DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’m having a hard time finding someone to do chimney work for me. I need to have the chimney evaluated, some loose bricks replaced, and new flashing installed. — No name, Norway

ANSWER: Years ago I had Baker Chimney Cleaning evaluate my chimney and he recommended I have some brickwork repointed and a new cap placed on it. He installed the cap then put me in touch with a mason to complete the needed brickwork. They can be reached at 725-4640, [email protected]. (https://www.bakerchimney.com/repairs.html).

Another company is Chim Chimney Chimney Sweep in Greene. The contact number is 782-2787.

Buy the Fire at 712 Main St. in Oxford (539-9930) may also have someone they can recommend to get you started on your way to a safe chimney. And readers, if you have a recommendation, you know what to do.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I read in the paper yesterday that the great fires in California have threatened the vineyards and the grapes taste awful from the smoke. I have a great liking for those seedless green grapes and could just live on them and would have no need for any other food so I wonder where these grapes grow in California.

I feel so sorry for the folks who have lost their homes. They worked so hard for the American dream. I lived through the Second World War in Berlin and have seen many ruins and many homes destroyed. Thank you for all the help you provide. — Heidi, Dryden

ANSWER: The fires have spread throughout Northern California in Napa Valley and Sonoma County. According to foodandwine.com, some wine insiders described the effects of California’s Glass Fire as “catastrophic,” and some of those whose properties have not been damaged have said that the smoke damage to their grapes has made this year’s crops unusable.

Green seedless grapes are grown in several places besides California. As a matter of fact, many different varieties of grapes are grown in all 50 states with varying degrees of success.

In 2017 (the most recent year I could find these statistics) more than 7.36 million tons of grapes were grown commercially in the United States. California accounted for nearly 6.48 million tons, or 88%, of these grapes. However, other top grape-growing states include Washington, Oregon, Virginia and New York State.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: About a year ago, you published a recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies. I thought I had saved it but now it’s nowhere to be found. Please publish it again if you can. — Jean, no town

ANSWER: Combine 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup oil, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1½ cups canned or fresh cooked and mashed pumpkin in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the filling, combine: Beat 4 egg whites until stiff. Fold in 1 cup confectioner’s sugar. In a separate bowl, cream 1½ cup butter. Beat in 3 cups confectioner’s sugar. Mix in 2 teaspoons vanilla and ¼ teaspoon salt. Fold in egg white mixture. Frost whoopie pie halves when cooled and sandwich together.

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. Please include your phone number. 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 emailed to [email protected].

 


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