May 2023 Clarke-Washington

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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. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office.

POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to:

Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.


AREA President

Karl Rayborn


Lenore Vickrey

Managing Editor

Allison Law

Creative Director

Mark Stephenson

Art Director

Danny Weston

Advertising Director

Jacob Johnson

Graphic Designer/Production Coordinator

Brooke Echols


340 TechnaCenter Drive

Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031


For advertising, email:

For editorial inquiries, email:


American MainStreet Publications

611 South Congress Ave., Suite 504

Austin, Texas 78704


USPS 029-920 • ISSN 1047-0311



Stuffed friends



Yellow perch, a fish that’s not native to Alabama, can provide exciting sport on light tackle and exceptional table fare with light flaky flesh.

Children love their stuffed animals, many of whom have a story of their own.

Business leader

The co-op world is blessed to have the expertise of Helena Duncan, both as a board member at Dixie EC and as head of the state’s most powerful business organization.

Healthy substitutes

Recipes can be tweaked in the smallest of ways to make them more healthy for us. Our food pages have some delicious recipes and tips!

26 YY VOL. 76 NO. 5 MAY 2023 DEPARTMENTS 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 34 Cook of the Month 38 Outdoors 39 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: 38 MAY 2023 3
WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! EMAIL: MAIL: Al abama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117 FEATURES
Printed in America from American materials Get our FREE monthly email newsletter! Sign up at ON THE COVER Look for this logo to see more content online! 34 Each year,
provides this special opportunity to four students to learn about electric cooperatives.
Clarke-Washington EMC
PHOTO: Sarah Turner Manager Steve Sheffield Co-op Editor Sarah Turner

Office Locations

Jackson Office

9000 Highway 43

P.O. Box 398

Jackson, AL 36545 (251) 246-9081

Chatom Office

19120 Jordan Street

P.O. Box 453

Chatom, AL 36518 (251) 847-2302

Toll Free Number (800) 323-9081

Office Hours

7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours)

Payment Options


P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545

P.O. Box 453

Chatom, AL 36518


During normal office hours at our Chatom and Jackson offices.

Phone (855) 870-0403


Night Deposit 24/7 at Jackson & Chatom


Available from the App Store and Google Play

Bank Draft CheckOut

Pay where you shop at any Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Walmart.

Ready for storm season

Now that summer is in full swing, like many of you, I welcome more opportunities to be outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather. Summertime brings many of my favorite activities. As I have noted here in the past, I love to garden and work outside and in recent years have gotten more comfortable slowing down a little bit and watching the grandchildren, John Michael and Wills, play in the water.

But summer months also make conditions right for dangerous storms. Fortunately, we have been mostly spared from the recent tornadoes this spring and were even more fortunate to avoid any major hurricanes last year. These potential weather events can cause destruction to our electrical system, but I want you to know that ClarkeWashington EMC crews are ready and standing by to safely respond should power outages occur in our area.

Part of our preparation to safely restore service following outages is our commitment to safety and participation in the Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP). We have participated in the program for more than 30 years and recognize it as the gold standard for electric cooperatives. RESAP is a national safety program administered by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA). The program utilizes a framework for continuous improvement to improve safety performance and culture. Voluntary participation in the program not only helps make sure you remain compliant with basic rules and regulations, it goes above and beyond what is required.

Although RESAP is a continuous safety achievement program, it also involves an intensive three-year review by a team of safety professionals. The process includes a review of training and records as well as an onsite observation which includes facilities, equipment and crew visits. The team conducted its review of ClarkeWashington EMC in April and again gave

the co-op an outstanding review for its participation in the program. The team also makes recommendations for improvement which will be implemented over the next three years.

We can’t control the weather, but we can prepare for it. Clarke-Washington EMC keeps a supply of extra utility poles, transformers and other equipment on hand so we can quickly get to work in the event of an outage. When widespread outages occur, multiple crews will be out in the field simultaneously working to repair damage at multiple locations. We also coordinate with nearby co-ops and contractors to bring in additional crews when necessary.

A proactive approach to maintenance helps minimize the chance of prolonged outages; this is why you see crews periodically trimming trees and clearing vegetation near rights-of-way. Trimming improves power reliability for our entire community. In addition to managing vegetation, we regularly inspect utility poles, power lines and other critical equipment to maintain a more reliable system.

If you experience a power outage, don’t assume a neighbor reported it. It’s best to report the outage yourself, and we make it easy to do. The quickest way to report an outage is by calling our outage reporting number at 1-800-323-9081. It is critical that we have the phone number on your account that you use to report your outage.

Mother Nature can be unpredictable, but as a member of Clarke-Washington EMC, you can feel confident knowing we’re standing by, ready to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

CWEMC offices will be closed Monday, May 29 for Memorial Day.
4 MAY 2023
Clarke-Washington EMC extends our appreciation to all those who have given their lives in service to our country.



In March, Clarke-Washington EMC sponsored four local high school juniors on an all-expenses-paid trip to Montgomery as part of the 2023 Alabama Rural Electric Youth Tour.

The goal of Youth Tour is to help educate the students about electric cooperatives and Alabama’s history. Youth Tour also gives the students an opportunity to interact with elected representatives while making 143 new friends from across the state.

“We are excited to sponsor our local students again this year for our Montgomery Youth Tour and also award them a $500 scholarship,” says Steve Sheffield, Clarke-Washington EMC General Manager. “It is an amazing opportunity for our students and allows them to learn about electric cooperatives and gain valuable insight into our state government and history.”

This year’s youth tour delegates included Caroline Beaux, Clarke Preparatory School; Nour Jabnouni, Washington County High School; Sanaa Thomas, McIntosh High School; and Maya Toomey, Millry High School. Each student will receive a $500

scholarship to the college of their choice.

The students arrived on Tuesday, March 14, and learned what it means to be a member of an electric cooperative, met new friends from across the state and ended the day with listening to Cea Cohen-Elliot, who is the guest speaker for the event. She is a nationally known motivational speaker who shared a powerful

Alabama Living MAY 2023 5

message about knowing your worth and overcoming the many challenges they may face in life. Cea shared stories with the students about the importance of leadership and how the students can be leaders in their community.

On Wednesday, the students participated in tours at the Alabama Archives, Capitol and Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where students heard an inspirational message from Wanda Battle. Students returned and participated in leadership and team-building activities with Cea. Alabama One Credit Union hosted Mad City Money with each student being given an occupation, income and family card. They rotated through “life stations” where they had to make financially sound decisions regarding the thing they want and lives they want to live. Students received a special visit from former U.S. Representative Martha Roby before ending the day with a dinner dance.

To conclude the trip, the students had the opportunity to meet with legislators at the State House and ask them questions about current issues impacting our state.

Nour Jabnouni and Sanaa Thomas were selected to represent Clarke-Washington EMC at the Washington D.C. Youth Tour. this summer. Jabnouni and Thomas will receive an additional scholarship to the school of their choice.

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“To me, being a leader is taking charge and organizing this well. You have to be kind and helpful to be a good leader. My favorite part about Youth Tour was meeting new people and making friends. I also really enjoyed exploring the city and learning about the history of Montgomery and Alabama. To those interested in Youth Tour, ABSOLUTELY DO IT!”


“The Montgomery Youth Tour impacted me in many ways. Not only did it grow my appreciation for my co-op, for Mrs. Sarah Turner and everything she does, the three amazing judges that selected me for this honor, and for everyone involved in the process of the Tour, it also humbled me, reminded me of God’s grace, love, and faithfulness, allowed me to meet wonderful people, and it allowed me to learn so much about my state and how to be a better leader. The Montgomery Youth Tour has left me with memories and has reminded me of lessons that will last me a lifetime.


“Being a leader to is empower others. Empower and motivate them to do better, to be teachable and let others know they can do anything they put their minds to. My favorite part of Youth Tour was meeting new people, Cea, and the tours. To those who are interested in applying for Youth Tour, go ahead and start getting educated on electric cooperatives now to be ahead of the game and just be your authentic self. That’s what it is all about.”


“Youth Tour impacted me in so many different ways. I learned more about co-ops, being a better leader, and how to be bold. I learned more about our state’s history and how government works. During the trip, we had an activity called kindness cards. You were given a card and then wrote kind words and gave them to whoever impacted you. It was so amazing being able to tell people things you might not normally say on a day to day basis. I received so many kind words, and I learned that I had impacted others just as much as they impacted me.”

Alabama Living MAY 2023 7



Fruits and Nuts

• Continue spray program.

• Keep grass from around trees and strawberries.

• Peaches and apples can still be budded.


• Newly planted shrubs need extra care now and in coming weeks.

• Don’t spray with oil emulsions when temperature is above 85 degrees F.


• Now is the best time to start lawns from seed.

• Water new lawns as needed to prevent drying.

• Keep established lawns actively growing by watering, fertilizing, and mowing.


Fruits and Nuts

• Layer grapes and continue spray programs.

• Thin apples and peaches if too thick.


• Lace bugs may be a problem on azaleas, pyracanthas, dogwoods, cherry laurels, and other shrubs.

• Water as needed. Fertilize now.

• Keep long shoots from developing by pinching out tips.

• Take cuttings from semi-mature wood for rooting.


• Follow a schedule of fertilization and watering.

• Spray weeds in lawns with proper herbicide.


• Spray or dust for insects and diseases.

• Fertilize monthly according to a soil test.

• Container-grown plants in flower may be planted.

• Prune climbing roses after the first big flush of flowering.

Annuals and Perennials

• Late plantings of bedding plants still have time to produce.

• Watch for insects on day lilies.


• Summer bulbs started in containers may still be planted.

• Do not remove foliage from spring flowering bulbs.

• Do not let seedheads form on tulips and other spring flowering bulbs.


• Mulch new shrub plantings if not already done.

• Avoid drying out new shrub, tree, and lawn plantings.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant heat-loving and tender vegetables.

• Start cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and celery in cold frames for the fall garden.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potatoes.

• Lawns should be mowed weekly.

• Planting may continue if soil is moist.

• Continue weed spraying if necessary.

Annuals and Perennials

• Keep old flower heads removed to promote continued flowering. Plant garden mums if not already in.

