Category: Photo Blogging

The Mags & Finnick Post

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

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To date, this is the only picture we have of all seven dogs. Left to right: Jayne, Kaylee (back), Mags, O-Ren, Finnick, Ralphie (back), and Peedee.
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I have seven dogs.

I have seven dogs.

Saucy FSM help me, I can’t help but feel like a hoarder every time I say that.

We – Shane and I – we were going to stop at five. Kaylee and Jayne were “planned,” in a manner of speaking: when we adopted them, we specifically set out to find a bonded pair of dogs who might be considered hard to place – not just because they came as a packaged deal, but preferably due to additional “special needs,” such as advanced age, ongoing medical issues, etc.

In Kaylee and Jayne, we found all of these and more: though her age was anyone’s guess, Kaylee seemed to fall into the senior category, and her sad, sorry teeth demanded a small fortune in repairs. Jayne was just recovering from heartworm. Though much younger than Kaylee, she was (is!) rather aloof, difficult to get close to, and more interested in chasing small animals than tennis balls. Unlike most dogs, Jayne isn’t a much of a people person. Both girls have issues with anxiety, possibly due to past neglect or abuse. (Of the neglect, we can be sure: along with a third dog, Kaylee and Jayne – or Grace and Penelope, as their foster mom named them – were abandoned in a rental until when their owners moved out. It was three weeks before the landlord found them.)

 

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A few early pictures of Kaylee (top) and Jayne (bottom).
The pictures on the left are from their Petfinder listings.
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All of these factors conspired against them – that is, until we showed up. We who viewed these hardships as reasons (just a few of many) why Kaylee and Jayne should be given a second chance at happiness, rather passed over as damaged goods. Damaged souls. I guess it was our way on atoning for all the highly adoptable dogs we’d taken in up to that point: young, healthy, wanted. Relatively speaking, that is. (The rep we worked with at DRNA – whose name, more than a decade later, escapes me – joked that she’d love to adopt Ralphie herself: “He’s the most well-behaved dachshund I’ve ever met!” This after just a four-hour transport ride with him.)

I could go on and on (trust me!), but suffice it to say that our decision to adopt Kaylee and Jayne – and O-Ren, Peedee, and Ralphie before them – was not taken lightly. We pondered, we discussed, we researched. Renting at the time, we ran it by our landlord and even had her sign a contract agreeing to the increase in canine tenants. (In exchange for a heftier deposit, of course!) We searched for months before finding Kaylee and Jayne – and then had to wait another month+ before bringing them home due to a previously scheduled trip.

In contrast, Mags and Finnick were spur of the moment; a complete accident. They started out as (unofficial, wishful) fosters and quickly became family members.

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finnick parts

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

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mags parts

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

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jayne parts

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

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kaylee parts

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

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rennie parts

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

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peedee parts

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

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ralphie parts

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

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housekeeping and dirty dogs

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Just a quick note to let y’all know that I’m slowly but surely transitioning the blog from a category to a tag-based system for organizing blog posts. So if you notice anything wonky or suddenly see tens or hundreds or even thousands of old posts showing up as “new” in your blog reader, this is why!

I’ve got some other changes planned too; after the tags are squared away, I’m going to import all the old posts from my non-AR blog, Smite Me!, so that all my writing is in one place. Since I mostly write about vegan issues – or occasionally about non-vegan issues from a vegan perspective – it just doesn’t make sense for me to maintain two separate blogs anymore. Plus there was a ton of overlap that should be super-fun to sort through during the merger. Not!

There may also be a blog redesign down the road, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. (I blame Mary! Her Animal Person Redux has got me feeling all restless. Or at least more than I already was.)

And now, so that I haven’t totally wasted your time: Ralphie photos! These were taken last week; we had some incredible weather, and I took him digging down by our pond on a few especially warm afternoons. The previous owners didn’t do much to maintain it, so most of the shoreline is overgrown with trees, scrub, and poison ivy. (Oh, the poison ivy! I can feel my eyeballs breaking out in a rash eery time I look at it.) With the help of a family of beavers, we’ve cleared a 50′ section so Ralphie can dig for critters and wade on down to the water when he needs to cool off. Good times.

