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In This Issue A Publication of the Alabama Farmers Federation DECEMBER/WINTER 2011

Under The Mistletoe It’s believed that a couple kissing under mistletoe ensure themselves of a long and happy marriage. Davis and Margery Henry are proof that it might be more than a myth. • 14

Service To Agriculture U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers will receive the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Service to Agriculture Award at the organization’s 90th annual meeting. • 5

Fishing With Angels Squealing kids catching a fish brings visions of

ON THE COVER Mistletoe has been a part of every Christmas shared by Davis and Margery Henry of Montgomery County. Photo by Debra Davis

DEPARTMENTS

angels to a Houston County farmer who opens his heart and his pond to disabled children. • 16

Country Kitchen Christmas Members of the Alabama Farmers Federation staff

4

President’s Message

24

Country Kitchen

29

Classifieds

30

Alabama Gardener

share some of their favorite Christmas recipes in an expanded edition of the Country Kitchen. • 24

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

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VOLUME 36, NUMBER 12

_________________________________________ Debra Davis, Editor Mike Moody, Graphic Designer

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s we look back on Christmases past, it is not the gifts we remember most, but rather the time we spent loving our families, serving our neighbors and laughing with friends. This holiday season, I pray each of you has the opportunity not only to celebrate Heaven’s gift, but also to share the gift of your time with loved ones. This year, we have seen how Jerry Newby fleeting worldly treasures can be. After deadly storms tore through the South, television cameras rarely found a survivor whose sadness over lost possessions wasn’t tempered by thanksgiving for the safety of family. Those not directly impacted by the storms also saw their priorities shift. Concerns about work schedules, retirement plans and personal gain were set aside as volunteers shared their time, money and comfort with those in need. At the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance we, too, were reminded of what’s really important. Within hours of the April 27 tornadoes, leaders at Alfa called their teams together for prayer and instructions to utilize every available resource to serve our policyholders. Our chief operations officer summed up the feelings of all Alfa employees with his simple call to action that fateful Wednesday night. “This is why Alfa exists,” he reminded us; “You know what to do.” The response of our employees and members was humbling. Not only did Alfa deliver on its promise to policyholders by serving claims quickly and fairly, but our members and employees also cooked meals, distributed supplies, donated money and joined in the rebuilding w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

process. But like the gifts of Christmases past, the memories that will last are their acts of genuine compassion. Long after the debris is cleared and the houses are rebuilt, people will remember the county leaders who showed up with chainsaws without being asked or the Alfa employees who took the time to listen to customers’ emotional stories of loss. For many members and customers, however, this year will bring different reminders of what’s really important. Soldiers returning from war will make the holidays special for some, while prayers for those in combat will give new meaning to the Christmas carols of others. Newfound employment will be reason to celebrate in some families, but others will be drawn closer by financial challenges. Meanwhile, a baby’s first Christmas will cause new parents to reflect on the Savior’s birth, while those with aging parents will recall stories of how past generations sacrificed to provide simple gifts of candy and fruit for their children. In all these situations, the lasting gifts come from relationships. This is the time of year when we are reminded that love, joy and peace don’t come from a store. Instead, they are found in knowing the true meaning of Christmas and in sharing our lives with others. Though it’s easy to get caught up in the noise, traffic and excess of the holiday season, I pray that we can all slow down this Christmas and remember what’s really important. I also pray that God blesses your family with treasured memories that will bring joy not only this year, but also for Christmases to come. n

ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION Paul Pinyan, Executive Director Jeff Helms, Director of Communications FEDERATION OFFICERS Jerry Newby, President, Athens Hal Lee, Vice President/North, Hartselle Dean Wysner, Vice President/Central, Woodland Ricky Wiggins, Vice President/Southeast, Andalusia Jake Harper, Vice President/Southwest, Camden Steve Dunn, Secretary-Treasurer, Evergreen DIRECTORS Joe Dickerson, Lexington Ted Grantland, Somerville Donnie Garrett, Centre Darrel Haynes, Cullman John E. Walker III, Berry Marshall Prickett, Wellington Richard Edgar, Deatsville Dickie Odom, Boligee Garry Henry, Hope Hull Carl Sanders, Brundidge David Bitto, Elberta Sammy Williams, Columbia Debbie Freeland, Grand Bay Ben Haynes, Cullman Neighbors (ISSN 0162-3974) is published monthly by the Alabama Farmers Federation, 2108 East South Boulevard, Montgomery, Alabama 36116 or (334) 288-3900. For information about member benefits of the Alabama Farmers Federation, visit the Web site www.AlfaFarmers.org. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and additional mailing offices. Printed in the U.S.A. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Neighbors, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, Alabama 36191-0001. ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE: Wendy McFarland, McFarland AdVantage, 133 Bridlewood Lane, Hope Hull, AL 36043. Phone: (334) 652-9080. Email: mcfarlandadvantage@gmail.com. Classified ad and editorial inquiries should be directed to the editor at (334) 613-4410. ADVERTISING DISCLAIMER: Ad­vertise­­­­­­­ ments contained in Neighbors do not represent an endorsement by the magazine or the Alabama Farmers Federation. EDITORIAL MATTER from sources outside of the Alabama Farmers Federation is sometimes presented for the information and interest of our members. Such material may, or may not, coincide with official Alabama Farmers Federation policies. Publication of material does not necessarily imply its endorsement by the Alabama Farmers Federation. ADDRESS editorial, advertising and change of address correspondence to Neighbors, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, Alabama 36191-0001. www.AlfaFarmers.org A member of American Farm Bureau Federation

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DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

Rogers To Receive Federation’s Service To Agriculture Award By Debra Davis

fifth-generation resident of east Alabama, he graduated from Saks High School and earned his undergraduate degree in political science and his Master of Public Administration at Jacksonville State University. He later graduated from the Birmingham School of Law. His political career includes service as a Calhoun County commissioner, a member of the Alabama House of Representatives and House minority leader in 1998. In Congress, he serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and serves as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. He said his top priorities include strengthening east Alabama’s vital military facilities, advocating the state’s agriculture interests and helping grow the state’s economy to provide new opportunities for jobs and development. During a recent trip to Macon County, Rogers visited with Macon County Farmers Federation President Shep Morris as he gathered his cotton crop. Morris said having someone who appreciates agriculture in Congress is invaluable. “We’ve worked with Congressman Rogers a long time, and he’s a great voice for agriculture,” Morris said. “A lot of times agriculture is overlooked in Congress, but he’s hung in there for agriculture through the ups and through the downs, and we want him to stay there.” n

