Clarke washington emc

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



Lucy Buffett’s ‘GUMBO LOVE’ Day-tripping

The joys of traveling solo



Manager Stan Wilson

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 $6 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.

River solitude Channel your inner Huck Finn and explore Alabama from the water in a canoe or kayak on the enchanting Elk River in north Alabama, perfect for beginners looking for some easy navigation.


VOL. 70 NO. 6 n JUNE 2017


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

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



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GM Stan Wilson discusses the importance of Maintenance, Conservation and Community to your cooperative.


Taking a day trip


Meat, three and more

From the Appalachians to the Gulf, Alabamians have vacation options right in our own backyard.

Goodness from local farms shines at Rosie’s Gourmet 2 Go in Anniston.



340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 E-mail:

Manager’s Comments


WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

In this issue: Page 9 Page 28

9 Spotlight 32 Gardens 29 Around Alabama 42 Outdoors 43 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Cook of the Month 54 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: ON THE COVER: Alabama’s own Lucy Buffett cooks up some of her Gulf Coast favorites for her new cookbook, GUMBO LOVE. Story, Page 22. PHOTO: Courtland Richards

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KWH sales off for 2017 OFFICE LOCATIONS

At the end of April when bookkeepers closed out the first third of 2017, ClarkeWashington EMC’s kilowatt hour (kwh) sales were off from 2016 sales by 7.6%. Normally, we have some increase in sales year over year and we depend on growth to offset the cost of operation increases.

Jackson Office 1307 College Avenue P.O. Box 398 Jackson, AL 36545 251-246-9081

When we prepare a budget we are very conservative and budget for only slight increases. However, in 2017 the weather is the story. We just have not had any cold weather to speak of and that has driven kwh sales lower.

Chatom Office P.O. Box 143 Chatom, AL 36518 251-847-2302 Toll Free Number 1-800-323-9081 Office Hours 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday - Friday (Drive-thru Hours) Pay your bill online at

Looking back at our colder months, January and February, we had only two or three days when the temperature went down to freezing or below. During the cold of winter, we had 19 days when the temperature went to 70 degrees or above. We had at least one day with the temperature above 80 degrees. So much for winter, but summer is fast approaching and we may not be able to recover from the budget shortfall even with summer here. The warm winter also pushed up the cost of generating electricity. Generators ran only for short periods of time and they backed off, which set high demands with low kwh usage. These increased costs are reflected in the wholesale cost of electricity.

This past month was Electric Safety Month and Clarke-Washington EMC underwent a safety accreditation, which is performed every three years. The Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP) performs the accreditation and is a service offered by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The NRECA strives to promote the highest standards of safety among cooperatives. The focus of RESAP is achievement. We strive to serve our members in the safest way possible. For us, safety is embraced as a core value. I ensure you that every employee is committed to safety at all levels of CWEMC. With that being said, hurricane season has officially arrived and we want you to be safe in the event of a hurricane. We have not been directly affected by a hurricane in several years but we are prepared if one comes our way. Thank you.

Payment Methods Payments can be made at our Chatom and Jackson offices with cash, checks, debit or credit cards

Stan Wilson Manager of Clarke-Washington EMC

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| Clarke Washington EMC |

Congratulations, Class of 2017

Alabama Lineman

Appreciation Day

June 5, 2017

As we celebrate our linemen - four are pictured: (L-R) Harold Hoven, Bobby Pritchard, David Bryant and Steve Brannan Alabama Living JUNE 2017  5

6 MONTH 2016

2017 Storm Names Arlene Bret Cindy Don Emily Franklin Gert

Alabama Living

Harvey Irma Jose Katia Lee Maria Nate

Ophelia Philippe Rina Sean Tammy Vince Whitney

MONTH 2016 7

A Field Guide to Overhead Power Lines High-voltage transmission lines are used to deliver electricity from generation plants to consumers.

HIGH-VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION LINES Large amounts of power, measured by watts, are delivered by transmission lines. These lines are energized with very high voltage in order to move the power long distances with minimal losses. Insulators on the towers prevent the power from flowing to the towers or the ground.

Electric cooperatives own and maintain 65,000 miles (6 percent) of the nation’s transmission lines.

SUBSTATIONS AND SUB-TRANSMISSION LINES Transformers at transmission substations reduce the voltage from transmission levels to sub-transmission levels, typically ranging from 115,000 volts to 34,500 volts. Sub-transmission lines deliver power over shorter distances to distribution substations and large industrial sites. At distribution substations and large industrial sites, transformers reduce the voltage to a lower level, typically 7,200 volts or 14,400 volts.


The lines typically seen along rural roads and next to homes are generally single phase distribution line, energized at 7,200 or 14,400 volts. Transformers on the utility poles lower the voltage to between 120 and 480 volts to serve residential homes and small businesses. Electric cooperatives own and maintain 2.6 million miles (42 percent) of the nation’s distribution lines.

Source: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

8 MONTH 2016

JUNE | Spotlight Celebrate the sweet, tasty blueberry | JUNE 17 | In this issue of Alabama Living magazine, you’ll find lots of information about berries! See the recipes section, on pages 46-49, and our gardening columnist on page 32. In keeping with the theme, read on to learn more about the 37th Annual Alabama Blueberry Festival, set from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. June 17 at Jennings Park in Brewton. There will be arts and crafts booths, marketplace vendors, an antique/classic car show, a free children’s section, a waterslide and inflatables, an obstacle course, a petting zoo, all day live entertainment and a food court. But the star of the event is the blueberry, and there will be plenty of fresh ones that day, as well as blueberry bushes, cookbooks and blueberry ice cream for sale. For more information, visit the Brewton Chamber website at

Whereville, AL

Guess where this is and you might win $25! Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by June 7 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative. The winner and answer will be announced in the July issue. Contribute your own photo for an upcoming issue! Send a photo of an interesting or unusual landmark in Alabama, which must be accessible to the public. A reader whose photo is used will also win $25. Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.


The Church in the Pines, located on Lake Martin near the Kowaliga bridge, is an open-air, non-denominational worship facility that can seat 850 people and offers a lovely view of the lake. The church is also a popular spot for weddings and outdoor concerts. The correct guess winner is Jane Williams of Covington EC. (Photo by Trista Lowell, Central Alabama EC)

Alabama Living

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Social Security supports National Cancer Survivors Day

Telehealth: An answer to rural health care call


n 2017, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects people and families everywhere. Chances are, you know someone who has been affected by this terrible disease. On June 4, we observe National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States. In support of this day, Social Security encourages getting checkups to provide early detection, raise awareness through education, and recognize the survivors who have gone through this battle or are still living with the disease. Social Security stands strong in our support of the fight against cancer. We offer services to patients dealing with this disease through our disability insurance program and our Compassionate Allowances program. Compassionate Allowances are cases with medical conditions so severe they obviously meet Social Security’s disability standards, allowing us to process the cases quickly with minimal medical information. Many cancers are part of our Compassionate Allowances list. There’s no special application or form you need to submit for Compassionate Allowances. Simply apply for disability benefits online, in-person or over the phone. Once we identify you as having a Compassionate Allowances condition, we’ll expedite your disability application. Social Security establishes Compassionate Allowances conditions using information received at public outreach hearings, from our employees, who review millions of disability cases each year, from medical and scientific experts, and from data based on our research. For more information about Compassionate Allowances, including the list of eligible conditions, visit Social Security is with you throughout life’s journey, through good times and bad. If you think you qualify for disability benefits based on a Compassionate Allowances condition, please visit to apply for benefits.

Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at

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elehealth (sometimes called telemedicine) is using telecommunications equipment to facilitate health care service from a distance. This rapidly expanding technology holds much promise for access to Eric Wallace, M.D., a nephrologist at UAB, conducts health care throughout Alabama, es- a distant office visit with a dialysis patient using telemedicine pecially in our rural areas. There are three major types of visits with physicians for children who telehealth services: store and forward, may not regularly have physician care. bio-monitoring and live interactive enUnnecessary transport of nursing home counter with a provider. residents, sometimes by ambulance, is An example of store and forward is being avoided. when an image, such as an x-ray, is comTelehealth technology is being adoptpleted locally and evaluated by a specialed slowly in Alabama for two reasons: ist at a remote location, sometimes as far lack of universal broadband coverage away as Australia or India. and lack of reimbursement for the proAn example of bio-monitoring is the vision of telehealth services. Medicare, monitoring of high-risk patients in their the Alabama Medicaid Agency, and Blue homes. Special equipment is used to Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama only obtain selected vital signs on high-risk reimburse for some telehealth services. patients in their homes, including many Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi have with serious transportation limitations. passed legislation requiring that all priThese vital signs are monitored by pracvate health insurers reimburse for teletitioners remotely to identify those who health service. may need special attention. Despite the lack of comprehensive Live interactive encounter with a proreimbursement, the use of telehealth is vider involves the use of equipment with expanding in Alabama. Alabama has the patient and a care attendant, such as telehealth programs for many services ina nurse or social worker, at a local clincluding primary care, psychiatry, AIDS/ ic and a care provider at a distant locaHIV, neurology, wound care, anesthesioltion. The distant care provider can see ogy, dermatology, nephrology, cardioloand talk directly with the patient in real gy, and mental health. time. There are numerous medical devicThe Alabama Department of Public es including stethoscopes, otoscopes, ulHealth is serving as a leader in increastrasounds, examination cameras, etc. that ing awareness of the potential of telecan be used with telehealth equipment. health by having telehealth clinics in 21 This enables the distant care provider to county health departments. By the end of conduct a thorough examination or prothis year there will be more than 40 opvide specialty care not locally available. erational telehealth sites at county health The possibilities for telehealth techdepartments. nology to facilitate access to health care Telehealth offers an exciting and promare unlimited and constantly expanding ising new source of access to health care with technology. Potential cost savings throughout Alabama. The poor health through early detection and lower transstatus of Alabamians should encourage portation costs are encouraging. Applicafaster acceptance and use of this promtions of telehealth such as telepharmacy, ising technology to assure access to care teledentistry, teletherapy, and teleprenafor all. tal care are being successfully practiced throughout the country. The practice of telehealth has been implemented to a much greater extent in Dale Quinney is executive Georgia. Telehealth care has been pracdirector of the Alabama ticed in more than 40 different specialRural Health Association, ties and sub-specialties in that state. In 1414 Elba Highway, Troy, 36081. school-based clinics, telehealth allows

| Alabama Snapshots |

My Dad Our dad w ent skydiv ing for his Scott, Jim 60th birth my McHan day! Jamie (Dad), Jen McHan. SU nifer Hepti BMITTED nstall, Jeff BY Jamie rey Scott, Cull man.

