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Name: Alli O'Cain
Cedar Park ( Austin) Tx (Zone 8b)
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aocain
Jul 15, 2014 8:47 PM CST
Hi.. I posted a queation about mushrooms and I guess a mold on my pots.. the post explains and has pictures.. and I checked again just now.. it is different than mineral white crust.. it builds up and down.. like little mountains..
I wasnt sure if anyone knows when something gets posted or looks in that area much... the household.. me and two cats are having symtoms for a while and I moved them out and then had to temp move back into my small apartment... and its not in all plants.. but it is appearing other pots are starting to "catch" it... and the potvthat hadvthe mushroom had nevershown any signs and was legt inside until the others were just moved back in sunday. I wasnt sure how to link these two posts.. sorry.

Thank you!
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"
Alfred Austin
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Jul 16, 2014 5:53 AM CST

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Here are all the posts you've made:

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You can see that list by going to your profile and clicking on "View posts made by aocain"
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 16, 2014 2:33 PM CST
I don't know any answers for you, but here is a thread that you started:

Pests and Diseases forum: mushrooms.. mold? and scratchy throat..yuck..

The thread "mushrooms.. mold? and scratchy throat..yuck.." in Pests and Diseases forum

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 17, 2014 2:46 PM CST
Alli, I know this seems drastic, but if you think there's mold in the soil that's making you sick, I would get new pots and new soil, and re-pot all those plants. Rinse all the soil off them and replace it with fresh sterile potting mix. Rinse the tops of the plants too, there could be mold spores lurking on the leaves, too. OR just buy new plants (but if they've been outside, there's no guarantee they won't have mold in the soil too).

Btw, wear a fiber mask, hat and long sleeves when you're getting rid of the old soil, do it outside preferably, put the contaminated soil in a plastic bag and seal it up and throw it in the trash. Change your clothes and wash them right away when you're done, take them off before you go in the house preferably . . but if you can't, strip down next to the laundry basket and turn the clothes inside out as you remove them. All this to prevent spreading the mold spores around even more inside your apartment. Vacuum thoroughly with a good vac with a Hepa filter. Replace your furnace/ac filter with a high quality, 'ultra allergen' one.

Then, (I know this is hard) keep some plants inside, and some plants outside, and don't bring any outside plants in any more. Btw, I doubt the mushrooms have anything to do with the scratchy throat etc. but if you see mushrooms in your plants, better pull them up, put 'em in a ziploc and get them out of the house before they make spores.

IF all that doesn't help, better look around for another source of what's making you wheeze!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alli O'Cain
Cedar Park ( Austin) Tx (Zone 8b)
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aocain
Jul 17, 2014 6:08 PM CST
Thanks everybody.. I cant get them outside yet they are still painting the buildings.. and cant afford new soil and pots yet. But soon.. it has to be something in the plants.. we were all doing better until a day after I brought the plants in . And no mushrooms had shown again.. and then i brought them all indoors and watered ..but ibthought the hydrogen peroxide and dawn in the water was supposed to make it better not worse!.lol
i should be able to get them outside soon.. i threw out a few..
ok.. so idea about good soil? Ive never ever had an issue with bought soil before.
i always used just regular soil.. but now.. Im reading not to use the miracle grow types like i use.. so give me an idea.. what needs to be in it.. I mostly have succulents and some. reg house plants like a fern/ pothos/ mother in law tongue etc..
and I love clay pots.. but should I get plastic?
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"
Alfred Austin
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 17, 2014 8:02 PM CST
Keep your clay pots, but use them for the outdoor plants. For indoors, something non-porous like glazed ceramic or, yes, Rolling my eyes. even plastic would be better for not hosting fungi.

New potting soil should be essentially sterile. But as soon as you moisten it, it becomes a perfect host for any errant spore that floats by. I've used Scott's for years, but lately Vigoro Organic potting soil for a lot of things. It has quite a bit more coconut husk fiber, and less peat moss. I honestly don't know if it makes a difference, except here in FL with our very high humidity in summer I can't use "Moisture Control" potting soil because it stays much too wet. I wonder if the moisture crystals could be what's hosting the fungi - I had a caladium from Home Depot dry out completely on me a month ago, and when I took it out of the pot, the soil was a mass of moldy stuff that would not absorb water. I hosed it off and it floated all around, luckily I was outside and it was a windy day or I'd have breathed in a ton of the stuff . .

For your succulents and mother-in-law's tongue, I'd use a cactus mix or buy a bag of Perlite and mix a bunch of extra in with the potting soil.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alli O'Cain
Cedar Park ( Austin) Tx (Zone 8b)
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aocain
Jul 17, 2014 9:45 PM CST
Thank you, Elaine..

