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The Toy Box

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Uh-oh

Post  Lavender Debs on 6/29/2010, 12:22 pm

Something is happening to the tomatoes in box 3 and it does not look good.

It could just be our cold wet spring, or the cold wet might mean that these tomatoes (black plum past) cannot fight whatever this is. A side note, these tomatoes sit closest to the deck where my son smokes BUT he does not touch the tomatoes or blow smoke on them. I picked off piles of leaves from three plants. The plants are not even 2 feet tall yet.

On a happier note (and with well scrubbed hands)

There is another Siltz baby. I also have a itty-bitty patio tomato in a hanging pot by the apple tree but it is so micro that I doubt it would show up in a photo.

This is for Bea

An Oregon Spring that was potted up on the same day as the Siltz. She is doing well, but no tomatoes in the cold North West yet.

I love the way blueberries look right before they color out. Maybe these will be ready for 4th of July? I like them even more when they are all powdery blue!


The tomato is depressing, but such is gardening life. I need to figure out what that is and go to war. The spotted leaves are sitting in a fire pit to dry so that I can burn them latter. The peas and lettuce are still going gang busters. I need to find something new to do with the snow peas today, I suppose I could blanch a few and freeze them but I seldom eat frozen snow peas. They just are not the same.

I already know that next year I am going back to Maestro for my shelling (or English) peas. These that I have are mega early but not nearly as sweet. They taste like the peas my gram'ma used to call "cow peas" Also next year I'll plant them away from each other. This year I started with only one box so seating was limited. The broccoli is heading up, but I sure am interested in Bea's purple broccoli/cauliflower. I see it in the winter catalog and need to get an order out.

STILL eating lettuce and it is still sweet. A few from the sweet mescaline mix have bolted. I've pulled those. I need to revisit the lettuce tasting to see how early summer lettuce is. I don't think any of it counts as summer lettuce since we have only had about 3 days of actual summer (actual summer being days that reach at least 70 with nights above 55)

No beans yet but there is a promise. Fennel is coming along, so are the potatoes and carrots. I do not think the beets like the SFG. The onions are slow too, but onions are known for being slow. I'll replant those in early August to over winter.

I thought the first square of cilantro was fixen to bolt. Cut it to the roots and it is coming back. humm.

I needed to write all this so I wouldn't fixate on those poor tomatoes.

Tuesday, June 29 Overcast
Highs only to the mid 60's (yuck) showers tonight
Actual temps: 70/52 part cloudy

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Momma Pajama on 7/1/2010, 10:35 am


Hi Deb,
I won't send a pic of my tomatoes - because there are NONE! Flowers but absolutely no fruit yet. :cry:

Here is what I gathered yesterday. The mixed lettuce is the first that I planted back in March, and it was still going strong and not bolting, but it did seem to be getting bitter, so I yanked it all yesterday. I don't think it's salad-worthy anymore, but I'll blend it in my green smoothies! I also found a few new potatoes creeping into the surrounding squares. Yum! We ate them in a breakfast frittada!

I have seeded my newly empty squares with summer spinach, a fall kale crop, and more bok choy for fall. The kale I have is "Red Russian" and I'm excited I scored some free lacinato kale seed from a blog friend and I'll plant that for fall too.

- Praying for a sunny, warm 4th of July, Paula

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July 1

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/1/2010, 1:04 pm

This is July 1st and the best thing about it so far is Paula's veggie basket picture. Very pretty Momma P!

I guess I'll make that jam today, what else is there to do in the rain on the 1st of July. I sure hope the weather is nicer in Canada. I should get caught up on my study of Luke 9. I planned to weed whack, to weed the front garden and fence. The weeds and long grass will sure wait, little wild berries will not.


Cool and wet, rain showers expected today and tonight; highs to 65
50% chance of rain
Got the wild blackberry jam made. Actual temps today, high of 62, low of 51 with persistent rain for most of the day. Made a frittata of chard, snow peas, carrots, parsley, thyme and oregano with left-over grilled turkey and potatoes. Strawberries on lavender ice-cream for dessert.


Last edited by Lavender Debs on 7/1/2010, 11:55 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  dixie on 7/1/2010, 10:40 pm

You have a lovely garden

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/1/2010, 11:58 pm

What a nice thing to say Dixie. Thank you! Because there are some amazing gardens around this board.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Momma Pajama on 7/2/2010, 9:40 am

You've picked this year's blackberries already???!! Shocked Or am I mistaken?

