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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News March 2017




Rodeo clown Alabamian brings national act back home

Growing citrus



Manager Stan Wilson Co-Op Editor Rick Norris ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. AREA cooperative member subscriptions are $3 a year; non-member subscriptions, $6. Alabama Living (USPS 029920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.

Up close with nature

Visitors to the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center can get a close look at critters like this corn snake held by Shonda Borden, as well as owls, birds, fish, alligators and many others.


VOL. 70 NO. 3 n March 2017

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POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014. ALABAMA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

AREA President Fred Braswell Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Griffin Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Advertising Coordinator Brooke Echols Communications Coordinator Laura Stewart Graphic Designer Tori McClanahan




National Country Market 611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504 Austin, Texas 78704 1-800-626-1181 www.nationalcountrymarket.com www.alabamaliving.coop USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311

Printed in America from American materials Alabama Living

CWEMC announces this year’s winners.

Life through a lens

Draffus Lamar Hightower and his camera chronicled the life of Barbour County from 1930-1965.

Flowers in the wild

The end of March through May is a perfect time to see north Alabama’s remarkable variety of wildflowers.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail: advertising@areapower.com www.areapower.coop

2017 Youth Tour


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop EMAIL: letters@alabamaliving.coop MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

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9 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 30 Gardens 40 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: alabamaliving.coop

ON THE COVER: Rodeo clown Trent McFarland of Hope Hull is a nationally known performer who brings his act back home this month to the SEL Rodeo in Montgomery. PHOTO: Ron Mandes

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Service and progress unite OFFICE LOCATIONS Jackson Office 1307 College Avenue P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081 Chatom Office P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302

If you have traveled on Hwy 43 just north of Jackson, you have probably noticed construction activity on the east side of the highway. After many hours of planning, we are excited to actually see the beginnings of our new headquarters facility. CWEMC has been providing electric service for over 80 years now and we have been in our current building on College Avenue since the early 1950’s. After 65 years of use, in recent years we have been fighting foundation problems, heating/cooling issues, increased traffic problems and facing major reconstruction of our current building. We already owned property purchased in the mid 1970s for new headquarters. Our radio tower is located there and it is in the center of our service area. The construction of this new facility was part of a strategic plan that was started some

four years ago. I also mentioned our intentions in Annual Meeting addresses in both 2015 and 2016, and in the Alabama Living magazine. Every part of the design of our new facility is focused on customer service and safe, efficient everyday operations. The construction on this site also offers us the ability to provide the electric power for our own building. That is something we have been unable to do for the past 65 years! The building we are in now is served by an investor-owned utility. The savings in interest expense from refinancing existing debt at a lower rate helped make the project a reality. We are truly excited and look forward to this project that will help us better serve you and our community – for years into the future. Thank you for your support.

Toll Free Number 1-800-323-9081 Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours) Pay your bill online at www.cwemc.com Payment Methods Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson offices with cash, checks, debit or credit cards

BUILDING COMMITTEE: (L-R) Howard Daugherty-President, D.R. Stallworth, Jack Bailey, Jim Fore, Willie Williams and Stan Wilson-Manager.

Stan Wilson Manager of Clarke-Washington EMC

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| Clarke Washington EMC |

2017 Youth Tour Winners

Conner Newell - Fruitdale High School Washington D.C. and Montgomery Winner

Allie Massey- Leroy High School Montgomery Winner

Kamryn Newsom - Clarke County High School Washington D.C. and Montgomery Winner

Valerie Hill- Thomasville High School Montgomery Winner

1.800.323.9081 to report an outage

Remember: If you do not call from a phone number that is listed on your account, the outage management system will not recognize you. Make sure all the phones that you would use to call in an outage are listed on your account before the storm comes.

Alabama Living

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PHOTO: The Sweet Water team poses with its robot prior to a trial run. From left are Flynn Mabowitz, Chase Reed, Luke Davis, Lara Little, Houston Norris and Brandon Schroeder.

Robot meets the farm in competition Picture this: A farmer looks for ways to use technology to improve production and increase the profitability of his farm. He asks numerous “companies” to submit a prototype robot that can plant corn seed; harvest and deliver ripe corn, hydroponic tomatoes, and hydroponic lettuce; corral and feed pigs; and turn on a water valve – common needs on his farm. BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics students throughout Alabama recently competed to be the “company” that could provide the robot this farmer needed. As part of the 2016 competition, BEST students were directed to create a “company” that could design and build a robot to meet the farm’s needs, develop a detailed engineering notebook, create a marketing presentation as well as construct and staff a display booth similar to those found at a trade show. Oh, and they had to do all of this in just 42 days from kick-off to competition. This exciting scenario is part of BEST Robotics, a nationwide program to build 6  MARCH 2017

interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). BEST is provided free to students in grades 6–12 in public, private, and home schools. Teams are given the materials needed to construct the robot on kick-off day, and work closely with teachers and local industry and community mentors to be ready for their hub competition. There are 12 hubs in Alabama providing support to area schools. All hubs except War Eagle BEST (Auburn University) and Mobile’s Jubilee BEST (University of South Alabama and Faulkner State Community College) are associated with a community college. Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa (Shelton State BEST) and Alabama Southern Community College in Thomasville (River BEST) work closely with the schools located in the Black Warrior EMC and Clarke-Washington EMC service areas. Winners at the hub level advance to the South’s BEST Regional Competition at Auburn University.

The competition theme changes each year. The 2016 theme, Bet the Farm, had students learning about crop planting, growth, and harvest; hydroponics; irrigation; and commercial production of beef, pork, and poultry. Students also researched agriculture related to their specific area of the state. “Being on the BEST team helped me learn much that I did not know about farming, and the marketing skills I gained to promote our robot are applicable to any career,” says Raine Taylor, a student at Sweet Water High School. Robotics team sponsor Ty Glass, who teaches engineering and algebra at Sweet Water High, sees the benefits of robotics competition. “Our students are hands-on with the project, making mistakes, learning to correct mistakes, and testing skills not taught in other classes. Students, from the athlete to the non-athlete to those at all levels of academic success, are able to collaborate on a specific task while mastering skills that will prepare them for college or www.alabamaliving.coop

LEFT: The Sweet Water High School marketing team, from left, Raine Taylor, Odyssey Crowell, Michael Mazingo, and Lara Little, present their company’s robot to the judges at South’s BEST Regional Competition at Auburn University. RIGHT: The Clarke Preparatory Robotics Team won the award for most photogenic robot award. Pictured are, from left, Chloi Murphy, Jeffrey Jordan, Caden Bumpers, Brice Carlisle, Keegan Nelson, Brock Carlisle and Drew Norman.

the workforce after graduation.” Students gained a different perspective on the current and future use of robots in all areas. Wil Vick, a student at Thomasville High, says, “As we researched the use of robots in agriculture, we discovered that robots can greatly reduce farm costs by replacing many of the workers needed for planting and harvesting crops.” Chloi Murphy, Clarke Preparatory School sixth-grader, says, “I discovered that farming is harder than I expected, but I also learned that robots can be more efficient doing tasks that are done by workers today as well as the positive impact robot use can have on the environment.” The BEST program, collaborating with community colleges in Alabama, has been a win-win experience. “We work closely with local schools on this project from building the competition field and providing training to helping the teams as they design and build their robots, work on their engineering notebooks, and create a marketing plan,” says Robert Denton, proAlabama Living

cess controls instructor at Alabama Southern Community College (ASCC). “This entire collaboration allows us to meet the students while they get to know Alabama Southern. Before this collaboration, probably five to 10 percent of the students knew about Alabama Southern. Now, 85 to 90 percent of area students know about the wide range of course op-

“As we researched the use of robots in agriculture, we discovered that robots can greatly reduce farm costs” portunities at ASCC. “We get to teach middle and high school students how to compete and how to do well at specific tasks. By helping students improve in their skills and capabilities, we are a part of creating stronger graduates who, hopefully, will make Alabama Southern their first choice after high school.” Trey Smith, Demopolis Advanced Ro-

botics Team sponsor, loves this competition. “BEST prepares students for any endeavor after high school or college because they are given the opportunity to face and overcome various obstacles that they would never experience in other classes. This competition is a snapshot of their future, showing them that it is necessary and expedient to collaborate with others to solve problems and reach goals. Isn’t this exactly what employers are seeking in prospective employees?” Alabama students involved in this program are definitely learning engineering and business processes. Mary Lou Ewald, Auburn University Director of Outreach for the College of Sciences and Mathematics and Director of War Eagle BEST and South’s BEST, underscored the importance of BEST. “Students in BEST are in a position to become proficient in technical skills that will be in demand as more high tech industries come to Alabama.”

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Easy Energy Efficiency

Replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs can make a big difference in home efficiency and is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bill. Known for their longevity and efficiency, LED bulbs have an estimated operational life span of typically 10,000 to 20,000 hours compared to 1,000 hours of a typical incandescent. According to the Dept. of Energy, by replacing your home's five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating, you can save $75 each year. Wrapping up savings Installing a blanket around your water heater could reduce standby heat losses by 25 to 45 percent and save you about 7 to 16 percent in water heating costs, according to the Dept. of Energy. For a small investment of about $30, you can purchase pre-cut jackets or blankets and install them in about one hour. On a safety note, the Dept. of Energy recommends that you not set the thermostat above 130 degrees Fahrenheit on an electric water heater with an insulating jacket or blanket; the higher temperature setting could cause the wiring to overheat. Given that a large portion of your monthly energy bill goes toward heating and cooling your home, it makes sense to ensure your home’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is performing at an optimal level. Checking, changing or cleaning your filter extends the life of your HVAC system and saves you money.

Do you want to save money and electricity but have limited time, money and patience? According to the Department of Energy, a “typical American family” spends nearly $2,000 per year on their home energy bills. Much of that money, however, is wasted through leaky windows or ducts, old appliances or inefficient heating and cooling systems. Luckily, there are several relatively easy ways to save energy without a substantial commitment of time and money. These efforts will help you save whether you own or rent an older or newly constructed home. And, you won’t have to hire a specialist or call in a favor from someone who is handy with tools to help you. Where to start According to Money Magazine, “improving the envelope” of your home is a good place to start. Sunlight, seasonal temperature changes and wind vibrations can loosen up even a tight home, increasing air leakage. Doors and windows may not close tightly, and duct work can spring leaks, wasting cooled and heated air. By placing weather stripping and caulk around windows and doors, you can keep cool air inside during warm months and prevent chilly air from penetrating the indoors during colder months. Sealing gaps around piping, dryer vents, fans and outlets also helps to seal the envelope and creates greater efficiency. Apply weather stripping around overlooked spaces like your attic hatch or pull-down stairs.

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Air filters prevent dust and allergens from clogging your HVAC system. Otherwise, dust and dirt trapped in a system’s air filter leads to several problems, including: reduced air flow in the home and up to 15 percent higher operating costs; lowered system efficiency; and costly duct cleaning or replacement. Many HVAC professionals recommend cleaning the system filters monthly. A simple task like changing the filters on your HVAC system makes your unit run more efficiently, keeping your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Take control of your energy savings Take a look at your programmable thermostat. When was the last time you checked to make sure it was programmed for the current season and family schedule? This is one of the best energy-saving tools at your fingertips. It enables you to fine tune the temperature during particular hours of the day. Many models allow you to differentiate between weekday and weekend schedules, and internet-connected thermostats can learn your schedule and make adjustments automatically. Most models come with an override option so you can make manual adjustments without losing overall programing. You can only achieve these efficiencies and savings if it is programmed properly and adjusted periodically to keep pace with changes in household routines. Remember, there are easy steps you can take now to improve the energy efficiency of your home. To learn about additional ways to save, contact CWEMC Member Services at 251-2469081.


MARCH | Spotlight Students encouraged to enter state fish art contest

Third-grader Tina Qin created this work of art, which was the 2016 Alabama first-place winner for grades K-3 in the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest.

Each year, K-12 students can enter their artwork in the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, which requires student artists to depict a state fish. Prizes are awarded at the state and national levels in age-related categories. Artists can choose to depict either of Alabama’s state fish – the largemouth bass or the fighting tarpon. Participants can also choose to draw state fish from other states, which are listed on the Wildlife Forever website: www.wildlifeforever. org/contest. Entries must be postmarked by March 31, 2017, and mailed to Wildlife Forever, 2700 Freeway Blvd., No. 1000, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430. For 19 years, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) has promoted this art contest. Wildlife Forever is a non-profit organization working to preserve America’s wildlife heritage.


Arts and crafts take spotlight in Fairhope More than 230 exhibitors nationwide will bring their best works to show and sell at the prestigious juried show at the 65th annual Arts and Crafts Festival in Fairhope. This year’s event is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 17-18 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 19. Live entertainment will be going on throughout the threeday event, and unique cuisine will be served in the food court. The venue is the Eastern Shore Chamber, 327 Fairhope Ave. There is a shuttle for $2 each way from the shopping center parking lots at the intersection of Fairhope Avenue and Greeno Road. There’s no admission fee to the festival. For more information, call 251-928-6387, or visit www.thefairhopeartsandcraftsfestival.com The event also has a Facebook page with weather and other updates.