You know when you mentioned the perilite.. could that cause the mold to engulf my plants? For the first time ever right before allbthis started when I repotted almost all my plants i used alot of perilite.. never had bought it before.. and at that time everything was indoors itwas still cool here.. which was strange.. but it would get really cool at night and i also keep my apartmemt very cool.. like 71degrees even in the winter.. so thats the very first time in used it and i wonder if in one way or another whether the soil infecyed it all the white moldy atuff on my pebble tray or whatever jist got sucked into the perilite and now it gets wet it rereleases again.. huh.. ok. I will as soon as I can afford it ..repot etc.. its just really expensive.. atleast around here.. and hell theres likenot alot of choices to get anything from.. the big box places suck here in variety and the most cool the clay at the specialty places like red barn.. which i will probably gt the soil from.. all those places way too expensive for me.. but i have always lovedbyheir variety and plants.. awsome place.. maybe a sale will come up..lol
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"
Alfred Austin
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 18, 2014 2:49 PM CST
I usually think of mold, fungus and mushrooms needing very organic soil. maybe your soil has too much compost, or too much fish emulsion.

Usually a dry surface discourages fungi. If you can scrape off the top layer and replace it with something that will drain instantly and dry quickly, that might keep the fungi below soil level and out of your lungs. Like coarse gravel.

I like bark chunks (pine, fir or balsam might be best) as a top-dressing. Since you want them to dry out quickly, those chunks can be 1/4" to 1/2" in size, and 2-4 layers deep. My Lowes sells clean, dry "Fine Bark Nuggets" in 2-cubic-foot bags for $4.25.

If you can find pine bark nuggets, those are also a cheap way to lighten up a potting mix and make it drain faster. Like very coarse Perlite but much cheaper.

If you can't find bark nuggets, you might try a bag of medium bark mulch ... but you will have to screen out the big chunks, and even more important, screen out the powder, fines and small nuggets. Bark fibers and fines will hold almost as much water as peat. Often "mulch" is loaded with dirt, wood chips, pebbles and moisture. Yuck.

Any bark that is too big for potting mix can be chopped or ground up and then re-screened. 1/4" and 1/8" hardware cloth are useful for screening.

Once you find a source of "grit-sized" bark, like the size of BBs or somewhat larger, you can make any commercial potting mix much cheaper by adding lots of bark. For VERY well-draining mix, you can use mostly bark grit plus 10-25% commercial potting mix.

Make it drain faster by screening out ALL the bark fines and dust that you can.

Make it hold more water by allowing it to keep some of the bark that is finer than BBs.
Name: Alli O'Cain
Cedar Park ( Austin) Tx (Zone 8b)
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aocain
Jul 18, 2014 3:28 PM CST
Thank you!

I looked up pictures of lots of different pots that had mineral buildup on them.. mine has always been thin layer here and there flaky not bumpy thick or like on one a fin film over all the pot 3/4 but on the side not facing any plant no film at all.. so would mineral buildup do that? All over but not one side that just so happens to to be around some of the "infected" plants? And how would build up instantly show up? I mean I watered with hydrogen peroxide and dawn in a big containner of water about 6 pm and then by 230 pm the next day.. pots that never had issues it was everywhere and then that mushroom popped up too.. and that plant had never had a mushroom and was never outside
something is certainly causing issues with us here...hopefully I can get them back outside in the next few days once they complete the painting outside.. and I am buying replacement filters for the inside vent and vacuum which is bagged and my air cleaner.. which has been near the plants since i brouhht them in..
so lets saythis is white mineral build up only.. would the hydrogen peroxide somehow make it instant? And bulky looking?
So im thinking if thats it then its got to be just the soil.. so replace soil.. but I dont think I will ever do perilite again .. all this didnt start til that large bad of miracle grow and me mixing perilite pretty generously into the soil.
Just wary now.. its been a real pain and My elderly cat cannot get another sinus infection that we are still treating.. me too..
thank you all so much.. just let me know about the instant buildup.. i keep reading peroxide kills mold and fungus.. but could it cause the mineral buildup to increase instantly ?
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"
Alfred Austin
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 18, 2014 3:43 PM CST
I wouldn't expect minerals to appear suddenly as a thick film.

By the way, where did you hear the suggestion to use Dawn detergent as part of a soil flush solution? That's a new one to me.

I understand adding a little Hydrogen Peroxide ... diluted ... like 1-3 ounces of drugstore peroxide per quart of water.

>> I mean I watered with hydrogen peroxide and dawn in a big containner of water about 6 pm and then by 230 pm the next day.. pots that never had issues it was everywhere and then that mushroom popped up too..

