Wild Winds Sheep Company

  (Carpenter, Wyoming)
Under the Blue Sky
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Cosmovore vs Local Foods

From the November 15, 2011, Drovers article Enter the Cosmovores;* “Mr. Kenny adds a new word to our food vocabulary as he answers — negatively — the question: Is buying local the best choice? He writes, “…these First-World food fetishes are positively terrible for the world’s poorest people. If you want to do the right thing, give up on locavorism and organics über alles and become a globally conscious grocery buyer. This should be the age of the ‘cosmovore’ — cosmopolitan.”

Local food as the bad-guy image to global utopia equality economics is incredibly off the mark. This is a narrow view of how third world countriesactually function and the impact this misguided approach has on local US communities, poor third world villages along with food safety, local jobs and the general health of all communities, is disastrous.

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How I spent my summer Nov 18 2010

Gardening at 6,000 feet in a semi-arid climate late spring almost summer - notes:

My garden is almost in full swing, tomatoes are lagging way behind and I should be getting fruit by now, lots of little green want-a-be's.  Sweet peppers are close to picking, just harvested cucumbers and green beans along with bunches of carrots and beets for tonight's farmers market.  Bunch onions are past being small scallions, now starting to bulb and getting a bit on the hot side.  What to do with all the basil, it's a difficult one to carry to the market due to bruising and wilt, lots of pesto in my future.  Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars all over my dill, love the butterfly so I'll take the hit on the harvest.  Thyme, sage and oregano are ready to harvest; I doubt that Martin will let me turn his car into an herb dryer again.


Watermelons are coming on strong, picked one last night and will give it a try tomorrow, hoping for a high brix with this variety.  Squash and pumpkins are doing their thing, putting on fruit despite the heat.  Geese got into the garden and ate all my lettuce, romaine and butter-bib lettuce, sigh.  Broccoli and cauliflower are disappointing, growing in a cool area yet bolted and are small and will weird.  Savoy cabbage is doing well, should be able to harvest them the first of September.


Planted asparagus this spring, will plant more next spring along with rhubarb, I want a perennial area that requires less of my time and attention.  Maybe a perennial cut flower garden to fill in some gaps.  Still working on berry bushes, getting them established has been a challenge. 


it's offical eat more red meat to cure stress November 14, 2010

Lamb Chops and Steaks Calm Down Stressed Men

Women who want to calm down their husbands after a stressful day
should serve him a big steak, scientists said this week. Contrary to
popular opinion that a hunk of red meat may make men aggressive, experts
said it actually has a calming effect.

The researchers from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, said
seeing meat provokes a sense of non-aggression that could be related to
family feasting among the earliest humans and reminds males of friends
and family at meal time.

Lead researcher Frank Kachanoff, Ph.D., admitted he was
surprised by the findings. He said the idea that meat would prompt
aggressive behavior makes sense as it would have helped our primate
ancestors with hunting.

However, experiments found that the opposite was true and that
the sight of meat had a calming effect on males and made them less

Evolutionary experts believe it is useful to look at innate
reflexes in order to understand trends in society and personal behavior.
They said this latest research was important because it looked at ways
society may influence environmental factors to decrease the likelihood
of aggressive behavior.

Reprinted in part from Dailymail.co.uk


Just the Facts

There are 2.1 million farms in the U.S., and according to a May 2006 report on the structure and finances of U.S. Farms, exactly the same numbers counted by the 1997 Census of Agriculture. The 2006 report found that the vast majority of America's farms (98%) are family-farms.

The study also discovered that 61% of all farms did not participate in any farm program in 2003. This finding clearly indicates that only a minority of farmers receive agricultural subsidies


Ameriacan grown asparagus going going gone

Received this email at work, the government looking for American asparagus growers to sell a new give-a-way program to, but there is a much bigger problem, read on….. Catherine

U.S. Asparagus producers eligible for assistance under TAA for Farmers Program – Applications must be submitted to USDA FSA by September 23, 2010

A grower, of any size, who produces asparagus and can meet the USDA TAA for Farmers eligibility requirements (see below), is eligible for an intensive technical assistance training program, professional consultation in the development of a business plan, and a cash payment of up to $12,000 to help implement the plan. It is important for asparagus producers to get word of this program in time for them to apply with the USDA Farm Service Agency by the September 23, 2010 application deadline. 

