The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station Update

March/April 2013

 

Fellow Backyard Nature Lovers,


Spring has arrived in Atlanta. It was preceded by a rush of finches and pine siskins and some very nice weather. Trees are beginning to leaf out (pollen is on its way). Bradford Pears and Cherries are in bloom along with forsythia, hyacinths and other spring plants. If you can get past the seasonal allergy problem, go out enjoy this great time in Atlanta.

There is a lot going on so check out all of the activities, plant sales and more further in the newsletter.

 

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new online store: BackyardNatureStation.com. The site is full of new features such as Calendar of Events, Online Class Registration, Current Nature and Community Articles, as well as detailed descriptions and availability of the thousands of products in our store - many including video, and all with the ability for you to leave your comments and thoughts to help guide other Backyard Nature Enthusiasts in our community. 

Starting with next month's newsletter, we will be using our new domain for sending out the newsletter. Please check your "spam" folder if you don't receive your newsletter. The new email address will be [email protected]backyardnaturestation.com. As always, we don't share your email with anyone else and only send community updates. And, if you really don't want to hear from us, you will be able to "opt-out" through an easy and automated process.

We'd love to hear comments and suggestions for our newsletter, as well as for our Retail and eCommerce stores.


Thanks to YOU, we're turning 2!  We are proud to be part of such a wonderful community. You've frequented the store. You've spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors about us and encouraged us every step of the way. Now, we want you to know we appreciate you. We will be having a week-long celebration (April 29ththrough May 4th) to say thank you. There will be specials throughout the week. We'll have a survey, if you don't mind taking a minute to fill it out. If you do, you'll be automatically included for a drawing for a gift basket. We want to make sure we stay on target with what you want and provide the best customer service we can.

On Saturday, May 4th from 10-4 Chris McGregor from Horizons will be giving demonstrations and answering questions on garden tool care and use. He will also be offering free hand pruner sharpening during this time.

Also, on Saturday, May 4th Pam Higginbotham from the Atlanta Audubon Society will give a talk on Common Summer Birds from 10:30 -11:30. Please preregister!

 

  

Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22nd. How will you celebrate the day? Can you think of one thing you can do differently, at least for that day, which embraces a healthy, sustainable environment? Some suggestions include:

  • Re-landscaping? Share the plants with your neighbors or plant societies for their plant sales instead of tossing them.
  • Plant natives. They are hardy and adapt to our local conditions.
  • Shred leaves and use them for mulch.
  • Compost and reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills.
  • Have a creek or culvert runoff on your property? Clean it up. Get your neighbors to join in.

Let us know how you celebrate our environment. We'll publish the most unique ones.  Make sure the kids are involved!


Lakeside City Proposal

Elaine Boyer sponsored the meeting at Tucker Middle School on March 25th regarding the Lakeside City Proposal. Hundreds were in attendance. The next community forum is scheduled at the Clairmont Presbyterian Church on April 1st from 7 -8:30 pm.

From Our Customers


Mike R. asked if we had bird feed that is specifically intended to attract bluebirds.  He said he had put up a new bluebird house in January and wanted to encourage them. So we talked about mealworms (live & dried), suet, and some of the birdseed they like such as Blazing Hot BlendHot MeatsNutberry Suet BlendSunflower MeatsSuet Kibbles and Suet Pearls. Hopefully, Mike some bluebirds found his house and are making it their home for this season.

From Mike D: Found on NPR

Did You Hear That? I Think It Was A Walrus

Stand aside Beyonce, there's a new sound in town. More than 9,000 sounds, to be more precise. The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has just finished digitizing its huge archive of wildlife sounds and made it available online.

Click here for the entire story including audio

 

What's New in the Store

Birding: feeders, glass birdbaths
Garden Art: new Glass Art from Yvonne, Tile Art from Karen Fincannon, Solar Mushroom Stakes
Kids: Books
Other: New Tees, Handmade jewelry from Carissa Fair

We have a few copies left of a Landscape Planner from Home Improvement Magazine. Drop by and get one.

