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The Scoop View All →

Help, Thanks, Wow!

By   4 days ago

Author Anne Lamott says these are the three essential prayers: Asking for Help, expressing Thanks, and exclaiming “Wow” about something inspiring. Here at On Pasture, we’ve had a “Help, Thanks, Wow” kind of Fall and you are the reason why. First we asked for help. We needed $15,000 from readers as our grant match for […]

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What Do You Think of This Idea?

By   2 weeks ago

Readers have been telling us On Pasture should offer workshops and other educational opportunities. Before we head in that direction, we need some input from you about what you really want and need. Five years ago when we had the idea for a new kind of publication,  we asked potential readers what they thought. And… […]

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December To Do List: 1) Find the Perfect Gift, 2) Save Net Neutrality

By   3 weeks ago

Two things you’ve probably figured out about On Pasture already: 1) We’re not big into telling you to spend money and, 2) we don’t like to get into politics. But it’s December, and there are two things that we all need: 1) Gift ideas and 2) an easy way to get those gifts. So here […]

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On Pasture Receives “Radical Center Award for Outstanding Leadership”

By   4 weeks ago

Last week was a really great one for your On Pasture editors. First, WE MADE OUR MATCH! Thank you to everyone who contributed to help us reach our $15,000 goal for 2017. YOU ROCK!!! Your books and bumper stickers will be headed out in the mail soon to thank you for your support. Second, we […]

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Just $722 To Go To Keep On Pasture Online

By   1 month ago

We have just one week left to meet the required $15,000 match for the Conservation Innovation Grant that keeps On Pasture online. First, THANKS to all the folks who have already contributed. You rock! Thanks to you we’ve raised $14,278 towards our goal. Next, if you haven’t had a chance to contribute, now is the […]

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We Have Two Weeks to Meet Our Match – Just $2,272 to Go!

By   1 month ago

If you haven’t heard, On Pasture is having a Fund Drive and we need your help. On Pasture is funded by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and it requires us to raise $15,000 in match from our readers every year. We have just 2 weeks to go this year, and […]

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On Pasture Needs You in 2017

By   2 months ago

This is a special appeal from On Pasture. We can’t operate without your help. Thanks to the readership and interest of you and everyone else in the On Pasture community, we now offer over 1600 separate articles, with 8 coming out every week. Beginning this year, we also offer 12 Special Collections, so you can […]

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This is the Crazy Story of What Happens When A Bunch of Idealistic Farmers Decide to Start a Company

By   2 months ago

Thirty years ago, seven organic farmers had this crazy idea that farmers should get paid well and that food should be raised in a healthy way. And instead of just sitting there and talking about it, they took they plunge and banded together to start a farmer-owned cooperative: Organic Valley. They didn’t get paid much […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Looking Drought in the Eye – Working Together to Get Through the Next One

    By   4 days ago

    The week that I got married, the drought of 2011 finally broke. I will never forget the Justice of the peace saying to everybody gathered, in his gravelly voice, “Now that Will and Laura are married, maybe the good lord will water the earth a little.” Sure enough, within a couple of days the first […]

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    Training Livestock and Wildlife to Electric Fence

    By   4 days ago

    I always like to start an electric fence conversation with this statement: “Electric fence is not a Miracle.” Quite frequently it is a miracle that it ever works when installed by uninformed consumers. There are certain principles that must be used and challenges overcome to use the product successfully. Over the next several months I […]

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    Like a Prairie – A Big Picture View of Grazing Management

    By   2 weeks ago

    Welcome to Will Kearney, a new On Pasture author. In this series, Will Kearney introduces a big idea about how we might manage prairies in a way more consistent with their ecological history and that could improve the landscape and our success as ranchers.

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    Winter Watering Tips From the North

    By   2 weeks 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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    Patch-Burn Grazing for Forage, Wildlife Habitat, and Firesafe Grasslands

    By   3 weeks ago

    What do you get when you combine grazing and prescribed fire? According to researchers and ranchers, you get reduced danger of catastrophic wildfires, better forage and better weight gains for livestock, and more lesser prairie chickens and other wildlife. Wildfires on the Great Plains are three times more frequent and four times bigger than they […]

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    Do You Have Enough Winter Feed and Are You Feeding the Right Animals?

    By   4 weeks ago

    I often talk about taking inventory of winter feedstuff.  I’m primarily measuring dry matter, e.g. hay, pasture, stockpile, crop residue, and grazeable annuals still left.  Fall rains certainly helped to green things up and provide some new growth, but that won’t last much longer and real growth is about done and dormancy of perennials is […]

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    Managing Ryegrass Our Way

    By   1 month ago

    Don Ashford has a creative way of planting and managing his pastures so that he doesn’t have to feed his stock, and he keeps his costs down. Could you do something similar with your pastures?