Information on the Asparagus TAA for Farmers program is available at:

1.    any local USDA Farm Service Agency office

2.    on the web at: http://taaforfarmers.org  or (http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/taa/taa.asp ), or

3.    by emailing or calling John Nelson at the WSU Western Center for Risk Management Education, jgnelson@wsu.edu, 509-477-2176.

We are hopeful you will forward this information on to any vegetable/asparagus producers that you or your organization may be aware of.

Eligibility Requirements:   Asparagus producers must provide documentation that they produced asparagus in the 2009 marketing year and during at least one of the three previous marketing years (2006, 2007, or 2008). Producers may also need to certify that their production or price declined from previous years.  Interested family members or business partners may be listed as an alternate on the application form if producers are unable to attend training.

More information on TAA for Farmers: TAA for Farmers provides training to help any asparagus producer increase profitability, improve production efficiency, consider marketing opportunities, evaluate alternative enterprises, and in general become more competitive.  TAA will also help participants develop a business plan, evaluate changes to their business, and provide cash payments up to $12,000 to help implement changes.  The training will be developed and provided by Extension Educators, Specialists, and industry experts.  Training will be available on-line and in person-to-person workshop formats.

Asparagus producers have until September 23, 2010 to apply for training and benefits.

John Nelson, TAA Coordinator,Western Center for Risk Management Education

Washington State University Extension

222 N Havana, Spokane WA  99202

509.477.2176, Fax: 509.477.2197, Visit us @ http://westrme.wsu.edu/




lazy journalism or just out of touch

On page 40 of the April, 2010 issue of Bon Appetite magazine there is a brief article on lamb.  As a sheep rancher and someone who sells all natural, grass fed, pasture raised lamb at the local farmers’ market and a couple of Cheyenne restaurants, I need to add my two cents worth about that article. 


In the Lamb article the magazine writes “As for the taste, innovative farming techniques in the last 20 years have allowed farmers to raise more tender lamb ….year round, outdoors cage-free, and without using growth hormones.”  Ouch!


Innovative techniques would lend one to think chemicals and additives, which is not the case. Lamb is by nature a fast growing animal, hormones are not used, in fact there isn’t any growth hormone approved for lamb.  Lamb has always been raised year round and outdoors.   As for “cage-free” please, this is what gets agriculture in trouble, poor journalism.  Lamb is never raised in a cage, never has been and never will.


What is coming back to the market is pasture based lamb. Lamb that has been raised on grass, open range, or pasture will taste better, hands down.  On a grass only diet that “lamby” favor goes away, taste and tenderness goes way up.  Another and more important improvement to the dining experience is breeds of sheep that are specifically for meat verses wool breeds of sheep which will have a stronger flavor.  Not all sheep are created equal, about 200 different breeds of sheep, only a few are meat breeds. 


I love reading articles on how good lamb taste along with simple to cook recipes, as more younger people who have never had it before are buying it.  But, please get out of the office and go visit a shepherd.



Catherine Wissner

Wild Winds Sheep Company

Carpenter, WY. 82054


Are you hungry?

The fight is on many fronts, a female senator from California now wants all added food ingredients tested for pathogens in her "processed food safety act S2819" which, if passed, will put all small food companies out of business, Wyoming made beef jerky - gone, Baer's Jam- gone, Chugwater Chili - gone. Still fighting HR 2749, which wants a $500/year fee to register with the Feds just to do vegetables, now S 510 same thing no fees, but doesn't protect the farmers' market growers.  I've been telling people about this since August when the house passed HR 2749, but no one listened.  The WY dept of Ag., is now talking to various groups in the state about these bills and what to expect, people are now starting to get concerned, they should be scared about their lively hood if they have anything to do with food.  I'm convinced more then ever that the Democrats are trying to crush the local food movement.  Between the Cap and Trade, Socialized Med, Food Safety, we will be cold and hungry within two years of all this passing.  Where does all this stop and common sense return, is the next  revolution 2010.
Sorry for the rant, I need to go out in the global warming blizzard and feed my sheep. C