Guess where this is and you might win $25! Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by March 10 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the April issue. Alabama Living

This lovely two-story, wood frame building was originally erected in 1848 to serve as the Tuckabatchee Masonic Lodge No. 96. The building served many purposes throughout the years, as a school and a church as well as a lodge in the Crawford community. Old St. Stephens Courthouse The structure fell into disrepair, but the Historic Tuckabatchee Masonic Lodge Russell County Commission, a benefactor and the community pulled together to move the building and restore it. There is a park and playground at what is now called Crawford Park, and the facility is available for rentals. Its Facebook page is current and updated with photos and information; search for Crawford Park at the Historic Tuckabatchee Masonic Lodge. Several readers thought the photo was of the Old St. Stephens Courthouse at St. Stephens in Washington County. The two are very similar in appearance, but the St. Stephens structure has a balcony that spans the width of the second floor, as well as two exterior staircases; the Tuckabatchee building has just one staircase. Congratulations to Drew Barnett of Dixie EC, the correct guess winner. Old St. Stephens Courthouse photo provided by RuralSWAlabama.

Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25.

Submit: By email: whereville@alabamaliving.coop By mail: Whereville P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 MARCH 2017 9



When is a Alabama county sets model for good time to rural health collaboration and keeping adequate health care available puts an area at a disadvantage for start receiving Having locally available is a difficult challenge attracting economic development. in many of Alabama’s rural areas. Local Struggling with a chronic shortage of Social Security health care is more than just having prac- health care or experiencing a loss of local titioners to provide the major health care health care greatly impacts a rural area, benefits? needs of local residents. Health care, espeincluding the futures of residents, their


njoying a comfortable retirement is everyone’s dream. For over 80 years, Social Security has been helping people realize those dreams, assisting people through life’s journey with a variety of benefits. It’s up to you as to when you can start retirement benefits. You could start them a little earlier or wait until your “full retirement age.” There are benefits to either decision, pun intended. Full retirement age refers to the age when a person can receive their Social Security benefits without any reduction, even if they are still working part or full time. In other words, you don’t actually need to stop working to get your full benefits. For people who attain age 62 in 2017 (i.e., those born between January 2, 1955 and January 1, 1956), full retirement age is 66 and two months. Full retirement age was age 65 for many years. However, due to a law passed by Congress in 1983, it has been gradually increasing, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959. You can learn more about the full retirement age and find out how to look up your own at www.socialsecurity.gov/ planners/retire/retirechart.html. You can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 or any time after that. The longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be, although it stops increasing at age 70. Your monthly benefits will be reduced permanently if you start them any time before your full retirement age. For example, if you start receiving benefits in 2017 at age 62, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced Continued on Page 14

cially a local hospital, is one of the larger employers in most rural areas, attracting other health-related services to the area. This can produce a large economic impact. Not having adequate health care locally

Dale Quinney is executive director of the Alabama Rural Health Association, 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081.

Letters to the editor E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Enjoyed column

I thoroughly enjoyed your recent article in Alabama Living (February 2017) on long-johns and asphidity (a word I had never heard). I always look forward to reading your columns. Thank you for brightening my day! C. Hugh Blanton, Jr. Jacksonville, Fla.

Most interesting issue

Congratulations on this month’s Alabama Living (February 2017). It contained the most interesting articles. From “Have you met a president” to “Hardy Jackson’s Alabama” with “Alabama’s Railroad History,” Mac McCutcheon, Ernestine Crowell, and other great articles in between, it was a good read from cover to cover. Your magazine editor and staff are to be congratulated! Don Vaughn, Montgomery

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at kylle.mckinney@ssa.gov.

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children and grandchildren. The residents of Flomaton in Escambia County were confronted with the loss of their hospital in 1993. Such a great loss created uncertainty about the future of the area. Faced with this threatening situation, several visionary leaders in Escambia County, a rural county with areas served by Southern Pine Electric Cooperative, decided to get active in improving local health care and its far-reaching impact. This effort Continued on Page 14

Ed. note: We’ve received several letters since the January 2017 article on “big cats” in Alabama. For space reasons, we can publish only a sample few. For more lively discussion on this topic, please visit our Alabama Living Facebook page.

Won’t forget seeing this big cat

Back in, I think, the summer of 1975 I was wading up the Chickasawbogue Creek near the Eight-Mile, AL area doing a little cane-pole fishing. I watched a cougar, and that is what it was, cross the creek up ahead of me. Its tail is what gave it away. And the tracks it left on the sand bar which it walked upon from the creek were certainly further proof. I would have liked to have been able to get some plaster (mud) to mold this cat’s tracks. I will never forget the experience. What a magnificent animal. I am told that others have seen these wonderful cats in that general area over the years. Shelton York, Scant City

I know what I saw

With all due respect to Mr. Felsher and the gentleman from Uriah, I saw a large black cat, in broad daylight, less than 50 feet from me. It was back in December of 2016. I was travelling south towards Marianna, Fla., and had just crossed Highway 162 when from my right a large black cat darted in front of me, crossing the road. It was not a house cat, not an otter, or a bear, or a

Continued on Page 37 www.alabamaliving.coop

| Alabama Snapshots |


Favorite Antiques 2

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1. This powder horn belonged to my 3rd great-grandfather, R.W. Brown, born 1775. SUBMITTED BY Rebecca Martin, Wadley. 2. This antique half-pint glass whiskey bottle is shaped like a pistol and dates back more than 125 years. It has been in the family through five generations. SUBMITTED BY Dale Crawford, Dutton. 3. This hutch was brought over from Scotland by my great-great grandparents. The top is the original slab of marble. There has been no restoration work done to it. SUBMITTED BY Debbie Wright, Trinity.

4. Papa’s china clock. SUBMITTED BY Jan Agee, Opelika. 5. Lamp affectionately known as Grandma’s “man-eating lamp.” SUBMITTED BY Richard Thrower, Opelika. 6. This radio belonged to my grandparents Hosie and Lois Lester. They were one of the first families in Addison to get electricity and often invited their neighbors to listen to the radio with them. SUBMITTED BY Debby Boyd, Addison. 7. My mamaw left me this beautiful corner cabinet and Granny’s treasured Roseville pottery sits on top. SUBMITTED BY Lori Robles, Arab.

Submit Your Images! May Theme: “Personalized Car Tags” Deadline for May: March 31 SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: www.alabamaliving.coop/submit-photo/ or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at www.alabamaliving.coop and on our Facebook page. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

Alabama Living

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A barrel of laughs

Alabama rodeo clown brings his national act back home By Liz Vinson


s a professional rodeo clown and barrel man, Hope Hull’s Trent McFarland lives a vagabond lifestyle, traveling across the country to entertain thousands of fans. A second-generation rodeo entertainer, McFarland was able to hone the skills that would launch his career while growing up in Cody, Wyoming, the Rodeo Capital of the World. Instead of teaching McFarland how to play sports, his father, Sid, trained him to break conventional rules, parlaying his knack for “clowning around” into a successful career entertaining audiences near and far. “My father was a rodeo clown, and we had a really close relationship,” McFarland says. “I was a few weeks old when I went to my first rodeo, and my father helped me jump in rather quickly. Instead of teaching me how to throw a football, he was teaching me how to put on makeup and taught me the ins and outs of the profession so that I was able to skip straight to the good life. He taught me how to be a professional in and out of the arena. Once I was able to book my own rodeos, everything took off like wildfire.” McFarland’s job requires that he entertain audiences as the bull riders transition between competitions, heckling the crowd with jokes or putting on elaborate skits to get the crowd roaring. But his job is also to help the cowboys who are thrown off during bull riding. He jokingly says, “As the backup bullfighter, I back up another 10 feet if things get bad.” In reality, he does just the opposite. If things in the arena get out of control, McFarland steps up in his “clown-dominium” (the barrel) and gives the bulls something to focus their attention on. 12 MARCH 2017

‘Being a rodeo clown allows me to have the opportunity to travel with my family and see the country, meet friends all over America and make a good living.’

– Trent McFarland

His in-your-face comedy is recognized nationwide, and his success continues to skyrocket. By the end of last year, McFarland, who travels with his family, navigated more than 40,000 miles as he performed more than 100 times at different arenas around the nation. Presenting a special brand of entertainment, McFarland beckons children and adults to engage, laugh and enjoy a performance that is unique among his peers. “I include a wide variety of ways to interact with the crowd,” McFarland says. “Some r o d e o clowns stick with one act and that’s it. They might want to strictly dance or tell jokes, but I incorporate multiple acts and a wide variety of ways to interact with the audience. There are acts I can do to entertain a crowd in one part of a country that would differ from what I would do in another. You have to switch it up, and that has been a key to my success.” In addition to his father, McFarland credits his wife, Wendy, for his continued success. She is not only behind the scenes, managing and marketing McFarland’s products, but she joins him during his performances, donning a blonde wig and getting in on the fun. McFarland Alabama Living

and his wife are a duo, not only inside the home, parenting their two sons, but as a family when they cross over state lines from venue to venue, to and from Hope Hull. While McFarland realizes their way of life could be considered unconventional, he notes they wouldn’t have it any other way. He praises his wife for her ability to charm audiences and be the backbone for what McFarland is able to do. “Lots of people think we’re crazy to travel the miles we do, but we love it,” McFarland says. “It can be a tough job, but my wife is amazing. She’s also an absolutely amazing showman, plays a major part in the acts, and she’s got great showmanship skills. She is by far my biggest support system with what we do. Being married to a rodeo clown isn’t the easiest, but she’s not afraid to ham it up and be in the spotlight.”

Besides managing behind-the-scenes duties, Trent’s wife Wendy is an experienced rodeo competitor who dons a blonde wig and costume to join him during his performances.

A nurse in his “other life”

When he’s not living out his alter ego in the arena, he is busy working as a nurse at Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery, a job he has had since 2003. He notes that his work at the hospital often transfers nicely into his work within the ring. “It crosses over really well. When patients come in the operating room, they’re scared, and I can tell them jokes to help them forget their worries. By the same token, when cowboys get hurt, I’m the first one to them, and I can make an assessment of how serious the injury is,” McFarland says. Behind the yellow wig and face paint, McFarland is truly at ease as a performer. The rodeo scene is one where McFarland is at home, and for him, being a rodeo clown and barrel man is a blessing as well as an addiction. “Being a rodeo clown allows me to have the opportunity to travel with my family and see the country, meet friends all over America and make a good living. My family and I have fun together,” McFarland says. “Rodeo is family-friendly, and I am able to provide audiences with an opportunity to laugh. The thrill of the crowd and the response I get from them makes my job adMARCH 2017 13

dicting. It’s where the blessing is for me, that I get to provide entertainment for families where now, especially in modern America, it’s hard to find true entertainment that everyone enjoys.” McFarland is scheduled to perform at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum during its SLE Rodeo March 16-18. Of his appearance in his home state, he notes the show is a dream come true. “Getting a hometown show is a feat that most entertainers will probably never obtain. Now that I’ve become a success in the rodeo world, they’ve asked me to be in Montgomery where I can perform in front of my family and friends, and they can see us perform. We’re very excited,” McFarland says. For more information, visit www.trentmcfarland.com or find him on Facebook (search for Trent McFarland – Professional Rodeo Entertainer and Barrel Man).

Wendy and Trent McFarland love pursuing their rodeo lifestyle together, along with their two sons, Ryder, 1, and Cody, 2 and ½.

The annual SLE Rodeo, set for March 16-18 at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery, will feature some of the country’s best cowboys and cowgirls and stock provided by Frontier Rodeo Company, the 2016 PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year.

The championship events begin at 7 p.m. March 16, 17 and 18, with SLE team roping beginning at 8 a.m. March 19.

The rodeo is a family-friendly event, with several events just for children, including a stick horse rodeo for young ones under 8.

Tickets are available by calling 888-2RODEO2; by visiting the Alabama Cattlemen’s building or Garrett Coliseum; online at Ticketmaster; or at local Publix stores.