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.S. Rep. Mike Rogers jokingly describes himself as a “recovering attorney,” but Alabama farmers might describe him as a valued friend and ally in Congress. That’s why he was chosen to receive this year’s Service to Agriculture Award — the highest honor presented by the Alabama Farmers Federation. Federation President Jerry Newby will present Rogers the award during the organization’s 90th annual meeting in Mobile, Dec. 5. “I can’t tell you how flattered I was when Jerry Newby called me about the award,” Rogers said. “When I was elected to Congress and started working on the (House) Agriculture Committee, it took a lot of folks in the agriculture community to help educate me on ag policy. Alfa was right there. I know they appreciate the nine years I’ve worked to help agriculture and all of Alabama.” Newby praised Rogers’ work to help Alabama farmers. “Congressman Rogers formed an agricultural advisory committee made up of farmers to advise him on the issues, and he has been very responsive to the concerns of Federation members,” said Newby. “He is a strong voice for agriculture, and we are pleased to be able to honor him with this award.” Rogers, 54, was sworn in as representative for the 3rd Congressional District in January 2003. A

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Deer-Vehicle Collisions On The Rise By Miranda Mattheis

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lowing eyes appeared in the headlights just seconds before the crash. Car versus deer. The result: thousands of dollars in damages to the car, serious injury to the driver, and most likely, a dead deer. It’s a common scenario in Alabama this time of year. Deer migration and mating season generally runs from November through February. This causes a dramatic increase in their movement, resulting in more deervehicle collisions than at any other time of year, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). There are more than 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions each year resulting in about 200 fatalities, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $3.6 billion in vehicle damage. An additional billion dollars is spent on medical payments for injuries to people in the car and

If You Hit A Deer • Seek help if you are injured. • Avoid going near or touching the animal, as doing so can cause further injury to you or the deer. • Call law enforcement if the deer is blocking the roadway. • Report the claim to Alfa right away. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

out-of-pocket expenses paid by vehicle owners, bringing the total cost to approximately $4.6 billion. In 2010, Alfa’s average claim for deer-vehicle collisions was $2,376, with costs varying, depending on the type of vehicle and the severity of the damage. Alfa spent a combined $16.3 million on 6,853 deer claims in 2010. As of Sept. 30, Alfa had already paid out $15.3 million on 4,991 deer claims this year. Urban sprawl is displacing deer from their natural habitat, and their population is growing. “Deer are not just found on rural roads near wooded areas; many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities,” said Alabama Farmers Federation Wildlife Division Director Steve Guy. “Deer are unpredictable, especially when faced with glaring headlights, blowing horns and fast-moving vehicles. They often dart into traffic.” Guy said deer also often move in groups, cautioning drivers that “if you see one, there are likely to be more in the vicinity.” Take precautions: • Use caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, 6

in areas known to have a large deer population and where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland. • Always wear a seatbelt. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that in a study of fatal animal crashes, 60 percent of people killed were not wearing a seatbelt. Sixty-five percent of people killed in animal-related crashes while riding motorcycles were not wearing a helmet. • When driving at night, use highbeam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic to better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway. • Be especially attentive at high risk times, from sunset to midnight, and during the hours shortly before or after sunrise. • Brake firmly if a deer is spotted, but stay in your lane. Many crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer.  • Don’t rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not proven effective. n DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

Federation’s Brandon Moore Awarded Honorary American FFA Degree By Jillian Clair

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randon Moore, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Young Farmers Division, received the Honorary FFA Degree at the 84th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 19–22. The award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. For the past six years, Moore has worked with Team Ag Ed, a coalition of business, education and industry leaders to address the condition of agriscience education and FFA in Alabama schools. Moore said one of the most important accomplishments of Team Ag Ed is the establishment of funding to allow agriscience programs to extend into the summer months. “Agriscience deals with living things, and the programs that manage livestock, greenhouses, fisheries and crops just can’t be closed down for three months in the summer,” Moore said. “We were so happy to be able to secure funding that allowed these teachers to remain on contract as they worked through the summer to improve their programs.” Team Ag Ed also led the effort to hire additional staff to educate future agriscience teachers and is pushing for a unique comprehensive initiative for career and technical education. “We are hoping the leaders in our state can see the future of economic development in Alabama begins with a robust career and technical education program for all students, both college-bound and career-bound,” Moore said. Moore also works closely with Alabama’s state FFA officer team to provide leadership development opportunities. Each year, Moore organizes the Young Farmers Youth Leadership Conference in Columbiana, which is sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation. He also has worked with legislators to establish FFA legislative day at the state capitol. DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

The Alabama Farmers Federation’s Young Farmers Division Director Brandon Moore, right, talks with Alabama FFA State President Kathryn Ray, a senior at Montevallo High School. Moore often works with the state officers to develop leadership skills.

“He’s just gone above and beyond our expectations in helping us promote agriscience education and FFA in Alabama, so we really thought he was worthy of this award,” said Philip Paramore, state FFA Secretary. Moore, a native of Toney, Ala., has been involved with FFA since he joined Sparkman High School’s FFA chapter his freshman year in high school. “Mr. Ken Prater was my ag teacher,” Moore said. “He was always so supportive of the endeavors of his students, and I am truly grateful for his influence in my life.” Moore said Prater encouraged him to enter the prepared public speaking contest. “I won the county’s contest, but I was also the only entry,” Moore said. “Even though that wasn’t a huge accomplishment, it got me involved. I am so appreciative of him taking a special interest in getting me involved in FFA.” Prater’s influence and the hundreds of hardworking agriscience teachers Moore said he has met 9

across the state helped inspire him to fight for the survival and enhancement of agriscience education. “In working with so many students and ag teachers, I have seen over and over again that a special relationship exists between an ag teacher and a student,” Moore said. But it’s the students themselves that motivate Moore the most, he said. “Many of the current leaders in our Young Farmers program began in FFA, so I think it’s important that we support these programs as much as we can,” Moore said. “The time I spend working with chapter, district and state FFA officers is the most rewarding part of my involvement with FFA. I get excited about the quality of young people that are growing up in Alabama, their work ethic and their leadership qualities.” Previous Alabama Farmers Federation recipients of the Honorary American FFA degree include President Jerry Newby, Executive Director Paul Pinyan and Director of Organization Mike Tidwell. n w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

By Jillian Clair

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ecan farmers probably never imagined their traditionally Southern crop would become a status symbol, associated around the world with Gucci handbags and expensive

cars. But that’s exactly what is happening, and people around the world—particularly in China—will pay large sums of money for the versatile, healthy nuts grown almost exclusively in the southern United States. “Pecans are becoming a limited commodity,” said Matt Goff, manager of Riverbend Pecans in Lowndesboro. “Just like Gucci handbags, there’s a limited supply of a product that is in demand. Not everyone can have them even if they wanted them, so you’ve got this attitude of ‘I can pay for them and you can’t.’” China’s growing middle class is estimated to have reached about 300 million people. To put that number into perspective, the United States’ entire population is about 312 million. By 2030, some experts project 1.4 billion people in China will have a disposable income. The explosion of new wealth in China has generated demand for products the Chinese perceive to be valuable in Western culture, said Bill Goff, Matt’s father and owner of w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

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Pecan exports to China hovered near 700,000 pounds less than 10 years ago, but in recent years have jumped to more than 88.6 million pounds. The nuts are a favorite among China’s growing middle class.

