News

Weekend -turning 5 and family adventures

I’m combining my weekend post into two as yesterday was a busy day with me doing dreads and Mr HG kid wrangling.

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Once I’d finished I needed to catch up on some jobs I started the day before  and first up was the stock. Usually I pressure can these as I like liquid stock on hand but today I was short on time so I popped some in the fridge and the rest in the chest freezer.
Next up was finishing the Apple sugar so I blitzed it up and popped it in a jar. I love the Apple sugar it taste like Apple toffee but we still have so many apples left that I think I’ll stick to doing rings. Our dehydrator will probably only last a few more months. It’s done well being the cheapest we could buy two years ago and with heavy use it’s done the distance but we will upgrade to a better quality one next year.

After the Apple sugar was done it was time to make Little Miss HG 5th birthday cake. She had requested the cake that Bessie from Enid blytons enchanted wood had amenities think we did ok from a rush job. It’s not the best birthday cake I’ve made but we all did it together and she was happy.

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We decided to celebrate the 5th birthday on a day early Sunday (which is actually my dads birthday happy birthday Dad!) Mr HG is working on the birthday date so we wanted to do something special as a family.
We adventured to Richmond which is a lovely little town outside Hobart with lots of heritage buildings.

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We were up at the crack of dawn so made it there in time for breakfast and a play.

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After we went to Zoodoo. I’m not a fan of zoos and this didn’t really change that but it brought up some wonderful conversations about conservation and endangered animals plus watching the children feed the lions with a pair of tongs will be a life long memory for all of us.
It is really nice that you can get up close and personal with lots of animals but at the end of the day it’s a zoo and a private one.

We had thought of getting fish and chips for a late lunch at the warf in Hobart on the way home but decided we had spent enough money and would get home early and create something from what we had. It’s nice now we are debt free to be able to have days like this without the worry but we are also still conscious of our spending and still saving for our own patch of land.

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At the end of the day we had a beautiful weekend and created lots memories.

Homesteading, News

Pegs!

I had a restless sleep last night with Little Miss HGF has creeping into our bed  and with 4 in the bed it’s a little squishy.
We already co sleep with Little B so I’ve been rethinking our sleeping arrangements. I feel mean leaving LMHGF alone in a big cold room while we all share in the other and she must wonder why she doesn’t get to join us. Sometimes I forget how little they still are so I’ll be weighing up some options for sleeping arrangements.

Today’s chores went by easily I prepped the frozen chook bones to replenish our stock supplies, got the animals done, watered the garden and hung out the washing.
The washing chore got me thinking about pegs. Pegs are something that have driven us crazy as having young children and cloth nappies means we wash a lot.
I’ve gone through cheap pegs, wooden pegs, expensive plastic pegs and I get so frustrated when they inevitably break and litter the ground with bits of plastic and metal. It’s such a waste and I since becoming more aware of my environmental footprint and loving frugally I’ve been investigating other peg options.
I remembered seeing a advertisement in a grassroots magazine ages ago for long living metal pegs. At the time I thought they sounded great but didn’t look into them again until the final piece of plastic crap crumbled to the ground. So I trawled through our magazine collection but could not find the ad. Eventually my Googling of ‘stainless steel pegs’ ‘metal pets’ and  ‘reusable peg’ had a hit and I found the same wire pegs I’d seen in grass roots mag.

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So I ordered them and have been using them a few months now they are made from twisted stainless steel,hold up really well and are super strong. We just got the lowest grade at the cheapest option but I’ll definitely be buying more. I’d like to bring more ‘buy once’ products into our life as the cheaper items die. There’s definitely wisdom in our great grandparents and grandparents generation to save and buy the best quality rather than getting a lot of cheap shite!

  (You can find wire pegs at https://wirepegs.com/)

News

Daily blog #1 Its icy!

I’m going to see how I go with a daily blog. I feel it might be simpler than my sporadic posts and as I move away from Facebook and social media a bit I’d like to keep documenting our happenings.
Every day we do a little something what with homesteading, preserving and starting to homeschool so the daily blog I hope will also serve as a record come homeschool inspection time.
We shall see how I go as I always set out with good intentions then get distracted and forget!

This morning we rose VERY early just before 6am. We are early rises most days but today Mr Hunter Gatherer was working a orchard further south and needed to leave earlier than usual. It was quite icy last night so I wasn’t surprised when Mr HG came in to get water to defrost the wind screen. I popped another log on the fire to keep us warm until the sun came up.
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I had prepped English muffin dough last night to cook on the griddle. It was well worth the little bit of effort as it meant we were fed and happy early on.
After breakfast the children played and I cleaned up the breakfast stuff.