, shared My dad, Lesson Montz with ors tdo ou the his love of BMITTED everyone he met. SU sboro. BY Anna Montz, Green

Shannon Paschal and son Konnor Lee Paschal. SUBMITTED BY Dawn Paschal, Henagar.

Gary and Montana Gattis. 15 years old and as tall as his dad. SUBMITTED BY Angie Gattis, Rainsville.

My dad, Jeff Lassiter, is always entertaining! SUBMITTED BY Jena Owens, Silas.

16 family tty enjoying their 20 Joseph and Shilo Pe ITTED BY BM SU dad, Alan Petty. vacation with their . Kellie Petty, Stevenson

Lamar Hodge, Mickey Hodge, Nancy Williams and Sharon Hunt with our dad, Leavie Hodge, on his 84th Birthday. SUBMITTED BY Sharon Hunt, Billingsley.

Submit Your Images! August Theme: “Horses” Deadline for August: June 30

SUBMIT PHOTOS ONLINE: or send color photos with a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Photos, Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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

Alabama Living

JUNE 2017 11


takes on a whole new meaning in Alabama By Marilyn Jones


rom the Appalachian Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama residents are fortunate to have so many vacation options in their own backyard. The state offers historic locations, quiet little communities with treasures to be discovered, and outdoor activities as well as all the offerings of a big city. Here are just a few destinations perfect for a day trip or overnight stay, no matter where you live in Alabama.

Northern Alabama

Central Alabama

Russell Cave National Monument

Moundville Archaeological Park

Although Russell Cave is no longer open for tours because of the discovery of several rare species, there’s still plenty to explore. I enjoy meandering along the nature trail and photographing the flowers and dramatic landscape. There is also a back country trail. Both trails provide a view of Montague Mountain. The park also offers a guided tour of a cave shelter once occupied by the prehistoric groups featuring a diorama depicting life during another time in Alabama history. Russell Cave National Monument is located at 3729 County Road 98, Bridgeport; (256) 495-2672 x113.

If you enjoy Native American history, visit Moundville, the second largest prehistoric archaeological site of its kind. Moundville represents the best preserved Mississippian Indian ceremonial mound center in North America. In addition to seeing the mounds, guests are encouraged to visit the Jones Archaeological Museum. The museum features more than 200 artifacts with life-size figures displaying clothes and jewelry. The prehistoric complex is located at 634 Mound State Parkway, Moundville; (205) 371-2234.

DeSoto State Park

Another history lesson and certainly one to help children understand our nation’s beginnings is American Village. Founding fathers and those who defended America are commemorated in this beautiful and meaningful attraction. Here you will discover the journey for independence and self-government. Highlights include Washington Hall, Colonial Courthouse, Colonial Chapel and a full-sized replica of the Oval Office. Special programs are held on major national holidays and draw thousands of visitors on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. American Village is located at 3727 Alabama 119, Montevallo; (205) 665-3535.

Like Russell Cave National Monument, DeSoto State Park on Lookout Mountain is the perfect setting for a family vacation and anyone who enjoys the great outdoors. Famous for the beautiful DeSoto Falls, the park also features a nature center, ADA-accessible playground, and boardwalk trails as well as a restaurant, picnic area, lodge, motel, chalets, cabins and campground. This is another park where I enjoy hiking. Add kayaking, fishing, hiking, cycling, rappelling, bouldering, picnicking and wildflower expeditions, and you have a vacation made for any outdoor enthusiast. DeSoto State Park is located at 7104 DeSoto Parkway NE, Fort Payne; (256) 845-5380.

American Village


I am often drawn to history as well. Palisades Park near Oneota features several historic buildings including Murphree Cabin, built by Daniel Murphree in 1820; the Blackwood Log Cabin honoring the area’s Irish heritage; and Compton School, built in 1904. The park is also known for its hiking trails and rock climbing. Oneonta also boasts two golf courses and its famous covered bridges. The Blount County Covered Bridge Festival in downtown Oneonta is held every October. The city of Oneonta is located 35 miles northeast of Birmingham; (205) 274-2150. DeSoto Falls. PHOTO BY JOHN DERSHAM

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Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation, c. 1819

Just west of Marion is another excellent historic site. One of Alabama’s last active plantations, it has remained in the same family since the early 1800s. Most of the buildings are original to the site, although the house burned in 1927. Remaining buildings include a log seed house, carriage house, smoke house, chicken coop, blacksmith shop, weaving house, a two-story early Federal/ Greek Revival style house and plantation store. Most date to the 1800s and many are filled with artifacts. Historic papers, including a deed signed by Andrew Jackson, are on display in the Country Store. Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation is located at 27360 Hwy 14, Marion; (334) 683-9955.


LaFayette may be small, with just more than 3,000 residents, but it has a lot to offer visitors. I started with a tour of the 1899 Chambers County Courthouse, continued over to the Chambers County Museum housed in the historical LaFayette train depot, and photographed the statue of boxing great Joe Louis, who was born in LaFayette. You might also like to spend the day fishing in the 180-acre Chambers County Lake stocked with bream, bass, crappie, catfish and carp. After touring the town or enjoying a day of fishing, head for nearby Lanett, Valley or Opelika for a selection of accommodations. Lafayette Courthouse LaFayette is 80 miles northeast of Montgomery; (334) 864-7181.

information, visit The G.W. Carver Interpretive Museum is located at 305 North Foster Street, Dothan; (334) 712-0933.

Florala City Wetland Park

If you’re a birder or someone who loves nature, visit Florala City Wetland Park, part of the Alabama Birding Trails. The park provides a variety of ways to explore and enjoy the northern portion of 500-acre Lake Jackson. There are picnic tables and a picnic shelter, a campground, public beaches and paved walking trails as well as an elevated boardwalk through a cypress forest along the edge of the lake. Visitors will be able to see cardinals, mockingbirds, brown thrashers, and downy and red-bellied woodpeckers. Other yearround residents include great blue herons, great egrets and green herons. During warmer months a great variety of other birds call the park home including orchard orioles, yellow-throated warblers, painted buntings, common yellowthroats, white-eyed vireos, indigo buntings and American redstarts, to name a few. The park is located at 514 Lake Shore Drive, Florala; (334) 858-6425.

Alabama Shore Magnolia Springs

Looking for romance? Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast, housed in an 1898 mansion, is a great destination for a romantic getaway. According to Innkeeper David Worthington, guests are always impressed with the beauty of the inn. After a three-course breakfast, Worthington says many guests decide to enjoy the relaxation the inn affords. Others venture out to see the sites including nearby Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. There are several local historic sites, golf courses and shopping opportunities as well. Magnolia Springs B&B is located at 14469 Oak Street, Magnolia Springs; (251) 965-7321.

Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Southern Alabama The Carver Museum

There are two George Washington Carver museums in Alabama — George W. Carver Museum in Tuskegee and G.W. Carver Interpretive Museum in Dothan. I so appreciate the contributions this agricultural genius brought to this nation. I had been to the Tuskegee museum honoring the scientist for his contributions to the Tuskegee Institute, but I only recently learned about the Carver Museum featuring a Social Progress Heroes Timeline. Highlighted are the contributions African-Americans have made over the centuries that have helped make America great. The timeline is the culmination of two permanent exhibits: “Designing the World We Live In” and “Black Scientists, Inventors, and Explorers,” as well as the Carver Room dedicated to Dr. Carver. The George Washington Carver Museum is located on the campus of Tuskegee Institute at 1212 West Montgomery Road. For Alabama Living

The Estuarium at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a fantastic destination that hosts several free public events year-round. Twice a month, visitors can interact with lab experts on a wide range of topics including climate change, habitat restoration, salt marshes and sharks. The Summer Excursion program allows visitors to see firsthand the habitats studied by marine scientists, researchers and students at the facility. The facility is located at 102 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island; (251) 861-7500.

Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

If you love white-sand beaches, golf, nature trails and water sports, deep sea and pier fishing, then Gulf Shores & Orange Beach is the right destination for you. Add a dolphin cruise or maybe spend the day at the award-winning Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and you have a great weekend (or longer) getaway. For more information call (800) 745-7263.

Start planning

Your best source to see all that Alabama has to offer is Alabama Tourism. For a free visitor’s guide call (334) 242-4169 or go to JUNE 2017 13

Going solo Find adventure, friends and fun while traveling alone

A Santiago, Chile, tour guide takes the author’s picture with the city in the background.

By Marilyn Jones

I never thought I would travel alone, but as a single retired woman I soon realized if I was going to travel, I wasn’t always going to have a companion. In the last four years I’ve taken numerous road trips and traveled all over the world alone. This is what I learned along the way. Tours

Whether you are in Alabama, somewhere else in the United States or traveling internationally, one of the best ways to get to know a location is on a tour. You’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable guide. You are also surrounded by a group of other like-minded travelers and, especially in big cities and foreign countries, you are safer.

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In a city, of course, your tour lasts a few hours and always a good idea in unfamiliar surroundings. But what I am referring to is a tour over several days or weeks. I have been on several tours all over the world. I always come back home with new friends, great memories and the desire to go again. After deciding where you want to go, investigate. Check out several tour com-

panies. Do you have friends who used a specific tour company? There are also usually customer reviews. This is a good indicator of many aspects of a tour — good and bad. Compare price points. Does the tour include air? What is the activity level? How many people on the tour? Smaller is better. You can find all this out on the internet or at a travel agency.

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Take a cruise

Getting there

Solo travelers will find the same advantages to taking a cruise as they do with an organized tour. Whether you pick a river, sea or adventure cruise, the destinations seem endless as you start checking out options. And a huge advantage is you only have to unpack once. River cruises have never been more popular. Most of us are familiar with the paddlewheelers plying the Mississippi. Cruise lines not only travel the mighty Mississippi, but other American rivers and New England’s shore makings stops along the way. The draw for river cruises all over the world – including Europe, Asia and Africa – is passengers get off the ship almost every day and many cruise lines include one shore excursion at each port built into the price. The organized tours offer a good basis for knowing where you want to explore on your own during the free time allotted in many ports-of-call. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the number of passengers is a fraction of ocean going vessels (around 150). There are plenty of opportunities to meet other travelers during social hour and dinner. Ocean cruising is different because there are typically several sea days, and tours and excursions are usually not included. Many ocean cruise lines also offer meetings for single cruisers. On a recent cruise I met a young man from New Zealand this way and the two of us shared meals, on board activities such as movies and evening shows as well as excursions. An adventure cruise combines the convenience of other types of cruises, fewer passengers and built-in excursions to places like Antarctica, Galapagos Islands and the Arctic, but they usually require a much higher level of fitness.

