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The Scoop View All →

Taking Medicine

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By   5 days ago

The youngest of the On Pasture crew is a puker – at least when she’s riding in cars.  The last time we drove to see her grandparents, she puked 5 times, or an average of once every 75 miles. We’ve got car puking down to a nice routine.  We take along a container with a lid. She announces […]

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We’re All Friends Here

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By   2 weeks ago

A friend called me from the road yesterday. She was thinking about a time I had given her a hand, and how much that meant to her. Shucks, I said, no big deal. It’s what you do for a friend. Besides, I reminded her, you are there for me plenty too. When we come through […]

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How Do You Get Rid of Fleas in the House?

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By   3 weeks ago

An On Pasture reader called Monday morning with a problem. Even though they have no indoor pets and his stock dogs aren’t allowed in the yard, somehow fleas got in the house. His wife has cleaned and has been vacuuming almost non-stop. She gave up today after a snake got in the house. She’s headed […]

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Where’s Your Superpower?

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By   4 weeks ago

Some days, I’m pretty sure I have superpowers. I can get through every item on a 2-page to-do list, there’s time to play with the kids, weed the garden, and walk the dog. Dinner is delicious, nutritious, and on the table, and the house is picked up before bed time. Most days, I must look […]

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Is Corn Sweat to Blame for the Heat Wave?

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By   1 month ago

If you saw CNN’s news ticker last week and read that corn sweat is to blame for the heat dome, and your response was “WHAAT??!” you were right to be skeptical. Here’s the Scoop. First, No, corn sweat did not cause the heat wave. The heat wave was caused by a massive dome of high […]

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This Farm Builds the Future With a Cup of Coffee

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By   1 month ago

Last week, I walked into a hug. And, it came with a latte. It was Opening Day at Sap Bush Hollow Cafe. Shannon Hayes and her family built a new enterprise to complement their farm business, and they decided on building their community as well. With sweat, tears, and bucketloads of hard work, they created […]

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Still Suffering After All These Years

Is this man suffering from Iron Disease?

By   2 months ago

Shannon Hayes piece last week, The Suffering Farmer, got some good comments on the site and on Facebook. Some folks read it and saw a new way to think about their lives, and that maybe suffering was in how they thought about and responded to things. Others read it and pointed out the things that […]

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Declaring Our Own Independence

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By   2 months ago

With Independence Day this week, Rachel was thinking about her own independence and freedom. Here are her thoughts. What would you like to declare independence from?

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Oregon Rancher Teaches Cows to Eat Sagebrush

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Cow enjoying a snack of sagebrush.

    By   5 days ago

    Two weeks ago, Beth wrote about results of studies done by her colleagues at Utah State University on using cattle to graze sagebrush to increase biodiversity on rangelands. This week she shares a story of a rancher who took that information to heart, decided to teach his cows to be sagebrush eaters, and has never […]

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    Time to Start Prepping Your Pastures for Fall

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    By   2 weeks ago

    My dear Mother always said that the older you get, the faster time goes, she was right. I really don’t know what happened to the summer. But here it is, August already. This is the prep month for the beginnings of fall activities starting with the seeding of permanent vegetation, early planting of annuals for […]

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    Grazing Sagebrush to Save It

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    By   3 weeks ago

    It’s a problem all over the West: old stands of sagebrush, poor in biodiversity due to lack of disturbance. The increase in sagebrush density over the past century is generally attributed to: 1) reduced numbers of mixed feeders and browsers such as deer, antelope, goats and sheep, 2) increased numbers of cattle and elk, 3) […]

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    Making Good Destocking Decisions in Drought

    Cattle in Boulder County, Colorado graze a dry pasture.

    By   4 weeks ago

    What do you do if it doesn’t rain so the grass doesn’t grow? Your livestock are grazing along, not a worry in the world, because it’s your job to figure out what comes next.  Prices are still up, and you could reduce your herd.  But you’ve spent years, maybe even a lifetime putting a herd […]

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    Using Pasture Pro Posts as Corner Braces

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    By   1 month ago

    Jim Gerrish experiments with fencing supplies so you don’t have to. Here are the results of a 5-year test to see how different size fiberglass posts hold up when used as braces so you’ll know when you ought to spend just a bit more to get the results you’re looking for.

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    Should We Mow/Clip Pastures? It Depends.