Now It was time for chores. First up our English angora rabbit needed checking. His cage had been cleaned yesterday so he just needed some fresh food and water. His grooming came later in the day and needs to be done daily now as his new coat is coming in.

Next was outside to feed the chickens and water the garden. The broadbeans are popping up now and lots of the winter veg starting to look good. Little miss HG has been looking after a pet caterpillar which we’ve identified as a grass anthelid. It’s big and fuzzy and after reading up on it she decided the habitat she’s made made needed some more soil and fresh grass so we collected it and brought it in. The caterpillar seemed happy and was extremely active after this. Little miss HG set him up on the table and drew pictures of him.

After this I needed to process another bucket of Apple’s. I’m getting pretty tired of Apple’s to be honest but my desire to avoid food waste is great so we got on with it using a slinky Apple machine to peel and slice. Then I popped them in the food processor to blitz before putting them in the dehydrator to turn into Apple sugar. The kids lost interest as they’ve helped with many Apple jobs this year so I set up a painting craft for them while I got the job finished.
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After this we hit a afternoon slump everyone was exhausted so we stuck to folding washing and story time, lots of games together and then dinner prep. We had meaty baked beans which was mince, bacon, beans mixed with homemade plum bbq sauce and roasted home grown potatoes. Simple and delicious!

News

The cold has arrived

Autumn officially hit a few weeks ago but we didn’t feel it until last Thursday when the air got a sudden bite to it and we were hit with the first frost.
We persevered a few nights but now have the fire going in the nights and morning.

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Although the remaining green tomatoes survived the frost I decided to bring them in to ripen on the window or sit until I have time to make green tomato ketchup. The summer squashes gave us the signal to get them out by promptly dyeing once the frost hit. I’d been dragging out their production to the last minute not that we were sad to see them go I think everyone has had quite enough zucchini dishes!

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I’ve been trying to train the kids to pick the green cabbage moth caterpillars off the plants to feed to the chickens. Unfortunately they keep wanting to keep them as pets. While I love their fascination with nature I would prefer they used them as protein for our feathered friends and didn’t release them back into the veggie patch.

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My crocheting continues to evolve and we will certainly be in no short supply of warm winter woollies. I’ve been trying to get more ready for the etsy store and spinning spinning spinning but with all the preserving I’ve been doing in preparation for winter and starting to focus more on homeschooling prep there’s not been as much time as I’d like to dedicate to it.

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It’s been nearly 8 months since we moved to Tasmania and we are settling in and feel very at home. Time has flown and I’m constantly blown away by the kindness and generosity of people down here from locals and ‘blow ins’ a like. Today’s example of this was a lovely couple I follow on instagram had seen my post mentioning how I’d had to give away the majority of my fowlers jars before moving to the mainland. They not only offered me some replacements but also delivered them too me throwing in a big bag of carpet wool from the sheep they milk for cheese. I’m really looking forward to spinning and dyeing it and making us a crocheted rug! I will hold myself back from my desire to learn to weave as my fibre hobby is already out of control!

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Although we are not on our dream forever farm. Every day I feel we are closer to our dream and we are constantly studying, growing and fine tuning our skills so I know when we do make it we will be well prepared.

Foody things, Homesteading, News

Drowning in Apples and eating well -Beetroot falafel recipe!

Well we’ve definitely been keeping ourselves busy which is good as it keeps us out of trouble!.
Mr Hunter Gatherer is due to start Apple picking soon so we are pushing ourselves to get as much done as possible before he’s away for long hours.

Fortunately Apple prep is something the whole family can get involved in and the kids love using the Apple slinky machine to peel and cut the apples. This is great as we have 6 trees which are all grafted with multiple varieties so we will have apples for months!

We are certainly making he most of the fruit by canning Apple pie filling, hard cider and dehydrating slices, Apple sugar and Apple juice to freeze and enjoy through the year, I’d like to try again to make my own liquid pectin to help set jellies.
From the scraps we are making Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup which is our version on cheap maple syrup!.
I’d really like to attempt some Apple stroop having recently lost my Oma it will be a homage to my Dutch heritage.

I finally bit the bullet this season and bought a canning funnel for the high price of $2.80 on eBay! Man I wish I’d just bought one of these at the start of my canning adventures as it really does make like soooo much easier.