One totally unsupported guess occurred to me as a possible answer to 'why so sudden?" Just a guess:

Maybe dunking the pots in Dawn and peroxide did kill a bunch of soil organisms ... but it killed the ones that were keeping the mushrooms and "whatever" in check.

Once some of the microbes were killed, maybe the nasty fungus and mushrooms had no competition and took over suddenly.

That is just a wild guess.

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 18, 2014 3:59 PM CST
Alli, I don't think the Perlite could possibly be a contributing factor to the moldy issue. It's completely inorganic, like light lava rocks. Mold needs moisture and organic stuff to grow on.

from Wikipedia
"Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently."
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Alli O'Cain
Cedar Park ( Austin) Tx (Zone 8b)
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aocain
Jul 18, 2014 4:46 PM CST
Ok.. well.. the dawn i read years go kills some pests.. which i had had. Also for the firat time a coupke of months ago on some of my succulents.. inside too.. it was weirs.. but i had boihht some plants before that.. then all thos happened. But i read a tiny amount of dawn and esp the peroxide kills the mold and fungus.. not sure why dawn.. but alot of webpages suggest it.. i think i have somr ofvthem saved.. will look.
But i just noticed.. is there a major differnence is levels of types of clay pots? Let me explain that sounds weird.. i was on the couch looking at this pot on my kitchen counter.. its clay.. its been watered with the same water for years and no absolutely no mineral build up and yet for years all my other kinds of clay pots .. i would say not as fancy or smooth for that matter have had some kind of mineral crusting / film. The one on the counter is extremely smooth very pretty and Im not talking about the design elements just even the clay very pretty compared to the plain ones.. the white lines in the decorated groves have always been white looking. The traybunderbitbis the not the same type its a normal clay tray.. but it does have pebbles
Thumb of 2014-07-18/aocain/c80182

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"
Alfred Austin
Name: Alli O'Cain
Cedar Park ( Austin) Tx (Zone 8b)
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aocain
Jul 18, 2014 4:59 PM CST
I do now remember I did use the dawn before for compacted soil.. it breaks it up.. i just got used to using it tiny amountonce in a while for now over years and years.. i still get really hard soil here in austin.. i did in dallas too..but i dont really use it much amymore I kust kinda forgot. And tgen the bugs happened and i used it in the soil amd misted some not all the succulaents the misted with water to rinse a while later.. they look good now.. completely...
But i cant remember if the dawn worked allthe time for the compacted soil.. hmmm. Do yall get that hard soil? Lke i have to puncture it to get the water to absorb sometimes.. i will search on here and see if i can find some things on that
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"
Alfred Austin
Name: Alli O'Cain
Cedar Park ( Austin) Tx (Zone 8b)
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aocain
Jul 18, 2014 5:15 PM CST
Augh.. sorry guys.. ok heres what i just found.. this is the small pot i was saying never had a film and then all of a sudden did but it was thin only 3/4 away around the pot.. jist a couple of days later today tgis is what it looks like.. and i just pulled the two mushrooms out. Its never ever had issues was seperate and never outside..
Thumb of 2014-07-18/aocain/38187b


Thumb of 2014-07-18/aocain/7c1f4a

"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"
Alfred Austin
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 18, 2014 6:45 PM CST
I have very soft water, and I don't tend to use clay pots. So about the film, I know nothing. Mineral salts or fungus - I don't know, but I would have guessed "minerals" solely from the way it looks.

If there is a way to clean it off completely without affecting the soil, you could try that and then see how it fast it comes back. If it's fungus, it ought to keep coming back even if you scrape and scrub. If it's minerals, a couple of good cleanings ought to make it come back very slowly.

Thanks for explaining about the Dawn. In the past, I only knew about using it (greatly diluted) as a spray on leaves, to get rid of aphids ... and using a bit in the water used to rehydrate peat moss (as a wetting agent or "surfactant").

>> But i cant remember if the dawn worked allthe time for the compacted soil.. hmmm. Do yall get that hard soil? Lke i have to puncture it to get the water to absorb sometimes.

I have clay, and water takes a long time to soak in to it (very slow perk). But I would totally NEVER use that hard clay in pots.

>> have to puncture it to get the water to absorb sometimes.

I don't understand that, or just mine isn't like that. If I puncture hard, dry clay with a pick (outside) and watered, the water would fill the hole the pick created but not soak any faster into the clay because of that.

I think we must have different kinds of soil. I don't recognize yours. It sounds bad - REALLY bad for pots.

>> today tgis is what it looks like.. and i just pulled the two mushrooms out. Its never ever had issues was seperate and never outside..

I think that spores float in air everywhere, including indoors. When it comes to microbes, "everything is everywhere". If conditions become good for a fungus to grow, rely on a couple of spores from a couple of varieties to find their way to that surface and multiply.