    Heavy seed head production; clipping could be beneficial.  Photo by Victor Shelton

    By   1 month ago

    We talked about clipping pastures in June. I’m still getting questions and comments by email about it; all good. There certainly are two sides to this fence: those that think mowing or clipping pastures is just something that has to be done and those that think it wastes time, fuel, and does little good. I […]

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    Grazing Crested Wheatgrass in the West

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    By   2 months ago

    Crested wheatgrass is a Russian native that was purposely introduced to rangelands in the American West as a forage and an erosion control tool starting in the 1900s. It became especially widely used starting shortly after the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 through the fifties when land managers were working on restoring rangelands impacted by […]

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    What Two Grasses Tell Us About Grazing Management

    Want more study details? Click here.

    By   2 months ago

    How is grass productivity above and below ground affected by grazing at different heights or by leaving different residuals after grazing? A study at UW-Madison found no simple answer to this question. Productivity of pasture grasses varies across grazing management strategies and species. The Study Nadia Alber with the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      More for Less in Pasture

      Skinner cows

      By   5 days ago

      A nine-year study shows that multi-species pastures provide 31% more forage than a two-species mixture. And since the multi-species mix also improves soil health, those pastures are more drought tolerant too.

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      Greg Judy Extends Grazing Season With Cover Crops

      Greg Judy in Cover Crop Pasture

      By   2 weeks ago

      The summer of 2015 was droughty in Missouri and by October, regrowth was pretty non-existent due to the lack of moisture. But in spite of it all, the cover crop mix that Greg planted in July was doing well. In this video, Greg describes what they did, and how it worked out for him. It […]

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      Bedstraw is a Nutritious, Resilient Forage

      Photo courtesy of University of Vermont

      By   3 weeks ago

      If you have bedstraw  on your farm or ranch, lucky you! According to forage analysis done by the Vermont Pasture Management Outreach program, protein values for this plant were around 19%. That means we should quit thinking of it as a weed, and instead look at it as a very palatable that is good for your […]

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      How Do I Handle My Hay Fields and Pastures in Severe Drought?

      Alfalfa Grass

      By   4 weeks ago

      First we need to clarify what sort of perennial forage stand we are managing.  The answer will be different for pure or very dominant legume or grass swards. Alfalfa and hay fields with high concentrations of alfalfa hay. After 30 days or so most alfalfa stands will want to start blooming.  Once we have 25% […]

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      Beware of Grazing Tall Fescue During Hot Months

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      By   1 month ago

      Duane Dailey of University of Missouri Extension put together this important information for reducing heat stress for cattle grazing tall fescue.

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      Should You Opt for the Legume? Adding Cowpeas to Forage Sorghum

      MasterGraze with Cowpeas

      By   1 month ago

      Cowpeas are a viney summer annual legume that can climb, tolerate some shade, and fill in the spaces in a summer annual grass, so should you consider adding them to a stand of forage sorghum? The answer (as usual) contains many variables, with both pros and cons to weigh. Space is at stake and plants […]

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      Diverse Yet Smart Cover Crop and Forage Mixes: 4 Rules for Perfect Pairings

      A custom summer pollinator mix made to attract beneficial insects and pollinators in time for late summer pumpkin bloom.

      By   2 months ago

      When you make a mix or interseed one crop in another for a “relay effect”, you’re looking for the most bang for your diversity buck. Taking care to mix a few carefully selected species that are well matched always trumps throwing together a hodgepodge of random selections. The species you choose will depend heavily on […]

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      Soil Health – Go Deeper

      Rachel Gilker helped Dr. Weil as the editor of this 15th edition. It just came out in April of 2016!

      By   2 months ago

      Dr. Ray Weil has spent his whole life looking at and learning about soils and how they work to keep us all fed. In fact, he literally wrote the book on soils. He has a message for farmers and ranchers concerned about how their soils affect forage growth and profitability: Think deeper. Think about more […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Cattle Shrink When They’re Stressed

        Time on Truck

        By   5 days ago

        If you’ve done everything right up to now to raise fat cattle, be sure what you do when you’re handling and transporting them doesn’t undo all your hard work.

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        Skinny Cows? Use Body Condition Scoring to Adjust Your Management

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        By   2 weeks ago

        Skinny cows may look better in bikinis, but in the beef business that’s not really how we measure success. Economic losses from thin cows can be substantial.  As the graph below shows, the thinner the cow, the less likely she is to become pregnant.  While weaning weight may not always be a good measure of […]

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        Charge MORE For Your Eggs. Your Neighbors Will Thank You!