• For compact mums, keep tips pinched out.

• Watch for insects and diseases.


• Foliage may be removed from spring bulbs if it has yellowed and is becoming dry.

• Watch for aphids and thrips on summer bulbs.


• If scale insects continue on shrubs, use materials other than oils.

• Set houseplants on porch or outdoors in shade and pay close attention to the need for water.

• If desired, air layer houseplants.

Vegetable Seed

• Plant beans, fieldpeas, pumpkins, squash, corn, cantaloupes, and watermelons.

Vegetable Plants

• Plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and sweet potato vine cuttings.

8 MAY 2023
Information provided by The Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. Find more at

My kid’s stuffed animals

Logan, Ella and Ava have more stuffed animals than we can find a place for. SUBMITTED by Lauren Ballard, Auburn.

Lachlan and Lincoln are enjoying their new Squishmallows birthday presents. SUBMITTED by Holly Saint, Section.

When his dad was serving in the U.S. Navy, our son, Kenneth (2) was given a stuffed Navy goat he called his “goot.” SUBMITTED by Dees Veca, Gulf Shores.

My daughter Karli Rose’s first stuffed animal from her grandmother on her birthday, December 14, 2015. SUBMITTED by Kendra Williams, Brundidge.

I made these Paddington bears for my children in 1973 with velvet scraps and herculite (canvas) for their raincoats. SUBMITTED by Mary Crawford, Dutton.

theme: “Beach

My mother’s teddy bear from Christmas 1954 has been through four generations of kids. SUBMITTED by Robert Reed, Brewton.

| Deadline: May 31

My grandson, Knox Perry, posing with his stuffed snake collection. SUBMITTED by Gena Luther, Grant.

Alabama Living MAY 2023 9
| Alabama Snapshots | Online: | Mail: Attn: Snapshots, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124
RULES: Photos submitted for publication may also be published on our website at and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is
responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned.

The Year of Alabama Birding has begun!

Tourists have long flocked to Alabama to glimpse some of the more than 430 species of birds that can be spotted in the state. Now, the Alabama Tourism Department is enhancing this experience by launching the Year of Alabama Birding to increase awareness of this popular pastime.

There are a multitude of initiatives and promotions planned for the year, according to a story in the Alabama News Center, including:

• An eight-page section in the 2023 Alabama Vacation Guide featuring the top birding trails and events in Alabama.

• Visitors will hear birdsongs at each of the eight Alabama Welcome Centers across the state.

• A “find your flock” quiz will appear on Tourism’s website.

• Tourism is working with Alabama Audubon member Chris Oberholster to explore creating a festival event around the Coastal Bird Banding Initiative.

• Well-known artist Daniel Cosgrove has been commissioned to create a poster featuring the state bird, the Alabama yellowhammer.

But Tourism Director Lee Sentell says this is more than a 2023 project, saying that they will launch components of it during the next two years, and that its impact will carry on beyond that.

Whereville, AL

Find the hidden dingbat!

Apparently lots of magnifying glasses were put to good use last month as readers pored over the pages of Alabama Living in search of everyone’s favorite Uncle Sam. He was standing on the windowsill in the photo of Café Acadiana on Page 26. We heard from several readers who got help from family members in their search, including Wanda Mock of Vinemont, a member of Cullman EC, who writes that her “show off” husband Danny found it. “I enjoy looking even if Danny finds it,” she says. Wiregrass EC member Cheryl Steele of Ashford told us she’s just started looking for the monthly dingbat in the last six months and now has her grandchildren, Hayden, 5, and Kaylee, 11, looking along with her. This time, they beat her to it: “The minute the book came in the mail, they started looking and called me with the answer,” she says. “Thank you for having this challenge for the old and young.” Ada Mae Graham of Spruce Pine, a member of Franklin EC, and her granddaughter Peyton, age 6, looked “high and low over and over again, even using the magnifying glass until we found it. We didn’t give up. Uncle Sam [is] in the window with that money in his hand. We were so happy!”

We hope Uncle Sam had some money to return to you this tax season. Congratulations to Chesteen McWhorter of Crane Hill, a member of Cullman Electric Co-op, who wins a gift card from Alabama One Credit Union as the randomly drawn winner for April. This month, we’re hiding a red poppy, in honor of National Poppy Day May 26, the Friday before Memorial Day, when Americans are asked to wear a red poppy, a nationally recognized symbol of sacrifice to honor those who have served and died for our country. Good luck!

Sponsored by

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 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the June issue.

Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Contribute a photo you took 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 chosen will also win $25.

April’s answer: The Vine Hill Presbyterian Church, located in the Jones community in west Autauga County (almost on the Dallas County line), was built in 1887 and has a large cemetery. It has been dormant since 1990, but recently has had many renovations to the interior. The Old Autauga Historical Society has taken a lead role in helping to restore this structure and others in the county. (Photo by Jim Plott) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Minnie Grover of Central Alabama EC. Spotlight | May
The Northern Flicker, also known as the Yellowhammer, is a member of the woodpecker family and is the Alabama state bird. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALABAMA TOURISM DEPARTMENT

Electric cooperatives present top awards

The Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives, which publishes Alabama Living, presented several awards at its 76th Annual Meeting in April. Clockwise, from top left, Terry Mitchell, CPA, a longtime friend of Alabama’s cooperatives, receives the Eminent Service Award from AREA President and CEO Karl Rayborn; Sand Mountain EC General Manager Mark Malone, second from left, and Rayborn, right, congratulate SMEC linemen Landon Green, Randy Moody, and Ricky Hill, recipients of the AREA Chairman’s Award, for performing life-saving CPR on their fellow lineman, Mason Myers, center, in sub-zero temperatures during restoration work in December 2022; Rayborn presents the Jack Jenkins Cooperative Employee Citizenship Award

Take us along!

to Southern Pine EC employees Ricky Quates and Greg Dawkins, who organized a charity softball tournament to raise money for the Fallen Linemen Organization to honor the memory of one of their own, lineman Chad Morris; incoming AREA Chairman Vince Johnson of Southern Pine EC presents the chairman’s gavel to outgoing Chairman Tommie Werneth of Baldwin EMC; longtime Baldwin EMC attorney Dan Blackburn receives the Ted Jackson Pathfinder Award for his 34 years of service to the cooperative; and Mike Simpson, who served Sand Mountain EC for 35 years, 27 as general manager, is given the Bill Nichols Award for Rural Electrification for going beyond the normal call of duty to further the principles and progress of rural electrification.

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: mytravels@ Be sure to include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo.We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.


Barb and Joe Nenninger of Gulf Shores took Alabama Living to Girdwood, Alaska, and the top of the Alyeska Resort tram.  They are members of Baldwin EMC.

Alabama Living MAY 2023 11 May | Spotlight
Chimney Rock Park in North Carolina was the destination of Suzette Fussell of Foley, a member of Baldwin EMC. Terri Saint of Russellville, member of Franklin EC, was far from home when she and her magazine traveled to the Galapagos Islands. This photo was at the welcome point entrance at Santa Cruz. Covington EC member Jane Harper of Opp took her magazine all the way to Aberdeen, Scotland, where she was photographed in the friendly town of Keith. PHOTOS BY MARK STEPHENSON AND LENORE VICKREY

Don’t want to set up camp? Go glamping!

The word “glamping” was entered into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016, although living in a furnished tent goes back centuries. The modern version of a “glamp” –or “glamorous camp” – consists of a fully equipped tent on a platform, allowing guests to be one with nature without the work of setting up a traditional tent campsite.

There are dozens of glamping sites across Alabama, each with different amenities. Where will your glamping experience take you?

The Cynefin at Folklore Forest

The Cynefin at Folklore Forest is located on Lookout Mountain in a pristine area next to rushing waters in northeast Alabama.

“Cynefin is a Welsh term meaning ‘place where one’s soul finds peace,’” says co-owner Kelly Daspit. “I felt this the first time we stepped foot on this land, listened to the river rippling over the rocks, and breathed in that mountain air.”

The tent is a 13-foot canvas bell tent on an elevated platform. Inside is a queen-size bed with a memory foam mattress, a wood-burning camp stove, a propane heater, and all the supplies a guest might need, including a pop-up tent, folding cot, and cooking supplies.

The tent is entirely off the grid. There’s no electricity, running water, cell service or Wi-Fi.

Kelly and her husband, Tommy, began offering glamping options recently. “There wasn’t a lot of competition for a glamping-type setup, and it’s something we enjoy doing ourselves,” she says. “So, we decided to give it a try.”

The property offers fishing and kayaking, with about 270 feet of Little River frontage access.

When renting the bell tent, specific instructions about included provisions and what guests should bring are provided.

“The thing we hear the most from guests is that if you love tent camping, but don’t want to go through the trouble of having to

12 MAY 2023

load all the supplies and gear into the car, setting it all up, and then packing it back up, then our place is perfect,” says Kelly. “All they have to do is show up with their food, and they’re good to go!”

The Destination Glamping Resort

For a top-of-the-line glamping experience, check out The Destination near Lake Martin, less than an hour from Montgomery.

Skip and Rhonda Courtney began their journey to Alabama from Nashville, where they owned short-term rentals. When it became more like “Nash-Vegas” they sold their business and started looking for land with a water feature.

“We fell in love with this property,” says Skip. “We purchased 104 acres and began making improvements like roads, power, and septic.

“We wanted creative, unique lodging,” he says of his nationally recognized property. “We built two, one-bedroom tent units and

two, two-bedroom tent units.

“They are built on decks with outdoor living space, overlooking Sandy Creek and spaced at least 80 yards apart. The one-bedroom units are 370 square feet. The two-bedroom units are 650 square feet,” Skip says.

Each features beautiful flooring, granite countertops, and tile bathrooms.

“We’re on Sandy Creek, which empties into Lake Martin,” he explains. “Guests can hike, canoe, kayak, fish, or just relax.”

Sandy Creek Lodge, on the glamping property, serves as a common area for meetings, events, and Sunday brunches with a beautiful view of the creek from the upper deck. Private dining experiences can be reserved for resort guests in the downstairs wine cellar. They plan to eventually have cooking classes, Skip says.

