Dear Sun Spots: Thank you for your great column. It’s so very helpful to all. I have two things I hope you can help with. First, I have heard there are places where people of meager means can buy surplus building materials such as roofing, lumber, etc. Can you tell me where the nearest ones are?
Second, a few years back I copied a recipe for a sour cream rhubarb cake from Sun Spots. I must have inadvertently thrown it out. Could you reprint it? It is delicious. Thanks for all you do. — No name, Bethel.
In response to your first request, the Maine Building Materials Exchange, 102 Lisbon St., Lisbon, is open from 9 to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The organization benefits “low-income homeowners and the environment by providing new and re-usable building materials at an affordable price, and by educating people about home repairs.”
According to their Web site,, anyone is welcome to shop there. Low- and moderate-income individuals and families will receive a significant discount with proof of income (a copy of a recent tax return is best). There is a $10 yearly membership fee. Qualifying income guidelines are available on the Web site.
If you don’t qualify, you can become a supporting member. You’ll have all the same benefits as client members but pay a nominal surcharge for available items. For more information, e-mail or call 636-7670.
Sun Spots located the popular recipe for Rhubarb Cake that has been requested numerous times over the years:
Rhubarb Cake ingredients: 2 cups chopped rhubarb, 1½ cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ cup shortening, 1 cup sour cream, 1 egg.
Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Chop rhubarb and set aside. Measure remaining ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Blend 40 seconds on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat mixture three minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Add chopped rhubarb and mix until blended. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
For topping, mix ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup chopped nuts. Sprinkle over cake. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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