I’ll also be using Sally wises recipe for canning Apple pulp which I’ll later turn into Apple bbq sauce. I really hate waste so I like to make use of every fruit we preserve in a variety of ways.

We’ve been making a conscious decision to eat healthy and more frugally by getting creative with what we grow. We have a lot of beetroots ready to come up and besides pickling and kimchi I’ve been researching different ways to enjoy them with dinner. I came across a great beetroot felafel recipe which we enjoyed with homemade flatbread and garden veg. I’ll share my adapted recipe with you now.

Beetroot felalfel

2 cups dry chickpeas – soaked or cooked in the pressure canner
2 cups shredded raw beetroot
1 tsp coriander
1tsp cumin
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 handful fresh chopped parsley
1 handful fresh chopped  tarragon
1 tablespoon olive oil

Pop everything into a food processor and blitz until fine crumbs you may need to add a touch of water.

Lightly knead mixture and Roll into balls and place on a baking tray. Bake at 200C for 20 mins or until lightly brown.

Enjoy in salads, flat bread or burgers 🙂

Pop everything into a

Foody things, Homesteading, News, Preserving

Mid February 2016 and summers over already!

I always do this. I start the preserving season off with so much enthusiasm, Accept fruit left right and centre, excitedly pick the cucumbers and zucchini bringing them in with grand plans then realize the actual preserving HAS to be done before things rot or there’s no room left in the freezer before the next crop is ready (which is right around the corner!!!)

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I’ve picked bags of sugar and blood plums from my neighbors house and I am quickly trying to pick the greengages off our tree in the chook pen. I’ve dried a bunch in the dehydrator, made plum bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, vanilla plum jam , plum vanilla bean with pepperberry, sweet and sour plum sauce and have plans for greengage jam, spiced plum jam and plum chilli sauce. I might also bottle a few jars of whole and stewed plums for cakes and crumbles in the winter. Last season I made a plum chutney but I wasn’t a fan so decided not to make it this year.
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Greengage plums are the most amazing plum I’ve ever tasted completely unique in their flavour and if you ever get a chance to make the jam or eat one fresh I highly recommend it. I have included my recipe below for anyone who’d like to try.
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Soon our apples will be ready and the few fallen ones we’ve eaten have been absolutely delicious! I’ve invested in a cold press juicer and will be making and freezing our own juice. I was considering ‘canning’ it but I think the pressure canning would make the ‘cold pressing’ pointless so ill stick o freezing and fill the second fridge. I’ll also be making lots of country alcoholic cider as I did last year but I’ll be using the juiced apples over the food processor. The apple ‘waste’ will be used to make Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup or Apple stroop. Nothing will go to waste!

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We have 4 very large pumpkins ready for picking unfortunately not as many as I’d hoped for but we are still getting used to a new climate. The blackberries are ripening and the tomatoes are still not ripe which I think shows how topsy turvy this summer has been. I’ve noticed the smell of woodsmoke a lot on the crisp mornings and feel so out of tune with my suffering friends and relatives on the mainland who are dealing with heatwaves.
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Greengage Jam

2.5kg greengage plums
1 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
1.5kg sugar

As I freeze my plums whole before starting the jam I steam them in the cup of water in a saucepan with the lid on then cut the seed out with a fork.
After this I add the lemon juice and sugar then bring to boil over medium heat until setting point (about 20 mins) once set pop into warm sterilized jars and process using your preffered method. For small batches I just pop boiling jam in sterilized jars and turn the sealed jar over for 20 seconds for large batches I pressure can but waterbath canning is fine too.

Happy jamming!

Homesteading, News

Summer Days 2017

I can hardly believe it is almost February! We have finally had some hot days here and our tomato plants have started to set fruit. The cucumbers as well and taking off and I think we are doing pretty well considering we only have a dodgy $50 greenhouse purchased on arrival to the island. Sadly the greenhouse isnt doing as well as the vegetables it’s produced. Dane and I had been taking bets on how long it would last. I thought we would at least get two summers out of it but I was proven wrong in a wind storm when the door was ripped. We have repaired it with Gaff tape but we know it only has 1 more storm left in it so we have invested in a good quality poly green house which we will set up before winter.

 

We had the pleasure of lots of our old friends visiting over New years and it was lovely to spend time with old friends and feel our soul enriched by their company. The children are really thriving in this Tassie life and I know we have made the right choice for our family.

Dane has picked up some work picking cherries. Sadly all the rain has made it a short season so there is not much work to be had but he’s really enjoying the physical work and meeting people from all walks of life. What he doesn’t like is how much fruit goes on the ground due to imperfections and he is asking his manager if we can have some bulk lots of “waste” cherries to preserve and make cider.