“Our goal is to provide an environment and activities that allow guests to explore and grow their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health,” he says. “And I think we accomplish it.”

Alabama Living MAY 2023 13
The glamps at Graham Farm and Nature Center are fully furnished and decorated. PHOTO COURTESY NORTH ALABAMA EC


“We found some of the most beautiful lands in Alabama and simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make our dreams of an art-inspired campground, gathering place, retreat location, you name it, come to life,” says Dana Gale, one of a small group of partners that owns Bohamia.

Located in Talladega County just east of Birmingham, Bohamia started over a year ago, and the property already has six glamping tents.

The glamping units are A-frame structures with metal roofs, canvas interiors, and decks with private wooded views, Dana says. “Each glamping site is furnished with a queen-sized bed, linens, bedside tables and an overhead light, electrical outlets, air conditioning and heat, a rug and lamp, deck chairs, and a solo stove.”

A local artist has decorated each of the glamping sites on the back exterior panel.

“We wanted to create a more boutique style campground that

exceeds most outdoor enthusiasts’ expectations. We have big plans for Bohamia in the coming months and years,” she says.

Also on site is a state-of-the-art modern bathhouse within just a few minutes’ walk from all the glamping sites. “We offer private showers and toilets with floor-to-ceiling doors, sinks, a dishwashing station, and a water bottle filler,” she says.

There are bonfires on weekend evenings (weather permitting), and the partners arrange occasional fly fishing lessons and guided nature hikes with local biologists. One weekend is devoted to herping – searching for reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats.

There are also primitive campsites, including a fire ring with a grill grate for cooking and a picnic table.

“We have several marked hiking trails – one leading to a stunning creek and waterfall, a stocked pond for fishing, and access to both Talladega Creek and Talladega Lake. We are also close to ‘blue hole,’ a popular swimming area in the chilly waters of

The 13-foot canvas bell tent at The Cynefin at Folklore Forest features a queen-size bed with memory foam mattress, a woodburning camp stove and cooking supplies. PHOTOS BY DAVID HAYNES Bohamia’s glamping units are furnished A-frame structures. A modern bathhouse is just a short walk from each unit. The view looking out of one of the glamps at Bohamia, which feature decks overlooking private wooded views.
14 MAY 2023

Dry Creek. The hiking possibilities are endless. Our property spans 268 acres and is adjacent to the Talladega National Forest on three sides.

“Guests only need their food, a cooler, and cooking utensils,” she says. “Our camp store offers ice, firewood, snacks, drinks, and several often-forgotten items like large beach towels, blankets, coffee mugs, travel mugs, and more.”

ACES-Graham Farm and Nature Center

This unique property near the Paint Rock Valley of Jackson County offers glamping and traditional camping but also serves as an educational outreach location for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

GFNC offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, canoeing, birding and fishing, as well unique programs, including animal science, water education, agricultural production and wildlife management. The center also hosts companies and organizations who want to hold a retreat or team-building opportunity.

For the glamps, the large canvas bell tents are heated and cooled and have beds with real mattresses and linens. They’re fully decorated inside and include lamps, string lights and an assortment of board games.

For more information, call Donna Sands at 256-453-0716.

State Parks get into glamping

Glamping experiences are coming to six of the Alabama State Parks. The first, at Wind Creek State Park on Lake Martin near Alexander City, was set to open April 21 as of press time. Other parks that will soon add glamping sites are Chewacla by midMay, Lake Guntersville by Memorial Day, and Cheaha, DeSoto and Monte Sano this summer, according to a news release from the State Parks.

The State Parks has partnered with Timberline Glamping to manage and operate the new sites. The company also offers glamping at multiple sites in Georgia and Florida.

To make glamping reservations at Wind Creek, visit And for the sites that are coming soon, visit

Want to glamp?

You may want to consider glamping if you love the great outdoors but would rather someone else takes care of your woodsy accommodations. The key to this wilderness fun is to know your budget, do a little investigating, and enjoy!

The Cynefin at Folklore Forest: $98 a night.

Located near the tiny mountain town of Mentone, there are miles of hiking trails nearby, and it is minutes from DeSoto State Park. Or you can spend the day shopping in Mentone and eating at one of the local restaurants.

For more information, email

The Destination Glamping Resort: $250 and $450 a night. The two smaller tents feature one bedroom, one bath, and a living room with complete plumbing, heat and air, a fridge, and a microwave. Outside is a propane grill and a 7-foot by 7-foot hot tub. Maximum occupancy for each tent is four guests. ($250 a night, two-night minimum).

The two larger tents have two bedrooms, one bath, and a living room with the same features as the one-bedroom tents. One of the tents is ADA-compliant. Maximum occupancy for each tent is six guests. ($450 a night, two-night minimum).

In addition to Lake Martin, nearby sites include Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail, Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, and Martin Dam Tours.

For more information, check the website at or call (615) 477-9813.

Bohamia: $99 a night

There’s plenty to do nearby, including Bryant Vineyard, Coosa River for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Nearby attractions include Talladega SuperSpeedway and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. In addition to Talladega National Forest, Cheaha State Park and DeSoto Caverns are also very close to Bohamia. For more information, check the website at or call 205-678-1283.

This 650-square-foot glamp, called the Music Loft, has more than 1,300 square feet of decking, with a covered and uncovered outdoor living space. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE DESTINATION GLAMPING RESORT
16 MAY 2023
One of the comfy bedrooms at the Destination’s Clearwater glamp, with lovely views from the deck.

Electric bikes ‘open up possibilities’

In Austin, Texas, we pedaled a bicycle through downtown neighborhoods while listening to a songwriter-turned-tour guide spin behind-the-music-scene tales, and during a quick stop on the state’s Gulf Coast, we rented bikes to explore the island city of Galveston on our own.

These were our first experiences with electric bicycles, and my husband went along with my plans reluctantly. He wanted the outings to be exercise and didn’t like the idea of the bike doing all the work. When we discovered that each rider chooses their level of pedal assist—including none at all—it turned into a win-win. He got the workout he wanted, especially when we navigated the sandy beaches in Galveston, and I was able to see more of both cities by engaging the bike’s electric motor when I needed a boost. After these excursions, I better understood why e-bikes have been the fastest growing segment in a hot U.S. cycling market as far back as 2018.

Zipp E-bikes owner Seth Leo, who fitted us with the bikes in Galveston and took us through an introduction to riding an electric concept, said we weren’t the first to think using a motorized bicycle was “cheating.” He advised my husband to turn off the assistance completely and pedal with the e-bike’s nearly 20 extra pounds to increase his workout.

Besides the fact that the bikes are fun, those who rent or buy from his shop typically choose an e-bike so they can go faster and farther or reduce their environmental impact by riding a bicycle rather than driving a vehicle.

“E-bikes open up possibilities,” he said. “Now you can pedal up that super steep hill you couldn’t pedal up before. We also see people who have physical limitations due to injury or age who thought they’d never be able to ride a bicycle again get on an e-bike and get back to being able to do something they love.”

If you’re thinking of renting an e-bike on your next vacation or renting one closer to home to test the concept before buying one, here’s what to expect before you take your first ride:

e-bike basics: Electric bicycles don’t look much different than traditional bikes at quick glance, but look closer to see a small electric motor, battery and control panel on the frame. They can be as much as 20 pounds heavier than regular bicycles, though weights are continuing to drop as the market matures (along with entry-level prices, which still hover at $1,000 and up).

Power plants, batteries, riding ranges and features vary among the brands and models, but the industry has developed three standard classes of e-bikes: Class 1 has a motor that you can

18 MAY 2023
Alabama Living MAY 2023 19

set to gently assist you as you pedal and it maxes out at 20 miles per hour (this is the most common e-bike available for rent or bike-sharing); Class 2 also reaches 20 mph but has a throttle-powered mode that does not require pedaling; Class 3 bikes are pedal-assist only but they can reach 28 mph.

Consider your skill level: Be honest about your ability and the type of riding you’re planning (road or trail, hills or flat ground, short or long commutes); outfitters will use that information to determine which size and style of e-bike to recommend. For example, I found a step-thru design with no top tube was easier for me to balance the heavier-than-normal bike when I stopped. Rides should start with an introduction to the equipment, a proper fitting and a short practice ride in a controlled space; if your outfitter doesn’t offer this ask for it.

Find out where you can ride safely and legally: You should follow the same bicycling safety precautions as with a traditional bicycle (see the accompanying article on safety). Be considerate while riding on trails with others; riding by at 20 mph can startle a pedestrian. You’ll need to spend time researching where you’re allowed to ride an e-bike. If you’re renting, check to see if the outfitter has restrictions (for example, whether you can take the bike into sand) and ask about areas such as parks that don’t allow motorized bicycles. Regulations are different in every state and can be specific to a city or land manager. Resources, such as People For Bikes’ Ride Spot app and local bike shops, include information on where to ride but it’s best to check specifically with any park you plan to ride.

Keep in mind that the regulations are changing regularly as more e-bikes enter the market. The National Park Service announced in late 2020 that superintendents throughout the system can allow Class 1 e-bikes on roads and trails where traditional bicycles are also allowed, however NPS also states that superintendents retain the right to limit e-bike use for safety reasons.

MeLinda Schnyder is a freelance journalist based in Wichita, Kansas. She grew up in Columbia, Missouri, where her first grown-up bike was a used yellow Schwinn 10-speed that would now be considered vintage and cool.

Follow the rules of the road

The League of American Bicyclists’ five Rules of the Road prepare you for safe and fun bicycling no matter where you’re riding.

Follow the law: You have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.

Be predictable: Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.

Be conspicuous: Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks.

Think ahead: Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians and other people on bikes will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

Ride ready: Check that your tires are sufficiently inflated, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly and quick release levers are closed. Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.

Source: The League of American Bicyclists

20 MAY 2023
Alabama Living MAY 2023 21

Fairhope eatery is fine dining –without the big check

Bo Hamilton, owner of Ox Kitchen in Fairhope, points to the people of the quaint city by the bay when he names what he loves most about running the casual eatery he opened in 2017. “Fairhope is full of a bunch of really good, friendly people, and doing what I do, I get to interact with them every day,” he says.