Burr it's getting cold in here

From my friend Mike:

Soon we will be hearing the environmentalist screaming about the new ice age!  Forget not that these are the same people who oscillate between warming and cooling about every 20 years or so.  There is speculation that the so called "Dark Ages" was in part caused by a cooling of world temperatures resulting in fewer crops and thus hunger, disease, and generally poorer living conditions.  This was followed by a warm up that may have been the reason for the "Renaissance." Our world revolves around the food supply, always has always will. 

So we had the 3rd coldest October in 115 years here in Wyoming, November warmed some but now we are in the deep freeze again.  I recorded 40 inches of snow in October.  Now that is some real warming.  Today it is 8 degrees with 50+ MPH wind and the furnace really is working overtime, along with the wood stove and the electric supplemental heater.

When the democrats get done passing "Cap and Trade" and energy prices start begin to rise, it should be real interesting. During the next 50 years, as some scientists predict that is the length of the cooling period.  The real goal of the Democrats, I think, is to get everyone on "Public Transportation," by raising energy prices beyond the reach of the average Joe.  This is hand in hand with the "public option healthcare plan." 

This cooling should throw a kink into gardening up here in the north!
Read all about it?



Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of;or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In God We Trust

Going Away, Farmers the new endangered species.

There are a large number of anit-agriculture (or animal hate groups) that love spinning the truth to make anyone raising aniamals look like monsters.  If you want your pork made in the lab, beef from Mexico, chicken and pork from China, then by-all means let them continue the hate campaign and believe what they say without the benifit of two sides to the story.
In 2010 the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be allowing cooked chicken and cooked pork rinds in the US from China.  Butterball Turkey has left Colorado and moved to Mexico. How many of you want your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey raised and processed in Mexico?
If you care about where your food comes from you'll look for the truth in the story not the spin.  The whole global warming is nothing more than a scam to crush agriculture.
Gloria has written a great commentary so I have included it with my rantings.  I love my sheep and goats and want only the best for them just like any good parent would for their children.
Gloria Hafemeister | 12/07/2009 7:48AM

Farmers have a challenge when it comes to educating nonfarmers

A commentary by Gloria Hafemeister, a correspondent from Hustisford.

During the last week I had the opportunity to attend some very interesting meetings. One featured a speaker from British Columbia who shared her insight on future demands by consumers relating to the way farmers care for their animals. Another was a two-hour hearing for the expansion of Wisconsin’s largest dairy farm.

Both of these meetings were a staunch reminder to me that we farmers have our work cut out for us when it comes to educating nonfarmers about the realities of today’s agriculture.

As for the proposed farm expansion, I remain neutral. I’m as nostalgic as the next guy when it comes to wanting to see little red barns scattered around the countryside with happy cows grazing in a lush green pasture. But that’s not reality.

I grew up on a farm where my dad milked 23 cows and made a living at it, but he didn’t have enough income to have any hired help. Every morning and every night, whether he was sick or healthy, he had to milk those cows. He never got a vacation or even a weekend off. I don’t know about you, but as much as I like farming, that’s not for me and it’s not what our son, who is taking over our farm, wants either. That’s why our farm is a bit bigger. But the size we choose to operate our farm is, and should be, our own business.

It disturbs me when I go to these events and hear so many totally false statements made about farmers and our methods of farming.

One person testifying at the hearing said she had driven by the farm in question and observed these were not “happy cows.” How did she know? Did she ask them?

I wanted to jump up and say, “Hey, I talk with farmers all the time who spend all their time and money striving for what they tell me is the number one priority on their farm – cow comfort.”

The meeting featuring the Canadian speaker was all about designing our facilities for cow comfort. Legislators in some states are now dictating to farmers how much room farmers will need to give their cows. The idea is a cow should be able to turn around in her bed without touching the animal next to her.

Hey, that’s more of a luxury than most people have. Have you ever tried to roll over in a double bed without kicking the person next to you?

