Dear Sun Spots: I would appreciate it if anyone has a recipe for Apple Treasure Cookies. Also, could you inform me as to why there seems to be an excess of snakes, chipmunks and grasshoppers this year? Thank you. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
In addition to responses from readers, Sun Spots spoke with David Sparks of Sparks’ Ark, 46 Rousseau Road, Windham, ME 04062, (207) 892-8905, who says he hasn’t been receiving more calls than usual, either this year or in years past. Sparks says one thing that may be encouraging what appears to be an increase is that homeowners no longer keep just plain lawns. Many have perennial gardens, rock gardens and other landscapes designed and installed. These, he says, are conducive to wildlife such as you and your family are experiencing. You may be able to get rid of the animals with Have-a-Heart traps or by calling someone like Sparks. However, Spark recommends you prevent the animals or their neighbors/peers from returning by fencing in crawl spaces and other spaces.

Unfortunately Sun Spots was unable to find your recipe and perhaps some readers have one they might be willing to share. In the meantime, perhaps you and your family might enjoy the following Sweet Topped Apple Buns (Buried in the center of each crunchy, cinnamon-and-sugar-topped bun is a sweet little apple treasure). Ingredients: 8 ounces refrigerated bread dough; 1 tablespoon margarine, melted; 1 cup prepared apple pie filling; ¼ cup skim milk. For the topping: ¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Method: 1. Spray 2 baking sheets with vegetable cooking spray. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. 2. On a lightly floured surface, pat dough into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush, brush dough with margarine. Cut dough lengthwise into two 12 by 4½-inch pieces. Cut each strip in 6 equal pieces. Spoon apple pie filling into center of each piece; pinch edges together over filling to form a bun. Dip tops into milk, allowing any excess to drip back into bowl. Dip tops in topping. 3. Place buns, seam-sides down, 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes. 4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake buns until golden around edges, about 20 minutes. Place baking sheets on wire racks and cool slightly.

* Perhaps D.M., of Lewiston (Friday’s column request) might also enjoy the following recipe now that holiday time is approaching: Dried Apricot Pistachio Biscotti (from www.vernalisacountrylane.com/muffins13.html) Ingredients: 1¼ cups all-purpose flour; ½ cup whole wheat flour; 1 cup granulated sugar; ½ teaspoon baking powder; ¼ teaspoon salt; 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces; ¾ teaspoon vanilla; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; 2/3 cup California dried apricot halves, chopped; 1 cup natural California pistachios; 1 teaspoon granulated sugar.

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter large baking sheet. In food processor, combine first five ingredients. Pulse to blend. Add butter and vanilla; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add eggs and pulse 3 times to blend. Add apricots and pistachios; pulse until mixture is evenly moistened.

Transfer mixture to large bowl; use hands to form into dough. Divide dough in half. On lightly greased baking sheet, shape dough into two 12-inch logs. With hands, flatten each log to a width of 2 inches. Sprinkle each with remaining sugar.

Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove logs to cooling rack for 10 minutes.

With serrated knife, carefully cut logs on the diagonal into 1-inch slices. Place on baking sheet cut side up; return to oven and bake 7 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Transfer to rack; cool completely. Makes 2 dozen biscotti.

Dear Sun Spots: I read your column each day and enjoy it. I am writing for my sister. She has a jazzy scooter she wants to sell at a low price. She has had it about a year but had to move into a nursing home and is unable to use it. Please call Barbara Cash at (207) 743-7724. – Barbara Cash, Norway.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Inform Us section under Press Release.


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