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    Is Mob Grazing as Effective as We Thought?

    By   1 month ago

    At the American Forage and Grassland Council’s annual meeting in Roanoke, Virginia, this past January, I was asked to summarize and present the scientific literature on mob grazing. This article provides a distilled version of that research summary. Introduction and Terminology Rotational grazing (RG) has been promoted by many land-grant universities and USDA-NRCS for a […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Have You Checked Out the Conservation Stewardship Program?

      By   4 days ago

      Have you ever looked across your property and thought about some land management goals you would like to take to the next level? Have you not gotten started because you weren’t quite sure what to do, or were lacking funding to implement practices? Well, the Natural Resources Conservation Service might be help with their Conservation […]

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      Reader Questions and Answers About Fall Alfalfa Nutrition, Varieties, and Reseeding

      By   3 weeks ago

      We’ve been getting alfalfa-related questions from readers. Genevieve Slocum and David Hunsberger of King’s Agriseeds have some answers. Question: My cows and calves have been on a pasture for about a week with approx. 50% grass 50% alfalfa it has dried down on the stem and we have had -2 c frosts several times some […]

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      What Farming Challenges Did the Pilgrims Face?

      By   4 weeks ago

      This comes to us from Tom Sauer, USDA-ARS, and the Soils Matter Blog from the Soil Science Society of America. The Thanksgiving holiday has its roots in ancient harvest festivals. Grateful people came together to celebrate a successful harvest. Before trade networks or long-term food storage, failed crops meant hunger or even starvation, so bountiful […]

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      What 30 Years of Study Tell Us About Grazing and Carbon Sequestration

      By   1 month ago

      In the first part in this series we told you that decades of grassland research show that grazing does not seem to have much influence on increasing carbon in the soil. On the other hand, many graziers have noted that their good grazing management seems to be increasing soil organic matter (SOM), and since soil […]

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      Management Guidelines Can Help Improve Pasture Condition, Optimize Forage Utilization

      By   1 month ago

      This article comes to us from the Noble Research Institute in Oklahoma. It addresses management of forages common to some of our readers. If your forages are different, consider what this kind of management might do to help your pastures, but consult a lstaff person from your local extension, NRCS or Conservation District Office. Here […]

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      Bamboo as a Season Extending Forage Is Showing Promise

      By   2 months ago

      Cairncrest Farm in West Winfield, New York is experimenting with Bamboo as a forage for grazing when deep snow makes it difficult for livestock to get to stockpiled pasture forage. Brothers Edmund and Garth Brown started with a lot of reading, testing different varieties over a number of years for their resilience, nutrition analysis and more. Here’s the latest installment in their ongoing on-farm research project.

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      How Do You Monitor Your Pastures?

      By   2 months ago

      This question comes to us from an On Pasture reader. It’s a big question. I provided an answer here, but we’d love to have reader input as well, as learning how you do things can be helpful to all of the rest of us. How I monitor depends on what I’m trying to find out. Sometimes […]

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      Warm-Season Grasses That Handle Low pH Soils and Hot, Dry Conditions

      By   2 months ago

      Native, perennial warm-season grasses produce well compared to cool-season grasses during the hot and dry weather, on soils with low moisture holding capacity, low pH, and low phosphorus levels.

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        Livestock View All →

        Training Livestock and Wildlife to Electric Fence

        By   4 days ago

        I always like to start an electric fence conversation with this statement: “Electric fence is not a Miracle.” Quite frequently it is a miracle that it ever works when installed by uninformed consumers. There are certain principles that must be used and challenges overcome to use the product successfully. Over the next several months I […]

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        Training Cattle to Follow Part 2: Working With Short Term Cattle

        By   2 weeks ago

        Teaching cattle to come to call is pretty easy. It takes time and patience, but it is not all that hard. Here’s the problem: sometimes, you just don’t have that much time. In Part 1 of this series, I talked about receiving cattle and working with them for quite a long time, developing a relationship, […]

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        Training Cattle to Follow – Part 1

        By   3 weeks ago

        Several readers have asked for instruction in teaching cattle to follow. John Marble has written a two-part article on the subject. Part one begins with some basic thoughts on animal behavior, both human and bovine. It’s a good bet that with small modifications, this could work for all livestock. Dateline: Raub, North Dakota, circa 1935 […]

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        Here’s How Seven Sons Farm Manages Pigs On Pasture

        By   4 weeks ago

        When managing pigs on pasture, Seven Sons Farm focuses on meeting the triple bottom line of health of the land, business and community. See how they achieve these goals.