His devotion to his new hometown is obvious when he talks about it, so his restaurant’s name makes for a fun story. “The Ox is for Oxford, Mississippi,” he says, “because that’s where my wife and I had planned to open our own place.” Those plans obviously changed, and the roots of the original idea run deep, back to when Hamilton was a student at Auburn University.

He spent a few of his summers during college in Wyoming and started cooking at restaurants there. “It was my first time ever being in a kitchen, and I really enjoyed it, so when I came back to Auburn, I got a job cooking at a restaurant,” he says. He and the chef of that eatery became friends and opened up a restaurant

of their own. It did well for several years and gave Hamilton a chance to hone his culinary skills further. When the prop-

erty’s owner put it up for sale, he and his chef partner decided to close, and Hamilton moved back to Birmingham where he worked construction.

During that time, he got married to a gal from Oxford, and the couple moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he continued in construction before he realized how much he missed being in the restaurant world. He got back in the kitchen, working under a chef at the town’s famed ski resort.

Then, Hamilton and his wife began missing home. “We had always planned to come back South to start a family, so we did, and we decided to open a restaurant,” Hamilton says, “either in Oxford or Fairhope.” Initially, Oxford won out, hence the name of the restaurant. Yet when he and his wife realized that charming small town didn’t have as many outdoor recreation opportunities as Fairhope, they switched gears and headed down toward the coast. “But we liked the name, so we kept it,” Hamilton says.

Ox Kitchen began in a food hall and

| Worth the drive |
Ox Kitchen sits conveniently on one of the main drags in Fairhope. PHOTO BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY Ox Kitchen offers a selection of hearty salads. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELNEAU The smoked turkey sandwich on sourdough is piled high with goodness. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELNEAU
Alabama Living MAY 2023 23

quickly attracted loyal customers. The eatery’s popularity grew enough to justify the move to a larger, stand-alone location last year, proving that Fairhope residents don’t really care what the restaurant’s name is. They care about Hamilton’s food philosophy. “I did fine dining for a long time and got a little tired of that, but I still wanted to give people that quality yet in a more casual environment and at a lower price,” he says. “Ox Kitchen is good food in a relaxed, family friendly environment.”

Today, diners peruse the selection of burgers, tacos (like shrimp with chili-lime slaw), hefty sandwiches (the house-smoked turkey on sourdough with chipotle mayo is a hit), salads (a mix of quinoa, pickled radishes, pepitas, black beans, charred corn and avocado is filling and flavorful) and a tasty selection of starters (including roasted Brussels sprouts with a salty-citrus sauce for dipping and pecan smoked wings with Alabama white barbecue sauce). They order the item that speaks to their stomach before grabbing seats inside (with the giant ox painted on the wall watching) or at an umbrella-shaded picnic table out on the back patio. “The menu is mostly things I grew up eating and enjoying,” Hamilton says.

Simple but scrumptious

He makes some changes and additions, but most dishes, like the big, beefy burg-

ers, are always available. And all of Ox Kitchen’s food shares Hamilton’s commitment to keeping things simple but scrumptious, with a few special touches, like bringing in bread from iconic Gambino’s bakery in New Orleans for its po’ boys. Almost everything is made by the Ox Kitchen crew and prepared fresh to order.

think our diners appreciate that we use the best ingredients,” he says.

His personal favorites are Ox Kitchen’s creamy, flavorful hummus, served with grilled pita wedges and a zippy cucumber dill sauce, and the gyro, a fluffy pita rolled around blackened chicken or shrimp, feta, roasted red peppers and pickled onions. “I like anything with a Greek influence. I grew up in Birmingham where there is a lot of Greek-inspired foods thanks to a big community of restaurant owners with that heritage,” he says. Ox Kitchen diners often opt for the Ox Burger, a classic all-American cheeseburger with house-made pickles and Ox Gravy (a savory red wine and rosemary demi-glace) on a brioche bun. “It’s by far our best seller,” he says.

Ox Kitchen

365 Greeno Road South, Fairhope 251-725-9385

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Tuesday-Saturday Fairhope l

“It’s like fine dining but without the white tablecloth and the big check,” Hamilton says. “We don’t cut corners, yet we get food out quick. It’s fast, but by no means, fast food.” He notes that he’s considered knocking his prices down even more, but to do things right, he knows he can’t stray from the firm foundation he’s built his dishes on. “It’s a balance, but I

While Hamilton isn’t as hands-on in the kitchen as much as he once was, he’s relishing the rewards of being a restaurant owner. “I love food, but I really love running this place. I have a great team and great customers. I get to talk to them all day and provide them with something they want. That’s the best part.”

And he’s happy that he’s doing it where he is. “Fairhope is beautiful; it’s on the water and there are so many ways and activities to explore the outdoors here,” he says. “But it’s really about the people. They are what make this city so special.”

Ox Kitchen’s beefy burgers are among its best-sellers. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELNEAU The Protein Power Bowl is packed with chicken, quinoa, avocados and pepitas. PHOTO BY JENNIFER KORNEGAY Owner Bo Hamilton is often on site greeting guests. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH GELNEAU
Alabama Living MAY 2023 25

A co-op leader for business

Helena Duncan, a member of the Board of Directors at Dixie Electric Cooperative, assumed the leadership role at the state’s most influential business advocacy organization, the Business Council of Alabama, in December 2022. As its new president and CEO, she brings to the position 35 years of experience in the world of finance. She had previously been BCA’s senior vice president of operations and investor relations, and had served as regional president of Liberty Bank and Trust for five years prior. A finance graduate of Auburn University Montgomery, she built her career in the banking and mortgage world with positions at First Tuskegee Bank, American Legacy Mortgage and Colonial Bancgroup. She is active in Montgomery area community affairs, including the Committee of 100, the Board of Directors for the YMCA, Advisory Board for Synovus Bank and was former chairman of the board at Saint James School. She is passionate about ad vocating for Alabama business, as she related in a re cent Q&A with Alabama Living. – Lenore Vickrey

Tell us a little about your growing-up years and where you went to high school and college.

I am the youngest of 5 kids.  It was tough growing up behind such dy namic siblings.  Our parents put a lot of importance on education.  Their expectations were high but they were right there with us every step of the way.  I graduated from Opelika High School. I attended both Auburn Uni versity and Auburn-Montgomery where I obtained my degree in Finance.

How did you decide to go into the finan cial sector for your career?

The financial sector chose me, I like to say.  I start ed working as a teller while I was in college.  That allowed me to have my nights and weekends free.  I realized then that I liked banking and that I was actually good at it.  It was early enough in my education that I was able to de clare finance as my major and continued on that path.

How has your experience in banking and the financial world helped you in your new role at BCA?

For one, serving others and trying to do the best thing possible to help advance others.  Also, in banking, I often got to hear and witness the challenges businesses faced doing business in Alabama.  Then I couldn’t do much about it outside of being a listening ear.  Now, I’m in position to help facilitate change to make Alabama a great place to do business.  Working in finance allows me to understand both sides of the issues.

How does your role as a trustee of Dixie Electric Cooperative help you in making decisions for the larger business community? Conversely, how does your business background help u in your role as a Dixie EC trustee?

Dixie is so fortunate the have the leadership team that we have.  Being involved with this board really allows me an up close and personal view of the impact that legislation has on business decisions within rganization.  It allows me to see what’s working well and what’s not.

My background in business and finance helps me to be more of a part he solution.  We have a very smart and engaged board, all with their own set of talents to offer.  Together, we make quite the team.

I hear you love to brag on your family, so tell us about them!   Well, Clarence and I are extremely proud of our sons, CJ and Collin.  uated at Vanderbilt University and is now in government affairs in Nashville, Tennessee.  Collin just recently graduated from Mississippi ate with a degree in kinesiology.

How do you like to relax after work?

I haven’t figured that out yet!  Most days close with dinner with my husband, recapping the day.  After 32 years of rriage, I really can’t think of a better way to do

26 MAY 2023 | Alabama People | Helena Duncan

Social Security honors our military heroes

On Memorial Day, our nation honors military service members who have given their lives for our country. Families, friends and communities pause to remember the many great sacrifices of our military and ensure their legacy lives on in the freedoms we all enjoy. We recognize these heroes who, in President Lincoln’s words, “gave the last full measure of devotion.”

The benefits we provide can help the families of deceased military service members. For example, surviving spouses and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. You can learn more about those benefits at survivors

We also offer support to our wounded warriors. Social Security benefits protect veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty or performing other work. Wounded military service members can receive expedited processing of

their Social Security disability claims. Are you a veteran with a 100% Permanent & Total compensation rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs? We will expedite your disability claim. Both the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Social Security Administration have disability programs. You may qualify for disability benefits under one program but not the other, or you may qualify for both. Depending on your situation, some of your family members, including your dependent children or spouse, may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits.

Want more information? Visit for answers to commonly asked questions or to find information about the application process.

Thinking about retirement? Military service members can receive Social Security benefits in addition to their military retirement benefits. For details, visit our webpage, You Can Get Both Military Retirement and Social Security Benefits, at planners/retire/veterans.html

Please share this information with the military families in your community. To the veterans who bravely served and died for our country, and to the military service members who serve today, we honor and thank you.