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        By   2 weeks ago

        It’s the time of year when things are evening out for those of us with livestock. We have set the pace and are beginning to settle into our smooth summer stride. Most of the animals are now busy raising their young, chewing their cud, and enlarging their wallows. For the people raising laying hens this […]

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        You Can Mob Graze With Chickens!

        200 Cornish Cross chickens at week 7. We never trim the pasture ahead of them, which eliminates extra tractor work. For feed, we hand-allocate our broilers 1/3 lb. feed per bird per day, and our layers 1/5 lb. per bird per day.

        By   3 weeks ago

        Mob grazing is basically putting lots of animals on a small area and then moving them from place to place so that they get fed, and the trampled forage and manure and urine they leave behind feeds the soil. It’s easy to imagine with cows, and sheep, and maybe even goats? But chickens? Forrest Pritchard […]

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        An Animal’s Early Experience Outside Can Change Its Body Inside

        Ammoniation reduces the fiber in poor-quality forages like straw making it more digestible.  The ammonia also increases crude protein.

        By   4 weeks ago

        The animals you’ve got could behave and eat differently and even have different internal adaptations if you give them different experiences when they’re young.

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        Will Cloned Cattle Give Us What We’re Looking For?

        Part of the team caring for West Texas A&M University's clones, bull Alpha and one of the females called Gammas, from left to right: Kelly Jones, Landon Canterbury, Paydon Hales and Hayden Alexander.

        By   1 month ago

        If you followed the three part pictorial history of cattle size and type by Dr. Harlan Ritchie (see Part 1 here), you may have wondered, “What’s next for the Industry?” If it’s meat quality you’re looking for, a group of scientists think their cloned cattle may be the answer. Here it is in a Press […]

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        From Big to Small to Big to Small: Part 3 of A Pictorial History of Cattle Over the Years

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        By   1 month ago

        Just like cattlemen couldn’t seem to stop making animals smaller and smaller, now they couldn’t seem to stop heading the other direction either. Here’s what happened in the last half of the twentieth century.

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        From Big to Small to Big to Small: Part 2 of A Pictorial History of Cattle Changes Over the Years

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        By   2 months ago

        How did we get to the cattle we have today? Where should we go from here? These are some of the questions Dr. Harlan Ritchie worked to provide answers to in his long and distinguished career at Michigan State University. In Part 1 he looked at the change from the era of large cattle that […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          What Should You Charge For Your Eggs?

          One of the best parts about raising chickens: fresh eggs!

          By   5 days ago

          Doug read last week’s piece on the price of eggs and sent us these great thoughts on it. Figuring out how to price your product is not easy. We hope this exchange sparks more great conversation and helps you with that problem. What struck me when I read last week’s article “Charge More For Your […]

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          Charge MORE For Your Eggs. Your Neighbors Will Thank You!

          eggsforsale

          By   2 weeks ago

          It’s the time of year when things are evening out for those of us with livestock. We have set the pace and are beginning to settle into our smooth summer stride. Most of the animals are now busy raising their young, chewing their cud, and enlarging their wallows. For the people raising laying hens this […]

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          Get Assistance for Livestock and Forage Losses Due to Weather and Fire

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          By   3 weeks ago

          Last May, a lightning strike killed 21 cows eating at a metal feeder in McCook County, South Dakota. The loss to the farmer was estimated at $45,000. That’s a figure that would be hard for anyone to swallow, so hopefully this farmer took advantage of programs in the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill designed to support […]

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          The Inner Workings of Ag Book Publishing

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          By   4 weeks ago

          A few years back, a publisher specializing in agriculture books contacted me about distributing my book, “Cows Eat Weeds.” In spite of myself I was flattered, because if a publisher wants your book that seems like a good thing, right? Well, maybe not. This is how things work for most of us in the publishing […]

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          Drought Recovery Assistance

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          By   1 month ago

          Not getting the moisture you need? USDA Farm Service Agency can’t send rain, but they can help with the monetary impacts.

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          Leasing? Put It In Writing.

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          By   1 month ago

          That’s what Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, AgriLife Extension agriculture law specialist, says. “You never know what might happen between two folks with an oral lease, even if they are family or the best of friends,” she said. “Lease agreements certainly do not have to be lengthy and complex, but there are some terms you need to […]

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          Two Year Old Egg Salad

          Here's what two-year-old Egg Salad looks like. Yum!

          By   2 months ago

          One of the things that can keep us from putting a realistic price on our products and services is fear. Here Shannon calculates the true cost of the two years of work it took to make the egg salad she will sell at her cafe, and the impact on the relationship with her community.

