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You might still find some cats

Posted by caterwallin 6 (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 30, 10 at 17:37

Here in central PA I'm still finding Black Swallowtail cats outside on my rue. We've only had two nights so far this fall in which it has gotten down to 32 degrees and those were just recently. Most years we have our first frost by Oct. 15, and we'd have had more freezing nights by now than just two.

The rue holds up pretty well in cold temps, but now that I have a few small cats (I also have some that should pupate soon), I brought some cuttings inside just in case and have them in a jar of water until I need more to feed the cats. Two of the cats I found today are barely 1/4" long, and the other one is about 1/2". I haven't counted how many BSTs I have here to release in the spring, but there's got to be at least 50.

This year was a great butterfly year, but wow, was it HOT this summer! I don't even think there was a lull here all spring and summer. I was still seeing butterflies here up until a few days ago. The latest ones I saw were Common Checkered Skippers and Silver-spotted Skippers. I imagine that people in the southern states are still seeing a fair number of butterflies then?

I saw an enormous amount of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails this year. I think those and Silver-spotted Skippers were my two most common butterflies. I saw Red Admirals for the first time in several years but didn't get any cats (the false nettle was barely hanging on with our temps and drought). I didn't see even one Giant Swallowtail here this year. It's interesting to see how things change from year to year.

Cathy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: You might still find some cats

Hey Cathy girl!! Good to "see" ya! Wow, you are still finding BST cats? Well, the good thing is that we know that they will overwinter. I only have about 10 BST chrysalides to overwinter in the garage this year. My last little GF cat pupated yesterday. He was inside, and now I have moved him to the garage. Not sure what he will do, but I would love it if he would overwinter in the chrysalis too. It was a HORRIBLY hot summer. I hated that. The combination of the heat and the lack of rain was just awful. The two butterflies that I saw in abundance in my yard this year were the Tigers and the Buckeyes. GF's also seem to be more numerous than before. I did see ONE Giant. I had a fruit feeding butterfly bonanza here this year, and lots of my butterfly observation dreams were more than adequately fulfilled!! I do need some False Nettle Cathy. Please e-mail if you can help me out with that? ~~Angie


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RE: You might still find some cats

Hi Angie! I've been under the weather all month and wasn't out much, so maybe those cats were waiting on me. :) I've never found the BST cats outside this late other years. Of course, we've had an extraordinarily warm fall, so maybe the butterflies were all confused or something. Well, the cats are inside now and yes, thank goodness that they overwinter.

I wish I knew what to tell you about that GF cat. I don't even know if this is unusually late or not to have one. I've never seen any up here; I think it's a little too far north. I have one Monarch to come out yet, but I'm afraid that one will be doomed. One temps have dropped now and it feels more like fall. I rounded up the last of my plants today that I want to save inside over the winter, and I have some sitting over in the other building just for now until I get a chance to bring them inside. I brought in milkweed cuttings because I want to have to decent sized plants by June next year.

I think this must have been the year of the Tigers because I noticed various people saying that they had a lot of them. I also saw Buckeyes here and reported it for our county. Lucky you to get to see a Giant. Their size and color sure makes them breathtaking.

I'm glad to hear that you had luck with the fruit. I didn't put any out this year. I get to see Question Mark butterflies occasionally and I've had eggs on my small hackberry trees the past couple of years. I've never had any emperors or other kinds of cats on them (never saw emperor butterflies here).

I wish I could help you out with the False Nettle seed, but my plants didn't do well and as far as I know didn't produce any seed. Maybe Shady Oak (Edith gives away seed every year for a SASE) has some or perhaps someone else on the forum would be kind enough to share some if they have extra seed.

