Dear Sun Spots: Would Sun Spots or a reader recall the group that was looking for people with barns to accept some cats they had neutered and needed a barn to live in?

I find I could use a couple of neutered cats as I now have a vermin problem both in my barn and haystack. I don’t want to use poison as I have some chickens. Lap cats won’t fit the bill as this job requires cats who know how to survive in a country setting with predators. – Irene Beaulieu, Greene.

In addition to responses from readers, Sun Spots believes you are referring to an article which appeared in the Sun Journal on April 20 in which Voice for Animals was looking for volunteers for taming feral kittens. Voice for Animals tries to find new homes. Since the cats are feral, VFA looks for people who will invite cats into their barns or other outbuildings to live where they can be fed regularly. In return for the owners’ hospitality, cats will show their gratitude by keeping mice and rats under control. Anastasia Agrafiotis at (207) 925-1670 for the Oxford Hills chapter of Voice for Animals says she can help you out. Please call her to discuss this.

Dear Sun Spots: I have to ask you something important to me. What is imitation crabmeat? Is it made from octopus, shark, bloodsuckers or turnips? I like turnips, but this I do not like to eat. Even my cats turn up their noses when I offer them a piece. Thank you very much. – Heidi Weber, Wilton.

Answer: Sun Spots spoke with Lynn at The Fishery restaurant and seafood market at 250 Center St., Auburn (207) 786-2299, who says it’s usually made out of pollock, and crab “juice” is added for flavor. Lynn says the ingredients are also usually listed on the package and even listed some from a package in their freezer. The market and restaurant are open seven days a week, the market from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and the restaurant until 10:30 p.m.

In the meantime, hopefully you will enjoy the following recipe for Cream of Parsnip Soup with Crab Meat and Wild Mushroom Relish from chef and author Emeril Lagasse. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil; 2 cups minced onions; salt; freshly ground white pepper; 3 pounds of fresh parsnips, peeled and medium diced; 1 tablespoon chopped garlic; 8 cups chicken stock; ½ to 1 cup heavy cream (optional); fried parsnip strips; 1 recipe of Crab Relish; 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley.

In a gallon stockpot, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season the onions with salt and pepper. Sauté the onions for 2 to 3 minutes or until wilted. Add the vegetables and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally. Using a blender, puree the soup until smooth. Slowly stir in the cream. Re-season with salt and pepper if needed. To serve, ladle the soup into the individual bowls. Peel strips of parsnip with a vegetable peeler. Fry peeled parsnips in vegetable oil and drain with a paper towel. Mound the parsnip strips in the center of each bowl. Place a spoonful of the relish in the center of each parsnip mound. Garnish with parsley. Serve warm. Yields: 8-10 servings

Crab Meat and Wild Mushroom Relish. Ingredients: 1 tablespoon butter; 1 ear of sweet corn; 2 cups exotic mushrooms, such as chanterelles, shiitakes, lobster, hedgehogs, etc.; salt; freshly ground black pepper; 1 tablespoon chopped garlic; ½ pound lump crab meat, shelled and picked over for cartilage; ¼ cup chopped green onions, green part only; 1 teaspoon finely chopped, fresh parsley leaves.

Method: In a sauté pan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the corncob (about ½ cup). Add the corn and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the vegetables for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly wilted. Add the garlic, crab meat and green onions. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to sauté for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Serve warm. Yields: About 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

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