For the full lineup of activities, visit www.slerodeo.com

Social Security Continued from Page 10

Healthy Living Continued from Page 10

permanently by about 26 percent. On the other hand, if you wait to start receiving your benefits until after your full retirement age, then your monthly benefit will be higher. The amount of this increase is two-thirds of one percent for each month –– or eight percent for each year –– that you delay receiving them until you reach age 70. The choices you make may affect any benefit your spouse or children can receive on your record, too. If you receive benefits early, it may reduce their potential benefit, as well as yours. You need to be as informed as possible when making any decision about receiving Social Security benefits. Read the publication When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs/EN-05-10147.pdf. If you decide to receive benefits before you reach full retirement age, you should also understand how continuing to work can affect your benefits. Social Security may withhold or reduce your benefits if your annual earnings exceed a certain amount. However, for every month benefits are withheld, it increases your future benefits. That’s because at your full retirement age Social Security will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for the months in which benefits were reduced or withheld due to your excess earnings. In effect, it’s as if you hadn’t filed for those months. You can learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html. Social Security’s mission is to secure your today and tomorrow. Helping you make the right retirement decisions is vital. You can learn more by visiting our Retirement Planner at www.socialsecurity. gov/planners/retire.

of each county. led to the creation of the Coalition for The Coalition for a Healthier Esa Healthier Escambia County in 1995. cambia County meets monthly to hear This coalition is as strong today as presentations and share information ever. Similar coalitions can and should on various health-related subjects, be developed in all of Alabama’s rural discuss health-related concerns and counties. conduct business. While considerable Local health coalitions bring together members who work with difgrant funding has been received and ferent components of the county to successes are numerous, one success study local health status, concerns, involved providing leadership to secure funding for a new transport sysand needs as a group. Issues or contem for women and children (Wheels cerns that need improvement are idenof Wellness) tified and the when funding coalition goes to work seeking forced Kid One improvement. Transport to Most coalitions cease serving include repthe county. resentatives Perhaps the from hospitals, single greatest primary care Chad Hartley drives the Wheels of Wellness success is that van in Escambia County. PHOTO BY LESLIE JACKSON clinics, specialthis coalition ty care clinics, dental clinics, nursing, makes a loud statement that is heard mental health care, public health, drug within and outside of Escambia Counabuse treatment, emergency medical ty that they love their home and want services, dialysis services, local govit to be a place where current and future residents can have a bright and ernment, the clergy, education, law healthy future. enforcement, nursing homes, the local Department of Human Resources, the For additional information on the local Children’s Policy Council, family Coalition for a Healthier Escambia resource centers, counseling services, County or assistance in establishing and others. The Poarch Band of Creek such a coalition, please contact the Indians health center are also repreAlabama Rural Health Association sented in the Coalition. Representaat arha@arhaonline.org or (334) 546tion may vary due to the uniqueness 3502.

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Alabama Living

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True grits

Depression-era grain mill preserves a bygone way of life

By Allison Griffin

Those who show up are here to take part in a centuriesold tradition and enjoy the camaraderie of friends and neighbors. From left, Michele Mitchem, Macy Fink, Quin Fink, Dolly Fink, Darell Fink and Jeff Pendleton at the Finks Mill, which has been in continuous operation since it opened in 1932.

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he wooden floor shakes beneath your feet, and the air seems a bit heavy, thanks to the dust kicked up from the fresh-ground corn. The rhythmic metallic clinks of the machinery, which turn hundreds of pounds of dried corn into mounds of fluffy, earthy meal, ring in your mind, even after you leave. This practice of milling grain, a technology that dates to the ancient mills that came to this country with immigrants, continues today, relatively unchanged for hundreds of years. Members of the Fink family in southeast Alabama see themselves as protectors of this old-fashioned practice, and have operated this mill, built in 1932, since their parents bought it in the mid-1950s. “I see this as a historical site that needs to continue to be maintained,” says Darell Fink, taking a break from running the mill on an autumn Saturday. Finks Mill is just a half-mile north of the Florida line, a few miles east of Florala and west of Samson and a member of Wiregrass Electric Cooperative. Farmers start coming in the early morning hours and continue into the afternoon, hauling big, heavy sacks of corn (and occasionally wheat and rice) to be ground. The mill’s four stone units can produce 2,000 pounds of corn meal each day that it operates. On this particular Saturday, there won’t be quite that much meal ground; customers may be distracted by the football games today, or perhaps the crisp fall weather. No matter. Those who show up are here to take part in a centuries-old tradition and enjoy the camaraderie of friends and neighbors. There’s a mix of old folks and younger ones, some who’ve been coming here for decades and others who are first-timers. Some drive from out of state just to have fresh ground corn meal to take home. “Usually every Saturday, you’ll have at least one person who’s never been here,” says Quin Fink, Darell’s younger brother who’s a mechanic by trade and maintains the mill. “It’s just a place that time hasn’t messed with much.”

Taking part in the process

The customers bring in their husked, dried corn, and upon arrival their corn is weighed on a scale that has to be almost as old as the mill itself. (And it’s still accurate; a visitor hops on the scale and proclaims that it’s the same as what he weighed at home that morning.) A ticket is written up with the customer’s name, the amount of corn and the type of Alabama Living

grind preferred (the mills can grind course meal, medium, fine, extra fine and grits.) The corn is then put through a sifting machine that separates out any trash, dirt or matter leftover from the harvesting process. The sifted corn is put in line for milling; on a busy day, dozens of buckets can wait to be milled. One worker lifts a bucket of corn overhead to pour it into a large hopper, which funnels the corn into the stones for grinding. As their corn is milled, customers can scoop and bag their own fluffy meal as it falls down the chute and through a screen into the waiting wooden bin below. This meal, unlike the stuff sold in stores, is perishable, because it retains the corn oil; modern processing strips out the oil, which is a precious commodity. But that oil gives a

It’s no small task. “This thing is so old, it really should not work every day,” Darell says. Everything here has to be handmade – bearings, shafts, all the working parts of the stone units. For the Finks, running the mill is a matter of balance: they want it to run enough to keep all the moving parts going, but not so much that they wear out. For those reasons, they usually run the mill only on Saturdays, beginning Labor Day weekend and on through the winter. The other six months of the year, they’re constantly doing maintenance work: Disassembling the stone units, doing woodwork, inspecting the bearings and the belts, doing maintenance to the gates that hold back the water. “Whatever little money we get, we basically just spend it on the mill to keep it going,” Darell says.

Old ways

One of the four units at the Finks Mill that grinds the grains. This one, as well as another of the units, is powered by a diesel tractor engine; another is powered by water, and another by electricity.

nutty, earthy taste to the fresh ground meal, which Darell says is a superior flavor to anything you can buy commercially. “There’s just something about raising your own corn, knowing what’s in there, seeing it ground and bagging it yourself,” Darell says. He thinks folks today are developing an appreciation for fresh, homegrown foods. “We’re seeing a return to where people are growing their own gardens, and milling is a component of it.”

Family tradition

Quin and Darell Fink continue to operate the mill with Quin’s wife, Dolly, and their family friend Jeff Pendleton. All live close by and have dedicated most of their spare time to keeping the mill operational.

Today, farmers drive pickup trucks, not wagons, to the mill to have their grains ground. But beyond the transportation involved, the rest of the experience is much the same as it was 80 years ago. A trip to the mill was both a necessity as well as an opportunity for social networking, says Gregory Jeane, Ph.D., who has extensively studied Southern grist mills. The heyday of milling in Alabama, and much of the eastern U.S., was from 1850 to 1910, Jeane says; in 1880, more than 800 flouring and grist mills were widely scattered in the state, meaning most families lived in close proximity to a mill. Mills were often selected to be post offices, and larger mills often had ancillary operations, such as a lumber mill, a blacksmith shop, a general store and would serve as a voting location, Jeane says. Such activities meant the mill was a social center for rural communities, a place for adult men to discuss crops, livestock and politics. (“Going to the mill” was fundamentally a male outing, though sometimes the whole family would go along.) The number of working mills in Alabama today has dwindled to a handful, but at Finks Mill, the activity is much the same. The customers place their orders and spend the time waiting in conversation with neighbors and strangers. The camaraderie, as much as the cornmeal, is the draw. For the Finks, the customers become like family. “You get to where you’re attached to these people,” says Dolly Fink, Quin’s wife. Some of these folks have been coming here for decades, and some even remember the mill when it was new, Quin says. And the family plans to keep it going as long as they can. MARCH 2017 17

In this photo, which might be referred to today as a “selfie,” Draffus Lamar Hightower is seen with one of his many cameras.

Small town life through a lens By Jim Plott


n the early 1930s, Draffus Lamar Hightower purchased a cam“He admired the poor tenant farmers for their ability to endure era. The rest, as they say, is history. the hardships they faced as much as he respected the prominent For the next several decades, Hightower chronicled on film leaders of the community,” Thomason says. “His photographs of the essence of everyday life in a small but poor people, whether black or white, are vibrant southern town and the surroundsympathetic to their humanity.” ing rural southeast Alabama landscape. His own farming background – although far removed from that of the poor Those thousands of negatives, many of which are now archived at the University tenant farmer or sharecropper, yet still involving the toils of agricultural life – may of South Alabama in Mobile, chronicle a have added to his understanding. He was world and a way of life that no longer exone of six children reared on 240-acre ist, and to many cannot be comprehendfarm in adjacent Bullock County. ed. His fascination with technology, which “He traveled across the county, knew everybody and was never without his involved a short course in mechanics, cameras,” says former USA history proled him to Clayton, where he took a job fessor and archivist Michael V.R. Thomaat a Ford automobile dealership and later started a Chevrolet dealership. During son, who extensively studied Hightower’s that same time he met and married Marie works and wrote a book To Remember a Vanishing World: D.L. Hightower’s PhoTurner whose character contrasted greattographs of Barbour County, Alabama, c ly with the quiet unassuming Hightower. 1930-1965. State Sen. Billy Beasley, who as a child In his time, Hightower photographed recalls seeing “Mr. Draffus” around town, both the good and the struggles of everydescribed him as being pleasant, but reday life in a period from the Great Deserved. Clayton Mayor Rebecca Beasley holds a picture Hightower took of her when she was pression, World War II and the postwar “Growing up I didn’t realize he was a a baby. PHOTO BY JIM PLOTT photographer,” Beasley says. “I knew him decline of small towns. In capturing a variation of lifestyles, Hightower proved to be as a Chevrolet dealer and I know he was also very active in the adept at crossing over socio-economic levels and allowing his (Clayton) Methodist Church.” subjects to be themselves. In fact, a lot of people were unaware of his works until 1983 18  MARCH 2017


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Hightower took this photograph of Tom Parish Jr. holding an edition of The Clayton Record announcing the end of World War II. Tom Parish, now deceased, is the brother of Mayor Rebecca Beasley, who still operates the family owned weekly newspaper.

Visitors to Clayton City Hall view some of Hightower’s works. The town is trying to acquire funds to provide a permanent display of the photographs. PHOTO BY JIM PLOTT

This photograph of a farm couple is somewhat similar to Grant Wood’s famous painting, American Gothic, and is evidence that Hightower followed the works of other artists. Hightower was well read, and studied the photographs and paintings of others of his time.

when Hightower, who by then had long hung up his army of cameras, donated much of his work to the town of Clayton. The Hightower Collection Committee organized as a result of the donation and sought to obtain identities in the photographs first by approaching a frail Hightower and later by inviting residents to a showing at the Clayton Library. Clayton Mayor Rebecca Beasley, editor of The Clayton Record newspaper and spouse of Senator Beasley, had been familiar with Hightower’s photography since childhood, but it wasn’t until the town acquired the photograph collection that she really appreciated his work. “As a child we would see him taking pictures, but we didn’t really think anything about it,” Rebecca Beasley said. “Looking back you think I would never have thought of taking that picture because at the time it was just the way life was. Now it’s not common. He was photographing history.” While he never personally met Hightower, Thomason believes

the photographer was too well calculated and deliberate to have recorded his times by coincidence. “He was a historian with a photographer’s eye,” Thomason says. “He was not a snapshot photographer. He took pictures of weddings and football games and things like that, but he was clearly a documentary photographer.” Hightower’s photographs came to light in the early 1990s with the publication of the book by the Historic Chattahoochee Commission and Hightower was able to see his works displayed publicly at an exhibit in Huntsville and perhaps even one in Columbus, Ga. Hightower died on Sept. 2, 1993 at a nursing home in Troy. The city of Clayton hopes to permanently provide an exhibit of the photographs somewhere in the city, but has thus far been fiscally unable to devote funds to adequately display them. Anyone interested in learning more about the D.L. Hightower collection can contact Clayton City Hall at 334-775-9176.

James “Big Jim” Folsom greets state Sen. Clayton Preston in front of the old Barbour County courthouse during his successful 1946 campaign to become Alabama’s governor.

Ordinary scenes captured the eye of Hightower, like these men gathered outside a Clayton business.