 

Classes & Events

 

Please call us at 404-474-7072 or visit our webpage  to pre-register for classes.

 

Thursday, April, 18th, 3:30-5: Bird Mobile (Jeanne George) - While, learning about different birds, you'll use geometric paper forms and feathers to create a hanging mobile. Great for Scouts and home-schoolers. Materials included. Cost: $12 register here.

Thursday, May 9th, 10:30-12: Botanical Watercolor Painting (Jeanne George) - Create a watercolor while learning the parts of the flower. Includes all materials. Cost: $16 register here.

 

Saturday, May 18th, 11- 2 Mono Printing 
Kids Go Wild is teaming up with us to present this program. Create amazing one of a kind art using fabric, paper, or hard card stock. Learn to layer, cut, and reprint your creation for a dazzling surface design that will thrill and delight. You will experience an endless flow of artistic creation as you play with color and texture. Pack a sack lunch. Free. Register here.

 

Saturday, June 8th, 11 - 2 Marbling Fabric

Kids Go Wild teams up with us again for this class. Use a little shaving cream, add some color and be amazed. Pack a sack lunch. Free. Register Here.

 

Saturday, June 23rd Fairy Garden Class (Edna Lora)

What tiny magical creature could resist a lovely path through a make-believe landscape. Arranging pint-sized plants just so create little forests, mossy meadows and secret gardens.  These tiny creations are surely to attract the faerie creatures that will make the running of your home glitch free. In fact, if you are finding your gadgets acting up or your keys going missing, the solution is to get tiny magical creatures on your side. Provide them a tiny home and watch the results!  Learn how to create tiny landscapes. We will talk about how and where to find, make and buy treasures to build them with and make your tiny little gardens irresistible to fairies. 

Cost - $20.00 Includes small container, soil, and moss. There will be tiny plants and garden accessories available for purchase. Register Here.

 

 

 

Event on Main Street

 

Did you miss the OTTMA Chili Cook-off on the 16th?  What a day you missed! There were an estimated 6000 to 8000 people hanging out tasting chili, shopping and listening to the bands. About double what we had last year. It was a gorgeous day with mild temps and sun - great for mid-March.


The winners of the Cook-off were:

First Place & People's Choice: Fire Slayer Chili Maker

2nd Place: Wednesday Night Chili Club

3rd Place: Marji Rays

Best Booth: Girth, Wind, & Fire

Best Restaurant: Local #7

 

Old Town Tucker Update

 

Growler Town Beer Company is NOW OPEN on Main Street.  The newest addition to Main Street offers a rotating selection of craft draught beer to go in 64oz and 32 oz refillable glass containers. They also carry a rotating selection of wine, ciders, gluten free beer as well as root beer for the kids. You can find them on Facebook or on the web at www.growlertown.com or just stop by to check it out. Cheers!

 

Don't forget to get your Easter cupcakes and cookies from Sweet Dee's (770-696-4461)! 

 

Community Events and Spirit

 

Attention Dekalb County Schools (Teachers and/or parents can call): The Dekalb County Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. has money for YOU! If your school has a project which beautifies its grounds, sets up and continues a garden of any kind, or does any sort of ecological or environmental education for its students, you may be eligible for $200 (the minimum) grant money through a Federation program called -The B.E.E. Grant-and all it takes is a phone call to learn more. Call Judy Lemoine, the Chair of the B.E.E. Committee, at her home: 770-934-8541. If you leave a message and your number, your call will be returned within a day. They want your school! Applications are being accepted now. The deadline is September. For Dekalb County public schools only!

Thursday, April 4th, 9am Tucker Butterfly Garden Workday (in front of the Tucker Recreational Center) - everyone invited to help! Note change of date

 

 Thursday, April 4th, 4 - 8 Tucker Farmers Market will open for its second season.

