Dear Sun Spots: I was hoping that you could help me locate a reprint of a particular painting done in 1655 by Nicolaes Maes called “Old Woman Saying Grace.” Years ago I saw this painting in a magazine, I loved it so much that I cut it out of the magazine and framed it.

The full picture would be wonderful to have in my kitchen. I don’t have a computer and I knew I could count on your help.

Also, it would be so helpful to we Mainers to have a list of months with a list of fruits and vegetables that are in season and available at the best prices. It would be a great tool to plan a menu and budgets. Thanks for all of your help and the service that you provide. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
We hope that anyone who may have a reproduction of the painting will contact the column for you.

In response to the seasonal fruits and vegetables, we found a detailed chart from the Maine Department of Agriculture Food and Rural Resources that lists the seasonal availability of Maine fresh fruits and vegetables. The list is long, and if you have access to a computer, you can print one from the Web site, www.getrealmaine.com or contact the department at 287-3491 to see if they can send one to you.

According to the chart, this time of the year is the harvest season for rhubarb, arugula, asparagus, lettuce, mixed greens, onions, scallions, radishes and spinach.

Dear Sun Spots: Many years ago, the Lewiston Daily Sun carried a column called “Senior Forum” by Mr. Kent S. Collins. His writings were always very informative, filled with helpful tips and information which, most always, would benefit the reader.

My question is, can you determine what happened to the “Senior Forum” column and is is possible to revive it for today’s readers? – Joe, Rumford.

Answer:
The “Senior Forum” column was not written by a Sun Journal staff writer and it appears to have been a syndicated column that possibly ran in many other papers. Collins was affiliated with Tribune Media Services, a syndicate operation, in the past, but is no longer working with them. A representative from Tribune noted that they no longer have biography information on him and with the resources they have, they do not believe he is writing with any other syndicate operation.

Dear Sun Spots: Hurray for Sun Spots, so many helpful hints, it’s the first thing I read with my morning coffee.

In reference to “No Name, No Town” letter requesting microfiber cloths, Shaklee’s new and improved Get Clean Line has these wonderful microfiber cloths, along with anything else to make your spring housecleaning easier and safer for the environment. We believe that cleaning house shouldn’t involve dirtying the earth.

Would love to talk to you. Please call Dot Buchanan at 782-7890 or e-mail [email protected] – Dot Buchanan, Auburn.

Dear Sun Spots: After having headaches intermittently for a couple of weeks, I was trying to figure out what I was eating or doing differently. I noticed a couple of light bulbs out and proceeded to change them. One was incandescent which was no problem to change. The other was one of those new mercury laden spiral bulbs, which need to be handled very carefully.

When I went to remove that one, I noticed that it had eroded right through the glass where it attached to the base. It was all brown around the break. So I took it out carefully and the other side let go, crumbling apart right in my hand.

Not finding any evidence of mercury below it, I wonder, are these filled with mercury vapor? I took it outside, but what am I supposed to do with a broken bulb? Is the mercury gone from it now?

Coincidentally, I have not had a headache since then, which was two weeks ago. Is that a side effect of mercury poisoning?

Having gotten on the energy-saving hype bandwagon from the state, I purchased many of these in various wattage over the past year or so. I will not be buying or using any more after these are gone. Why are the incandescent bulbs being banned from the market? Why are we having these crammed down our throats? The long-range cost of the mercury residue will be much greater than any energy savings we may enjoy. I feel that our health is at great risk with these mercury bulbs. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
Sun Spots urges you to contact the state’s Department of Environmental Protection or Efficiency Maine directly for more information on your specific concerns. Contact the DEP at 1-800-452-1942 or write to 17 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333; contact Efficiency Maine at 1-866-376-2463 or write to 242 State St., Augusta, ME 04333.

The DEP offers the following steps to take if you break a CFL bulb in your home. Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the breakage. This will spread the mercury vapor and dust throughout the area and could potentially contaminate the vacuum. Ventilate the area by opening windows, and leave the area for 15 minutes before returning to begin the cleanup. Mercury vapor levels will be lower by then.

Carefully remove the larger pieces and place them in a secure closed container, preferably a glass container with a metal screw top lid and seal like a canning jar. Next, begin collecting the smaller pieces and dust. You can use two stiff pieces of paper such as index cards or playing cards to scoop up pieces.

Pat the area with the sticky side of duct tape, packing tape or masking tape to pick up fine particles. Wipe the area with a wet wipe or damp paper towel to pick up even finer particles.

Put all waste and materials into the glass container, including all material used in the cleanup that may have been contaminated with mercury. Remove the container with the breakage and cleanup materials from your home.

Continue ventilating the room for several hours. Wash your hands and face. Take the glass container with the waste material to a facility that accepts “universal waste” for recycling. To determine where your municipality has made arrangements for recycling of this type of waste, you may call your municipal office.

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 Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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