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Although we are no longer doing markets I am still preserving lots of what we are growing and being gifted by friends. We are lucky to live in a community with abundant fruit and I’ve traded or been given Berries and plums. Our Squash plants are going crazy so I’ve invented a Zucchini Kimchi which has turned out to be a hit and and will certainly be making more of this! I’m hoping to have a little road side stall set up this year if I can to sell the excess and save for a drum carder to make my fiber prep easier.

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I am loving learning more about fiber crafts. I started on a drop spindle which I will hand down to Nyah when she’s older and then moved up to a spinning wheel when I saw one advertised for sale by a lovely local lady. I invested in hand carders and we now have one beautiful English Angora Rabbit called MR Dandy who is our very own fibre animal. I’m debating breeding them one day but for now we are just loving him. For other fibres I’ve been spinning Alpaca and sheeps wool that I have sourced from locals. I have been very busy trying to create enough to have on my Etsy store as a way to keep saving for our own farm while I start getting ready to start our trial year of homeschooling.

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Well I think that brings us up to date for now. I hope to start sharing more recipes again soon! If anyone is interested in the Zucchini Kimchi Recipe please let me know and I will post it in to comments.

 

 

Homesteading, News, Preserving

From Doom to bloom -Rose syrup recipe

We’ve had a emotional few days here as our much loved Rhode island red passed away. For those who follow me on instagram you may have already seen the story this story but for the rest of you I’ll share again.

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Almost five and a half years ago Russell came into our lives by chance. We were living in the blue mountains and saw her walking along the road outside our house so we herded her into our very bushy overgrown yard. Unable to find her owner she lived in our yard for weeks while we fed her scraps and bonded with her. She would sit on Danes shoulder and wormed her way into our hearts.

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Eventually we converted a green house into a coop and got her some friends. She remembered she was a chicken and gave us eggs, taught us about broodiness on hens and hatched some babies thus our chicken addiction was born.
This addiction led to us to moving to Oberon in rural NSW so we could breed heritage chooks and then led to Dane studying and obtaining a cert IV in Permaculture through Tafe.
Russell taught us everything we know about chickens, gave us food and many wonderful memories. She really was a major instigator in our self suffiency journey and has cheated death many times. Russell was also the reason we brought 9 chooks from the mainland to Tasmania when we had originally planned on taking none. As we couldn’t bare the thought of leaving her we had hoped she would make it to the next chapter in our story when we buy our own land but all the recent rain and damp proved too much and it was with great sadness we said farewell yesterday morning. We converted her body into bio-char and have her stored so when we are in our own place we can buy her some fruit trees and she can be one with the earth. 

With all of this life must go on. We’ve welcomed new chicks, filled the greenhouse with seedlings, planted out lots of vegetables and been fermenting lots of the spinach and winter greens we were lucky to inherit when we moved here.
We are also lucky enough to have large amount of roses so I have been looking for ways to utilise this resource. I’m hoping at the end of the season to try and make my own rosehip oil but for now I’m experimenting with the petals. Lots have been dried for tea and later use but some I’ve been making into syrup.

The syrup is incredibly easy to make and I follow the same principles as making the fruit cordials or other herb syrups that I’ve shared in previous recipes.

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Rose Syrup

1 bucket of rose petals
2 litres of water
Sugar
3 lemons
Tartaric acid

Wash the rose petals and put them in a 5 litre food grade bucket
Boil the kettle and pour 2 litres of water over the roses.
Pop the lid on and allow to steep for 24-48 hours
After it has steeped cup measure while putting it into your large saucepan.You can strain the petals or leave them in and strain them at the end.
For every cup of liquid add 1 cup of sugar. Sometimes I do a few cups less and boil longer so experiment to your liking
Stir to dissolve sugar
Add lemon juice and bring to boil then simmer stirring occasionally until you reach desired syrup consistency. I like a thinner syrup as I use it to flavour drinks but if you want to make a dessert syrup simmer longer for a thicker syrup.
Once consistency is met add 1tsp tartaric acid stir and pour into your bottles.

Preserve using your preferred method. I pressure can as it uses less energy and gives me a longer shelf life but you can water bath can or store in the fridge for months without canning.

Enjoy 🙂

News

Living a more sustainable self sufficient life

When I started this slow living journey I started to think more about the way we consume. Not just in regards to food but clothing, tools and appliances. Often I feel torn between the want to support local artisans and the need to be able to buy something cheaply so I have more money for a rainy day and for the bigger goal of buying our own property.