May crossword

1 Alabama State Park that could be just the place for a camping trip for mom and the family, 2 words

2 Pink flower for mom on Mother’s Day

3 Asked to come to a party, say

4 Breakfast meat for an Alabama Mother’s day

5 Suffix used in many job types

28 MAY 2023 SOCIAL SECURITY Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at
Answers on Page 29
Across 1 Family outdoor meal 4 Paprika or cayenne pepper 7 Alabama neighbor, abbr. 8 Toward the source of the Tallapoosa, for example 10 Prefix meaning “extremely” 12 Allow 13 Alabama town famous for its peach-shaped water tower 15 Third in line in the family 16 Chip sauce
7 Praise 20 Taxi 21 Brown at the beach 23 Orange ____: ideal city for a getaway for mom on Mother’s Day 26 Alabama city that boasts Spa Belle La Vie: a great gift for mom 29 Old vinyl record 31 Duck whose feathers are used in pillows 33 Taking mom to this Alabama city’s Museum of Art could be a great gift for her 34 Alabama city not far from Mobile where Mayfest is celebrated with a beautiful baby contest, a pooch parade and children’s rides and games Down
from Australia 14 Demonstrate 18 Musical scale note 19 Atlanta-based channel, abbr. 22 Jewel for a Mother’s day pendant, perhaps 24 Valuable possession 25 Does and bucks 26 Male turkey 27 Large sandwich 28 Aspiration 30 owned 32 A can __ person
6 Noted time period in the history books 9 Mother’s Day present with great cooking ideas, 2 words
Young jumper

Around Alabama



McCalla 50th annual Southern Appalachian Dulcimer Festival, Tannehill State Park. Music at the gazebo from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Friday, featuring dulcimer groups from across the Southeast. Potluck supper Friday night at the Event Center. On Saturday, dulcimer classes and music at the gazebo and open stage for dulcimers from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Kiwanis Pavilion. Old-time gospel, hymns, bluegrass and other music. No fee except for park entrance fee. and click on “50th annual SADA Festival.”

6 Pell City May Memories Golf Cart Tours through the historic residential district. Point of departure is First Baptist Church parking lot at 10 a.m. See the Pell City Historical Society’s Facebook page for details.

6-13 Montgomery the Botanical Gardens at Oak Park, 1010 Forest Ave. Celebrate National Public Gardens Week with self-guided tours of the gardens from 8 a.m. to dusk. Also planned are a birding class and walk at 10 a.m. May 6; plein air paint out at 9 a.m. May 9; and a nature photography class at 10 a.m. May 13.

8 Valley 47th annual hike/bike/run, 7 a.m. EDT. A day of events including a 1- or 5-mile hike, a children’s bike ride, a trike and stroller walk, a 10mile bike ride and a one-mile, 4K or 5k run. Can do more than one event. Participants in the events pay a small registration fee. Prizes and t-shirts to participants. Food and children’s activities available. Event begins at the school, 6345 Fairfax Bypass. Email

12 Troy Thunder on the Three Notch, Pioneer Museum of Alabama. Enjoy two days of living history as skilled artisans and craftsmen in period clothing demonstrate folk arts and crafts including blacksmithing, rope making,

spinning, weaving, and more. Event features a re-enactment of the last two battles of the Creek War of 1836 which took place at Hobdy’s Bridge on the Pea River in Pike County during February and March of 1837. Battles will occur each day at 2 p.m. Admission required. 334-566-3597.


Frisco City annual Mother’s Day plant sale, Jones Park, 4326 Bowden St. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday. All proceeds benefit Revive Frisco City, a community group. More than 2,000 plants will be for sale. 251-714-0513.

13 Pisgah first Mountain Laurel Arts Festival, Pisgah Civitan Park, CR-374. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy the majestic Pisgah Gorge by walking the mountain trails, seeing magnificent waterfalls and learning about the history, lore and native plants of the area. Artists and craftsmen will have works for purchase, plus live music, car show from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and food. Free admission, $5 parking. Email


Arley 50th annual Arley Day Festival, Car Show and Parade. Free, familyfriendly event offers arts and crafts vendors, children’s games, water slides, horseback rides, food vendors, musical entertainment and more. Parade begins at 8 a.m. and proceeds down Highway 41, ending at Hamner Park, site of the car show. Pickleball demonstration at 10 a.m. Pancake breakfast at the Arley Fire Station.

Dothan Touch a Truck and Car Show, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Landmark Park. Kids of all ages will have a chance to see 50 trucks and other equipment and learn about safety. Car show will be a cruise-in, not a juried show, beginning at 9 a.m.; $10 to enter each car. Refreshments will be available. $8 adults, $6 kids and free for children 2 and under and park members.



Scottsboro 22nd annual Catfish Festival, Jackson County Park. Car, truck and motorcycle registration opens at 8 a.m.; arts and crafts and jewelry vendors, free kids’ area, inflatables and train rides, food vendors and entertainment by the Bowmans. or call 256-609-1409.



Millbrook Hydrangea Fest, Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Pavilion on Lanark Road. Buy and see these beautiful plants, many of which will be in bloom, growing in the landscape. Maria Pacheco, grounds specialist, will present a program on growing hydrangeas at 9:30 a.m., followed by a walking tour of the property’s heirloom garden. Admission $5. Proceeds from plant sales will benefit Lanark’s gardens. calendar


Greensboro bicentennial tour. The town of Greensboro is hosting a tour of more than 20 historic sites, including museums, homes and churches, to celebrate its bicentennial. Ten private homes and five other historic places of interest are on the self-guided tour. Saturday’s tour is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday’s tour is from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets available on Eventbrite (search Greensboro, AL) or on the day of the tours at Magnolia Grove, 1002 Hobson St. 10

Decatur Readers and Writers Jubilee. Event includes an author meet and greet and panels and workshops for readers and writers. Featured speaker is USA Today bestselling author and NAACP Image nominee Beverly Jenkins. myDPL.or/jubilee


Marion 29th annual Marion Rodeo, Perry County Cattlemen’s Ralph Eagle Memorial Arena. Co-sanctioned by the Professional Cowboys Association and the International Professional Rodeo Association and produced by the 3R Rodeo Company of Jemison, with announcer Jerry Byrd and two-time IFR barrel man Rob Gann. Gates open at 6 p.m.; mutton bustin’ at 6:30 p.m.; little wranglers at 7:15 p.m.; and the rodeo begins at 7:30 p.m. 334-410-0748.

Answers to puzzle on Page 28

Alabama Living MAY 2023 29
To place an event, e-mail or visit 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. Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living
Hydrangeas will be in full bloom at Hydrangea Fest in Millbrook next month.

A look at holistic veterinary medicine

In the early 2000s when I started my practice, there were only three or four veterinarians in all of Seattle who were offering anything other than standard pharmaceutical medications. Now, there are over 10 clinics that offer some form of alternative therapies in Seattle and probably numerous other vets who offer acupuncture, etc.

In our state, I know of at least five clinics that offer holistic services. A lot more clients are asking for it. But what is it?

The terminology is confusing and has been so for decades. The history of the words (w)hole and health goes back centuries. In its purest form, it can mean that we are looking at the whole animal!

Let’s look at a few examples. A dog has dry, flaky, or moist, “yeasty” skin. There are shampoos for these conditions! It would be easy to just prescribe a shampoo. But what if we ask the question, what imbalance in the body is making the skin unhealthy? Instead of relying on shampoos, what if we try to work from inside to support the skin so that it can restore itself to its full glory?

A holistic vet doesn’t need to refrain from using pharmaceuticals or need to reach out for herbs, but they do look at all aspects of the disease. In fact, that’s just plain good medicine! In real life, however, the general perception is that a holistic vet rejects the “dangerous” pharmaceuticals and only uses herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. In many cases, that is not true.

Just like any other profession, holistic vets come in all flavors. Most holistic vets practice some sort of “integrative medicine” where they use herbs and natural products along with pharmaceuticals. On the other end of the spectrum, there are vets who think that all pharmaceuticals are bad and the origin of all illnesses are vaccines!

When I was in Seattle, a client came in with a small dog with cancer. He was being seen by a vet who practiced homeopathy exclusively. This dog was not on any pain medication as the vet feared that pain meds could be disturbing for the body. There are acupuncture vets who think they can cure cancer. Maybe they can, but it seems unlikely.

As you are choosing your holistic vet, choose someone who is comfortable with all modalities and uses every tool in the toolbox for the best outcome with least side effects.

Here is a brief summary of the modalities holistic vets usually use:

Acupuncture: Inserting needles at specific points of the body. Acupuncture started in ancient China and has been enjoying a resurgence all over the world in the last 3-4 decades. The most common practice is using dry needles (it implies just the needles). However, many vets use Vitamin B12 injections at the acupuncture points, and this is called aqua-puncture. When these needles are connected to a micro electric pulse-generator, it is called electro-acupuncture.

Chiropractic: Even though it is a relatively new technique, the practice of bone settings is not new. Many humans (including myself) have found relief with chiropractic medicine.

Herbs: There are two broad divisions here: Western herbs and Chinese herbs. I guess the essential oils can also be included in herbal medicine. There are a lot of multi-level marketing products for essential oils, but I prefer to buy them on open markets. Mountain Rose herb is my go-to source.

Homeopathy: This modality, also known as homeopathic medicine, was pioneered by Dr. Samuel Hanneman from Germany, and is a little trickier to explain. According to information from the National Institutes of Health, it’s based on the theories that “like cures like,” or the notion that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people; and the “law of minimum dose,” the notion that the lower the dose of medication, the greater its effectiveness. Research on its effectiveness is mixed.

All modalities should be used with caution and that includes herbs! If a little bit of turmeric is good, a lot is not necessarily better!

I function within these parameters:

• Whatever modality I choose, it cannot cause harm, including delaying proven successful treatments;

• With sincere honesty and personal clarity I have to believe that it has worked well for me in the past;

• It should not cost an arm and a leg;

• Any treatment we choose should start showing some improvement within three visits. If not, find a new approach!

One last word: just because something says it is “natural” does not mean it is safe. A holistic vet told me a very long time ago that snake bites and arsenic are natural too, but we don’t reach out for them! In the end, there is no substitution for discriminative knowledge.

Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Care near Geraldine, Alabama. To suggest topics for future discussions, email him at

Hands-on event instills life lessons in personal finance

Alabama ONE’s Mad City Money combines financial literacy, learning, and a little bit of chaos for the AREA Montgomery Youth Tour

Alabama ONE co-hosted an event for the 145 high school juniors participating in this year’s Montgomery Youth Tour. The event for the students, who represented electrical co-ops from across the state, was staffed by ten Alabama ONE employees and the almost 40 tour chaperones.