Before you take a road trip, make sure your car is in good working order or rent one. I have been on the road and had car trouble. It’s not only an interruption in your travel and itinerary, but can cause a safety issue. Safety is always a concern, especially for women, if you choose to hit the road by yourself. Always keep to main roads and never drive at night. You’ll also want to arrive at your accommodations before dark. Be aware of your surroundings. Eat dinner before the sun sets or get take-out to eat in the room. If at any time you feel unsafe, ask a hotel employee to accompany you to the room. Flying is safer especially if you are meeting a tour company or cruise line at your destination. If a cruise line doesn’t offer complimentary pickup, pay their airport transportation fee. It is not only more convenient but safer, especially if you are traveling internationally. Although it is common in other countries for people to speak English, try to learn a few words of greeting and thanks. It shows respect. In France, many will not speak English if you do not attempt to speak French especially in large cities like Paris. Then, miraculously, they will converse in English. There are also a lot of apps offering translations as well as the trusty pocket dictionary. So if you want to travel, don’t wait for your friend or significant other; just figure out where you want to go and go. There’s so much to see and experience in this world! When a monkey at Angkor Wat in Cambodia wanted in my purse, Jay Perrett, also on my tour, took this memorable photo and then chased the monkey away!

Alabama residents are fortunate that Mobile is a cruise port. Carnival Cruise Line offers four- and five-day cruises sailing to Cozumel, Yucatan and Costa Maya, Mexico, year round.

I can recommend several tour companies and cruise lines that I traveled with. Just contact me through my website www.travelwithmarilyn. com and I will share this information. 16 JUNE 2017

Guides are always willing to take photos and often volunteer, like on Easter Island.

Alabama Living

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Historic homestead will educate future generations The barn at the Corbin Homestead on a fall day. PHOTO BY JUDY VEST KENNAMER

By Carolyn G. Garrison


he Corbin Homestead near Joppa, Ala., is frozen in time, not re-created but preserved. Inside is a museum of a way of life no longer common in the South. Randy Humphries, great-grandson of Thomas M. and Ella Wiley Corbin, has meticulously maintained the Homestead as it would have been circa 1925, complete with period-correct furnishings. Flowers grow in the yard. An aura of long-standing human habitation imbues the place with life and peace. The farm maintains a herd of cattle and grows hay to feed them. Randy heads a successful tractor parts supply business next to the Corbin Homestead. The second floor of his large office building is filled with museum-quality displays about his ancestors. His wife, Susie Humphries, taught biology and chemistry in the Albertville City School System and retired from teaching at Snead State Community College. Randy’s grandmother, Cressie, was the fourth of 10 Corbin children. Cressie attended college and taught briefly at Welcome Public School near Joppa. She was teaching in Birmingham when she met and married

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James Alfred Douglas Ferguson, a New Yorker and Master Mason. Their daughter, Anne, was born in the Corbin farmhouse on April 20, 1930. James was older, a man of the world, and not willing to make a life in Joppa. He lived and worked in Birmingham while Cressie and Anne stayed with the Corbins. Randy says, “When my mother, Anne, was 18 months old, James came to Joppa intent on taking Cressie and the baby with him to New York. But Cressie refused to go. James took off in a hurry and ran the car into a ditch, so angry that he just left it there. I’ve never been able to find out what happened to that car.” Cressie worked in the house and fields of the Homestead and raised her beautiful daughter. She never saw James again and never kept company with another man. She learned that James had previously been married and had a son. Cressie also never taught school again; it would have been unseemly for a woman in her situation to do so. With 10 children in line to inherit, how did the Corbin Homestead come down to Randy intact? Ella died in 1953 and Tom died in 1958 after years of being lovingly cared for by Cressie. Cressie’s siblings gave her

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Clockwise from top left: The Corbin farmhouse dates to the 1920s; old photos of Randy Humphries’ family members adorn the fireplace mantel in the formal sitting room; sunlight pours in to the formal sitting room; the attic bedroom in the farmhouse, with its exposed wood paneling and beautiful floors. PHOTOS BY JUDY VEST KENNAMER

the home place in recognition of that care. In 1950, Anne married Miles Humphries, a marriage that lasted 61 years. Anne inherited the place when Cressie died in 1973; Randy received the Homestead in the estate settlement upon Anne’s death in 2012.

veterinarian and practiced veterinary medicine from 1902 to 1950. Eight of his and Ella’s children attended college, establishing education as an important goal for future generations. They attended Joppa Normal and Collegiate Institute through junior high, then transferred to Cullman High School and boarded with local families. The American Missionary Association arranged A land for four generations for some of the children to attend WheaHe is passionate about his heritage. “It ton College in Illinois. would be impossible to set a price on the Randy and Susie plans to teach youngproperty. Four generations of our family sters history and the chemical processes have worked, walked on, and enjoyed our used by the Corbins when, for example, land. It has been like a dear friend, always they made lye soap, smoked pork in the there to comfort, heal, and provide us a smokehouse, or canned vegetables that livelihood.” were harvested from the garden. The Alabama Historical Association Plans are to develop educational prodesignated the Corbin Homestead a siggrams involving nature trails on the nificant landmark in 1999. The farmhouse property for studying botany, geology was built in 1894 on an 80-acre homeand ecology. These programs will target stead (later expanded to 120 acres) in Randy and Susie Humphries plan to turn Randy’s topics appropriate for specific age groups family’s homestead into an educational museum. the northeast corner of Cullman County. and coordinate with the students’ estabPHOTO BY CAROLYN GARRISON Other structures include a barn, buggy lished study plans. shed, corn crib, cotton house, well shed, outhouse, henhouse and People who come to the Corbin Homestead will see and hear a rock fence. about the artifacts and buildings, learn details about their lifeThe farming operation included growing cotton, corn, peanuts, style, watch the cattle in the pasture and walk the nature trails. peas, and sorghum cane; a large peach and apple orchard; and Randy says his purpose is to help others “celebrate our cultural maintenance of cattle, mules, hogs and yard chickens. and natural heritage and to appreciate and understand our past Thomas Corbin, Randy’s great-grandfather, was a self-taught and how it has shaped our lives.” 20  JUNE 2017

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JUNE 2017  21

| Alabama People |

Serving up gumbo love We caught up with Lucy Buffett, owner of the popular Lulu’s restaurants in Gulf Shores and Destin, as she was about to begin a promotion tour for her new cookbook, GUMBO LOVE, Recipes for Gulf Coast Cooking, Entertaining and Savoring the Good Life, a follow-up to her first book, Lulu’s Kitchen, a Taste of the Gulf Coast Good Life. The Mobile native and sister of singer Jimmy Buffett, Lucy spends her time between homes in Perdido Key and Key West, loves to cook for her friends and family (including her grandchildren), and after a two-year book-writing process, says she is ready to get back home to the beach. — Lenore Vickrey What does the title GUMBO LOVE mean? It has translated into a philosophy, especially for all the people who work around me and with me in this Cinderella story we call Lulu’s, that started so small with me, my two daughters and six other people. It’s a philosophy about life, love, respect, kindness and trying to be in the moment and trying to self-improve. I’m the cook of the family. I found that cooking was kind of my gift. My art. It became my meditation, my health. It’s an evolving concept. Gumbo love is more than just a salutation now! In our world, we’ve adopted it into our corporate culture. It’s spreading the gumbo love! How do you split time between Key West and Gulf Shores? With all my business interest in Gulf Shores, Lulu’s is my baby and my home. For years I lived in Fairhope, that’s where my grandchildren are. A year or so ago we bought a lot on Perdido Key and we’re building. Then I bought this little place in Key West. I’m up there (on the Gulf) all summer long and here (Key West) in the winter months. I’m an Alabama girl at heart. Tell us about the cookbook process. So we’ve been working on the book for two-plus years. I always knew I needed a second follow-up cookbook. I wanted to do it a year after the first one but you know, life gets in the way. Business happened. We opened a restaurant, Lucy B Goode, next to Lulu’s, and that didn’t work. Then we decided to open Destin. What really spurred us was outside interest from a publisher. Then I got an agent. So that required a year for a book proposal to write. And then the book took about a year to write. So I’ve been up against a tough deadline to get it released before the summer. It’s been an ongoing big team effort to get this going. I feel like I’ve been in the last five laps of the Daytona 500! When was the first time you ever ate gumbo? It has to be at my grandmother 22 JUNE 2017

Lucy Buffett

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Buffett’s house in Pascagoula, Mississippi. It is her recipe that that my recipe is based on. I’ve updated it a little bit. They all used bacon grease. Back in those days, everything had to be seasonal. She cooked gumbo every Friday of her life. So I probably had my first gumbo by the time I was four. Making gumbo can be intimidating. What advice do you have for someone who’s never made it before? Fix a drink! Do it as a party thing. Because food is a connector for people. You get a bunch of folks together and it’s not difficult. You just have to prepare everything, but everybody’s pitching in. Some one’s peeling the shrimp. Someone’s chopping the onions. Of course, now I can do it with my eyes closed. You just keep going and that’s what makes it fun. Now roux can be intimidating. You have to stir it for a while. I end up knowing about when to take mine off by the smell. Other than your own restaurants, where is your favorite place to eat (anywhere in the U.S.)? When I’m in Key West, my favorite is Louie’s Backyard. In Alabama, and when I’m at home, believe it or not, I love to go to the Flora Bama Yacht Club. The chef there is really great, really funky. If I’m Birmingham, I’m going to one of Frank Stitt’s places, and I like Chris Hastings’ place too, Hot and Hot. He’s a good guy. I don’t drink any more, but there’s nothing like that bar at Highlands Bar and Grill. What’s for dinner tonight? Sushi takeout, because I’m getting on a plane at 6 in the morning! You know what’s interesting, I’m kind of addicted right now to boneless chicken thighs. I put a recipe in the cookbook for cumin chicken thighs. Last night I made those with roasted vegetables and a nice big salad. That’s so not Creole, but it’s my little thing I’m doing right now. I keep these chicken thighs around, so if I get hungry and have a sugar craving, I’ll eat one of those chicken thighs. I’m never going to give up sugar all the time, I’m never going to give up dairy, and I’m never going to give up Daddy’s fried chicken. It’s his recipe (and it’s in the cookbook). It’s like a balance. I can’t eat like I used to eat, but what I can do is have it every once in a while. I think fried food has gotten a real bad rap. It’s delicious, it’s joyful. I don’t think having it once a week is bad.