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A spring spectacular:

First of a three-part series

Wildflower viewing in north Alabama Story and photos by Alfred Schotz


pringtime across north Alabama is a joyous season, one Such resistance imparts a profound influence on the variof celebrations and festivals heralding the arrival of a new ety and size of spring wildflower displays, where a slower rate year. As winter begins to loosen its grip, one of the reof nutrients available for plant growth makes for smaller, less gion’s greatest natural splendors gradually unfolds – a kaleicolorful displays. doscope of colors paraded by vibrant displays of wildflowers. The true glory of the region’s mountain summits, however, From the waning days of comes into full view later in March through May, wildflowthe season, the month of May ers of all shapes, sizes, and colacross north Alabama, as a ors will vie for attention from countless extravaganza of flowthose who want to witness their ering shrubs begin to flaunt endless glory. their grandeur. Mountain lauThe rich and varied landscape rel, rhododendron, azaleas, that makes up the northern part fringetree, and farkleberry will of the state is home to a remarknot disappoint, gracing rocky able variety of wildflowers. In ridges, streambanks, and pathfact, the region’s unique mix of ways with a palette of color. geology, topography, and soils North Alabama abounds has favored some of the most in numerous opportunities to diverse and striking plant life know and appreciate the reanywhere across North Amergion’s wildflower bounty and ica. rich botanical heritage. As Limestone and soils derived spring evolves from the first from limestone are abundant, woodland flowers to the festival especially along major streams of colors exhibited by rhodoand lower slopes, and can help dendron and mountain laurel explain the story behind the in May, a multitude of footpaths profusion of wildflowers that will beckon the earnest daytime debut every spring. explorer. By its very nature, limestone A sample of options are ofis softer and can dissolve more fered here. Easily accessible quickly than most rock types, public conservation areas offer allowing greater amounts of trails to bring visitors up close nutrients essential for growth to for some of the finest wildflowbecome rapidly available. With er viewing to be found anythis higher influx of nutrients where in north Alabama. comes a luxuriant and diverse In visiting the sites highlightarray of wildflowers and other Downy Yellow Violet (Viola pensylvanica) - TVA Nature Park, near ed for this article, the visitor Florence. plant life. should be mindful of staying on In climbing upward to the high slopes and ridge tops of trails to avoid trampling plants and most importantly, not to north Alabama’s loftiest elevations, one may detect a difference pick flowers so others can enjoy. To get the most from your in the kind and number of wildflowers from those at lower visit, proper clothing and a camera will be invaluable, and dealtitudes. Covering the summits of Lookout, Sand, and othpending on how long you plan to hike, be certain to have suffier mountains in the region is a rock cap largely consisting of cient food and water on hand. sandstone. Unlike limestone, sandstone is more resistant to the forces of nature, able to greatly withstand the rigors of wind Alfred Schotz is a botanist with the Auburn University Museum and rain. of Natural History.

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TVA Nature Trail Complex

How to get there: Accessible from a paved parking area on the south side of the Tennessee River on the eastern outskirts of Muscle Shoals. To reach the parking area, proceed east on Wilson Dam Highway roughly 1.5 miles from Woodward Avenue (U.S. Highway 43) in Muscle Shoals to Thunder Road. Turn left onto Thunder Road and continue 600 feet to the parking area. Three trails showcasing easy wildflower viewing are the Old Fort Trail, Old First Quarters Trail, and the Rockpile Trail. T r a i l condition: Trail difficulty is easy, with some uphill walking for trails near the Tennessee River, specifically on return to the parking area. Best time to visit: Late March – midApril. Striking wildflower displays can be observed in short walking distances, with the most colorful on lower slopes nearest the Tennessee River.

Point Rock Trail – Bucks Pocket State Park

How to get there: Bucks Pocket State Park straddles the Jackson-DeKalb county line, and is easily reached by driving northeast from Guntersville or northwest from Geraldine on State Highway 227 following signs to the park entrance. The trail has two access points, one within the camping area (currently closed) and the other off County Road 556. Trail condition: Trail difficulty is easy to moderate, becoming steeper near the summit of Sand Mountain at Point Rock. A trailhead also exists at the summit of Sand Mountain off County Road 556, allowing easy walking to the Point Rock overlook. Best time to visit: Late March – mid-May. The portion of the trail nearest the camping area is situated in a sheltered valley, and is a favorite viewing spot for early spring wildflowers from late March to mid-April. During early to mid-May, mountain laurel and purple rhododendron can be observed along the uppermost section at the summit of Sand Mountain in the vicinity of Point Rock, a scenic overlook off County Road 556.

Thompson Creek Trail – Bankhead National Forest

How to get there: The trailhead is marked by a kiosk at the end of County Road 3 in the western portion of the Sipsey Wilderness, Bankhead National Forest. The parking area can only be reached by driving east on County Road 3 roughly 4 miles from Lawrence County Road 303, south of Mt. Hope. Trail condition: The trail is rated as moderate, but is relatively level with a small number of gentle inclines and narrow stream crossings generally consisting of step-overs. The trail is roughly 6.5 miles long, returning to the parking area the same way going in. Best time to visit: Late March – mid-April. A premier sites for spring wildflowers in north Alabama, the trail meanders along Thompson Creek, passing spectacular displays of early spring flora, impressive rock formations, and small waterfalls.

Alabama Living

North Alabama wildflower trails

Little River Canyon National Preserve

How to get there: Preserve is on the summit of Lookout Mountain, roughly 7 miles east of Fort Payne off State Highway 35. Along Highway 176 between State Highway 35 in the north and the Canyon Mouth Picnic Area at the south, several options exist, either as short walks or quick stops at overlooks, for viewing some of the most stunning wildflower displays in the northern part of the state. Trail condition: The Eberhart Point Trail into Little River Canyon is rated as mode r a t e difficulty and upon returning to the canyon rim, will be the most strenuous of the trails suggested for viewing wildflowers in the Preserve. Best time to visit: Mid-April – late May. Mountain laurel, azalea, rhododendron, and fringetree are in full splendor throughout May with Eberhart Point Overlook, and the Beaver Pond and Little Falls Trails having some of the finest displays. Pageants of wildflowers can be viewed at several places along Highway 176, with some of the best and easily accessed being the Lynn Overlook, the Beaver Pond Trail, and the Eberhart Point Trail. MARCH 2017 25

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March | Around Alabama Bryant-Talbot home and more. Quilts created by local artists will be available to view at the Wilcox Female Institute. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 youth and children 6 and under free, and are available at the Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center and Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photo courtesy of Landmark Park.


Spring Farm Day at Landmark Park in Dothan will be March 18.

Saturdays in March, Clanton, March Gourd Madness, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Local gourd artists of Central Alabama and Wetumpka Gourd Patches will demonstrate, show and sell gourd art. 703 2nd Ave. N. 205-245-9441


Centre, Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, 6 a.m.-12 p.m. Join the Lions Club for pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and coffee to help fund community service projects. Tickets $5. First United Methodist Church of Centre Gym, 341 W. Main Street.


Gulf Shores, Ballyhoo, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Featuring live entertainment, fine art, performing arts, petting zoo, local cuisine and more. 225 East 24th Ave. www.gulfcoastartsalliance.com


Huntsville, 5th annual Community Kite Festival for “Soaring for Social Justice.” 11 a.m.-3 p.m., John Hunt Park, Jaycee Building, 2180 Airport Road. Children’s activities, food vendors, crafts and more. Contact the event chair at praveena@ashakiranonline.org.


Hamilton, 15th Annual Jerry Brown Arts Festival, Saturday-9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Tombigbee Electric Cooperative, 3196 County Highway 55. Indoor juried arts festi-

val named in honor of Hamilton resident and Smithsonian potter, Jerry Brown. Featuring pottery, folk art, painting and more. Free. Jbaf.org


Enterprise, “MJ Live-A Michael Jackson Tribute Concert” at the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center. Relive the energy, excitement and spectacle of legendary superstar Michael Jackson and his music as portrayed by Jalles Franca. Come hear several Michael Jackson favorites. For ticket prices and more information, contact the Coffee County Arts Alliance at 334-4062787 or visit www.coffeecountyartsalliance.com.

children under 2. 430 Landmark Park Drive. www.landmarkparkdothan.com


Camden, Wilcox Historical Society’s Tour of Homes, “A Tour Around the River’s Bend.” Features homes in Canton Bend, Possum Bend, Sedan and Camden. Tour includes Dry Fork, Liberty Hall, White Columns, Yaupon and the Beck-

Hillsboro, Miss Annie Wheeler’s Heirloom Plant Sale at Pond Spring, the General Joe Wheeler home. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Numerous plants offered. Special to the sale are boxwoods propagated from the English Dwarf variety the General’s daughter, Miss Annie, planted on site nearly 100 years ago. Other plants available for sale include spider lilies, snowbells, daffodils, irises, day-lilies, and more, all harvested from Miss Annie’s historic gardens. Proceeds will fund future restoration efforts on the 50-acre site. Fee charged to tour museum. Contact Kara Long at pondspringdirector@gmail.com or 256-637-8513.


Bay Minette, Car Show benefiting William F. Green Veterans Home, 300 Faulkner Drive. Trophies and awards for top models in street rods, sports cars, foreign cars, antique cars, trucks and motorcycles. Cash awards for best of show. Contact Lew Rice, 302-561-5231.


Selma, 6th annual Alabama River Chili Cook-off, hosted by the Leadership Selma-Dallas Class XVIII. 4-8 p.m., Historic Water Ave. Features Alabama’s best amateur and seasoned chefs. Proceeds benefit a local charity. Lesliefree@pinebelt.net


Dothan, Spring Farm Day at Landmark Park. Turn back the clock 100 years and experience living history demonstrations of sheep shearing, blacksmithing, plowing with mules, basket weaving, quilting and other traditional springtime activities. Entertainment includes an Old Time Fiddlers Convention and traditional music. 10 a.m-4 p.m., $8 adults, $6 seniors and active military, $4 kids, free for members and

“MJ Live-a Michael Jackson Tribute Concert” will be March 9 at Enterprise High Performing Arts Center.

To place an event, e-mail events@alabamaliving.coop. or visit www.alabamaliving.coop. You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations.

Alabama Living


Photo courtesy of the Coffee County Arts Alliance.

Month of March Dauphin Island, Spring Bird Migration, Audubon Bird Sanctuary. Come observe neo-tropic migrant birds and their first landfall after their flight across the Gulf from Central and South America. A total of 347 species have been reported on the island. Free. 213 Bienville Blvd. Dauphinisland.org

Fairhope, Cardinals in the Courtyard. Features a jazz band, heavy hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auctions. Held at the new campus of Saint Michael Catholic High School. Tickets are $60 per person and available through Eventbrite. Stmichaelchs.org

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| Gardens |

Grow your own sunshine:

Tips for home citrus production


hat could be better than starting the day with a glass of freshsqueezed orange juice? Squeezing that juice from an orange harvested right outside your door, of course, which is more possible than you might imagine. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and other citrus fruits are tropical (to semi-tropical) plants that are primarily produced for the commercial U.S. market in frost-free regions of Florida, California, Arizona and Texas. But Alabama actually has a long and storied history of citrus production along our Gulf Coast, particularly with satsuma mandarin oranges, the production of which has been a waxing and waning there for more than a century. In the past, that industry waned during cycles of extremely cold winters that severely damaged or killed citrus trees and crops, which in turn affected the ability of area growers to sustain markets for their fruit. Over the last few decades, however, research on cold-protection practices and the development of freeze-resistant cultivars have revitalized satsuma production in the state and even helped expand it as far north as central Alabama. One of the more northerly Alabama citrus producers is John Neighbors, who produces a wide variety of produce on his farm located on the Coosa-Tallapoosa county line near Alexander City, including (but not limited to) satsumas, Meyer lemons and limes. One key to Neighbor’s success has been his use of high tunnels (also called hoop houses), which are tall greenhouse-like structures typically comprised of metal or plastic pipe frames covered in plastic sheeting that can be removed or rolled up when warm weather arrives. Though high tunnels are a relatively af-

Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at katielamarjackson@ gmail.com.

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fordable way to provide cover and warmth to plants during cold weather, they may not be a viable option for home gardeners. Luckily, there are ways to grow citrus on a

Meyer lemons can be grown in containers on your patio, but bring them inside if freezing temps are predicted.

small scale in almost any part of Alabama by choosing freeze-tolerant cultivars and providing them with the proper growing conditions. If you’re interested in growing some liquid sunshine, here are some options. For those living in central Alabama and south, citrus trees can be planted in the ground (and now is a great time to plant them, by the way). They just need a spot with full sun, well-drained soil and some protection from winter winds and freezing temperatures, such as a site near the south side of a house or other structure (though not too close to sewer and water lines or patios and sidewalks, where citrus trees’ extensive root systems can cause trouble). For those in more northerly regions of the state or gardeners who don’t have an ideal site for in-ground trees, many citrus species do beautifully when grown in containers. These potted citrus trees look fabulous on a patio or in a sunny spot in the yard during the warm seasons and can be brought inside during the winter. Just make sure the container is large enough to accommodate root growth, is equipped with

drain holes and is filled with a high-quality, well-draining soil media. Home garden citrus trees require little maintenance — proper watering and fertilization and attention to pest or disease threats are the biggest concerns — so they can be easy and attractive additions to the landscape. But it pays to explore all the ins and outs. Ask for advice from local gardeners who have successfully grown citrus, or check with your local Alabama Cooperative Extension System office or local plant centers or nurseries for help. You can also find information online, including one helpful Extension publication, Citrus for Southern and Coastal Alabama (www.aces.edu/ pubs/docs/A/ANR-0603/index2.tmpl), which lists suitable varieties for Alabama and offers detailed advice on planting and caring for citrus, advice that can be helpful even if you live in farther north in the state. Once you’ve got the details in hand, it may not be long before you can have some liquid sunshine in hand!

March Tips   

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Prepare garden tools, power equipment and pots for spring planting. Amend garden soils with compost, manure and other organic materials. Gradually remove winter mulch from garden beds as plants show signs of new growth. Fertilize garden perennials as new growth appears. Plant green peas, snow peas, asparagus, horseradish and artichokes early in the month. Plant seeds for eggplant, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, leeks, onions, early potatoes and radishes. Sow seeds for lettuce, carrots and other early summer spring vegetables later in the month. Plant strawberries, blueberries, grapes and fruit trees. Begin fertilizing houseplants. Weed garden or flowerbeds as soon as weeds emerge. Clean out birdhouses and feeders. www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

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Deer me! What’s eating your landscape?