Mad City Money is an immersive and interactive budgeting simulation for high school students. During the two and a halfhour event, students are given a glimpse of adulthood as they acquire a career, children, and debt! In a swirl of activity, stu-

dents move from station to station, learning about costs, evaluating their options, and trying to balance all their goals as well as what they want. They are challenged to purchase a house, clothes, transportation, home goods, and much more. Some of those stations include a mall for “wants,” a pushy salesperson, a realtor, other merchants, a credit union and the “Fickle Finger of Fate,” who gives them unexpected windfalls or expenses. The whole event, at times, looks more like an energetic life-size game of Monopoly than a learning activity.

More than just a fun experience, the simulation is designed to help students receive a greater understanding of the challenges adulthood brings, even if it is just for a couple of hours!

Jacquie Johnson, senior director of community affairs and team development at Alabama ONE, says, “It is our desire that by the end of this event, students will walk away with a little more life experience. Par-

“My students absolutely LOVED this activity. In fact, most of them said it was their favorite part of Youth Tour! I thoroughly enjoyed my ‘job’ selling houses, too! Thank you and your team for such an amazing experience.” – CHRISTI SCRUGGS, communications director, Pioneer Electric Cooperative

ticipants realize, ‘Oh, I guess I can’t have a big house and a new truck on my salary and still pay for day care and groceries.’ They learn by seeing for themselves what works and what doesn’t.”

During the simulation, participants will learn the consequences of their decisions and share their thoughts and actions with their peers.

Through the Alabama ONE Aspire Foundation, Alabama ONE hosts Mad City Money events for schools across the state. To learn more or to support these statewide initiatives, visit the Foundation’s website, 

Alabama Living MAY 2023 31

Unearthing the earthworm’s story

As we toil away in the garden, it’s always a thrill to turn up a few wriggling earthworms. They are, after all, signs that we have helpers in our gardening efforts and we’re doing something right with our soils. So, let’s dig a little deeper into the earthworm’s story.

Earthworms — in partnership with bacteria, fungi and microorganisms — provide vital services to the soil ecosystem by helping decompose plant and animal materials turning them into nutrient-rich, moisture-retaining organic matter. As they tunnel and eat their way through the soil, earthworms also help improve soil quality and texture, which can enhance the availability of water, air and nutrients to plant roots and help reduce issues such as soil compaction and erosion and surface water runoff.

That’s a pretty remarkable list of services provided by these quiet little eyeless, earless, legless creatures that aren’t even OFNA (originally from North America). That’s right, as many of you probably already know, most earthworms found in our soils today were brought here, both accidentally and intentionally, in the 1600s by European settlers. These immigrant worms filled a gap left some 10,000 years earlier after Ice Age glacial activity wiped out the majority of our continent’s native earthworm populations.

In most cases, that’s been a good thing, says Katelyn Kesheimer, an entomologist with Auburn University’s College of Agriculture and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

“Earthworms really are great at maintaining soil health and they don’t harm or

feed on any of the other critters that we want,” she says.

There are some situations, however, when they can cause problems. One is on highly manicured turf (lawns and golf courses, for example) where earthworms may leave piles of worm castings — worm poop — at the soil surface. Another is in forest ecosystems, where researchers in some states have reported that earthworms are having negative impacts on forest health.

But here in Alabama, Kesheimer says, nonnative earthworms, like nonnative honey bees, are typically welcome immigrants. Not only do earthworms help our soils, their castings have become highly valued sources of slow-release, natural fertilizer.

“I’ve seen more and more growers, whether backyard or small farms, using worm castings as compost,” says Kesheimer, who, as the state’s Extension entomology specialist, works with everyone from homeowners and gardeners to commercial crop growers to answer their insect questions. “The castings are expensive, but the growers who use them swear by them to increase soil fertility.”

In fact, vermicomposting, which can be easily undertaken as a backyard project, allows for more rapid breakdown of kitchen food waste than traditional composting and has the added benefit of supplying fishing worms. (To learn more about it, search for vermicomposting on

Some other nonnative terrestrial worms, however, warrant concern, though at this point, not panic. One in particular is the hammerhead worm — like the shark, but with no teeth — which Kesheimer said has been here since at least the early 1900s but seems to have been rearing its head more frequently the past couple of years. It’s an entirely different animal (a flatworm rather than a segmented worm) than the

earthworm, but it’s often seen in the same environments as earthworms, such as in garden soils and pots. And while it poses no significant physical threat to humans or pets, it does exude a toxin in tiny amounts that may irritate our skin.

If you find a hammerhead worm, Kesheimer said, don’t chop it up and leave it in the soil; it will reproduce from those separate parts — an entomological horror movie come to life. Instead, use gloves or a plastic baggie to remove and dispose of it. It can also be killed by sprinkling it with small amounts of salt or vinegar.

As for earthworms, the best way to sustainably support their populations is to encourage existing populations, not introduce new ones into an ecosystem. Here are a few tips.

 Add organic material to garden soils.

 Leave organic mulch on soil surface.

 Keep soils moist.

 Till less and don’t till deeply.

 Do not use pesticides.

 Avoid introducing earthworms, including fishing worms, into sensitive areas, especially forests.


 Continue planting warm season flowers and vegetables.

 Start planting okra and southern peas.

 Keep an eye out for insect and disease problems.

 Move hardy houseplants outside for the summer.

 Keep newly planted shrubs and trees well-watered.

 Take advantage of the statewide Master Gardener Helpline (877-252-4769) for your gardening questions.

 Attend local garden tours and plant sales such as the annual Hydrangea Fest at Lanark Gardens in Millbrook on June 3 (

32 MAY 2023 | Gardens
Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at
Alabama Living MAY 2023 33 Licensed and Insured New Right of Way clearing Reclaiming Existing Right of Way Forestry Mulching (334) 818-0595

Healthy substitutions for better eating

If you’re looking for some ways to substitute healthy alternatives for ingredients in your everyday eating, it’s easier than you think. Just a few simple adjustments can make a difference in the amount of fat and calories you consume, and the nutritional boost you can get in return. Brooke Burks, our partner at The Buttered Home, offers these handy tips:

• Substitute unsweetened low-fat Greek yogurt for mayo in sweet and savory dishes. You get protein and healthy fat!

• Cook with real butter. We need some fat in our diet for organ function. Butter is easy to use and of course, tasty!

• Use almond flour in place of regular white flour. This is considered a protein-packed swap with far fewer carbs and calories.

• Pay attention to what you are drinking. Most of us are drinking a lot of our calories every day, even with diet sodas. Sodium is also hidden in most drinks, which can lead to fluid retention.

• Spaghetti squash, zucchini slices and eggplant slices also can be swapped for pasta. Once you start, it will be hard to tell the difference.

• Unleash the power of cauliflower! You can mash it, rice it and with proper seasoning, you won’t miss those starchy alternatives.

• Eat fresh! Shop the outer aisles of the grocery store and look for ways to incorporate more vegetables in your diet. Adding spinach to shakes and smoothies goes undetected! Trust me!

• When you want something sweet, reach for a low-glycemic fruit like berries or even a dill pickle to curb that sweet craving. It works!

| Alabama Recipes |
Food styling and photos: Brooke Echols
34 MAY 2023

Cook of the Month:

Bobbie Canada, Tallapoosa River EC

Bobbie Canada loves a good, moist bran muffin, but finding one that’s not overly dry, especially when dining out or on a cruise ship which she and her husband enjoy, can be difficult. So, inspired by her daughter to seek out healthier dietary choices, she came up with her own recipe for “Best Raisin Bran Muffin Ever.” Instead of sugar, she uses molasses, and instead of an egg, she uses a flaxseed and water mixture: “You can actually taste the difference,” she says. For buttermilk, she did some research to see what would be a good substitute. Online searches showed using whole milk with lemon juice, “So I thought if it works with whole milk, it’s got to work with almond milk.” And it did. “I even use it in a recipe I have for pound cake and my husband likes it better,” says the retired elementary school art teacher. (Another hint: For the wheat bran cereal, she recommends the Publix brand bran flakes.) Making the substitutions might take longer in the planning and prep work, but she adds, “It’s worth it if you want a nice, moist, healthy muffin.” She usually makes two recipes and freezes one: “They freeze well and last a while.” —

Best Raisin Bran Muffin Ever (Plant-Based!)

Egg substitute:

1 tablespoon organic ground flax seed

3 tablespoons purified water

Measure 1 tablespoon ground flax seed into a glass cup. Add 3 tablespoons of purified water. Whip and set aside to allow “egg” to congeal.

Buttermilk substitute:

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Measure 1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon into a glass measuring cup. Fill with unsweetened almond milk to measure to 1 cup. Set aside and allow milk to curdle.


11/2 cups wheat bran cereal

1 cup buttermilk substitute, plant-based recipe above

1/3 cup organic grape-seed oil, or other light oil

1 egg substitute, plant-based recipe above

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1 cup organic white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon bak ing soda

1 teaspoon bak ing powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup organic raisins

¼ cup organic ground flax seed

Purified water

Muffin pan liners or bak ing spray

More upcoming themes and deadlines:

October: Pumpkin | July 7

November: Slow Cooker | August 4

Visit our website:

Email us:

USPS mail: Attn: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Cook of the Month wins $50! Recipes can be developed by you or family members. You may even adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Chosen cooks may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use muffin pan liners or spray muffin pan lightly with organic baking spray. Measure wheat bran cereal and place into a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, measure organic white whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground flax seed and salt. Stir with a wire whisk and set aside. Add the buttermilk mixture, which should be curdled by now, to the bowl with wheat bran and set aside to soften. Hand beat oil, flax seed egg mixture, molasses and vanilla into the buttermilk/wheat bran mixture. When blended, add the flour mixture. Stir until blended, then toss in raisins and stir again. Spoon into muffin cups and place into the oven for 30 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

Alabama Living MAY 2023 35
Coming up next... September theme: International Dishes Deadline to enter: June 2

Over the last couple of years, I have spent a lot of time trying to find a healthier alternative to some of my favorite things. Cooking is a great experiment and this challenge has been the most fun! When thinking about some pretty decadent dishes, I thought a lot about substitutions for the components that add carbs and fat to most recipes. This Banana Pudding uses a plant-based sugar substitute, low-fat options, and nuts in the place of cookies. But you get texture and all of the flavor you expect. Making dishes like these in individual portion sizes also is a great way to lighten things up! For more healthy substitution recipes and as well as great traditional ones, head over to

Lemon Garlic Butter Salmon with Zucchini Noodles

1 salmon fillet, cut in 3 or 4 chunks

4 zucchini, spiralized

3 tablespoons butter, divided

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup fresh chopped parsley, divided

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon hot sauce of your choice (recommended: Texas Pete)

Fresh chopped scallion, garnish

Season salmon fillets on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat butter in a large cast iron skillet. Add the pieces of salmon to the skillet, skin side first, and cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. For best results, use a fish turner to flip salmon. Remove from the skillet and set aside. In the same skillet, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add lemon juice, hot sauce, minced garlic, half the parsley and red pepper flakes (optional). Add the zucchini noodles and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring regularly to coat in the butter sauce, until zucchini noodles are done but still crisp and juices have reduced a bit, drain out water. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and garnish with more parsley. Push zucchini noodles on the side and add salmon fillets back to the pan. Reheat for a couple of minutes. Serve immediately garnished with chopped scallion and a lemon slice on the side.