Alabama Living

JUNE 2017  23

River solitude:

Kayaking the Elk River By Sara Leibold


hannel your inner Huck Finn and explore Alabama from the water. You do not have to make a log raft though; a canoe or kayak will suffice. The enchanting Elk River is no mighty Mississippi either, allowing for beginners to easily navigate the river. The Elk River begins near Pelham in Tennessee, flows west toward Fayetteville, and meanders south into Alabama, passing just west of Ardmore and Elkmont. Totaling 195 miles, this tributary meets the Tennessee River near Wheeler Lake, west of Athens. Keep an eye out for short sections of white water rapids that add some excitement as well as much appreciated current to the river. You will find many small sand bar islands throughout, which are ideal for picnics or campsites. Whether going on day

or overnight kayaking trips, there are many road crossings for easy access to different sections along the river. I have gathered this information from my time spent on the river, but remember the river is always moving and offers different experiences to those who seek it. The Elk River is the closest major waterway to my hometown in North Alabama, and I grew up canoeing on the river with friends and family. As I got older, I spent more and more time away from Alabama leaving the state for school, seasonal work and traveling. But a few years ago, I decided to revisit the Elk River near Fayetteville. I spent the late October day paddling and enjoying being back on the calming waters.

The author’s first day section kayaking the Elk River passing through Kelso, Tenn., in October 2012.

24  JUNE 2017

Alabama Living

JUNE 2017  25

Long-distance challenge

After that daytrip I was inspired to kayak the river all the way to where it joins the Tennessee River near Rogersville. I saw it as another long-distance challenge for myself as well as an exploratory adventure to see my home state from the view of the river. My logistics for each day entailed simply looking on Google maps for a road crossing the river about ten miles further down from where I left off the previous time, and aim for that bridge. I approached the section-kayak trip casually, where I have spent one or two days a year over the past five years working my way South toward the Tennessee River, a hundred-mile journey. Before the river widens out ten miles shy of the Tennessee River, the Elk River is nice and narrow, giving the feel of a secret oasis. The river seems far removed from roads and neighborhoods, hidden by rocky banks and wide pastures. The majority of the time when I kayaked during the fall, I was the only one on the river besides the occasional fisherman. Solitude on the river was a welcome respite, allowing me to clear my head all while flowing with the current downstream. I found myself dreaming of future plans but would then remind myself to be present because like time, the river never stands still. In these moments of heightened sensory awareness I fo-

The author kayaking from Cheatham Road bridge near Dellrose, Tenn.

cused on the small rapids echoing in the distance, animals foraging in the leaves at the river’s edge, or the musty smell of rain approaching. One of the highlights of my time on the water was wildlife viewing. Besides the usual cows resting on the riverbank when passing farmland, I have seen deer, raccoon, turtles, herons, river otters, and even a beaver. I was not aware there were river otters in the area, so the first time I heard and saw them I immediately stopped paddling and floated, my mouth open in awe. Later I continued paddling with a big grin on my face, feeling extremely lucky that I was able to witness them playing in their natural habitat. I left them swimming in the water knowing that we shared in a special secret, a moment in time, that remains only between the river, otters and me. Whenever I finish kayaking for the day I cannot wait to get back out on the water because I never know what I will encounter on the ever-flowing, engaging Elk River. Sara Leibold is from Hazel Green, Alabama. She was a student-athlete at The University of Alabama, an Appalachian Trail thru hiker, and is currently looking for new adventures. You can follow her by checking out her adventure travel blog at www.

River canoe/kayak tips: - Gear needed: lifejacket, whistle, hat, sunscreen, food, water, first aid and navigation equipment if needed. Store your gear in a dry bag and attach it to the kayak to keep your gear from getting wet and floating downriver in case of an accidental flip. - Have a plan and a backup plan with your pick-up person, as cell phone service is spotty at times. There were several stretches were I did not have service at all. - Check the weather before heading out to the river. High winds will make paddling extremely difficult and you never want to be on the water when it’s lightning. - Practice pushing the oar away from yourself with your top hand, instead of pulling the oar toward yourself with your lower hand while paddling. This pushnot-pull technique will keep your arms and shoulders from aching after spending hours on the water. - Kayak in the fall. It’s my favorite time of year to kayak due to more comfortable temperatures. - Make sure to treat the river water if you need water to drink. There are many cows along the waterway. I personally have never filtered the water as I have always brought enough water with me. - Always practice Leave No Trace outdoor ethics:

26 JUNE 2017

Alabama Living

JUNE 2017  27

28  JUNE 2017

June | Around Alabama


Tu s c u m b i a , 39th Annual Helen Keller Festival kicks off with a parade down Main Street and more than 100 events, including musical artists, art and crafts, athletic events, and a car and truck show. Other events include Keller Kids educational activities, historic tours and trolley rides.


Clanton, 13th annual Peach Jam Jubilee at Clanton City Park, 5-10 p.m. Live entertainment, arts and crafts, children’s playground and food vendors. Free.

The Living History Crew will be aboard the USS Alabama demonstrating emergency drills, call to battle stations and more June 24-25.


Bay Minette, 5th Annual Crawfish Bash is a family friendly community event. Feast on crawfish, corn, potatoes, sausage, hot dogs, locally brewed beer and more. Enjoy live music and kid’s activitites. Tickets include all food and beverages. 5 p.m.-until the crawfish runs out. Blackburn Park, downtown Bay Minette.


Georgiana, 38th annual Hank Williams Festival at Hank Williams Park. Country music, arts and crafts, food and more. Friday 2-10 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-10 p.m.


Bon Secour, Gulf Coast Arts Alliance Art Market. Local and regional arts and crafts vendors displaying paintings (oil, watercolor, acrylic, pastel, mixed media), pottery, photography, jewelry, woodcrafts and more. Swift-Coles Historic Home, 17424 Swift-Coles Lane. 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Free.


Millbrook, Hydrangea Fest. Discover the unique and natural history of hydrangeas. Maria Pacheco-West, Lanark grounds specialist, will speak at 10 a.m., followed by a tour of the heirloom garden and hydrangeas around the pond. Bring your hydrangea gardening questions for expert advice. Lanark Gardens will also

have a plant sale benefitting the gardens at the Alabama Wildlife Federation. 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 3050 Lanark Road.


Troy, Indian Artifact and Civil War Relic Show. Authentic Native American Indian arrowheads, axes & other artifacts. Antique bottles & jugs dating from 1800s to modern times. American Civil War relics including swords, knives & buttons, other vintage signs and collectibles. Authentication and appraisal services on site. Free. Troy Shriners Club, 3700 US Highway 231.


Alexander City, 27th Annual Alexander City Jazz Festival at Strand Park. Entertainment features the Sofia Goodman Group, Randall Bramblett, Delta Rae, The Stooges Brass Band and more. Begins at 6 p.m. Friday, 6:30 p.m. Saturday. For times and locations, visit


Montgomery, Department of Archives and History. A two-day symposium exploring three centuries of connections between Alabama and French history. For more information, go to archives.


Cullman, Reverse the Cycle Obstacle Challenge annual race benefitting The Link

of Cullman County. Two-mile race through Smith Lake Park through inflatables, over and under obstacles, through the mud to the finish line. Both adult and kid races available. For entry fees and event schedule, visit


Guntersville, Fallen Heroes Co-Ed Bowfishing Benefit Tournament. Benefit shoot to raise funds for the Fallen Heroes Bowfishing team to bring the family of fallen solider SSG Charles Sanders to Alabama to bowfish. Family friendly. Prizes for youth, ladies and biggest fish and overall weight.


Slocomb, Tomato Festival. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday. Live entertainment, karaoke contest, arts and crafts, food vendors and more.


Brewton, 37th Annual Alabama Blueberry Festival. Arts and crafts, blueberries, blueberry ice cream, crunch and cobbler, blueberry bushes, cookbooks, children’s activities, antique car show, live entertainment and food court. Jennings Park, intersection of Highways 31 and 41.

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.

Alabama Living


Mobile, USS Alabama Living History Crew Drill. See history come to life as the USS Alabama Living History Crew comes aboard ship. These historical reenactors show you what life aboard ship was like during WWII. Observe emergency drills, call to battle stations, Yak attacks by vintage enemy airplanes, and daily jobs. Hear the 20mm and 40mm guns fire. Learn about radio operations from the Deep South Armature Radio Club. Included in admission.


Mooresville, Bloom Stroll and Bouquet Workshop at 1818 Farms. Spend the afternoon touring the gardens at 1818 Farms. Workshop participants will learn planting, growing and seed saving tips for creating a beautiful garden, methods for cutting flowers and making arrangements. 4:30-6:30 p.m., $60. 24889 Lauderdale St.


Theodore, Roses for the Gulf Coast. Learn about new roses as well as the southern standards from James Mills, owner of K&M Roses in Buckatunna, MS where he and his wife have been growing and selling Fortuniana-grafted roses for more than 20 years. Free for members, $13 non members. Reservations requested. Bellingrath Gardens and Home, 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Road. 251-973-2217,

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JUNE 2017 29


| Worth the drive |

Quality local ingredients star at Rosie’s in Anniston

By Jennifer Kornegay


Pimento cheese sandwich features bacon and locally baked sourdough.

hat do you do when find yourself owner of the family farm? That’s easy. You open a restaurant and share the bounty of that land with your community. This story behind Rosie’s Gourmet 2 Go take-out and restaurant in Anniston sounds simple enough, but the longer version tells a tale of honoring a home place, family working together, a fortuitous friendship becoming a partnership and a commitment to local fare that’s feeding the area right. It all happened pretty fast, as Stacey Hardy, Rosie’s co-owner, explains. “My sister and I were raised on our grandmother Rosie’s farm, PondeRosie, in Cedar Springs, and when she passed in 2012, we weren’t sure what to do with it.” Hardy and her husband had a thriving business that kept them plenty busy – owning and running 15 AT&T stores. “We didn’t need the farm, but it meant too much to us. I couldn’t stand to sell it,” she said. So she didn’t. She and her husband bought it from the estate, and then, out of the blue, a company called and made them an offer on their stores. “We weren’t looking to sell. We hadn’t even thought about it, but it timed out just right,” she says. They moved onto the farm and began farming – or least trying. “We’d never run a farm. We spent the first few months just figuring things out,” she says. After getting a pair of tractors, they still needed help. “We had our kids, my sister and her kids, all out with us making this place work, making things grow again,” she says. Their labors paid off. The crops were so abundant, they started selling at the fledgling Anniston farmers market and watched it grow along with their farm. The Hardys’ market stand became a favorite of local restaurants and chefs, including Chef Katrina Watson, who was running Cahaba Brewery’s kitchen at the time. “We became friends, and one day, she made a meal for me. It was amazing,” Hardy says. After that, Watson started doing dinners for Hardy to serve her family after long days on the farm. And then they had an idea. “Katrina is wildly talented but didn’t have the financial resources to open a catering business or restaurant,” Hardy says. “And I didn’t know food, but I know how to manage a business. We decided to join forces.” They opened Rosie’s in April 2016 as both a meal take-out shop and sit-down restaurant, and once again, things happened fast. “We had such a great response so quickly, we had to bring all the kids and family we’d used as farmhands over to the restaurant to work,” Hardy says. 30 JUNE 2017

Co-owner Stacey Hardy, left, and Chef Katrina Watson.

