The Scoop View All →

Tell Us How To Make Conservation Programs Work For You

By   3 days ago

Your ideas could make a difference! One of the organizations On Pasture works with to bring you articles every week is the Western Landowners Alliance. WLA recognizes that economic vitality and conservation go hand-in-hand, and they promote policies and practices that sustain private landowners in their work. To do that best, they need to know […]

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The Best New Years’s Resolutions For Farmers and Ranchers

By   1 week ago

This first “Scoop” of the new year comes to us from Don Ashford. Thanks, Don! Another year has come and gone and now comes the time for all of the resolutions to be made for the New Year. Folks resolve to lose weight, quit smoking or dipping, cut back on their drinking, exercise more – […]

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How to Find Articles to Read While On Pasture is On Break

By   3 weeks ago

It’s an On Pasture tradition that we take time off at the end of every year to spend  some time with our families. This year we’re off December 24 – January 7. We’ll be back on January 8 with lots more great articles for you! But we never leave you without something good to read! […]

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On Pasture’s Annual Report

By   1 month ago

It’s that time of year, when we report back to you what the On Pasture community has accomplished together. This year that includes a total of 325 new articles with readership at a solid 100,000 folks a month and some months bumping up to 110,000. According to Alexa.com statistics, that makes us the most read […]

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The Dairy Crisis Affects Us All

By   1 month ago

What’s happening to our dairy farmers doesn’t affect just them. It also affects the farmers and businesses who supply them, and the future of rural communities across the country. Let’s take a look at the problem and some potential solutions.

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The Giving Farm

By   1 month ago

In 1971, I was a confused eight year old who cried in horror as men lashed my grandfather William’s fourteen, beloved Guernsey cows in an attempt to make them walk up the steep ramp into a cattle truck destined for the auction barn. The sober event was dictated by the decision not to spend money […]

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Farm Lease Opportunity Available

By   1 month ago

On Pasture readers Joanna and Dave Koob are looking for someone to lease their farm located in central Kentucky about 25 miles south of Lexington. The farm is 400 grazeable acres with a centrally located barn and working facilities that include a sweep pen, cattle chute and digital scale. Two years ago they also installed […]

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Meet Me In Reno!

By   2 months ago

First – THANK YOU! We were overwhelmed last week by all the support that came in to meet our grant match before the deadline. And we did it! I’m behind on thank you notes and mailing out bumper stickers, but please know how grateful I am and that they’ll be on their way soon! Next […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Pugging Prevention For Wet Winter Grazing

    By   3 days ago

    Last week Troy Bishopp described how he met the challenge of grazing with wet weather and late freezing temperatures. (Of course the best prevention is some snow – which many of you are getting this week.) Here are some more suggestions from Victor Shelton for managing your grazing to prevent damage to your forage. Plus […]

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    How My Grazing Plan Helped When Everything Went Wrong

    By   1 week ago

    Troy has been sharing how he extends his grazing season every year thanks to charting his management. But this fall Mother Nature threw him a big curve with rain 28 days out of 40 and a killing frost that came a month late. Here’s how he made it through.

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    Working With Grazing Charts to Manage Grazing and Have Time For the Rest of Your Life

    By   3 weeks ago

    While On Pasture is on winter break, we’re sharing resources that you might find helpful. Recently we’ve made some handouts that you can download for free and then copy and share at workshops, conferences and other events. This one covers the ins and outs of using a grazing chart to plan your grazing so that […]

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    Good Grazing Management Brings an Ecosystem Back to Life

    By   1 month ago

    “This is so much more than just stewardship of the land. It’s about modeling the behaviors that we all should have, whether we’re a homeowner in town, a 10-acre ranchette, or a 10,000 acre ranch.” – Tanse Herrmann, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service When Gary and Amy Cammack purchased 927 acres of rangeland in 1984, it […]

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    Winter Stockpile Grazing Tips

    By   1 month ago

    I’m not really sure where this year went. At least for me, it seems like it should still be October, but the weather outside indicates a different message. Grazing activity for a lot of producers starts slowing down this time of year. If you are still grazing, and I hope you are, then you are […]

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    Managing a Landscape to Increase Water, Forage and Habitat

    By   1 month ago

    This is a story of the importance of private lands for providing clean water and wildlife habitat, and how the changes this ranch made enhanced habitat and increased water availability and made their livestock more productive and profitable. Thanks to Robert Hathorne of the NRCS for sharing this story. I’ve added ways to apply the principles this ranch uses to help you translate this to your operation, and information on how to pay for the improvements.