Cathy

Here is a link that might be useful: Shady Oak Butterfly Farm


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RE: You might still find some cats

Hey, Angie...I just got my SASE back from Edith with False Nettle!
Cathy, it is great to hear from you! Glad you had a successful BF year. I am amazed you still have cats this late where you are!
I also saw more TSTs than I ever have this year with lots of morph females! I think they must use our native Mexican Plums here. They aren't listed in my county but not many of the BFs I see are.
The BAMONA site is supposed to be getting updated so we can post our sitings easier. I emailed them to let them know all the sitings I had seen weren't ever posted & they responded saying to wait...they are setting up a new & improved site. So far, it hasn't happened yet.
I had about a dozen BST crysalids but had almost half of them eclose this past week. We had frost this past week so I brought in the 2 Orange Barred Sulphur cats that were on my Candlestick tree. I also have GF cats in the yard. I had checked the forecast for the next 10 days & they just changed it to expect frost again this week. Hope these cats hurry up & pupate!


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RE: You might still find some cats

Hi, Lila. I know I'm not around much anymore, but I try to stop in every now and then. I read but don't post a lot. I hope you had a successful butterfly year year. I guess they must like those really hot temps, huh. This was the first year that I had the black form tiger females; I saw several of them.

I don't know the specific reasons for why your reported butterflies haven't been showing up on BAMONA but hope that they do sometime. I've never had trouble with that, but I remember the first time that I reported one (Giant Swallowtail), it wasn't on the site until after the beginning of the next year.

It sounds like you have some late cats too. I'm surprised that you had frost already. I know you're in north Texas, so maybe you get a frost earlier than I thought you would. I'm glad that it stayed warm as long as it did.

I'm sitting here typing and watching the birds. There's a cardinal in the holly bush in the front yard. That's what holds me over until the next butterfly year, watching the feeder birds. As you know, I was into that before butterflies and have always enjoyed it too.
Cathy


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RE: You might still find some cats

We have been back in the 70s & 80s since the frost & I think we're supposed to have another one this Friday. I didn't have a good tomatoe year & all of my plants have blooms but I think they are a little too late this year!
I just released another BST male today...I need to put them in my garage so they will wait until the spring to eclose. I have them in the house right now. I only have about a half dozen left. I am still seeing lots of sulphurs, GFs, Queens, Bordered Patches, a few Giants, & a couple of PVSTs.
Cathy, I didn't have very good luck with bringing in the PVST cats this year...I lost almost half of them. I think they do better outside here for some reason. They looked dry & I'm wondering if they needed to be misted. I didn't have any trouble with BSTs, Queens, & Monarchs!
It has been a great year here for BFs & I'm planning a new mostly host bed for monarchs & queens, Ladies, sulphurs, & hopefully Blues. I had to put the bed on hold...my neighbors are putting in a new fence where I started it & I want the workers to finish before I start planting it. I have been collecting some of the plants & need to get them in the ground before it really gets cold here.


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RE: You might still find some cats

Thanks "birdnut." I suppose I should go and check Edith's giveaway list, and just send an envelope down. Maybe she would have some left. Maybe not. High today only 63 here. Think we have our first freezing low coming up this weekend. Don't forget to set your clocks back!~Angie


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RE: You might still find some cats

Lila, Sorry to hear about the tomatoes. We got enough, but they started dying sooner than they should have. I'd expect them to last basically until the first frost, but they started getting brown back in August.

The next time we'll see 70's here won't be until late April or early May. We still didn't get around to putting plastic on our windows; it really helps a lot.

Yes, put those BSTs in a cool place so they don't come out too early. I just moved mine out into the building next to the house not too long ago. It's unheated so they'll wait until spring to eclose, and they're protected in their containers and away from the elements.

It sure sounds like you're seeing lots of butterflies yet...lucky you! I'm sorry to hear about the PVST cats that you brought in this year. I wish I had an answer for you. I haven't experienced that. It's the Giant Swallowtails that won't cooperate with me for some reason. Last year after having a lot of them die again, I made up my mind to leave them out on their own from now on, but then I didn't get any GST butterflies here this year anyway. It's good that we have luck with most kinds of butterflies or it would get discouraging trying to raise them. I'm happy to hear that the others you mentioned did well.