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        How to Hand Raise Goat Kids

        By   1 month ago

        There are a number of reasons you might be raising goat kids by hand. Back in 2000, my reason was Johne’s disease. Two of my wethers died of Johne’s, raising concerns that other animals might be infected as well. Since this was a research herd at Utah State University, management of suspect animals was very […]

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        A List of USDA Processing Plants for Your Chickens

        By   1 month ago

        I was told by a well established USDA inspected poultry processor that there were only a dozen or so small-scale USDA inspected poultry processors in the country that are willing to process for independent farmers. I thought, “That cannot be true!” So as the Program Manager of the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network, a Cooperative […]

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        Reducing Heifer Development Costs By Growing Smaller Cows and Using Lower-Quality Forages

        By   2 months ago

        More recent research is overturning old ideas about heifer development and providing ways to reduce costs while maintaining breed-back rates and longevity in the herd.

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        Vital Farms Raises Bullsh*t Free Eggs

        By   2 months ago

        When we first watched this video, it made us laugh, and it was headed for the On Pasture “Funnies” category. But then we visited the Vital Farms website to learn more and decided this is serious business. You know, it and we know it: cage free and free range eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Here’s How to Make More Money

          By   4 days ago

          If I put the term “opportunity costs” in the title of this article most people would roll their eyes and move on. But if you want to make more money, pay attention. Most people dismiss opportunity costs as a theoretical concept economists use to confuse people who live in the real world. By the end […]

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          Baby Steps for Transitioning the Farm or Ranch

          By   2 weeks ago

          Are you a “senior” farmer or headed that direciton, and wondering what retirement might look like, or IF there could be retirement? Here are a few steps to figuring out where to go that are especially helpful with family coming together for the Holidays.

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          Determine Land Area and Distance With Your Smartphone

          By   3 weeks ago

          The next time you need to measure something, leave the tape measure in the toolbox and use your phone.

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          What’s the Right Price for Prescribed Grazing? Ask the Market

          By   4 weeks ago

          Recently, On Pasture ran an excellent article by Dave Pratt aimed at helping graziers apply the right price tag to commercial prescribed grazing services. Dave’s piece outlined a detailed, step-by-step process one should follow to make sure a hypothetical  price will cover all the costs of providing the service and still allow for a meaningful […]

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          What Does Proposed Tax Reform Mean for Farmers and Ranchers?

          By   1 month ago

          On Pasture has no position on the current tax reform legislation, nor are the editors experts in tax law, the proposed legislation, or how it might affect different people and businesses. Taxes are a complex ecosystem of rules and regulations and it always helps to have more information about how different changes will alter the […]

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          Pasture, Rangeland and Forage Insurance Deadline is November 15

          By   1 month ago

          More farmers and ranchers are turning to PRF to help manage risks. Here’s how you can use this program to set yourself up for success.

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          Vital Farms Raises Bullsh*t Free Eggs

          By   2 months ago

          When we first watched this video, it made us laugh, and it was headed for the On Pasture “Funnies” category. But then we visited the Vital Farms website to learn more and decided this is serious business. You know, it and we know it: cage free and free range eggs aren’t all they’re cracked up […]

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          Insurance – Don’t Be Without It

          By   2 months ago

          Not long ago, On Pasture published an article entitled “Does the Lack of Affordable Health Insurance Threaten Farm and Ranch Viability?” The answer without question is YES. This is one of the decisions that must be made by all the young people who want to get into farming and ranching: “If I give up my […]

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            Consider This View All →

            What Makes a Good Pasture Walk?

            By   4 days ago

            We have a grazing group that meets several times a year. I guess it could be called graziers anonymous or some such thing. But actually it has a name: Southeast Graziers. Most of us in the group live in the Florida parishes of Louisiana which are located between the Mississippi river on the west side […]

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            Good Grief

            By   2 weeks ago

            The Holidays bring up lots of memories, especially of those loved ones we’ve lost. Troy shares what he’s learned about grief and the Holiday season and shares it in hopes that it could help others in our community.

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            I Thought I Had Those Calves Sold!

            By   3 weeks ago

            One Saturday afternoon I was in the milk room hooking up for the evening milking when I heard something drive up. I didn’t stop what I was doing I just figured it was one of those old boys that came by to visit every once in a while. After a few minutes there was a […]

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            Relax! It’ll Save You AND the Farm

            By   4 weeks ago

            Give yourself permission to relax. If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you spend that extra hour? Would you cram in another hour of work or would you take time for yourself and relax? Before you answer, consider this: According to studies conducted on stress and its polar opposite, relaxation, those who […]

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            More Wolves = More Trees and More Pronghorn Antelope

            By   1 month ago

            When wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995, no one was anticipating that their arrival would improve tree growth. But it did. No one expected that more wolves would mean more pronghorn antelope either. But it turns out that thanks to wolf reintroduction, more pronghorn fawns began surviving. How Did Wolves Do All […]

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            A Farewell Warning to the National Organic Program

            By   1 month ago

            We all suffered a terrible defeat for organic farming at the Jacksonville National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting last week when hydroponics was welcomed into organic certification. At the end of the meeting, Francis Thicke gave his farewell address. After 5 years as a member of the NOSB, his despair was evident at the Board’s decision […]

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            Trunk or Treat!