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    Coming to the Table to Create Grazing Solutions That Work For Everyone

    By   2 months ago

    According to legend, the first Thanksgiving in North America was celebrated when two very different peoples sat down together to eat and give thanks. The folks in this video are following in that tradition, coming to the table with government agencies and others to create solutions good for wildlife and for the people who make […]

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    Getting Water to the Herd – Sometimes Old Tech is the Best Tech

    By   2 months ago

    The reason I often mention the Natural Resources Conservation Service as a good resource is that NRCS is known for providing one-on-one, personalized advice on the best solutions to meet unique conservation challenges. As an example, here’s a story from David Sanden, about how NRCS staff helped a rancher get water to his herd without […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Preventing the Spread of Medusahead

      By   3 days ago

      Last week we looked at why Medusahead Rye is so dangerous. This week Beth shares how we can prevent its spread. These tips are important for preventing the spread of all kinds of weedy species, so check them out and use them, even if you don’t have Medusahead. Preventing medusahead from establishing in new areas […]

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      The Curse of Medusahead Rye

      By   1 week ago

      A team of genetic engineers couldn’t have devised a more ecologically lethal and effective invasive weed than Medusahead Rye. Beth Burritt is one of the researchers working on ways to stop it in it’s march across the U.S. from west to east. In this series of articles she shares what we need to know about the plant, and about a treatment that a rancher discovered that just may be a solution.

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      Learn From Greg Judy – One of On Pasture’s First Authors

      By   3 weeks ago

      Greg Judy was part of the original On Pasture think tank. As one of On Pasture’s Writers in Residence, he’s written plenty of articles over the almost six years we’ve been publishing, sharing his wealth of experience. You can read all of his articles, starting with the most recent, by clicking here. Two Search Tips […]

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      To Plant Or Not To Plant My Ryegrass

      By   1 month ago

      Even if you’re not a candidate for planting ryegrass, you’ll want to check out the principles of grazing management that Don describes in this piece about working with your local climate, understanding forages, and making grazing pay.

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      Carbohydrate Reserve Theory: What You Learned Might Be Wrong

      By   1 month ago

      The authors start with four pieces of information that put the role of carbohydrate reserves into question. Then they share ideas for good grazing to work well with plant physiology.

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      You Can’t Grow Beans From Cracks in the Ground

      By   2 months ago

      Although I was trained in science, I never really made much of a scientist. All that sitting around in the lab, mucking out petri dishes and gathering data, well, I just really couldn’t stand it. What I wanted was to be out in the field, observing nature. And perhaps that’s why I wound up here […]

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      There’s Just Not Enough Manure in the World

      By   2 months ago

      Last week we shared an article from the Soil Science Society of America that pointed out the benefits of using manure to fertilize and improve soils. The results are not surprising. Countless trials have described the beneficial results of applying manure. So why do we still use inorganic, manmade fertilizers? Andrew McGuire’s answer, after doing […]

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      Manure vs Inorganic Fertilizer – Which One is Better?

      By   2 months ago

      Thanks to the Soil Science Society of America for this article. In a newly published study, researchers dug into how fertilizing with manure affects soil quality, compared with inorganic fertilizer. Ekrem Ozlu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his team studied two fields in South Dakota. From 2003 to 2015, the research team applied either […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Low-Stress Livestock Handling – Starting Herd Movement For a Successful Drive

        By   3 days ago

        For the past few years, Whit Hibbard has been sharing a series of articles on Low-Stress Livestock Handling (LSLH). We’ve gathered these articles as one of our Special Collections so you can see them all. Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing a number of new articles in upcoming issues of On Pasture. Driving—the active process […]

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        Prepping for Calving Season

        By   1 week ago

        Most of these tips apply to any kind of livestock that will be giving birth. So check it out!

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        Thoughts and Lessons From Decades of Farming

        By   3 weeks ago

        I met Don and Betty Ashford in September of 2014 when I went to Louisiana to talk about how to train cows to eat weeds. Betty made Monkey Bread for me, I fed her and all the pasture walk participants cricket brownies and fried larvae, and the cows learned to eat horse nettle, teaweed/prickly sida, […]

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        Livestock Basics

        By   1 month ago

        While Matthew focuses on cattle in his look at the basics, the questions he poses and what they need are right on for all classes of livestock.

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        Outsmarting Wild Cattle Part 3

        By   1 month ago

        This year I switched from being a year-round cow-calf operation to being a seasonal heifer developer, one of the biggest issues I had was with temperament. Heifers that are new to my operation can be flighty and less calm than a herd I’ve worked with over the years. Here is part 3 of the skills […]

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        Outsmarting Wild Cattle – Part 2

        By   1 month ago

        The cattle business can be hard on your self-esteem. It’s tough when in spite of all your schooling, knowledge, experience and success, you get outwitted by an animal that poops in its food. This is happening to me a lot less frequently now that I have been through a few years of learning the hard […]

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        Outsmarting Wild Cattle – Part 1

        By   2 months ago

        Meg is back with some more about the skills she’s developing and practicing as she grows her cattle operation. This time she’s sharing her experience working with newly purchased heifers and techniques she used to move them more easily through pastures.