The market will continue to operate from its central location at 2333 Main Street in the Freemasons Square and Bank of America parking lot. The market will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday until Dec. 19. 
 

Saturday, April 6th, 9 - 1 Henderson Estates Garden Club Annual Plant and Craft Sale

Northeast Baptist Church, 4046 Chamblee Tucker Road in the front parking lot

Large assortment of plants, crafts, jewelry, and baked good.  They will raffle off large goody baskets. This is their major fund raiser with funds used to help support the military with personal, needed items as they are serving our country; home-made cookies for the military at the airport as the USO; support of Georgia Regional Hospital, The Humane Society, Tucker Butterfly Garden, Ronald McDonald Home and Operational Christmas Child.

 

Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7, 9 - 4 Chattahoochee Unit of The Herb Society of America Annual Herb Sale

Atlanta Botanical Garden

The annual plant sale will have unusual herbs for sale as well as the old-time favorites and artists exhibiting and selling their hand-crafted garden wares. Garden admission is required. http://www.cuhsa.org/events/events.htm

Saturday, April 13th 8 - 4 Azalea Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society Annual Plant Sale
Oak Grove United Methodist Church
Offering difficult to find native azaleas, evergreen azaleas, mountain laurel, rhododendrons, companion plants - over 1000 to choose from
"There will be planting demonstrations, helpful advice and a fantastic flower display."
Join & receive 25% discount on your purchases - 
www.azaleachapter.org for details.

Saturday, April 13th, 9 -12 3rd Annual Great American Cleanup

Join the Friends of Tucker Nature Preserve and TCA at the Tucker Nature Preserve. 
Volunteers will be removing invasive plants, mulching the newly-planted trees, working to extend the nature trail and improving the outdoor classroom. Bring rakes, shovels, loppers and work gloves. Breakfast foods, coffee and water will be provided. 

Park at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library and walk one block to the Preserve, or park at Walmart and cross the street at the cross walk. [email protected]

 

Saturday, April 13th, 5 - 8:30 Tucker Cruise In

http://www.tuckercruisein.com/

 

Saturday, April 20, 10 - 2 Georgia Native Plant Society Plant Sale

McFarlane Nature Park (easily accessed from 285 and 75) Follow the GNPS signs! Plenty of free parking.  The park is not handicapped accessible.

Select from thousands of sun and shade loving native plants: trees, shrubs, perennials and ferns for all growing conditions. Knowledgeable volunteers to assist in making your selections. Over 600 native azaleas. Cash and checks accepted.  No credit cards.

Bring wagons or carts to carry plants. For more information visit: www.GNPS.org

 

Saturday, April 20th, 8-1 Tucker Historical Society "Plant Swap and Share http://www.tuckergahistorical.org/calendar.htm

 

Saturday, April 20th, 11 - 4 Georgia Iris Society "AN IRIS CRUISE": A STANDARD FLOWER SHOW

St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church

Free Entry and Admission. For More Information Call Kathy Blackwell 678 583 8603 or Diana Wright 770 621 3864 http://www.gairis.org/

 

Saturday, April 27, 9-1 Dekalb Master Gardener (DMGA) 2013 Spring Plant Sale 
Oak Grove United Methodist Church parking lot (at the southwest corner Oak Grove Road and Fairoaks Road) This fabulous plant sale was originally in the Northlake Shopping Center in front of Macy's in the past years. There will be lots of Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions.
 http://www.dmga.org/

 

Saturday, May 11th , 10 - 3:30 Georgia Hosta Society Show & Plant Sale

Tucker First United Methodist Church/Wesley Center   http://www.gahosta.org/leafshow.htm

        

Saturday, May 11th Tucker Day on Main Street

http://www.tuckerday.com/

 

Saturday, May 18th - 9am - 5 pm: 2013 Eleventh Annual Tucker Historical Society Garden Tour

Tickets available at The Garden Enthusiast beginning April 20th!