Mini Skinny Banana Pudding

¼ cup almonds, chopped

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons sugar substitute

1 egg yolk , lightly beaten

1 cup low-fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 sliced bananas

Preheat oven to 350. Roast chopped almonds in a baking dish for 10-12 minutes. Cool.

In a saucepan, combine salt, sugar substitute and cornstarch. Mix well.

Add in egg yolk. Set heat to medium and slowly add milk. Stir well to combine. Continue to stir until it reaches a custard or pudding consistency. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Layer in single serving dishes with sliced bananas. Top with roasted almonds. Yield: four individual servings.

Dill Chicken Salad

1 pound of cooked, cooled and shredded chicken breasts

2 eggs, boiled and chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

2/3 cup non-fat, unsweetened Greek yogurt

¼ cup dill pickle relish

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Prep ingredients. Shred cooled chicken with two forks or a hand mixer. Chop eggs. Combine both in a medium bowl. Add salt, pepper, mayo, yogurt and pickle relish. Mix well. Add garlic powder, paprika, red onion and mustard. Mix again. Chill and serve.

Making just a few changes in your recipes can make a big difference. Substituting unsweetened, low-fat Greek yogurt for full fat mayonnaise, and dill pickles for sweet, really makes a big impact on this beloved southern recipe.

The Buttered Home

36 MAY 2023
Brooke Burks Photo by The Buttered Home Brooke Burks

When most Alabama fishermen talk about “going perch jerking,” they usually mean they want to catch bluegills or some other member of the sunfish family. It could also mean loading a boat with “white perch,” another member of the sunfish family that most people call crappie. However, in parts of Alabama, a real member of the perch family could give a new meaning to the phrase.

Traditionally a northern species, yellow perch range across the Midwest to the Atlantic and into Canada. Along the East Coast, they exist as far south as South Carolina. This colorful elongated green and golden-hued fish tinged with orange and sporting vertical black bars also extends partly down the Mississippi River and along the Apalachicola River into Florida. People introduced them into countless other systems. Many anglers might not realize that this species also calls parts of Alabama home.

“Yellow perch are found all over Alabama, but they are not native to the state other than some potential populations in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta,” says Keith Henderson, a biologist for the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division in Montgomery. “It’s believed that most of the populations in the Tennessee, Chattahoochee and Tallapoosa rivers are all introduced.”

A yellow perch can grow up to 20 inches long and weigh more than four pounds, but most measure less than 12 inches and weigh a little more than a pound. The world record and the oldest freshwater record in North America weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces, a New Jersey fish caught in May 1865.

“We have some yellow perch in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, but they are not abundant at all,” says Lee Grove Jr., a state fisheries biologist in Spanish Fort. “We see them in Bay Minette Creek and Cedar Creek, but they’re pretty small. Every couple of years, someone brings in a yellow perch or sends a picture to our office wondering what it is.”

As a northern species, yellow perch prefer cooler, clear flowing waters with good vegetation coverage. They can move into a niche that native fish like crappie might avoid. In larger reser-

voirs, yellow perch tend to stay in deeper water than bluegills and favor the tributary creeks.

“Yellow perch seem to thrive where our native sport fish are not doing as well,” Henderson says. “They’re not necessarily competing with our sport fish, but they are kind of replacing them in areas with little current and clear, cold water. I’ve caught some of my biggest perch by pulling threadfin shad or small gizzard shad under planer boards when fishing for striped bass.”

Most Alabama anglers probably catch yellow perch more by accident than design. Once anglers find a place where they can catch perch more consistently, they specifically target them. Where abundant, perch regularly gather in large schools.

Perch normally eat worms, minnows, crawfish, insects, shad and other natural baits. The small scrappers might also strike crappie jigs, curled-tailed grubs, spoons, smaller in-line spinnerbaits and even some largemouth bass lures like jerkbaits fished on light line with a slow retrieval.

For the best real perch-jerking in Alabama, visit the Tallapoosa River and associated waters like Yates Reservoir, Lake Martin and Thurlow Lake. The Tallapoosa system holds a sufficiently large and widespread population for people to intentionally fish for yellow perch.

In March 2015, Grove pulled the state record from Yates Reservoir. The fish weighed 2 pounds, 2 ounces. The waterbody impounds about 1,980 acres of the Tallapoosa River near Tallassee. People might also catch perch in the Tennessee or Chattahoochee River systems, but most catches there usually occur by people fishing for bass or crappie.

“I was just at the right place at the right time when I caught that state record,” Grove recalls. “Some of us decided to go fishing on Yates Reservoir to see if we could catch a few yellow perch. When we started fishing it was just unbelievable. The first one I caught broke the state record. Another tied the record. We also caught a 1-pound, 12-ounce fish and a 1-pound, 9-ounce fish plus a couple 1-pounders, all on crappie jigs without bait. Anything that replicates a shad or a minnow might work on yellow perch.”

If you can find them, yellow perch provide exciting sport on light tackle and exceptional tablefare with light flaky flesh prepared in various ways. Many people fry the smaller ones like bluegills. Fish connoisseurs can also fillet larger specimens for baking, broiling and grilling.

38 MAY 2023 | Outdoors |
John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ or through Facebook.
Non-native perch may be hard to find, but can still provide exciting sport


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The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2023 Moon Clock, go to

Alabama Living MAY 2023 39
2023 EXCELLENT TIMES MOON STAGE GOOD TIMES MAY A.M. PM AM PM We 17 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 Th 18 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Fr 19 NA 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Sa 20 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Su 21 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Mo 22 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Tu 23 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 We 24 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Th 25 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Fr 26 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Sa 27 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Su 28 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Mo 29 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Tu 30 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 We 31 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 JUNE A.M. PM AM PM Th 1 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Fr 2 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 5:48 - 7:18 6:11 - 7:4 1 Sa 3 NA 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Su 4 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Mo 5 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 Tu 6 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 We 7 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Th 8 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Fr 9 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Sa 10 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Su 11 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Mo 12 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 Tu 13 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 We 14 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Th 15 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7 Fr 16 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 5:21 - 6:51 5:45 - 7:15 Sa 17 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 5:48 - 7:18 6:11 - 7:4 1 Su 18 NA 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 6:09 - 7:39 6:33 - 8:03 Mo 19 12:30 - 2:30 12:54 - 2:54 6:57 - 8:2 7 7:21 - 8:51 Tu 20 1:18 - 3:18 1:42 - 3:42 7:45 - 9:15 8:09 - 9:39 We 21 2:06 - 4:06 2:30 - 4:30 8:33 - 10:03 8:57 - 10:27 Th 22 2:54 - 4:54 3:18 - 5:18 9:21 - 10:51 9:45 - 11:15 Fr 23 3:42 - 5:42 4:06 - 6:06 10:09 - 11:39 10:33 - 12:03 Sa 24 4:30 - 6:30 4:54 - 6:54 10:57 - 12:27 11:21 - 12:51 Su 25 5:18 - 7:18 5:42 - 7:42 NA 12:09 - 1:39 Mo 26 6:06 - 8:06 6:30 - 8:30 12:33 - 2:03 12:57 - 2:27 Tu 27 6:54 - 8:54 7:18 - 9:18 1:21 - 2:51 1:45 - 3:15 We 28 8:30 - 10:30 8:54 - 10:54 2:57 - 4:2 7 3:21 - 4:51 Th 29 9:18 - 11:18 9:42 - 11:42 3:45 - 5:15 4:09 - 5:39 Fr 30 10:06 - 12:06 10:30 - 12:30 4:33 - 6:03 4:57 - 6:2 7

Energy savings for small businesses

Electric cooperatives are proud to serve small businesses that are essential to our local communities. As costs for pretty much everything continue to rise, small business owners are feeling strained. Luckily, there are steps Alabama’s small business owners can take to conserve energy––and save money.

Many small businesses are in commercial buildings smaller than 50,000 square feet. These buildings use 44% of the energy consumed by commercial buildings in the United States. According to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program, small businesses in the U.S. collectively spend a staggering $60 billion on annual energy costs. Additionally, a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business found that energy costs are a top-three expense for more than a third of the nation’s small businesses.

Small businesses can reduce their energy costs by taking advantage of competitive rates, making upgrades to increase efficiency and making simple changes to how they do business. This can have a direct effect on a business’s bottom line and make it more competitive in the current market.

Here are a few areas small business owners can focus on saving energy and money.

Lighting: Many small businesses, like offices and retail stores, depend greatly on lighting, which can be a major expense. There are two ways to increase the efficiency of your business’s lighting system: install energy efficient equipment (bulbs and/or fixtures) and change how you use lighting.

New LED bulbs use less energy and last much longer. LEDs come in a variety of options and prices, making them great replacements for older, inefficient bulbs.

Encourage employees to turn off lights when they’re not being used. You can also install light switches with sensors so lights automatically turn off when no one is in the room.

Equipment and appliances: Turning off office equipment and appliances can help save energy and money. Computer monitors can add up to $30 to an office’s energy bill if left on during evenings and weekends.

Restaurants typically use up to 10 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. To save money, it is important to have energy efficient food service equipment.