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

At left, Bill Goff and his son, Matt, own Riverbend Pecans in Lowndesboro. The Goffs are a growing part of Alabama’s $8.5 million pecan industry.

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

Riverbend Pecans and three other orchards in the Southeast. “Pecans are attached to the Western culture, and they want to emulate that,” said Bill, who is also an Auburn professor and pecan Extension specialist. In 2003, the United States exported 700,000 pounds of pecans to China. By 2009, China imported 88.6 million pounds of pecans. That number is still rising, Bill said. China’s middle class isn’t the only population demanding pecans. Diet and nutrition guides are filled with advice to eat pecans, which are high in mono-saturated fats, protein and antioxidants. Recent research shows pecans are beneficial for heart and brain health, can lower cholesterol and aid in weight loss. With high demand and a limited supply comes competition and skyrocketing prices. Chinese traders compete against each other and have begun to call growers directly about buying pecans, Bill said. “I’ve never seen pecans anywhere near this price,” said Ken Buck, an Irvington pecan grower and former president of the Alabama Pecan Growers Association. “The prices have greater than doubled in the last three or four years.” Before the spike in demand, pecans sold for about $1.25 or $1.50 a pound, Bill said. Now, growers are able to sell them for $3 a pound. “Pecan growing has not been a profitable business in Alabama until recently,” said Buck, who has been growing pecans in Mobile County since 1972. “Now, growers can afford to invest in their orchards and expand.” Mac Higginbotham, the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Horticulture Division Director, said the 11

increase in demand has been good for the state’s economy as well as Alabama producers. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, the value of the 2010 utilized pecan crop increased by 57 percent to $675 million in the United States. Alabama alone utilized 5 million pounds of in-shell pecans in production, bringing the value to about $8.5 million, Higginbotham said. “We are excited to see pecans becoming such a valuable asset to Alabama agriculture and the state in general,” Higginbotham said. “Producers like Bill and Matt Goff are pioneers in the industry, and we are proud to have people like them representing Alabama in the overseas market.” During the next 10 years, the Goffs and other producers plan to improve and expand their orchards, constantly replacing old trees with newer varieties that produce more nuts at a higher quality. The biggest challenge for producers who export their pecans, Matt said, will be to produce a consistently good product. By nature, pecans bear cyclically, meaning the trees will produce a large, lowquality crop one year and a smaller, high-quality crop the next. The Goffs have traveled to China multiple times to meet with buyers, and they’ve hosted several Chinese businessmen in the states. Establishing trusting business relationships is key to being successful in the international pecan market, Matt said. “We’ve been given this Godgiven opportunity, and if we don’t keep the supply up, we’ll waste it,” Matt said. “And if we don’t keep the quality of the product up, it’ll go away. It’s our responsibility as growers to continue to supply a quality product every year.” n w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Changes Announced In Alfa Marketing Department By Melissa Martin

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everal changes to Alfa’s Marketing Department have taken place following the retirement of former Executive Vice President of Marketing Herman Watts Sept. 15. Alfa Insurance President and CEO Jerry Newby announced Sept. 2, that Executive Vice President of Business Development Steve Rutledge would assume responsibility for the company’s overall marketing efforts. Rutledge, who previously served as Alfa’s chief financial officer and senior vice president of investments, was Rutledge tapped to lead Alfa’s business development team in March 2010. As executive vice president of Business Development and Marketing, Rutledge will have

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an opportunity to implement new products and processes designed to enhance customer service. “During the past year, Steve has taken Alfa’s personal service to new heights and enhanced marketing by leading efforts to better understand the needs of our policyholders,” Newby said. “In this expanded role, Hardy he will be able to work with our agents, managers and customer service representatives to deliver Alfa’s products and services.” After 46 years in the insurance industry, Senior Vice President of Marketing for South Alabama Buck Hardy earlier announced that he would retire Dec. 1. Hardy, who worked with Allstate prior to joining Alfa in 1988, served as a regional manager, vice president

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of Marketing for south Alabama and was promoted to his current position in 1999. He was inducted into the Alfa Hall of Fame in 2010. Rutledge commended Hardy for his leadership in helping Alfa achieve its marketing goals. “Throughout his career, Buck has surpassed production goals by being keenly focused on the bottom line, while allowing his managers the freedom to develop their own leadership styles,” said Rutledge. “He has always set high expectations for himself and his team, and these standards have led to numerous sales accomplishments.” Patrick Smith, who has led the marketing team in north Alabama since April 2008, has been tapped to lead the agency and sales efforts of Alfa Insurance throughout Alabama. Smith will Smith work with Hardy to transition agents and district managers to the new management system. Rutledge said he expects Smith to bring the same energy and innovative thinking to Alabama’s overall sales program that contributed to records set by north Alabama agents and managers. “Patrick has been very successful in motivating the agency force in north Alabama,” Rutledge said. “He brings more than a decade of experience in sales management to this position, and he is eager to make Alfa the market share leader in Alabama through profitable growth of our automobile and life insurance lines.” Under the Smith-Hardy leadership, Alfa recently set a record for the number of automobiles insured in Alabama. In 2010, Smith’s north Alabama region set a company record for life insurance production. n