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Check out all the dirt in his mouth and the muck covering his harness. He climbed over me several times, staining my white shirt beyond repair. This is why I always wear black, people!
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Granola Bars, Revisited

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

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Chewy Chocolate Marshmallow Granola Bars! You might remember these from a few years back? I was craving ‘em the other day so I made a batch. It’s been so long. Too long!

They got so nice and soft and chewy today in the 90 degree weather, almost like they were fresh out of the oven. YUM!

Next up: cranberry granola bars with chocolate sauce drizzled on top. You can’t go wrong with dried fruit and chocolate, nosiree!

Died and gone to Dust.

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

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Enjoying a Cookie Butter Ice Cream sundae, with crushed Windmill cookies and extra Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter, ’cause it makes my taste buds tingle. This must be what vegan atheist heaven tastes like.

"I got heathens aplenty right here!"* Merry CriFSMas from our crew to yours!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

2011 FSMas Card MAIN

May your holiday be bright and shiny,
and your ‘verse, filled with shindigs and thrilling heroics.
- Kaylee and Jayne
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Happy holidays, y’all! As I said the other day, I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, and this year I finally got to it! I decorated the entire tree with pirates in their honor (The crew of Serenity? Space pirates! Totally relevant to Pastafarianism, since doctrine holds that the decline in pirates is correlated with global warming – and thus in order to avert the apocalypse, we have to bring back piracy. Check and mate.), which was no small feat seeing as I made most of the ornaments by hand over a two-month period. I also hired someone to custom-make Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb outfits way back in August. Oh, the planning that went into this holiday card!

Unfortunately, my seamstress totally flaked (Updated to add: full story here!), leaving me to cobble together costumes from off-the-rack pieces at the last minute. Instead of a green mechanic’s jumpsuit and floral blouse, Kaylee is wearing her shindig dress – that is, a Cotton Candy Dog Dress by East Side Collection. And while Jayne isn’t sporting a trademark brown Jayne Cobb ringer tee, she does look pretty badass in a green army jacket – really an Army Green Utility Jacket by Zack & Zoey.

Of course, the Jayne hat is the star of the ensemble; I actually had three custom-made for me by two different etsians: Sam’s Crochet (that would be the adorably floppy, Rasta-style hat Jayne and Peedee are wearing) and Whitaker Knits (the smaller hats with the orange tie, as seen on Ralphie and O-Ren, below). Rounding out Jayne’s look is a Browncoats logo pin I scored on Amazon. (It’s on her chest and not clearly visible in all the photos.) I also picked up some cute ID badges on eBay, but couldn’t find a place for them in the final outfits. Instead, they became ornaments for the tree.

Here’s a little character collage I put together for my family, who are not Firefly fans (THE HORRA!) and thus didn’t get the reference. Side-by-side comparison time! How do you think I did?

2011 FSMas Card - Kaylee-Jayne Comparison Collage

All’s shiny that ends shiny, I say.

Outtakes and extras after the jump!

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"Ha HA! Mine is an evil laugh!" (i.e., the shiny-yet-sacrilegious CriFSMas finery post)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

This year I’d really hoped to do a “31 Days of CriFSMas” series. There was to be tutorials for making ornaments by hand, decorating tips, diy greeting card ideas, menu suggestions – even a list of festive viewing options. (Actually, I’ve planned on doing this for several years now, but veganmofo always leaves me exhausted and burnt out.) This year seemed an especially opportune time, seeing as I’ve been planning it since July and created many of the ornaments on the tree from scratch. But since time cannot be rewritten – that is, unless you are a Timelord or happen to know one – I’ll just have to cram it all into one ginormous megapost. Sound good?