We all know how much money and time goes into balancing the ration for our animals so they will have a perfectly balanced diet that keeps them healthy and controls their weight. That’s more than we do for ourselves.

There are other industries out there of varied sizes for different reasons.

There are cement companies that have 100 trucks on the road and others that have three. It’s a business management decision by the owners of their companies and no one else’s business.

There are microbreweries out there that create some of the finest beer around and there are also large breweries that fill the big demand for the product. While we would all like to see all of our beer brewed in these small facilities where we can watch the process while we eat our meal, the cold hard fact is there are just too many beer drinkers out there and these small breweries could never fill the demand.

Small farms with a few cows grazing leisurely on pasture could never fill the world’s demand for milk, cheese and dairy products, either. Just as importantly, these small producers could never supply enough milk to keep our dairy plants operating efficiently. If that would happen, those plants would pack up and move west where the milk is. Where would that leave Wisconsin’s economy?

The statement was made that large dairies discourage investors, environmentalists and sportsmen from coming to Wisconsin. My answer to that is, so what. Dairy and other commercial farming enterprises pay the bills in Wisconsin. Land sitting idle as “open space” does not. Deer, sand hill cranes, geese and wild turkeys do not generate income. Cows do.

I’m not saying I’m in favor of a such a large concentration of animals on one farm, but that’s their business how they want to run their farm. I would not want to manage a $2 million annual payroll. I have enough problems paying the part-time help on our farm. Again, it’s an individual decision how a person wants to run their business.

I realize not all farmers support the concept of such a large farm, but all farmers, big or small, ought to be concerned about the misinformation that floats around out there. Statements about drug usage on farms, manure composition and “dumping waste” on land are simply false.

Decisions regarding farming operations must be made on facts, not emotions.

Wisconsin needs all size farms and farmers. Like other industries, they should be able to adapt the latest technology without those who know nothing about the business dictating how their business should be operated.

Farms like the one in question this week are more regulated than any. As a reporter, I’ve been on many different types and sizes of farms. One thing I can tell you for sure, look at the financial numbers. Farmers aren’t in the business to get rich. They are in it because they care about the land and their animals. Why would they abuse either?


Life on the Farm now what

In the October, 2009, issue of the Shepherd magazine, page 14, center page is an article on "Product Labeling: Use of the Voluntary Claim "Natural" in the labeling of Meat and Poultry Product"  this is Docket FSIS 2006-0040 A under www.regulation.gov this is currently open to public comment.  I made and posted my comments concerning the term and use of all natural and how animals should be raised using that word. 

The term "all-natural" will soon be regulated by the Federal Government.

There are numerous comments posted by animal hate groups and very un-informed people.  I do not want some city dwelling arm chair activist telling me how to raise my livestock.

Here is what I posted (this is currently how I raise my animals):

• Animals are allowed to freely graze, exercise, with room to grow under natural conditions.  A feed-lot is not a natural condition for any animal.
• Animals are never confined in a “feed lot” situation for any length of time, unless weather or range conditions suggest otherwise.
• During times when pasture isn’t accessible due to weather or range or pasture conditions hay or silage feeds should be encouraged as part of sustainable land management practices.
• Animals have free choice mineral supplements, salt blocks or mineral tubs and fresh water at all times.
• Supplemental grain includes whole and crushed grains and non-animal based oils or protiens without antibiotic additives.  
• Ionophores should be allowed as they are not traditional antibiotic nor are they growth enhancers; rather they are to prevent parasitism.
• Anthelmintics should be allowed to prevent internal and external parasitism.
• Minimal vaccines should be allowed and based on regional needs.
• No growth hormones administered.
• Antibiotics should not be used to promote growth; however, antibiotics to treat sick or injured animals should be allowed.
• Animals are humanely treated at all times; use of electric prods should be prohibited. 
• Minimal or restricted of herbicides, pesticides, or chemical fertilizers on pasture or grazing grounds.
• Docking of tails and castration and disbudding should not be restricted, as these practices are for the health and welfare of the animal and animal handler.  Safety is always first for all.
• Shelter should be provided so the animal can get out of any weather condition.


