I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but it really is important to reach out and get to know your neighbors. Establishing friendships and ties with those who live around you has such a beneficial effect on your neighborhood, and if you're lucky, your neighbors become a branch of your support system.

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It also makes where you live just that much safer.

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My friend and former colleague, Suzanne Guiggey, who now lives in Lisbon, experienced this first hand when she accidentally locked herself in her chicken coop this freezing Wednesday morning.

"I had just put Lennon (her 7-year-old daughter) on the bus and went out back to feed and let the chickens out for the day. The door to the coop had been kind of jammed for a while so it was tough to close. There had been a lot of snow recently too that kept the door open. So I ran in to grab the feeder to refill and the door closed behind me and latched in my defense the door hasn’t latched on its own in months."

Thank goodness Suz had her phone on her, and the first thing she did was try to get the attention of her husband, who was still inside their home, getting their 4-month-old son Felix ready for the day.

"I tried to reach the latch myself and couldn’t I at least had my phone with me so I tried calling Matt 6 times. I figured his phone was still upstairs in bed. I could see him through the back window in the living room playing with the baby. I tried yelling his name a bunch. I tried looking for a stick to get the lever but there’s not much in the run."

So Suz called her neighbor, Kelli, for help.

"I knew she would be leaving soon to bring her kids to school. She didn’t answer at first but called me right back. Ends up she was loading the kids in the car. I asked her to knock on the door and tell Matt, but she just skated around back and let me out. Matt said he saw me out there and thought it was strange I wanted to talk on the phone in the chicken coop."

This is a classic case of neighbors coming to the rescue.

Funny enough, I had a similar situation happen yesterday.

I had to make an unexpected trip to the vet, with my dog Harley, and I knew I'd have to bring him back to work with me. So I had gathered all of my gear and his gear for the day, an armful to be sure, and headed out the door to my van. It was only after I locked it and pull the door closed, that I realized I didn't have my keys.

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There I was, arms full, dog by my side and completely locked out of both my house and my vehicle on such a cold day, that panic started to creep up from my toes. But then I remembered that both the neighbor to my left and the neighbor to my right both had a spare key.

So put my stuff down, picked up the dog, and ran next door to my neighbor Nick's house. I could smell the delicious soup he was cooking from outside the door, and my stomach started to rumble. It was such a busy start to the day that I had forgotten to eat both breakfast and lunch. He answered the door, and out of breath, I told him what I had done and asked to borrow my spare key.

He handed it to me, and I ran back to the house, unlocked the door, grabbed my own keys, and loaded everything up.

When I went back next door, to return the spare, my awesome neighbor handed me out a container of hot, homemade soup.

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Putting in the effort to get to know those around you, and appreciating those folks, can be a lifesaver sometimes, in so many ways.

Thanks, neighbors. :)

Absolute Top 10 Necessities To Survive A Maine Winter

As the tundra begins to freeze over and as Mainers begin their seasonal refuge to the bunker, there are a few necessities needed in order to successfully make it to the other side, where the palm trees reside. 

So, take heed and pay attention to our advice, because these are the exact necessities that will ensure your survivability, mental good health, and that you’ll eventually see another summer season up to camp. 

25 Essentials to Keep in Your Vehicle During the Winter Months

It pays to be prepared for any situation when driving in Maine during the winter.