The Pirate Tree

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What better place to start than the tree? Whereas in years past I’ve gone heavy on the pasta-themed ornaments, this year I decided to do a full-on pirate theme – with a special focus on Firefly. Space pirates are totally relevant when you’re a Pastafarian, yo! Also when you’re the guardian of two dogs who are named after characters on the show! I’ve been dying to do some holiday cosplay with Kaylee and Jayne ever since we adopted them five years ago, but this year I actually took the initiative and did it! (Hence the early planning.) I’ll post photos of the dogs later this week, but suffice to say that their costumes directly influenced the look of the tree. Since I’ve never done a pirate tree before, almost all of the ornaments and decorations are new this season.

The decorations are mix of re-purposed items (pirate toys from the Dollar Store; some cool and inexpensive pirate and nautical wood party favors from Jo-Anne Fabric; glass bottles that look as though they might hold messages from castaways, also from J-Anne Fabric; “gold” skull & crossbones metal charms found on eBay), Firefly merch (ID badges for Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb; a Serenity keychain), and diy ornaments made by gluing pirate stickers and photos onto bottle caps and card stock.

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It’s this last group that I wanted to make a tutorial for but really, it’s all very simple. Throughout the summer I saved up whatever bottle caps and lids I could (the flatter, the better) and when I had a pretty good collection going, I laid them all out on the floor of the barn (on top of a drop cloth, natch) and spray-painted them black. Since you’re likely to have collected lids made of variety of materials – plastic and metal, mostly – make sure you buy a spray paint that’s suitable for each.

Then hit the internets and gather up as many pirate-y pictures as you can: google Firefly/Serenity (the art produced by this fandom is both plentiful and delightful!), Pirates of the Caribbean, pirate Amy Pond, women pirates (girl power!), etc. (Though that last search term turns up some rather depressing results. To cut down on the number of sexy pirates, search for historical woman pirates. You won’t get many results, but the hits you do get will be awesome!) Next, resize ‘em so that the portions of the photos that you’d like to use are similar in size to your caps and lids, then copy and paste them onto 4×6, 5×7, and/or 8×10 canvases (depending on the size, you’ll be able to fit between one and five images on each), and either print them up at home or order them online at Sam’s Club or similar.

The hardest part is cutting the images to fit snugly inside the lids. Cutting a circle freehand is pretty much impossible, as I quickly learned. Instead, try to find a circular item – a cup or bottle, for example, or even another, slightly smaller lid – and use it to trace a circle on the image. Though still difficult, the guide will help you to cut a much rounder circle. (Just go slowly!) When done, simply glue the photo into the lid. (A heavy-duty, acid-free glue stick works well for this.)

If you can find circular stickers – I happened to have some 1.5″ round skull & crossbones stickers left over from last year – these are a nice option too. While they don’t offer a whole lot of variety, they do come pre-cut. Score!

For hanging, you can either glue a jump ring (used in jewelry making and available at craft stores) to the back of the lid or, if it’s made of plastic and thick enough, drill a small hole into the “lip” of the lid. Either way, string some curling ribbon or a pipe cleaner through the ring or hole to make a loop that can then be used to hang the ornament from the tree. (Curling ribbon is much easier to work with, imho.) We stuck with black to match the tree’s color scheme (namely, black and gold).

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I like big books.

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

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YOU OTHER READERS CAN’T DENY
WHEN A BOOK WALKS IN WITH A GOOD PLOT BASE
AND A BIG SPINE IN YOUR FACE YOU GET SPRUNG
WANNA PULL OUT YOUR PENS
‘CAUSE YOU NOTICED THAT BOOK WAS DENSE
READING, HALF-RIMS I’M WEARING
I’M HOOKED AND I CAN’T CARING
OH BABY I WANT AN E-READER
AND A MEANINGFUL METER
MY TEACHERS TRIED TO TRAIN ME
THAT BOOK YOU GOT MAKE ME SO BRAINY.

(Photo via The Daily What; lyrics by Seven Points.)

Vegan Thanksgiving Pizza, with all the fixings!

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

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My Thanksliving Day eats, in all their carbalicious glory! The Thanksgiving Pizza came out smashingly; I’m super-glad we decided to do a test run, since this gave us a chance to tweak the recipe. The assembly was still a little messy, but not the hot mess of last week.