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

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By Melissa Martin

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rom its promise of marriage to serving as a symbol of truce between warring tribes, the magic of mistletoe has long remained at the center of folklore. While many claim its powers are just a myth, Davis and Margery Henry prove that it may be magic after all. After 54 Christmases together, the Henrys – both 78 – know a thing or two about mistletoe. Not only has it played a role in every Christmas they’ve shared together, but it was also prominent in their families’ homes while they were growing up a few miles from one another in the Pintlala community Mistletoe is a part of each Christmas shared by Davis and Margery Henry. of Montgomery County. Five children (Garry, Gus, Lora Steeped in lore, the magic of mistletoe is rooted in sevGail, Mitch and Mike), 17 grandchildren and three greateral cultures. Some believe mistletoe was a way to ensure grandchildren later, mistletoe continues to play a role in a plentiful harvest and human fertility. Others used the each of their holiday seasons and can be found above each plant in a more decorative way, binding the mistletoe to a doorway in the Henry’s home. frame to form a kissing ring, and many still believe that a “Since he was old enough, Mitch would shoot the young man should pluck a berry each time he kisses a girl mistletoe out of the trees for us. It was his job,” recalls beneath its green leaves. Margery. “Now, his son, Mitchell, has taken over the job Despite its romantic lure, mistletoe’s botanical backand looks forward to it every year.” ground is far less glamorous. Truthfully, mistletoe is a A staple in their festivities, mistletoe shares its place parasite that latches onto tree limbs with extensions that in the Henry’s Christmas celebrations with family gather- allow the plants to take water and nutrients from the tree ings and good Southern cooking. without much effort. As it matures, mistletoe can grow “I always look forward to having the family over, to be several feet in diameter. With this extensive coverenjoying their company and all the food,” said Davis. age area, removal of mistletoe from a tree equates to the “Since I’m a diabetic, holidays and birthdays are the only complete removal of the affected limbs. times I really indulge.” There are several varieties of this parasitic shrub, but With a menu including turkey and dressing and a vari- in Alabama, the primary species is the oak mistletoe, ety of desserts, Davis has plenty of options to satisfy his Phoradendron leucarpum. hankerings for those not-so-diet-friendly foods. While the Even though mistletoe’s effect on trees isn’t as magifood and fellowship is something the Henry’s have done cal as the folklore and traditions surrounding it, one thing for ages, the tradition of mistletoe has a history that spans remains true: the arrival of mistletoe means Christmas – centuries and continents. and perhaps a little romance – is around the corner. n

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DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

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Above, Drew Hicks of Ashford Elementary School lands a big fish. At right, Tabatha Smith helps her son, Travis, also of Ashford Elementary School, while Faye and Jo Phillips spend time with their friend, Ashley Smith of Ashford High School. Top right, Connor McCall is rewarded with a kiss from his teacher, Patti Flowers of Girard Elementary School, during the fishing trip. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

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DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

By Jeff Helms

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hen Larry “Joe” Phillips envisions the Heavenly host, he doesn’t just think of harps and hymns. This Houston County farmer pictures kids with cane poles squealing wildly when one of their friends lands a fish. “If anyone wants to see an angel, all they have to do is look out there,” said Phillips as he gestured toward a pond surrounded by about 600 special needs children and volunteers. The annual gathering, which Phillips and wife Faye call “Fishing With Angels,” was started in 1997 as a way to help disabled children enjoy the outdoors. Today, it not only provides a recreational opportunity for students from 17 Houston County schools, it also honors the Phillipses’ late granddaughter, Tiffany Marie Bernard, who passed away in 2002. “God blessed us with a special child,” Phillips said. “He let us borrow her for 13 years, and we wanted to carry on her legacy. A lot of people don’t know how to

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

act around special kids. But all they ask is to be loved.” One of the children getting attention from the volunteers during the October event was Ashford Elementary School student Drew Hicks, 6. “It’s a big fish,” said Drew as he displayed his catch. “I got a big fish.” Drew’s teacher, Elizabeth West, said her students look forward to “Fishing With Angels” every year. “Nobody is disabled today,” she said. “We just get to come out here and have fun.” The students, parents, teachers and volunteers also are provided lunch, thanks to the support of local businesses and organizations. Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes said his deputies enjoy helping with the event. “It does us good to see these kids have a good time,” he said. “This is as much a part of our jobs as putting the bad guys in jail.” Tabatha Smith said her son, Travis, couldn’t wait to get to the pond. “This is all he’s been talking about,” said Tabatha, as she kneeled beside Travis’ wheelchair to steady his fishing pole. “Ever since the paper was sent home from school, he asks me every morning if it’s field trip day.” The special needs children, however, aren’t the only students who benefit from “Fishing With Angels.” Michaela Tillery, president of the Junior Civitan Club at Ashford High School, has helped her friend, Tabitha Meadows, with Special 17

Olympics and other activities since ninth grade. Michaela said it’s rewarding to spend time with students who may not have as many extra-curricular opportunities. “It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to help her and see the smile on her face,” Michaela said. Ashford High School FFA Advisor Donya Holland has students lining up to help with “Fishing with Angels,” even though their main job is to clean the fish. “I believe it’s an invaluable education experience,” Holland said. “Not only do they learn how to clean and dress fish properly, but they also get to help our special citizens of Houston County experience the outdoors.” Patti Flowers, a teacher at Girard Elementary School in Dothan, said it’s equally important for the special education students to spend time with their non-disabled peers. “It’s a great experience for them,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for them to do something they don’t normally get to do, and it’s an opportunity for more socialization.” For the Phillipses, however, the benefits of “Fishing with Angels” go far beyond recreation and fellowship. It’s about celebrating the value and uniqueness of every life. “We get a greater blessing out of this than they do,” Faye said. “When I look at all these kids, I see God. I see my granddaughter, who’s with God right now. These are God’s children.” n w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Alfa, Federation Pledge To Support Equine Education By Melissa Martin

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$50,000 pledge from Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation will benefit budding equestrians at Judson College. The money, to be divided over a two-year period, will purchase a classroom in the Equine Studies Center. Once completed, the Equine Studies Center will be available for regional and state equine events including horse and trade shows, collegiate competitions, industry exhibits and equine educational conferences. It will also promote agritourism in that area. “We are mindful of the fact that Alfa cares about places in small towns and rural communities all over this state,” said Judson College President David Potts. “This contribution is the first funding we’ve received for the academic space in the equine center. It has been our dream to construct classroom space, and your contribution helps kick that process off for us.” Judson’s equine studies program provides students interested in horses an opportunity to learn more about animal agriculture and prepare for a variety of careers that serve rural Alabama. “I think the new equine program at Judson will pay big dividends in years to come,” said Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan. “Farmers started this organization in 1921 with a mission to serve rural Alabamians with different issues. One of the issues facing us now is having enough qualified young men and women pursue degrees in large animal veterinary medicine and to come back and serve our farmers throughout Alabama. We hope Judson can plant some of those seeds with this gift.” In addition to its academic focus, Judson also offers a competitive equestrian riding team. A member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), Judson has qualified for the regional w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

and national divisions since 1997. According to Jennifer Hoggle, IHSA team coach and instructor, the western riding team is currently ranked second in the region for IHSA Zone 5, Region 2. Though students must try out for Judson’s varsity equestrian team, Hoggle noted that regular riding classes are available to anyone interested in horseback riding. Judson is the only college in Alabama to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in equine studies. It is also one of the few colleges across the Southeast to offer an equine science minor. Established by Baptists in 1838, Judson is the nation’s fifth-oldest women’s college. n