 

Gardening, ETC.

 

It's time to plant almost everything! Remember, date of last average frost for our area is April 15th. Did we just have our last cold snap?

 

Carpenter Bees are on their way. We've had our share of problems with them attacking and nesting in our gazebo and part of your fascia. The Eastern species particularly prefer softwoods such as cedar, redwood, cypress, pine and fir.  Have you had problems with them in your decks, siding or other weathered wood?   There are products now available that help to attract these damaging, annoying bees. We're trying them out. I'd rather not have to refill any more holes and try to re-stain them again this year.

The Hanging Carpenter Bee Trap protects any wooden structure and is designed to hang easily. (There is also a mountable one.) The jar removes effortlessly to discard the bees. It is pretreated with an attractant that never requires renewing. It only captures Carpenter/wood boring bees.

 

Carpenter Bee Damage

Carpenter Bee Damage

Carpenter Bee Trap

Hanging Carpenter Bee Trap by Bees N Things

Straw Bale Gardening

 

Want to try a different way to garden? Don't have a lot of space? Don't want to dig into the red clay? Buy a bale of straw, put in a couple of plants, sow some seeds and you're good to go -well, not exactly. There is a little more to straw bale gardening than that.

1.    Determine where you want to put the bale(s) and how many you need. The bale is your garden so make it in a pattern or in a straight line, wherever you want it to stay that will get 4-8 hours of sun just like a normal garden.

2.    Purchase your bales. Wheat or barley (none or fewer seeds) are better than hay.

3.    Put down some galvanized wire netting to keep the moles and other critters out. Lay the bales lengthwise keeping the twine in place and the twine touching the ground (horizontal). Water will be more likely to soak into the bale this way.

4.    If the bales are not aged, soak them and keep them from drying out for about 5 days. The temperature inside the bale will begin to rise and hey will be ready to plant in about 7-14 days.

5.    Some suggested materials to use include: 1)layer of fresh chicken manure, 2)if "aged"; a layer of 2/3 bone meal to 1/3 blood meal or a very think layer of coffee grounds followed by a handful of sulphate of potash.

6.    The bale (s) must be kept watered. A soaker hose can be a good choice. Covering the exposed sides of the bale can help to keep them from drying out.

7.    It's now time to plant. Pull the straw apart and slip in a plant. Or if you want to plant seeds, add 2" of composted soil and then plant the seeds according to their package directions.

According to the web, you should be able to get up to 6 cucumbers or 3 of squash or melons or two tomato plants, or 4 pepper plants or 12 -15 beans/peas (or a mixtures). You can add some herbs in between and flowers too -even do some side planting with them, if you want.

8.    Fertilize once a week with a fish emulsion or compost tea

9.    The straw bales will last for 1-2 seasons - then compost them.

For more information, there are several articles on the web.

 

BIRDING

 

Among the birds arriving in Atlanta now are: Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, many types of Warblers, Bobolinks, Indigo Buntings, a variety of Flycatchers, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and Scarlet Tanagers.

As many of you have told us, quite a few of the birds (such as Bluebirds, Chickadees and Wrens) have already begun to nest. If they haven't in your yard, you still have time to get that box cleaned out and/or so get another one or two to encourage more birds to your backyard. It's also time to make sure your Purple Martin boxes are up. (We can special order these for you.)


Bird of the Month:  Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

 

  • The Eastern Phoebe is gray-brown with a white throat, dirty gray breast and buffish underparts.
  • It pumps its tail up and down when perching.
  • The Eastern Phoebe generally eats insects and during cooler months supplements with fruit and berries.
  • They may begin nesting as early as the first part of April. They build an open nest with a mud base and lined with moss and grass. They usually have 2 broods a year of 3-8 eggs. Incubation time is about 16 days.
  • The Eastern Phoebe gets its name from its call -"fee-bee".