Now, crowds come in for a taste of the goodness harvested from the Hardys’ farm, but also the dishes made with other local products. Like Granny Hester’s Sweet Potato Biscuits made in Fort Payne (one of the few items not made in-house) drizzled with Eastaboga Bee Company honey. Or the potato salad that’s got a kick, thanks to Wickles Pickles. Or the chunky pimento cheese (braced by planks of bacon) gluing together two thick slices of sourdough from Anniston’s Artisanal Baked Goods bakery. The salads, sandwiches and burgers are all built on local ingredients. So are the specials served on Friday and Saturday nights. And on Sundays, Rosie’s serves farm-to-table “meat and three” plates, packing in more than 300 people on this day alone each week. While produce at its peak is a hallmark of Rosie’s, the best seller is Watson’s chicken salad. “We have to grill 40 pounds chicken every day to have enough to meet the demand,” Hardy says. And Hardy’s favorite menu item is the burger. “It’s so, so good,” she says. Last year, it won “Anniston’s Best Burger” in a blind-tasting contest. Chef Katrina’s tempting homemade desserts include red velvet whoopie pies, hefty wedges of turtle cheesecake and strawberry and white chocolate bread pudding (when strawberries are ripe!) as well as cheeses from Wrights Dairy down the road. With Rosie’s one-year anniversary approaching, Hardy and Watson are grateful for the area’s warm welcome, one that’s only strengthened their dedication to their original philosophy. “We started this saying we’d only use the best quality ingredients and local ingredients,” Hardy says. “The huge response from our customers shows that they love it, and it’s what we will keep on doing.” Rosie’s Gourmet 2 Go

3337 Henry Road • Anniston, AL 36207 256-342-5293 Hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gourmet Meals 2 Go: Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Alabama Living

JUNE 2017  31

| Gardens |

Berry good options

Growing and gathering berries in Alabama


t’s berry season in Alabama and the perfect time to relish the healthy, natural, flavorful qualities of locally grown berries. And, whether you buy them at roadside stands, U-pick operations or farmers markets, harvest them from the wild or plant them in your garden, the options are plentiful. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, a berry is any “pulpy and usually edible fruit of small size irrespective of its structure” and it goes on to say that, technically, grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers and even bananas are “berries.” For most of us, however, the word “berry” conjures up Alabama’s three favorite (and native) berries — strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. But there are other kinds of berries to consider, both in the wild and for our gardens. Let’s start with some wild options. Berries that grow naturally in Alabama include blackberry (designated as Alabama’s state fruit and which usually exhibits a more upright, arching growth habit than other wild bramble berries), dewberry (a cousin to blackberries that typically has a sprawling, trailing growth habit), strawberry (mock and true strawberries are both edible, but the true ones actually taste good) and elderberry and mulberry (shrubs or small trees with fruit that should only be eaten if ripe). In theory, all of these are there for the taking (as long as you’re not trespassing to gather them), though never eat wild-harvested fruits and plants of any sort that you cannot identify! Some may cause stomach upsets while others are highly poisonous to humans, so always use a field guide to make sure you’re picking and eating the safe ones (a quick reference guide is available at herbs/files/1336-Wild-Berry-Identification.pdf).

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

32 JUNE 2017

Avoid picking berries or any other wild edibles from roadsides where chemicals may be sprayed, and keep an eye out for possible threats to your health and wellbeing while picking berries. Poison ivy, poisonous snakes, ticks and chiggers are fond of berry patches and there may even be some black bears around that won’t appreciate sharing their food sources.

If you want a tamer environment for harvesting berries, and if you want to take advantage of domesticated cultivars that have added benefits (such as no thorns), plant some for yourself. Not only can berry plants be used as handsome ornamentals, most berries produce fruit after the first year and require only minimal attention if they are planted in full sun and on a well-drained soil. A couple of caveats: A soil test is well worth the money before you plant to make sure you’re providing your berries the right soil nutrients and pH balance; some berries (blueberries, for example) require at least two varieties with corresponding bloom times to achieve proper pollination, so you may need to plant more than one bush to ensure good fruit development and yields. Planting berries in your own yard also offers a chance to try non-native species such as tayberries, boysenberries, loganberries, Goji berries (Chinese wolfberries), Juneberries (serviceberries), Chinese mulberries (sometimes known as silkworm trees), raspberries, gooseberries and currants. These days, a whole range of varieties and cultivars is available that are better adapted to our growing conditions and, if they won’t do well in the ground,

they may do beautifully in containers. Regardless of the types of berries you plant, if you pick plants that are adapted to Alabama’s USDA Plant Hardiness Zones and buy those plants from reputable local nurseries or regional mail-order companies, you should be able to expand your berry options with relative ease. After that, the biggest problem you may have is keeping wildlife from eating the berries before you can. That means you either have to protect them or, heck, just go ahead and plant enough for everyone. You’ll be feeding the world around you along with yourself. To learn more about growing berries, seek advice from local or regional specialty plant nurseries, check with your Alabama Cooperative Extension System office or Master Gardener organization or ask local home gardeners or farmers market growers for suggestions. They are likely all berry — I mean very — happy to help.

June Tips    

 

 

Harvest basil leaves from the top of plants before they begin to bloom. Weed regularly. Plant more tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and sweet potatoes. Sow seeds for beans, field peas, pumpkins, squash, corn, cantaloupes and watermelon. Tie up or provide support for tomato plants and beans and other trailing vegetables as they grow. Pinch back flowering annuals to encourage continued blooming. Prune or shear your evergreens as soon as the new growth begins to turn a darker shade of green. Give houseplants, newly planted shrubs and perennials and lawns water as needed. Keep an eye out for insect, disease and problems. Keep fresh water in birdbaths and ornamental pools to reduce mosquito breeding. Refresh hummingbird feeders at least once a week and more frequently as the weather gets warmer.

Alabama Living

JUNE 2017  33

Alabama to honor workers on the front lines By Allison Griffin


n June 5, Alabama will recognize the state’s linemen, who work in often brutal conditions to ensure we all have safe and reliable power. But actually, most linemen shun the spotlight. For them, the sense of accomplishment they get from serving the people in their communities is what makes all the physically demanding and dangerous work worthwhile. “The linemen, deep down, they take so much pride when they get your lights back on,” says Michael Kelley, director of safety for the Alabama Rural Electric Association (AREA), who worked for several years as a lineman for Central Alabama Electric Cooperative. “When he gets your lights back on, I can promise you, he gets back in his truck, and he’s glad, because he did something to help you.” Alabama Living is pleased to promote Lineman Appreciation Day, giving us the chance to highlight the men who keep our power on and who leave their families in the middle of the night to restore it when storms or catastrophic events take a destructive turn. Four linemen from rural electric distribution cooperatives around the state share their thoughts about their jobs, how the jobs have changed over the years and how they’ve created fulfilling careers.


Linemen out in the field work with thousands of volts of electricity, high atop power poles, along roadways where motorists fly by and in physically challenging environments. The hazards will always remain, but more than ever, Alabama’s cooperatives are making safety a top priority. Roger Thrower, now a crew foreman at Pioneer Electric Cooperative with almost

34 JUNE 2017

30 years of full-time service, remembers when a pack of pocket T-shirts for $10 was a lineman’s uniform. Now, all the clothing he and other linemen wear is fire-retardant, but the clothing is only a small part of a lineman’s safety gear. They wear the familiar hard hat and safety glasses, as well as rubber gloves and sleeves, a climbing belt to carry all the tools they might need, a fall restraint device, hooks (which strap onto boots to enable them to climb poles), and when they’re in the bucket truck, a harness and fall protection lanyard. Johnny Kirby, who’s been with Joe Wheeler EMC for 30 years, says the job is safer now than when he started, but he and other linemen are acutely aware that the possibility for something to go wrong is always present. “You’ve just got to watch each other’s back when you’re out there,” Kirby says. “We talk about that every day on the job. Just be aware of the danger.” Bill Cobb has been with Wiregrass Electric Cooperative for more than 50 years, and reflected on those years of service in a 2015 article written by the co-op. “When I started, everything was done by hand, and it was really difficult work, and it was hazardous work.” But bucket trucks and improved tools and techniques have made the job much safer. AREA’s Kelley thinks that safety enjoys a heightened awareness in all aspects of our society today – vehicle safety, airline safety, school safety. So the fact that coops and linemen spend a great deal of time talking about safety, and practicing in the field, is no surprise. “Used to be, it was, well, if we have time, we’ll talk about safety. Now, safety is what you do.”

Dixie EC lineman Caleb Duncan says of his job, “It’s the kind of job that gets in your blood, and you can’t really imagine yourself doing anything else.”

Johnny Kirby, a lineman at Joe Wheeler EMC, says, “For 30 years, I’ve enjoyed every day I’ve been there.”

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Alabama Rep. April Weaver, left, and Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, center, stand with some of the state’s linemen who were honored during the 2016 Lineman Appreciation Day ceremony in Montgomery.

Storm restoration

Bill Cobb, a lineman with Wiregrass EC, says, “I never hated getting up and going to work. I’ve always loved what I do and been proud of what I do.”

Alabama linemen were treated to lunch and a program at the 2016 Lineman Appreciation Day ceremony.

Linemen often rotate on-call duties, when they have to be ready to respond to a weather-related or a catastrophic event. But they are always ready to help. “It’s not just an 8-hour day,” says Caleb Duncan, a journeyman lineman with Dixie Electric Cooperative. “It’s a 24-hour, 7-day a week, 365-day job.” He knows he may have to leave his family on Christmas morning to respond to an outage. “You provide a service that has to be on. It’s a commitment to work, because there’s a lot of times where you get called into work, and you’re needed.” Linemen don’t just respond to outages in the co-op service area. In true cooperative fashion, Alabama’s co-ops respond to the call when another state’s electric utility suffers a catastrophic event, knowing that their sister co-ops will do the same in return. Pioneer’s Thrower remembers the worst conditions of his career. He went to South Carolina after Hurricane Hugo devastated much of that state’s coastal area, and worked from dawn to night in knee-high water to restore power. And there are times when linemen themselves are affected by a catastrophe. North Alabama’s co-op service areas suffered incredible devastation after the April 2011 tornadoes, and co-op employees were no exception. “We had employees who lost their homes, but yet they left their families and came to work,” Kelley says.