Part of the reason we try to make and grow so much ourselves is that we had a lot of debt when I fell pregnant with my first. We wanted to be able to provide and eat the best meals and wear good quality garments that didn’t support questionable companies. So not having a lot of money really left us with two choices buy cheap crap (and buy it constantly because we all know it doesn’t last the distance) or learn to do it ourselves. I’m sure you can guess what direction we went in!

A huge influence in the beginning our simple living journey was Rhonda Hetzel I regularly read her blog Down to Earth while I was pregnant visualizing myself living the beautiful life style she described. As soon as her book came out I bought it and I still regularly use it for its wonderful recipes. Her tips on debt reduction greatly helped us learn to manage our money and become debt free. So although we do not own property yet we are 100% debt free which is a great achievement
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When I was a child my mother worked very hard making craft items and children’s clothing to sell at markets for extra money. She taught me basic sewing as a child (unfortunately I’m still very basic when it comes to seeing) and I could sew my dolls clothes something I loved doing but didn’t pursue much in my early 20s. My children now have some of the clothes my mother made and hand painted. The quality far outweighs anything we could buy at the department store and the kids love wearing clothing made for them by their Oma.

More recently I started crocheting and I’ve found I really had a passion for it. My first attempt was when I was pregnant with my first. I was trying to crochet baby slippers and I don’t know what I did wrong but they were not slippers they were monsters!! I cast crochet aside and went back to knitting but had to give this up due to carpal tunnel.

I didnt pick up the hook again until after my second was born 3 years later. Again I had carpal tunnel but for some reason when knitting triggered it crochet did not and so I made the giant blanket seen in my earlier post. Since then I crochet daily and have started listing some creations on etsy.
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But crocheting has led me to wonder how do the beautiful yarns we use in projects get produced and are they ethical? There are a lot of beautifully dyed yarns from China using Australian wool and it blows my mind we send fleeces (and food) overseas to be processed, packaged and sent back. I wanted quality yarn that was ethically produced I could use to make long lasting garments. Unfortunately yarn like this is expensive to buy and never one to do things by halves I’ve purchased a huge garbage bag full of raw Alpaca fleece am preparing the fibre with a old cat brush and am now started learning to spin on a drop spindle with my 4 year old. The yarns are rough but we are getting better and their is so much to learn. I have a great admiration for spinners and weavers and am really looking forward to seeing where this journey takes us next. 💮🌺🌻🌸

Homesteading, News

Settling in!

It’s been a while now since we made our huge move from rural NSW to Southern Tasmania and I think we have almost recovered! Spring has passed with lots of rainy weather the blossoms that were full of promise were mostly blown off in the wind and rain but we have got a lot of lovely apples maturing on the trees.
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I hear from friends and family back in our old town that it hasn’t stopped raining since we left so I’m really glad we chose to move when we did. I’ve wasted no time in getting the spring seedlings started and they are really taking off.
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We truly love the area we have moved to there’s so much to inspire us being close to the mountains and the sea and for the first time in my life I feel like we’ve found ‘our place’
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Mr Hunter Gatherer is happy working on farms so we have decided not to do markets again and will just be focussing on growing and preserving for ourselves and saving as much money as we can so we can buy our own land. I must admit I am really enjoying living in town as much as I miss the animals in some ways living a sustainable frugal simple life is well simpler than living the simple life on a farming property. Its certainly must easier!
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The little Hunter Gatherers are really happy to be nearer to social groups and we socialize much more regularly than we ever did before and were all much happier for it.

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The crochet addiction hasn’t faded and I’ve been crocheting everything I can. I want to see what I like doing and use up recycled materials I have although I can’t walk past a yarn shop without buying something.

The blanket a friend gave me that I mentioned in a previous post has become shopping bags, children’s boho vests, dishclothes and scrubbing cloths there’s even some left over which I may make a adult vest from.
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I’m really enjoying discovering more about fibres and the process of wool making and spinning. I’m not yet sure what I will do with all my creations some I’ve sold to friends but mostly they are going in a box until I decide what to do with them!
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I’m finding less and less time and inspiration to blog recently. I do hope this will change and writing is such a wonderful outlet and a great way to track our journey but I’m finding instagram much easier to manage day to day so for anyone wanting regular updates you can follow us @huntergathererforager . Now I’m off to crochet a crocodile and think about our brunch baking!
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