Down here in Edmonds, the flowers are just opened on the blackberries, but the salmonberries are all ripe.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/2/2010, 11:21 am

Wild blackberries, the little ground hugging kind, not the big invasive kind.


Deborah.... who is all a dither cause her car was stolen this AM and the camera only caught it going away.


Last edited by Lavender Debs on 7/2/2010, 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Ellie0505 on 7/2/2010, 1:32 pm

Your car got stolen this morning?! Jerks.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  boffer on 7/2/2010, 1:57 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote:Deborah.... who is all a dither cause her car was stolen this AM and the camera only caught it going away.

...and you already know the license plate number!

Bummer, I hope this doesn't affect your travel plans?

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  nancy on 7/2/2010, 2:06 pm

Oh, Deb! I'm so sorry! How awful!

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/2/2010, 3:12 pm

Thanks guys, at least I have this way kewl garden to putz in.

I only use the car for errands and shopping. We travel in Ray's truck, so that isn't a big deal (well, actually it is a big deal but not vacation wise). If I can just shake this headache...

At least the jam is sealed. Paula the big nasty Himalayan black berries are just blooming.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Momma Pajama on 7/2/2010, 8:30 pm

I'm so sorry to hear about your car!

I actually don't mind the big nasty Himalayan blackberries. We live near a power line easement and it is a great place to pick the berries, away from car traffic pollution. Every year I put up 3 or 4 batches of jam from them, plus many pies and cobblers! My son has also earned some good coin picking them and selling them at a stand in front of our house!

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/3/2010, 8:50 pm

Grin.... the berries are great, the vines? YUCK! Way kewl that you pick them to get and give.

Found this guy (gal?) on a strawberry. Any ideas?


Horsefly? We used to have deerfly that looked close, but were more green where this one is yellow. No antenna, and the wings don't look clear. No ideas if it is good or bad, but it probably inspired some artist at Disney.

Spent the day getting the garden ready for vacation. Sure wish we had done this before things started growing. Finished the Tomato support.

Hey! the tomatoes are taller than the first rung. When did that happen?

As a matter of fact, last time I looked at the green beans they were only two to four leaves big. Where was I when this happened? I was out dancing for them daily and didn't notice this before today.

Really, I am not trying to document that the clouds sometimes get a hole that lets the blue through. I was trying to find out if there was a tomato without stressing the plant by twisting it around. WooT
A persimmon tomato?? Should know...... by September?

Maybe this is better?

Deborah ....who is still without a car


Saturday, July 3 Mostly overcast;
high 69/ low 53 Afternoon sun breaks

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Stuck inside

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/9/2010, 10:19 am

I got out this AM and tried to putz while it was still a little cool out. That didn't last long. I'm just starting to miss my car. It would be great to go for a ride to the mountains or even a store with AC just to get out of my room. The garden sort of takes care of itself as long as there is water and I go on bug and slug patrol occasionally. I think that after eating so much from the toy box I have come to a place where I am a bit between harvests. There is still loads of lettuce and snow peas, but the snap peas are done, the shell peas were done a long time ago. I am waiting for beans and other summer goodies.

This is Oregon Spring, not big enough to fry, not even close to sandwich ready. I am just glad to have a few tomatoes to watch after the cold wet late spring-early summer. Me and the AC are stuck in my room, I get heat sick very easily. Putzing today will be running out to tie up a tomato, refreshing (composting) the pea squares, poking in seeds and whatever. IF it cools off tonight I will get out and pick some more blackberries. Cold wet spring must be the perfect weather for wild blackberries.

Friday, July 9: Heat advisory. Clear, hot and it seems humid. Highs in the 90's.

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Now back to our regular weather....

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/10/2010, 10:46 am

Two days of 90's and 100 degree heat. Now, back to our regularly scheduled summer.

A Persimmon Tomato..... or at least the plant it should be growing on. I didn't think that there was any rain last night even though it suddenly got very humid as the clouds blew in. So where did all the droplets come from this morning?

Hold on ....that doesn't look like a zucchini.

Provider Beans. These are early, cool weather beans, but this is mid July. They had to be replanted because it was so cold and wet this spring. No beans yet, but blossoms are a very good sign. Empress and Dragons Tongue are coming along.

Just the other day I was telling Ray that there might be a pause between the Peas, lettuce, broccoli harvest and whatever comes next. I forgot about the potatoes. I can dig up a few of those. What was it Justin was saying about potato blossoms? Something I had not heard before and cannot remember now. Humm.