Additionally, kitchens in many other kinds of small businesses use microwaves, coffee makers and refrigerators, which should be considered when reviewing overall energy use.

Heating and cooling systems: Heating and cooling account for a large portion of a small business’s energy bills.

Tracking energy use and maintaining the heating and cooling system can help small business owners save on energy bills. The system should be inspected annually, and filters should be replaced regularly. If the system needs replacing, consider alternative options like a heat pump with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 13 or higher. Your local electric co-op can offer advice on efficient heating and cooling equipment.

Air leaks and insulation: Just like our homes, small businesses have windows, walls, a roof and insulation as part of their building envelope. Air leaks can lead to higher bills.

Leaks typically are found around windows, doors, walls and the roof. Seal these areas for additional energy savings.

Water: Efficient use of energy and water go hand in hand. In most cases, gas or electricity is used to heat water, which costs money. The more heated water your business uses, the more you can save by determining how to use water most efficiently. Lowering the water temperature between 110 and 120 degrees is an easy way to save on water heating.

Transportation: Many businesses can recognize fuel savings and lower the total cost of fleet ownership and transportation networks by switching to electric vehicles (EVs).

EVs have lower maintenance costs because they are more reliable than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. This is because EVs have fewer mechanical parts that can break, and they often provide better data to allow for more proactive maintenance. Depending on your business’s transportation needs, EVs may be able to provide better energy savings for the long-term.

In conclusion, small businesses can take simple steps to better control how much energy they use and how they use it. Not sure where to start? Ask your electric co-op if they offer energy audits, which can identify areas to save the most energy.

Jennah Denney writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric coops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56% of the nation’s landscape.

40 MAY 2023 | Consumer Wise |
Electric cooperatives are proud to serve small businesses that are essential to our local communities. PHOTO COURTESY TIM MOSSHOLDER
Alabama Living MAY 2023 41
42 MAY 2023

CWEMC Statement of Non-Discrimination

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Person with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)7202600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877 8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, Found online at http:// and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or Fax: (202) 690-7442 or Email:

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month

The location of your thermostat can impact your HVAC system’s ability to maintain an ideal indoor temperature. For maximum accuracy, thermostats should be placed in the center of the home, away from air vents, plumbing pipes and exterior doors. Avoid placing items like lamps and televisions near your thermostat, which can cause the HVAC to run longer than necessary. Avoid installing thermostats in rooms that tend to feel warmer or colder than the rest of the home. Do not place furniture in front of the thermostat, which can block air flow and result in inaccurate readings.


Alabama Living MAY 2023 43

Early Saturday morning thoughts

It’s early Saturday morning. The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Not turkey hunter early. Those guys would be stalking gobblers, but it is a cold, rainy, miserable morning.

My first thoughts this morning were of Easter Sunday. Not tomorrow morning, but the first Easter Sunday a long time ago when the stone was rolled away and the salvation it created. My next thoughts were of all the issues going on in our world – some I understand, some I do not, some I laugh at, and some I am scared of. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Less than a month ago, Credit Suisse, one of the world’s largest banks, suffered a run on liquidity and was forced into a merger with one of its strongest rivals UBS. Two large U.S. regional banks were subject to similar liquidity runs, and the stock market reeled for a week. Media covered the events for a few days, and now there is almost no mention of a very serious financial crisis that rocked Wall Street.

Just over a week ago, there was a tragic school shooting in Nashville that dominated the news for a few days. Now that the shock and sadness have worn off, the only mention is of protests and demonstrations for or against gun control. Two young African American Tennessee state representatives probably overreacted, commandeering the statehouse floor and using bullhorns to protest the lack of state action. The Tennessee Legislature probably overreacted to the protest and expelled the two state representatives. At present, you can find little mention of the original issue being protested.

Also last week, a previous President faces 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, related to reportedly paying off an adult film star to suppress a story that she allegedly was paid hush money to cover up an extramarital affair between the two some years ago. The media coverage was more about the politics surrounding the indictments instead of the underlying actions. Surprisingly, there is little discussion of the morals of a society where a politician is not crushed by such allegations but is instead enhanced in the arena of political standing.

Elsewhere, a sitting President released a report that claimed the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan was actually a success despite the loss of life and reputation with our allies. Two days later, there is no discussion of the report.

I also discovered early this morning that some people suffer severe anxiety because of the number of music choices available on paid music sites to create personalized playlists. I learned the shuffle button has changed the world by introducing randomness in the entertainment space and eliminating the need to make choices, according to the technology website The Verge.

Did you know you could place a bet on how the HBO drama series “Succession” will end?

This week, the media provided positive reviews to a paper released by Tesla titled “Master Plan Part 3: Sustainable Energy for All of Earth” which claims, “The current energy economy is wasteful and a fully electrified, sustainable economy is within reach through the actions in this paper.” Those actions include repowering the electric grid with renewable generation, switching to electric vehicles and heat pumps, increasing hydrogen production, and “sustainably” fueling planes and ships, among others, in order to manufacture an overall sustainable energy economy. The plan estimates the cost of such a transformation is a mere $10 trillion, as opposed to a $14 trillion cost (isn’t it already paid for?) to maintain the current energy economy. Most surprisingly, the report claims that 240 terawatt hours of battery storage will be required to support the carbon-free energy economy. Most people don’t understand the watt terminology, and I won’t try to explain it here, but with their five current massive battery “Gigafactories,” Tesla would need 960 years at current rates of production to manufacture the batteries required for the transition. That fact is not mentioned in the report or by the media.

Thursday morning, my friend, Attorney General Steve Marshall, sent me an article about a letter to shareholders written by Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, stating, “…in addition to reforming permitting, siting and interconnection issues for power generation and transmission, the U.S. may need to invoke eminent domain to site local clean energy rapidly.”

We are in the business of selling electricity, but nonsense published by Tesla about a $10 trillion sustainable energy economy and a billionaire banker recommending government seizure of private property to build renewable energy resources -- despite the growing rage in many rural areas about transforming thousands of acres of land to make room for wind and solar generation facilities -- is appalling even for today.

The bigger issues mentioned here should scare you. They are serious threats to our ability to choose how we live our lives. It is very troubling how quickly issues pass through the media and are dismissed by the public. The general public’s attention span is similar to a squirrel on amphetamines. If we aren’t careful and mindful, people like Mr. Dimon at JP Morgan, and Mr. Musk at Tesla, will first take our electric reliability, and then our rights, while we perfect our playlists, mess with shuffle buttons and bet on the ending of “Succession.”

Let’s pay attention and have a good month.

44 MAY 2023 | Our Sources Say |
Gary Smith is President and CEO of PowerSouth Energy Cooperative.

How To Place a Line Ad in Marketplace

Closing Deadlines (in our office):

July 2023 Issue by May 23

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Alabama Living MAY 2023 45 | Classifieds |

The first of May, a day of liberation

Come on “oldsters,” dust off your memories and work with me now.

Remember how important May Day used to be?

That was when elementary schools around the state used to put on “May Day Programs.”

As the weather warmed, and the sap started rising, those programs gave teachers a way to control and contain all that pre-teen energy.

Recess only stirred up the juices that bubbled beneath the surface.

Back in un-air conditioned classrooms, students sweated and sweltered, dozed and drooped. Energy collected within them, looking for a way to get out.

Teachers dreaded this time of year, for student minds were on everything but their studies.

But what could teachers do?

Then someone, some hero, pointed out that right slap dab in the middle of this mess was MAY DAY.


It was the day that, historically, working folks around the world celebrated the liberation from winter’s grip and the arrival of spring.

So why not celebrate in South Alabama?

Now admittedly, in Grove Hill, by the first of May, spring had already sprung. Buds had budded, kudzu was crawling, fields were plowed, and some early crops were in the ground, waiting for the warm. No matter.

When April showers kept children indoors, teachers brought out the bright paper, colorful crayons, dangerous scissors, and other instruments they hoped would keep us quiet until the rains passed and they could send us to the playground.

We, the children, reasoned that our liberation would come on May 1.

Though few of us knew at the time, this belief was part of a long and respected tradition. In agricultural societies, the First of May was a pause before planting.

It was a signal date, telling one and all, that “lo the winter is past.” (Song of Solomon 2:11-12)

Which, in elementary schools across

the Deep South, meant only one thing.

Time to take off our shoes!!

Parents had promised us that our feet could be liberated “after the First of May.”

Anxiously, we waited.

Meanwhile, country kids who rode the bus from cross-road communities arrived shoeless. I never knew if they took off their shoes and hid them until time to ride home, or if parents saw nothing to be gained by children wearing out shoes that should be saved for colder months.

Or for Sunday.

Either way, they went without.

Town children were more closely monitored and did not enjoy such freedom.

I had the best (or worst) of both worlds.

I lived far enough out to ride the bus, but my parents worked in town. They possessed in-town sensibilities, which included wearing shoes.

So, I wore them.

When I left home.

Before the bus arrived, I took them off and hid them to be retrieved when I returned after school.

Then I wore them like the good boy I was.

Or appeared to be.

46 MAY 2023 | Hardy Jackson's Alabama |
Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at Illustration by Dennis Auth

Wishes you a happy and safe Memorial Day!

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Articles inside

The first of May, a day of liberation

pages 46-47

Early Saturday morning thoughts

pages 44-45

CWEMC Statement of Non-Discrimination

page 43

Energy savings for small businesses

pages 40-42


page 39

Cook of the Month:

pages 35-38

Healthy substitutions for better eating

page 34

Unearthing the earthworm’s story

pages 32-33

Hands-on event instills life lessons in personal finance

page 31

A look at holistic veterinary medicine

page 30

Around Alabama

page 29

Social Security honors our military heroes

page 28

A co-op leader for business

pages 26-27

Fairhope eatery is fine dining –without the big check

pages 22-25

Electric bikes ‘open up possibilities’

pages 18-21

Don’t want to set up camp? Go glamping!

pages 12-17

Electric cooperatives present top awards

page 11

Find the hidden dingbat!

page 10

The Year of Alabama Birding has begun!

page 10

My kid’s stuffed animals

page 9


page 7


pages 5-6

Ready for storm season

page 4
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