Anywho, this pizza features a layer of garlic and chive mashed potatoes mixed with gravy, followed by hickory smoked Tofurky slices, more gravy, and carrots, sweet corn and green beans. As much as I would have loved to have thrown some stuffing directly on the pizza, Shane and I couldn’t figure out how to properly cook it together with the pizza – since the breadcrumbs need to marinate in vegetable broth and all – so instead we gave the crust a hint of stuffinf flavor by infusing it with veggie broth. And, for bonus points, we served stuffing on the side, along with extra gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes and mixed veggies (both left over pizza toppings). For dessert, we dined on razzleberry pie topped with vanilla ice cream. Both store-bought, since we were exhausted enough after cooking the main course to even think about making the sweets by hand!

You can find recipes for all of the homemade items (PIZZA INCLUDED!) here.

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Two slices down, six to go!

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Shane’s plate; he slathered his stuffing in cranberry sauce.

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Personally, cranberry sauce – being sweet and sugary and all – strikes me as more of dessert item. Which is why I enjoyed a few spoonfuls with a bowl of vanilla ice cream while waiting for the dough to rise! But I digress…

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My plate! “Gravy” is the word of the day, dontchknow.

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The only time it’s acceptable to eat a pizza with a fork is when it’s
a) covered in mashed potatoes or b) a deep dish pie of some kind.

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Licking my plate clean!

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Bring out the pie!

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Pizza & ice cream, could a more perfect pairing exist?

RONALD’S DONUTS!

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Seeing that Friday has shaped up to be “food porn Friday” – totally accidental, I swear! much like the always-hilarious accidental penis! – what with all the vegetable and fruit porn, I got to thinking: what is the most gastronomically arousing vegan food photo I’ve ever taken? Given my love of pizza and ice cream, you might guess a macaroni and cheese pizza, or perhaps the peanut butter cup ice cream I made during the height of the summer heat wave. Both good, educated guesses; both utterly and completely wrong!

The one vegan food that gets me hot and hungry – even after all these years – is the very first batch of Ronald’s Donuts ever to grace my lips. So incredibly satisfying were they that I polished off half the batch before I even thought to take a picture of all the fried sugary sweeteness in all its sugar coma-inducing glory:

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(Note the teeth marks.)

SO GOOD, Y’ALL. WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE.

Shane and I were visiting Las Vegas for a week – neither of us had ever been before, so we were both Ronald’s virgins – and these were by far the highlight of our trip. And oh yeah, did I mention that we were in town to get married?

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We even got a box to go. They fared surprisingly well on a June flight from Nevada to New York; some of the donuts came through a bit squished, but still yummy as all get out.

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This was back in 2006. Since then, we’ve refined our doughnut-shipping technique: each doughnut fits almost perfectly in an empty Tofutti Sour Cream container, and the packaging minimizes the pancake effect caused by airplane descent (as does pre-freezing them). This is totally relevant because Shane now travels to Vegas once a year for The Amazing Meeting, and always (ALWAYS!) brings me back an order of doughnuts from Ronald’s. This past July, we got super-serious about it and packed a few Styrofoam coolers in an extra suitcase so that my precious goodies would be extra-protected.

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Alas, there is a sad ending to this story: I only have three doughnuts left in the freezer! (Yes, the freezer! They keep fairly well for a few months, and then the cream/jelly starts to congeal a bit. But still, delicious!) So sad. But their rarity is probably why I love them so; now that I know how to make vegan peanut butter cups, for example, they’ve lost that special…well, specialness that only enhances their appeal. Ah, the pull of the forbidden! Well, hard-to-get. Close enough.

So, dear vegans, pray tell: what vegan food do you fantasize about night and day?

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full frontal fruit

Friday, October 14th, 2011

As a follow-up to the uber-popular (IN MY WET DREAMS!) “vegetable porn” post, I give you: FRUIT PORN! Whereas the veggies were mostly accidental penises, much of the fruit – with the obvious exception of bananas – consists of accidental vulvus and testicles. (Pairs of cherries hanging from the tree = Mother Nature’s Truck Nutz. Tree Nutz!) Interesting, that.