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DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

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DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

By Debra Davis

F

ighting for a seat at the table of choosy consumers around the world can be a pretty tough nut to crack. But it’s a task that suits Houston County peanut farmer George Jeffcoat perfectly. After all, he knows the business from the ground up – literally. Jeffcoat grows more than 1,000 acres of peanuts annually on his farm in Gordon, located southeast of Dothan. This year, he’s spent almost as much time on the road as he’s spent tending his crops, traveling the globe promoting peanuts as chairman of the National Peanut Board. The fifth-generation farmer is approaching the end of his oneyear term as chairman of the group, and he’s completing his sixth year on the board. “The main focus of the board is research and promotion,” said Jeffcoat, who also serves as president of the Houston County Farmers Federation and as a board member of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. “More demand equals more value for farmers. Research is especially important for me and all farmers so we can meet that growing demand.” The board is funded by the National Peanut Checkoff. Producers in each peanut-producing state nominate a member to the board, which then is approved by the U.S. secretary of agriculture. Jeffcoat DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

Top photo, National Peanut Board Chairman George Jeffcoat of Houston County, right, talks with Japanese trade officials during a visit to Japan earlier this year.

said he wants peanut farmers to know their money is being put to good use. “We spend 80 percent of the checkoff money for promotion, and 20 percent goes toward research,” he said. “We have to make consumers aware of our product. We compete with all other nuts and food items for a market share, so it’s important that we encourage consumers to remember peanuts, not just for a snack, but in a variety of ways.” Some promotions include introducing chefs of large restaurant chains to use peanuts in their recipes along with the ongoing efforts to use peanuts in the candy and snack markets. Alabama Peanut Producers Association Executive Director 21

Randy Griggs said Jeffcoat is an excellent example of how producers lead the organization. “George has done an outstanding job,” Griggs said. “He’s sacrificed a lot of time away from his farm this year, but he knows how important it is to him and all the farmers he represents.” During his year as chairman, Jeffcoat visited numerous states, from California to New York. He traveled to Japan in August, where he met with the Japanese Nut Growers Association. During all the meetings he attended, the representatives were most impressed that he was an actual farmer. “I think it impressed them (the Japanese officials) that I wasn’t some corporate spokesperson, but I am a real farmer who actually grows peanuts,” Jeffcoat said. “They appreciate the quality of food we grow, and meeting a real farmer gives our product credibility. It’s important that we put a face on our industry. “It’s been an honor for me to represent peanut farmers from throughout the country, and it’s been an experience I’ll never forget.” n w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Alfa, Federation Honor Three Alabama Teachers By Melissa Martin

T

o demonstrate their support of excellence in education and reward exceptional educators across the state, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation honored three teachers with recognition and a check for $1,000 in October, November and December. Their schools received matching contributions. Cari Wilson, fourth-grade teacher at R.L. Young Elementary School in Talladega, was recognized as October’s Teacher of the Month for her extensive teaching abilities and resolute enthusiasm to better the students, staff and atmosphere at her school. From chairing the Accelerated Reader Committee, which has increased the school’s comprehension level from 79.9 to 89.1 in two short years, to creating and publishing podcasts for her school and the Alabama Learning Exchange website, Wilson has put into motion a variety of methods to reach, teach and motivate Talladega’s youth. Felicia Williams, family and consumer sciences teacher at Tallapoosa County’s Horseshoe Bend High School, was named November’s Teacher of the Month for her commitment to giving back to the community. As state office adviser for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), a nonprofit national career and technical student organization that promotes personal growth and leadership development, Williams encourages her students to build and utilize skills they can carry with them through adulthood. Under her leadership, students have received recognition on state and national levels for FCCLA projects. Dr. Cynthia Erickson, gifted education teacher at Robertsdale High School, was honored as December’s Teacher of the Month for her ability to educate and

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

encourage students of all backgrounds and learning capabilities. With an education background that spans nearly three decades, Erickson has dealt with challenges arising from teaching students with emotional conflict, specific learning disabilities and gifted education needs. Though some educators might be overwhelmed by these hurdles, Erickson says she hopes

to be a change agent for students, helping them realize they can be successful regardless of their unique circumstances. Throughout 2011, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation honored one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama’s eight state board districts, two principals and two private school teachers. n

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Good food is an ingredient to any successful holiday meal. Members of the Alabama Farmers Federation staff share some of their favorite Christmas recipes in this expanded edition of Country Kitchen.

Grandmother Jones’ Oatmeal Cookies Tom Jones 1 cup shortening 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon soda 1 teaspoon salt 3 cups dry oatmeal ½ to 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cream together shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add and blend eggs and vanilla extract. Add flour, soda and salt. Stir in oatmeal and pecans. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on wire racks. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese  Adrian Cooper 1 (10-ounce) elbow macaroni noodles 2 cups milk 3 tablespoons sour cream 4 tablespoons unsalted butter ¼ cup flour 1 2/3 cup shredded cheese Salt and pepper

Cook the elbow macaroni noodles in salted water. Drain and rinse. Heat milk in a saucepan and stir in sour cream. Melt butter in a separate saucepan and stir in flour. Cook for 3 minutes until thickened. Pour milk mixture into butter and flour. Stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir noodles into mixture and place in 9-x13-x2-inch baking dish. Add cheese to top. Broil for 5-10 minutes in the oven (until the cheese melts). 24

Bacon & Cheese Cups Amanda Butts 1 egg 2 tablespoons milk 3 scallions 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese 1 (3-ounce) jar Real Bacon Bits 1 (8-ounce) can of crescent rolls

Mix egg, milk, scallions, cheese and cream cheese. Add bacon bits. Cut crescent rolls into 24 squares and mold into a mini muffin pan. Fill each cup with mixture. Bake at 375 F for about 12 minutes.

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

No Fat Greek Yogurt Salad Linda Dennis 2 cartons (17.6 oz.) Fage Greek 0% Fat Yogurt 2 (4-ounce cartons) vanilla yogurt 1 small envelope Truvia (Nature’s Calorie Free Sweetener) 2 pounds green grapes - halved 2 pounds red grapes - halved Pecans

Mix yogurts together; add Truvia, mix well. Fold in grapes. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Chill overnight.