Caught in the act: A young deer takes his pick of greens in a well-tended garden. PHOTO BY TEDDY FISHER

By Pamela A. Keene


he succulent plants you so carefully tend in your garden are like an oasis in a desert—a feast for the eyes and stomach, waiting to be harvested at just the right time. Sometimes, though, the fruits of your labor are prematurely usurped by a garden intruder impressed by what it sees as a gourmet, all-you-can-eat buffet. “Deer are looking for the highest-quality food, and our yards often offer the best smorgasbord,” said Dana Sanchez, a wildlife specialist for Oregon State University Extension Service. “When taking loving care of our plants—watering well and fertilizing—we’re producing a really superior plant compared to what’s in the natural environment. They are more tender and have more nutrition and water content.” How do you keep deer from feasting on what you want to enjoy? According to nationally recognized gardening expert Joe Lamp’l, creator and host of the award-winning PBS television series, “Growing a Greener World,” there are three primary strategies: exclusion through physical barriers, repellents and making appropriate plant choices. “There’s no foolproof method for keeping deer from eating your landscape if they’re hungry enough, but there are some ways to minimize the damage,” said Lamp’l. “It takes persistence and a few tricks, but you can keep deer at bay.”

Fence them out

The most reliable way to address a deer issue is to create a physical barrier or a way to exclude deer from your landscape, Lamp’l said. “Building a fence around your vegetable garden will do a great deal to reduce deer damage, but not just any fence will do,” he said. Lamp’l suggests building a double, three32  MARCH 2017

strand fence, like those used for livestock protection. Mount plastic insulators on 36-inch wooden, fiberglass or metal stakes. Make two concentric circles around the area, 3 feet apart. String the stakes in each circle together with wire strands, placing the wire in the outside circle, 18 inches from the ground. Then put two strands on the inner stakes at 10 and 24 inches. “A deer’s depth perception is not good, so they will sense the presence of the two fences, but will be very unlikely to attempt to jump both,” said Michael Mengak, wildlife specialist professor at the University of Georgia. “You’ve created a visual and physical barrier against them without putting up an unsightly, stockade-style fence. A deer may try to jump the fence, but it won’t be able to clear both circles. It will most likely jump back out than attempt to cross the inner fence’s 24-inch barrier.” Electricity—either through solar power or a battery-operated source—can be added, but Lamp’l says that is not necessary in most cases. If a double fence is not practical from a space standpoint, he suggests building a standard fence from posts and chicken wire, woven field wire or welded mesh wire at least 8 feet tall. Make sure the fencing is tight against the ground. Deer will not burrow, but they will look for an easy way to go under it. Individual plants or smaller plant groupings can be protected by draping them with lightweight netting. Loosely secure the netting around the base of the plant to prevent the deer from nibbling on the leaves.

Turn to repellents

Frustrated gardeners have resorted to a variety of techniques to try to deter Bambi and friends from foraging and grazing on prized roses, vegetables and hydrangeas: human hair, Irish Spring soap shavings,

aluminum pie pans suspended on string, motion-activated lights and water sprinklers. Others have tried crushing garlic, concocting a mixture of fragrant herbs or spraying capsaicin oil onto plants to keep the deer away. “Some of these methods may work for the short term, but deer are creatures of habit and they’ll adjust to these attempts to add a human scent to frighten them,” said Neil Soderstrom, author of Deer-Resistant Landscaping: Proven Advice and Strategies for Outwitting Deer and 20 Other Pesky Mammals. “We’ve heard of people using powdered baby formula, homemade concoctions that contain rosemary or other herbs, hot sauce, and even human or animal urine,” he said. Soderstrom said commercially available repellents have a higher success rate, but the key is to alternate their use. “The odor will dissipate over time, so you must be diligent in applying them every 10 days or so, and after it rains,” he said. Recognized brands are Liquid Fence, Deer Away, Deer Out, Deer Stopper and Hinder. They are applied directly to leaves and the stem to create smells and tastes offensive to deer. Repellex offers two types of repellents: a liquid spray applied to the plants and leaves, and systemic tablets or granular forms put into the soil, then absorbed into the plant, making it bitter to animals. The process takes several weeks, so it is important to use a spray on the foliage the first few weeks. Most box retailers and nurseries offer a choice of products in liquids, concentrates or powders. Completely read the labels, including cautions, before using to ensure the product is safe when used on fruits and vegetables. www.alabamaliving.coop

For an organic deer-repellent that is marketed as fertilizer, try Milorganite—a wastewater treatment byproduct that has been produced by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District for more than 90 years. Milorganite is the result of recycling nutrients in the city’s wastewater by using microbes that are then kiln-dried, bagged and sold. The organic nitrogen-based slow-release fertilizer produces an odor that is offensive to deer. “I’ve seen it used as a fertilizer and deer repellent, and the deer don’t seem to browse in areas treated with Milorganite,” Lamp’l said. “I find it to be very effective.”

Pick native plants

plants with those deer do not like can reduce the chance of having your colorful flower beds mowed to the ground. Mixing marigolds with pentas or lantana or Angelonia with impatiens tends to keep deer from grazing. Some gardeners intersperse pansies with spring onions to make deer work harder to sort out the plants they like to eat. “Use ‘decoy plants’ around your landscape to attract deer away from your valued plants,” Lamp’l said. “For instance, give up part of your property to deer-friendly plants in hopes that they will focus on this readily available food source. However, if the deer are hungry enough, they will eat anything, so no method is completely effective.” As creatures of habit, deer tend to feed in the same areas for generations—which can be problematic when invading their territory to create new neighborhoods, compromising their food and water sources. “The key is making sure we have a way to live with wildlife,” Mengak said. “It may mean habitat modification, but it’s important to strike a balance between the needs of people and the needs of animals.” Check your local county extension office website for plant recommendations specific to your area and hardiness zone.

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In the wild, plants develop defenses such as waxy leaves or prickles that make them more adapted to surviving grazing. Even when they do get nibbled, natives are more likely to survive than the succulent plants in our gardens. “We’re often selecting plants from other parts of the world that didn’t get to learn through evolution about the herbivores in our ecosystem,” Sanchez said. “They’re naïve. Even roses that have prickles don’t have them around the beautiful blossoms,

which the deer just snap off. They easily take what they want.” Choosing the right kinds of plants— those deer typically do not like—can reduce the likelihood of free-range foraging in your landscape. “Native plants are among the best bets for your garden and landscape,” Lamp’l said. “Native plants evolved at the same time as your area’s wildlife and developed their own resistance to deer feeding to survive.” Some plants are more appealing to hungry deer than others. Daylilies, hydrangeas, hosta, azaleas, rhododendron, roses, fruit trees, arborvitae and Leyland cypress are ready-made food sources. Garden experts recommend not planting these if you have a high-traffic deer area. Instead, look for plants and trees on the less-likely-to-be-eaten list, including boxwoods, hollies, ornamental grasses, hellebores/Lenten roses, ferns, butterfly bushes, cedar trees, redwoods and hemlocks. Consider planting them in the outer reaches of your landscape. “Deer are determined and persistent when it comes to filling their tummies,” Sanchez noted. Sometimes combining deer-desirable

| Worth the drive |

Kora’s Place:

Serving soul food with compassion By Sarah Russell


not her name. o serve others takes a special heart. Menu selection is just the beginning of The place is as unassuming as Miss The young airman and the special the challenges faced here. Appetites easily Cora. They might have lived all over the education teacher no doubt saw that go into overload just trying to maneuver U.S. and in Europe, but it was a firm dein each other. After two decades, multiple down the move-over-Paula-Deen buffet cision that Kora’s would be nothing but tours of duty, and four kids later, Cora and – a true tribute to all the comfort foods downhome – nothing metro or Euro here. former Master Sgt. Lacornia Harris were Southerners do best. Insider tip: Do not Its modest storefront reflects an attitude of ready for their second act. The plan? Come pass up the cookbook-included peach come-as-you-are, come hungry and come back to Lacornia’s hometown, Demopolis, cobbler or any of the real-pit smoked BBQ set up a coffee shop and items. see how they could help The locals would say make a difference there. you’re not tasting some What they found for of Kora’s finest till you sale, though, was a fullbite into one of their size restaurant. They legendary burgers. A couldn’t have known TripAdvisor reviewer then how perfect havpraised them as “Mama ing all that extra space made,” meaning fresh would be. Things were 100 percent ground going to get crowded at beef, seasoned and their place as the local made into patties right and national attention there. Lots of choickept showing up. es here too, but don’t They were included miss the one you can in the 2012 cookbook hold over the fast foodAlabama Food, Classic ies fanatics – The Big Dishes, Restaurants and Daddy, a hefty blend of Chefs, published by the sausage and beef. But Alabama Department the biggest is the Super of Tourism. Noted food Burger, weighing in at expert Jon McClure 3 pounds. And that’s selected Kora’s Place without the muffaletta for his Alabama’s Best bun. Restaurants cookbook. “A lot of people buy Quite an honor for them and take them Kora’s as McClure dehome for the family. clared, “Those chosen One will feed at least represent the best at 5 or 6 people. If you’re their specialty.” And a really a meat lover, it film crew for the Food will feed four,” says Network Show “Roker Cora. on the Road,” which It comes with a chalClockwise from top left: Kora’s buffet is full of Southern comfort food, ; Lacornia Harris, co-owner, greets customers; Cora Harris, co-owner, with the other ladies of Kora’s - Serlena lenge: Put the combo features NBC weatherman Al Roker, was Craig, left, and Kaeena Keller, right. Harris shows how the Super Burger fills a whole plate down, fries and drink, PHOTOS COURTESY FLEMING PHOTOGRAPHY too, and you get it free. lured in by Kora’s tasty fare. Your picture joins the The biggest challenge in the beginning, pull up a chair with the rest of the folks in other 15 on the Wall of Fame, not to be though, was just getting the sign up. The the community. confused with the very crowded Wall of Everything’s big at Kora’s, starting with Harris kids wanted the place named for Shame. their mother. She was having none of it. the size of the menu. Breakfast, lunch and The family has taken on some challengDid not, would not have her name on that dinner include all the standards, and even es themselves. Kora’s Thanksgiving dinner storefront. Compromise reached, it besome old friends like a bologna sandwich has become a way the Harris family gives came “Kora’s Place” – with a “K” mind you, or French toast. back. So the tables are set for all who want 34  MARCH 2017


As the sun is coming up over Kora’s Place, food is already being prepared.

to come. Whether you have family or not, money or not, bring an appetite and have a seat. For this event, Cora has her favorite assistant cooks, the three Harris girls. One daughter is now at the Redstone Arsenal, another a lawyer in Birmingham, and the youngest a local teacher. The fourth Harris, the son, is also in public service, stationed at the same air base his father once was. Serving others is obviously a lesson learned at home. Since Kora’s start, the family has joined the volunteers of the Coming Together Organization to provide Christmas meals. What began for Cora and Lacornia as a contribution of 300 plates grew to 2,500 last year. Cora makes it clear the hungry don’t need a holiday at Kora’s. “We’re always open to feed whoever needs it. We don’t turn anyone down. We take care of them.” Outside of Kora’s, the Harris family has found other ways to feed those in need. Lacornia and other ministers in the local Ministerial Alliance have put together special worship services open to parishioners of all the local churches. This true coming together not only helps to unite the community, but it serves another purpose as well. “The funds for that are used for people in need in the community,” Cora says. The Harris family uses their gifts to nourish folks with food, with compassion, with hope. No doubt there are lots of folks who are grateful to have them and their good hearts downhome again.

Kora’s Place

1621 Highway 43 S. Demopolis, AL 36732 334-289-4911 www.koraplace.com Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday

Alabama Living


MARCH 2017 35

| Alabama People |

Rescuing history

Garlan Gudger

Garlan Gudger, co-owner of Southern Accents Architectural Antiques in Cullman, has built a national reputation in the architectural salvage business. He’s one of the curators of Southern Makers, an annual Alabama event that celebrates Southern creativity and innovation, which this year moves from Montgomery to Birmingham Aug 5-6. – Lenore Vickrey


ow did your interest in salvaging pieces of old homes and buildings start? My dad, Garlan Gudger, Sr. started this business in 1969, before I was even born, so this business is all I’ve ever known! As a young boy, I would roller skate through the store and dig through buckets of old door knobs. Having been raised around this business, I not only learned to love architectural relics but more importantly, I learned to appreciate them.


hat’s the oldest piece of salvage material you’ve found? Since Southern Accents only carries American architectural antiques, I rarely find anything that I can date earlier than the early 1700s. However, I do have a cast iron fireback that is dated 1678. It is the oldest American piece I have ever rescued. It is on display in our showroom and it is marked “not for sale!”


hy is it important to save these pieces of old structures? Architectural antiques are part of our American history. Each time we lose a historic building, we lose part of our past. By saving architectural pieces – solid wood doors, mantels, lights, corbels, trim, wrought iron, salvaged wood and more – we can give these incredible pieces a chance at a second life. Not only does this help preserve a piece of our history, but it contributes to the sustainability of some of our natural resources. If not saved, many of these pieces would end up in a landfill. The craftsmanship seen in so many of the rescued pieces is a dying art and needs to be preserved for future generations.


here do you see your business in the next 10 years? Southern Accents has seen a tremendous amount of growth the last few years. We have our own wood shop where we produce quality restoration and custom work. Our salvaged wood business has grown and now encompasses two warehouses of 30,000 square feet. We’ve started taking on more commercial design and installation jobs and the past couple of years have expanded our business to include event staging. My goal for the next 10 years is to continue doing what I love: rescue, restore, protect and document architectural elements of historical significance.