A fulfilling career

Roger Thrower of Pioneer EC says even in storm conditions and adverse weather, he wouldn’t trade his job of serving his co-op’s members, many of whom he knows personally.

For these men, line work at the co-op is not just a job – it’s a lifelong career that offers stability, an opportunity to make a good living and an atmosphere that values family, service and hard work. “It’s a really fulfilling job, it really is,” says Dixie’s Duncan. “You go off on storms when

people have their lights off for a while, and you get to come in and help them. They really appreciate it, and you get a good sense of accomplishment.” And no two days are ever the same, an aspect that linemen find appealing. “I learn every day,” says Kirby, of Joe Wheeler EMC. “It’s a good, interesting job. … For 30 years, I’ve enjoyed every day I’ve been here. You’ve just got stay with it and learn.” Even after 50 years, Cobb says he wakes up eager to tackle whatever the workday’s challenges present. “I keep thinking maybe I’ll wake up one morning and say I’m tired of it,” Cobb says. “But that’s sure never happened yet after all these years.”

Honor Alabama’s Linemen Alabama’s Lineman Appreciation Day will be June 5. This annual event is jointly supported by the Energy Institute of Alabama, Alabama Power Company, the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority, the Electric Cities of Alabama, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, TVA and the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Look for coverage of the event in an upcoming issue of Alabama Living.

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Used Shipping Storage Containers Call Tommy St. John or Neal Sellers Office (256) 751-3800 • Email: JUNE 2017  37

| Safe@home |

Take time for trailer hitch safety to prevent towing trouble


ith summer approaching, you may be getting ready to tow a boat up to the lake, or a trailer across the country for vacation. Or maybe you just need to haul some brush off your property on a small flatbed trailer. No matter the distance or the size of the haul, towing a trailer, automobile or boat can be dangerous, and requires skill beyond operating a normal vehicle. Some trailer accidents may be unavoidable, such as when road debris blows a tire. Accidents can happen to even the most seasoned and safety-conscious drivers. But many trailer accidents are preventable. Human error can be involved when drivers don’t understand how to safely attach a trailer to a truck. Using trailers safely isn’t just a matter of safety for you – it matters to every other driver you’ll encounter on the road when you get behind the wheel. A father and his 3-year-old daughter in Minnesota were killed on Memorial Day weekend in 2013 when an empty flatbed trailer unhitched from the pickup truck that was pulling it. The trailer crossed the center of the road and plowed hitch-first through the windshield of an SUV driven by Jeremy Cox, according to a story from KARE, a TV station in Minneapolis. Cox and one of his children in the SUV were killed in the accident. A state patrol investigation revealed that a clip was missing from the bottom of a hitch pin, allowing the trailer to break free before it slammed into the SUV. Further evidence showed one of the trailer’s two safety chains was also missing. Alabama State Troopers caution drivers towing any attachment to make sure that attachment is secure and loaded properly to prevent a crash. “All attachments need to be properly lit, and users should follow manufacturer’s towing specifications,” says Cpl. Jess Thornton of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). Federal law requires trailers to have working taillights, brake lights,

Michael Kelley is director of Safety, Loss Control and regulatory compliance for the Alabama Rural Electric Association.

38  JUNE 2017

side marker lights, turn signals and side and rear reflectors. The three crucial components in most tow packages are the hitch (the device that attaches directly to a tow vehicle, providing the connection between the tow vehicle and the trailer); the hitch ball (the ball-shaped attachment to a hitch where the trailer coupler is attached); and the coupler (used to secure the trailer to the towing vehicle). The hitch and the coupler must be the same size. Before towing, consider how much weight the truck can carry and tow at the same time. The tag located in the truck’s doorjamb or behind its seat provides its gross combination weight rating (GCWR) — the GCWR is also provided in the truck manual. A truck’s GCWR is the maximum weight it can haul and pull. GCWR includes the weight of the truck, the trailer it’s towing, and the total cargo carried in the truck and on the trailer. Exceeding a truck’s GCWR can have consequences similar to towing more than what the truck is designed to pull. Never exceed the recommended maximum towing capacity of the tow vehicle or the trailer. In general, the trailer you are carrying should never outweigh the tow vehicle you’re driving. Follow the manufacturers’ towing specifications for the tow vehicle, trailer and all of the tow package components. Make sure any kind of hitch you use has provisions for the connection of safety chains, which keep the trailer connected to the tow vehicle should the coupler or hitch ball detach from the tow vehicle. The chains should cross under the trailer tongue to prevent the tongue from dropping to the road if the trailer were to separate from the tow vehicle. The chains should have some slack to permit sharp turns, but not drag the road. Don’t wrap the safety chains around the hitch ball. Fasten them to a solid area of the framework or to the area of the auto hitch designed for that purpose. Also remember to exercise care when loading the trailer. It’s best to center loads over the trailer’s axle and slightly forward to get some tongue weight on the hitch. A general recommendation is to get about 65 percent of the trailer’s gross weight forward of the midpoint. Sources: “Towing Safety,” prepared by Auburn University Risk Management and Safety; and “Keep the Trailer Connected to the Truck,” prepared by Purdue Extension Service.

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JUNE 2017 39

The substation of the future New patterns of power mean a new job for a utility workhorse By Paul Wesslund


In Seattle, a substation planned for a historic urban district will feature a sloping wall to hide structures housing electrical equipment, pedestrian walkways, artwork and even a leash-free dog park.

olar panels, electric cars, computer hackers, vandals and thieves might not seem to have much in common, but they’re all making big changes in your electric service. Those changes have electric utilities talking about “The Substation of the Future.” If everything goes according to plan, you might never even know about those changes, says Tom Lovas, a technical liaison and consultant with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “The traditional model of generation, transmission and distribution is kind of being turned on its head,” says Lovas. “In the past, power flowed to a substation and then flowed out to the consumer … the substation has now become a point of information and interconnection, and it’s coordinated in a different way.” Before making sense of what Lovas means by a substation becoming a point of information, it helps to understand what a substation does.

How substations work

That mass of wires and equipment you see behind chain link fences as you drive along freeways or side roads basically turns high voltage electricity into lower voltage electricity that can be used in your home. Electricity generated at a power plant gets “stepped up” to a high voltage at a substation because that’s a more efficient way for power to make the long-distance journey through transmission lines. When the current gets close to where it will be used, another substation steps the voltage down, for distribution to you and your neighbors. But that straight-line path for electricity is changing, says an international industry group planning for how the substation of the future will fit in with the power lines and power plants that make up the electric grid. “Rather than continually getting bigger, the grid is now increasing in intelligence,” says a 2016 strategic plan of the Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation (CEATI International.) “Customers are increasingly looking for ways to manage their own energy, customizing how they use it and serving as suppliers of energy.” One example of customers “serving as suppliers of energy” is the fast-growing number of homeowners installing rooftop solar panels. Now, electricity doesn’t just flow from a power plant through a substation to a house. Instead, electricity also flows in the opposite direction, from the house, then back onto the grid as homeowners sell excess solar power back to their utility. When power flows in both directions, running a utility gets a lot more complicated. First, there’s safety. Lineworkers need to be sure they know which wires are energized and which are not. Electricity traveling in a different direction could put new stresses on 40  JUNE 2017

old equipment. And utilities need new ways to monitor electric current so they can keep track of new patterns of electricity use and generation. Lovas cites an increase in electric cars as another new addition that could change electricity use as people charge their vehicles at a variety of times and places.

Predicting power outages

Information about where the electricity is coming from and where it’s going can be used to improve operations in the utility network, and can make the substation of the future an important part of what the utility industry has been calling “the smart grid.” Information collected at a substation could keep track of how transformers are performing so they could be replaced before they fail, or even recognize power use patterns that could predict an outage. “We collect zillions of data points of information. What we’re trying to do is make sense of what that information is telling us,” says Lovas. Figuring out how to analyze and use all that data, he says, could “improve safety, reduce outages, reduce outage duration and reduce maintenance costs.” These days, we know that information can also be stolen or misused by cyber criminals, so the substation of the future needs stronger security. And not just cyber security. Lovas notes that substation planning needs protection against more old-fashioned attackers like vandals and copper wire thieves. As CEATI International wrote in its strategic plan on the substation of the future, “In the new environment, station facilities have to be protected from physical tampering, sabotage or theft and also from malicious threats to data and/or control systems connected to cyber networks.” Lovas also expects the substation of the future will respond to concerns about what substations look like, by looking for more remote locations or planting trees around them. Underground substations could offer better security, as well as avoid complaints about the appearance of the collection of wires and equipment. When will we see the substation of the future? Maybe never, if it’s hidden behind a grove of trees. Or, since improvements and advancements are already being installed, maybe it’s already here. “I don’t think there’s any defined date when the substation of the future takes over,” says Lovas. “It’s just a natural progression of things.” Paul Wesslund writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

Article helped reach vets Letters to the editor E-mail us at: or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Needs carnivorous plant info I read with interest the article on carnivorous plants in Alabama (April 2017) and was wondering how I can obtain some of them. I recently moved from Arizona to Valdosta, Ga., and I’m sure I could keep them fat, hale and hearty with all of these gnats and mosquitoes down here. I could increase their standard of living to unheard-of heights in Valdosta. I am originally from Marengo County, Alabama, and I do not remember us having insects like this. I would be forever grateful if you could help me out here. Thank you.

