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Spring tasks: Ticks, bears and syrup

Spring is here, even if it doesn&#';t feel like it. How do we know? We pulled 14 ticks off of one of our dogs last week.

State wildlife officials are warning Granite Staters that the mild winter has made this spring and summer super-friendly for ticks. They aren&#';t kidding. If you have pets, you&#';d do well by them and your family to check them every time they come in the house. If you have kids, ditto. It&#';s probably a good idea to check husbands, too, as you never know what they&#';ll get into when they go outside.

Before they come in the house, though, you should ask them to bring in the bird feeder. Every year some family, often but not always in southern New Hampshire, leaves a bird feeder or three out after the snow melts, then acts surprised when a black bear shows up on the back porch. If you left a sack of burritos on the porch, you wouldn&#';t be surprised to find it carted off by a pack of coyotes, raccoons or teenage boys. So you shouldn&#';t be surprised to find a bear treating a bird feeder as a take-out joint. Bring the feeders in and spare yourself the indignity of scraping the bear scat off of your patio — or worse, finding a bear interrupting your kids&#'; backyard football game while searching for a snack.

After you&#';re done, relax and enjoy some pure New Hampshire maple syrup. The best way to do that is to participate in Maple Weekend, which is this weekend. That&#';s when New Hampshire sugar shacks will offer free samples of syrup along with other treats and show how the glorious amber goodie is made. It&#';s fun and educational, and kids love it. It also helps keep our local maple syrup operators in business, so bring a twenty and buy some syrup. The local economy, and your family, will thank you.


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