Catherine Wissner
Wild Winds Sheep Company
Carpenter, WY. 82054


HR 2749


 I typically don't put on my political hat, but this is something I just can't ignore.

 So; have any of you been following the 2009 Food Safety Enhancement Bill HR 2749?  I have and it has me very concerned, I have attached a brief of it, worth the reading as it may really change how we do business next year. Read on please.

Catherine Wissner, Wild Winds Sheep Company, Wyoming

"I Live in the garden; I just sleep in the house." Land of the Free, because of the Brave.

HR 2749

  On August 3, 2009 HR 2749, The Food Safety Enhancement Act was submitted to the US Senate, the Senate referred this bill to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for recommendations.  HR 2749 was passed by the House with little to no public review or input. Your help is needed to prevent this bill from being passed by the Senate into law.  Below is a very brief summary of HR 2749.


HR 2749 targets without reference to size or scope of farms "devoted to the growing and harvesting of crops, the raising of animals... or both" including an operation that manufactures grains or other feed stuffs that are grown and harvested on such farm .. For consumption as food by humans or animals"  harvesting also includes "washing, trimming of outer leaves of, and cooling produce."


The bill will require a unique FDA identifier for that facility, it will allow the FDA to inspect the facility and audit books. It will mandate a $500 yearly fee that will be annually "adjusted to reflect the greater of; the percentage change that occurred in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumer" or "the total percentage change for the previous fiscal year in basic pay for Federal employees stationed in the District of Columbia" or "The average annual change in the cost, per full-time equivalent position of the FDA of all personnel compensation and benefits paid with respect to such positions for the first 5 years of the preceding 6 fiscal years."  Registration fees will be due on December 31 of each year.  Fees will be used to defray the cost of food safety activities in order to solicit the views of the regulated industry, consumers and other interested stakeholders.


This bill will require the owner, operator or agent of a facility to conduct a hazard analysis, implement effective preventive controls...maintain records of monitoring, corrective action and verifications records and identify "hazards that is reasonably likely to occur".  It also requires a food safety plan and a food defense plan.


HR2749 also allows for the establishment by "regulation scientific and risk-based food safety standards for the growing, harvesting, procession, packing, sorting, transporting and hold of those types of raw agricultural commodities..that are fruit, vegetable, nut, or fungus: and for which the Secretary has determined that such standards are reasonable necessary.." It may also include standards addressing manure use, water quality and animal control...as determined by the Secretary." 


The bill does have one paragraph that proclaims; "shall take into consideration,..impact on small-scale and diversified farms, wildlife habitat...and organic production methods."


Civil penalties under this bill start at $20,000 and can go as high at $7,500,000.  This bill was introduced into the House of Representative on June 8, 2009 and passed by the House on July 30, 2009.  This bill is being "fast tracked" through our US Congress.


As a result of this bill passing the US House my farm insurance premiums have already gone up, I sell at the Farmer's Market and to various restaurants. If this bill passes it will put me out of business and many other just like me, so much for the local smaller carbon foot print movement of food.





For a Current Version of the bill



To contact you state senators go to this web site;





The 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, released in April of 2008, claimed that 18 percent of global greenhouse gases are caused by animal agriculture.  The Center for Consumer Freedom helped to clarify this claim.

Buried in the report is the information that deforestation-mainly in the Amazon Rainforest-is included in that figure.  Without it, livestock’s contribution falls to less than 12 percent.

But even 12 percent still sounded a bit high.  In April 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2006, detailing a complete accounting of global-warming-related emissions in the United States and where they come from.  This report said that 6 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is from all of agricultural, not just meat production. 

It gets more interesting still.  The EPA separates out the various kinds of agricultural emissions into two categories, one that relates to raising animals for food and the other for non-animal related agriculture (like; grain production).  The result: greenhouse gas sources directly related to livestock production in the United States only accounts for 2.58 percent of the total.

2.58 percent is a far cry from 18 percent.  

From the EPA's Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks.