Saturday, July 10: Morning fog, partly cloudy. Highs in the mid 70's.

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Didn't I see you had fennel?

Post  valientor on 7/11/2010, 3:55 am

How do you know when fennel is ready? Do I let it flower?

What a total bummer about your car. This is the second theft I've heard about today.

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Vacation Survival

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/26/2010, 1:59 pm

I do have fennel Val. I have never grown it before soooo. I don't know about "when". I see everything from what is apparently thinnings to huge monster bulbs at the farmers market, so that is no help. What I can tell you is that I plan to put in far more next year then what I have this year. Farmers Market fennel is a pale green like mine. Food co-op fennel is bright white. I read that it has to be blanched (like asparagus or cauliflower) for it to become white. The 2nd planting was co-planted with leaf lettuce. Our summer has been so cool that the lettuce has not bolted yet. I've been letting it grow to blanch the fennel in that box.

Since I love fennel in dishes that use a slow oven or stove (roast, tomato sauce) I'll just go ahead and harvest these when I am ready to cook them. I also love it in salads that I might otherwise use celery in. For those I'll just trim off a few stalks.

Summer Survivors: Box One.
Actually there were not big causalities. Everything did rather well.

We took a large bag of lettuce on vacation with us, the last of the first carrots and a bag of snow peas to munch on. The snap peas and English peas were done. I pulled them out before we left. I expected that the snow peas would be done when we got home but they are still going even after falling over and turning yellow at (what is now) the top.

I am almost a month late but I stuck seed for Brussel's Sprouts in one of the pea squares and kale in another. First I refilled the squares up to top-level with home-grown compost. When ever I pull out a bolted lettuce I sprinkle the MM that clings to the roots over those squares to make them look prettier. I have not replanted the 1st carrot square yet but I'll probably put kolobary into that square. That leaves a couple of unplanted squares but arugula can go in as late as mid August.

Most of the lettuce is still going strong but everyday it seems like I pull out one that has bolted overnight. There was a black plum paste tomato that I forgot about, hidden by all the peas. It looks just fine and even has a few green tomatoes. One square of beets is hidden under the snow peas, another is in need of thinning but gets full sun. There is another batch of chard waiting for harvest. Best get on that today.

Before we left, Ray snaked drip-hose throughout the first three boxes. He swears that next year he will do that right away instead of waiting until vacation. Something I have noticed is that the snails have been getting into the garden by slithering up the hose and into the garden. The bark mulch that is around the garden kept them away when I was daily hand watering. The other thing about the hose is that it is easy to just turn it on and I am not out inspecting everything. It is easy to have things get ready for me to cook without noticing them (like the chard)

All kinds of salad, chard, carrots and snow peas.

The forgotten Plum Tomato.

Box Two
This box always has a different personality then the first box.

Most of this box has Broccoli and onions of one kind or another. The very early nutri-bud broccoli is looking very good. I eat from it often. It overdevelopes into a loose head quickly, but even if it does, it still makes a yummy garden snack. The Umpqua is a longer season, main crop. It has not been doing as well for me as the nutri-bud.

The cilantro in this box is well on its way to becoming caraway. A garden cook from one of the blogs that I follow is in love with green caraway. She says it is a whole different culinary experience. I will try some of her creations when I have green seed. By the way, we took lots of cilantro on vacation with us. It held up nicely and made amazing chili at the beach.

Just beyond the cilantro and the Yellow Australian lettuce are two of the onions in this box. It is hard to tell from this angle, but on the left are shallots. Monsters that I have been using by pulling the largest to allow the other to grow for tomorrows meals. The other is a new (to me) type of sweet onion that I have seen Lydia use. They are red torpedoes and look like they are doing well but have not sized up much. I am going to start using the largest of these so the rest can size up. The other onions are cippolini's and leeks. The cippolini's that were transplanted (after nearly dying in the pot) are making pretty little onions. Those that were direct seeded to fill in the box are growing slow, just like their sister leeks that were direct seeded.

There is more chard, an iceberg lettuce (never done one of those before) and a few flowers in this box.

Box Three: summer classics.
Tomatoes, green beans, basil and peppers.

I do not like the way the tomatoes look in this box. They do not seem as healthy as I would like them to be. It could be our cool summer, it could be that I kept putting them out as babies when it was cooler then they might have liked. It could even be the soil mix in this box. Probably it is not any one factor. The black plum paste tomatoes have made loads of blossoms but few actual tomatoes. Probably because it has been such a cold summer in the PNW. The other tomato in this box is a persimmon. It has made and dropped an amazing number of little green tomatoes.