Hey, unless your inside air is triple HEPA-filtered, every surface already has a few microscopic dust particles (or, in my house, dust balls). So unless you scrub daily with bleach, there were already at least a few fungal spores on every square inch.

With mold and fungus, it's all about conditions that favor them or conditions that discourage them. Plus, "prevention is easier than cure". Once you've had a blooming growth of some fungus, its spores will be DENSELY everywhere nearby.

But again - I'm not experienced with clay pots and hard, compacted soil so I don't know what you have there.

I only have clay soil in the ground, outdoors, partly amended in spots, with raised beds and drainage ditches. Some of the concrete paving stone walls of my raised beds do have mineral stains, mainly in the summer when lots of ground water diffuses or wicks through them and then evaporates.

But I water with soft water and only very seldom add chemical fertilizer (usually just manure compost). So the water doesn't add lots of minerals, and my build-ups aren't thick.
Name: Alli O'Cain
Cedar Park ( Austin) Tx (Zone 8b)
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aocain
Jul 18, 2014 8:06 PM CST
Thanks for your reply.. i just use miracle grow soil.. but i think i have very hard or mineral heavy water..
nut ya know i do need to check to seenif its mostly the clay pots that get that super hard soil or bothe clay and plastic.. i mean damn.. the soil is gets so hard it literally repells the water. Seriously i will have to take pics or video.. i will water and it will just sit right on top of the soil for an extremely long time with pieces of soil floating around.. and then i poke a hole safely as possible and it starts to go in.. its crazy.. it just gets all compact after a while.. it doesnt start that way at all.. wonder f the water could do that.. hmmm.
"Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are"
Alfred Austin
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jul 19, 2014 12:34 AM CST
Strange! Does the soil mix contract when it dries out?

I think you said "miracle grow soil" Wouldn't it be better to use the "potting mix" instead of potting "soil" or just garden soil?

It always seemed misleading for stores to call something "potting soil" if it's too heavy to use for pots and containers!

Anyway, I know that either "miracle grow soil" or "miracle grow [/u]potting[/i]soil" would kind of prone to compacting in pots and being too heavy and dense to start with. But I would not have guessed they would get as hard and water-repellant as you describe.

At first I thought the "water-repellent" effect might mean there was a lot of peat moss in the mix. Peat moss can be hard to re-moisten once it gets dry.

But I still think you have something special going on that I never heard of. Can excessive hard minerals in water make soil like concrete when it dries? If you keep pouring them in the top and the water keeps evaporating out through the clay pots.

If that's what's going on, maybe a mineral crust COULD form overnight on some clay pot in a hot, dry draft.

What would be a solution? Water them with bottled water? De-desalinized water? Lots of supermarkets have a "water machine" where you can buy a gallon of reverse-osmosis-ed water for 25 or 50 cents. I guess "rain water" would be good if you had enough rain for that to be reliable.

You probably already know to avoid watering with "softened" water. That kind of water purifier usually gets rid of Ca, Mg and iron ions by replacing them with salt (sodium chloride salt). That's as bad or worse for potted plants than most minerals.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 19, 2014 12:50 AM CST
I forgot the first thing I should have suggested.

Can you run lots of clean warm water right THROUGH the pots after get a root ball re-hydrated? Run it through so it comes out the bottom of the pot

... and stand the pot being flushed somewhere the water can drain away from. Maybe with a plastic bag cloths-pinned to two or three sides of to guide the runoff. It's smart to stand the pot up on two or three chopsticks or pencils.

You can pull water out a little faster and keep the 'water table" in the pot lower if you set the pot on a towel or cotton cloth like denim, a folded Tee shirt, or any other water-wicking fabric. Microfibers are super-effective as wicks! That pulls perched water out of the bottom inch of mix.

The cotton fabric has to touch the soil mix THROUGH the hole in the bottom of the pot. That establishes the capillary attraction. Then you should let the fabric dangle DOWN as many inches as practical to set up. If you can perch pots on bricks or cinder blocks or the edge of a deck or patio. Just don't make it easy for them to tip over and fall a foot or two!

Anyway, a wick that firmly touches the bottom of a soil column and dangles down several inches uses gravity PLUS capillary attraction to help the flushing water drain away before the root hairs drown.

If you let the plant drink BACK water accumulated in the saucer, you're letting them pull all the bad minerals back into the soil around the roots.

During a flush you have to let the water drain away from the pot and never let the pot sit in standing water.

When the plant is just living from day-to-day in a pot indoors, I think you should remove any water that drains into the saucer with a turkey baster and never let the pot "stand with its feet in the water".

You probably already know all that, but my typing fingers got away with me again!

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