German Chocolate Upside-Down Cake Boyd Deal 1 cup coconut 1 cup pecans, finely chopped 1 box German chocolate cake mix 1 stick margarine, melted 1 (1-pound) box powdered sugar 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

Grease a 9-x13-x2-inch pan. Sprinkle pecans and coconut in bottom of pan. Mix cake according to directions; add to coconut and pecans. Blend margarine, powdered sugar and cream cheese; smooth over cake mix. Bake at 350 F for 30 to 40 minutes.

Sausage Pinwheels Jeff Helms 1 pound fresh pork sausage 2 1/4 cups biscuit mix 2/3 cup milk 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown sausage. Drain and set aside. Combine biscuit mix and milk in a medium bowl and stir until combined. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 to 10 times. Roll dough to 3/8-inch thickness. Spread browned sausage evenly over dough to within 1/4 inch of edges. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Roll, jellyroll style, and place in freezer for 20 minutes or until firm. Remove from freezer and slice into 3/4-inch pinwheels. Place slices in a resealable plastic bag and freeze until ready to bake. To cook, preheat oven to 375 F. Place pinwheels on cookie sheet prepared with nonstick spray. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Makes about 12 pinwheels. DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

Pistachio/Cherry Sugar Cookies Mitt Walker 1 cup chopped pistachio nuts 1 cup chopped dried cherries 2 rolls Pillsbury sugar cookie refrigerated cookie dough 1 (10-ounce bag) white chocolate baking chips

Place cookie dough in a bowl and mix in pistachios and cherries. Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased non-stick pan. Bake at 350 F for 7-15 minutes. Check after 7 minutes. Let the cookies cool. While cooling, melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Dip one side of each cookie into the melted chocolate and place on wax paper or cooling rack and sprinkle with red and green sugar sprinkles. Let the chocolate harden before moving to a decorated plate for serving. 25

Blueberry French Toast Casserole Cheryl Mitchell 1 pound fresh Italian loaf bread cut into 1-inch cubes 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, diced 1 cup of frozen blueberries 12 eggs 1 ½ cups milk ½ cup maple syrup 1 cup granulated white sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 cup water 1 cup blueberries 1 tablespoon butter ½ cup powdered sugar

Place half of the bread cubes in a glass pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle cubed cream cheese on top of the bread cubes. Top with 1 cup blueberries and remaining bread. In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk and maple syrup. Pour this egg mixture into casserole. Cover pan and refrigerate overnight. Remove pan from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the eggs have set. Blueberry Sauce In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; add water. Boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in blueberries and reduce heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the berries have burst. Stir in butter until melted. Serve the sauce over squares of French toast. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

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Apple Bread Paula Culver

2 cups sugar 3 cups plain flour 3 eggs 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) 11/2 cups oil 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon soda 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 cups chopped apples

Beat together all ingredients except apples and nuts. Fold apples and nuts in last. After everything is mixed together, pour into large, greased loaf pan. (I use 3 small loaf pans to give as gifts during Christmas.) Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

CAROLYN’S MOIST-N-CREAMY COCONUT CAKE Mike Tidwell 1 box Duncan Hines Deluxe Butter Recipe cake mix 1 ½ cups milk ½ cup sugar 1 (6-ounce) package shredded coconut 1 (8-ounce) Cool Whip

Prepare cake mix as directed on box, baking in a 9-x13-inch pan. Cool 15 minutes. Poke holes downward through cake with a fork. Meanwhile, mix milk, sugar, and 1/3 of the coconut in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Spoon over warm cake. Cool cake completely. Fold 1/3 package coconut into Cool Whip. Spread on cake. Sprinkle remaining coconut on top of cake. Chill overnight. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator.

Bacon Cheese Wreath Terrie Channell

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened ½ cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese ¼ cup sliced green onions (optional) 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled Parsley sprigs and diced pimentos, optional (can use red bell pepper or twizzlers in place of pimentos) Assorted crackers

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and onions; mix well. Stir in bacon. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Invert a small bowl in the center of a serving platter. Drop cream cheese mixture by rounded tablespoons around edge of bowl. Remove bowl. Smooth cream cheese mixture, forming a wreath. Garnish with parsley and pimentos (red bell pepper or twizzlers) if desired. Serve with crackers. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Jalapeno Corn Casserole Matthew Durdin

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crumble Topping Debra Davis

1 pie crust Filling 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons flour 2 teaspoons lemon zest 1/8 teaspoon cloves 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon salt 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced Topping 1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese 1/2 stick butter

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, zest, cloves, cinnamon and salt. Toss apples in mixture. In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients, mixing the butter into the rest of the ingredients with your fingers. Roll out pie crust dough, and place in the bottom of the pan.  Arrange apples in the pan in overlapping circles. Pour cheddar topping over apples. Bake for 40 minutes, or until topping and crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly, and serve warm.

1/4 stick butter, melted 1 block of cream cheese 2 (11-ounce) cans of shoepeg corn, drained 2 jalapenos (hot), chopped 1 (4-ounce) jar of pimentos, drained ¾ cup breadcrumbs

Mix all ingredients together (except bread crumbs) and put into a greased 9-x9-inch pan. Cook at 325 F until bubbling. Top with thin layer of breadcrumbs. Cook 10 more minutes.

Aunt Freida’s Spinach Dip Kyle Hayes

1 box frozen spinach 1 cup mayonnaise 3 teaspoons sour cream 1 small onion chopped fine 3 teaspoons Crazy Jane’s seasoning salt

Thaw and squeeze all water from spinach. Stir in all other ingredients and refrigerate 24 hours. Serve with Wheat Thins crackers. 26

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

Christmas Bread Pudding with Blueberry Sauce Paul Pinyan 1 ½ cups sugar 4 large eggs 1 teaspoons vanilla extract ½ teaspoons nutmeg 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind 2 cups milk 2 cups whipping cream 1 loaf of French bread, cut into 2-inch cubes 1 apple, diced 1 cup blueberries

Beat sugar and eggs together until fluffy. Add vanilla extract, nutmeg, lemon rind, milk and whipping cream. Blend together; then fold in apples, blueberries and bread. Pour into a lightly greased 9-x13-inch dish. Wait 10 minutes before baking at 375 F for 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve warm. Great with Blueberry/ Lemon Sauce and whipped cream. Sauce: 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind ¼ cup lemon juice ¼ cup red wine ½ cup sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 ½ cups blueberries

Add all ingredients except blueberries to a saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Stir often. Add blueberries and simmer until thick. Spoon over bread pudding before serving.

DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

German Chocolate Cake Janet Bradford 1 ¾ cup sugar 1 cup shortening 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring 2 ½ cups all purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup buttermilk ½ cup cocoa ½ cup water

Mix sugar, shortening, eggs and vanilla together until smooth. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together. Alternate, adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk into the creamed mixture until smooth. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil and add cocoa. Mix together until paste like. Add to cake mixture. Blend well with mixer, then stir it well, scraping the bottom of the bowl until all is blended. Pour mixture into 2 well-greased 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 F until done (25 – 30 minutes). Let stand about 5 minutes then remove cake from pans and place on wire rack to cool. Frosting 6 egg yolks 1 1/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 sticks of butter 1 12-oz can of evaporated milk 1 cup pecans 1 cup coconut

Cream together egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. Melt butter in a large pan. Add evaporated milk and creamed mixture, pecans and coconut. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Cool completely before icing the cake.

27

NUTTY POUND CAKE Millie Hawes Pecans (prepare in advance) ¼ cup water 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons vanilla 1 pound pecan pieces

Mix water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Stir in vanilla. Remove from heat and stir in pecans to coat. Spread pecans on pan in single layer and cook in a 350 F oven for approximately 10 minutes or until crunchy. Do not overcook. Cool. Cake: 2 sticks margarine (softened) 3 cups sugar 6 eggs (at room temperature) 3 cups plain flour, sifted ½ pint whipping cream 2 teaspoons vanilla pinch of salt Grease and flour a tube (or bundt) pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream mar-

garine and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Add 2 ½ cups flour alternately with cream, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in vanilla and salt. Take 1 cup of the toasted pecans and combine with the remaining ½ cup flour, stirring to coat pecans. Stir pecans into cake batter. Bake at 350 F for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes. Enjoy the remainder of the pecans for a snack or use in an icing or glaze of your choice.

w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

Cheerios Nuggets Elizabeth Coon

and light colored. Pour over cereal, peanuts and raisins in greased 4-quart bowl. Stir until mixture is coated. Spread evenly in pans.  Bake for 15 minutes. Stir; let stand just until cooled, about 10 minutes. Loosen mixture with metal spatula. Let stand until firm, about 30 minutes.

1 cup brown sugar ½ cup margarine, softened ¼ cup light corn syrup ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon baking soda 6 cups Cheerios cereal 1 cup salted Spanish peanuts 1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 250 F. Grease two 13-x9-x2-inch pans. Heat brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup, and salt in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until bubbly around edges. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda until foamy

Yee Haw Toffee Kim Earwood

1 (10-ounce) package saltine crackers (1-1 ½ sleeves) 1 cup butter (no margarine) 1 cup light brown sugar 1 (12-ounce) package milk chocolate chips 1 cup sliced almonds

10-x15-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Line baking sheet with saltine crackers, edges touching. In a medium saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar and cook until mixture reaches 235 F on candy thermometer. Pour mixture over crackers and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over hot toffee. When chips turn glossy, spread chocolate evenly with spatula. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Freeze 20-25 minutes, remove from freezer, break into pieces and serve. _________________________ For more Country Kitchen recipes, visit our website at AlfaFarmers.org.

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DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

Classifieds Facts For just $2 per word, your classified ad in Neighbors reaches nearly 98,000 subscribers. Ads must be received by the first day of the month prior to publication. NO changes after closing. PRE-PAYMENT REQUIRED FOR ALL ADS. Minimum 10 words per ad. No fax, phone orders or credit cards accepted. For questions, call Paula Culver at (334) 613-4410. Send your ad with payment, payable to Alabama Farmers Federation, to: Neighbors Classifieds, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, AL 361910001.

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www.vacationsmithlake.com 3 bedroom, 2 bath home, HVAC, gas log fireplace, 2 satellite TVs. Deep water, boat house - $75 night. (256) 352-5721 or email annawisener@yahoo.com. miscellaneous BUYING SILVER COINS – 1964 and before, paying 10 times face value. Call (334) 322-2869. FINDING GOLD IN ALABAMA Fun! How to find and pan Alabama gold. WWW. GOLDMAPS.COM. “PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR!” $12.95 “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC” Chording, Runs, Fills $12.95; both $24. Davidsons, 6727FF Metcalf, Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204 or (913) 262-4982. MAKE MONEY turning your trees into lumber with a portable saw mill. Easy and affordable. Call 1-800-473-4804 or visit www.cookssaw.com for more information. DECEMBER • WINTER 2011

29

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Christmas Trees That Live For Years

Keep the tree watered while it is outside waiting, and be sure the tree is well watered a day or two before bringing it in. If the rootball is wrapped in burlap, don’t water just before handling. If it’s too wet, it will easily break apart when moved, and a broken root ball usually results in a dead tree, so handle the tree gently. Remember to keep the tree indoors for only 2 to 3 days. While indoors, place the tree away from heating vents and fireplaces, the cooler the better. Use cool lights if the tree is decorated. Warm lights may fool the tree into thinking it’s spring. When the holiday is over, move the tree to an unheated garage or outbuilding for 3 or 4 days to acclimatize it to the outside temperatures again before planting. After planting, mulch the tree with a deep layer of bark or pine needles (6 to 12 inches deep) to help insulate the roots. Avoid piling mulch next to the trunk. When new growth appears in spring, feed the new tree with a timed-release fertilizer. The gradual feeding will help support new growth without encouraging too much succulence that may attract insect pests. Use a new tree as the beginning of an evergreen screen or windbreak that can be added to each year. A living tree will also make a great outdoor decoration for a deck or porch. Simply place it in a large pot or container 2-to-3 inches wider and deeper than the root ball, and fill in around the roots with bark. Provided that its watered regularly, the tree will stay happy in the pot throughout the month of December until the end of the holiday. n

By Lois Chaplin

I

f you like the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, try the freshest tree of all—one that is alive and still has its roots. Live Christmas trees, as they are called in garden centers, are evergreen trees with their roots still intact. They can be planted in a garden after the holidays to become a permanent landscape feature. Common trees sold this way are arborvitae, junipers, Arizona cypress, Leyland cypress, Canadian hemlock, white pine and red cedar. Beware that a live tree won’t be living for long without some precautions. The key is to understand that because these trees are dormant, they cannot be left indoors for more than 2 or 3 days or they will begin to think it is spring. When the trees are planted outdoors, freezing weather will injure or kill them. Live indoor trees should be used indoors much later than a cut tree. It can be used for decorating and as the focus of a family gathering. Too many gardeners have moved live trees outside after two weeks in the living room only to see it turn brown. To avoid that mistake, if space allows, use a live tree every year and enjoy a yearly succession of holiday memories thriving in the outdoor landscape. Choose a tree early for the best selection, but keep it in a cool, shady outdoor place until a day or two before the holiday. So, for a tree to gather presents under for an entire month, a fresh cut tree or an artificial one might be best for that purpose. Use the live one for festivities closer to Christmas.