Oddly enough, the beans with the light greenish-yellow leaves are wax beans (dragons tongue) and the darker green leaves are (surprise) green beans (provider and empress).

I gave my JRT a bone and he buried it in the latest square of cilantro. I should replant. Next to the mostly missing cilantro is a pepper plant, mini bell. In all fairness to the pepper, it has not been a good year for tomatoes in the PNW. Peppers need more heat units then tomatoes to thrive. The basil is also rather sad looking. There is also fennel and carrots. Both are thriving, as is the lettuce that is planted with the fennel. Humm, lettuce is thriving, peppers are just surviving. Must be a lesson in that if I choose to think about it.

Box Four, the afterthought.
More tomatoes, beans, and....

When we put this box up, we did not anticipate how much morning sun the picket fence would block. It did not seem like it would be a problem. Next year I will put peas and greens in this box.

How cold has our PNW summer been? That is basil growing between two persimmon tomatoes. In front is a Pepperoni pepper. Poor little pepper! The basil is pathetic too. Just yesterday I put wax beens in the square to the right. I worked in a few shovel-fulls of home-grown compost just in case it is the MM that is holding everyone back. I really think it is the chilly weather, but just in case....

Of four persimmon tomato plants, this is the only tomato I have so far. If it could talk it would stutter because of shivering.

My only pepper success so far. This is a black Russian jalapeno. I thought something was wrong with it because of the black on the leaves. The flowers remind me of eggplant blossoms. The peppers are sort of purple too. The gypsy pepper plant is as healthy but no peppers yet. In the background are lettuce, tomatoes and green beans.

It doesn't look like much yet, but just behind the gypsy pepper are collards. Another 1st for me. I have been enjoying so many different greens this year that I decided to give these a try. I have read that they get quite large, two squares worth of large if I don't trim it. So I guess it should grow a little more before I trim a few leaves to try.

Outside the box
I have not been posting anything that is not in a square foot garden on this post for a while (but they are on my blog). I'm making an exceptin for this post.

The first tiny artichoke from the mother's day plant.

Siltz Tomatoes in a large black tub. If I keep SFG I hope to put most of my tomatoes in black tubs. The biggest problem seems to be getting them before the pot-farmers do.

Oregon Spring Tomatoes in a large stone pot. These are not doing as well as the Siltz, but I hear that for an early tomato, they taste better. I'll get back to you on that issue if ever they turn red.

Was there a thread called, "Show me your Cherokee Purple"? These are mine. The only cracked tomatoes of the bunch.

My one and only Brandywine.

This hidcote lavender should have been harvested already.

If I don't count water, the garden is almost taking care of itself. We are eating so much from the squares. It actually forces me to think about different ways to serve things. A happy dilemma. Herbs are wanting a place to hang dry, lavender needs ribbon to make wands, and the squash and cucumbers promise they will do something to impress me. The blackberries over the hill are done, but the freezer and pantry are full. I have three little pie apples, asparagus and raspberries. Even the pie cherries are sweet when they are left to get deep, garnet red. There should be more blueberries then I'll know what to do with next year. Wait, scratch that, I know what to do with an abundance of blue berries.

For now, I need to mix up more mels mix and get those strawberrie sisters going.

Deborah.... dreaming of winter harvests and when to plant them.

Monday, July 26 Clear skies, upper 70's to low 80's

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Wyldflower on 7/26/2010, 2:36 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote:
The cilantro in this box is well on its way to becoming caraway. A garden cook from one of the blogs that I follow is in love with green caraway. She says it is a whole different culinary experience.

Hi Debs....

Just a note... Cilantro seed is Coriander, not caraway, which is a different plant entirely. Coriander is the small ball-shaped seeds with a cilantro-ish flavor, and Caraway is the crescent-shaped seeds that you'll find in rye bread. (I LOVE caraway in sauerkraut, btw). I've got both growing in my herb pots.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/26/2010, 3:05 pm

You are absolutly correct. I just could not think of the name of the seed and should have looked it up.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  camprn on 7/26/2010, 4:32 pm

What a nice update Deb. I have been thinking of you and Boffer and hoping that your summer had been improving. Things are looking pretty good.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  1chichi on 7/27/2010, 8:14 am

Love the photos The jam looks delicious. Next year, I plan to get the canning supplies and plant some sort of berries.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/27/2010, 10:10 am

Thanks camp and Chi.