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          Sage Grouse Save Ranches

          Sage grouse "booming" and dancing is part of their courting ritual, and they return to the same place year after year to meet and mate. Protecting their "leks" is critical to the bird's survival. (You can see a bit of this behavior in the video below.)

          By   2 months ago

          Usually ranchers worry problems that could be caused by a threatened or endangered species on or near their operations. But in this case, a species being considered for listing helped ranchers ensure their land would always stay in agriculture.

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            Consider This View All →

            Ranching and Wetlands Can Go Together

            Jeff Lazlo of Granger Ranches and Jon Jourdonnais of PPL MT, review Phase IV of O'Dell Project plans during construction in 2008.

            By   5 days ago

            “Ranching, conservation, ecological restoration, these things  are not diametrically opposed. In fact they go very well together. And I think the 10 years we’ve spent on this project demonstrate that and provide an opportunity for other ranchers, other landowners to look at this and think about ways they might be able to do something similar.” […]

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            “Just Do It” Goes For Farming and Ranching Too

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            By   2 weeks ago

            When he was 95 years old Scott Nearing, who has been described as the great-granddaddy of the back-to-the land movement, was speaking to a group about homesteading and gardening. Of all that he said that day the most profound statement was this: “If you want to garden just do it.” Just think about this for […]

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            We Can Drink Water Made From Sewage

            Drink Water Made From Sewage

            By   3 weeks ago

            You’re probably already feeling a little bit of disgust at this idea, right? Here, from Minute Earth is why you feel that way, even when that water is perfectly safe to drink, AND how we can get over disgust when we need to. Why does this matter to us as farmers and ranchers? Well, it’s […]

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            Is There Science Behind Your Supplement?

            Coffee evidence

            By   4 weeks ago

            Does coffee cure heat disease? How about coconut oil for ending obesity? And green tea – is that really a cancer preventative? Last, but not least, are my Facebook friends a good source for information about what I should and should not be eating? David McCandless may have some answers. McCandless, from Information is Beautiful, created […]

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            The Benefits of Country Living

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            By   1 month ago

            I wrote this piece in 2001 and in my opinion little has changed. When I got out of bed this morning it was pretty much as any other morning. After attending to all of the normal bathroom obligations, I put the coffee on and fed the cats and dogs. Then I walked to the mailbox […]

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            Choose Variety for Conservation

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            By   1 month ago

            If you don’t care about the long-term results, then sure one size fits all… It seems like we have to learn the same lessons over and over. In 1986, I was a new District Conservationist in the Carroll Field Office in West Central Iowa. NRCS was just rolling out the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). In […]

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            Rethinking the Stink About Antibiotics in Manure

            Photo showing animals that received antimicrobials in their diet and antimicrobial-containing manure accumulation on the floor of the pen.

            By   2 months ago

            New research on how antibiotics degrade in manure tells us we’ve been measuring incorrectly and that different antibiotics provide different results.

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            The Suffering Farmer

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            By   2 months ago

            What are we saying to the next generation about what it’s like to be a farmer or rancher? Here’s how we might change that message.

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              The Funnies View All →

              Someone Brought Their Kid to the Store

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              By   5 days ago

              Do you think this kid begs for candy at the check out? Save

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              Do Surfboards Give Up On Their Dreams?

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              By   2 weeks ago

              At some point, we all have to get a job…  

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              If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans.

              If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans

              By   3 weeks ago

              Please don’t take this as permission to behave poorly towards people with different food choices. Do take it as permission to laugh about how we can all go a little overboard sometimes.

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              Exercise Realities

              ParkourVideo

              By   4 weeks ago

              Expectations vs. Reality. Somedays our superpowers have us flying. Other days….well…. (Beware – loud music!) Thanks to The Rock FM in New Zealand for the video!

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              Texting With Mom Part Deux

              Senior Woman Frustrated by Texting

              By   1 month ago

              Sometimes we’re all a little forgetful, right? (I’ve actually done something very much like this one!) Save

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              Texting With Mom

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              By   1 month ago

              Do you have trouble texting? These Moms do!   Save Save

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              Lift Heavy Objects Correctly

              By   2 months ago

              Here’s a sign you may want to post at your place so everyone stays safe (and motivated!).

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              Riding Mower With Grass Catcher

              MyLAkSE

              By   2 months ago

              Check out all these different options you may not have thought of yet. Save Save Save

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