_________________________________________ Lois Chaplin is an accomplished gardener and author. Her work appears here courtesy of Alabama Farmers Cooperative.

GET GROWING AT THE CO-OP. w w w. A l f a F a r m e r s . o r g

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Sam’s Club® Membership

Certificate

Enjoy the value of Membership! Receive a $25 Sam’s Club Gift Card when you join or renew as a Plus Member. Or, receive a $10 Sam’s Club Gift Card when you join or renew as an Advantage or Business Member.

This certificate is valid for members of the Alabama Farmers Federation. Offer good through June 30, 2012. A $100 Advantage Plus Membership and $40 Advantage Membership include one primary card and one spouse (or other household member over the age of 18) card. A $100 Business Plus Membership and $35 Business Membership include one primary card, one company card and one spouse (or other household member over the age of 18) card. Primary Memberships are valid for one year from the date of issue. The certificate may be redeemed for a new or renewed Membership. The Gift Card with this offer cannot be used toward Membership fees. Certificates and special promotions are not valid on SamsClub.com or by mail. Primary Membership fee ($100 for Plus, $40 for Advantage, $35 for Business – plus tax in some places) will apply at the time of renewal. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer. To view our privacy policy, visit SamsClub.com/privacy. Only original certificates accepted. One-time use only. Offer not valid in Puerto Rico.

$25

$10

To take advantage of this offer, present the certificate along with proof of Alabama Farmers Federation membership at the Member Services Desk of your local Club. For a Club near you, visit SamsClub.com or call 1.800.881.9180. All Terms and Conditions apply. For complete program details and terms and conditions, visit SamsClub.com/evalues.

*

Savings only for cash purchases based on the dispensing Sam’s Club Pharmacy’s cash price. Discounts not available for purchases covered by health insurance or a state/federal government health care program, on SamsClub.com, or covered by Walmart’s Prescription Program or any Sam’s Club promotion. Restrictions apply. See your local Sam’s Club Pharmacy for details.

**

Individual times may vary by transaction.

††

Subject to Credit Approval. See “How to Earn Cash Back Rewards” in the Sam’s Club Discover credit application for complete details. Discover® and Discover® Network acceptance marks are service marks used by GE Money Bank under license from Discover Financial Services.

Everyday price

HIGH-SPEED

INTERNET NOW AVAILABLE

19

STARTING AT

(subject to availability)

GUARANTEE ThRoUGh Jan. 2013 Promotional prices start at

$

* 95 14

$

99 a month

for 12 mo.

(Reg. price $24.99 | mo.)

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Plus up to

12 months

(with qualifying packages)

get access to over

20 Movie Channels for 3 months

100,000 movie titles

FRee 6 Room

up to installation

2 Room

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Hd

for life (requires 24-month Agreement and qualifying packages)

HD DVR Upgrade (1 Hd dVR + 1 sd dVR)

(Offer based on the discounted $5 price for the Blockbuster Movie Pass. One disc at time, $10/mo value.)

($6/mo DVR service fee applies)

See below for details.

Call today

and ask about next day installation(in most areas)

1•888•840•5929 www.infinityDiSH.com

First 100 callers receive $

25 Visa

®

Find us on

we are open 7 days a week • 8 am – midnight est • sunday 9 am – midnight est offer only good to new dish network subscribers • se habla español

(courtesy of InfinityDISH, certain conditions apply)

Blockbuster Movie Pass (1 disc at a time): Only available with new qualifying DISH Network service activated between 10/1/11 and 1/31/12. With a 24-month agreement and minimum of America’s Top 200 programming package, for the first 12 months of your subscription, you receive a bundle of Blockbuster Movie Pass for $5/mo (regularly $10/mo) and America’s “Everything” Pak for $74.99/mo, America’s Top 250 for $39.99/mo, America’s Top 200 for $34.99/mo, or DishLATINO Max for $34.99/mo. Other qualifying packages include 3-month bundle. Promotional prices continue for applicable promotional period provided you subscribe to both components of the bundle and do not downgrade. After applicable promotional period, then-current prices apply to each component. Requires online DISH Network account for discs by mail; broadband Internet to stream content; HD DVR to stream to TV. Exchange online rentals for free in-store movie rentals at participating BLOCKBUSTER stores. Offer not available in Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands. Streaming to TV and some channels not available with select packages. Everyday price guarantee valid only on the following packages: DishFAMILY, America’s Top 120, America’s Top 120 Plus, America’s Top 200, America’s Top 250, DISH America, DISH America Silver, DISH America Gold. Digital Home Advantage plan requires 24-month agreement and credit qualification. Cancellation fee of $17.50/month remaining applies if service is terminated before end of agreement. After 12 months of programming credits, then-current price will apply. $10/mo HD add-on fee waived for life of current account; requires 24-month agreement, continuous enrollment in AutoPay with Paperless Billing. 3-month premium movie offer value is $99; after 3 free months then-current price applies unless you downgrade. Free Standard Professional Installation only. All equipment is leased and must be returned to DISH Network upon cancellation or unreturned equipment fees apply. Limit 6 leased tuners per account; upfront and monthly fees may apply based on type and number of receivers. HD programming requires HD television. Prices, packages, programming and offers subject to change without notice. Offer available for new and qualified former customers, and subject to terms of applicable Promotional and Residential Customer agreements. Additional restrictions may apply. Offer ends 1/31/12. HBO®, Cinemax® and related channels and service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc. STARZ and related channels and service marks are property of Starz Entertainment, LLC. $25 Visa® gift card requires activation and $2.95 shipping and handling fee. You will receive a claim voucher within 3-4 weeks and the voucher must be returned within 30 days. Your Visa® gift card will arrive in approximately 6-8 weeks. InfinityDISH charges a one-time $49.95 non-refundable processing fee. Indiana C.P.D. Reg. No. T.S. 10-1006. *Certain restrictions apply. Based on the availability in your area.


December 2011 Neighbors