That's great that you're planning on putting in a new bed. Isn't it so much fun butterfly gardening! It's kind of like finding buried treasure or something when you find a new cat! I get excited whenever I find an egg or cat of any kind. Good luck with the new bed.

Cathy


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RE: You might still find some cats

It is exciting, Cathy! I have 3 Orange Barred Sulphurs..2 have pupated, the 3rd is in the process! I am planning on having lots of different host plants to see what I can attract! I have a bush clover, a black Cherry tree, a sassafras(not sure if it will make it with my slightly alkaline well water), snapdraggons, & am planning to plant lots of seeds in the spring...false nettle, English Plantain, Sneezeweed, toadflax, milkweeds (Common, Swamp, Purple, & Tropical),sensitive plant, borage, frostweed, pipevines, Pearly Everlasting, 2 kinds of Zizia & other BST host plants, & several kinds of senna seeds(Argentine, Velvetleaf, Sicklepod, & Cassia alata). I am so hoping to attract new kinds of cats that I haven't had before!
I didn't have many GST cats this year either but saw a lot of BFs...still not sure what they use locally because I haven't seen any of their host plants in the woods around my home! I planted 4 new Hop Ash trees I ordered from Mossy Oak Nativ Nursery along with 2 Black Cherries for the Tigers etc! They were only $3.49 each but you have to order $20 worth. They were all almost 2ft tall & hopefully will all produce lots of leaves this next spring!
I talked to several other gardeners from the DFW area & they all say they have no luck growing Rue here...I think it is just too hot!
Great to have you here, Cathy...you have been such an inspiration to me for BF gardening! I had great success with the Blue Vervain & several other of the seeds you shared. I am planning to 'pay it forward' by passing some of my seeds on to other BF gardeners!


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RE: You might still find some cats

I think one of the secrets to growing Rue in the South, is to plant it in well-draining soil in part to full shade. That's how I have mine planted and so far, so good. I've been growing this last batch for about 5 years in a raised bed in the backyard where it gets very little direct sun. Also, I believe it is a somewhat "short lived" perennial. I may have to replace mine very soon because it usually poops out at about 5 to 6 years. I also tried it in pots, but it didn't seem to like the potting soil.

I've already ordered some seeds like White Cleome (for the moths, too, and the Cabbage Whites), Cosmic Red Cosmos (the "Cosmic" series are so popular with the Butterflies), white 4 o'clocks for the moths, Red and Purple Zinnias, Mexican Sunflower, some poppies for early color, etc. Also will be adding more milkweed - I say that every year it seems.

Didn't know that Edith offered free or discount seeds. Will have to check out. Thru her website or thru Facebook or what? Even if they're all gone, I'll know next year.

Susan


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RE: You might still find some cats

Susan, I am making a new BF host garden & will make a raised area under a tree & see if I can't keep the rue growing. I have tried to grow it in about 4 different locations in my yard but so far it gets about 2 ft tall & then dies for no apparent reason. I ordered 2 kinds of Zizia just for the BSTs but would like to keep rue growing for the GSTs!
I have seeds of several of the flowers you ordered...check out my trade list & see if there is anything else you would like. I'd love to trade or send you some for a SASBE!
Here is the link for Edith's offer...unless you have Polydamas STs don't ask for the pipevine seeds...it kills our PVST cats. I would love to have some other pipevines like A.macrophylla or durior or coryi. I grow A.fimbriata & A.tormentosa for my PVSTs but would love another kind. I've not had seeds on my A.tormentosa vines. I received Virginia Snakeroot seeds that were offered to grow this next spring & am cold stratifying them in the fridge. I've tried wintersowing here but with our extreme temp fluctuations(20 to 80) during the winter, I haven't had good luck with it.