 

The Atlanta Audubon Society always has some great field trips check these out coming up through April (get in touch with them for more information at 678-973-2437.

 

Saturday, March 30 E.L. Huie Land Application Facility and Newman Wetlands Center - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Migratory songbirds, shorebirds, raptors, and a few lingering wintering waterfowl. Children 9 years and up are welcome if they are really interested in birds. Binoculars are necessary and may be borrowed from the NWC if needed. 

 

Wednesday, April 3 Kennesaw Mountain State Park - 7:30AM 
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total. There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center. 

Thursday, April 4 Murphey Candler Park - 8:00AM  
Birding Focus: Three main habitats (lake, wetlands, mixed woods) provide good species diversity. We will especially be on the lookout for spring migrating warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and other passerines. The site is also reliable for turtles. This is a good site for beginners, but all are welcome. Some of the trail is level, but there are several steep spots and a number of stretches where the surface is uneven from exposed tree roots, etc. Many parts of the trail are muddy and/or slippery after rains; plan your footwear accordingly. The duration of walk is 3 hours, but you may leave at any time. 

Friday, April 5 Sweetwater Creek State Park - 9:00AM  
Birding Focus: Migratory and permanent residents of wetlands and forest, including herons, wood ducks, warblers, thrushes, and vireos. With its falls, overlooks, and lake, Sweetwater Creek State Park is Georgia's most-visited state park and is the closest state park to the city of Atlanta. It offers a diverse birding habitat of woodlands, streams, wetlands, grasslands and a large lake.

 

Saturday, April 6 Piedmont Park - 8:00AM  
Birding Focus: Permanent residents and spring migrants. Red-headed woodpeckers are usually seen. All levels welcome. Excellent for beginning birders or those desiring gentle terrain. Walk lasts ~ 3 hours with ~ 2.5 miles on foot.

Sunday, April 7 Johns' Homestead Park - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Johns Homestead is a 50-acre DeKalb County Park located in Tucker. Although the park is in the early stages of development and has not been officially opened, birders will get a chance to visit the forests, wetlands, and lakes supporting waterfowl, woodpeckers, owls, songbirds, and a heron rookery. Light hiking boots/walking shoes will be sufficient for this walk. This walk is not appropriate for children or families. 

Sunday, April 7 Noonday Creek Trail - 8:00AM  
Birding Focus: Spring Migrants and wetland regulars. Wetland and wooded habitats. Any level of skill is welcome; the walk will be 3+ miles along a paved route of easy terrain.

 

Sunday, April 7 Panola Mountain State Park -  8:00AM  
Birding Focus: Permanent wetland & forest residents as well as spring migrants, including warblers, vireos, flycatchers, sparrows, blackbirds, raptors, waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds. 

Wednesday, April 10 Kennesaw Mountain State Park - 7:30AM  
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total. There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center.

 

Thursday, April 11 Chochran Schoals, CRNRA - 7:30AM  
Birding Focus: Sparrows, woodpeckers, raptors, spring migrants, permanent residents, as well as waterfowl and herons on the river or in the wetlands. Interesting plants & other wildlife sightings will be incorporated into the walk too!

 

Sunday, April 14 Lullwater Park, Emory University - 8:30AM  
Birding Focus: Winter and year-round residents, including Red-headed Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Palm Warbler, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Sunday, April 14 Noonday Creek Trail - 9:00AM 
Birding Focus: Primarily a beginner bird walk for children & families, but any level of skill is welcome; just bring binoculars and wear walking shoes. The walk will be 4 miles along a paved route of easy terrain. Wetland wooded habitats.

 

Wednesday, April 17 Kennesaw Mountain State Park - 7:30AM 
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total. There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center. 