            By   2 months ago

            Candy for the kids – and a little advocating for agriculture at the same time!

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            Trees Communicate via the “Wood-Wide Web”

            By   2 months ago

            One of Rachel and Kathy’s all time favorite podcasts is an episode from Radiolab called “From Tree to Shining Tree.” It starts with a family dog’s accidental dive into an outhouse pit which leads to a young girl’s interest in the amazing things happening under the forest floor and finally to her discovery of an […]

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              The Classic by NatGLC View All →

              Mother Knows Best – Why Your Livestock Eat What They Do

              By   4 days ago

              If Mom didn’t eat it, chances are your young livestock won’t eat it either. Enjoy the video and the examples of what researchers have found, and then use the suggestions to work with your animals to help them make new food choices.

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              Should You Worry That Grazing Stockpile is Harming Spring Regrowth?

              By   2 weeks ago

              Troy Bishopp asked this question back in December of 2014 when he was sharing the progress of his own winter grazing program. This is what we found out then. If you have more to add to this, please share it in the comments below! The answer to how much future forage production you’ll get from a […]

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              Plants Are Better Than Subsoilers For Reducing Soil Compaction

              By   3 weeks ago

              Here’s an article from November 2014 that puts conventional wisdom on it’s head. Enjoy! Alan Sundermeier, a researcher at Ohio State University says, “You can’t solve your problems with steel. Even with a subsoiler that may have minimal surface disturbance, it’s really not solving the problem. We’re seeing that soil structure can be better solved […]

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              Turning Farmers Into Graziers – Mentoring for Success

              By   4 weeks ago

              The Pilgrims never would have made it, and we wouldn’t even be celebrating Thanksgiving, if not for the mentoring of Native Americans who told them how to grow food. That’s why we thought it was a good week to share this story about mentoring success from our November 2015 issue. Grazing isn’t a big thing […]

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              Setting up for Strip Grazing Your Stockpiled Forage

              By   1 month ago

              Here are the ins and outs and the math for figuring out how big each strip should be to feed your cattle and make best use of your stockpile from our November 2014 issue of On Pasture. We reconfigured our farm’s permanent, hi-tensile fence to better allow the use of portable fencing. Portable fencing allows […]

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              Tips for Finishing Grass Fed Beef

              By   1 month ago

              From our November 2015 archives, Forrest Pritchard shares what’s made his grass fed beef operation successful. I’ve been raising grass fed-and-finished beef for nearly twenty years, and I direct market 125 head of slaughter steers and heifers each year through local farmers’ markets. These animals are 100% pasture finished, averaging 1250 lbs live weight at […]

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              The Best 120 Seconds on Tillage. Ever.

              By   2 months ago

              I was at a weed management conference recently when one of the participants asked when we were going to be able to change farmers’ minds about tillage. Here’s an article from the October 2013 issue of On Pasture on just that topic. We all complain about too many commercials. Commercials about soil quality, though…who knew? […]

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              What’s Left in Your Pastures Can Tell You What You Might Need to Do Differently

              By   2 months ago

              Here’s what you can look for in your pasture to see if your grazing management needs adjustment.

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                The Funnies View All →

                Cowboys Herding Cats

                By   4 days ago

                Are you tough enough to be a cat herder? These cowboys show you what it takes.

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                Beardaments – Ornaments For Your Beard!

                By   2 weeks ago

                Here’s a way to make your Holiday parties even more festive! And there’s glitter too! If you go for this, send pictures!

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                Beware of the Two Feet of Snow

                By   3 weeks ago

                If you haven’t had snow yet, you know it’s on the way. Save

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                Are You Cooking for Thanksgiving?

                By   4 weeks ago

                Be sure to follow recipes carefully! Save

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                Horse Mustaches – in honor of Movember

                By   1 month ago

                Every November, men grow mustaches as part of a movement to raise awareness of and funding for prostate cancer and other men’s health issues, an event known as Movember. It’s not to late to get growing and supporting – even though these horses may have you beat. And yes, these are real horse mustaches. According […]

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                Something Fun to Do With the Kids This Month

                By   1 month ago

                This might also give you some ideas for that crazy “Elf on the Shelf” in December.   Save Save Save

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                Halloween Candy Caution

                By   2 months ago

                Eat that candy slowly to prevent this end.     Save Save

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                Corn Mazes Are Hard

                By   2 months ago

                Kathy has a hard time navigating corn mazes. She thinks this is one she could manage.

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