Lila aka 'imabirdnut'

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterfly Fun Facts Seed Offer


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RE: You might still find some cats

Lila, It sounds like many kinds of butterflies will take a liking to your place next year. That's a great list of plants that you have already and what you're planning! You'll be busy planting up a storm, huh! ;-)

I know that you said before that you didn't know what the Giants used there locally. Maybe someday you'll find out, but it's good that you at least know what that kind uses for host and know what you can try there. I bet you can't go wrong with the wafer ash. I have a few planted here that I started from seed, but I can't remember offhand where I got the seed from. I'm hoping that the Giants do well on them. The butterflies lay on my rue, but then when I try to raise them inside on it, a lot of them die for some reason.

Thanks for your kind words. I'm happy to know that I've made a difference. I've been helped here by the nice people on the forum, and like you, I believe in paying it forward. I think it gives us personal satisfaction to feel like we're making a difference for the better with nature, and it's nice to make friends online and locally through butterfly gardening. The way the world has become today it's depressing and I turn to nature and try to help in whatever way I can. I think we're all pretty much that way here. :)

Susan, I'm including a link to Shady Oak. You'll have to scroll down the page to get to the list of plants that Edith lists for butterflies. The ones that have an 'S' after them are the types of plants that she has seeds to send for a SASE. The address is at the bottom of the page. I'm thinking of sending for False Nettle seeds since most of mine died out this year (I just planted them last year). I had about 3 dozen planted and 8 just barely made it through the drought and heat. I had so much to water in the gardens that some things just didn't get watered as often as they should have. I'd love to raise some Red Admirals and want to get more FN growing here. The butterflies were here, but the plants just weren't cooperating. I don't blame them for turning their noses up at them. Actually, I don't even know if I had both sexes here, but I saw one a few times.

Cathy

Here is a link that might be useful: Shady Oak Butterfly Farm


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RE: You might still find some cats

Darn it, Lila beat me by a minute with that link! :-D Well, Susan, now you have no excuses for not getting those free seeds. Hee hee.


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RE : You might still find some cats

Oh, I just noticed...Lila's link is better. It's specific to the seeds. Mine has a bunch of stuff including them. So use hers and you can skip the scrolling.


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RE: You might still find some cats

I have tons and tons and tons and tons......of False Nettle seeds. I will try to gather some for you guys if you want. I'm really awful about gathering seeds and sending them out, though, I have to warn you. Cathy knows.

I started my FN patch with 2 plants. It is now about 30 sf. and huge. I grow mine in partial shade here in Oklahoma, and they do need some supplemental watering. My Rue doesn't get any attention, no water, nothin' once it is established.

My best PVS plant is A. clematitus. Not a vine, it spreads by underground runners. Gets as tall as 2' but mine stays around 18". If you can find seeds of it, it would do well for both of you. I'd love to have A. fimbriata, too, but also grow A. macrophylla, tomentosa, and serpentaria.

Some other hardy pipevines include:

Aristolochia contorta (zone 3)
A. baetica (to zone 5)
A. manshuriensis (to zone 7)
A. debilis (to zone 8a)
A. labiata (to zone 8a)
A. macroura (to zone 8a)

These are harder to find, but Georgia Vines carries these seeds and they are on sale now. She also carries the more common seeds as well.

I don't have any cats now and the butterflies have pretty much all flown South now. This morning it is 32 degrees here, and highs have been in the low 60s during the day. I am primarily focusing on nectar plants, plus more milkweed of course, for next year. I pretty much now have most of the host plants that I need/want, and the garden is getting smaller and smaller each year - meaning no more room at the Inn.