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I would like to thank you and Mr. John Felsher for the outstanding article in the May issue. Mr. Felsher was able to accurately capture what it is we do and how we do it. His conveyance was spot on and the photos gave a great visual. As a result of the article we have received a number of phone calls and emails from local veterans that we will be able to serve and provide therapy for. Brian S. Carson Heroes On the Water South Alabama Chapter

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

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Ollie Woods Valdosta, Ga. Al Schotz replies: I am delighted to hear of your interest in carnivorous plants, and the desire to incorporate them as a means of insect control on your property. I’m the author of the article, and from my experience carnivorous plants can be easily obtained from a variety of vendors. Perhaps the most efficient way of knowing who offers the plants for sale can be done by simply typing “pitcher-plant” or the type of carnivorous plant you prefer in your search engine on the internet. In fact, I searched Amazon in response to your inquiry, and saw that a large assortment of carnivorous plants are available through their site. So you should be able to acquire these plants online with relative ease. Although I’ve never grown carnivorous plants, I know many people that have and they all share similar success stories in keeping their plants happy. Moisture and high humidity are key ingredients, along with a good supplement of nutrients such as those available from insects. The internet is also a valuable resource for learning how to best grow these plants. Thanks for your inquiry. I enjoyed reading your message. And good luck in growing these remarkable plants. They’ll work tirelessly around the clock in controlling insects that may ail you. Al Schotz Notasulga Alabama Living

JUNE 2017 41

| Outdoors |

Bugging bream

Nothing attracts fish more than a mayfly hatch


ne hot summer afternoon, we feeding frenzy, lure color doesn’t matter mayflies spend most of their lives understruggled to find fish -- until we as much as placement. If it lands in the water as nymphs. As water warms, they noticed some activity up ahead. right spot, something will probably hit sprout wings and emerge from the water It was a sight any fly fisherman longs to it, but flies that resemble the floating into mate and die. Mayflies belong to the insee: Millions of mayflies covered bushes sects might work best. With poppers, keep sect order Ephemeroptera, which means growing along a stretch of shoreline about changing colors and the fish should keep “lasting only a day.” 10 yards long. As if a million striking them. If the frenzy piranhas attacked a bleeding dies down, shake the bushes capybara, water boiled with to make more flies fall into fish of every description, the water and reignite the annihilating anything that activity. I prefer floating cork poptouched the water. pers. Some foam or plasMy fishing partner and I tic temptations resembling immediately whipped out crickets, grasshoppers or othour fly rods and dropped er creatures also work. Toss a cork poppers into the ruckpopper as close to the fly-ladus. Unfortunately, a roaring en bushes as possible without wind made stopping to fish snagging. If nothing hits it the honey hole impossible immediately, let the popper without an anchor or trolling sit a moment and then give motor. In addition, the anit a little twitch or pop to get cient 12-foot aluminum boat a fish’s attention. Then, pause leaked so badly that we had Amy Gable and Ruth Sykes admire a couple bluegills they caught. for several seconds to let the to bail it with a gallon milk PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER bug float on the water. jug about every 30 minutes During a bug hatch, bluegills turn very just to stay afloat. In freshwater systems across Alabama, aggressive and might smash anything floatFortunately, the wind blew parallel to mayflies “hatch” periodically from late ing on the surface before their cousins can the bank where we wanted to fish. We forApril to about October. During a mayfly grab it. This produces some incredibly exmulated a plan. I cranked up the also anhatch, really just changing from a water citing strikes. Pound for pound, or more cient 6-horsepower outboard and headed nymph into a winged adult, these harmappropriately ounce for ounce, nothing on upwind while my buddy bailed the boat. less insects swarm in the millions. After a line can outfight an enraged bull bluegill. We stopped far enough upwind so that we bursting from the water, adult mayflies One never knows exactly when or where could get our gear ready for a quick drift. somewhat resemble giant mosquitoes. a mayfly hatch might erupt, but news travThe brutal wind hurtled us past the They cling to branches to dry their new els fast when it does happen. Look for bug bushes nearly as fast as the old motor wings before mating. During a hatch, hatches to occur in areas with slack water could push us. As we shot past the strike swarming flies might completely cover out of the current near high reeds, bushes zone, we each quickly made a cast or two, some low bushes. Inevitably, some flies or small trees growing next to or over the hoping we didn’t snag on anything. If the fall into the water, kicking off a fish feedwater. bug hit the honey hole, a big bluegill or ing frenzy. Almost every freshwater lake or stream other fish instantly blasted it. If the bug Artificial flies or poppers in Alabama holds abundant bream popmissed the sweet spot, nothing happened. offer more fun ulations. On any of these waters, anglers After the wind pushed us beyond casting Lucky anglers who stumble upon a bug might find a mayfly hatch during any range, we bailed the boat again and ran hatch could find incredible action. When warm month. Some better places to catch upwind for another drift. We kept repeatflies hit the water, everything comes bluegills include the Tombigbee-Alaing that process until we grew tired of quickly to grab its share of the bounty. bama-Mobile river system and associated catching panfish – and bailing. Bluegills and other bream feed upon the waters, particularly around Demopolis, Also called willow flies in Alabama, insects floating on the surface. Bass also the Tennessee River lakes like Wheeleat the bugs, but larger bass would more er and Guntersville, Lake Eufaula on the John N. Felsher is a likely grab an overstuffed bluegill distractChattahoochee River, the Coosa River freelance writer and ed by the swarming insects. system, the Little River and the Tallapoosa photographer who writes Near a good hatch, anglers can catch River. from Semmes, Ala. Contact him through fish after fish with anything they throw No matter how or where you catch his website at www. into the water. However, for the most fun, them, a pan of golden fried bluegills use artificial flies or poppers. During a makes a delicious meal for any fish lover.

42  JUNE 2017

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

More about mosquitoes

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

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

JUN 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 JUL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

05:37 11:07 08:07 01:52 02:37 03:07 03:52 04:37 -01:07 01:52 02:37 03:37 04:37 05:52 -08:37 01:52 02:22 03:07 03:37 04:07 --01:07 01:37 02:22 03:07 03:52 04:52 11:07 --01:37 02:37 03:37 04:22 -12:52 01:37 02:22 03:07 03:52 10:22 11:52 ---

Alabama Living

09:22 07:07 01:07 08:52 09:37 10:22 11:07 11:52 05:22 06:07 06:52 07:37 08:22 09:22 10:37 07:22 01:07 09:22 10:07 10:37 11:07 11:52 04:52 05:22 05:52 06:37 07:07 07:52 08:37 09:37 05:52 07:07 08:07 09:07 10:07 10:52 11:52 05:22 06:07 06:52 07:37 08:22 09:22 04:52 06:07 07:22 08:37

12:22 -01:22 03:22 09:22 10:37 11:22 12:22 07:52 08:37 09:22 10:07 10:52 11:37 12:22 12:22 02:37 08:22 09:22 10:22 11:07 11:52 07:37 08:07 08:37 09:07 09:37 10:07 10:37 11:22 04:52 01:22 07:37 09:07 10:22 11:22 12:07 07:37 08:22 08:52 09:22 09:52 10:37 11:07 04:52 02:07 07:22

04:37 05:37 06:52 08:07 04:37 05:37 06:22 07:07 12:37 01:22 02:07 02:52 03:37 04:22 05:07 06:07 07:07 04:07 05:22 05:52 06:37 07:07 12:22 12:52 01:22 01:52 02:22 02:52 03:22 04:07 11:52 12:37 03:22 04:37 05:37 06:22 07:07 12:37 01:07 01:52 02:37 03:07 03:37 04:22 11:37 12:22 04:22

I read your article about mosquitoes (April 2017). When was research done? And is there any further research/findings about this project of eradicating the mosquitoes? It’s an “iff-y” subject once you think about it, but at first glance - it would be nice to go outside and sit on the deck at dusk on a warm summer evening and lounge without having to light a citronella candle and huddle or bathe in bug spray before braving the outdoors. Those girlies love my blood! (The female mosquitoes, that is.) I get bit, inevitably. Thank you for your time and let me know if something more definite develops for wiping out “the mosquito mess!” Anna Perez Somerville Hardy Jackson replies: Years ago a friend whose family owns an orange grove in central Florida told me about plans to sterilize fruit flies. When researching my piece on mosquitos I checked on the progress of that project and found this. https://entomologytoday. org/2014/08/14/new-approach-to-sterilizing-fruit-flies/ However, the thing that really set me off on the mosquito topic was this article in Smithsonian Magazine - http:// kill-all-mosquitos-180959069/. I think it can answer most of your questions. As you say, it would be nice to spend summer evenings outside without the smell of citronella or the sound of a bug zapper.

Liked writers article Thank you for the well-written, beautiful layout and design of the “Turn the page” segment of the issue (April 2017), all of which was excellent, as I have come to expect. Cheryl Kittrell

JUNE 2017 43

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44  JUNE 2017

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JUNE 2017 45

Berry Tasty

| Alabama Recipes |

Don’t let summer go by without eating your fill of the season’s greatest gifts.

By Jennifer Kornegay | Food prepared and photographed by Brooke Echols


labama summers give us some intense, stifling heat, but balance the discomfort by also providing a few of Mother Nature’s sweetest treats: berries. Strawberries come first, actually in spring, when temps are usually still pleasant. June brings us bushes hanging heavy with frosted indigo blueberries. And by July, when the humidity hits close to 100 percent, the mercury rises to the tippy-top of weather thermometers, and we’re all cursing the swelter and begging for fall, summer makes a powerful peace offering. Its unrelenting warmth and strong sunlight ripen clusters of small red bumps into blackberries, the deeply hued yet delicately flavored fruits that always earn the season forgiveness in my book. While all berries make a delicious snack straight off the stem, bush or vine, they’re equally enjoyable when they lend their tastes to both sweet and savory dishes. Try some of this month’s reader-submitted recipes and see for yourself.

46 JUNE 2017

Red Velvet Berry Cobbler 1 11/4 6 1/2 2 2 1 11/2 1/4 1/2 11/2 1/2 11/4

tablespoon cornstarch cup sugar, divided cups assorted berries cup butter, softened large eggs tablespoons red food coloring teaspoon vanilla tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder teaspoon salt cup buttermilk teaspoons white vinegar teaspoon baking soda cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar together. Add assorted berries in this mixture and place in a lightly greased 11x7-inch baking dish. Beat butter with a mixer until fluffy, add 3/4 cup sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each until well blended. Stir in food coloring and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix buttermilk, vinegar and baking soda in a cup; mixture will bubble. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture. Begin and end with flour mixture. Beat on low speed until blended. Spoon batter over berries. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Angela Bradley’s grandmother was an efficient woman. She figured out how to have her cake and her cobbler and still have plenty of energy left to eat them too! After whipping up different desserts for years, she decided to save some time and combine some of her family’s favorite flavors. The result was Red Velvet Berry Cobbler. “She always made red velvet cake, that was kind of her signature dish, but my daddy and I loved her berry cobblers,” Angela said. “One day, she decided to put them together.” She played around with her recipe until she got it just right, and that final variation is the one that Angela has used ever since. “It is really delicious and so convenient since it marries the richness of red velvet with the tartness of berries. Add some ice cream, and you’re set!”