36 MARCH 2017


Letters Continued from Page 10 beaver, or anyone’s mother-in-law. It was a solid black cat. It was not as big as a Florida panther-about three-quarters as big, but it had a long tail and the head was definitely feline. I looked up the suggested animals Mr. Felsher suggested and none of them were close to what I saw. What was it? Just a great big cat. What kind? I don’t know, but it’s not the first one I’ve seen. I would love to know what kind it really is. So let the perennial “sure you have’s” begin....I know what I saw.

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Big cats seen

I can tell you unequivocally and without reservation or malice toward none, I have seen a big cat in Alabama. I have seen the track of a big cat in Alabama and I have heard the scream of a big cat in Alabama. And being of sound mind, body, good eyesight and not tipper of the bottle or can, I can attest to the fact there has been at least one “big cat “ in Alabama. The sighting was about ten years ago while hunting with a friend on his land in southern Autauga County, near the community of Jones and within a mile of Walker Lake. First, the year before we noticed the deer population was not what it had been. The track spotted was on a sandy spot on the woods road. The sighting of the big cat was while my friend was on the tractor bushhogging the roads and green fields and I was making repairs to a camping trailer he had placed there years earlier. I heard the screams for several minutes and thought it was coming from a circular saw, as there was a house nearby, but after becoming more curious, I looked down through the woods and small brush toward the direction of the noise and saw a full-size cat looking in my direction from about one hundred yards plus or minus. I immediately came down off the ladder and at that point, the big cat turned sideways to me and I could clearly see it appeared to be full grown, was at least three feet long and had the head and tan color of a full grown mountain lion. After getting on the ground to retrieve my rifle from the truck, I have not seen him since. It was not a panther, coyote, dog, bear, deer, or other species of known animal and I was not hallucinating. We hunted the area only once or twice after that because there were too few deer spotted. James L. McLean, Titus Alabama Living

MARCH 2017 37

| Consumer Wise |

Energy efficient trees?

How landscaping can help you save energy By Patrick Keegan and Amy Wheeless they do not disrupt your foundation or your roof as they grow. While it will be five to 10 years before a newly planted tree will begin providing shade to your roof, it can start shading windows immediately. Incorporate other plants to provide near-term shade. Shrubs, bushes and vines can quickly shade windows and walls. Also consider any paved areas around your home and how you can shade them during the summer. Think about walking across your driveway barefoot on a hot July afternoon—if your driveway or patio is unshaded, it is probably quite difficult. That absorbed heat is also reflecting onto your home, causing your air conditioner to work even harder. You can use trees, hedges and other landscaping structures such as arbors to shade these paved areas.

Deciduous trees on the south and west sides of your home can deflect hot summer sun. PHOTO BY ALAN DAVEY HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/ADAVEY/10494825644/


This year, I am planning to redesign my yard. Are there landscaping features I can incorporate that will help my home be more comfortable indoors?


Late winter and early spring are great times to think about changes you want to make to your home’s landscape. While the goal of most lawn and garden projects is to bring beauty to your outdoor space, a well-designed project can also improve your energy bill, increase the overall value of your home and provide additional benefits, such as reduced noise pollution, optimized water use and cleaner air around your home. The two best strategies for improving the energy efficiency of your home with landscaping are to incorporate shading in the summer and wind blocking in the winter.

Summer shading

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, shading your home is the most cost-effective way to reduce heat gain from the sun and reduce your air conditioning costs in the summer. Having more plants and trees in your yard can reduce the air temperature by up to 6 degrees Fahrenheit. Planting deciduous trees on the south, southwest and west sides of your home can cut heating during hot summer months, while allowing sunlight through during the fall and winter, when the trees have lost their leaves. When planting trees, consider the expected shape and height of the mature trees and where they will shade your home. A tree with a high mature height planted on the south side of a home, for example, will provide all-day roof shading in the summer, while a lower tree on the west side of your home can protect your home from the lower afternoon sun. Plant trees an appropriate distance away from your home so

Wind-blocking techniques

If your home is in an open area without many structures around it, cold winter winds may be increasing your heating bills. A windbreak on your property can help deflect these winds over your home. The most common type of windbreak uses a combination of conifer (evergreen) trees and shrubs to block wind from the ground to the top of your home. For the best windbreak effect, plant these features on the north and northwest sides of your home at a distance of between two and five times the height of the mature trees. Incorporating a wall or fence can further assist with the wind break. Another insulating technique is to plant shrubs and bushes closer to your home, but at least one foot away. The space between these plants and your home is “dead air space,” which helps insulate your home during winter and summer months. The particular landscaping strategies you should focus on will depend on your climate zone. If you live in a hot, arid climate, you should focus on maximizing shading to your roof and windows for much of the year, while a home in a hot, humid climate will want to maximize summer shade. Regardless of where you are located, if you live near powerlines, talk with your electric co-op about how far away newly planted trees should be from these lines before making any final design decisions to your yard. This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Amy Wheeless of Collaborative Efficiency. For more ideas on energy efficient landscaping, please visit: www.collaborativeefficiency.com/energytips. Your home’s climate zone will dictate the best energy efficiency landscaping strategy. PHOTO BY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-forprofit electric cooperatives. Write to energytips@ collaborativeefficiency.com for more information.

38  MARCH 2017


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Alabama Living

MARCH 2017 39

| Outdoors |

In touch with nature

Celebrate delta’s wetland riches in an up-close way

The 4,000-square-foot Apalachee Exhibit Hall at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort features many displays highlighting the delta ecology, beauty and natural diversity, including taxidermy displays of various animals, artwork and other items. PHOTOS BY JOHN N. FELSHER


ptly named and situated where the Mobile, Tensaw, Blakeley, Apalachee and Spanish rivers converge to create the 250,000-acre Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center covers 80 acres of reclaimed marshes along U.S. Highway 98, more commonly known as Battleship Parkway or the Causeway. The complex between Mobile and Spanish Fort will celebrate its 10th anniversary on April 13, 2017. “The reason the facility is here is because we want to be the gateway to the delta for the purposes of conservation education, outdoor recreation and land stewardship,” Hank Burch, center manager, says. “It’s important to us to get people in touch with these resources and physically experience them so they can take better care of the resources and take ownership of them.” The crowning jewel, the 4,000-squarefoot Apalachee Exhibit Hall, features natuJohn N. Felsher is a freelance writer and photographer who writes from Semmes, Ala. Contact him through his website at www. JohnNFelsher.com

40 MARCH 2017

ral displays highlighting the delta ecology, beauty and natural diversity. Exhibits include taxidermy displays of various animals, artwork and other items. Open free to the public, the hall also contains live owls, mammals, reptiles, fish and many other exhibits. “We have two live opossums, which are always visitor favorites,” says Shonda Borden, the assistant manager. “We have live fish, snakes, turtles, birds and alligators. Kids love the live spiders and insects, but they often creep out the parents. It’s important to teach children that we have a tremendous amount of insects and arachnids that are very important to the environment.” Visitors can even peer into an actual osprey nest. Staffers found the nest built very low to the water, making it vulnerable to storms. After the adult ospreys successfully fledged two healthy offspring, staffers brought the nest back to the museum. “The nest was probably built by young ospreys and a storm would have taken it out,” Borden says. “We wanted those two adult ospreys to build another nest that was less vulnerable to the elements. Visitors can look inside the nest and see what the birds had been eating. People can see

fish catfish bones, fish scales and a crab shell.” Visitors can peruse the exhibits at their leisure or request a free guided tour. The center accommodates about 8,000 to 12,000 student groups per year. Many tours begin in the 90-seat Tensaw Theater, which periodically shows nature documentaries. “Most students are from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, but we also get middle school, high school and even some college groups,” Borden says. “We also get Boy and Girl Scout groups, senior citizen groups and even veteran groups.” After visiting the museum, people might take a hike on one of the trails meandering through pine and oak forests. The Battery Trail overlooks Sardine Pass and the Blakeley River. A mulched path runs through the trees and shrubs of Bowles Wood. Finish the outing with a picnic. Visitors can use two pavilions and multiple picnic tables on a first-come, first-served basis for free or reserve them for a small fee. Cap off the day by visiting the Cypress Gift Shop. While hiking, visitors might spot various reptiles, raccoons, opossums and other animals or see evidence of their presence. The area attracts more than 300 bird species throughout the year. During warmer www.alabamaliving.coop

Alabama Living

MARCH 2017  41

months, look for alligators in adjacent waters. Endangered Alabama redbelly turtles lay eggs on the grounds. People who prefer water can launch paddle craft at a new facility. No boat? Rent a canoe or kayak at Bartram Landing or take a two-hour narrated delta tour on a pontoon boat. “We now have an ABA-compliant wheelchair accessible canoe and kayak launching facility,” Burch says. “We also have a new camping shelter in the swamp that’s only accessible by boat. We also operate the Bartram Canoe Trail where people can reserve floating campsites in the delta.” The center also rents spaces for banquets, luncheons, weddings, business meetings, receptions or other such events. People can even request to rent facilities after hours. Up to 120 people can sit down for a meal or 300 can participate in other functions. Throughout the year, the facility holds special events. In conjunction with the city of Spanish Fort, the Delta Woods and Waters Expo will be held April 27-29. In the fall, bird enthusiasts from all over will flock to the Alabama Coastal BirdFest. Also in the fall, children of all ages might enjoy trick or treating or taking a haunted hayride at Halloween. Special this fall, the center will host a traveling Smithsonian exhibit called “Waterways” from mid-November through mid-January, one of only six locations in Alabama to see it. “Water is a big part of our story here at Five Rivers,” Burch says. “We wanted to bring in this exhibit and add a lot of local content to it. It takes a global perspective on water as a natural and cultural resource that ties humanity together.” The Five Rivers Delta Resource Center, which is run by the state land management division, remains open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 251-625-0814. Visit www. outdooralabama.com/5-rivers-alabamas-delta-resource-center. Shonda Borden, the assistant manager of the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center in Spanish Fort, admires a stuffed bear on display in the Apalachee Exhibit Hall. The hall has displays of most of the animals that live or once lived in Alabama.

Hank Burch, manager for the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center, shows a live gray rat snake to Kathy Hicks. The snake is one of several live specimens of animals that live in Alabama on display at the center in Spanish Fort, Ala.

42  MARCH 2017


Tables indicate peak fish and game feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour before and an hour after. Minor peaks, half-hour before and after. Adjusted for daylight savings time.

a.m. p.m. Minor Major Minor Major

MAR. 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

01:31 01:46 02:16 02:31 12:16 03:31 11:31 09:31 10:01 10:31 11:01 11:31 -06:16 12:46 01:31 02:16

07:31 07:46 08:01 08:31 08:46 09:16 03:46 04:01 04:16 04:46 05:01 05:31 05:46 12:16 06:46 07:16 07:46

08:16 09:01 10:01 ----01:31 02:46 03:46 04:31 05:16 06:16 07:01 07:46 08:46 09:46

01:46 02:31 03:16 04:01 05:16 06:46 08:01 09:01 09:46 10:31 11:01 11:46 12:01 12:31 01:16 02:01 02:46

APR. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

03:01 04:01 10:01 08:46 09:31 10:01 10:31 11:01 05:16 -12:01 12:31 01:01 01:31 02:01 02:31 03:16 08:01 10:16 09:01 09:31 10:01 04:16 04:31 05:01 12:01 12:46 01:16 02:01 03:01

08:16 08:46 01:31 02:46 03:31 04:01 04:31 05:01 11:31 05:31 06:01 06:16 06:31 06:46 07:16 07:31 07:46 01:16 02:16 02:46 03:16 03:46 10:31 11:01 11:31 05:31 06:01 06:31 07:01 07:46

11:31 --12:31 02:16 03:16 04:16 05:01 05:31 06:16 06:46 07:31 08:16 09:01 10:01 11:31 ---01:16 02:46 03:46 04:31 11:16 -07:01 08:01 09:01 10:01 11:16

03:46 05:01 06:31 08:01 09:01 09:46 10:31 11:01 11:31 12:01 12:31 12:46 01:16 02:01 02:31 03:16 04:01 05:31 06:46 08:01 09:01 09:46 10:31 05:31 06:16 12:16 01:01 01:46 02:31 03:31

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ALABAMA LIVING Alabama Living 340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 www.alabamaliving.coop MARCH 2017 43

| Classifieds | How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace Closing Deadlines (in our office):

May 2017 – March 25 June 2017 – April 25 July 2017 – May 25 Ads are $1.75 per word with a 10 word minimum and are on a prepaid basis; Telephone numbers, email addresses and websites are considered 1 word each. Ads will not be taken over the phone. You may email your ad to hdutton@ areapower.com; or call (800)4102737 ask for Heather for pricing.; We accept checks, money orders and all major credit cards. Mail ad submission along with a check or money order made payable to ALABAMA LIVING, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124 – Attn: Classifieds.