Thursday, April 18 Murphey Candler Park - 8:00AM  
Birding Focus: Three main habitats (lake, wetlands, mixed woods) provide good species diversity. We will especially be on the lookout for spring migrating warblers, vireos, flycatchers, and other passerines. The site is also reliable for turtles. This is a good site for beginners, but all are welcome. Some of the trail is level, but there are several steep spots and a number of stretches where the surface is uneven from exposed tree roots, etc. Many parts of the trail are muddy and/or slippery after rains; plan your footwear accordingly. The duration of walk is 3 hours, but you may leave at any time. 

Saturday, April 20 Mill Creek Nature Center & Ivy Creek Greenway -8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Wood ducks, woodpeckers, and spring migrants. Mill Creek Nature Center is a wetlands/wildlife preserve in Gwinnett County, owned and managed by the Georgia Wildlife Federation. The trails consist of natural and boardwalk pathways, and 2 bridges crossing over Ivy Creek. This walk is geared towards beginners. We will cover about 1.5 miles. There is a steep wooden stairway down to area so strollers would be difficult. 

Saturday, April 20 Red Top Mountain State Park - 8:00AM  

Birding Focus: This walk will be a preparation for International Migratory Bird Day, which is on May 11. We will look for spring migrants & resident birds of woodlands, fields, & lakes. This trip will start on the Lakeside Trail, which makes a 0.5 mile loop around a restored 1869 log cabin with field and woodlands habitat & a view of Allatoona Lake. It is ADA accessible for the full length. Other areas of the Park also will be explored. 

Sunday, April 21 Leone Hall Price Park - 9:00AM 
Birding Focus: Primarily for children, families, & beginners, but any level of skill is welcome; just bring binoculars and wear good walking/hiking shoes that would withstand a creek crossing. Walk will be approx. 3+ miles on natural paths, easy terrain. Habitats: meadow, wooded and creek edge paths.

 
Sunday, April 21 Kennesaw Mountain - 7:30AM  
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total. There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center. 
Sunday, April 21 Hard Labor Creek State Park - 8:00AM  
Birding Focus: Hard Labor Creek is the 2nd largest GA State Park. It boasts a variety of habitats and has a history of birds like Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, and a variety of waterfowl on Lake Rutledge. We'll look for woodland birds, waterfowl, raptors, and other residents as well as any spring migrants.

Sunday, April 21 Leone Hall Price Park - 8:00AM 
Birding Focus: Spring Migrants such as vireos, tanagers, warblers, thrushes, grosbeaks, etc. Any level of skill is welcome. Walk will be approx. 3 miles on natural paths, easy terrain. Habitats: meadow, wooded and creek edge paths. 

Wednesday, April 24 Kennesaw Mountain State Park -  7:30AM 
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total. There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center. 

Thursday, April 25 Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve - 7:30AM 
Birding Focus: Winter & permanent resident wetland & woodland birds plus spring migrants. Duration of walk 2-3 hours. Parts of the trail may be very slippery or muddy if it has recently rained, so plan your footwear accordingly.

Saturday, April 27 Georgia International Horse Park - 7:00AM 
Birding Focus: This property has an excellent variety of woodland, wetland, and open field habitats. We will focus on spring neotropical migrants (warblers, tanagers, vireos, thrushes, etc.) and local breeding species including Acadian Flycatcher, Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager and many others.

Saturday, April 27 Kennesaw Mountain State Park - 7:30AM 
Birding focus: Premier migrant hotspot in the SE. We'll be looking for any migrants, primarily flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, warblers, tanagers, and grosbeaks. Walk is ~ 2.5 miles total. There is a free bird checklist specifically for the park available upon request in the Visitor Center.

 

 

Hope to see you soon,

Linda, Brittany, Jessica, Jeremy, Stephen & Greyson

The Garden Enthusiast - Backyard Nature Station

2316 D Main Street

Tucker, GA 30084

Hours: Monday - Saturday 10am - 6PM

Sunday: Closed

Contact us at 404-474-7072 or [email protected]thegardenenthusiast.com -we love to get your feedback!

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