskmelons or watermelons and cause them to become bitter, tasteless or off-flavor. Because cucumbers and melons require considerable space in the garden, however, plant the rows far enough apart for proper vine growth without overlapping.

Q. What causes my cucumber plants to be stunted? The leaves are a mottled yellow, and the fruits are blotchy and taste bitter.

A. This condition is caused by the cucumber mosaic virus. Grow mosaic-resistant varieties.

Q. What causes the white mold growth on the upper surfaces of my cucumber leaves?

A. This condition is caused by powdery mildew, a fungal disease that is most severe during late summer and fall plantings. Grow resistant varieties.

Harvest cucumbers early in the morning (before have been heated by the afternoon sun) and refrigerate immediately. Store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in loose or perforated plastic bags. Supermarket cucumbers are covered with an edible wax to protect them from moisture loss. The wax gives them an unnatural sheen. Fresh cucumbers are dull green in color.

Pickling cucumbers — Pickling cucumbers should be picked every day, since they can quickly grow too large for use. Do not leave over-mature, yellow cucumbers on the vine. If a single cucumber is left on the vine, the vine will stop producing altogether.

Slicing cucumbers — Slicing cucumbers should be harvested as needed. But there is no practical use for baseball bat size cucumbers. They are tough and the seeds are woody. Harvest when they are 8 inches long or smaller. As with pickling cucumbers, remove the over mature ones as soon as you see them or they will halt the growth of new cucumbers.

Nutritional Value & Health Benefits

Cucumbers add a crisp snap to salads and sandwiches, however they are not a very good source of nutrients. The most abundant nutrient in cucumbers is water. A small amount of beta carotene is found in the green peel, but once peeled the level drops to nearly zero.

Nutrition Facts (6 large or 8 small raw cucumber slices with peel)

Calories 5
Protein trace
Dietary fiber 1 gram
Carbohydrates 1 gram
Calcium 7 mg
Vitamin A 70 IU
Vitamin C 3 mg
Iron trace

Preparation & Serving

Cucumbers are often soaked in salt water to remove some of the naturally high water content. Cucumbers will otherwise give up water and dilute the salad dressing. Unpeeled cucumbers are higher in nutritional value as fiber and vitamin A are lost by peeling.

Home Preservation

Aside from pickling, there is no practical way to preserve cucumbers. There are many ways to make a pickle. They can be fermented or quick packed in a vinegar solution and processed in a boiling water bath and kept on the shelf for up to a year. There is no great challenge to making pickles. Pickles can be made by the quart or by the five-gallon crock. For those who do not know how to can, pickles can be made in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Pickling cucumbers are best to use because the skin is less bitter than slicing cucumbers and they have smaller and fewer seeds. However, you can successful substitute slicing cucumbers.

Make pickles without canning.

Refrigerator Dill Chips

Pickled cucumbers add spice and texture to sandwiches and meals. For highest quality pickles, use cucumbers that are no more the 24 hours from the vine. Use “pure” or pickling salt in this recipe. Table salt contains additives that make a cloudy brine and off color pickles.

  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups sliced cucumbers, about 1/4 inch thick
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 2 springs fresh dill, about 6 inches long or 1 tablespoon dry dill seed or 1 head of fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water

Prepare the jar, lid and screwband. Wash them in hot soapy water, rinse well and drain. Combine the sliced cucumbers and 1-1/2 teaspoons of the pickling salt. Toss well. Cover with cold water and let stand for 2 to 3 hours. Drain.

In a clean, hot, 1 pint jar, put the dill, garlic, and remaining 1 teaspoon pickling salt. Add the cucumbers slices leaving 1/2 inch head space. Push slices down and firmly pack. Combine water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Pour hot vinegar solution over cucumbers.

Use a plastic knife or spatula to release air bubbles. Insert knife down the side of the jar and gently push cucumber slices toward the center so that the vinegar solution gets between the slices. Pour on more hot vinegar solution if necessary. Leave 1/2 inch headspace (the space between the rim of the jar and its contents). Wipe the rim. Put the lid and screwband in place. Refrigerate one to six weeks before eating. (Best flavor after 4 weeks).

Recipes

Cucumber Yogurt Salad Dressing

This is a delicious, heart healthy, low calorie salad dressing which can be used as a dip for steamed or raw vegetables or as a topping for baked potatoes or steamed carrots. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2/3 cup plain, nonfat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until creamy and smooth. Chill for about 2 hours before serving. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Thai Cucumber Salad

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 pickling or slicing cucumbers, sliced lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 10 whole cilanto leaves
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, julienne (about 1 inch long)

Combine the sugar, vinegar and salt and heat in a small sauce pan until sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes) do not boil. Set saucepan in cold water to cool the vinegar mixture. When cool, pour over cucumbers and garnish with red peppers. Serves four.

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Make life easy and it will taste better

20 Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong in the Kitchen
Roasting Potatoes The best roasted potatoes are boiled in salted water and roasted in the oven for a perfectly soft interior and super crunchy exterior. The other secret ingredient is whole grain mustard takes their flavor to the next level.