Miscellaneous KEEP POND WATER CLEAN AND FISH HEALTHY with our aeration systems and pond supplies. Windmill Electric, Solar Powered and Fountain Aerators. Windpower (256)899-3850 USED PORTABLE SAWMILLS – Buy / Sell. Call Sawmill Exchange (800)459-2148 or 713-sawmill. USA & Canada – www.sawmillexchange. com LUMBER FOR SALE: Circular Saw Red & White Oak, Hickory, Ash - $1.20 BFT; Heart Pine - $5.00 BFT – 5” Treated Round: One Side Flat Fence Post 8 FT Long $9.50 each - Loring White (334)782-3636 (Tallapoosa) 18X21 CARPORT $795 INSTALLED – Other sizes available - (706) 226-2739 FINANCIAL HELP LINES FOR AL FAMILIES BANKRUPTCY ADVICE FOR FREE (877)933-1139; MORTGAGE RELIEF HELP LINE (888) 216-4173 STUDENT LOAN RELIEF LINE (888)694-8235 DEBT RELIEF NON-PROFIT LINE (888) 779-4272 Numbers provided by www.careconnectusa.org A Public Benefit Organization METAL ROOFING $1.59/LINFT – FACTORY DIRECT! 1st quality, 40yr Warranty, Energy Star rated. (price subject to change) - (706) 226-2739 WALL BEDS OF ALABAMA - SOLID WOOD & LOG FURNITURE – Outdoor Rockers, Gliders & Swings, HANDCRAFTED AMISH CASKETS $1,599 - ALABAMA MATTRESS OUTLET – SHOWROOM Collinsville, AL – Custom Built / Factory Direct - (256)490-4025, www.wallbedsofalabama.com, www.alabamamattressoutlet.com

44  MARCH 2017

KEPLINGER ALUMINUM BURIAL VAULT CO. in Gardendale, Alabama sells water tested burial vaults to the public saving up to $3000 or more per vault verses funeral home prices. Our vaults protect the contents against water and last indefinitely. Cardboard wrapped, standing up requires 6 1/2 sq. ft. to store and take to cemetery when needed. Alabama made with American materials. $1400 cash, includes local sales tax. Call 205-285-9732 or 205-540-0781 or visit www.keplingeraluminumburialvaults.com AERMOTOR WATER PUMPING WINDMILLS / SOLAR POWERED WELL PUMPS – windmill parts – decorative windmills - call Windpower (256)899-3850 or (256)638-2352 CRENSHAW FARMS DAYLILY GARDEN CLOSING after 10 Years – Over 10,000 full pots for $5 each. Thanks for 10 years of visiting. Sale now thru July 4th. Interstate 65 at Stockton exit 31 – (251)577-1235

Business Opportunities PIANO TUNING PAYS – Learn with American Tuning School homestudy course – (800)497-9793

Vacation Rentals ONE BEDROOM CABIN near PIGEON FORGE and GATLINBURG – Call Kathy at (865)548-7915 GATLINBURG, TN – Fond memories start here in our chalet – Great vacation area for all seasons – Two queen beds, full kitchen, 1 bath, Jacuzzi, deck with grill – 3 Night Special - Call (423)605-2113, Look for us on FACEBOOK / billshideaway GULF SHORES/FT MORGAN BEACH HOUSE - Pet Friendly,WiFi, Non Smoking (256)418-2131, www. originalbeachhouseal.com 30A – SEACREST BEACH, FL – Direct Ocean / Beach Front Condo, sleeps 8 – Owner julie@fgbama.com

PIGEON FORGE, TN – 3 bedroom, 2 bath house – Walking distance to parkway, light# 1 - $95.00 / night – (256)309-7873, (256)590-8758 PIGEON FORGE 4 BEDROOM HOUSE – VRBO RENTAL 556992 – (256)717-8694, (256)717-9112 GULF SHORES/FT. MORGAN BEACH HOUSE - 3BR/2BA cottage, sleeps 6; WiFi; 2 pools; 1/4 m to beach Family friendly rates - www.VRBO #885103 Slice of Heaven LOOKING FOR A FAMILY FLORIDA VACATION? 3BR / 2BA House, Ft. Walton, GREAT LOCATION – (205)566-0892, mailady96@yahoo. com. PayPal Accepted WINTER FEST thru FEBRUARY – Cozy cabins, Pigeon Forge (865)712-7633, touristcabinsforrentbyowner.com GULF SHORES PLANTATION - Gulf view, beach side, 2 bedrooms / 2 baths, no smoking / no pets. Owner rates (205)339-3850 ORANGE BEACH CONDO, 3BR/3BA; 2,000 SQ.FT.; beautifully decorated; gorgeous waterfront view; boat slips available; great rates - Owner rented (251)604-5226 GATLINBURG – DOWNTOWN LUXURY CREEKSIDE CONDO – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6 – aubie12@centurytel.net, (256)599-5552 GULF FRONT CONDO - 1BR / 1BA, Hall bunks – LOW RATES (256) 3525721, amariewisener@gmail.com 2 FULLY FURNISHED UNITS IN WEST PCB – 2BR / 2BA, sleeps 6, across from beach – Peachtree II – (850)573-2182 Jeff – Call for rates PIGEON FORGE, TN: 2BR/2BA, hot tub, air hockey, fireplace, swimming pool, creek – (251)363-1973, Homeaway#241942 DAUPHIN ISLAND, AL – Direct Ocean / Beach Front Condo in luxury complex, sleeps 9 – Owner julie@fgbama.com

DESTIN, FL OWNER RENTALS patsdestincondo.com - Pat Green Bush, owner- greenbush36@gmail. com, (334)244-6581 or (334)3126630

BEACH FRONT CONDO RENTALS – FT. MORGAN / GULF SHORES: 2 BR / 2 BA, sleeps 6, VRBO 361228 - 2 BR / 2 ½ BA, sleeps 7, VRBO 982801 - Both have pool, hot tub – (931)967-9715, (931)581-0419, grayrentals@hotmail.com

2 GULF FRONT CONDOS – GULF SHORES, or ORANGE BEACH – 1BR / 1BA, Hall Bunks, Sleeps 4 – Balconies directly overlook the ocean – Spring week $930.00 - amariewisener@gmail.com, (256)352-5721

BEAUTIFUL PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Sleeps 6 comfortably, many amenities onsite – Joy (256)878-0211

PIGEON FORGE, TN CABINS – Peaceful, convenient location - Owner rates – (251)649-3344, (251)649-4049, www.hideawayprop.com HELEN GA CABIN FOR RENT – sleeps 2-6, 2.5 baths, fireplace, Jacuzzi tub, washer/dryer – (251)9482918, www.homeaway.com/101769, email jmccracken36@yahoo.com

WYNDHAM GREAT SMOKIES LODGE / WATER PARK - 2 Bedroom Presidential - 5 nights: Check-in, Mar. 26-17 out Mar. 31-17 - $665.00 - (325)339-6433. Also call for other dates & resorts. PANAMA CITY BEACH CONDO – Owner rental – 2BR / 2BA, wireless internet, just remodeled inside and outside – (334)790-0000, jamesrny0703@comcast.net, www. theroneycondo.com

AFFORDABLE BEACHSIDE VACATION CONDOS – Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, AL – Rent Direct from Christian Family Owners – Lowest Prices on the Beach – www.gulfshorescondos.com, (205)556-0368, (205)752-1231, (251)752-2366

Real Estate Sales FOR SALE: 6-ACRE LOT IN BEAUTIFUL ROLLING HILLS OF ELMORE COUNTY off Redland Road – Asking $80,000 – (334)318-0955


Musical Notes PLAY GOSPEL SONGS BY EAR - 10 lessons $12.95. “LEARN GOSPEL MUSIC”. Chording, runs, fills - $12.95 Both $24. Davidsons, 6727AR Metcalf, Shawnee Missions, Kansas 66204 – (913)262-4982 PIANOS TUNED, repaired, refinished. Box 171, Coy, AL 36435. 334-337-4503

Education WWW.2HOMESCHOOL.ORG – Open Year Round K-12 enrollment. Contact Dr. Cerny (256)653-2593 FREE BOOKS / DVDs – Soon government will enforce the “Mark” of the beast as church and state unite! Let Bible reveal. The Bible Says, POB 99, Lenoir City, TN 37771 – thebiblesaystruth@yahoo.com, (888)211-1715 FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE – write to P.O. Box 52, Trinity, AL, 35673

Pets CHIHUAHUA PUPPIES. Registered, guaranteed healthy, raised indoors in loving home, vet records and references. (256)796-2893 AKC BEAGLE PUPPIES FOR SALE – Northwest, FL area – Cell# (850)554-1062, Email allenmanning59@gmail.com, www.thebeagleman.com

Fruits / Nuts / Berries GROW MUSCADINES AND BLACKBERRIES , half dollar size – We offer over 200 varieties of Fruit and Nut Trees plus Vines and Berry Plants . Free color catalog. 1-800-7330324. Ison’s Nursery, P.O. Box 190, Brooks, GA 30205 Since 1934 www.isons.com CERTIFIED GMO FREE OLD TIMEY WHITE AND YELLOW Self Pollinating SEED corn – (334)886-2925


Alabama Living

2017 Photo Contest Do you enjoy photography? Can you capture the essence of Alabama in a photo? Enter your best, original pictures (Alabama people or scenes) in Alabama Living’s first photo contest. Entries will be accepted from March 1-31 only. Photos will be judged on quality, originality, creativity, photography skill and content. Contest is open to amateur photographers only. Winning photos will be published in the July 2017 issue of Alabama Living. The first-place winner wins $100; second place, $50; and third place, $25. Other honorable mentions will be published in the magazine. For complete details and the online entry form, visit www.alabamaliving.coop. (Photos must be entered on the website; please do not send hard copies.)

Alabama Living

MARCH 2017 45

| Alabama Recipes |

Pucker Up! Give your palate the pop of lemons’ pizazz with this month’s reader recipes. By Jennifer Kornegay | Food prepared and photographed by Brooke Echols

46 MARCH 2017


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.


ou’ve probably heard this old adage many times. It’s really not about the tart, sunny yellow citrus. It’s offered as encouragement to push through a difficult time. But I’d like to look at it literally. I’d like to encourage you to actually make lemonade out of your lemons, with the emphasis on “make.” Pouring powder out of a pre-measured plastic cup into a pitcher, adding water and stirring is not making lemonade. That’s preparing lemonade. There is a difference; one you can taste. Or at least I can. And I want a little more for my 50 cents. I’m one of those people who can’t drive past a kids’ lemonade stand without stopping. In my neighborhood, this susceptibility can get expensive, since there’s a good chance I’ll see children sitting at folding tables behind their hand-lettered cardboard signs smiling sweetly and/or waving furiously at every car driving by on any given spring Saturday and even on weekdays during summer. I pull over to the curb, roll down my window and exchange my two quarters for a Solo cup filled about half way with the requisite pale yellow liquid. If the temps are above 85, I’m hot and thirsty (that’s May through October in Central Alabama, where I live), so I’m always looking forward to that first sip. What I really love – and what I have actually gotten a few golden times – is real lemonade, made by squeezing the juice from real lemons, combining it with real sugar, adding a little water and pouring it all over ice with a few lemon slices floating in the mix for good measure. That’s making lemonade, folks. And it’s really not that hard. But don’t stop there. There are so many things you can make with fresh lemons. Just look at the long list of reader-submitted recipes we got for this month. Try a few and add a new ending to the aforementioned time-tested advice the next time you give it: “When life gives you lemons, make lemon cheesecake or lemon chicken or lemon pudding …”

Basil Lemonade Basil and lemon are classic partners. Throw in a little sugar to sweeten them up and some club soda for some fizz, and you’ve got a drink that’s easy to make and even easier to enjoy.

For four drinks:

2½ cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice ¾ cup to 1 cup basil simple syrup (recipe below) 1½ cups club soda Mix all together in a small pitcher and serve in glasses over crushed ice.

Basil Simple Syrup:

Mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan and add ½ cup of basil leaves. Bring to a simmer on medium-high heat and let cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Pour through a sieve to remove the basil leaves and into a sealable container. Keep in the fridge for a week.

Linda’s Lemon Cheesecake 1 1 1/3 1 1

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk cup lemon juice teaspoon vanilla extract graham cracker crust

Use electric mixer to blend cream cheese and milk. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix well. Pour into a graham cracker crust and chill overnight.

Cook of the Month Carolyn Massey, Sand Mountain EC

Carolyn Massey likes lemons so much, she mail-ordered a Meyer lemon tree a decade ago and now picks her own, fresh off her tree, every late fall and early winter. “One year it produced 23 lemons!” she said. She enjoys using her harvest in lemon pie, authentic lemonade (which her now-grown grandson loved making with her) and this month’s winning recipe, Linda’s Lemon Cheesecake. “My sister-in-law has been making this for years and often gives it as gifts. We all love it because it is so delicious and so, so easy to put together,” Massey said.