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        THE Pastured Poultry Directory You’ve Been Looking For

        By   2 months ago

        Since it’s Thanksgiving Week here in the U.S., many of you might have poultry on your mind. If so, you’re going to love this directory!

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          Consider This View All →

          Soil Fertility and Good Feed – That’s Why Greg Judy Unrolls Hay

          By   3 days ago

          Back in 1999 when we first started leasing idle land for grazing that needed serious fertility, I designed my first bale unroller. We had all these old farms that had been stripped of their fertility by folks continuously haying them every year without putting back any nutrients. We did not have any money to fertilize […]

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          New Ideas to Solve Old Problems

          By   3 weeks ago

          John Marble, another of On Pasture’s Writers in Residence, has been writing for On Pasture for a little over two years. He focuses on helping us take a new look at things we might take for granted. Examples include his thoughts on paddock design and moving livestock, and his article “From Minimal To Mob – […]

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          The Giving Farm

          By   1 month ago

          In 1971, I was a confused eight year old who cried in horror as men lashed my grandfather William’s fourteen, beloved Guernsey cows in an attempt to make them walk up the steep ramp into a cattle truck destined for the auction barn. The sober event was dictated by the decision not to spend money […]

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          Free Guide For Managing Stress on the Farm/Ranch

          By   1 month ago

          Are you stressed? Or are you feeling anxiety? Turns out that there are specific definitions for these two terms. Understanding the difference, and labeling what we’re experiencing lets us adjust our mindset. And that can help us manage the level of stress in our lives and improve our businesses and our health. Thanks to Charlotte […]

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          Only the Learners Survive – Thoughts on How to Be One of Them

          By   2 months ago

          This is a quote from Eric Hoffer who was known as the longshoreman philosopher. Mr. Hoffer has been dead since 1983 but these words are more applicable today than when he wrote them. Those of us, who a few years ago began to realize that the “learned” were being no help to us at all, […]

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          Battling the Scourge of ‘Embalmed Milk’ – A Story From Our Past

          By   2 months ago

          Have you ever wondered how we arrived at our current dairy regulations? Well here’s part of the story. From Deborah Blum and Undark.org, here’s how an obscure Indiana public health official pioneered a campaign against tainted dairy products at the turn of the 20th century. At the turn of the 20th century, Indiana was widely […]

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          An Excerpt From Kathy’s Favorite New Farming Book

          By   3 months ago

          About a month ago, I shared a review of Start Your Farm: The Authoritative Guide for Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer, by one of our On Pasture authors, Forrest Pritchard, and co-author Ellen Polishuk. Now, I’m tickled that the book’s publisher has selected On Pasture to share an excerpt from the book. Click here […]

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          The Ongoing American Dairy Crisis and Its Impact on the Family Farm

          By   3 months ago

          This is an issue close to Jason Birchfield’s heart. He doesn’t think there’s a silver bullet. But he believes in the small family farm and wanted to share this in hopes of starting a dialogue that could lead to solutions.

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            How to Save Hypothermic Lambs

            By   3 days ago

            Bill Fosher first shared this with us in January of 2014. Here it is again to help our winter lambing readers. In winter lambing flocks, hypothermia and starvation of newborn lambs can account for nearly all of the pre-weaning death loss of lambs. It’s a serious problem that can often be minimized through careful management […]

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            Make Lambing, Kidding and Calving Happen During Daylight Hours

            By   1 week ago

            With almost 12,000 reads, this is the most read post for December 2018. I can see why too! It’s an easy way to make your upcoming calving, lambing and kidding season a little less stressful. Feed your pregnant stock every evening, right around dusk. They’ll spend the night ruminating and wait to give birth until […]

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            Clearing Your Plate For a Fresh New Year

            By   3 weeks ago

            It’s that time of year when we think about what’s been going well, and give thanks for that, and then what we could do to make the new year even better. From December of 2015, Here is Chris Blanchard’s list of things he’s going to clear off his plate so he can start fresh in […]

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            Sometimes We Say Unpopular Things So You Can Save Money

            By   1 month ago

            From January of 2017, this Classic by NatGLC links to articles that help us consider how best to spend our money when it comes to livestock handling facilities. On Pasture started out the first two weeks of 2017 with two articles we thought were especially important. They were a continuation of Whit Hibbard’s myth-busting series […]

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            Winter Stockpile Grazing – How Low Should You Go?

            By   1 month ago

            From December of 2014, here’s an answer to a commonly asked winter grazing question. It’s the Classic by NatGLC!