Scrambling Eggs Protein, including eggs, hates heat. If you’ve always ended up with overcooked and rubbery scrambled eggs, you’re probably cooking them too quickly at too high a heat. Low and slow is the only way to go for soft tasty scrambled eggs.

Peanut Butter Cookies You only need four ingredients (peanut butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla) for perfect peanut butter cookies. Get the recipe: Easy peanut butter cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies Adding salt to the top of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. A sprinkling of good quality flake salt completely transforms the flavor of chocolate chip cookies and immediately elevates them to special status.

Cooking Bacon Sizzling bacon on the stove top results in greasy splatters and painful burns. You should try roasting bacon in the oven on a cookie sheet lined with foil so that the bacon cooks evenly and the cleanup is effortless.

PB&J Sandwiches Elevate PB&J sandwiches to the next level by using a combination of creamy and crunchy peanut butter, Nutella, strawberries, bananas, marshmallow fluff, jelly, and honey.

Happy Holidays

Walk down memory lane – Do You Remember?

Damn I feel so, so ‘old’.
Do you remember when and why we did and say something our kids and grand kids don’t have a clue about?

“HANG UP” A PHONE?
Phones used to have two parts to them, a base and a receiver. In order to end a call, the receiver had to placed or “hung” on the base.

“DIAL” A PHONE?
To call someone on an old phone, you had to stick your finger in a rotating dial at number positions that would turn the dial for various lengths of time when released. You had to do the entire number every time.

WHY DOES A PHONE OR ALARM CLOCK “RING”?
Now phones and alarm clocks can make any kind of sound to catch the attention, but a long time ago, phones and alarm clocks had little bells inside them for this purpose.

WHY DO CASHIERS “RING UP” A PURCHASE?
Cash registers also used to have little bells in them. Cashiers would enter the price of each item on a set of mechanical levers, when they pressed the button to get the total, the total price would pop up in a window and the bell would ring.

THE ORIGIN OF “LUGGAGE”?
People used to travel with big, heavy bags that had no wheels or collapsible handles. They had to “lug” these bags around from place to place.

WHAT IS “CLOCKWISE”?
Clocks used to be a circular array of numbers, with pointers mounted on a controller in the center that moved around the circle over the course of the day. The direction that the pointers moved, beginning towards the right at the top of the circle, was referred to as clockwise.
Tell a young person to turn a knob clock/counter clock wise and you will most likely be confronted with a blank stare. Grin … you know the deer in the headlights look.

WHY DO WE SAY “ON LINE” FOR COMPUTER THINGS?
In the early days of computing, when one machine needed to communicate with another, they had to be attached with a physical cord or “line.” Processes that could be completed without this communication were “off line.”

WHY DO WE SAY “REWIND” FOR A DO-OVER?
Video and audio used to be on strips of tape that moved across a reader in order to be played. A gear on one side would wind the tape, pulling across it the reader from a wheel on the other side. When you wanted to re-play a section you had just heard or seen, or go back to the beginning, you had to re-wind the tape in the other direction.

WHAT DOES “CC” MEAN ON AN EMAIL?
When you cc someone, you send them a copy of your message. It comes from carbon copy, an old method of creating copies of paper documents by transferring lines via carbon paper.
Young kids and adults don’t have a clue what your talking about when you say you need a sheet of carbon paper.

Don’t Poison Your Family And Holiday Guest – Avoid Bagged Salad Greens

The holiday season is here. Don’t sicken your family or guest with food poisoning.

Bagged salad can fuel the growth of food poisoning bugs like Salmonella and make them more dangerous.

Scientists said the moist environment combined with nutrients leaching out of chopped leaves created the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

If you must buy bagged greens scientist advised people to eat bagged salad on the day they bought it.

Fresh green leaves and salad foods are often involved in food poisoning.

Studies have shown that salad can carry bacteria, but the research team showed the bag made things much worse.
The study showed sugars, proteins and minerals escaped from the cut leaves into the water in the bag.
Researcher Dr Primrose Freestone said “That’s a reasonable amount of nutrients if you’re a bacterium.”

The studies showed that Salmonella did especially well in bags containing spinach, while E. coli loved rocket(Arugula) leaves. Dr Freestone said “Juices that naturally leach from the leaves have the potential to increase the growth of any pathogen that might be present and establish them so strongly that washing wouldn’t be enough to eradicate them.”

“Buy the bag with the best sell-by date, avoid lots of mushed leaves and if it’s(the bag) is inflated don’t use it.”

A genetic analysis of the Salmonella showed they had gained the mutations that would help them to infect people. Dr Freestone said “We did see bacteria whose behavior had turned more to virulence.

Dr Jeri Barak, from the Food Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said: “It would be fair to conclude that if Salmonella is present in salads (and) it might grow to infectious doses.”
“Consumers should treat bagged salads as temperature sensitive food products, like milk and ice cream. keeping these foods in the refrigerator is important.”

Happy Holidays.

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