Speaking of bananas, I’ve thrown in a few Doctor Who pics for extra-geeky measure. DOCTOR WHO IS ALWAYS RELEVANT. Happy Friday, Whovegans! (See what I did there? Whovian + vegans = Whovegans!)

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food porn 2

Strawberry Splash

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"Playing the Serpent" Marzipan Ice Cream

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

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For a brief moment, I considered making my veganmofo theme a His Dark Materials one this year. But after several days of wracking my brain and only coming up with a few scattered foodstuffs – namely, marzipan, chocolatl, Tokay, tea crackers and vegan seal blubber (!) – I gave up on the idea, with not a small twinge of regret. But! We can still have marzipan and chocolate, can’t we? I don’t know about y’all, but I fancy some sweet almond paste today! Plus, I did promise you a marzipan recipe earlier this month, did I not?

Since marzipan ice cream is a more unusual flavor, I decided to try my hand at making my own concoction. Plan A was to use a standard vanilla ice cream recipe as a base, and then mix marzipan blended with (vegan) heavy cream (for a creamy effect) in with the ice cream after it was processed through an ice cream machine, à la this recipe for Marzipan Swirl Ice Cream (veganized, of course). For the marzipan, I used this recipe (also veganized!) for Almond Paste at food.com. Epic disaster!

I’m not sure what (if anything) I did wrong, but the end result was less like paste and more like soup. Even after I doubled the dry ingredients, the almond “paste” had at best the consistency of caramel sauce – not even close to paste-like. Just as I was on the brink of despair, it hit me: I was planning on liquefying the marzipan anyhow, so what’s the diff? If anything, this saved me the extra steps of making vegan heavy cream and then heating it with the marzipan to make the “cream” for the swirl. Score!

So here’s Plan B, the result of a happy accident which saved me at least a half hour of extra work and a quarter sink of dirty dishes. May this little taste of the sweet stuff bring you a fraction of the wisdom and fortune that it did to Mary Malone – and, by extension, Lyra, Will, and all the animals of all the worlds, human and non.

Go forth and play the serpent, my friends.

 

365 Days – Day 037 “For the Adam and Eve in all of Us”

FIND THE GIRL AND THE BOY. WASTE NO MORE TIME.
But why?
YOU MUST PLAY THE SERPENT.

- Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials (The Subtle Knife)
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“Playing the Serpent” Marzipan Ice Cream

Ingredients

for the marzipan:

1 1/3 cups dried blanched almonds or almond meal
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon almond extract
1/2 cup water

for the ice cream batter:

1 cup soy or almond milk, divided
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 cups soy creamer
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins for the Birthday Boy

Monday, October 10th, 2011

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Ralphie! Everyone’s favorite one-eyed wiener dog turns fourteen years old today! FOURTEEN! He’s not old, he’s distinguished. Doubly so with all these surgical scars and skin tags and patches of missing fur. His motto? “Bitches dig scars.”

Hey, Rennie can’t get enough.

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(Note peeping Peedee off in the background. Pervert! Nevermind that I’m photographing their intimate moment.)

Rolling with the weather, we celebrated his birthday a wee bit early this year. On Friday, I baked him a batch of Apple Cinnamon Muffins

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and made him dress up in a silly hat -

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but not before he got the first taste of his pre-birthday treat.

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(The other six canines were pitching a fit, locked in the house away from mom and her nomz. I think Ralphie enjoyed that as well – almost as much as the muffins!)

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accidental penises, on ur vegetables

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Just for shits and giggles (and because I needed a quick filler post for the day! you got me!), I decided to troll for “vegetable porn” on flickr. (Yes I know that tomatoes are actually a fruit! But play along, mkay?) Holy slutty vegetables, Catwoman! It’s like a PETA PSA over there – minus the exploitation, that is. Nature, full of accidental penises! So … enjoy? BUT NOT TOO MUCH!

Private vegetables

Vegetable porn / Gemüseporno

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