Susan


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RE: You might still find some cats

Oh my, that would be great, Susan! Oh, you're not awful at sending seeds out. I don't think I ever waited on anything from you. Hey, how about you and I do a trade? I can use lots of false nettle seeds, seriously. I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me some. I have Tropical MW seeds from last year or can wait until the ones that I brought in the house have seeds. The seed pods are pretty big, so I'd think that I'd have some before too terribly long. I could also send you some Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red' seeds if you're concerned that yours might not reseed; that's up to you, but I have extra. I also collected some Vernonia altissima seeds...only I temporarily misplaced them. Ha. I'll find them eventually, really I will!

You're so lucky to have all of that FN. I had planned on having a lot of plants and did up until a certain point. First of all, I don't think all of mine made it through the winter, and then the drought did in a lot more and left me with I think 8, or maybe 9. The one was "iffy", so I don't know exactly how many I did end up with then. They're in partial shade; I wasn't quite sure where to plant them. I think I'll let them where they are, replace the ones that died, and also plant some in another area that gets more sun and see which ones do the best...or maybe they'll both do fine. I really would like to raise some RA cats.

It sounds like I have more trouble with my rue up here than you do there, Susan. I have mine planted in two locations, both of which get pretty much sun, but I wasn't sure where else to put it. I have a total of about 30 plants. This year I bet I replaced about half of them. They didn't come back from the winter. I don't know their extreme low temp that they can tolerate, but it got down to minus 15 deg. here, so maybe it was just a little bit too nippy for them. I think rue is such a beautiful plant; I hate that it makes me wheeze and makes me feel itchy (so does the Tropical MW). I didn't mind it at first, but I must have developed allergies to some of the plants that I have here.

I don't know why but I had been thinking that the A. clematitis isn't hardy up here, but of course, you're right. I just looked and it said hardy to zone 6. I appreciate the info you gave on that and those other pipevines. Now I have some researching to do. I love reading about plants.

You sure have a variety of pipevines. I have mostly all A. macrophylla right now. The PVS seem to love it, so I didn't really add anything else for them, but I suppose I will sometime, surely one or more of the ones you mentioned. I have a couple of A. serpentaria plants too from last year actually and STILL didn't get them planted outside. So now you know how slow I am! Ha.

Yeah, that's kind of the case with me too, no more room in the inn. I'm not expanding the gardens. If I want to put something new in, I guess something will probably have to come out to make room for it.

Let me know about the seeds, and if you want to trade, email me for my address. I need yours again too. I really could use the False Nettle seeds, and thank you for the offer.

Cathy


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RE: You might still find some cats

Susan, Thanks for the offer, and I would love to have some False Nettle seed. I am good for postage and a seed trade too. Don't know that I would have anything you'd want, but you are welcome to whatever I have. I am intrigued with the A. clematitus. I didn't know about that one. Just read up on it, and it seems that is is highly toxic to humans and causes kidney cancer. Guess we need gloves for that one! Do you have seed for it? I just checked GA Vines website and didn't see it there, but maybe they are just out. The only Pipevine I have is one that I got from Rod this year, the serpentaria. I got seeds and plants, and I am hoping for a good outcome. Since you and I are in the same zone though, and you have so much luck with the clematitus, I am going to get that one. I do have lots of PVST's coming through my yard.
Rachel (my neighbor) bought some Rue this year, and it has done well.It is in a spot that gets full sun. How is it propagated? Is it too difficult? If not, I can get seed or cuttings from hers. She did have BST cats on the Rue. It's the only thing I have seen them lay on here other than the Fennel. That seems to be their plant of choice here.~~Angie


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RE: You might still find some cats

I attached a link to the A. clematitis seeds at Georgia Vines. The only problem is it's only 10 seeds for $2.40, and that's the discount price. 24 cents per seed seems a bit high, and her prices are high on the Pipevines and other seeds, too, so I try to catch the ones with the best prices on discount. Hazzard's Seeds has them 1,000 for like $76 if you guys could get together a group purchase. Sandy I believe, has ordered from them before. I don't have seeds of this plant. Mine are planted in too much shade to flower, but they do well as a plant in part shade. I just don't have a lot of available sun in my yard. MissSherry grows the clamatitis, too. I ordered mine as a plant many years ago from Lazy S's Farms, in case anyone wants to purchase the plant. They also sell A. baetica.

