• The doorbell rang, which was an unusual event since most people just knocked and walked in. The lady of the house, just getting ready to go to work, opened the door and was surprised to find a complete stranger on the threshold. Even more surprising was the fact that the man berated her for having her turkeys on the road thus causing a hazard to his car. Amazed at such an ill-founded accusation, the woman looked to see the source of the complaint and responded: “Those are not my turkeys – they are wild birds and I have absolutely no jurisdiction or control over them”. The astonished stranger must have felt that this gave “free range” a whole new meaning. He was obviously not accustomed to encountering the ever-increasing number of wild turkeys in our area.

• A couple were just settling down in their den to quietly read their books when they heard some strange pecking noises emanating from their Vermont Castings stove. The man gingerly opened the lid and was met with the sight of a small little bird looking up at him. He grabbed a napkin and carefully lifted the bird out, realizing as he did so that it was a male bluebird. He walked to the door and watched as it flew away to, hopefully, join others from his flock. Although bluebirds are normally a fairly common sight in the Mont Echo/Sugar Hill area, this year he had not seen any in his garden.

• Have you seen any red squirrels in the last few months? Several people have noted that there is a dearth of the pesky little creatures and yet grey squirrels and chipmunks are very much in evidence.

• The recent prolonged power failure reminded me of a useful tip to know. Put a cup of water in your freezer, freeze it solid and then put a quarter on top and leave it in your freezer. When you check after a power failure and find the quarter has fallen to the bottom of the cup, you will know that your food defrosted, prior to the power returning, and you should throw it out. If the quarter is either on the top or in the middle of the cup, your food may still be okay.