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            Fenceless Targeted Grazing Using Supplement Blocks

            By   1 month ago

            Sometimes landscape terrain and size makes temporary fencing too expensive or difficult to set up. Here’s an alternative that I’ve used successfully. From November of 2015 – an alternative to fencing that still directs your animals where you want them. When Derek Bailey began looking at ways to move animals across landscapes it was because he wanted […]

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            Four Winter Watering Set-Ups

            By   2 months ago

            Keeping stock watered in winter can be a challenge. With that in mind we thought we’d check with our neighbors to the north to see what kind of solutions they’ve come up with to make watering easier in even the coldest winters. We found this factsheet from folks in Manitoba with four different solutions as […]

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            Here’s What Dung Beetles Do For Us, and How You Can Have More of Them

            By   2 months ago

            From November of 2015 here’s the poop on Dung beetles. Enjoy! Troy Bishopp (the Grass Whisperer and On Pasture author) says that if he comes to visit your pastures, one of the first things he’ll look at are the manure pats. Why? Because they can tell him a lot about the quality of what the […]

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              Money Matters View All →

              Ranching in the Future – What Should Young Ranchers Expect?

              By   1 week ago

              I recently received a note from a young friend (let’s call her Peggy Sue) who desperately wants to be a rancher. Since her childhood she has dreamed of working with animals. She has learned about marketing and economics. She’s studied hard and become a competent grazier. She’s done some hard work. But she’s getting a […]

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              Building a Beef Business – Lessons Learned

              By   3 weeks ago

              Meg Grzeskiewicz has always wanted to be a rancher. But getting there without a family farm to start from means she’s facing challenges that many new farmers and ranchers face: how to develop the skills and how to find a land base to work from. She’s taken these challenges head on, starting first with getting […]

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              Diverse Family Farms Are Important To Us All

              By   1 month ago

              This article comes to us from Bob Hoppe of the USDA Economic Research Service. It was originally published to announce the findings of the 2016 edition of the report on America’s Diverse Family Farms. The data he provides are still relevant. I’ve updated it with the most recent report link. Family farms remain an essential […]

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              Are Your Cow-Calf Share and Cash Lease Agreements Up to Snuff?

              By   2 months ago

                The fall of the year is often a convenient time for those involved in cow-calf share and cash leases of spring calving cows to revisit the terms of the agreement.  Market values of cattle, interest rates, pasture rental rates and feed costs can change significantly from year to year.  Discussing how the share or […]

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              Getting the Most Out of Internships – Tips for Interns and Mentors

              By   2 months ago

              With the average age of the American farmer holding around 59 years old in 2018, we need to look at who is going to farm in the future. There are young folks yearning to get on the land today, but the deck is stacked against them. The cost of buying land, equipment, livestock, etc. is […]

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              Cow-Q-Lators for Figuring Feed Costs, Cow-Calf Share Lease Rates And More

              By   2 months ago

              One of the reasons some of us don’t track our costs well, or we find out too late that something we’re doing is more expensive than we anticipated, is that math is hard! The folks at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s West Central Research and Extension Center guessed that was a problem, so they’ve provided us […]

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              Seeking Succession vs Seeking Success

              By   3 months ago

              There’s a lot of talk about “succession” being tossed around in agriculture. It occurred to me that some people might not be quite sure what that term means, especially since we seem to have more than one kind of succession to talk about. Currently, a lot of the talk seems to be centered on business […]

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              Arkansas Beginning Farmer Gets Financing to Get Started

              By   3 months ago

              This example of resources available to beginning farmers comes to us from Nicole Gurley, Farm Loan Officer, Washington County, Arkansas. There are links throughout the article that provide more information on the programs available to farmers, whether beginning or experienced. McKenzie Fanning grew up in Westfork, Arkansas, with the dream of becoming a cattleman. Although the […]

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                The Funnies View All →

                Snowman Humor x 3

                By   3 days ago

                For all of you covered in snow this week…

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                Proper Opossum Massage

                By   1 week ago

                The New Year is always a good time to learn a new skill. Here you go!

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                My Holiday Song To You

                By   3 weeks ago

                In honor of the season and all you do to help others, here’s my song to you.

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                Horse Gift-Wrapping Instructions

                By   1 month ago

                Every year I used to wish for a horse. Maybe I never got one because Mom and Dad didn’t know how to wrap it.

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                Is Cow-Cuddling Your Next Money-Maker?

                By   1 month ago

                OK – we can all laugh – but then take a look at the price of these cow-cuddling packages offered by Mountain Horse Farm in the Finger Lakes area of New York! Mountain Horse Farm doesn’t raise food. They offer wellness retreats and massages and opportunities for folks to spend time with cows and horses. […]

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                How to Haul Llamas

                By   1 month ago

                It turns out you don’t need a truck or trailer!

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                Curious Cows

                By   2 months ago

                Meg wrote in her article this week how much she could get done by taking advantage of cow curiosity. So I thought you might enjoy this example of curious cows, with thanks to Derek Klingenberg.

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                Do You Know Where Your Turkey Is?

                By   2 months ago

                Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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