Will save some seeds of False Nettle for y'all. Cathy, I do have a number of pipevines, but the only one that does really well for me is the clematitis. The others grow, but I just cannot get my macrophylla or tomentosa to grow much at all. Don't know what I'm doing or not doing, but it's a sad state of affairs. I'm going to do the seeds and see if it makes a difference in how they do.

Don't think I need any Lady in Red, but thanks so much for the offer. Cathy, I need to e-mail you cuz I have a surprise for you.

I also have some Datura seeds if anyone needs those. I grow it for the Tobacco and Tomato Hornworms as a LFP, and also as a nectar plant for them.

Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: Aristolochia clematitis seeds


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RE: You might still find some cats

Susan, how did you find out the pipevines were safe for our PVSTs? Which ones do the PVSTs prefer? I currently have 2 A. tormentosas, A.fimbriatas, & will be planting more A.serpentaria seeds next spring. Thanks for the link...I think I will order some of them once I hear back from you.
Do you have Giant Milkweed(Calotropis gigantea)??? Is it hardy where you are? It says it is only hardy to Zone 10.


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RE: You might still find some cats

OK everybody. I have A clematitis seeds that I harvested this year--lots of them. I can share them if anyone wants some. Send me a Bubble envelope. Best way is send one bubble envelope addressed to me with a label with your address inside. Include postage stamps--I think it's about $1.24. I'll send out 15 seeds. I don't have a lot of time to mail out seeds, so I need to get these ASAP (by next Thursday) to get them back to you. I'll reuse the envelope, put the label over my address, and add the new postage. Send me an email on the forum, and I'll send my address back to you.

These seeds can be a challenge to germinate, but I have had good success the last couple of years. Google A clematitis germination to get the directions. It takes 2 periods of stratification, and then patience. The plants colonize and form a nice stand. I find eggs and caterpillars on them. I've never used gloves when handling the leaves. I think it's more a risk when the leaves are ingested.

Sandy


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RE: You might still find some cats

I don't think that A. clematitis is any more toxic than the other pipevines we grow. I've never had a problem with them, but people who have very serious skin allergies should probably use caution.

Lila, I've just hung around the forums long enough and read enough literature on lepidoptera to know the pipevine species that are safe for the PVSTs. I don't get Polydamus Swallowtails here in OKC, so there is no need for me to plant the tropical pipevine, A. gigantea, which wouldn't survive here anyway and is not toxic to the Polydamus. There are many, many more Aristolochias that are virtually unknown that could be toxic as well. But none that I know of currently in cultivation, except for A. gigantea. So, any other pipevine you come across is probably safe for the PVSTs. The PVSTs, to me, are like the Monarchs. If you plant it and they find it, they will eat every bit of it they can, so you feel like there is never enough pipevine, just like there's never enough milkweed. I think A. reticulata is a Texas native pipevine, along with A. fimbriata and A. tomentosa. A. clematitis is not a native, nor are A. mangshuriense and A. contorta. I'm still trying to find my pipevine "niche".

Calotropis gigantea is not hardy here, but I will plant it as an annual.

Susan


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RE: You might still find some cats

I'd posted a message last week but for some reason it never got on GW. I have found around 50 Monarch cats in my backyard since last Wednesday. :) Thank goodness I got this because we've had freezing weather (yes, it does get down to freezing temps here in Southern California on occasion!) and I'd hate to have left the little guys outside. They are quite happily munching away in the downstairs bathroom.


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RE: You might still find some cats

A. fimbriata is native to S. America, but is safe for the PVST cats here to eat.


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RE: You might still find some cats

I have some A. fimbriata seeds if anyone needs some!
Planning to plant lots more PVST host plants this next year in the new BF bed if I ever get it finished! LOL


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