Go Pick 'Em! Add to berries’ appeal for the kids (or kids at heart!) in your life by taking them to a U-pick farm where they can experience harvesting the gems for themselves. Here are a few favorites around Alabama: Call first to confirm open times and availability. Barber Berry Farm, Millbrook, 334-549-4710 blueberries and thornless blackberries

Lyon Blueberry Farm, Wilsonville 205-703-6536 blueberries and blackberries

Maggie Valley Berry Patch, Grant, 256728-2723 strawberries and blueberries

Weeks Bay Plantation, Fairhope, 251-2798745 blueberries

Bennett’s Blueberry Farm, Anniston 256-236-6410 blueberries

Alabama Living

Cook of the Month Angela Bradley, Clarke-Washington EMC

Homemade Blackberry Lemonade 11/2 cups sugar (I used half sugar, half stevia) 7 cups water, divided 1 cup blackberries 11/2 cups lemon juice, plus 2 tablespoons In a medium sauce pan, combine 2 cups water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from stove and allow to cool down. Using a blender or food processor, puree 1 cup blackberries and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. In a large pitcher, combine water and sugar mixture and remaining 1 1/2 cups lemon juice. Using a fine mesh strainer, pour blackberry puree into strainer and stir contents into pitcher. Add remaining 5 cups water and stir. Serve with ice and fresh lemons and berries if desired. Laura Tucker South Alabama EC

JUNE 2017 47

Scrumptious Blueberry Shortcake 4 3 1 2 1 1/2 6 3/4 1 1 1 1/3 2

Scrumptious Blueberry Shortcake

Blue-Cassis Cake ½ cup butter 1 cup Crisco shortening 2½ cups sugar 3½ cups cake flour 10 eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups blueberries, local or in store Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray, grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Lightly dust berries with flour. Cream together butter, shortening, sugar and eggs. Gradually add dry ingredients and vanilla. Pour about 1-inch batter first in the pan, then alternate berries and batter. Bake approximately one hour. Test with long toothpick. Cool in pan.

Cassis Glaze: ½ cup butter 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon water ½ cup crème de Cassis liqueur (found in state liquor stores) Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Cool 3 minutes, pour 1/3 over cake in the pan and let stand for 1 hour. Remove from pan and cover. The next day, reheat glaze and brush or pour over top. Terri Conwell Baldwin EMC

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

cups blueberries tablespoons granulated sugar tablespoon fresh lemon juice cups all-purpose flour tablespoon baking powder teaspoon salt tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces cup 2% milk large egg white tablespoon water tablespoon granulated sugar cup heavy whipping cream tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes, until berries begin to pop, stirring frequently. Set aside. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor; pulse 3 times to combine. Add butter to processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Place mixture in a large bowl; add milk, stirring until moist. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Press mixture into a circle; cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges 1-inch apart on a baking sheet. Combine egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Lightly brush tops of wedges with egg white mixture; sprinkle evenly with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Pour whipping cream in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Split shortcakes horizontally; spoon 1/3 cup berry mixture over each bottom half. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons whipped cream; cover with shortcake tops. Robin O’Sullivan Wiregrass EC

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

48  JUNE 2017

Strawberry Cheesecake Lush

Strawberry Cheesecake Lush

Blackberry and Peach Cobbler

Blueberry Pizza

1 package Golden Double Stuff Oreo Cookies 6 tablespoons melted butter 1 cup powdered sugar 1 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened 1 16-ounce container whipped topping 1 8-ounce container whipped topping 2 3.4-ounce packages instant cheesecake pudding mix 3 cups cold milk 4 cups fresh sliced strawberries (I use two 16-ounce containers)

8 ounces melted butter, plus 4 tablespoons 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 3 cups sliced peaches 1 cup blackberries

1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 2 tablespoons sugar 1 cup pecans, chopped 3/4 cup butter, melted 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened 2 cups sifted powdered sugar 1 8-ounce container whipped cream 4 cups blueberries 11/3 cups sugar 4 tablespoons cornstarch 4 tablespoons water

Crush cookies, add melted butter and press in 9x13-inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing remaining layers. Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese and 1 cup of whipped topping with a mixer and spread over cookie layer. Mix pudding and 3 cups of milk, add 1 cup of whipped topping to pudding mixture and spread over previous layer. Slice strawberries and spread on top of layers. Cover with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9-inch cast iron skillet, melt four tablespoons butter. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk together. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and remaining 8 ounces melted butter. Mix with rubber spatula until all ingredients are combined. Pour the batter into the skillet and top with the fruit. The fruit will be heaping and that is fine. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until the batter is completely cooked and has a cake-like consistency. The cobbler can be served warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Carol England Joe Wheeler EMC

Bonnie Daugherty McGee Clarke-Washington EMC

Recipe Themes and Deadlines: Aug. Summer Salads Sept. Cheese, please! Oct. Pies

June July Aug.

8 8 8

Coming up in July... Tomatoes!

Combine first three ingredients, add butter and stir until well blended to make crust. Press crust mixture into a 12-inch pizza pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool crust in pan on a wire rack before beginning the rest of the recipe. Beat cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth; fold in whipped cream. Spread over cooled crust. Whisk together cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside. Mash clean blueberries in a medium sauce pan; stir in 1 1/3 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil two minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture into hot blueberry mixture. Return to a boil, stirring constantly; boil one minute. Cool. Spread over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate. Rená Smith Tallapoosa River EC

Editor’s Note: Alabama Living’s recipes are submitted by our readers. They are not kitchen-tested by a professional cook or registered dietician. If you have special dietary needs, please check with your doctor or nutritionist before preparing any recipe. Alabama Living

JUNE 2017  49

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50 JUNE 2017

Energy Efficiency Tip of the Month Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material – not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages. -Source: U.S. Dept of Energy

Alabama Living

JUNE 2017  51

| Our Sources Say |


Local regulation is the best regulation By Rep. Randy Davis Guest columnist


y colleagues and I in the Alabama Legislature know we do not work in a vacuum. We do not dream up laws out of the blue. I am a citizen-legislator, like my fellow Representatives in the House and our co-workers in the Senate. If I didn’t place more importance on the “citizen” portion, then I never would have sought elected office. I work for the people in my district and for all the people in our great state. To make the best decisions for my district, I stay in contact with my constituents to learn their concerns and to share my thoughts on how to make things better. To make the best decisions often means reaching out to experts. Many of us did this recently when I, as a member of the Southern State Energy Board, joined the Energy Institute of Alabama to host the first Energy Day in Montgomery. Members of both the House and Senate joined stakeholders in the energy industry, including a group of United Mine Workers members, to listen and learn from a panel of experts from across a broad spectrum of the energy sector. A panel discussion covered topics from expected federal regulation changes to nuclear power to oil sands in Alabama to challenges facing our education system in training energy sector workers of the future. Panelists were Tennessee Valley Authority President and CEO Bill Johnson, State Geologist and Oil and Gas Supervisor of Alabama Nick Tew, PowerSouth President and CEO Gary Smith, Alabama Power Executive Vice President of External Affairs Zeke Smith, Coalbed Methane Association Executive Director Dennis Lathem and ExxonMobil Mobile Bay Ops Manager Chris Golden.

Alabama is a strong player in the nation’s energy sector. We rank sixth in the United States in electricity generation, and eighth in electricity generation via renewable resources thanks to our amazing hydroelectric capacity. Few Alabamians are aware that our energy industry ranks 16th nationally in total energy production and we rank 17th in the number of producing natural gas wells. Mobile is the third-largest coal exporting seaport in the U.S. Our energy industry has a $13.2 billion economic impact on Alabama, according to a study from the Energy Institute of Alabama and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. The panelists at Energy Day agreed that the best regulations are those that come from regulators “on the ground,” that is, those who live and work closest to the regulated industry and who understand the consumers and businesses that must deal with the regulations. While federal regulation is necessary in some situations, the rules that work best are those that are put in place closest to home. Alabama’s Legislature wants to ensure that regulations on businesses and consumers protect us and our environment without being burdensome. Thanks to cooperation between legislators, regulators, businesses and our citizens, we have been successful in encouraging economic growth at a fair cost. As the TVA’s Bill Johnson said, “We have the lowest electricity rates in the nation and the highest customer satisfaction. So, the simple point is, what we do here is working; why change it?”

Rep. Randy Davis represents District 96 in the Alabama House, which includes portions of Baldwin and Mobile counties. He was first elected in 2002 and is currently chair of the Constitution Campaigns and Elections Committee and a member of the Agricultural and Forestry Committee, the House Rules Committee and the Insurance Committee. He is also chair of the Baldwin County Legislation Committee and a member of the Mobile County Legislation Committee.

52 JUNE 2017

| Market Place |


30x50x10 with sliding door and man door.



Additional delivery may apply pending location.


Alabama Living

JUNE 2017 53

| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

July 4: Not a dog’s best date P Illustration by Den

nis Auth

icture this. Two dogs sitting like dogs. One turns to the other and says “My plans for the Fourth aren’t finalized yet, but I’m either cowering under the bed or digging a hole through the tub. And you?” Fourth of July to a dog. I can see their point. Every year, as June winds down, people from other states trot across the line to buy fireworks in Alabama. Some of these establishments have long been the mecca for folks who want explosions to light up the sky to celebrate our independence from Great Britain. So, in the days leading up to the Fourth, the fireworks outlets do a land office business. A friend who worked in one tells of how when fireworks were illegal in Georgia, entrepreneurs would drive over and buy in bulk to sell in Atlanta neighborhoods. Sometimes celebrities showed up. Travis Tritt made regular visits and occasionally dropped as much as $1,500 on pyrotechnic pleasures – you can buy a lot of bang for that. Southerners have long loved fireworks. Especially young Southerners. Young Southerners always expect to be warned by parents, mothers mostly, to be careful or you’ll get a finger blown off. Every Southern mama knows of someone who was maimed by a firecracker. Naturally children discounted these admonitions as old-Mama-tales, and continued to set ‘em off to terrify and delight whomever they chose. Dogs, unfortunately, come under the “terrified” category. For them, those firework emporiums are a house of horrors. Firecrackers, bottle rockets, sky rockets, Roman candles, fountains, ground spinners, flying spinners, and of course, cherry bombs. Cherry bombs are the things from which Southern legends are made. 54  JUNE 2017

Find any southern man of a certain age and he can come up with a story of a cherry bomb blasting a mailbox off its post or demolishing a toilet in the boy’s bathroom. That few of these tales ever proved true only made the telling more popular. If it didn’t happen, it could have. I wonder if these stories resonate with the youth of today, for over the years, adults have systematically taken over what was once a joy of childhood. Recently fireworks have been less about how to scare the bejeebers out of friends and neighbors, and more about creating a spectacle. Fireworks have been put on display. The emphasis now is less on the boom and more on the flash, less on loud and more on lights. Cities and towns sponsor fireworks shows. They hire pyrotechnic engineers to put on programs that are synchronized and sanitized, free from the spontaneity and watched from a safe distance. Not that it makes any difference to a dog. Though the boom may be distant, as soon as the sky lights up you can hear the howling. All around the neighborhood and across the town dogs that cannot find refuge from the extravaganza lift their voices in anguished protest. Although I like to ascribe human emotions to our furry friends, and even go so far as to suggest that they are capable of reasoning much like our own, I do not think dogs can read a calendar. The Fourth of July will catch them by surprise. So, when you light that fuse, remember the dogs.

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

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