Alabama Living

MARCH 2017 47

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Sawdust Pudding

1 box lemon cake mix 1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix (dry) ¾ cup canola oil 4 medium eggs, beaten ¾ cup cool water 4 tablespoons poppy seeds

Pie crust (makes crust for two 9-inch pie pans): 3 cups flour 1½ cups shortening Pinch of salt

2 cans Carnation milk 6 lemons (strain juice) 3 cups sugar 1 box graham cracker crumbs

For glaze: 1 16-ounce box powdered sugar, sifted Juice of 1 lemon ½ teaspoon lemon zest Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil and lightly flour a Bundt tube pan. In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix. Stir in oil, eggs and water. Beat with electric mixer 2 minutes. Fold in poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon at a time. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes. In a bowl, stir lemon juice into powdered sugar a little at the time until it becomes the thickness of a drizzle. Drizzle over cake, covering the top, with some running down the sides. Sprinkle zest lightly over top. Barbara Frasier Sand Mountain EC

Lemon Chess Pie 4 eggs 1¼ cups sugar ¼ cup butter, melted 1 tablespoon self-rising flour 1 tablespoon self-rising cornmeal ¼ cup milk 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest ¼ cup lemon juice 1 9-inch pie crust In large bowl mix eggs, sugar and butter. Add remaining ingredients and pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until center is set. Pauline Lowery Pioneer EC

Mix above ingredients together and set aside. ½ cup milk 1 tablespoon vinegar Mix above ingredients together and add to the dry mixture. Divide crust mixture into two parts. Use one part for a 9-inch pie pan. Bake pie crust in pan for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown in 475 degree oven. Filling: 11/3 cups sugar 6 tablespoons cornstarch 3-4 lemons, depending on size Pinch of salt 1¼ cups boiling water 3 extra large eggs, separated 1/3 cup lemon juice 2 tablespoons butter 3 teaspoons lemon zest 1 9-inch pie crust For the meringue: 1 small jar of marshmallow crème Pinch of salt Grate lemon rind and set aside. Cut lemons in half and squeeze juice into separate container. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Gradually add boiling water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking for 1 minute or until mixture is clear and thickened. Stir small amount of hot mixture into beaten egg yolks. Return this mixture to hot mixture in pan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in lemon juice, butter and lemon zest. Pour into pie crust. Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add marshmallow crème, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling, sealing to edge of crust. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Chill milk in freezer about 30 minutes, then whip until stiff. Add sugar and beat until dissolved. Add lemon juice and whip until mixed completely. Fill bottom of bowl with graham cracker crumbs. Put a layer of whipped mixture, then more crumbs, then whipped mixture, repeating until used up. Chill or freeze in freezer until ready to serve (best served frozen). Beverly Armstrong Joe Wheeler EMC

Lemon Herbed Salmon 2 salmon fillets 1 lemon, sliced Fresh rosemary Fresh sage leaves Olive oil Lightly grease baking sheet with olive oil. Top salmon fillets with lemon slices, followed by the fresh herbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until done. Robbie Sue Vantrease Cullman EC

Lemon Tartar Sauce 1 lemon 1 cup mayonnaise 4 kosher dill pickles 1/8 cup dill pickle juice Pinch of smoked paprika Pinch of salt 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper In a bowl mix the chopped pickles, mayo, salt and smoked paprika. Squeeze half of the lemon and the pickle juice and add to the mixture. Stir as you add the fresh ground pepper. Refrigerate. Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

H. Gene Klocke Dixie EC 48  MARCH 2017


Lemon Chiffon Pudding 5 tablespoons sifted flour 1 cup sugar 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature 3 eggs, separated 1 cup milk ¼ cup lemon juice Mix flour and sugar. Cream butter into flour mixture. Beat egg yolks and milk in gradually. Add lemon juice. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Fold in carefully. Pour into greased baking dish (I use a one-quart dish). Place in pan of hot water about 1 inch deep. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Jamie Petterson Tallapoosa River EC

Lemon Chicken 2 3 2 1 3 2

pounds chicken, cut up lemons (2 for slices, 1 for juice) sticks butter, sliced onion, sliced into rings cloves of garlic, minced cups water Salt and pepper

Place chicken in large casserole dish and salt and pepper it. Put butter slices over pieces of chicken. Squeeze lemon over chicken. Put garlic and onions over everything and put water in pan. Put foil over pan and bake chicken at 350 degrees until chicken is done. Take foil off a few minutes before taking out of the oven to allow the chicken to brown. Karen Turnquist Cullman EC

Grandmama's Glazed Lemon Cakes are delicious and moist.

Grandmama’s Glazed Lemon Cakes 2 oranges and 2 lemons 1½ boxes confectioner sugar 1 box yellow cake mix Icing: Lightly grate rinds from oranges and lemons into a bowl (don’t grate too deeply; the white part of the rind will make the icing bitter). Squeeze juice from lemons and oranges and mix with grated zest. Beat in confectioners sugar until smooth. Cakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Spray miniature muffin tins with cooking spray. Fill tins halfway with batter (not all the way to the top). Bake for 12 minutes or until done. Once cakes come out of the oven, dunk each cake while still warm into the icing, making sure you fully coat each one. Place cakes on a wire rack and allow to dry fully.

Alabama Living

1 ¼ 3 8 ¼

box of lemon cake mix cup of sugar tablespoons of lemon juice tablespoons butter cup freeze-dried blueberries, crushed

Pour dry cake mix into a large bowl. Melt butter and combine it with the lemon juice and sugar. Stir ingredients until the dough holds together. Shape into 1 ¼-inch balls. Roll truffles in about a ½ cup granulated sugar. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour. Optional: Dip the truffles in white chocolate for a decadent treat. Shari Lowery Pioneer EC

Laura Tucker South Alabama EC

Send us your recipes! Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members, and not ones copied from a book or magazine. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year.

Lemon Blueberry Truffles

Online: alabamaliving.coop Email: recipes@alabamaliving.coop Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124 Please include a phone number and co-op name with submissions! Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Coming up in April...Easter Meals! Recipe Themes and Deadlines: May Shellfish/Shrimp June Berries July Tomatoes

March April May

8 8 8

MARCH 2017  49

Clarke-Washington Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.

Established in under


We service & repair all brands

Marks Electric

We sell


Heating & cooling systems


mini-split ductless heat pumps



wood burning heaters Clarke-Washington Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. 107 Jamison St., Jackson, Al 36545


Owner Alfred Marks • AL License# 84750

50 MARCH 2017


Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Warmer weather is on the way! Use energy efficient window treatments or coverings, like blinds, shades and films, to reduce heat gain in your home. These devices not only improve the look of your home but also reduce energy costs.

Alabama Living

MARCH 2017  51

| Our Sources Say |

Coal still an important part of Alabama’s energy portfolio I

cut my teeth in the mining industry early in my career as a research engineer with the United States Bureau of Mines, and I have seen the strength and determination of the people who labor to bring us the raw materials that make so much of our life possible. Alabama was modernized because of coal, taking us from an agricultural society into one driven by industry and technology. The energy industry in this state relied on coal to power our world, but that is rapidly changing. Still, as the market, government regulations and concerns over greenhouse gasses continue to stress the coal industry, it is important to remember coal remains a vital part of Alabama’s energy portfolio. Coal has been mined in Alabama for more than 150 years, and the state ranks 14th in total coal production in the United States, according to an economic impact study commissioned by the Energy Institute of Alabama. Historically, coal has fueled the largest share of electric power generation in the state. About a third of the coal mined in Alabama stays in the U.S., and about half of that is delivered to electric power plants in the state, according to the report. The Alabama Power Company reported in 2015 that coal made up about half of its fuel mix, and about 15 percent of that comes from coal mines in the state. Alabama Power still operates 10 coal-fired generating units. Those numbers are down, of course, as low prices for natural gas and regulations have seen Alabama Power transition. In the late 1990s, nearly 80 percent of electricity generated by the company came from coal, and there were 23 coal-fired units. Natural gas has provided a larger share of electricity in the state, exceeding coal-fired generation in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Employment in the coal industry is down, too, but the Alabama Coal Association reports 4,000 people directly employed in the industry. This significant workforce in our state is buoyed by exports. According to the U.S. Energy Department, in 2014, two thirds of the coal produced in Alabama was exported. Mobile is the nation’s third-largest seaport for exporting United States coal, most of which is bound for Europe, South America and Central America. In 2015, Mobile also was second only to Tampa, Fla., in coal imports, according to EIA report. It does not take much to read the tea leaves to understand challenges remain for coal as an energy source in the country. Besides market forces, there is concern over emissions, and that is something academia and industry are trying to resolve. In fact, researchers here at The University of Alabama College of Engineering are working with different solvents to more effec-

Charles L. Karr is dean of The University of Alabama College of Engineering and a senior policy advisor for the nonprofit Energy Institute of Alabama. Visit energyinstituteal.org/impact to see the complete economic impact study commissioned by the EIA.

52 MARCH 2017

tively scrub emissions from coal-fired power plants, and we have worked with the Southern Company and others to lead the way on carbon capture technologies. Our researchers along with many across the state at other universities and private research labs are working to improve a host of other energy technologies to help diversify energy production here and around the world. Even with engineers and scientists moving forward, hurdles to more widespread reliance on renewable energy remain. Coal reserves are vast, and the industry is an important economic driver. Policymakers and cultural influencers must remember that coal is an ingrained part of our energy mix.

Letters to the editor E-mail us at: letters@alabamaliving.coop or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Thank you for the column by Gary Smith “Who Cares If You’re Safe?” (February 2017). It is so easy to forget the hardworking employees who diligently work in all capacities and conditions to keep our power on and running. My 80-year-old father, who recently passed away, worked over 40 years at a small town utilities board electric department. While growing up, I vividly remember when he was “on call.” He and his coworker would go out multiple times a night in the worst weather to turn the power back on. I will never forget his bright yellow protective outfit, protective gloves/boots and hardhat he would put on. Concern was always on my mother’s face each time he left, so we would have a prayer for his safe return. Now that my father is gone, my son has the hard hat that helped to protect my father for many years. We have become so accustomed to having electricity that we don’t think about what keeps it going until something happens and the lights go off. I would like to thank every person who has a part in providing us with power each day. Safety is of the utmost importance. A prayer for you and your safety is lifted daily. Revonda Smith Wetumpka


| Market Place |


30x50x10 with sliding door and man door.



Additional delivery may apply pending location.

270.776.7869 www.jcpolebarns.com Got an outdoor/hunting product or offer a service that people need to know about? If so, this space is where you should be advertising.


Contact Jacob Johnson 800.410.2737 advertising@areapower.com Alabama Living

MARCH 2017 53

| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

In praise of church ladies Church ladies were still not happy. Then it was discovered that packed up in a box, overlooked and uninventoried, was a complete set of antique Haviland china that had been in the family since forever. And with the appraiser gone, it was up to the committee to price and sell it. That was when the church ladies took their stand. They trooped into the meeting, led by a blue-haired matron, a retired school teacher, whose prodigious memory and record of personal piety made her both feared and respected. They took seats on one side of the table. The men settled uneasily along the other. “A cousin wants to buy the Haviland for her granddaughter,” their leader announced. “And what is a fair price for these fine antiques?” asked the committee chairman, who didn’t know Haviland from Valvoline, but figured anything that old was worth a lot. “One dollar.” “One dollar for each piece?” the chairman asked, seeing where this was going and trying to at least soften the blow. “One dollar,” came the reply, with it a look, mirrored on every female face at the table, which dared the men to oppose her. And they didn’t. The surrender was complete. The cousin paid the dollar. The china stayed in the family. To no one’s surprise, the church ladies had their way.

Harvey H. (“Hardy”) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at hjackson@cableone.net.

Illustration by Dennis Auth

My mama was a “church lady.” So was my Grandma Jessie, whose father came back from the Civil War, wounded, and became a Methodist minister. She lived across the street from the church and every time its doors opened, she was there. Church ladies taught the children, organized the events, fed the bereaved families after funerals, and did the church doings that wouldn’t get done if it were left to the men. Men may preach and pontificate, but the women did the heavy lifting. But I don’t think I fully understood the influence that these ladies had until a member of our congregation passed away and left the church a pile of money, a lot of land, an impressive stock portfolio, and a house full of family antiques. The dearly departed was one of the town eccentrics. Despite her affluence, she dressed like a bag lady, and where she lived seemed to be falling down around her. She was a spinster, and her family consisted of a handful of cousins whose efforts toward her improvement were pointedly rejected. Her only known association with the church was regular attendance at the free Wednesday night supper. The men of the church were overjoyed at the bequest and immediately formed a committee to inventory the estate. (Ever notice that when money is involved men become less willing to leave the ladies in charge?) The committee (with its male majority) hired an appraiser to put a price on the house and its contents. Church ladies were not happy. “The place is full of family things,” they protested, “and they should stay in the family.” “She wanted it all to go to the church and we should respect her wishes,” was the reply. Church ladies were not happy. Family members bought what they could afford.

54  MARCH 2017


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