Monday, November 10, 2008

My husband and I limbed up a very old Elm tree this weekend, it lives on the east side of my high tunnel.  I need that morning sun to get the tunnel warmed up and the plants growing.  The tree is unfortunate to be under the power lines, I am sure when it was planted the lines were not there.  This area of Wyoming didn't get power until sometime in the 1940's. 

The power line tree trimmers have topped the tree so many times that parts of the main trunk have died as a result.  The limbs that have been topped also produce sucker shoots that are weak and tend to break in high winds. Topping a tree is about the worse thing you can do to them, other then driving nails into the trunk. This poor old tree is also under attack by the elm beetle and is riddled with bore holes.  The tree really should come down. Trees are hard to come by in the prairie, so we left it standing.

I still have some lambs getting out, I still haven't figured out where they are escaping from.

I just finished reading a couple of good cook books; they are great for that trip to the Farmer's Market, "Local Flavors", by Deborah Madison and "Vegetable" by the Culinary Institute of America.  Catherine


November 8, 2008

The wind finally stopped blowing, at least for today.  According to the web site windpowermaps.org Wyoming has huge wind energy potential. That  translates into tie small animals down, batten the hatches, nail things down and wear safety glasses when you do chores.

I did fix some fence in yesterday's wind storm, thinking that that is were the sheep were getting out. This morning I was greeted by only six instead of the normal 16, mobile lawn mowers.  All six of them are from this year's lambs group.  Two of those six are from the group I was given.  Again, that constanct concern of finding food, even when it plentiful in the pasture.

I cleaned out my high tunnel, (an un-heated greenhouse) and planted oats.  I'll turn the oats under sometime in March.  This will help improve the soil structure, add nutrients that my vegetables used and provide food for the earthworms.

I read that California passed initiative #2 on farm animal housing. More government meddling!  While I have a great appreciation for free range, pasture raised and all natural with animals. Especially mine.  I have  toured the egg production houses, I feel that veal farms are, strange, and a female hogs with piglets is the most dangerous animal anyone could raise.

There is another implication which most people never think about.  Eggs are a cheap source of protein, easy to prepare, fast food that is good for you, even a kid can cook up eggs and have a good meal or snack.  In the fact that eggs are an inexpensive protein, makes them something that single parents, people on food stamps, children, the elderly and families trying to stretch their food dollar can afford.

By placing restrictions on the egg industry the price goes up proportionally to the dollars invested in the system. The farmer will pass that cost on to the customer. This may price many people out of a cheap source of protein.

No one ever thinks of the weak links in society when touchy feely laws are passed from arm chair want-to-be activists, someone always pays the price, it's usually those who can least afford it.  

While I don't like the idea of hens being crammed into a small cage, people going without a cheap source of protein isn't right either. Where do you draw the line?  Catherine




Friday, November 7, 2008

Last spring I was given 8 sheep from a person who could no longer afford to feed or care for them.  These sheep were thin, long over due to be shorn, long toes in need of general care that my sheep receive on a scheduled basis.   After a month in a quartine area, with all the food they could possible want to eat and a clean bill of health, I let them in with the rest of the flock.  It was the normal who are you routine.  They spent the summer grazing on green grass hills with the rest of my flock, and my livestock guardian dogs and llamas for protection.  Life is good.

No animal ever gets over worrying about their food even when it's in front of them.  These eight girls are no exception.  Now that fall is here, the grass is brown and they need to go farther out in pasture for food, the old fears have returned.  In fact it has shown up in some rather interesting sheep behavior.

I have watched them dig under my fence, jump my fence, squeeze their pudgy bodies though breaks between buildings and fencing and just show up.  They like to show up in my front yard, do a quick tour around the house, like they may have missed something from yesterday's tour.  They hike down my driveway and eat the grass between the gravel road and fence.  Once that tour is over they wait for me at the gate to be let back into their corral.

All my sheep are good natured, friendly, safe to be around (except the rams, they are never safe) and generally happy free ranging girls. Most have names, some are retired 4-H show sheep, some I have purchased,  some are daughters and some given to me.  I try and follow the National Organic Program policies on animal welfare and attend animal husbandry conferences when I can.  I want my sheep to have a good life.  Catherine


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