The berries are bird-planted.

Tuesday, July 27: Stunning tangerine sunrise, low morning clouds pushed away by warm south-west wind. Blue sky this afternoon. Highs in the mid 70's to 80

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July 29; 103 degrees!

Post  Lavender Debs on 7/29/2010, 12:17 pm

At least that was the weather headline on this day last year. This year? Not so much. I found a sweater to put on before going out to check the garden. Ray has today off and it feels like a good day to put something in a slow oven.


Spent some time yesterday giving a treat of fish and compost tea (I'm all out of crumpets) to all the tomatoes, peppers and potted plants. My composter is such a gift and it keeps on giving. I do not like to give much of a boost (fertilizer) if the weather is too cool and wet. It has been warmish for the last 10 or so days.... and I have lots of compost tea concentrate that needs using. The weeds and grass around the compost bins are looking uber healthy.

Something that I have been trying to not worry about is nitrogen. So much of the comical compost that I used to make MM is based on bark or shredded wood. As wood decays is sucks the nitrogen out of the soil to help it in its long process of change. I am just starting to notice a few yellow leaves and wonder if this might not be a tell. It was not a problem in my patch-work garden (I was never really into "rows") that grew in the ground where they were mulched with rabbit and chicken straw-bedding. I think that this chilly day will be a good time to pull down some of my old books and find out how to boost nitrogen organically and gently.


In my 35 plus years growing veggies I have never saved a seed. (deep red shame face goes here). I always look forward to seed buying time in January. I love getting those packages on cold wet days in late winter (it is right up there with chocolates and pink Champaign on Valentine’s Day). But this economy is so bad, and so many of my favorite little shops are going under, unable to compete with Asian imports and still pay their taxes and wages. I expect my favorite seed producers are under the same pressure. It is time for this old dog to finally learn a new trick. These Golden Sweet Snow Peas have been such a pleasure. They are sweeter then the snaps I grew, outlasted the English in a near-by square....which might not be a fair comparison because as they got larger they also made better shelled peas then the (Asian BTW) English shell peas, so my shell peas were really bad peas, but they were early, I'll give them that. The Golden Sweet’s are still making fresh snow peas, but after going on vacation for 12 days, I came home to buckets of these largish peas that I would give to the chickens if I still had chickens. I bet I can find directions for saving pea seed on the net.

Beans! I am getting way to casual for a blogger. Yesterday I plucked my first honest apron full of beans for dinner. These are the early Provider Bush Beans, and this is one of the few that I missed last night. They eat like green candy. I've been snapping off two or three good size beans to munch on everyday since coming home from vacation, but yesterday was the first mess of beans I was able to collect. (I don't really where an apron except at Halloween.)

A throw-back to its pole bean roots? This runner is coming from Empress Bush Bean, billed as a main crop bean that has yet to do much in my chilly back yard. This wild-child shot up from the plants below. Those poor tomatoes.... don't they just look like they want to curl up and hide until a heater is set out for them?

I donno about these Red Tropolini Onions. I am going to give them more time. The tops are just starting to die back and they have not sized up much. Described as a red torpedo shaped sweet onion, I have been looking forward to them for a long time, but not much happening here yet. I am going to try putting some more in for winter. I know our Walla Wallas do better as an over-wintered onion then as a spring planted onion. I'm not ready to give up on these yet.

I am sure that I read that my Grandpa A's lettuce would form a loose head if I left it long enough but I was still surprised to find them when we came home. There was a huge head next to this one that I cut for taco's two nights ago. Even in this chilly PNW summer I fully expected the flavor to be on the bitter side and in need of all the strong taco flavors to be palatable. I was wrong; it was still sweet and juicy. What a surprise that was. There are 4 more in this square (I did 5 per square thinking I would just have leaf lettuce to clip rather than loose heads).


Deborah.... wondering what the new square of carrots looks like underground.

Thursday, July 29; soft wet and gray in the AM. After lunch it should clear up a bit. Highs in the lower to mid 70's.

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Photos

Post  ander217 on 7/30/2010, 8:05 am

Beautiful photos, Deborah. Thanks for sharing.

Loved the 'choke.

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Re: The Toy Box

Post  camprn on 7/30/2010, 9:17 am

It all looks great Deb!! I wish I could grow artichokes. I have heard of a new short season variety that I might try, if I could find the seed. My fingers are crossed for better weather for your region!

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Re: The Toy Box

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